SPEAKING from the floor of the House of Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon expressed her fears for social mobility in Thurrock and Basildon.
Baroness Smith said: “My noble friend Lord Knight of Weymouth welcomed the strategy, but he was obliged to give a list of actions by the Government that undermine the principle behind it. He missed one very important action, and that is the cuts that have been made to voluntary and community services and to charities, many of which have tried for many years to do invaluable work in helping social cohesion and looking to improve social mobility. In my own town HomeStart, a valuable organisation giving families the support they need in life, will close in the next few weeks because of cuts to its funding. How does that improve social mobility?
Lord McNally (Minister of State, Justice; Liberal Democrat)
I listened to the Statement at the other end. Local authorities across the country are making cuts and it is very easy for people to leap up and say, “How does this strategy match what is going on?”. This strategy is trying to deploy the fewer resources we have in a much more focused way. We are going through a period of economic difficulty and it will be easy to pick up on the impact of the various changes, but today we have laid out a strategy that focuses resources on the most needy and addresses some of the issues that have been identified as causing a lack of social mobility. What we cannot do is return public expenditure to the level at which it was being run by the previous Administration-who were, as the noble Baroness knows, planning to make cuts as well.