Oral Answers to Questions

Tim Farron Excerpts
Monday 13th May 2024

(2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mel Stride Portrait Mel Stride
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I congratulate my hon. Friend on the reduction in the number of claimants in his constituency, which I know is at least in part due to the excellent jobs fairs he assists in organising. He is right that work should pay; that is why I am very proud that mine is the party that brought in universal credit, making sure that that is exactly the case.

Tim Farron Portrait Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD)
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May I add to the tribute paid by the hon. Member for South East Cornwall (Mrs Murray) to my friend Colin Breed, who served South East Cornwall with great dignity before her? I thank her for paying tribute to Colin and offering condolences to his friends and family.

In our part of the world, the issue is less unemployment and more the lack of a workforce. The Lake district has 20 million visitors every year and a relatively small working-age population, 80% of whom are already employed in hospitality and tourism. Can the Secretary of State help us out by saying yes at least to discussions with the European Commission, which has offered a youth mobility visa programme between the UK and Europe? Only one youth mobility visa scheme exists with Europe already, and it is with Andorra, which is quite small.

Mel Stride Portrait Mel Stride
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I think the Government have already said they are not minded to pursue the scheme to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but that is not the same thing as saying that we do not take the issue extremely seriously. That is why we have extensive training provision such as SWAPs—the sector-based work academy programmes—and the WorkWell provision that we are rolling out, to which my hon. Friend the Minister for Employment has just referred.