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Exclusive: Leading EU referendum campaigners tell the Centre for Social Justice why low income Britain should vote Leave or Remain next week

By Frank Young

In a week’s time we will know whether Britain will leave or remain. The course of British politics will be set, possibly for a generation.

Following our successful referendum debate last week, we asked our four speakers to present their arguments for Leave or Remain to low income Britain. These exclusive and compelling opinion pieces put forward their case on the issues that matter to voters in our poorest towns.

Former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP and Minister of State for Energy, Andrea Leadsom MP make the case for Leave.

Former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Owen Smith MP make the case for Remain.

Leave and Remain have yet to make a compelling case to the all-important undecided voters.

As we approach the final weekend of a highly fractious referendum campaign, campaign chiefs on each side of a bitter divide will be looking to make their case to an increasingly small group of undecided voters who could well swing the referendum result.

This week politicians from Boris Johnson to Gordon Brown have been out on the stump making their case directly to Britain’s low income families, and what the referendum means to them.

According to YouGov’s latest poll on EU referendum voting intentions, more than 2.3 million voters in the bottom three socio-economic groups are yet to make up their minds.

The Centre for Social Justice is neutral on Leave or Remain but we're not neutral on poverty.

When it comes to the big decisions, the case needs to be made to low income Britain – what impact will it have on them?

It is now or never for Leave and Remains’ leading campaigners to make their case to low income Britain.

The current disability employment gap is costing the UK economy

By James Scales

New Work and Pensions Secretary, Stephen Crabb recently announced his Department would be launching  a Green Paper on Government plans to tackle the ‘disability employment gap’.

While some progress has been made towards the Government’s goal of bridging employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people, the gap remains stubbornly high at around 33%. Closing this gap remains a top priority for a Government committed to making work pay.

Excluding disabled workers is coming at a huge cost to the UK economy.

Recent figures suggest that our economy could grow by an eye watering £13 billion if the Government was successful in its efforts to close this gap. There is willingness amongst disabled people to work. Unfortunately, opportunities to take up work don’t yet match these aspirations.

Almost 1 in 5 British people have a self-reported disability. Disabilities are strongly linked with older age, and with our ageing population, the number of people with disabilities is expected to rise. It's imperative that we quickly and successfully address the employment gap.

This week the Centre for Social Justice launched a major project on halving the disability employment gap.

We will be making recommendations to Government in light of their inquiry into halving the disability employment gap.

To mark the start of its research, the CSJ held a roundtable attended by some of the UK’s leading voices on disability issues.  Attendees presented their thoughts on the obstacles facing disabled people. There was general consensus on the need to focus on providing practical and effective support to both employees and potential employers.

Chloe Smith MP was one of a number of participants who stressed the importance of local initiatives.

Chloe Smith cited a series of successful grassroots initiatives in her own Norwich North constituency, including work experience opportunities, mock interviews, mentoring and mental health workshops.

Throughout this project the CSJ will be calling on more to be done at both a policy and grassroots level to ensure people with disabilities are fully supported into work.

London calling: the case for a more affordable private rented sector is made by MPs

By Hannah Gousy

Londoners face seemingly insurmountable challenges as they try to buy their first home or get access to social housing and private rented homes.

In the hope of providing solutions to this growing problem, Ruth Cadbury MP led a Westminster Hall Debate this week on affordable housing in London. While this is a challenge across the UK, these problems are arguably felt most acutely in London where the ending of a private tenancy accounts for 39% of people who become homeless – far higher than the rest of the country.

Minister for Housing and Planning supports many Centre for Social Justice recommendations.

Last week the Minister for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis spoke at a CSJ event where he endorsed many of the recommendations in our recent report, Home Improvements: A Social Justice Approach to Housing Policy.

There were strong calls in the Westminster Hall Debate for the new London Mayor to develop innovative solutions to tackle this problem.

Our report does exactly this. We demonstrate how a Social Lettings Agency, which helps reduce the cost of accessing privately rented homes and supports landlords to let to tenants on Housing Benefit, could be delivered in a London setting.

CSJ has offered to help London Mayor.

The Centre for Social Justice has recently written an open letter to the new Mayor of London with an offer to help him develop a London wide Social Lettings Agency, something he came close to backing in the race to be London Mayor, by committing to a ‘not for profit’ lettings agency for low income Londoners. We are standing by to help the Mayor deliver his ambition.

We have called on the Government to use the extra £40 million set aside for local authorities in funding for Temporary Accommodation to set up a Capital Fund to aid the expansion of Social Lettings Agencies. The solutions set out in our report would improve conditions and affordability in the sector and provide much needed secure and suitable homes for tenants.

CSJ report: Home Improvements: A Social Justice Approach to Housing Policy