§ Earl Russell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
To which people the Secretary of State for Social Security was referring in his speech at East Ham on 18 July when he spoke of the benefits system "writing people off when it should be providing them with active help to get back on their feet"; and wherein he believes the act of writing off consists; and [HL4133]
To which people the Secretary of State for Social Security was referring in his speech at East Ham on 18 July when he said that "many people … are dependent then they need not be"; and [HL4134]
Whether they will explain the logic of the passage in the Secretary of State for Social Security's speech at East Ham on 18 July which said: "but a Giro can't get you a job, or improve your skills or prospects. That's why we're reforming the benefits system"; and whether job creation is now within the 122WA departmental responsibility of the Department of Social Security; and [HL4135]
Whether they will explain the logic of the passage in the Secretary of State for Social Security's speech at East Ham on 18 July which said: "parents have come to expect no better for their children than they do for themselves. We're determined to change that. That's why we've started a radical overhaul of the benefit system"; whether they will explain why or how they believe the benefit system can contribute to the solution of this problem; and whether the Department of Social Security is now responsible for regional development in areas with little or no employment. [HL4136]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)
We know that deprivation in childhood can lead to low educational achievement and to worse outcomes in later life. Many children living in poverty become accustomed to the environments in which they live; their parents may never have worked; they may have only lived in poor housing. These children expect nothing more for their own futures. We are determined to change this and have a comprehensive strategy in place.
The benefits system has failed to adapt to social and economic changes. That is why we are changing it to provide help for those who can work and security for those who cannot. Too many people have been dependent on benefits long term with little incentive or help to find work. We are providing active help to get people back to work through the New Deal and ONE Service pilots. Our reforms are about providing opportunity for all so that people do not have to rely on benefits if they are able to work.
Tackling unemployment in deprived communities is high on the government agenda. The Social Exclusion Unit is drawing up a National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. This department is not directly responsible for regional development in areas with little or no employment or job creation but we are working with other government departments, local people, employers and businesses to tackle the problem.