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Help to Work Scheme Launches


The Help to Work scheme – a new intensive support scheme to get the long-term unemployed into work – launched last week. A key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan is to deliver the highest levels of employment, making sure that everyone who can work is given the support and opportunity to do so.  The Help to Work Scheme will give Job Centre staff a new range of options to support the hardest to help people and provide more support […]

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UK-Pakistan relations: an update


Recently, I met representatives from the Department of International Development (DfID) to discuss the UK’s assistance to help foster Pakistan’s social and economic progress. I was informed that the UK is committed to helping Pakistan harness the skills, talent and productivity of all its population in order to end aid dependency through jobs and growth. Secretary of State Justine Greening made her second visit to Pakistan at the beginning of July. She reinforced the UK’s strong partnership with Pakistan, encouraged […]

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Book review: On God’s Side, Jim Wallis


I enjoyed meeting Jim Wallis in Parliament through The Bible Society. He’s undoubtedly a great orator with a huge heart for service to other people in fulfilment of the Christian faith we share. I mostly delighted in his book, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good. The book’s key inspiration is a saying of Abraham Lincoln, My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be […]

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Documentary on my time in rehab: Drink, Drugs and Democracy


I recently took the Centre for Social Justice Inner City Challenge, spending three days in drug and alcohol rehabilitation with ex-offenders at Acorn Treatment. My article on the experience is here: My placement with Acorn was emotionally exhausting. To share a few days full-time with people who have experienced life’s very worst aspects would be a challenge. To layer on top the drama of active rehabilitation was searing. There must be justice but, after that, mercy, forgiveness and transformation. That is what Acorn […]

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A remarkable visit to Acorn Treatment


Yesterday, I completed a remarkable visit to Acorn Treatment. I saw some serial offenders confronting their own lives and the consequences of their actions, often criminal, on others. I also heard some of the atrocious things which they had suffered at the hands of others, including their own families. I saw remorse, acceptance, struggle and transformation. There was real joy shining forth from those who have escaped cycles of addiction and crime and who are now looking forward to healthy […]

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