"I shall focus on those people who are the hardest to reach and whose problems are the hardest to solve. Much of the Government's work so far has been to top-slice at children in poverty, lifting those just below the poverty line to just above it. However, my constituency includes the most deprived ward in south-west England, and those of us who represent areas with significant deprivation know that there are families who sometimes seem beyond help and that mere cash injections will not solve their huge, intractable problems.
"I speak to head teachers in my constituency who are in absolute despair at the dysfunctional and chaotic lives of some parents who bring children to their schools. I am not saying that those parents do not care about their children—they do—but sometimes they do not know how to care for them, or they have so much to contend with in their daily lives that they cannot give their children the care, attention and love that they need to thrive. I am talking about parents who are drug users, and who might be involved in violent or abusive relationships, or might be engaged in drug dealing, crime or prostitution. About 300 women are working on the streets of Bristol at any given time, and many of them are mothers. Of course, some of those mothers are little more than children themselves."