“We are a great working city which now has record youth unemployment and too many families with no working role model—in fact, there are occasionally three generations living entirely off benefits. I believe that everyone in Gloucester will support me in saying that our main endeavour today is to increase business growth in order to generate more jobs, especially for the young, and that this will in turn generate the tax revenues that fund the front-line services that are so crucial for everyone in my city.”
“Today, the truth is that all of us, whatever our origins, face severe difficulties in handling the record youth unemployment and in trying to re-grow our economy to provide jobs for our young people. That is why all my constituents will welcome measures taken by this Government to stimulate business, which we must remind ourselves is the sole source of growth, providing jobs and then tax revenues for the services that many Members are calling for in our different constituencies."
“I believe that we have to address two issues: first, our country has 8 million people who are economically inactive; and secondly, our country is the worst in western Europe in terms of the number of children growing up in workless households. The best way to help many people out of poverty is to create the well-paid, sustainable jobs that will make a difference. We have to do so over the next few years in a period in which we are going to reduce our dependence on financial services and on unsustainable public sector jobs. In my opinion, the only way in which that can be done is through increased investment in applied science, engineering and innovation.
“I was particularly pleased that the Gracious Speech made reference to measures to create a large number of apprenticeships, but it is important, too, that we make sure that we create enough professional engineers to make a difference. It is a particularly sad fact that over the past three decades, in spite of the increase in higher education, the number of engineering graduates from our universities has decreased. That is not the case in India or China; indeed, it is not the case in any other country in continental Europe.
“On the fringes of Warrington is Daresbury science park, which is a brilliant place that takes some of the best ideas produced in universities in the north-west and combines them with marketing skills and venture capital. Such places are going to create the jobs that we need in the medium term to fight the battle against poverty. In my view, social mobility is a hallmark of a civilised society. It is sad that in the past decade, social mobility fell in this country. I believe that the coalition, of which we are all part, will be judged, at least in part, on our ability to reverse that decline in social mobility.”
“Although well intentioned, the last Government received very little for their money in terms of social mobility and a reduction in the gap between the rich and the poor, and they have further fuelled a culture of benefit dependency in which children grow up seeing parents and grandparents who have never worked as their role models, in which people are better off living apart than living together, and in which there is no incentive to work because of the fear of becoming worse off.
“I must say that I am enthused by the coalition document, and particularly the work conducted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), with his practical and pragmatic ideas to simplify the benefits system, help people into work, and prioritise early intervention which will help our most deprived communities. I am sure that the new Government’s commitment to such measures as the pupil premium and support for further education colleges and universities will give the young people of my constituency the educational opportunity that will make them more socially mobile, raise their aspirations, unlock untapped potential and let individuals take control of their own lives once more.
“I particularly welcome the new Government’s commitment to providing an additional 50,0000 apprenticeships, which I am sure will engage and enthuse many young people who do not have the necessary aptitude for—or, more often, are not attracted to—further academic studies. I hope that many of those apprentices will be employed in Nuneaton. I am also convinced that there is no better way of regenerating our areas of deprivation than to create an environment in which the private sector can thrive. We must reduce regulation and business taxes and get credit moving, so that businesses can create the jobs that the skills provided by our Government will deserve.”