17/03/2016 Business Questions


17/03/2016

Live coverage of the announcement of Commons business for the week ahead and questions to leader of the Commons Chris Grayling.


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Significantly, 14% increase in visits to cathedrals, showing how

:00:00.:00:00.

cathedrals appeal to all generations. Thank you. Is on this

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question, Mr Chris Bryant. Will the Leader of the House give as the

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future business, please? The business for next week, on Monday

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the 21st of March, we have the continuation of the budget of eight.

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On Tuesday we have the conclusion of the budget they'd. On Wednesday

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proceedings on the high-speed rail London to West Midlands bill,

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followed by consideration of Lords amendments, followed by a motion of

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the European communities amendments act, followed by a motion related to

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short money. On Thursday there will be a debate relating to court

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closures, followed by a debate on matters to be decided before the

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forthcoming Easter recess adjournment, and I might also say

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that next Thursday we will be told... We look forward to that. The

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business for the week commencing the 11th of April, when we return from

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the Easter recess, Monday the 11th of April will be the second reading

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of the Finance Bill. Tuesday the 12th will be a debate on reform and

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support arrangements for people with contaminated blood, a subject

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determined by the backbench business committee, and the chairman of ways

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and Means is expected to name a proposed Private business for

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consideration. Wednesday will be an opposition day, and Thursday will be

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a further day nominated by the backbench business committee. Friday

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the 15th of April we are not sitting. The business in Westminster

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Hall for the 24th of March will be a general debate on the NHS in London.

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He means that I'm not going to be here next week, so my eminently

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capable deputy will be taking this up on our behalf. What a dreadful

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two fingers budget. Two fingers up to the most vulnerable in the land,

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those who cannot dress clean themselves, and two fingers crossed

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behind our back in the hope that the black hole will come right by the

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end of the Parliament. What a turnaround. Only weeks ago the

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Chancellor told us that the future was sunny. Now he says that storm

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clouds are on this horizon. That is a routine that Dame Edna haired wage

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would be proud of. Every single target missed. He's no William Tell

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either! Growth figures, wrong, product over the, wrong. The deficit

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was meant to be abolished by 2015, and now he hopes beyond hope to have

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a surplus by 2020. Does anyone really believe this? Isn't this

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another pledge not worth development is not printed on? More leaks than

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Wales, more spin than a whirling dervish in a washing machine. He

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boasted yesterday about extra money for school sports, when he cut it in

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the first place. That is like a burglar going to the police and

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begging for a reward for turning himself in. Frankly, burglars can't

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be choosers! Can the leader explained for us the commitment to

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turn every school into an academy? There are 15,632 schools in England,

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which are not yet academies. The cost for the conversion is ?44,837,

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which comes to ?700 million. But the Chancellor wrongly allocated ?140

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million to academy changing. Where is the shortfall of ?560 million

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coming from? I have to say that there were some things to rejoice

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about. I am glad that the Severn Bridge tolls will be cut in half,

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thanks to the campaign by my honourable friend for Newport East.

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Last week, I'm sure you will I announced that the obesity strategy

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will be out soon, and now we have it, or at least part of it, the

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sugar tax. I am delighted that finally the Chancellor has realised

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the dangers of Cork. LAUGHTER -- Coke.

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It is just a shame that he could not have said call -- cola instead.

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Regarding independence payments, how can he tell us how they will be

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brought in? Surely they should be in primary legislation. Surely the

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changes should be brought in in primary legislation so there can be

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proper scrutiny in both houses. Give another recent cuts to disability

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benefits, will the government produced an impact assessment? There

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is something deeply distasteful about a cut per person to the

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200,000 most vulnerable people in our country, while the richest get a

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?200 tax hand-out. I am not surprised that Graham Ellis, a

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disability campaigner, has resigned from the Tory party. We will fight

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these changes, but I warned the leader before not to try to pull a

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fast one on working tax credits by using secondary legislation that

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cannot be amended, and I do it again now. Yesterday saw the government

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defeated three times in the House of Lords. By big majorities as well.

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Nearly two to one in every case. There is more to come. Isn't it time

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the government gave up on this didn't it than piece of legislation?

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I have told to become. -- be more calm. We have the debate for short

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money next week. Our usual discussions have been productive,

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and I thank the leader for the part he has played. I am hopeful that

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these will be published soon, this afternoon, or on Monday? Many

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members have had real difficulties recently, with banks which have in

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dealing with money laundering in a disproportionately. We all want to

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tackle money-laundering, but it must be crazy that people are being

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denied bank accounts simply because they are connected to a politically

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exposed person. Can the government ensure there will be a debate on

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this in government times we can get the balance right and tell the banks

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where to go. Holy Week starts on Sunday, so I wish all members and

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families a happy Easter. Next week Jewish people remember the attempt

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of Jews to be killed in Persia. That was not the last annihilation of

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them. 74 years ago today the first Polish Jews were gassed in an

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extermination camp. Anti-Semitism is still alive today, and we must do

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everything in our power to stop religious intolerance and racial

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hatred affecting our political parties. That means calling out

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anti-Semitism wherever we find it, even if it is inconvenient to

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ourselves, and expelling those who continue these file arguments from

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our political parties. I hope the leader would also agree that all

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religious prejudice is equally despicable, and would frankly this

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on the Tory campaign against Labour's candidate for Mayor of

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London, which is the most desperate, divisive and racially charged

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campaign London has ever seen. They should the ashamed. Can I also echo

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the words that the Shadow leader has said about wishing happy Easter

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period to all of those who work in this House. Can I start by

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addressing the issue of member security. There were a number of

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incidents following a recent vote. This will always be completely

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unacceptable. I hope the police will deal with them strongly. Can I

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remind members that the new security packages available to them and their

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staff, if any member experiences teething problems with this new

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package, with the police tell myself or the chairman of ways and Means,

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and we will address these issues. We have heard a lot about the budget.

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You can tell when the opposition are maddest. Normally it is easy to

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catch the eye of the Shadow leader, he is always chatting across the

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chamber. But yesterday I could not catch his eye for the moment because

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he knew just how bad it was. Next week, we will see a continuation of

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the budget debate. I could not make head nor tail of what the Leader of

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the Opposition was saying he would do yesterday, but at least this week

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we had another insight into Labour's economic policy. It turns out that

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the Shadow Chancellor draws his inspiration from Marks, Trotsky and

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-- to. Labour's policies would crush the middle classes and working class

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people. This morning the Shadow Chancellor could not even said he

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supported capitalism. That is where they have got to as a party. He

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raised a question about the changes to independence payments. We will

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publish details in due course. All members are produced with an impact

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assessment. He mentioned the trade union bill in the Lords, I would

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remind the House that we are seeking to give trade union members the

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choice about whether they contribute to the Labour Party or not. Two

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nations to our party are from people who choose to donate to our side of

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the political spectrum. They have to depend on people who are obliged to.

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That is what has the change. I am also grateful for the

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collaborative discussions that have taken place on the short money

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motion. The motion will be published before next week. On the

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money-laundering points, I agree with him. This concern is shared on

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all sides of the House. We cannot have a situation, not just when

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individual members, but members of their families are affected by a

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change that is unacceptable. We have discussed it with the Treasury and

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have received assurances that they believe people should not be

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affected, but clearly, they are. I therefore will treat this as a

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matter of great importance and I think we all should. He made a point

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about anti-Semitism. Of course, anti-Semitism has featured recently

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in a number of political activities, and that is unacceptable and should

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always be so. But I should remind him. He makes a comment about the

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election in London today. I would also remind him that anti-Semitism

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was also present in elections a year ago in the general election in

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London, and not from our side of the political spectrum. I hope he takes

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the words he has said today and makes sure they are properly put

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into route in his party. It is not acceptable in any part of life. It

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should not happen. Finally, this week we had the revelation that the

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shadow leader doesn't want to be shadow leader. He wants to be

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Speaker, so much so that he appears to be even preparing a campaign

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team. Of course, there is not a vacancy for your job. But I did have

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an idea for him. This week is apprenticeship week, and I wondered

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if you might consider taking him on as an apprentice Speaker. But there

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is one small problem. If the honourable gentleman wants to be the

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next Speaker, he needs to remember one thing. You need to be popular

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and respected across the House, and he still has some work to do.

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Could we have a debate on the TUC's dying to work campaign, which

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focuses on strengthening legal protections for terminally ill

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employees like my constituents Jackie Woodcock, who has been

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treated badly by her employer, which tried to force her to resign? Mr

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Speaker, my honourable friend raised this issue yesterday. She's right to

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bring forward a case like this. I would hope every employer would

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treat with respect and care anybody in such a terrible situation,

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whether in the public or private sector. We expect decency from

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employers in this country. Can I also thank the Leader of the House

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for announcing next week's business. It is the usual day after the Budget

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night before, and already, the wheels are coming off and the

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smattering of fiscal fairy dust is wearing thin, revealing the useless

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old banger underneath. I think all of us who listened to the Today

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programme this morning enjoyed greatly the evisceration of the

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Chancellor of the Exchequer when he was asked, to gentle enquiring from

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John Humphrys, what does it take to get sacked from his job? As he

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defiantly tried to defend his own targets. We also have to commend

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some of the conservative disabled activists who have made their voices

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heard in the last 24 hours, particularly with that website. Even

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conservative members are recognising in this Budget the redistribution

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aspect of it from the poorest to the wealthiest. That is what

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characterises this Budget more than anything else. The Leader of the

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House often talks about him and I wandering through the same lobby.

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Maybe next week, we will have this opportunity with the tampon tax. I

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opposed this because of women being taxed for their biology. Leader of

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the House, come on. You and I can much through the lobby together to

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oppose the Chancellor and his EU politicised Budget. Regulations that

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deprive overseas pensioners of the operating to the pension has been

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forced through this House without any debate. Some 550,000 pensioners

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will be included in this with so many people involved, half a

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million, surely you have to have some sort of statement from the

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government about their intent in this regard and I hope the Leader of

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the House will give with this. Last week, my constituents got in touch

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with my office, watching the spectacle in this place. They were

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appalled at the behaviour of a small number of politically motivated,

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predominantly conservative members filibustering on private members'

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bills, just to stop consideration of bills that they don't personally

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like. We saw an almost destructive glory in the way they filibuster

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against the NHS bill. Of course, they are entitled to do this

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according to the rules and boy, did they take advantage. But why is it

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only private members' bills that this applies to? The rest of the

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debates in this House are properly timetabled and regulated. This has

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to end. Our constituents are taking an increasing interest in these

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private members' bills. There is a procedural committee looking at

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this, I accept that. A strong we worded message from the leader of

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saying this cannot go on would be helpful. Lastly, tugged away in the

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Budget statement yesterday were plans to extend English modes for

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English law to income tax. But apparently, legislation is quiet for

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this. With the Leader of the House explain how this will be progressed

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what type of legislation will be put in place, and will it give us the

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opportunity to properly scrutinise this dog's breakfast that is Evel? I

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would love to hear the leader's remarks on that. First up, the

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honourable gentleman talked about evisceration is in interviews. I

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presume he heard the interview with Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First

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Minister, on the Sunday Politics last week, which could not expect

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how her sums added up she could not explain how it was possible for

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Scotland to carry on spending the same amount of money without tax

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increases or how she would deal with the huge Budget deficit without

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spending cuts. So if we are talking about people with no idea how to

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manage an economy, no idea how to manage finances, we just have to

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look to Edinburgh. He talked about the Budget more broadly. He talked

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about people on low incomes. Our policy since 2010 has taken the

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lives of people back into work and lifted more than half a million

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children out of households where no one works into an environment where

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people get up in the morning and go to work and bring a sense of

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responsibility to their lives. By 2019, the top 20% of our population

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will pay 50% of all taxes. This is a government that is proud of its

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record, that has made a difference to this country. All we hear from

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the party opposite is carping about success. He talked about the bill

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last Friday. I find it baffling that he is complaining about the handling

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in this house of an NHS bill. The last time I looked, the NHS in

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Scotland was devolved. So why is the SNP so concerned about debates in

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this House about the National Health Service, when this House has nothing

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to do with the National Health Service in Scotland? Surely it is

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another example of SNP opportunism. And he talks about English votes for

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in just laws. -- English votes for English laws. We were clear that

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this would apply to tax measures which do not apply in Scotland. It

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seems not fair to me that the SNP should be able to impose increased

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taxes upon the English if they gang up with others to do so. That is

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what we sought to avoid. That is what our reforms will make sure

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cannot happen in future. Can I follow up with my right honourable

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friend his response on money-laundering? When are we going

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to have a debate about this? Will the government commit to voting

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against these proposals, and does my right honourable friend agree that

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the current proposals show that we are being contaminated in our public

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life by the corruption in the rest of the European Union? This is an

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important point. I am looking into this as a matter of urgency. It is

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important not just for people in this House, but for members of

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families as well. We will need to discuss this on a cross-party basis.

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We want to make sure this cannot affect our only members, our

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parents, children and siblings as well as ourselves. The Leader of the

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House and myself are becoming very good pen friends, writing to each

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other on a regular basis. Following our recent correspondence, I welcome

:20:39.:20:41.

the leader's commitment to ensuring sufficient chamber time to be found

:20:42.:20:45.

for the number of days allocated to the backbench business committee.

:20:46.:20:48.

That is provided for in standing order 14. However, I note our views

:20:49.:20:54.

are not aligned on the nub of days that are to be allocated this

:20:55.:21:00.

session. Standing order 14 is clear that only days when backbench

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business have presidents should count towards the allocation. I

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think there is a dispute about the number of days that remain to us.

:21:08.:21:14.

Might I suggest that there might be merit, touting the clerks of our

:21:15.:21:17.

committee to make sure there is clarity on the amount of backbench

:21:18.:21:21.

time remaining so that the government does not find itself in

:21:22.:21:24.

the unfortunate position of falling short of the amount of time required

:21:25.:21:28.

to provide the backbench community on the floor of the house? I did not

:21:29.:21:32.

realise they have so much influence. Last week, when I spoke in my

:21:33.:21:37.

exasperation about Newcastle United, within 24 hours, there was a change

:21:38.:21:44.

of management! Office chair of the backbench business committee.

:21:45.:21:52.

Exercises and influence beyond what we previously knew! The Leader of

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the House. I hope for his sake that the result of a change is that his

:21:56.:22:00.

team marches to survival in the Premier League, although I notice

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they did not manage it last week in their match against Leicester. But I

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suspect that most of us who support other teams, perhaps not Tottenham

:22:11.:22:14.

supporters, but the rest of us, for at least the last eight weeks have

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been Leicester City supporters. We wish them well for the remainder of

:22:19.:22:22.

the season. I hope the honourable gentleman manages to turn up at St

:22:23.:22:27.

James' Park next season cheering on a Premier League team. In terms of

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the allocation of time, the difference between us is that there

:22:33.:22:36.

was a period of time at the start of this session after the general

:22:37.:22:38.

election before the backbench business committee could be formed,

:22:39.:22:43.

so a number of days were set aside for general debates. I am happy to

:22:44.:22:48.

meet him to talk about that, but if the backbench committee is only

:22:49.:22:51.

there for a part of a session, there are time pressures that we have to

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cater for. I remember making sure there was time for general debates

:22:56.:22:59.

in that period before his committee was formed and I am happy to talk to

:23:00.:23:08.

him about it. Would my right honourable friend find time for a

:23:09.:23:11.

debate on the erecting of statues in the centre of London? I find it

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extraordinary that in Westminster Square, there is no statue of the

:23:17.:23:21.

first female Prime Minister and more pertinently, that there is no statue

:23:22.:23:24.

of Her Majesty The Queen, the longest reigning monarch ever and

:23:25.:23:27.

about to celebrate her 90th birthday. First of all, on the

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Queen, I think we all look forward to celebrating her 90th birthday. We

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look forward to activities up and down the country and of course, we

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should all be thankful to my honourable friend the Mayor of

:23:45.:23:47.

London and the Secretary of State for Transport for deciding that

:23:48.:23:51.

Crossrail should be named the Elizabeth line, a fitting tribute to

:23:52.:23:54.

the Queen. On the subject of a statue of Margaret Thatcher, I know

:23:55.:24:00.

the shadow leader, a champion of equality and opportunities for

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women, would join me in thinking it is appropriate for Britain's first

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female Prime Minister to be celebrated in such a way. Didn't the

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House reach a historic low in political opportunism yesterday,

:24:17.:24:20.

when the Prime Minister defended himself and his lamb a double record

:24:21.:24:25.

on air pollution by claiming credit for the clean air act, which was

:24:26.:24:28.

passed by this House ten years before he was born? The subject is a

:24:29.:24:36.

serious one and I recently had a debate that was pulled because the

:24:37.:24:40.

government didn't have us suitable blister available. -- did not have a

:24:41.:24:47.

suitable minister available. 9000 people die every year because of

:24:48.:24:52.

abolition, 70 in the city I represent -- because of air

:24:53.:24:56.

pollution, and there are no plans to make our policies even legal. This

:24:57.:24:59.

is a scandal that should be addressed. I would make two points.

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Firstly, it is an issue that we are dressing, for example through the

:25:07.:25:10.

work we have put in to incentivise hybrid and electric cars and looking

:25:11.:25:14.

at ways to cut emissions from power stations. We have done as much as

:25:15.:25:18.

any previous government. The point that and macro misses that we on

:25:19.:25:21.

this side of the House are proud to be part of a party that over the

:25:22.:25:25.

last 200 years has been responsible for most of this country's great

:25:26.:25:30.

social reforms. That is a track record but we regard as a foundation

:25:31.:25:33.

upon which we should build for the future.

:25:34.:25:38.

Cross Cani Chase there are many voluntary groups supporting families

:25:39.:25:56.

with dementia. -- cannot chase. Will my right honourable friend join me

:25:57.:25:59.

in commending the work of this group as well as the others who provide

:26:00.:26:04.

this incredibly valuable support, and can we have a debate in

:26:05.:26:08.

government time to discuss what further support will be provided to

:26:09.:26:16.

those families affected by dementia? As my honourable friend may know,

:26:17.:26:19.

members of the Cabinet went through the training module to be a dementia

:26:20.:26:25.

friend couple of years ago, and it was enlightening. I have experienced

:26:26.:26:29.

dementia and my family and it taught me things I did not previously now,

:26:30.:26:32.

so the work that is done by these groups make a real difference to

:26:33.:26:38.

those who are suffering and also to those who are helping those who are

:26:39.:26:42.

suffering. I commend her, her colleagues and those involved in

:26:43.:26:49.

this area of the work. While I welcome the budget news regarding

:26:50.:26:52.

further small business rate relief, I am concerned with the impact this

:26:53.:26:59.

will have on local authorities, such as my own. Can we have a debate to

:27:00.:27:02.

discuss what measures will be put in place to ease the burden on

:27:03.:27:09.

cash-strapped councils, many of whom are already struggling to balance

:27:10.:27:16.

books? First of all, as we heard last week there have been people on

:27:17.:27:19.

those benches who say that we need to do something about the business

:27:20.:27:24.

rate impact on small businesses. I am delighted the Chancellor did that

:27:25.:27:27.

in his budget statements. I did not notice I mentioned to that in the

:27:28.:27:33.

remarks earlier. Next Monday and Tuesday she will have the

:27:34.:27:40.

opportunity to put those discussions in place. The front page of the

:27:41.:27:47.

Jewish Chronicle today gives a litany of the anti-Semitism that

:27:48.:27:50.

sadly we are beginning to see more and more frequently in the ranks of

:27:51.:27:56.

the Labour Party, and in other institutions like universities in

:27:57.:27:59.

this country. Can we have a debate on the subject of the increasing

:28:00.:28:06.

anti-Semitism in public bodies and institutions? This is an important

:28:07.:28:12.

point, where I agree with the Shadow leader and my honourable friend,

:28:13.:28:17.

anti-Semitism has no place in our society, and when we hear words from

:28:18.:28:20.

the parties opposite, we have heard of too many occasions in the past 12

:28:21.:28:26.

months where they have tolerated tolerated anti-Semitism in their

:28:27.:28:32.

ranks. That is unacceptable and something they should change.

:28:33.:28:38.

I was shocked to learn the House has still been using Betamax tapes for

:28:39.:28:49.

parliamentary recordings, and they now have to stop because they are

:28:50.:28:51.

not being produced any longer. Technological adaptation is slow,

:28:52.:28:56.

can he do this and update on steps being taken to update this?

:28:57.:29:03.

Honourable members will be aware that trials have been taking place

:29:04.:29:11.

on the use of tablets in division lobbies. Those trials are now

:29:12.:29:13.

beginning to show distinct improvements, which is likely to be

:29:14.:29:15.

the way we record in the future, which allows us to publish things

:29:16.:29:25.

quickly. I do not support going further on swipe cards, as the

:29:26.:29:28.

opportunities we have to go through the division lobby... HMS

:29:29.:29:41.

Shropshire, a heavy cruiser, was completed for the Royal Navy and

:29:42.:29:47.

served with distinction until 1942. Can we have a debate on when the

:29:48.:29:55.

Royal Navy will once again name and naval ship after Shropshire? He

:29:56.:30:03.

makes his point in his customary way, and I'm sure the Ministry of

:30:04.:30:10.

Defence will have noted his comments. There will be plenty of

:30:11.:30:18.

opportunities for ships to carry the name of his county. Could the leader

:30:19.:30:24.

help honourable members who are keen to meet the young constituents

:30:25.:30:29.

coming to the excellent new education centre, but find getting

:30:30.:30:32.

into the education centre quite a trial. It is easier to get into Fort

:30:33.:30:37.

Knox and it is to get into the education centre with the level of

:30:38.:30:44.

security. As you know this is a subject which is of concern to me.

:30:45.:30:49.

This is a matter that is subject to discussion. We have to take

:30:50.:30:52.

appropriate steps for child protection and make sure common

:30:53.:31:00.

sense applies. Sometimes with the budget you have to read the redbrick

:31:01.:31:06.

to see what it was really about and to see what the Chancellor meant, --

:31:07.:31:12.

the Redbook. There was a lot of loading of debt reduction, and I

:31:13.:31:19.

understand that on the 24th of June, when we come out of the EU, he will

:31:20.:31:24.

have ?15 billion a year to reduce the public debt. So in regard to

:31:25.:31:31.

that, we had a tie produced for him with his initials on it. I think it

:31:32.:31:38.

does to jobs. That the Chancellor wants to come out of the EU, and he

:31:39.:31:43.

can promote it himself. Could we have a written statement on that?

:31:44.:31:50.

Yes, far be it from me to comment on the aesthetic virtues or otherwise

:31:51.:31:54.

of the tie, but the use of props in this place is generally deprecated.

:31:55.:32:00.

The honourable gentleman has got away with it. He is always ingenious

:32:01.:32:08.

in a variety of different ways. He makes his point in his effective

:32:09.:32:13.

way, and I know he is playing an active part in the campaign to leave

:32:14.:32:18.

the European Union. I suspect he may have more of a challenge than he

:32:19.:32:22.

thinks to change the Chancellor's mind on this. And maybe more of a

:32:23.:32:28.

challenge to ask the Chancellor to a tie of that colour. The Leader of

:32:29.:32:35.

the House might not know this, but it is estimated that autism costs

:32:36.:32:41.

this country ?23 billion a year. Today after the budget it is worth

:32:42.:32:47.

about that some. You're a great supporter of autism charities and

:32:48.:32:54.

often host events in your rooms. But isn't it the fact that we have

:32:55.:32:58.

recently found we have taken away the educational element of the

:32:59.:33:05.

personal allowance by people on the autism spectrum received, which

:33:06.:33:08.

means they cannot get education. Can we have a debate on this? First of

:33:09.:33:16.

all, I share his understanding and his view on the issue of autism.

:33:17.:33:22.

There is some fantastic work done in society to help young people on the

:33:23.:33:27.

autistic spectrum, and I pay tribute to a school in my constituency and

:33:28.:33:30.

its counterparts around the country that do a fantastic job working with

:33:31.:33:37.

young people. I would say to him that as a government we have looked

:33:38.:33:42.

more money into education, more money into the support we provide

:33:43.:33:46.

for people with disabilities, and there is enormously good work being

:33:47.:33:54.

done around the country. The Leader of the House may be aware that the

:33:55.:33:58.

new leader furnished hospital in Henley has now reopened and treated

:33:59.:34:03.

its first patient. Would he agree to have a debate on the future of

:34:04.:34:07.

community and local hospitals will be can reinforce the message that

:34:08.:34:13.

this clear is in the best interest of patients? I remember when I was

:34:14.:34:20.

helping with the campaign to get my honourable friend elected for the

:34:21.:34:23.

first time, so I am the weighted to see that the work he has done since

:34:24.:34:28.

then has come to fruition and his town has a great new facility. On

:34:29.:34:32.

Tuesday he will have the opportunity to tell the Secretary of State how

:34:33.:34:35.

much difference it will make to his constituency. Given that recesses

:34:36.:34:44.

approaching, the upcoming regulations that will deprive

:34:45.:34:48.

550,000 overseas pensioners will be enacted when we return to this

:34:49.:34:52.

House. Will the government bring forward a debate to allow us to

:34:53.:34:58.

consider this? This issue has been raised on many occasions, and when

:34:59.:35:07.

these pensions were moved, they were aware of the arrangements. It would

:35:08.:35:10.

cost many hundreds of millions to sort this out. The government has no

:35:11.:35:24.

plans to do so. Could the Leader of the House seek that Treasury

:35:25.:35:33.

Minister attends the chamber to discuss the decision about Lloyds

:35:34.:35:39.

bank to redeem notes early rather than waiting until they reached

:35:40.:35:45.

maturity? We will have the debate over the next three days in the

:35:46.:35:48.

budget, -- on the budget, and we will discuss this. The Chief

:35:49.:35:54.

secretary will be here on Tuesday to make sure he raises the point. I

:35:55.:36:02.

welcomed the Prime Minister's statement about universal superfast

:36:03.:36:08.

broadband. That was a few months ago. Can we have a debate in

:36:09.:36:13.

government time so we can see the mechanisms for it going forward? We

:36:14.:36:17.

are all in favour of it, it should be debated, we should know exactly

:36:18.:36:21.

what to do, and I could offer Anglesey as a pilot scheme. It is a

:36:22.:36:27.

priority for the government to provide superfast broadband and

:36:28.:36:34.

connectivity to all rural areas. I would want to see Anglesey included

:36:35.:36:38.

in that. We have made good progress, we have got as far as any other

:36:39.:36:42.

country in Europe in developing modern communication networks, but

:36:43.:36:50.

there is work to do. In the last Parliament, the government tasked

:36:51.:36:55.

the Law Commission with drafting a wildlife Bill. That may -- they have

:36:56.:37:04.

done. Could he say when such legislation might come forward? We

:37:05.:37:12.

cannot give advanced notice of what will be in the Queens speech in May,

:37:13.:37:18.

but I have spoken to the ministers involved, who tell me they are

:37:19.:37:20.

looking at the issue carefully and have to respond over the course of

:37:21.:37:24.

this year, and Law Commission bills are normally given a parliamentary

:37:25.:37:30.

slot, but I cannot commit to an exact timetable. Yesterday the

:37:31.:37:36.

government claimed to be on the side of both the workers and the Next

:37:37.:37:39.

Generation. Could be there for half action beyond the rhetoric and have

:37:40.:37:43.

an urgent debate on the irony that workers aged under 25 are excluded

:37:44.:37:48.

from the government's new national living wage? The evidence we are on

:37:49.:37:55.

the side of workers and young people is in the number of apprenticeships,

:37:56.:38:00.

the deep crease in the number of unemployed junk people, we are

:38:01.:38:03.

making real progress. When I took over as employment Minister in 2010,

:38:04.:38:09.

I regarded with some trepidation though sessions I had with six

:38:10.:38:12.

formers and college students talking about their future prospects. I

:38:13.:38:18.

would not have such trepidation today. They have business

:38:19.:38:24.

investment, opportunities. It is a transformed picture compared to six

:38:25.:38:30.

years ago. For the last two decades, the level of transport

:38:31.:38:32.

infrastructure spend in London has dwarfed that of the regions. Perhaps

:38:33.:38:38.

in the region of ten to one. That the government has come forward to

:38:39.:38:44.

build Crossrail two, which so far has received no scrutiny in this

:38:45.:38:49.

House. Could we have a debate in government time regarding this? He

:38:50.:38:58.

is right to talk about the need to provide balance across the country

:38:59.:39:01.

in investment and infrastructure. But if we look back at the years of

:39:02.:39:04.

Labour government can do project that sat on the shelf, they are

:39:05.:39:25.

being built. -- project that sat on the shelf, they are now being built,

:39:26.:39:28.

which I did not see happening when the opposition were in power. Can we

:39:29.:39:36.

have a debate on the withdrawal of mobility cars, which is preventing

:39:37.:39:43.

disabled people carrying out jobs they have secured. Does it make any

:39:44.:39:47.

sense to put disabled people out of work in this way? There will be

:39:48.:39:54.

debates on the budget and on any changes in the welfare system, but I

:39:55.:39:59.

will remind him that it is important for government to ensure we provide

:40:00.:40:02.

support with that is needed, when it is needed, but we also get the best

:40:03.:40:09.

value for taxpayers money. Trees are important to us all, some might say

:40:10.:40:15.

in transforming much of the hot air that we expend, but particularly

:40:16.:40:28.

ancient trees are bio by the, and there are only 2% left in the

:40:29.:40:35.

country. Bio diverse. Can we have a debate about the protection of

:40:36.:40:37.

ancient woodland? We must protect ancient woodland and

:40:38.:40:46.

also create woodlands for the future. One of the most exciting

:40:47.:40:49.

developments over the last few years have been the Woodland Trust's plan

:40:50.:40:55.

for new forests in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to

:40:56.:40:57.

commemorate the centenary of the First World War by turning farmland

:40:58.:41:02.

into a Forest that will be enjoyed by generations to come. My

:41:03.:41:05.

honourable friend is right, we need to protect what we have got, but we

:41:06.:41:09.

need to create the ancient woodlands of the future as well. I have yet to

:41:10.:41:15.

hear a satisfactory response to previous pensions questions I have

:41:16.:41:19.

asked. So it is no surprise that the government is trying to force

:41:20.:41:22.

through operating regulations which will have a devastating impact on

:41:23.:41:26.

fully paid-up UK pensioners living overseas. The government cannot keep

:41:27.:41:29.

ignoring these groups of people who have done the right thing. Surely we

:41:30.:41:33.

must have an urgent debate to allow this to be properly discussed. There

:41:34.:41:39.

has just been a debate on the issue of women's pensions. But the

:41:40.:41:42.

honourable lady does not accept is that we do not agree with her. My

:41:43.:41:46.

view on the issue of women's pensions is that it is a difficult

:41:47.:41:51.

one. Putting any transition in place is always difficult because someone

:41:52.:41:55.

is always affected by the changes, but if we are to have an affordable

:41:56.:41:59.

and fair pension system for the future, we have to put through some

:42:00.:42:03.

of these changes and sometimes not make changes, even though people may

:42:04.:42:11.

want them. Many of my constituents are concerned about post Office

:42:12.:42:15.

plans to move their local branch, despite strong local objections.

:42:16.:42:20.

Given that many such changes, good and bad, will be made by the Post

:42:21.:42:24.

Office in constituencies across the country in the coming years, can we

:42:25.:42:26.

have a debate on the post office's approach to its branch modernisation

:42:27.:42:32.

programme and on its approach to consultation and taking into

:42:33.:42:34.

consideration the views of local people? This is something that is

:42:35.:42:40.

visible to members across the country. As my honourable friend

:42:41.:42:44.

says, there has been a range of changes within the post office. I

:42:45.:42:48.

would say that at least this is about upgrading post offices. We

:42:49.:42:54.

have often battled to save post offices from closures. Now there is

:42:55.:42:57.

an opportunity for them. We have seen sadly in the past, the

:42:58.:43:01.

disappearance of many local bank branches. Of course, the post office

:43:02.:43:05.

offers an alternative to many small businesses and I hope that will help

:43:06.:43:08.

secure its future in many communities. This probably does not

:43:09.:43:14.

need a debate, but this morning my question to DEFRA was

:43:15.:43:17.

unceremoniously dumped by the department. Could the Leader of the

:43:18.:43:22.

House looked at the possibility of ensuring that when such a thing

:43:23.:43:29.

happens, that the department contact the table office rather than letting

:43:30.:43:32.

them know by letter, which I only received yesterday? The honourable

:43:33.:43:40.

lady once a statement on the matter. I am happy to give her a short one.

:43:41.:43:44.

The question concerned was transferred between departments

:43:45.:43:47.

because it was judged to be the best place for the question to be

:43:48.:43:51.

answered. I have ensured that her question will be answered today. I

:43:52.:43:55.

do think the department concerned did the right thing in telling her

:43:56.:43:58.

that, but I will pass on the message that they might consider telling the

:43:59.:44:06.

table office as well. Can we have a debate on inward investment? This

:44:07.:44:09.

will give the House the opportunity to consider the announcements in the

:44:10.:44:14.

past few days from Avon products, who intend to move their worldwide

:44:15.:44:17.

headquarters from the United States of America to the UK, and from the

:44:18.:44:23.

South African owned company who plan to create 6000 jobs in South Wales.

:44:24.:44:33.

Those are two really good announcements which we welcome.

:44:34.:44:39.

Given all the pressures in the steel industry, we want to see as many new

:44:40.:44:42.

investments in Wales as possible. The honourable gentleman says it is

:44:43.:44:47.

labour. Actually, it is because this government made the UK a strong

:44:48.:44:50.

place for international businesses to invest. We also saw the decision

:44:51.:44:55.

to build a new factory to build Aston Martin cars in south Wales. It

:44:56.:45:01.

is reassuring to see that even in a difficult time internationally, the

:45:02.:45:06.

UK is still seen as a strong place for international investment in the

:45:07.:45:15.

long term. As of today, 78 members of this house, from seven parties

:45:16.:45:21.

including the government party, have signed an EDM seeking to know a

:45:22.:45:23.

statutory instrument freezing pensions. Regulations that deprive

:45:24.:45:30.

overseas pensioners of blue uprating adjustment to their state pension

:45:31.:45:34.

have been forced through this House without a debate. Will the

:45:35.:45:37.

government hid the cross-party initiative to annul this revelation

:45:38.:45:40.

and bring forward a debate urgently to assess the devastating impact

:45:41.:45:44.

these changes will have on UK pensioners living abroad and perhaps

:45:45.:45:47.

this time, he might answer the question. I have answered the

:45:48.:45:53.

question. I have been the work and pensions minister and have looked at

:45:54.:45:56.

this issue before. The government has no intention of changing the

:45:57.:46:00.

current situation. The cost of doing so would be enormous and the

:46:01.:46:03.

situation these pensioners face has been in place for decades. Horlick

:46:04.:46:09.

nationwide Limited are a recruitment business in rugby who have developed

:46:10.:46:15.

IT software to much HGV drivers with haulage contractors. Last year, the

:46:16.:46:19.

NHS spent 3.3 billion on agency staff and ministers are working to

:46:20.:46:24.

reduce this figure. The owner of Katmai College believes he can match

:46:25.:46:27.

available medical staff with hospital trusts and has outed

:46:28.:46:31.

talking to the NHS innovations team. May we have a debate to consider how

:46:32.:46:34.

companies in the private sector can share innovative ideas with the

:46:35.:46:39.

public sector? My honourable friend talks about what sounds like a very

:46:40.:46:44.

interesting opportunity. One of the tragedies of the argument that comes

:46:45.:46:48.

particularly from those benches about removing the private sector

:46:49.:46:51.

from the NHS is that we would lose the opportunity to see that kind of

:46:52.:47:04.

innovation. People in my constituency of Halifax are under

:47:05.:47:07.

pressure and facing hospital reconfiguration. We understand that

:47:08.:47:12.

pharmacies are facing a cut of 6%, which the government expects will

:47:13.:47:15.

see up to 3000 closed nationally. Can we have a debate to discuss the

:47:16.:47:20.

role of pharmacies, the role they play in alleviating the pressures on

:47:21.:47:24.

GP surgeries and our A departments and how those pressures would get

:47:25.:47:27.

worse if we saw up to 3000 closed nationwide? I know this is an issue

:47:28.:47:33.

of concern. The government is sticking to ensure we use the money

:47:34.:47:37.

we have as effectively as possible, that we are funding the right mix of

:47:38.:47:42.

pharmacies. We want to see pharmacies in all those communities

:47:43.:47:46.

where they are required. I have no doubt this will be brought before

:47:47.:47:50.

the House in due course. The minister responsible, my honourable

:47:51.:47:55.

friend for North East Bedfordshire, is sensitive to the concerns she has

:47:56.:47:58.

raised and he will seek to do the right thing in making sure we have a

:47:59.:48:02.

balance between spending money wisely and maintaining the right mix

:48:03.:48:07.

of pharmacy services. Will the Leader of the House make time for a

:48:08.:48:10.

debate on the effect of sodium valproate, a drug given to treat

:48:11.:48:16.

epilepsy and other neurological conditions, but which has an impact

:48:17.:48:20.

on unborn babies? My constituent is campaigning for years following the

:48:21.:48:26.

birth of her two sons, who were affected by this drug, which is

:48:27.:48:32.

still being prescribed today. This is obviously a difficult and

:48:33.:48:35.

sensitive issue. I don't know enough about the drug, but I will make sure

:48:36.:48:40.

the Health Secretary is aware of the concerns she has raised. He is here

:48:41.:48:43.

next week and I would ask her to consider bringing it up with health

:48:44.:48:50.

minister is then as well. I previously asked the Leader of the

:48:51.:48:54.

House if this House would have a debate on the disproportionate size

:48:55.:48:57.

of the House of Lords compared to the House of Commons, but it was

:48:58.:49:00.

dismissed, so I will try again. Can we have a debate on the role of a

:49:01.:49:05.

bicameral parliament in a representative moxie in the 21st

:49:06.:49:08.

century in order to consider whether it is appropriate that more than

:49:09.:49:12.

half of the members of the UK Parliament are appointed by the

:49:13.:49:15.

Prime Minister, rather than elected by the people? Last week, I remember

:49:16.:49:20.

that the party opposite were praising the House of Lords for one

:49:21.:49:23.

of the votes they had passed through. Right now, this country has

:49:24.:49:30.

greater priorities than sorting out changing and reforming the House of

:49:31.:49:38.

Lords. The Leader of the House didn't and so one of the points

:49:39.:49:42.

raised by the honourable member for Perth and North Perthshire. There is

:49:43.:49:44.

an amendment on the order paper today timetabled by colleagues from

:49:45.:49:52.

Berwick-upon-Tweed, asking as a Budget amendment to remove the

:49:53.:49:56.

tampon tax. Will he support this in solidarity with members Brexit women

:49:57.:50:02.

across the country? Of course, the imposition of VAT on women's

:50:03.:50:06.

sanitary products is a matter for the European Commission. We have

:50:07.:50:08.

made representations as a government and are expecting a response

:50:09.:50:12.

shortly. I hope the commission will agree with every person in this

:50:13.:50:16.

House that this tax is inappropriate. If no one has yet

:50:17.:50:25.

done so, may I wish you, Mr Speaker, with a certain amount of Irish blood

:50:26.:50:32.

in me, a happy St Patrick's Day to you and a whole House? Mr Speaker,

:50:33.:50:36.

it is unacceptable that this government should choose to do

:50:37.:50:39.

nothing, not even allow a debate on the hugely important issue of the

:50:40.:50:43.

uprating regulations of state pensions. It will affect half a

:50:44.:50:51.

million or more overseas pensioners and will lead to them having their

:50:52.:50:55.

pensions frozen. The Leader of the House is aware that this is due in

:50:56.:50:59.

to come into force while this House is in recess, and given the depth of

:51:00.:51:04.

feeling across this House, surely this is an issue worthy of an urgent

:51:05.:51:10.

debate? This issue has been considered many times over the

:51:11.:51:13.

years. The government position on it has not changed. The First Minister

:51:14.:51:23.

of Scotland is committed to not 95 or any other figure, but 100%

:51:24.:51:26.

coverage for superfast broadband for Scotland. Given that the UK controls

:51:27.:51:32.

the regulations over mobile signals, can we have a debate on how the UK

:51:33.:51:36.

Government might achieve that for mobile signals across the UK? We are

:51:37.:51:43.

working to achieve that and we are looking ahead to the reduction of

:51:44.:51:47.

five GN this country. I wait with interest to see how successful the

:51:48.:51:53.

First Minister of Scotland is, having made a substantial promise.

:51:54.:51:57.

Some of her promises in the past have not come to fruition. This

:51:58.:52:04.

House rightly celebrates community champions. One group organised a

:52:05.:52:13.

lunch for disabled people who would otherwise have spent Christmas Day

:52:14.:52:17.

on their own. Isolation affects millions. Can I ask if we can debate

:52:18.:52:25.

this serious issue? It is clearly a big challenge for our society and

:52:26.:52:29.

something that can only be dealt with in local communities and by the

:52:30.:52:32.

kind of work he has described, which I praise. As he will know, I have

:52:33.:52:38.

suggested to the backbench business community that they might set aside

:52:39.:52:43.

a day for the whole House to debate the work of voluntary sector groups

:52:44.:52:46.

that can make such a difference to people like those he describes.

:52:47.:52:54.

Given the well-known views of the Leader of the House on matters

:52:55.:52:59.

European, can I urge him to come to the aid of the thousands of UK

:53:00.:53:04.

citizens living in the EU who face being deprived of their pension

:53:05.:53:11.

upgrade, a move which is not even going to be discussed in this House?

:53:12.:53:16.

And I urge him to overcome the European democratic deficit and

:53:17.:53:24.

organise such a debate? That does not apply in the EU. On that same

:53:25.:53:30.

theme, apart from the general unfairness of the frozen pensions,

:53:31.:53:34.

analysis has shown that the frozen pensions prevent some pensioners

:53:35.:53:39.

from emigrating and forces others to return to the country. So reversing

:53:40.:53:45.

that would save money on health, welfare and housing, which should

:53:46.:53:49.

appeal to the Leader of the House. Therefore, I will try again. Can we

:53:50.:53:54.

have a debate on this? I am not of the view that government policy

:53:55.:53:58.

should be about getting pensioners to move to other countries. The

:53:59.:54:06.

Leader of the House wrote to me on the 24th of February in relation to

:54:07.:54:13.

the issue of the pension fund of employees of the Commonwealth War

:54:14.:54:16.

Graves Commission and said to me on the 24th of February that no

:54:17.:54:21.

decision had been made. Yet on the 29th of February, ministers had said

:54:22.:54:24.

a final decision was made in September. Could the Leader of the

:54:25.:54:29.

House provide a statement as to why he gave such inaccurate information?

:54:30.:54:33.

I would not have made that comment without having been told by the

:54:34.:54:36.

Ministry of Defence that that was the case, so I will have to ask them

:54:37.:54:42.

to respond to him. Order. Statement, the Secretary of State for Wales.

:54:43.:54:51.

Secretary Stephen Crabb. I will make a statement on the publication of

:54:52.:54:55.

the report of the mercury view. On the 5th of November 2012, the Prime

:54:56.:55:00.

Minister announced the stubs of an independent review into the scope

:55:01.:55:04.

and conduct of Sir Ronald Waterhouse inquiry into allegations of child

:55:05.:55:08.

abuse in care homes include between 1974 and 1990. We are talking about

:55:09.:55:16.

dark and shameful events that are stain on our nation. These were

:55:17.:55:20.

children in the care of the state because they were vulnerable and the

:55:21.:55:21.

state let them down. Our first thought will always be the

:55:22.:55:33.

victims, supporting them in bringing the perpetrators to justice. A

:55:34.:55:35.

review

:55:36.:55:36.

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