Worklessness and lack of access to employment is unquestionably a key factor of child poverty.
Where one or more parents are out of work as a result of illness or unemployment, households are considerably more likely to be in poverty.
Ensuring that there are decent, secure jobs for Barnsley residents is vital – as is ensuring that local people have the skills needed to do these jobs. This means the local Barnsley economy must be attractive to businesses and investment.
The town must not just be a good place to live but a good place to do business in too. Businesses must be encouraged to invest in training and apprenticeships. And local people must be trained in the skills that employers need.
Welfare must work in a way which means it pays to get a job. It should act as a safety net for those in need, but provide incentives for people to get off benefits and into decent jobs.
Jobs: what can be done?
I put forward a Private Members’ Bill to increase the national minimum wage and will continue to support such measures.
I continue to work with the council to market Barnsley as a good place to do business, and am in regular contact with local businesses to find out how they can be supported and what could be improved about the town.
I have also supported Barnsley College in their important work with local employers to establish more apprenticeships.