Strengthening Families — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:25 pm on 8th February 2018.

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Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office 3:25 pm, 8th February 2018

As the hon. Lady has raised the point now, I am happy to talk about it. It was certainly my experience growing up that my dad losing his job at a wire factory had the single biggest impact on our family finances and our family life. It put the greatest strain on our family. I am very proud to serve in a Government under which more than 2 million new jobs have been created—that is hundreds of thousands of households where children grow up seeing their parents going out to work and having the stability and security of a wage packet.

That achievement stands alongside a range of measures that we have taken—for example, we are the first Government to introduce a national living wage. We are also cutting people’s taxes so they keep more of what they earn. We have essentially doubled the tax-free allowance, meaning that anybody working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage pays no tax at all. In addition to that, universal credit reforms pioneered by my right hon. Friend Mr Duncan Smith, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, have had a tremendous impact. When I visit jobcentres in my own constituency, I see the enthusiasm that people working there have because they know that we finally have a policy that genuinely incentivises people from welfare into work. We have a record of which we can be proud.

I did not want to descend into party political points at this early stage, but I would note on the issue of the so-called privatisation of the health service that I do not see how that accords with the tremendous increase in funding we have provided for the NHS.