David Cameron is here at Chance UK in Finsbury Park to meet staff and he will speak at 11am about tackling the welfare state.
Download a full copy of what he will say here. It looks like a great speech. It’s also pretty comprehensive at 2500 words.
He will challenge the notion that poverty can’t be defeated: "when I say that we can make British poverty history please do not tell me that it cannot be done". The three elements of Labour’s failed approach are tax credits, undermining the voluntary sector, undermining families:
- "By building the tax credit system around a highly simplified model of human behaviour, and failing to take into account the way people really live, it was sadly inevitable that things would go badly wrong."
- "Instead of setting social enterprises and community groups free to help people, Labour have tied them up with bureaucratic constraints and complex funding processes. And rather than encouraging them to take on new challenges, Labour have actively squeezed them out."
- "In his tax credit system, a couple living together get exactly the same Working Tax Credits as a lone parent with the same income. This means that if a couple splits up, their Working Tax Credits rise."
The Conservatives will take a "more holistic and sophisticated"
approach which will include bringing the Working Tax Credit for couples
into line with the rest of the benefits system. This will be paid for
by reforming the welfare state:
"Instead of the
revolving door of people flitting in and out of benefits and work, we
will draw on successful examples of welfare reform from all over the
world to overhaul our welfare system. These successful models all have
something in common. They are tailored to the individual, and they
harness the private and voluntary sectors, rather than government
bureaucracies, to help people get back into work."
the Party’s spokesman for children Tim Loughton will publish his review
of social workers, dealing particularly with the need for
accountability in the profession. The vital and often unsung work of
social workers should be recognised, however:
family has a social worker. She is a star. So I know how hard they
fight to get you the funding and the back up you need. I know how much
they help you through the bureaucracy and the paperwork. I know that
they are there for you as your support, your advocate and your friend.
I am determined to improve the professionalism and status of social
workers to help them carry out their work."
place is packed but mostly with various social entrepreneurs, a lot of
the regular political hacks must be busy reporting on the Lib Dems. I
hope this speech can still break through that coverage.
11.30am: IDS announces the next tranche of CSJ policy groups.
On the subject of family breakdown there will be groups looking at
family law and early years intervention, and on the subject of criminal justice there will
be groups focusing on the judiciary, policing and sentencing reform. There will also be groups looking at housing, asylum,
economic dependency and social care.
Ryan Robson listed some amazing figures about care homes: only two thirds
of the 0.6% of our children who are in care are entered into a single
GCSE exam, and almost a third of all prisoners and half of all prostitutes come from that 0.6%.
Ivor Frank (pictured), who will be working with Ryan on the social care group, then told his story. In care from the age of three he found
that "some carers were scarcely capable of caring for themselves" and
that he learnt to not trust what adults said. He believes that "before
achievement you’ve got to have aspiration", which comes about through a
mix of self-esteem and having an example to follow. He was told not to
do exams because he would get depressed when he failed, but he was "mad
keen on sports" and got used to winning so ignored them. He has been a
barrister for 27 years. In concluding, he held up a page of Egyptian
hieroglyphics which he translated as "A winner never quits, and a
quitter never wins".
Conclusion: A spot-on speech but nothing new aside from the CSJ announcements. The significant thing is that this was a post-conference marker showing that this agenda is still very much at the forefront of the Party’s thinking. And, as Cameron said in reply to my question about it, this is an agenda that Brown will find it difficult to take on in a way that is coherent with the rest of his vision for the country.
Thanks to the CSJ’s Chris Bullivant for the pics.
Oct 17th update – WebCameron video: