23/02/2017 Business Questions


Live coverage of the announcement of Commons business for the week ahead and questions to the Leader of the Commons David Lidington.

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issues. Thank you. Or death, business question. Thank you, --- or


death. Could the Leader of the House gives the forthcoming business. The


business the next week will be as follows, estimates date Monday


the... There will be a debate on future drug prevention followed by a


debate on health and social care. Tuesday the 28th of that be, there


will be a debate on the government's productivity plan followed by a


debate on intergenerational fairness. Further details will be


given in the official port at 7pm that day will stop Wednesday the 1st


of March, proceedings and the supply and appropriation anticipation, and


adjustments Bill. Followed by a second freezing of the bus services


Bill, Lords. Firstly the 2nd of March, a debate on the motion


concerning International Women's Day, followed by a general debate on


Welsh affairs, as determined by the... The 3rd of March, the House


will not be sitting. It commences the 6th of March and will include


Monday the 6th of March, second reading of the bagel technology and


aviation Bill. Mr Speaker, I should also like to inform the House that


the business in Westminster Hall for the second, sixth and 9th of March


will be as follows... Thursday the 2nd of March, debate on the ninth


report of the work and pensions committee on support for the breed.


Monday the 6th of March, dash for the bereaved. Debate on the eve


position motor to high heels and workplace dress codes. Thursday the


9th of March, debate on the second report of the mother of Scotland and


the implications for the devolution. Mr Speaker, in addition I should


like to inform a is that following discussion through the usual


channels, the ten minutes allocated up War Parliamentary questions to


the Leader of the House, that have recently taking place in the six


weekly voter, will now be used as additional time for questions to the


Secretary of State for culture, media and sport. And you questions'


rotor is now available from the vote office and members should be


reassured that I will continue to appear at the dispatch box at every


Thursday morning and honourable members will be able to use the


opportunity to ask any questions that they might otherwise have asked


at leaders' all is. Thank you, and can I thank the Leader of the House


but confirming that he will still be here even though he is such a


talented former Minister for Europe I think his talent should be the


ploy elsewhere. I am still going to ask the date of the recess, I know


that the Deputy Leader of the House is keen to know whether he can go on


holiday as he needs to do the pre-recess adjournment debate the


summer, he needs to order his new tie. Following on from the point of


order from the honourable member for the City of Chester, Billy get


mentioned to me the year of the act I asked politely, and it is the


elected that sensitive order into bars and to which enables processing


and closure of sensitive... Politely was very helpful I ensure that it


honourable as want a copy in making go bad. Mr Speaker, this is a photo


opportunity, the Prime Minister and government, or photos and no


substance or any thought that the British people. Not content with


being the first to visit the United date, when the prime Minster should


be networking in Europe, the Prime Minister then photo bombs the House


of Lords in a company with the Leader of the House, no wonder we


cannot get a date the recess, instead of 30 bombing the Prime


Minister to focus on what is going on in her own Cabinet. She needs to


have a discussion with the Cabinet, who are completely out of control.


She needs to think about our young people as they are our future. The


government sneaked out, just before Christmas recess which means


students will face a tuition fee rise in perpetuity. The Prime


Minister, yesterday, talk about children and their aspiration well


this generation is saddled with debt before they even start out in life.


There are two S eyes which are two was a tax and aspiration. Could the


leader with the House please said you are a debate on this with Billy


Mabry disgraceful increase in tuition fees. We want a debate,


scrutinise and debate on those SIs will stop the great debt --- the


great get-together to net Jo Cox... They have been handing out wooden


than the notices to people by e-mail and cutting the very organisation


that can help people in communities trust each other. They are there to


help about OK racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, we have seen a rise


in hate crime, just as all of us try to do. Could we have a debate on


EDM, and on sacked staff. The government are not interested in


education, across the parties, many members are alarmed at the new


funding formula courts to ask all is. The Prime Minister has said that


we are looking at a new formula, it is a consultation, so will the


Leader of the House guarantee a statement and immediately it is


over. And could the Leader of the House they when the consultation


will come to an end. The government are not interested in businesses,


what a lesson in disorganisation and chaos on business rates every pound


generated by the local businesses in the high Street 70p goes back to the


local economy, most businesses and the high-street pay more on business


tax... He should have looked into the long-term effects on business


rates before he introduced the policy. A loophole introduced by


the... Could the Leader of the House ensure that there is a full impact


assessment on these proposals before they are enacted. Mr Speaker, which


the and chaotic government with the Secretary of State for health


stating on the BBC last week can get away with this comment that


performance in some parts of the NHS are completely unacceptable and then


do nothing about it. Yesterday the Prime Minister mentioned mid Staffs


but forgot to mention what the person who led the enquiry into the


NHS said, ... The NHS is facing an existential crisis with a disconnect


between what the government is saying and the people's experience


on the ground. Could we have a statement on the government's plan


of action on restoring the NHS and listen to clinicians and staff, so


when the City of London has warned that the loss of banking jobs to the


EU threatens financial stability, the government needs to listen and


be transparent with British people on these warnings. The member the


Cambridge, had yesterday that people working in the museum, archaeology


place in Cambridge, want their contract is over that as it was the


education mess, help the mess, businesses under threat and the


judge says the government are making slow process on allowing civil


partnerships the heterosexual couples, who is this woman serving?


As someone who has served this House well... Someone who has served this


House well is someone who had a birthday, he is 85, I am sure we


would all wish in a very belated happy birthday and look forward to


the documentary on his life The Nature Of The Beast. Mr Speaker, can


I say that I cannot give a date for the summer recess. I would say to


the honourable lady back in my experience the Deputy Leader can


barely be torn away from his desk. He is so assiduous in his commitment


to his work in government and on behalf of his constituents. I will


try to let the honourable lady and the whole house have notice of the


summer recess dates as soon as I can, I completely agree with her on


the significance of the 2002 order and indeed the I recall that it was


brought in at a time when honourable members on all sides were as now,


finding a number of public authorities reluctant to disclose


information to them which space sought on Bihar but constituents


which had approached them. --- sought on behalf of constituents. I


was disappointed with what she said about the House of Lords, I actually


think it is important that ministers respect of the constitutional role


of the House of Lords. In my experience both in government and in


opposition, members of the other place like the fact that ministers


and indeed opposition spokesman go and listen to what they have to say


and that is exactly what the Prime Minister and I would be entirely in


the week. --- earlier in the week. We could have a long debate about


the opportunities for young people, in our society, but I simply say


that it is under this government that we see a rise in the number of


schools that are rated good or outstanding, giving our young men


and women the best start in life and we are seeing implement in the


United Kingdom at a record high in the best of them all is to enable


young people to have a decent education and then a job and the


housing white paper spells out ways in which the generating additional


supplies of housing we will help young people to get back foot on the


housing ladder so many are unable to afford at the moment. She asked


about tuition fees, the reality is that the maximum the cap will not be


increasing in real terms for anyone going to university. She and others


have asked me previously on Thursday sessions about the measures taken by


the equalities and human rights committee, they are publicly funded


body at arms length, ministerial direction and they like any other


part of the public sector have to take responsible decisions about how


to set priorities ever finite taxpayers resources that have been


allocated to them. I will write to her and put a note in the library


about the exact date when the consultation on the new funding


formula the schools is June two end. That is due to end. From memory it


is later in March but I will confirm that in writing. The other point she


asked about, and business rates, let's not forget that business rates


are founded upon the rental row you of business properties and rental


values change. I wasn't sure whether the honourable lady was saying that


the opposition would rather that the valuation was left on the basis of


rental values that are now seven years out of date. The government


has brought forward the revaluation that needed to be done, but as the


community secretary said yesterday, he is now working with the


Chancellor of data to see whether there there are further ways that we


can find to insure that some believe is given to individual businesses


that might be particularly badly affected by the impact of the


revaluations that have been carried out.


We could debate for a long time the NHS, I simply remind the honourable


lady that it is under this Government that the NHS is getting


record levels of funding, with an increase in the number of doctors,


nurses, and an increase in the number of our fellow citizens who


are being treated by immensely professional and hard-working NHS


staff. Far from this Government being disunited, it is this


Government that is pursuing a determined course to try to address


some of the deep-seated social and economic challenges that our nation


has faced for many years, and doing so in a way that brings benefit to


people in all parts of our United Kingdom and all parts of society. If


the honourable lady's looking for chaos, she should look behind and in


particular she has to look around the Shadow Cabinet table, because I


suspect you have to look at the nameplates to remind yourself who is


entitled to be at that meeting in that particular week. Would my right


honourable friend find time for a debate on funeral poverty? Whilst I


applaud the work of the Member for Swansea East, the Member for rugby


and the legislative proposal of the Member for Airdrie, having recently


met people from the sector, I am still convinced that there is more


that the Government could do to help people in financial difficulties at


what is often a distressing time. My honourable friend does raise an


important point. As he will know, the current arrangements mean that


the reimbursement of costs is available for people who are in


need, that can cover necessary costs involved with burial and cremation,


and up to ?700 for other expenses. And my understanding is that in the


last year for which we have figures, 2015, 2016, 29,000 such awards were


made, of more than 100,000 -- 100 thousand ?400 on average. But the


Government is exploring various options to see if we can make access


easier to the schemes we have. I'm sure any thoughts on proposals my


honourable friend has to make will be gratefully received by ministers


responsible. Can also thank the Leader of the House for announcing


the business for next week. I suppose the Leader of the House can


safely put away the abolition of the Lords Bill, and all we really needed


was a selfie of himself and the Prime Minister. After threatening to


lead this great Brexit rebellion, the Lords have only led the nation


up to the top of the Woolsack hill and down again, while leaving the


taxi running! Am I the only member who is slightly disturbed by the


allegations from the zero -- former Lord Speaker? Surely, does the


Leader of the House not agree that this warrant some sort of


investigation about what is going on down there with their expenses? Will


he assure us today that the Government has no intention of


debating early day motion 943 and government-owned? This is this


protect -- pathetic motion, but invites us to express no confidence


in you, Mr Speaker. That has secured a paltry five signatures. Will the


Leader of the House now confirmed that this is the end of this sorry


business? On Monday and Tuesday we have annual Estimates Day, when the


-- and one of the key features is that the estimates themselves to not


have to be debated. I lasted one minute and seven seconds last year


in trying to debate them. Lastly, Mr Speaker, I'm sure you will welcome


the Brit awards, David Bowie securing two awards, I think


everybody will welcome that today. I'm sure a few bleary eyed


honourable members perhaps overindulged over the ceremony. Our


music industry is one of the greatest success stories, and I'm


sure the Leader of the House in a more conciliatory tone would like to


welcome not just the enormous culturing -- cultural contribution


that our artists make, but also the economic one. On his first point


about the House of Lords, while I don't know any detail beyond the


reports of this television programme, it is clearly right that


evidence about specific allegations needs to be investigated by the


appropriate authorities in that house just as should be the case in


this one. But there has also to be due process, and one has to proceed


on the basis of evidence and not just allegation. He will notice that


I have not announced any plans to debate early day motion 943. This is


a long-running campaign that he and his colleagues have pursued. I think


the Government's point of view is that we are awaiting the report from


the select committee on procedure into estimates procedure. I will


want to reflect carefully on that when I see that report, and the


Government will obviously then respond to whatever recommendations


that select committee may wish to make. And I'm very happy to endorse


his salute to the economic impact as well as the cultural impact and the


enjoyment that so many people derive from our arts sectors and our


creative industries. It's important that we do remember that the arts


and the creative industries are major generators of wealth and of


employment in this country, as well as "Class entertainment to people. I


rather suspect that the honourable gentleman when he went last night


was hoping against hope that perhaps next year there might be the guest


slot, and then we could see him and his colleagues in all the us! My


right honourable friend will agree with me that corruption in local


government is totally unacceptable. Can we have an urgent debate about


the subject? The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating a


multi-million pounds council tax scam by Taunton Deane borough


council and its officers. They are under fire for failing to declare


conflicts of interests, and the leader's links with well-known


building firms are a bit more than dodgy. I also understand the club


has been set up to help funds. It is locally known as the monumental rip


off club. There is a nasty smell coming out of Taunton Deane, and


this has to be heard urgently. My honourable friend has made some


serious allegations. He has told the House that the Serious Fraud Office


is involved, as he knows, the Serious Fraud Office is completely


independent, rightly so, political from ministers, any evidence needs


to be placed before the appropriate authorities. I would like to


accommodate the very large number of members seeking to ask a business


question. I should point out the House that each of the two to


follow, the opposition day debate and the debate under the auspices of


the backbench business committee, are well subscribed. Therefore I


hope the House will help me, and that members will help each other,


with pithy questions and answers. Led, in this important matter, by no


less a figure in the House than Dame Rosie Winterton. I absolutely agree


with the point made by the honourable member for Perth and


North Ayrshire about early day motion 943, and welcome what the


leader said in response. But can I say that the leader did not mention


when the next debate on Brexit would be. Can I urge him when he does


bring forward that debate, that it focuses on the impact of Brexit on


the English regions? So the state is Max Secretary of State for Brexit


has the opportunity to tell us what analysis he has done on how Brexit


will affect areas like Yorkshire and the Humber, and what plans he has


too convened a meeting in York that he has spoken about, but which does


not yet seem to have materialised? I can assure the right honourable lady


that there will be a thing plenty of opportunities to debate all aspects


of our exit from the European Union, but I shall discuss with my


colleagues the particular thing that she proposes. In the absence of the


honourable member for Gateshead, who I trust we wish well and a speedy


recovery, on the half of the backbench business committee I thank


my right honourable friend for securing the debates this afternoon.


With protective time. Can I ask them for that next week, when we are


going to be debating International women's day and Welsh affairs, that


protected time is considered for those two debates, which


traditionally have been full day debate in this House? Speaker-macro,


we have a full waiting list of debates, which if we were allocated


every Thursday night until probation, we could fill


straightaway. That is before further requests come in. We have also had


to shoehorn debates into 90 minutes slots to meet the demand that is


coming forward from backbenchers. Can I just gently remind the leader


of course but on Monday the House rose very early, we could have had


backbench business debate in the time available. We had two budget


debate requests, sanctioned by the backbench business committee, which


we would like to schedule before my right honourable friend the


Chancellor presents his budget. So if time was available for those, we


would appreciate it. I hosted last night the centenary of the Rotary


foundation. This is a prime example of how polio can be eradicated and


the use of International development funds. Could we have a statement


from the Secretary of State on the money used to help eliminate polio


across the world? I can't offer an immediate debate statement, my right


honourable friend is quite right to draw attention to the importance of


that issue, and the achievement of voluntary as well as Government


action in helping to bring about a reduction in this dreadful disease.


Can I join him in sending best wishes to the chair of the backbench


business committee, I spoke to him earlier this week, he was hoping to


be able to return to the House as soon as possible. The particular


request that my right honourable friend made of me, I will take away


in consider that was -- request for protected time on the 2nd of March.


I understand his point about the pressure on backbench business


committee time, and I have to say that my experience is that sometimes


with backbench debates as with Government debates, they do finish


unexpectedly early, and at other times they run up against the


buffers. It is difficult to put -- predict. But the question of setting


priorities is I'm afraid unavoidable. Next Tuesday the Mr


Speaker's committee meets, and I understand they will be introducing


their scheme for the future. There are many members on all sides of the


House who simply mean that -- feel that they are not meeting the


requirement for adequate support. Some members are saying they are


never going to stand again, there are families who are finding it


difficult to get along and provide support for the children, and


they're all in particular conservative colleagues from closer


seats to London, who when we have late nights find it impossible to


know whether they are good to be able to stay in a hotel. Surely it


is time for a proper full review of these operations.


The speakers committee on this will be one of the highlights of next


week as well the me and other members. I think we do need to be


fair judgment on the new scheme until we have seen the details of


that. Very strong representations have been made by colleagues right


across the House to Ipsa on different aspects of the current


scheme and also on the way in which advice is offered to members. I


think, let's see how they respond to that, what I do not think would be


sensible would be to go back to the days when members themselves tried


to set the rules on expenses for salaries, I think we are better with


a system that is done independently. Mr Speaker, can we please have a


debate on the ease of registering to use government websites? If someone


does not have a passport or driving licence all the credit record it can


be very difficult indeed if not impossible. I cannot offer an Egypt


debate, I think that we are right across government. --- and immediate


debate. To try and make it easier for people who mostly digital access


and to make green expect to engage in public and private services that


way to make it easier for them to do so, we know not everyone,


particularly the most honourable in society has the official credentials


that are often demanded of them by governments. That is why we have set


of this new scheme as a new system for letting people prove their


identity more easy online. I hope that may provide part of the answer


to the problem that's been identified. But we need to focus on


this matter. Last night the Parliamentary human rights group


held a screaming of the Ross Kemp documentary which was called Libya's


Migrant Health, I want to ask the government to make a statement on


how we are helping those people in Libya, because we saw the most


dreadful scenes of women being raped and beaten and the holding camps


where they don't have enough food and I think we have some


responsibility and I would like a statement. The honourable lady has a


long history of championing the course of refugees and others in


dire need of and the world, she knows that the Department for


International Development and the Foreign Office are seeking to


support the very fragile Libyan government in trying to establish


control over its own territory and to ensure decent standards in the


treatment of refugees and Libyan citizens are maintained. We will do


what we can and I shall make so that ministers are alerted, later today


to her concerns, but the reality in Libya is that we need order and


governance on the grounds to be able to start work to improve the


standards in the way that we would both like to see done. Our party


candidate the West Midlands mayor has pledged if elected a special


fund to bring 1600 hectares of Brown land into use, could we have a


debate on the need to focus on brown field land before we tamper with the


green belt particularly around my constituency. I would be delighted


to hear the creative thinking that he is characteristically bringing to


these questions of housing and planning in the West Midlands and


hope very much that he will have the opportunity to put those into effect


as an elected mayor. The housing white paper as my honourable friend


will know stores say in terms that local authorities should be bringing


forward Brown field land and the government is eager to explore ways


in which we could insure that some of the obstacles such as the risks


of land contamination are addressed so weak and get that done. Does the


Leader of the House or any other member of the government actually


know roughly, what a two-year process of Brexit negotiations would


actually yield? If so can they arrange a statement at other


Leicester Busquets we know that the exit negotiation has to be conducted


under the process set out under Article 50 of the treaty. --- could


they arrange a stamen to tell the rest of us? They are not prepared to


in gauge in negotiations until Article 50 has been triggered, said


the straight and is that we do not know the details, but we are


committed to seeking a deal that delivers on all of the present green


principles that were set out in a white paper on the subject. Could we


have an early debate followed by legislation to prevent the


unacceptable practice of large developed is buying three held land


on which they then sell new houses on a leasehold basis? Calo cap ---


this is then stopped by some developers. Many young people feel


it is a rip-off. It is unacceptable and we need action. I'm grateful to


my honourable friend the raising this issue today. Developers should


be building homes to people to live in and not creating income


opportunities or selling on freeholds to investors or financial


institutions. Other then are very few accept no circumstances I do not


see why new houses shouldn't be built and sold with the freehold


interest of the point of sale. The community secretary has said that he


intends to stamp out the unfair, unjust, and unacceptable abuse of


the leasehold system and our housing white paper highlights the


government's decision to consult on a range of measures to tackle all


unfair and unreasonable abuses. I raised two weeks ago and matter


where a colleague of ours had asked for an F in relation to the


renewable heat initiative and was tough as there was too much


information to give. He resubmitted it to get another excuse, once


again, we have an election in Northern Ireland which is based on


the renewable heating initiative, would the Leader of the House


confirmed that Her Majesty's government has not been in


discussion with anyone in the executive and knows nothing about


the renewable heat initiative? I certainly don't know anything about


it other than what I have read in the press. The way that the


government operates on this is that we have a set of rules that govern


how we respond to these sorts of requests. There is a definition of


how you calculate disproportionate cost that applies right across


government. Quite often in my experience refining a request more


precisely those unable that request to pass the test of not encouraging


disproportionate costs. If the honourable gentleman would like to


have a word with me outside the chamber later on today I will see


there was anything I can do further. I wonder whether you might encourage


the Leader of the House to give some government time to talk about not


just the economic value of the high street but the culture that it


brings. As we are talking about business rate widely at the moment,


it would be wrong to focus on the economic output by taxi on the


nature of the society the high street Spring otherwise towns like


those that I represent will become dormant trees for London and lose


the very essence that keeps our county in our country so great. ---


dormitories blunted what is important in a world where everyday


lives and the nature of business is being transformed rapidly by digital


technology and social change, is that we find ways that enable our


high streets to continue to thrive economically and culturally, while


adapting to the new challenges of this century. I streets that remain


fossilised tend to fail. There is good examples all around this


country where local business communities in the high Street have


successfully adapted and I hope that we can find mechanisms for


disseminating that good practice. I know that the Northern Powerhouse


Minister has a big job of work to do and I imagined that he was dismayed


this week to see the latest treachery figures showing that the


transport infrastructure investment is a per head in 2016 to 2017 in


Yorkshire and Humber what 1942 in London. I wondered if we could have


a debate on what the Northern Powerhouse means that area like Hull


which has tax payers who do not get a good deal. I would expect the


honourable lady champions the course of grandmother macro in particular


but I would like to say that this government is investing a lot of


money to improve transport across the novel of England. --- the course


of Hull in particular. That is only possible because we are pursuing


economic policies that generate the wealth that enable us to provide


that support. I could give her a list of such projects, billion to


upgrade rail infrastructure, to the work we are doing with the rail


franchises in the north to 2.9 billion of bold improvements across


the North, the position is getting better but it relies on a strong and


productive economy without spending to continue. Perhaps the Leader of


the House could give is the anticipated timetable for the


prisons and caught Bill? And in the meantime could we have a debate on


assaults on prison officers, the number of these has gone up, and the


number of extra days given as prison sentences to people who commit those


offences has gone down since 2010 from an average of 20, pretty low as


it was, down to just 16, surely we should be stopping the release of


people halfway through their prison sentences that anyone who is


convicted in prison of assaulting a prison officer. Can we have a debate


to influence the government's Bill when it comes before was? I think if


when my honourable friend gets a chance to study the prisons and


caught Bill, he will find that it contains a number of measures that


will be welcomed by prison governors and prison officers, because they


are designed to help prison staff to warn the establishments in a way


that is safe for staff and for prisoners. --- to run the


establishments. I cannot give him the timescale for the debates but


there will be questions on the 7th of March when he may have the


opportunity to pursue some of these matters. Thank you. The revelations


by the former Lord Speaker of the peer and the... Is something that


calls the House into complete distribute. Basically appear acting


as if this place a smash and grab cash machine. This Vista be shrugged


off is not good enough. --- for this to be shrugged off. What must be


done is... Has a question been put to the former Lord Speaker to reveal


the name of that period? And is not is an investigation gets taken place


as in whom that Lord blue peer was? And for this person to be called


into question. The House of lords like this House is self-governing


when it comes to the conduct of its members, my view is that where there


is evidence, at the moment we have reports of allegations without


people being named, that there has been malpractice that should be


investigated and if the evidence is proven then appropriate action


should be taken. Hat-trick of questions this morning, in my end of


term speech last year I raised that social media company should take


responsibility for hate speech and extremism on the platforms rather


than leaving it to the pleased to their dirty work. Since there has


been no real improvement on these companies can we have a debate on


how we can make them face up to their responsibilities? I cannot


offer an immediate debating government time, I think this would


be extremely appropriate all debate in backbench offices or in


Westminster Hall, my honourable friend makes a very powerful point I


think most of us are pretty sickened ride the racist, vicious,


misogynistic, anti-Semitic material that is sent to our constituents and


used to intimidate members of this House as well. It is a practice


which needs to stop and I would hope that the internet companies would


live up to their corporate responsibilities.


Is the leader aware that the mechanism to achieve an elected


mayor is open to abuse? In my constituency on outsider has peddled


a petition making unfounded claims that an elected mayor would bring


lower council tax and an end to landlord licensing. Will the Leader


of the House allocate time in order that these processes and the abuses


can be investigated? I mean, certainly I am aware, Mr Speaker, of


the Tower Hamlets case which demonstrated that there is the


possibility of abuse in a mayoral election. I can't offer an immediate


debate in Government time. It is of course important that where there


are allegations of fraud or other types of malpractice, that those are


independently and rigorously investigated and people brought to


justice. May I commend the Leader of the House on the announcement that


this House will have the opportunity to vote on allowing Welsh to be


spoken in the grandest of all committees, the Welsh grand


committee? Would he also agree with me that this is another example of


the Conservative Government championing the Welsh language,


something we have done since introducing the Welsh language act


in 1993? Therefore can we have a debate in this House on this


momentous decision? My honourable friend's words, I think if I


attempted to address the House in Welsh are probably on do all the


goodwill that we may have obtained through the announcement made


yesterday. -- undo all the good will. But I am pleased by the


welcome this has had from Welsh members across the chamber. I think


it is a demonstration of the respect that this Government has for the


Welsh language, for its centrality in a sense of national identity and


cultural identity in Wales, and that will continue to be the case.


Yesterday Perth Kinross Council passed a budget which guarantees


local services will invest in jobs, education and social care.


Contrarily, however, on average in England and Wales council tax levels


at that ?300 to ?400 higher than those in Scotland. Can we therefore


have a debate on why England is the highest council tax part of the


United Kingdom? I think one would have to look at the variations in


council tax levels, and in central government grants, to local


authorities in different parts of the kingdom. And the point about


devolution is it does give Scottish authorities the choice as to how to


raise money; in the case of Scotland Scottish Government has chosen to


impose additional taxes centrally on constituents right across Scotland,


to make people in Scotland the most highly taxed people anywhere in the


United Kingdom. Can we have a debate about the case of the Welsh maths


teacher who was removed from a plane on his way to the United States in


front of his pupils? Isn't there a contrast between the way that we are


rolling out the red carpet for President Trump, whatever our views


on that, whilst he is treating our school teachers like criminals? This


case was disturbing because it went contrary to the declared policy of


the UK Government as regards British citizens. My understanding is that


this was down to the way in which a decision was taken at local level in


this particular case, but I will draw the honourable gentleman's


concern to the attention of the Foreign Secretary. In April 2013 on


the outskirts of Aleppo there was a mid-abduction by honour group of


men. Amid all the confusion, despite the efforts of many, there has been


no resolution whatsoever. They have faced a deafening wall of silence. I


think all reports indicate that the two gentlemen are still alive, but


efforts to free them has met a war of silence. Can I ask this -- the


leader, would he agree to a statement from the foreign and


Commonwealth of Sir on this case. I will make sure that ministers are


aware of this. The reality is, as he knows, but we have no British


Embassy in Syria at the moment, and the situation in and around Aleppo


remains dire in humanitarian terms. We all hope and indeed pray that the


Metropolitan and his colleague are alive and will be released in due


course. Instead of dealing with this, they now are proposing to


demolish these iconic tower blocks. Such action will do nothing for the


housing crisis. This surely warrants a statement from the housing


Minister or indeed a debate on the issue? There will be questions to


the Housing Minister next Thursday on the 2nd of March, but they give


the honourable gentleman and opportunity, but I fear these are


primarily matters for the local authority rather than the


department. The Leader of the House we have seen the headlines about


armed drones operating from RAF Waddington with a playlist. What has


happened to the commitment to come to the House if lethal force if used


as Mac is used in self defence. Can we have a debate on the number of UK


citizens targeted, and whether the kill list extends beyond areas where


military actions have been authorised by this House? The


Defence Secretary has been very clear about this, of course the


House did vote in favour of permitting the Government to extend


military operations being carried out in Iraq onto Syrian territory as


well, as part of a campaign to check and then defend -- defeat and


hopefully eradicate Daesh. The Defence Secretary has been clear


that we and the Coalition against Daesh will pursue people who are a


threat to our security and to the safety of British citizens. Whether


those people may come from. We act as always in our military operations


within the law, but I'm afraid that the message to anybody tempted to go


to join Daesh must be that they do so at great risk to themselves. I


would like to draw the Leader of the House's attention to my early day


motion about capping overdraft -- capping overdraft charges for


current accounts. And I would request a statement on this, because


it is important that the Government considers a cap on total charges any


bank can place on overdrawn personal current accounts. It has been my


experience as a constituency MP that this causes undue burden on many


people who find themselves in uncertain employment. I would


encourage the honourable lady to attend Treasury questions next


Tuesday, when she can put that point directly to the Chancellor a short


time before the budget. In January, the Chartered Institute of Taxation,


the Institute of fix -- fiscal studies and the Institute for


Government published a report about making tax policy better, and it


contains recommendations about how Parliament and Government can


improve the ways they make tax policy. With the Leader of the House


committee looking at this report and getting back to me about what


actions he intends to take in order to realise these recommendations? A


prep primarily be for Treasury ministers to consider their response


to recommendations made. -- it would primarily be. But I shall ask


Treasury ministers to write in the way she suggested, to explain their


response it. -- response to it. In a macro on Saturday I will be meeting


with the managers of a wind turbines firm who are in the process of


learning on employees because a company spokesman says the UK


Government's energy policy has meant a slowdown in development. Is this


an intended or unintended consequence of the change in


Government policy, and can we have an urgent statement about the cat


acrostic consequences of this Government's energy policy on the


already fragile economy of my constituency? -- catastrophic


consequences. The facts are that the UK is the world's leading player in


the offshore wind market. We are on track now comfortably to exceed our


ambition of delivering 30% of the UK's electricity from renewables by


2020 to 2021. He should be standing up and employing what -- applauding


the Government has done. -- applauding. Small businesses are


vital to our economy, so I would congratulate the winners of my small


business constituency awards this year. The NDP couriers employ people


with disability. Can we have an important debate on supports for


entrepreneurship for disabled people, to ensure that we harness


and realise everyone's potential? First of all, I congratulate the


businesses in her constituency on this particular award. She draws


attention to an important point, which is the need to make sure that


people with disabilities have equal access to employment opportunities,


as people without disabilities do. We do now of course have more people


with disabilities in employment in the United Kingdom than ever before,


but there is a great deal still to be done, and that requires action by


Government, yes, but also by innovative, forward-looking


businesses that can see the advantages of inclusion. Can we have


a debate on UK visa policy and its negative contribution to the UK


economy? Two of my constituents originating from Mumbai were brought


over in 2014 as part of the Sirius to grant, as graduate at -- on a


graduate visa. They have set up the business, they have received


significant funding for it, but this has recently been put at risk by the


UK visas and immigration system. They have had their T1 visa rejected


on a technicality. Putting all they have worked for at risk. They have


no valid leave to remain at the present time. Can we have a debate


on this important area, because it makes no sense to bring people over


here to be part of the economy, to contribute, and then to kick them


out. If indeed the application was rejected on a technicality, I don't


know any details of the case, then I would hope it would be possible to


find a remedy for that via the system that the Home Office


operates. I mean, there has in any visa system to be a balance between


getting the brightest and the best in the world to come and take job


opportunities here and to study here as we all want to say, what are the


same time ensuring that we have proportionate and effective


immigration controls. The Leader of the House will be aware of his


Government's policy to tax victims of domestic abuse for using the


child maintenance service. Women's groups, charities and the miss of


the public have said this Government are putting single parents and


children at risk through this tax. 30% of CMS users are victims of


domestic violence, and tens of thousands of women are losing money


because they cannot gain safely with their ex-partner. Can I ask for a


debate in Government time on this injustice? Is the honourable lady


will know, this Government has demonstrated its commitment to


trying to help people who are victims of domestic violence. -- as


the honourable lady will know. It is something the Prime Minister takes a


very close and strong personal interest in, she said within the


last week, the Government is now committed to looking again at the


whole range of laws as they apply to domestic violence, to consider what


changes can be made. If she would like to just let me have some


details of the particular problem that she has spoken about today,


then I will certainly draw those to the attention of the appropriate


ministers. The Leader of the House will be aware that this week -- next


week there will be Assembly elections in Northern Ireland. This


it has been revealed that that the even more holier than no sister


party to the Liberal Democrats, the Alliance Party, have been seeking to


manipulate phone in programmes by encouraging their members to give


fake names, fake addresses, a tactic which they say helped the previous


elections. The BBC has so far given very little coverage to this. Yet


another example of the biased way in which they have conducted themselves


during this election campaign. Can we have a debate in the House on the


political bias of this publicly funded body, and the way in which it


has breached its charter? The honourable gentleman has made


his point very powerful a, the BBC in Northern Ireland as everywhere


else in the United Kingdom is under an obligation to demonstrate,


particularly during election campaigns of any kind, that it is


impartial as between rival political parties, but it must be for the BBC


not the government ministers to take responsibility for editorial


positions. I was able to take part in a delegation in Cyprus and meet


with the president and members of Parliament, about the peace process


there... I wonder if we could have a debate on this issue so that


perspectives could be... I think that I could say with my previous


ministerial experience that the government is utterly committed to


doing what ever we can to help bring about a reconciliation between the


different communities in Cyprus and to support them in reaching a


settlement that will reunite the island and which will endure for the


long-term. A reunited Cyprus could provide such opportunities to


Turkish and Greek Cypriots alike and it is good that in the dashed it is


good that we have two leaders that wants to promote peace and


reconciliation. No legislation exists that prevents insurance


companies from exterminating against people... --- discriminating against


people with diseases like Huntington's disease. Can we have


debate this? The honourable gentleman has identified what is


going to be an increasing challenge for our society, insurance companies


have a business model based on an assessment of risk and greater


genetic information will allow better risk to be coach elated much


more precisely than in the past and that starts to get into situations


where people find it difficult to get insurance. This is an issue well


worth highlighting. Can we have a debate on the definition of New


Money on Wednesday at press release was announced... It turns out that


this is in fact not new money that was already budgeted for, can he


arrange for the secretary to clarify what new and additional funding this


government is prepared to provide the people who are starving to death


in south Sudan. Nobody I think in any part of the House would wish to


underplay the gravity of the crisis in South Sudan. The declaration of


famine was shocking but not unexpected, it derives from the


prolonged, political crisis, civil war in that country. The situation


has been steadily worsening since the conflict began in 2013. What the


government has done is to provide more than ?500 million of


humanitarian health and education support over that last three years.


That has helped to prevent famine in previous years on top of the


previous money we gave to help refugees whose lead self Sudan. The


hundred million 50,017 to 18 as I understand it is on top of the 500


million that has already been spent. Clearly, different ministers always


keep and review allocations within their budget particularly in the


need for urgent humanitarian relief. Also, we need to make sure that the


money we spend is going to help those who are genuinely in need.


Hater RC have lost the court case with a well-received one of my


constituency is the tool this action cost him a with no effective


recourse to HMRC. Comey have a statement on how to rectify this


type of injustice is? --- can we have a statement. I would say, first


of all as he knows, probably, HMRC for good reasons operate


independently but ministerial direction when it comes to handling


the cases of individual taxpayers, because you do not want ministers to


start having the powers to intervene in the cases of individuals' tax


affairs. On the particular case that he has cited he said that it has


gone to the courts and his constituent was successful, I would


normally have expected the courts to consider the question about costs.


If there is the injustice that he has described if you could let me


know the details on why the courts did not apparently addressed this,


then I will refer back to the Minister with overall responsibility


for HMRC. Thank you Mr Speaker, do the government have any plans to


copy the excellent initiative of the cabinet of Gregory holding Cabinet


and public meetings in places other than the capital? If they do can I


recommend the kingdom of Fife, which would give him and his colleagues a


chance to visit, but he could also point out to his colleagues that the


Forth Bridge is open. The answer to his first question is yes, and the


Cabinet met in the North West of England quite recently. I would be


very attracted by the idea of a cabinet visit to the Kingdom of


Fife, as well, and I will make sure that number ten is aware of the


honourable gentleman's wish to welcomer 's. Splendid. Point of


order. --- wish to welcome us. On the 18th of January I asked a


question to the Minister of Justice to ask them how many and what


proportion of sentences to each category of offence was suspended


sentences. On the 16th of February the Minister for prisons said that


the information could be found on the government's website. It took


among other Ministry of Justice to find this information before they


could actually put back in answer to me, there was no indication of where


on the website it could be found and it seemed that this is not the first


time that this has happened. It is occurring regularly with the


Ministry of Justice. It seems clear to me that they are doing this


deliberately to make sure that this information never comes to light. I


will refer this to the procedure committee and I am wondering if


there was anything that you could do, Mr Speaker, to make sure that


the answers we get actually open and transparent rather than this kind of


dishonourable to? Well, I'm grateful for his point of order and my


response is as follows, consistent with what I have said previously on


this matter, first, over sponsors should be timely and the honourable


gentleman suffered an untimely response, he had to wait longer than


he should have had to do. Secondly, responses to parliamentary questions


from members should be substandard ships and the honourable gentleman


did not receive a substantive reply. --- should be substantive. I would


say to the honourable gentleman and the House that it is one thing for a


minister in answering a written question to refer to a website on


which further and more detailed information might be available that


would be of interest to the member but it is quite another matter


simply, blandly and without guidance or direction to refer to a website


to say nothing about where on it the member should look and to imagine


that that is satisfactory as a substitute for a straight answer to


a straight question. It is not. The Leader of the House takes very


seriously his responsibility, as in the Deputy Leader doors, for


ensuring that ministers provide timely responses that are


substantive and do not use that Bruce or device and they have had


the honourable gentleman's point of order and my response. Best if there


are no further points of order, and I think you go racing that, we come


to the presentation of bills, secretary Elizabeth truss.


Prisoners... Second reading, what they? Tomorrow. We now come to the




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