Fiona Bruce: Absolutely; I do not disagree with that. It is about the enormous amount of money—the billions and billions of pounds—that are put into this scheme. Some of those young people will have an expectation of some money, and we need to look at helping the most needy and most vulnerable with the limited resources that we have.
Fiona Bruce: Dr Callan, the statistics show that one in four young people have families who are not engaging with the process. I would be very interested to know whether you have evidence for something you said. It has been my suspicion that those on the lowest incomes and those who most need to engage in financial education are the ones who are not doing so. What evidence do you have for that?
Fiona Bruce: Thank you. You also indicated that one of the best investments in a young person’s life, and perhaps one of the best ways of tackling future inequalities, is to give sound financial advice. Do you feel that we do that adequately?
Fiona Bruce: One more question, if I may, Mr Howarth? The child trust funds cost us £500 million a year. Some witnesses have given the view that, despite its being a universal benefit, much of the money, potentially millions of pounds, goes to young people who already have a nest egg, but that is a price worth paying, so children from low-income families receive what you called a “handout” at 18,...
Fiona Bruce: Thank you.
Fiona Bruce: What has come across to us from several witnesses is that financial education, particularly for young people, is patchy. I wondered whether your work on this Bill has led you to consider how we could improve on that in light of the fact that the financial savings education element, say of the child trust fund, is going. It has also been pointed out that only three out of four young people’s...
Fiona Bruce: Would a £50 contribution not produce the worst of all worlds for young people? The Labour party has said that the one benefit for young people whose families do not engage with the scheme is that they at least have a nest egg at age 18. That contribution would not provide that.
Fiona Bruce: Dr Callan said during the evidence sessions that the scheme disproportionately favours the middle class. If we are making judgments about priorities, we need to consider how we can most benefit those who are most in need and vulnerable. The fund does not do that.
Fiona Bruce: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Fiona Bruce: Has the child trust fund really succeeded in improving the savings culture and the financial capability of the poorest? In light of evidence given by Dr Samantha Callan, of the savings accounts opened by parents, only 1% had received the maximum funding available. In other words, only 1% of those opened were by people on the lowest incomes.
Fiona Bruce: The right hon. Gentleman claims that those numbers would have benefited from the scheme, but the figures are not absolute, are they? The individuals would only have benefited had they chosen to take advantage of the scheme. There is a big difference.
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the potential contribution of his Department's diplomatic networks to international efforts to assist street children.
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the remit is of the desk officer for Women and Children's Human Rights in his Department; and what role that officer has had in his Department's recent work on child rights and street children.
Fiona Bruce: What steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of people in developing countries without access to basic sanitation.
Fiona Bruce: I thank the Secretary of State for his reply. As Friday is world toilet day, what is his Department doing to raise the international agenda's priority to improve sanitation, particularly as 1.5 million children under five die every year from poor water hygiene and sanitation, which is more than die from malaria, AIDS and measles combined?
Fiona Bruce: It gives me great pleasure to support my hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Chris White) and his Bill. One of the main features of the debate has been the contribution of social enterprises to our local communities. We must interpret as broadly as possible the organisations that can fall within the ambit of the Bill. My hon. Friend mentioned more socially responsible...
Fiona Bruce: I believe that "community" comprises many different factors, one of which is having flourishing businesses. If the awarding of public contracts can make a difference to flourishing businesses, large or small, that should count as social or public value. It is not, as many people mistakenly claim, about offering public service on the cheap; rather, it is about adding value to our communities....
Fiona Bruce: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention, as that is exactly what I am saying. I think that we will find very few organisations that do not merit consideration under the Bill when public contracts are awarded. We should therefore think carefully before narrowing the definition of the enterprises that we want to include. I would like to highlight some clear examples of where a social...
Fiona Bruce: May I invite the Minister to meet representatives of the Eden Project and the Message Trust? I believe that they have much to offer local communities: indeed, they aspire to engage with up to 60 local communities across the nation.
Fiona Bruce: We must not let the example of one or two less successful projects restrict the opportunity for the public sector to enter into entrepreneurial projects with local groups. The spirit of enterprise does, of necessity, involve risk. We have seen that spirit in this nation over many decades, if not centuries, and it is the seed of the fruit of phenomenally successful community and commercial...