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Social Justice: Transforming Lives

Volume 561: debated on Wednesday 24 April 2013

A year ago, we published “Social Justice: transforming lives”, a landmark document setting out a new vision for supporting the most disadvantaged families and individuals across the UK. The social justice strategy outlined how family breakdown, low educational attainment, worklessness, problem debt, and addiction combine to cause the entrenched poverty affecting many of our communities, highlighting the complexity of the issues that many people face.

To meet this challenge, the strategy signalled that a new approach was needed—putting early intervention first, while tackling the root causes of poverty to give those experiencing disadvantage a meaningful second chance.

Today, I wish to inform the House that I am laying the command paper “Social Justice: transforming lives—One year on”, which demonstrates the progress that we have made in turning that vision into a reality.

Over the last 12 months, we have started the cultural change needed in order to achieve our aims, spanning not only families and individuals, but also public services and the way the Government fund them.

As today’s report sets out, delivering this aim has required a complete shift in how the Government tackle social problems: an unrelenting focus on preventing problems arising in the first place; giving people the support they need to make transformational changes to their own lives when problems arise; and spearheading new multi-agency, outcome-focused approaches in order to address problems in the round.

The achievements set out in this report, and in supporting documents published on the Department for Work and Pensions’ website, show how much can change in a year, and what this change means to individuals. We have made substantial progress against over 100 commitments set out in “Social Justice: transforming lives”, each of which equates to meaningful life change for the most vulnerable in our society.

While the challenges we face remain significant, this is a strong and positive start—much to the credit of those championing social justice in Government, at a local level and across the voluntary sector. By restating our commitment to transforming lives, and continuing to drive change in how we help families and individuals in need, we will make social justice a reality for everyone in the United Kingdom.