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Early Intervention

Volume 514: debated on Monday 19 July 2010

17. What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the development of early intervention policies. (8942)

The hon. Gentleman’s experience and knowledge of these issues is unrivalled in the Chamber, and he has sought to present them on a non-party-political basis so that we can continue to discuss them. I have had a number of discussions with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, as the hon. Gentleman knows, I continue to discuss the issues with him. I hope that we shall be able to make progress, preferably on a non-party-political basis.

The Secretary of State will know that early intervention to help babies, children and young people to develop socially and emotionally so that they can make the best of themselves is one of the processes that depend heavily on the bolting together of small bits of funding, which are likely to suffer most in the current economic climate. Will he talk seriously to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about exploring other means of raising sustainable funds so that early intervention can continue for a generation, which will be necessary if we are to ensure that our young people get the best out of life?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the issue of early intervention is specifically lodged with another Department, but I take an interest in it, and guarantee that I will continue to do so. I can say without fear or favour that I think it has the greatest potential to change many of the lives that we talk about—lives of worklessness and poverty, including child poverty. It is arguably one of the most significant issues in the medium to long term, and I will do my level best to ensure that it is pursued.