Now we are fixing the damage that Labour did to our society

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The Conservative-led government of the past five years had to fix the damage Labour did to Britain’s economy.

Now the Conservative majority government of the next five years has to fix the damage Labour did to Britain’s society.

That effect on these children of seeing their circumstances improved through the hard work of their parents cannot be underestimated

The Chancellor gave his Budget on Wednesday and made our objective very clear.

He said: ‘This will be a budget for working people – a budget that sets out a plan for Britain for the next five years to keep moving us from a low wage, high tax, high welfare economy to the higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare country’.

We want work to pay; we want the rewards of a job to be higher than those of welfare; we want to end child poverty and to end the cycle of dependence caused by childhoods spent in a workless household.

Already there are signs that we are turning things around.

In my constituency there are now well under 1,000 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, down by 30 per cent on the year and by over 60 per cent on the legacy Labour left behind.

This is a pattern being repeated across the country.

One of the many positive consequences of this surge in employment is that the number of children growing up in workless households is at a record low.

The latest figures show that there are 633,000 more households with at least one working adult and 372,000 fewer children living in a workless household since 2010.

The roll-out of Universal Credit, which ensures that taking work will always mean an increased income, will mean 3.2 million households are better off and that 300,000 children are taken out of poverty.

That effect on these children of seeing their circumstances improved through the hard work of their parents cannot be underestimated.

As we work to end child poverty we also end poverty of ambition.

The Budget built on these achievements. The increase in the personal allowance and the increase in the 40p rate threshold mean a tax cut for 29 million people.

The new Living Wage will take the over-25s’ minimum earnings to £7.20 per hour in April and to £9 by the end of the Parliament.

Employers paying workers a wage without the state having to top it up, and we are assisting businesses with this change by cutting corporation tax, first to 19 and then 18 per cent.

We are also increasing the Employment Allowance to £3,000 – this will allow a business to employ four people full time on the new Living Wage and pay no National Insurance.

We should thank Portsmouth businesses who are ultimately enabling us to take children out of poverty.

Not only are they are helping to build a stronger economy in which work is rewarded, but also a better society too.