08/03/2017 Prime Minister's Questions


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08/03/2017

Coverage of questions in the House of Commons to prime minister Theresa May, from Wednesday 8 March.


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an international women's day that there is no other nation across the

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European Union that has lower unemployment for women and that

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nation is Wales. I hope he will recognise that. Questions to the

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Prime Minister. I am sure members across the whole House will wish to

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join me in marking International women's Day. As we celebrate the

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social and economic and cultural and political achievements of women here

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and around the world. But we also redouble our efforts to tackle the

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problem is that women all too often still face. Mr Speaker I had

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meetings with ministerial colleagues this morning with others and in

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addition I will have further meetings today. I join the Prime

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Minister in celebrating International women's Day. Since

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2010 conservatives and Government have a proud record of protecting

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and supporting both those at risk and the victims of domestic violence

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and abuse. I saw this myself when I joined my local police and I would

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like to thank them for the difficult job that they do. Too many women I

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still at risk and are still suffering. What more can the Prime

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Minister do to tackle this abhorrent crime? She raises a very serious

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issue and it is one of which have taken a particular personal interest

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and I attach very great personal importance of this issue. Tackling

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domestic violence and abuse is a key priority for the Government. What we

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have done already in Government I think has the potential to transform

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the way in which we think and tackle these terrible crimes when take

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place. We have already committed to bringing forward the legislation and

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today I have confirmed an additional ?20 million to support organisations

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working to tackle domestic violence and abuse. This means the total

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funding available for violence against women and girls strategy

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will be over ?100 million as Parliament. Jeremy Corbyn. Thank you

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very much. Could I start by wishing all women are very happy

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International women's Day today. I'm very proud that the Labour Party as

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more women MPs than all other parties combined. In this House. And

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as Shadow Cabinet of which half the members are women. A month ago, Mr

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Speaker, I raised the question of the leaked text between the leader

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of Sunni council and Government officials about social care. --

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Surrey. The Prime Minister responded by accusing me of peddling

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alternative facts. Could she explain the difference between his

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sweetheart deals and a gentleman 's agreement? The Conservative Party

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has taken a further measure relation to women in this House very recently

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and replaced a male Labour MP with a female Conservative. CHEERING. He

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has asked me about the issue in relation to Surrey County Council.

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He asked if there has been a particular deal with Surrey County

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Council that is not available to other councils? The answer to that

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is no. As I have said before the ability to raise social care

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precepts of 3% is available to every council. The issue of the retention

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of 100% of business rates is currently going to be available to a

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number of councils in April. Let's look at them, Liverpool, Manchester,

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London. What we know about those? They are all under Labour control.

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What he is actually asking me is why should a Conservative council have

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access to an arrangement that is predominantly currently available to

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Labour councils? Jeremy Corbyn. My question was about the arrangements

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between the Government and Surrey County Council. I'm recording has

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now emerged saying that the leader of Sunni County Council, David

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Hodge, -- Surrey. There was a gentleman 's agreement between him

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and the Government that meant they would not have to go ahead with the

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referendum. What deal was done with Surrey County Council? There is an

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acute social crisis that affects every County Council. 4.6 billion

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metres social care -- cuts metres social care since 2010. Can she save

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what's gentleman 's agreement is available to them? I think if we

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could just be a little patient and wait half an hour for the budget. He

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will actually find out what social care funding is available to all

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councils. If he is asking me if there was a special deal for Surrey

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that was not available to other councils the answer is no. If he is

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looking to uncover a conspiracy I suggest he just looks behind him. Mr

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Speaker, if all the arrangements are so clear and above board, will the

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Prime Minister place in the library of the House a record of all 121

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meetings that have been held between the Communities Secretary and the

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Chancellor with any council leader chair of social services anywhere in

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England? And can she explained if there is no special deal why Surrey

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is the only County Council to be allowed into the business rates

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retention pilot when it has been denied to others? The business rates

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retention pilot will be coming into force for a number of councils this

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April. That includes, as I have already said in answer to his

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earlier question, Liverpool and Greater Manchester and Greater

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London and some others. In 2019 in 2020 it will be available to 100% of

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councils. For 2018 and 2019 councils unable to apply to be part of

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further pilot, all councils across the country. The text said there was

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a memorandum about the standing. The Prime Minister said there was no

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deal and she is now include about this. -- and clear. -- unclear. Did

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she actually know what arrangements were made with Surrey County

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Council? Could the Prime Minister tell us how many new school places

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will be needed by 2020? Can I just say to the right Honourable

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gentleman that really he should listen to the answers I gave before

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a asked the next question. He said I did not answer the question about a

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special deal for Sally. I think I have answered a treatise but I would

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do it aforetime. -- aforetime. -- Surrey. There was no special deal

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for Sally that was not available for other councils. -- Surrey. She was

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asked why the is a crisis in school places and class sizes soaring

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thanks to her Government. What is the answer on the number of new

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school places needed? This Government has a policy about

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increasing the number of school places. But doing more than that. I

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want to increase the number of good school places so that every child

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has the opportunity to go to a good school. That is what the money we

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put it into education is about. It includes money for a new free

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schools. Those will be faith schools and universities skills and

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comprehensives and grammar schools. Mass schools. There will be a

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diversity because what I want is a good school place for every child.

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And parents to have a choice. -- mathematics schools. What he wants

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his pain and stabilitys take what they are given, good or bad. 420,000

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school places are needed. Nothing she says gets anywhere near to that.

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She proposes the flagship scheme to build the Royal schools the wrong

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place spending millions on vanity projects of grammar schools and free

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schools while people funding is falling in real terms. Is it not

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time that this colossal waste of money is addressed if it is doing

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nothing to help the vast majority of children and nothing to solve the

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crisis of school places and soaring class sizes. That is what every

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parent in this country once, not vanity projects from her Government.

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It is no vanity project want every child to have a good school place.

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The majority of free schools that have been opened have been opened in

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areas where there is a need for school places and the majority have

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been opened in areas of disadvantage with their help in the very children

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we want to see given the opportunity to get on in life. This is about a

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fairer society and on this budget gave what we see is we are securing

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the economy and labour want to weaken it. We are working for a

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fairer society, Labour opposed every single reform. We are fighting for

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the best deal for Britain. Labour are fighting among themselves. That

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is Labour, weak, divided and unfit to govern this great country. This

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week it is likely that sadly for people will suffer a stroke and

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Erewash. Given that their highly successful stroke strategy finishes

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this year will she publish our stroke strategy which will include

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outcomes for patients? I want to assure her that the NHS does want to

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continue to build on successes of the current stroke strategy. There

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have been huge improvements over the last decades in stroke care and we

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want to deliver our vision for truly world leading care. On a particular

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treatment universe do I understand the NHS has approved the use of

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mechanical plot retrieval in specific cases. It does rigorously

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on the quality of stroke care across the country so we can come good on

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promises. Include some of the fastest recoveries for strokes and

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heart attacks in Europe. Angus Robertson. An international women's

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day we wish all campaigners for equality well. Across Parliamentary

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Brexit committee has recommended the UK guarantee status of EU nationals

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working in the UK and act unilaterally necessary. They went to

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see that the current process is not fit for purpose and in the absence

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of any contrary resolution to relieve things that he felt by the

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estimated 3 million EU citizens resident in the UK it is untenable

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to continue with the system as it stands. Given the massive positive

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contribution that Europeans nationals make to this country what

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concrete plans that the premise that have to deal with this? As the right

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honourable gentleman knows we do want to have an earlier agreement

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which will enable us to guarantee the status of EU citizens living in

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the UK but also we need to gun to the status of UK citizens living in

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the European Union. The Home Office is looking at this and how they can

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improve the systems and simplify them.

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Since 2010, the Home Office has seen its full-time staff equivalent cut

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by 10%, so at current rates of processing applications for

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permanent residency, it would take the Home Office more than 50 years,

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50 years to deal with frequent to European -- 3.2 million European

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nationals in the UK. This is clearly totally unacceptable. Will the Prime

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Minister tell us how quickly she hopes to be able to guarantee all

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European nationals permanent residency? The honourable gentleman

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can't just stand up and say, because actually the Home Office is getting

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more efficient, it's been longer for answers to... It's got more

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efficient at dealing with these things. I don't know if he has ever

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heard about technology, but these days people apply online and they

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are dealt with online. Following the recent findings of a study of terror

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convictions in Britain, it is clear there are serious problems with how

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communities integrate into society, and the danger that this lack of

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integration will lead to acts of terror. With the Prime Minister

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update the house on the government counterterrorism strategy and the to

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these findings? It is a very serious issue that my honourable friend has

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raised. The government is taking a comprehensive approach to tackling

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terrorism, violent extremism at source, but also through our

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counter-extremism strategy looking at extremism more widely, and we

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want to defeat not just terrorism and violent extremism at extremism

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where every two Kurds. We will shortly publish a new

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counterterrorism strategy. -- wherever it occurs. This is backed

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up by additional investment in security and intelligence agencies.

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I am clear that the government is doing everything it can to tackle

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issues around integration, extremism and terrorism. I come from a

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Westminster hall debate on the half of my young constituent, Sam, who is

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11, who developed narcolepsy as result of receiving the pandemics

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vaccine to protect him from swine flu. Sanders mother is in the

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gallery. In these rare and devastating cases, the link between

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this vaccine and narcolepsy is proven, and yet families like this

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face long legal battles with the government. Will the Prime Minister

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today promise that no more of these disabled children will be hounded

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through the courts, apologised to the families concerned and also to

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oversee payments to support the children's long-term care needs? ...

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Can I first of all congratulate the honourable lady on securing a

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Westminster hall debate on this important topic. At the end of her

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questions, she refers to the issue of payments. Of course she realises

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that the vaccine damages payment scheme is not a compensation scheme

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but a one-off tax-free lump sum paid to help ease the burden of those who

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are disabled as a result of vaccination, and it is part of a

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range of support. She has raised a very specific case. Can I suggest to

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her that obviously she has had that Westminster hall debate, we want to

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ensure that the process is open and fair at every stage. DWP looks at

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every claim based on its own facts and, if she wants to provide me with

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the details, I am sure the Minister for disabled people, health and work

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will look into this specific case. Question for, sir. While I won't

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speculate on the statement that my right honourable friend, the

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Chancellor, will be making shortly, I can assure my honourable friend at

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the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Since 2010, employment in

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the West Midlands has risen by 215000 and private sector employment

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alone grew by 80,000 over the last year. We have also seen schools and

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police budget is protected and more doctors and nurses in his local

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hospitals. And we have also witnessed the post Brexit vote of

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confidence from Nissan, Boeing and Dyson, investing in other parts of

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the country but put my right honourable friend speak a little bit

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more about firms like jaguar Land Rover in the West Midlands? I am

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happy to say to my honourable friend that, in a wider sense, our plans

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for the Midlands engine show that we want an economy that works for

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everyone. We have already confirmed over 330 million in the growth deal

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funding, money going to the Midlands engine investment fund, the

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Birmingham rail hub, but it is important to recognise the best and

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being made in UK by companies like Jaguar Land Rover, who will be

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building their new range Rover model in Solihull. That is good news for

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the West Midlands and the British economy, and a sign of confidence

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Jaguar Land Rover has in the UK for the future. My Blackpool casework is

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now full of the anxieties DWP and Home Office are imposing on

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vulnerable constituents, including officials' attempts to overturn

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tribunal decisions protecting benefits and residents. They include

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a family settled here for eight years and a man with a severe brain

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injury. Can I ask the Prime Minister, if she wants people to

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respect exit means Brexit, shouldn't she respect that tribunal 's mean

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tribunal 's and not try and block them with grubby regulations,

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affecting 164,000 disabled people? If the honourable gentleman is

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referring to the decision that has been taken in relation to the courts

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and the personal independence payments, as I explained in this

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house last week, as has been explained by the Secretary of State,

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this is about restoring the system to the state that it was intended to

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be when Parliament agreed it. It was agreed by the coalition government,

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agreed by this Parliament after extensive consultation. A National

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Apprenticeship Week, it's important to recognise this government's

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commitment to investment and commitment to apprenticeships and

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skills. Would the Prime Minister look at encouraging a great

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commitment to degree apprenticeships as part of the strategy, as

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championed by businesses in my constituency like BAE Systems, who

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have been at the forefront of developing new programmes to its

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engineering degree apprenticeship scheme? My honourable friend raises

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a very important issue. As we look to the future, we want to insure

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that people in the UK have the skills they need for the economy of

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the future. Degree apprenticeships will be an important part of this.

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As he refers to, there are companies like BAE Systems which had been at

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the forefront of developing those new programmes, and I am pleased to

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say that overall, we look at and ships, the additional levy will take

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the total investment in England, 2.45 billion, double what was spent

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in 2010. That means it is more opportunities for young people to

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gain the skills they need for their future. Tomorrow, a memorial will be

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unveiled to those men and women who served our country in Afghanistan

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and Iraq. Does the Prime Minister agree that we should all pay tribute

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to their service and commemorate their sacrifice, not just with a

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memorial but through a commitment, to learn from the past and do better

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in the future? The honourable gentleman raises a very important

:21:36.:21:41.

point. This will be a significant ceremony, when this memorial is

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unveiled, and I think we should all across this house paid tribute to

:21:45.:21:51.

those whom that memorial will be recognising for the sacrifice they

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made. Those in our Armed Forces but also all those civilians who also

:21:56.:21:58.

worked to deliver aid and health care and education. It is important

:21:59.:22:03.

that we recognise the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, and also

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by their families, and that is, it will be a significant moment

:22:09.:22:11.

tomorrow. We are very clear that we do need to learn the lessons from

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the past, and that is exactly what we will do. I was delighted with the

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Prime Minister's intervention in mental health in January, which I

:22:23.:22:25.

still feel is not had the attention it deserves. In Plymouth, we are

:22:26.:22:30.

completely reconfiguring our mental health services, because we

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understand that parity of esteem means nothing without parity of

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provision. Will the premise that come and visit us in Plymouth, come

:22:37.:22:41.

and see the pioneering work we are doing, perhaps in National Mental

:22:42.:22:45.

Health Week in May where I'm hoping Plymouth will take a national lead?

:22:46.:22:51.

I know this is an issue that my honourable friend has championed and

:22:52.:22:55.

it is close to his areas of concern. It's important, as he talks about

:22:56.:22:59.

parity of esteem, which the government has introduced, and more

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money is going into mental health provision than ever before, and I

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would be delighted to see work being done in Plymouth, provided my dowry

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-- my diary allows. In my constituency of Burnley, primary and

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secondary schools are severely underfunded. Maintained nursery

:23:17.:23:23.

schools are struggling to survive. Why at this time, when we cannot

:23:24.:23:27.

adequately fund the schools we already have, is the Prime Minister

:23:28.:23:30.

is digesting spending millions of pounds creating new grammar schools

:23:31.:23:35.

that will only help a minority of children? This is as unfair as the

:23:36.:23:40.

new funding formula and it will do nothing to help social mobility.

:23:41.:23:46.

Let's be clear about what the government has done, there are

:23:47.:23:49.

record amounts of funding going into education in this country. It was a

:23:50.:23:55.

Conservative led government that introduced a pupil premium. It is a

:23:56.:23:59.

Conservative led government that has protected because schools budget.

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When it comes to new money that will be going into schools as a result of

:24:03.:24:07.

today's announcements, that money is not about a return to a binary

:24:08.:24:10.

system of grammar schools and secondary moderns. That isn't what

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we are going to do. We are ensuring that there is a diversity of

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provision, so, yes, some grammar schools, but comprehensives, faith

:24:23.:24:24.

schools, universities calls, maths schools. I want a good school place

:24:25.:24:29.

for every child, and more than that, the right school place for every

:24:30.:24:35.

child. On this International Women's Day, it is fantastic that we have

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the highest female employment rate on record, the highest percentage of

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women on FTSE 100 boards on record, the gender pay gap is at the lowest

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on record, and we have an amazing female Prime Minister.

:24:53.:25:05.

CHEERING AND JEERING. However, Mr Speaker, I am sure the

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Prime Minister will agree there is still much more to do, in particular

:25:10.:25:14.

supporting women back to work after a career break. Can my right

:25:15.:25:18.

honourable friend outline what government is going to do to level

:25:19.:25:25.

the playing field? I thank my honourable friend for her question.

:25:26.:25:29.

When I stood on the steps of Downing Street last July and I talked about

:25:30.:25:32.

a country which works for everyone, I meant that, and that is why we are

:25:33.:25:36.

taking a number of measures, including an International Women's

:25:37.:25:44.

Day today, and we will be setting up a new fund to help mothers returning

:25:45.:25:49.

to work after a long career break. Return ships are important. They are

:25:50.:25:52.

open to both men and women, but we should all recognise that the

:25:53.:25:55.

majority of those who take time out of a career are women who are

:25:56.:26:00.

devoting themselves to motherhood for a period. Often, getting back

:26:01.:26:02.

into employment is difficult for them, they find it closed. That is

:26:03.:26:07.

why it makes economic sense, but it is also right and fair for these

:26:08.:26:11.

women that we provide for these return ships to enable them to get

:26:12.:26:17.

back the workplace. Everyone agrees that early years education is

:26:18.:26:20.

crucial for the welfare and future of our children fostered however,

:26:21.:26:24.

nurses in my constituency tell me that the funding for 30 hours of

:26:25.:26:29.

free childcare is not sufficient and not enough, and many of them will be

:26:30.:26:34.

forced to close. What steps will Prime Minister take to ensure that

:26:35.:26:41.

those nurses -- those nurseries do not close? The honourable lady talks

:26:42.:26:43.

about the 30 hours which is being introduced. We have introduced 15

:26:44.:26:51.

hours of free childcare every week for all four-year-olds already. 15

:26:52.:26:56.

hours for disadvantaged two-year-olds, and help with up to

:26:57.:26:59.

70% of childcare costs or people on low incomes. We will spend a record

:27:00.:27:06.

?6 billion on childcare support by the end of this Parliament. It is

:27:07.:27:10.

this Conservative government, it is Conservatives in government that

:27:11.:27:13.

have the record of supporting parents in relation to childcare

:27:14.:27:18.

needs. Does my right honourable friend agree that it is indefensible

:27:19.:27:24.

for the Labour police and crime commission in West Yorkshire to be

:27:25.:27:29.

raising the council tax precept when he has ?120 million in reserves and

:27:30.:27:33.

overspent this year -- understood this year's budget by ?4 million?

:27:34.:27:39.

The decision about what to do with the police precept on council tax is

:27:40.:27:45.

a matter for the directly elected police and crime commission in West

:27:46.:27:48.

Yorkshire, as it is in every area that has one, but I would always

:27:49.:27:52.

encourage those commissioners to look at ways of introducing

:27:53.:27:56.

efficiencies into their forces before looking to introduce local

:27:57.:28:00.

taxes. I think what we have seen over the last six years is that

:28:01.:28:04.

police forces can find sensible savings and reduce crime at the same

:28:05.:28:11.

time. Mr Speaker, you will know that the Royal College of Physicians have

:28:12.:28:18.

found that 40,000 people die prematurely each year from diesel

:28:19.:28:22.

pollution, at a cost of ?20 billion to the UK economy, and YouGov have

:28:23.:28:31.

found that 47% of diesel drivers are willing to switch given the right

:28:32.:28:35.

tax incentive. Will she commits to a fiscal strategy and a new clean air

:28:36.:28:40.

act to put us on a new, cleaner, healthier trajectory, taking global

:28:41.:28:44.

leadership, rather than being dragged into the courts over basic

:28:45.:28:52.

EU air quality standards? As the honourable gentleman will know, we

:28:53.:28:55.

are looking at the measures we need to introduce to improve air quality.

:28:56.:28:58.

There have been imprudent in recent years, but we need to go further,

:28:59.:29:02.

and that is what the government is looking out across the apartment,

:29:03.:29:06.

together with the department for food and rural affairs, and they pay

:29:07.:29:12.

most attention to that, because it is their remit. We will bring

:29:13.:29:16.

forward proposals on air quality in due course.

:29:17.:29:23.

International Women's Day is a chance to reflect on how governments

:29:24.:29:27.

and democracies across the world serve women. Will my honourable

:29:28.:29:34.

friend confirm that when it comes to female primer ministers, it is 2-0

:29:35.:29:46.

to the Conservatives? -- prime. I am grateful to my honourable friend for

:29:47.:29:52.

having pointed that out, which I refrain from doing earlier in

:29:53.:29:56.

response to questions, but I think it is very telling that the Labour

:29:57.:30:00.

Party spent a lot of time speaking about rights for women, giving

:30:01.:30:05.

support to women, getting women on, whereas the Conservative Party is

:30:06.:30:09.

the party in this House that has provided two female prime ministers.

:30:10.:30:20.

Will the Prime Minister gave an undertaking that any new Scotland

:30:21.:30:25.

Act will only be drafted after full consultation with the people of

:30:26.:30:28.

Scotland and with the consent of the Scottish Parliament? I will just say

:30:29.:30:36.

to the honourable lady, I am not sure whether she is referring to

:30:37.:30:39.

discussions currently taking place about the powers that might be

:30:40.:30:42.

available to devolved administrations once we have left

:30:43.:30:46.

the EU but she knows full well we undertake full discussions with the

:30:47.:30:50.

Scottish Government on measures which are reserved matters and on

:30:51.:30:54.

measures where we are negotiating on behalf of the whole United Kingdom.

:30:55.:31:00.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. A business in my constituency operates out of a

:31:01.:31:06.

small market town and also has offices in Seattle and Sydney. It

:31:07.:31:10.

employs 24 people providing high-quality IT jobs, with high-tech

:31:11.:31:20.

fast rural broadband and telephone communication. This is the answer,

:31:21.:31:25.

the recipe, for growing our rural economy. Will my right honourable

:31:26.:31:29.

friend undertake to Government does all it can to fill the blank spots

:31:30.:31:35.

in our rural areas? I can assure my honourable friend we very much want

:31:36.:31:41.

to ensure we are doing that. My right honourable friend Secretary of

:31:42.:31:43.

State for Defence culture, media and sport is looking at our digital

:31:44.:31:46.

strategy and ensuring broadband is available in rural areas and indeed

:31:47.:31:49.

at good speeds in other areas that might be less rural than my

:31:50.:32:02.

honourable friend's constituency. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I do not know

:32:03.:32:11.

whether members are cheering, because it is Friday or because of

:32:12.:32:15.

the popularity of the right Honourable gentleman. Mr Tim

:32:16.:32:25.

Farron... You are too tight. International Women's Day we stand

:32:26.:32:28.

with women and girls across the world and not we should not take for

:32:29.:32:33.

granted the progress made. Yesterday we had hundreds of families of

:32:34.:32:37.

soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan have been denied seats

:32:38.:32:41.

at tomorrow's unveiling of the memorial to our fallen trips.

:32:42.:32:47.

Inviting a relative of each of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan would

:32:48.:32:50.

have taken up fewer than a third of the 2000 seats at that event. Would

:32:51.:32:53.

she now apologise to those families for what I should is a careless

:32:54.:32:59.

oversight and rectify that mistake immediately so that bereaved

:33:00.:33:02.

families can come to pay respects to their fall loved ones? Well, can I

:33:03.:33:08.

reassure the honourable gentleman that charities and groups

:33:09.:33:10.

representing the bereaved were asked to put forward names of attendees

:33:11.:33:14.

and we look forward to welcoming them so we can publicly acknowledge

:33:15.:33:17.

the sacrifice their loved ones made on our behalf. Over half of those

:33:18.:33:22.

attending tomorrow are current or former members of the Armed Forces.

:33:23.:33:26.

No one from the bereaved community has been turned away and everyone

:33:27.:33:28.

who has a plight has been successful but I am reassured that, and I

:33:29.:33:33.

reassure, if any bereaved families wish to attend the Ministry of

:33:34.:33:36.

Defence will make every effort to make sure they can do so. Order.

:33:37.:33:51.

Before I call the Chancellor of the Exchequer I remind all members that

:33:52.:33:58.

copies of the budget resolutions will be available in the office at

:33:59.:34:03.

the end of the Chancellor's speech. I also remind honourable members it

:34:04.:34:09.

is not the norm to intervene on the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the

:34:10.:34:18.

Leader of the Opposition. I know call the Chancellor of the

:34:19.:34:23.

Exchequer, the Right Honourable Philip Hammond. Thank

:34:24.:34:25.