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Government should back 'long term social justice plan' following EU referendum

In recent weeks the Prime Minister has turned the political agenda to his programme for ‘social reform’ with a series of speeches tackling some of our biggest social problems. This is David Cameron the social reformer taking on the big social issues of our time.

As we move ever closer to an EU referendum the Prime Minister is clearly determined to ensure that questions over our relationship with Europe do not define his legacy.

After the EU referendum has come and gone, the Prime Minister will be left with a party in need of a common cause. The Conservative Party should back the Prime Minister to deliver a new ‘long term social justice plan’ and make ‘social reform’ the Government’s guiding narrative.

Whilst arguments for ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ will dominate our political debate over the next few months there is no reason why social justice should not define the next few years.

Johnny Mercer MP calls on Government to put social justice first following referendum campaign here

NEW REPORT: Centre for Social Justice calls on Government to introduce social lettings agencies in major new report

Earlier this week the Centre for Social Justice published a significant new piece of research on Housing Policy. In our report, ‘Home Improvements’, we make a series of recommendations to help the Government develop a coherent housing strategy for low-income households.

The CSJ is calling on the Government to develop a housing strategy that includes policies to help those on low incomes, alongside its wider policy agenda to encourage home ownership and housebuilding.

Housing is one of the most significant challenges faced by the Government. In the Autumn Statement last year, the Chancellor set out a £2.3 billion plan to build 200,000 ‘Starter Homes’. These will help more middle-income families onto the property ladder. However, by costing up to £250,000 (£450,000 in London), they will be well out of reach for low-income families.

Social Lettings Agencies:

Our report encourages the Government to make the private rented sector work better for low-income families. There are now two million low-income families renting privately, double a decade ago. Many suffer from instability, poor housing conditions, and substantial moving costs. A Government serious about social justice should also have an agenda for this group.

The strategy we set out in our new report 'Home Improvements', would fill that gap. It includes a plan to gradually redirect £1 billion of Government spending on Temporary Accommodation to a new generation of Social Lettings Agencies. This new breed of Social Lettings Agency would provide long-term security and support for vulnerable renters, while also increasing the number of landlords willing to rent to those on benefits.

To read 'Home Improvements' click here

The Sun covers 'Home Improvements' here

Tackling family breakdown starts with relationship education in schools

By Frank Young

Last week, Nicky Morgan closed the door on compulsory sex education in schools, an issue which provoked a significant amount of media comment. This is an issue which is unlikely to go away. However, in amongst the debate over ‘sex ed’ the importance of ‘relationship education’ is often forgotten.

According to the Relationships Foundation the cost of family breakdown has now reached £48 billion per year. Strong relationships really matter, even more so when money is tight. As the cost of family breakdown increases, the case for improving relationship education in schools gets stronger.

In promoting a ‘life chances’ agenda, the Government should turn its attention to helping school-aged children build strong and healthy relationships. We should decouple this important area from controversies around compulsory sex education and unite behind a renewed effort to promote high quality relationship education. If we are going to see the £48 billion fall we need to start by equipping young people with the emotional tools to build long term, lasting relationships in adult life.

David Burrowes MP presses Treasury to make Marriage Allowance “more generous and more targeted at couples with young children” in The Times here   

Relationship Statistics

Justine Greening calls for a movement for social mobility in keynote CSJ speech

By Harry Spooner

Earlier this week the Centre for Social Justice provided the backdrop for a speech by the International Development Secretary, Justine Greening on improving social mobility in the UK. The speech was hosted by 2ndChance in their Southwark based education and training centre.

In a highly personal speech the International Development Secretary echoed the Prime Minister’s recent call for the UK’s leading institutions to do more to promote social mobility. During the speech, Justine Greening praised the UK’s achievements in closing the gap in ‘absolute’ social mobility but claimed "where you relatively start over-whelmingly predicts where you relatively finish."

Justine Greening called on business leaders and voluntary organisations to come together and campaign for social mobility. 

Reflecting on her time as International Development Secretary, Justine Greening identified a number of lessons from her Department. These included looking to civic leaders to lead grassroots change and using data to identify "critical moments" for targeted intervention. 

In a major 'call to action' for the UK to become a ‘world leader’ in social mobility Justine Greening has laid claim to be one of the Cabinet’s leading social justice champions.

To read the Daily Telegraph coverage of the speech click here

To read the Daily Mail coverage of the speech click here

Paul Waugh covers the speech in his 'Waugh Room' column on the Huffington Post blog here

Tackling mental health can help Government 'halve disability gap'

By Saskia Greenhalgh

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced a series of measures to improve access to mental health treatment in his latest social reforming mission.  

David Cameron announced significant extra investment in programmes to help unemployed people with mental health problems find and (just as importantly) stay in work. In turning the spotlight to helping those with mental health conditions into work, the Prime Minister is taking the next big step in his Government’s mission to halve the disability employment gap. It is a notable statistic that almost half (43 per cent) of people who have a common mental health problem are unemployed.

However, alongside extra investment and the extension of treatment, we need to support employers to change work place cultures and attitudes towards mental health. The Prime Minister has shown a laudable commitment to providing the resources to help people into work. To take the next big step we need to see employers looking at their own practices and joining the Government in tackling this issue.