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Social Justice (Transforming Lives)

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2012

When the Government came into power, the Prime Minister set up the Social Justice Cabinet Committee to look across Government at issues relating to poverty, equality and social justice, and improve the way that we deliver services to those in our society that face the greatest and most complex disadvantages.

I am pleased to announce that today this work has taken a significant step forward with the launch of the Government’s social justice strategy. This strategy sets out an ambitious new vision for supporting the most disadvantaged individuals and families in the UK, as well as outlining where the Government are already making progress on this agenda. The strategy embeds two key principles into the heart of Government policy delivery.

First, a focus on prevention throughout a person’s life, targeting the root causes rather than the symptoms of social breakdown to stop people falling off track and into difficult circumstances. This starts with support for the most important building block in a child's life—the family—but also covers reform of the school and youth justice systems, the welfare system, and beyond to look at how we can prevent damaging behaviours like substance abuse and offending.

Secondly, the strategy sets out the Government’s vision for a ‘second chance society’. When problems do arise, people must be able to access the help and support they need to turn their lives around. This strategy cements the principle that this support must be focused on recovery, independence, and life change, not simply on maintaining people in the circumstances they are in.

This strategy also sets out a new approach to delivery, based on locally designed and delivered solutions. New, innovative approaches to service delivery are also integral to the strategy, including the use of social investment, smarter commissioning and intensive key worker led support.

This approach will not be delivered by Government alone. It is essential that we harness the expertise and dedication of local leaders, commissioners and delivery organisations at all levels, including the voluntary and community sectors.

This strategy sets out an ambitious approach, but one that aspires to deliver lasting change. This strategy aims to do more than simply increase family income, but address the root causes of poverty and deliver change that will transform lives.