17/05/2012 Business Questions


Live coverage of the announcement of Commons business for the week ahead and questions to leader of the Commons Sir George Young.

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My honourable friend has put his finger on the Mail about the


problems of programmes that have gone on before. They didn't offer


real choice and were not open to real competition. The Green deal


will change all of that. It will bring it real opportunities for


local players to come to this market. The Secretary of State will


know that for energy security and diversity, we have got to invest


now in big infrastructure projects, and he knows of that name deism, so


rampant in questions in this chamber, is a great barrier to


planning permission. What will he do about planning permission to


achieve these objectives? honourable gentleman will know that


this has passed a planning statement relevant to this issue.


We have brought forward the National Framework. We need to make


sure that the local democratic voices heard, but we do need to


source investment that we all support. So there is a balance, but


we are determined to see the investment this country needs.


now come to business questions. Could the Leader of the House


please give us the business for next week. The business the next


week will be: Monday made 21st, remaining stages of the Finance


Bill. Tuesday May 22nd: Financial services bill followed by a third


reading of the Civil Aviation Bill. Wednesday made 23rd, second reading


of the electoral registration and administration bill. Followed by a


European document relating to the proceeds of crime. Thursday 24th


May, motion on the Whitsun recess adjourned. Thank you, Mr Deputy


Speaker. Can I thank the Leader of the House for his statement and


financing business. We can also congratulate our noble friend the


Member for North East Derbyshire on her re-election. Last week's


Queen's speech demonstrated this government has already run out of


ideas. Only 19 announced bills, and have them, three are career overs


from last session. Now as many as five of the new bills may have


their passage delayed until the next session, making this the


slimmest Queen's Speech in living memory. Can the Leader of the House


tell us why? Today is the International Day against


homophobia and Trans phobia. It is right that we market in this House.


There are five countries where you can still be sentenced to death for


being a lesbian or gay, and 76 where it is still illegal. We


should pray tribute to all those who are bravely campaigning for


equality around the world -- paid tribute. Can we have a statement on


the Government's proposal for equal marriage. The Education Minister


said he was totally opposed. But across the country there are


couples who want to know whether do have a civil partnership or wait


until the law is changed. What they don't want is to be in limbo while


Conservative MPs fight among themselves and the Government


prevaricates. The Prime Minister has said it is an important matter


of equality, and I agree. Will the Government now commit to quickly


bringing forward legislation on equal marriage? The whole House


will be concerned about the eurozone crisis. On Monday, the


Chancellor said to be open speculation from some members in


the eurozone about the future of some countries in the eurozone is


doing real damage across the whole European economy. Only for the


Prime Minister to indulge in precisely the same speculation two


days later. We have been pushed back into recession. This method


has failed in Britain and it is failing across Europe. The Prime


Minister should be pushing for a solution to the eurozone crisis. Mr


Speaker, Deputy Speaker, at the election, members opposite promised


not to cut a frontline services, but that is exactly what the Home


Secretary has done. More than 5,000 police officer jobs have been cut.


When she spoke to the Police Federation conference yesterday,


she insisted they shift the podium because she didn't want to be


filmed in front of or conference slogan opposing police cuts. Mr


Speaker, you can shift the podium and the camera angle, but you can't


shift the responsibility. So could the Leader of the House explained -


- arranged the the Home Secretary to make a statement on police


numbers so she can explain to the House what has happened to their


manifesto promise not to cut frontline staff. And while she is


at it, she could also explain the ongoing immigration shambles at


Heathrow. Every week we have reports of thousands of people


stuck at immigration, passengers queuing for hours while immigration


desks are closed. It takes something when even Joan Collins


feels the need to tweet from the queue saying that the Home


Secretary should get a grip. The immigration Minister's


justification for the shambles was it was the wrong type of wind. Mr


Deputy Speaker, what is it about this Government and the weather?


First they blame the performance of the economy on the snow. Then they


say it was the wrong type of rain. Now we have the wrong type of wind.


Mr Speaker, could we have a statement on the ministerial code?


Does the Minister it -- does the House in tend to amend it so that


they can say that Ministers are responsible unless it can be blamed


on the weather? Neither the Secretary of State nor his deputy


were President -- present at questions this week. They should at


least turn up for departmental questions and not leave it to


junior Ministers and whips to do their work for them. Could the


Leader of the House undertake to make sure senior Ministers are


present for all questions in future? Mr Deputy Speaker, justice


Ministers and dodge their responsibilities to this House. The


Home Secretary refuses to take responsibility for her police cuts.


The Immigration Minister refuses to take responsibility for the


shambles at Heathrow, and the Chancellor refuses to take


responsibility for a double-dip recession made in Downing Street.


What a way to start the new Parliamentary session. Can I begin


in a conciliatory way and congratulate the honourable lady on


her promotion to the chair of a party's and national policy forum.


We hope she can do this without becoming a part-time Shadow Leader.


I know she will bear in mind what her leader said and generate 10th:


In these times, with less money, spending more on one thing means


finding the money from somewhere else, something her colleagues seem


to have forgotten. Her previous job as shadow chief secretary, she will


want to bring some financial discipline to her party Bosman


policies if they are to have any credibility with the electorate.


Turning to the Queen's Speech, she asserted that we didn't have enough


bills in the Queen's Speech. If she looks at the earlier Queen's


speeches, she will find that the number of Bills introduced in this


session is not dissimilar from those in the 2005, six and seven


sessions. And if she looks at the Bill's we are carrying over, she


will find there are three Bills carried over from the last session.


What we are going to do is what the last government did which is to


bring too much legislation to the House of Commons so that they


weren't able to process it properly -- what we are not going to do. We


are not going to make that mistake. She mentioned that today was a day


to celebrate equality. If Mr Speaker had been in the chair, I


would have commended the article which he wrote in today's copy of


the Independent. Today is International they against


homophobia and Trans phobia. The Government is strongly committed to


making sure that all groups are free from discrimination. The ban


has been lifted a missable partnership taking place a


religious premises. We are continuing to remove barriers to


tackle prejudice, and we are continuing to consult on the


quality of marriage. -- Equality. On policing, can I just remind her


that before the last election, the then Home Secretary was asked


whether he could guarantee police numbers. He said no. The department


has also endorsed cuts of 3.1 billion to the police budget. The


effectiveness of policing cannot be measured by the number of officers


a loner by reductions in crime and increases in public confidence. It


is an inconvenient truth for the honourable lady that while she may


suggest that crime is going up, official figures show that police


recorded crime showed -- fell by 3%. Turning to immigration, we


inherited a shambles at the UK Border Agency which we are in the


process of putting right, and she will welcome the announcement by


the immigration Minister before the Home Affairs Select Committee that


an additional mobile unit is being put in at Heathrow to cope with the


delays that she has referred to. I am astonished that she mentioned


the absence of the Lord Chancellor at all the questions. She will know


that occasionally Ministers have responsibilities other than at the


House. As a former Minister, she will be familiar with that. In line


with President, he wrote to say that he would be at an


international legal forum in Russia. I'm sure that he would have


preferred to be here, because he enjoys his time at the despatch box.


Can I commend my a horrible Friend the Member for North West


Cambridgeshire, who not -- my Al- Finally, can I just say to the


honourable lady that it is a fortnight since the Labour Party


candidate was defeated in the election for mayor of London. It is


less than two months since her party lost Bradford West. So any


triumphalism on the part of the honourable lady is very premature.


A new report by previous president of the British Veterinary


Association says that more than 25% of meat sold in our shops is coming


from animals that have not been Prix stunned before slaughter. This


figure exceeds easily the needs of some of our communities that have


special religious requirements. It suggests that some abattoirs are


cutting corners and costs. Could we please have a statement from Defra


on what measures are in place to protect animals, and what measures


are in place to make sure they are enforced? That is a sensitive issue.


Obviously are ideally, all animals should be stunned before slaughter,


but people have a preference to have their meat presented in a


different way. But I can tell her that we are going to consult on


measures to improve the welfare of animals slaughtered in accordance


with a religious rights when we consult on measures to implement


regulation which comes into effect on 1st January next year. That


specifically deal for the Protection of animals at the time


of killing, so there will be an opportunity for her to influence


the decision-making process later this year. We are all on your side!


I would like to thank the leader... Both sides are getting irritated,


Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I think the Leader of the House for


the announcement of the Prix recess journalist debate next Thursday.


Had the backbench business committee been in existence, I am


sure we would have looked at scheduling a pre- recess debate. I


would like to pay a brief tribute to the outgoing members of the


backbench business committee, the members for Kettering, Shipley and


especially Wellingborough. Without them, the committee would not be


what it is today, and I am sad to see them leave. I welcome the


Member for a Nuneaton, Harrow East, and the Member for Southend West


who is himself the greatest champion in that house of the Prix


recess adjournment debate. There would also just like to say that by


the end of the session, I hope that given that the committee is still


entirely English in composition, that we can look at having


membership from the minority parties in order that we can become


a UK backbench business committee rather than just be entirely


Can I repeat what I said last night in congratulating the Honourable


lady on her re-election. I am grateful for her to endorse the


decision about this debate next Thursday, which my Honourable


Friend will responsive. She paid tribute to the outgoing members. I


am not sure if it would enhance her reputation a fine dust that,


because the whole point of the backbench committee is to choose


subjects that the Government would not normally have chosen. They did


that up until the last regime. I look forward to working with there


and the newly elected colleagues over the next -- over the course of


this session. Also, to take forward some of the ideas that we have


shared in how we can get some certainty in the conventional


debates. As far as Scottish members are concerned, her party has better


place than my party Tippett members from Scotland on of the backbench


business committees. But we have changed the standing orders to


enable other members to attend. I hope that is a mood in the right


direction. In a written parliamentary answer


on eighth March from the independent parliamentary stands


authority, I was told that under our publications game, we pro


actively publish the minutes of meetings of it so's board. 30


minutes ago, the transparency minutes of board meetings revealed


that the last recorded public accessible minutes were on 30th


January. Knowing how keen it Sir is on every I being dotted and every


tee being crossed, and either they have not met for three months or


are there not honouring what they should do. Bearing in mind there is


a public consultation going on at the moment as to what the public


feel the will of an MP is, should we not have a debate?


My Honourable Friend is a member of skips there and he will know that


on Tuesday, there is a meeting between the two companies. I'm


sorry about all these initials! He will have an opportunity on Tuesday


morning to put to the chairman of the question that he has just put


to me. The chairman will have advance notice of what is coming


and he will have in his breast pocket the answer to the question,


with specific details as to when his board last met.


Whatever happened to the Tory announcement of the school building


programme? Several months ago, the State Secretary for Education in


answer to me said that the state and would be made -- a statement


would be made. Several months have passed and nothing has happened. Is


this programme in the long grass with the quality programme, care of


the elderly, building houses, the green deal and all the rest of it?


We intend to announce which schools will be rebuilt through the


priority school building programme by us month. It has been necessary


to make specific sex on the building conditions of all schools


that have applied, making site visits and we want to get it right.


-- specific checks. The schools rebuild through this programme will


open as Scheduled and 2014. Is the leader of the house aware


that the 44th meeting of the British-Irish Parliamentary


Association took place in Dublin for two days this week, attended by


many Honourable Members from this house and another place, and indeed


from the Irish Parliament, including their leader? The Dail is


discussing that meeting to discuss trade, environment, transport,


Northern Ireland and environmental policies. We did not be helpful to


this house and to another place if time were made available for us to


report on the proceedings of the British-Irish Parliamentary


Association? I have lots of work my Honourable


Friend does as chair of the Northern Ireland Select Committee.


He is also involved in the grip he has just mentioned. I don't know


whether there is a brick through the Northern Ireland Select


Committee and doing a report on these issues which could then find


a or whether he could apply to the newly-established backbench


business committee, or whether next Thursday, when we have the Prix


recess adjournment debate, he would find it possible to speak on this


subject and get a response from my Honourable Friend, the deputy


leader. Answer the leader of the house


would agree that it is important to keep good communications between


members and their constituents. The last three days, the telephone has


been out of action and my office. I don't know if anybody else has had


the exasperation of trying to contact British Telecom recently. I


spent 45 minutes on the telephone yesterday trying to get hold of


somebody I could stop to about the problems. My Office spent three


days trying to get hold of a person to correct the fault. British


Telecom was privatised by this Government in 1984. It made a


profit last year of �2.4 billion. Surely, somebody can look at this


problem, given the difficulties it is probably -- causing both members


and their constituencies I am sorry to hear about your problems.


I have always find clover Fife, who works for BT, enormously helpful in


solving constituency problems. I will bring to her the difficulties


that you face in your constituency office and see if they can be put


right. The wants to get everyone in.


Speedy questions and shorter answers may be a quick way of doing


I am sure I am not alone in having to deal with the significant amount


of constituent casework concerning the family court system and a


feeling that my constituents find when they are dealing with such


service. Could the leader find time for an urgent debate on this topic


to reassure my constituents that all that can be done has been done


to reform the system? We will be introducing a family and


children's Bill which will be introduced -- addressing some of


these issues. It will take six months for care cases to be


completed and focus on issues which are essential to decide whether a


court order is made. I would be testing the patience of a read out


the other issues in the bill. But this is a priority for this


Government and it is in the Queen's Speech.


Can we have a debate about military procurement in Government? In


particular, about how resourced -- bust the tendering processes and


out due diligence is progressed. This has been prompted by the


experience of the company in my constituency who made military


comments. They tend to be significantly lower contract price


than a Spanish company. The Spanish company won a contract. They then


offered to sub-contract the entire business to the company in my


constituency at that significantly lower price.


I take it this was a contract with which the Ministry of Defence was


the prime purchaser. I will certainly raise this issue with the


Secretary of State and see if there has been any irregularity had asked


him to write to the Honourable Member.


Can we have a debate on trade? In 30 years under the previous


Government, the automotive sector was in a trade deficit. In just two


years, it has become a trade surplus. With the very good news


today of Vauxhall Motors further investment in UK manufacturing, it


is important for this house to have a debate and understand how we are


rebalancing the economy. I'm grateful to my honourable


friend and I notice the Honourable lady did not mention the good news


at Ellesmere Port tough, securing 2,100 jobs and paving the way for


another 700 as they move from two sister three. My Honourable Friend


makes a good point in that it emphasises in at how we are being


successful in rebalancing the economy away from over-reliance on


financial services back on to manufacturing. He makes the point


that a number of other major motor manufacturers are investing in this


country, but also, some of the up and component suppliers are also


moving back to the UK so be get the benefit of the whole supply chain.


I am sure the leader of the house will want to listen to the


catalogue of disasters that have affected my constituents. He has a


problem at the age MRC. They keep taking monies from two separate


employer relationships he got. 31st January, I wrote to them. Eight in


the report, no reply. I chase the game and they said there would be a


reply in 20th April. No reply. I contacted the minister on the as of


May. 16th May, still no response. My constituent is still having


money withdrawn from his account. Can the leader of the house please


ask the Treasury minister to come to the house of Commons and explain


whether his department is simply incompetent or whether it does not


care about my constituents. Of course Treasury ministers care.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer will be at this dispatch box in a


few moments time. Rather than waiting for a debate, if the


honourable lady will that be have the details, I will see that the


appropriate Treasury minister gets on to the case. If there is an


injustice, we will see that it stops straight away.


The Government is investing heavily in rail infrastructure across the


North, with the electrification of the Trans Pennine route. The big


decision is coming up about the big decision about the northern hub


investment programme, which was simulate 20,000 jobs across the


North. Could we have another debate on the fully funded northern


harbour project, particularly focusing on the support the scheme


is getting from local enterprise partnerships and the private


sector? This is an important project and


the Secretary of State for Transport was speaking about it


yesterday. I cannot promise another debate in the very near future. But


we have agreed to fund Network Rail up to �130 million to implement the


package that he has just referred to. The increasing capacity on the


Sheffield Manchester line, increasing the speeds on this line,


and also the Manchester to Bradford and Manchester to Preston viable to


lines. All these investments will be subject to value for money being


confirmed, but it is a demonstration of our commitment to


infrastructure. On 15th March, the Government


tabled a series of changes to the immigration laws. Some of these are


perfectly sensible, but some of them will lead to a new generation


of domestic workers living in virtual servitude. These come into


force if after 40 days there has been no motion in this house tabled


to oppose them. I know the Government has difficulty working


out when a 40 days laps, but they lapse tomorrow. The Government has


already failed to provide an opportunity for us to debate this.


Will the Minister delayed the introduction of the implementation


of these until such time as we have a proper debate?


The procedure that we are her opting for is the same procedure


that he adopted when he was deputy leader of the house.


The decision of the right honourable gentleman to re-order


his priorities may or may not have been a welcome development to the


opposition, but it is a welcome development for those of us who are


concerned about making best use of tidal and hydro energy schemes.


Will the Government make time for her at a debate on the knees for


investing in tidal and hydro schemes, not just like the ones


that the Severn Estuary, but also such as that at Morecambe Bay. We


need to create clean green energy on a massive scale and thousands of


jobs. The sorrow important issues and part of our agenda to diversify


supply of electricity generation. I say to my Honourable Friend that


yesterday we did have a debate on that these issues. We just had


questions to the Secretary of State and his team of ministers, so I


cannot promise another immediate opportunity to address these issues.


But later in the session, there will be a pill and electricity


market fall and this may be an opportunity for him to develop his


team. The leader of the house has already


noted that today is the International Day against, phobia


and Trans gender and transsexuals will be a. Can there be a debate on


tackling homophobic bullying in schools?


This is an important issue and I want to know whether it would be


appropriate for the Honourable lady to make an early application for


that backbench business committee to see if a debate on bullying in


schools and the particular type of bullying she has referred to be


something that we should take forward. Be can be proud that the


UK has been recognised as the number one country in Europe for


her rights for the International Lesbian and Gay Association.


Car and we have a statement on how this Government is helping hard-


pressed households by freezing council tax, something the last


Labour Government completely failed to do. Council tax more than


doubled during their term in office. Not only is this Government to


living in council tax pledges, but so is by district councils. We are


currently freezing council tax for the third successive year.


I'm grateful to my Honourable Friend for reminding the house of


the combined saving of this two years freeze of �147,000. I pay


tribute to the local authorities to have made these difficult decisions


to pass the benefits through and he does contrast the record of the


first two years of the coalition Government with the previous record


of the Labour Government when I wonder if the right honourable


gentleman has seen the report by three independent housing


organisations on the emerging housing crisis? That report


confirms that last year, only 109,000 homes were completed, much


less than the 140,000 on average of the last Government, and less than


half the number that the Government nose needs to meet demand.


Homelessness is up 27%. Overcrowding, over 600,000


households affected. This is a win- win situation. The reality is that


to build homes will increase growth over the Prime Minister is talking


about. Will the right honourable gentleman to give government time


for a debate on housing? As a former Housing Minister, I do take


a close interest. When we came to office, we had the lowest peace


time housing records since the 1920s, so what we inherited was not


very positive. Am sure he will welcome are affordable homes


programme, which is set to exceed expectations. I hope he would also


welcome what we have done on the planning side to get decisions made


more quickly, and what we've been doing in making public land


available the House builders to build, what we have done to help


first-time buyers, and also the fiscal decisions we have taken to


allow interest rates to remain low and help first-time buyers.


children and families Minister announced earlier this week her


response to the green paper on special educational needs. His area


of policy has been ignored for far too long, where parents have to


battle for their children to receive the education they need.


Can we have a debate on this important area of policy so that we


can push progress much quicker? would welcome such a debate, and we


are committed to a draft Bill on this matter, where there will be an


opportunity to take it forward. We want to ensure that services for


disabled children and young people and those of special educational


needs are planned jointly by local authorities and commissioning


groups, and we want to give our children who have challenges a


fairer deal than they have at the moment. I'm sure everyone in the


House would join me in congratulating the Glasgow Labour


Party on their success in the elections last week, helping to


crash the SNP juggernaut. One reason for that success is the


policies that Glasgow Labour put forward, including the jobs


guarantee scheme. In the ongoing unemployment crisis, can we have a


debate in the House on that question? If he looks up in men


under the Queen's Speech which has been tabled and which we are about


to debate, he will see that unemployment is a specific issue


which has been mentioned, so the answer is yes, I can gap grant the


debate on the subject he had referred to, and it will start in


20 minutes. Please can we have a debate on encouraging


entrepreneurialism in young people in schools and colleges? I went to


harried at college and was impressed by the pitches and


ability of the people I met. Young people just need the opportunity in


our education system to understand the excitement and rewards of a


career in business. I commend what my honourable friend has done, and


I can't think of anybody who looks less like a dragon! It is important


to look that reward children for the financial challenges in life.


Pupils are given a relatively small sum of money and challenged to let


it grow. There has been an increasing self-employment young


people, which is encouraging. I applaud his encouraging young


people in his constituency to become attuned to financial matters.


On Tuesday, the Member for carding Valley raise the issue of how the


principles of the rehabilitation of offenders Act are being undermined


by CRB Cech, whereby a people's lives are being blighted for ever


by it cautions from decades before. In view of the utterly complacent


reply from the Minister, can we have a debate to remedy this


ongoing injustice? rehabilitation of offenders


legislation has recently been reviewed. I was certainly take on


board the. Do the right honourable member makes to see if any further


tweaks are needed to the legislation to make sure that


people are not unjustly penalised for relatively trivial offences


that may have happened for some time ago when they seek employment.


Given that politicians and the Congo -- Democratic Republic of


Congo have claimed that payments offered foreign gilts payment to


give foreign companies offshore mining activities, can we have a


debate on overseas aid? My right honourable friend the Secretary of


State debated this at some length in the House. On the specific issue


mentioned here, it is not right to withhold support to the DRC. The


aid which we give does reach some very poor people who would be


deprived of the assistance that they need. But I will draw his


concern to the attention of my right honourable friend. The Leader


of the House will be aware that small and medium businesses in my


constituency are eager to respond to the Government challenge to


export more to Brazil, Russia, China and India, but did he also


see Lord Digby Jones's remarks that the UK trade and investment arm of


the Foreign Office has been devastated. What help can we give


small and medium but as in -- businesses in constituencies like


mine to export to these countries? They recently held a seminar in my


constituency for small and medium- size enterprises wanting to export.


It was well-attended and have found to be of great value. I couldn't


praise more highly the input of the UK TI into that initiative. By


encourage other members to contact them and have a similar conference.


Another hidden a scandalous form of discrimination in this country is


the reluctance of businesses, often small businesses, to hire women of


child-bearing age because they fear that they may take maternity leave.


Could we have a debate on shared parental leave, and the importance


that this will halve in ensuring that that form of hidden


discrimination ends? I applaud what a horrible friend has said, and it


is indeed a policy to move towards more flexible parental leave so


parents can share caring responsibilities. We are working


with businesses to create a more flexible system of parental leave.


Parents will be given the choice to determine how they take leave for


child care, and they will be able to divide the majority of the lead


into blocks and split it between both parents. I hope that will


remove some of the barriers. Last year, I raised with the Leader of


the House the tragic case of my constituent Joe Arthur who was


killed on holiday in Greece in 2006, and the family's fight for justice.


This week the family have again been aired degrees, and yet again


the trial has stalled. Can the Leader of the House arrange for me


to meet urgently with a Minister from the Foreign Office to offer


assistance to the family, because this situation cannot be allowed to


continue. I'm sorry to hear of the problems which confront the


honourable lady's constituents. It so happened that a constituent of


mine was killed in Greece last year, and the family are having the same


problems finding out whether they can play a role in proceedings and


when the trial will be held. I will ask a friend in the Foreign Office


and to contact her and see what assistance they can give to the


family. I support the Government been putting public sector pensions


on an affordable and sustainable footing, and in that spirit, could


we have a debate on the pension contributions of judges? Judges are


being asked to make a contribution of just 2% towards their pension,


which can be neither affordable nor sustainable. Surely my right


honourable friend must agree that it is wrong that judges should pay


less intent towards their pensions than up of a public sector workers


are being asked to pay an increased contributions. I can say that there


will be an opportunity going to debate this. We are committed to


producing legislation on public service pensions. There will be an


opportunity for him if he finds to propose the necessary amendments to


the legislation. Mr Deputy Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister was


asked about the cut in the number of frontline police officers, and


answered by talking about the proportion. Can the Leader of the


House impress on his colleagues the importance of asking the question


asked and not one they would rather have been asked so that next and


that question is asked, he gives the answer which a point of clarity


is over 5,000? I think with respect of that is a game which we can play


as well, having listened to the previous prime Minister for some


Third genius. One of my colleagues actually read a book compiling not


just the failure to answer but actually be inaccurate answers that


the previous Prime Minister gave. The Prime Minister always answers


questions as accurately and as honestly and has openly as he can,


and I would rebut any criticism of his performance at this despatch


box. Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Despite the the Scottish Parliament


and the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies, we continue to have


questions in this House, often dominated by questions by English


MPs provided by the whips office. If we are going to carry on with


this, is it not time also to have English questions so that English


MPs Ken raise questions that are important to the English people?


The principle of oral questions are put a house should have opportunity


to halt Secretaries of State and Ministers to account, and that is


why there is a separate Northern Ireland, Scotland and Welsh


questions. English Ministers have to answer for English related


matters when they are at the despatch box. Of the House wants to


hold the Government to account, the best way to do it is by a series of


department are questions, which is what we have at the moment. With


that the publication of the BBC Trust latest plans for savings,


will the House have an early opportunity to debate these plans,


and in particular the plans for local radio? The reason I ask is


because of excellent services like Radio Humberside that covers my


constituency, and this week we saw the radio show Beryl and Betty,


where the two ladies are 86 and 90, winning the Sony Gold Award for the


excellence of the programme. BBC is an independent organisation


responsible for how they allocate their funds and where they have to


find savings. If she wants to make an application to the backbench


business committee for a debate on how the BBC is organised, I'm sure


she would get a warm representative -- reception. Earlier this week,


the All Party Parliamentary Group on pharmacy published its report


after a six-month inquiry into medicine shortages where patients


want to go and get their prescriptions are fulfilled. The


difficulty which they have had is they can't always get them. Could


we have a debate or at least a ministerial statement to make sure


that we understand what the Government proposes to do about


this position? I appreciate the work, are all friend does as the


vice chair of this group. There are 900 million prescriptions issued


each year for some 16,000 medicine's, and some of them are in


short supply. -- some 16,000 medicines. If a pharmacy cannot get


a medicine it needs from the wholesaler, it can go direct to the


supplier. But we do want to response to the suggestions in the


report. Please could we have the chance to debate the Government's


thoughts on a regional pay? There what government last week produced


a paper in response to the consultation, and it would be in


port and to debate how unfair these proposals are to areas like Newport.


It might be an order to raise the matter as an amendment to the


debate. I welcome the contribution to the consultation process which


she has referred to, they think the consultation ends later this year.


At that point it might be sensible to have a debate to indicate


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