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“Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families”

Volume 633: debated on Monday 18 December 2017

3. What progress has been made on implementing the recommendations of his Department’s report, “Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families”, published in April 2017. (902980)

“Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families” aims to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children and is making good progress. For example, from next Spring, Public Health England will run a trial of individual placement and support, and our vital work on reducing parental conflict was boosted by the Chancellor’s announcement of £39 million in the recent Budget.

I thank the Minister for her reply. As she will know, working households in coastal communities such as Cleethorpes face particular difficulties. There is much low-paid work, but not much to encourage young people to stay there. What additional support can she offer to those sorts of communities?

The Government are committed to supporting coastal communities, such as those in his constituency of Cleethorpes and my constituency of Gosport. That is why I am pleased that the claimant count in his area is already down by 49%. Last March, we saw 248 families in north-east Lincolnshire achieve significant progress through our troubled families programme, and I know that the Secretary of State was impressed when he visited my hon. Friend and saw a programme that is helping troubled youngsters. More widely, the council was awarded a Coastal Communities Fund grant in April worth £3.8 million towards a scheme to enhance Cleethorpes’ role as a high-quality place to work, live and visit.

Does the Minister think that the fact that she is failing to support people who are workless and still in poverty is one of the reasons why Alan Milburn resigned as chair of the Social Mobility Commission?

We are actually doing more to get people into work than any other previous Government. We know that making a meaningful difference to people’s lives, including those of the most disadvantaged children and families, requires an approach beyond just welfare support. That means supporting people into jobs, because we know that employed people have much-improved chances and incomes. That also means focusing on the other key drivers of poverty, such as education, and on other things to support children.