Press release

Cameron's 'one nation' mission to improve life chances for all

The PM will set out his plan for extending opportunity in Britain, with stronger families, improved education and a welfare system that helps people into work.


In a key note speech, the Prime Minister will say there was a persistent failure by previous governments to deal with stalled social mobility and a lack of economic opportunity for many people.

Mr Cameron will say that dealing with this issue and improving people’s life chances will be central to his approach to the next 5 years in government and a key aim of his ‘one nation’ ideal.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, will say:

Today I want to make a bigger, and deeper, argument about how we realise the ‘one nation’ ideal and help everyone achieve their full potential. When it comes to extending opportunity – there is a right track and a wrong track.

The right track is to recognise the causes of stalled social mobility and a lack of economic opportunity. Family breakdown. Debt. Addiction. Poor schools. Lack of skills. Unemployment. People capable of work, written off to a lifetime on benefits.

Recognise those causes, and the solutions follow. Strong families that give children the best start in life. A great education system that helps everyone get on. A welfare system that encourages work – well paid work.

These are the drivers of opportunity – and we need to extend them. The wrong track though, is to ignore the causes, and simply treat the symptoms of the social and economic problems we face.

Take for example the complacency in how we approach the crucial issue of low pay. There is what I would call a merry-go-round. People working on the minimum wage having that money taxed by the government and then the government giving them that money back – and more - in welfare.

Again, it’s dealing with the symptoms of the problem - topping up low pay rather than extending the drivers of opportunity – helping to create well paid jobs in the first place.

So this is the change we need. We need to move from a low wage, high tax, high welfare society to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society.

I am proud that in the past 5 years, we have begun to turn the tide on the failed approach. We’ve put strengthening families, reforming education and transforming welfare at the heart of what we have been doing. But in the next 5 years we have to go so much further – and that begins by recognising something really fundamental.

So many of our country’s efforts to extend opportunity have been undermined by a tolerance of government failure. The failure to look after children in care. The tolerance of sink schools that have failed one generation after another. An acceptance of long-term unemployment among hard-to-reach individuals.

We have to end the complacency that has sometimes infected our national life, that says some problems are too big, and we can put up with second best. For me, when it comes to extending opportunity, the next five years will be about a complete intolerance of this government failure.

The Prime Minister will set out 3 key strands of work:

Stronger families

The government will continue to bring forward action to support parents with more childcare, flexible working and relationship support, alongside more action to speed up the adoption process and expand the Troubled Families programme to help 400,000 families over the next 5 years.

First-class education

There will be a zero tolerance of failing schools with legislative action and a new focus on ‘coasting schools’ – those regarded as requiring improvement – that will require standards to be turned round or the school to be turned into an academy.

Well-paid jobs

From October 2015, the value of the minimum wage will go up to £6.70. And the government will increase personal tax threshold to £12,500 over the next 5 years. As the economy recovers the government will go further, while continuing to take action on welfare to ensure work is always a better option to a life on benefits.

Published 22 June 2015