Alan Campbell debates involving HM Treasury during the 2019 Parliament

Cost of Living Increases

Alan Campbell Excerpts
Tuesday 25th April 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrew Griffith Portrait Andrew Griffith
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I understand that the hon. Member and his party are not happy campers these days, but we are giving more money per head to households in Scotland than we are in the rest of the United Kingdom, which is why he should get behind the many benefits of being part of this Union. On this very day, more than 8 million families across the United Kingdom will receive in their accounts a £301 cost of living payment from the Government, and that is just the first of three payments that will be made, giving a total of £900 to low-income and vulnerable families.

One measure that touches almost everyone in this country is childcare. In the Budget, we on the Conservative Benches confirmed the biggest expansion of free childcare in living memory. Our new offer will close the gap between parental leave ending and the current childcare offer. It will reduce costs for parents who can get back to work and make sure that a career break does not become a career end. It will improve the lives of millions of people. It is the right thing to do, but we can only afford to do that because of the fiscal discipline that we have exercised.

I am delighted that, as people go to the polls next week, the Opposition have given them a reminder of where they stand, for which I am grateful. Conservative councils charge £80 a year less than Labour on a band E property. Under the last Labour Government, council tax doubled. Under Labour Wales, it has more than trebled. Not for the first time, Labour says one thing and does another. Its motion today calls for a council tax freeze, and yet, far from freezing, I looked at the increases in every one of the constituencies of those on the Opposition Front Bench: Leeds up 5%; Wolverhampton up 5%; Camden up 5%; Ealing up 5%; Greenwich up 5%. A full house of Labour councils charging the maximum that they are allowed in council tax.

Enough, Madam Deputy Speaker: enough of the Opposition giving us rhetoric not record; enough of the economic illiteracy from Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen; and enough of these ChatGPT-does-socialism-type speeches that we have heard this afternoon. We should never forget Labour’s record on the economy: working people and your children pay the price. Labour has ditched its rule not to borrow to fund day-to-day spending, so we know its plan to stick billions on the nation’s credit card. [Interruption.] Labour Members can intervene if I am incorrect. No Labour Government have ever left office with unemployment lower than when they came to power. Under the last Labour Government, unemployment rose from 2.1 million in 1997 to 2.5 million by the time they left office in 2010—more people denied the security and the chance in life of a good job.

Finally, let us never forget, when Labour left office in 2010, how the then Chief Secretary wrote—[Hon. Members: “Ah!”] What did he write? He wrote:

“Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there’s no money left.”

We are a Government focused on delivering the British people’s priorities. We are making sure that we are helping those in financial strain. We are focused on the future and we are delivering not just for growth that comes when a country emerges from a downturn, but for long-term sustainable healthy growth.

Since the Conservative Government came into power in 2010, we have grown more than major economies such as France, Italy or Japan and around the same as Europe’s largest economy, Germany. We have halved unemployment. We have cut inequality and reduced the number of workless households left to us by 1 million. Output is now higher than pre-pandemic levels. There is still much to do, but we are on track to deliver—

Alan Campbell Portrait Sir Alan Campbell (Tynemouth) (Lab)
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claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Question put accordingly (Standing Order No. 31(2)), That the original words stand part of the Question.

Working People’s Finances: Government Policy

Alan Campbell Excerpts
Tuesday 21st September 2021

(2 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mims Davies Portrait Mims Davies
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I will make some progress, because I think it is important to talk about the 1 million vacancies that we have in our economy. We have jobs in growing and emerging sectors; we have green jobs, we have tech roles, and they can all be accessed through our jobcentres.

I am determined to help those with the biggest barriers to move closer to the labour market, to ensure that, as the hon. Lady says, people progress into work and see the reward for their efforts, and to help people increase their hours or get into work for the first time, like—I must correct the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Mr Clarke)—the more than 69,000 young people who are now in kickstart roles, on that important first rung of the career ladder.

My message today to everyone in the Chamber and everyone looking in is: if you want to progress in this jobs market, whoever you are, wherever you are—at any age or any stage—we are here for you. We will get behind you. We have dedicated work coaches, and we have boosted them by 13,500 as part of our plan for jobs. We will give you tailored support and we will help you progress. We will not leave you behind.

We are directly investing in our young people most at risk of long-term unemployment with the £2 billion kickstart scheme, a life-changing scheme of a six-month work placement—a springboard into a future career. With over 188,000—I got it right this time—kickstart roles, young people must turn to their work coaches to hear about these amazing opportunities.

Meanwhile, I must let the House know that we have a new youth hub across every Jobcentre Plus district throughout England, Scotland and Wales. By Christmas, we will have 150 new youth hubs open. These are valuable new partnerships—interventions for direct life chances—with local councils, football clubs, charities such as the Prince’s Trust, and local training providers.

We are also seeing lives changed by our job entry targeted support programme, which is known as JETS, with over 25,000 people starting new jobs since our plan for jobs was launched. That is not forgetting our £2.9 billion restart scheme, which will, crucially, help those who are leaving furlough. We have also refreshed our “50 PLUS: Choices” offer, and we have stronger support for those who need any extra skills through our lifetime skills guarantee.

I am passionate—I hope the House has noticed it this evening—about getting people into jobs, but also about progressing people when they are in work. This Government’s longer-term ambition remains to build an economy that ensures that everyone, no matter what their background, has the opportunities to enter work and progress out of low pay.

We are absolutely taking action. The in-work progression commission was launched in March 2020 by the DWP. We will respond shortly to its report, but it is all about getting that understanding about the barriers that people in low pay face and, crucially, as we talked about this afternoon, ensuring that work remains the best route out of poverty.

Our plan for jobs programme is also helping claimants to gain the skills they need to progress in work. Our sector-based work academy programmes—SWAPs—are helping people get new skills to retrain and pivot into growing sectors, from viticulture to construction, infrastructure and social care. Haulage has been mentioned this afternoon; we have a programme in that, too. We also have DWP Train and Progress, which provides the ability to access the Department for Education skills bootcamps in growing sectors. With over a million—

Alan Campbell Portrait Sir Alan Campbell (Tynemouth) (Lab)
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claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Question put accordingly (Standing Order No. 31(2)), That the original words stand part of the Question.