06/07/2017 Business Questions


Live coverage of the announcement of Commons business for the week ahead and questions to the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom.

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about it in terms not just of what we ourselves hold as an opinion but


what other people might think and we'll leave it there for now. We now


come to business questions. Valerie vows.


Could the Leader of the House please give us the forthcoming business?


Thank you, Mr Speaker. The business for next week will be Monday 10th of


July, second reading of the relief from non-domestic rate is built. 11


of July, consideration in committee and remaining stages of the


organising bill following by the bill procedure. Wednesday 12 July, a


general debate on the Grenfell Tower Fire enquiry and Thursday 13th July,


general debate on the commemoration of Passchendaele. 14 July, the House


will not be sitting. I would also like to inform the House that the


business at Westminster Hall for the 13th of July, will be Thursday 13th


July, debate on the supply of homes and affordable homes to buy followed


by a debate on the introduction of an opt out system for organ donation


in England. Colleagues will want to be aware that the election of select


committee chairs will take place on Wednesday 12 July from 10am until


4pm in committee room eight. Finally, Mr Speaker, I was delighted


to hear of the hard work that both you and the lord Speaker have put in


to ensure the parliament properly marks pride weekend. Among other


activities, the rainbow coloured flag will be projected onto the


Palace for the duration of the weekend and I am sure members from


across the House in this, the most diverse parliament ever, will join


me in sending our best wishes to all those celebrating this weekend and


the rest of pride month. Thank you. Thank you, Mr Speaker and can I join


the Leader of the House and her good wishes for everyone taking part in


pride week and know that we are in the business of equality for


everyone. Maybe you need to wear a rainbow tie next week. I probably


want require any encouragement. Can I thank the Leader of the House but


she made no mention of the specific debate I asked for last week on the


judgments that were made in the High Court, particularly on the plan for


clean air and the benefit caps. She also made no mention of any


opposition dates. The last time we had an opposition date was in


January. She also made no mention of when she is going to schedule the


debate on the instruments on tuition fees regulations. It is important,


Mr Speaker, particularly as the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the


latest report said that students in England are going to graduate with


an average debt of ?50,800 after interest rates are raised on student


loans to 6.1% in September. Interest rates, they say, are very high


compared with the current market rate. The report also goes on to


state that with a higher debt, students from the purest 40% of


families now accrue around 6500 in interest during the study. The first


Secretary of State in a speech at earlier, said there was a national


debate we need to have about university tuition fees. I do not


know where he was from May until the 8th of June but he is the got an


answer, a minority Government. Could the Leader of the House please


honour that parliamentary convention and let's debate that Dutch cherry


instrument. It seems young people are being rejected by this minority


Government. Can we also have a debate about women against eight


pensions inequality. It is so far been signed by 124 honourable


members from all parties. There was a debate in Westminster Hall


yesterday, which was oversubscribed. Standing room only. Could the Leader


of the House please find time to debate this injustice to 1950s


women. Or are those 1950s women also rejected by the minority Government?


So far the financial Hall is ?1.5 billion for the deal, the National


U-turn has left a 2 billion hole in public finances over the next five


years. The concession last week in support of women in Northern Ireland


quite rightly was made, but has not been costed. Many other Secretary of


State had been acting for extra money, 1 billion for education,


Secretary of State has also asked for money. The financial Hall is


getting bigger. The Government announced in the Queen's speech that


the world have refinanced bills over the course of this Parliament. Could


she say when we will have the summer Finance bill, which I think has been


suggested by the Treasury and picked up by the shadow Treasury team?


Unless there is going to be no in Parliament, just an announcement in


October in Manchester. Guess who said this, tell the others who have


got their own opinion to shut up. There is a sense you have at the


moment of everybody doing their own thing, nobody asserting what they


want to do in the national interest. We cannot go on living from hand to


mouth in this sort of shambolic way. Former Tory party chairman lord


Patten. He said that, Mr Speaker, because of this... On the 3rd of


July, in response to the honourable member's written question, the


Government's manifesto had a free vote on the hunting bill. A U-turn.


Free school meals, the Minister has responded this week. The Government


has decided it is right to retain the existing universal infant free


school meal provision. A U-turn. Grammar schools, the Secretary of


State for Education confirmed any written to the honourable member


there is no education bill in the Queen's speech and therefore, the


ban on opening new grammar schools will remain in place. Another


U-turn. The triple lock on pensions. The Government wanted to scrap the


loch by 2020 because of their deal to stay in Parliament. Another


U-turn. Winter fuel allowance. The Government's means testing has been


dropped. Another U-turn. Everything in their manifesto, all dropped. No


policy. What is left? Strong and stable. I think that is another


U-turn. Mr Speaker, you will remember that the Prime Minister was


billed as the second incarnation of another female Prime Minister, whose


nickname for those of us who can remember was Jena. There is no


alternative. We say, in Her Majesty's opposition, here we are,


there is an alternative. -- nickname was Tina.


Can I start by replying to the honourable lady on the subject of,


as she puts it, U-turn is. Just explain to her that, as she knows,


as all honourable members know, this result of the journal collection was


not as we would have wished it. We do not have the majority we would


have wished for. All members can satisfy themselves that therefore,


the measures that are being brought forward by this Government are


focused on those measures that we can all support. Making a success of


leaving the European union, making sure that we can continue to trade


and collaborate with our EU friends and partners. Secondly,


strengthening the economy. New measures on being a world leader in


autonomous vehicles, commercial space flights, industries of the


future that will create the jobs of the future. Thirdly, improving our


society. We went to see strength and support for the mental health


problems in our society and measures to protect people from domestic


violence. These are measures the whole house can get behind. More


measures to strengthen the United Kingdom, to prevent extremism and to


protect us from terrorism. These are the sorts of measures that this


Government will be bringing forward that I do urge all members to look


at and take very seriously. This will represent real progress in this


Government. Specifically on her points on some of the court


judgments that are before us, those remain with judges and so, as she


will know, we do not comment on judgments, as she would wish is to


do. On opposition days and sitting Fridays, Private member Hills days


and so on, those will be brought on in due course. They will be at least


in line with the number of days provided in standing orders but


there will be other days provided in addition to that through the usual


channels. Then she talks about the debate on student fees. She points


out the interest rates on student fees. I do need to set clear for the


House that student debt is not like normal commercial loans. Student


fees are made available to all students, regardless of their


financial history. The repayable according to income, not according


to the amount due. Of course, the off by the taxpayer after 30 years.


They are not like normal commercial loans. The act more as a


contribution, only a contribution because the taxpayer continues to


pacing of the concerns, towards the cost of receiving a degree that


means that individual will earn more during their career. Erin more than


those taxpayers who do not have the benefit of a degree. It tends to be


fair to the student and fear to the taxpayer. I want to point out our


measures to improve apprenticeships, nearly 3 million in the last


Parliament and a commitment to many more millions of apprenticeships in


this Parliament offer real alternatives to young people who do


not want a good university. Finally, the point made by the University --


the point made by the Prime Minister, that should be a good


thing, celebrated by the whole house. Thank you. I am sure the


Leader of the House will agree that the House would want an early debate


on any Government programme where the costs are rising, where it is


looking like it is not good money for a value for the taxpayer, where


senior personnel are leaving, where procurement processes are down and


where technology is being overtaken by other more moderate developments.


Can we have an early debate on the phase one of the high-speed rail


before we enter into the folly of entering into phase two. Can we see


whether if it is going ahead, it could be used for another form of


transport, perhaps for those autonomous vehicles on which the


Leader of the House is so keen. Well, my right honourable friend and


I have worked for a very long time on representing both constituencies


of hours in every way we possibly can. My constituents are to Iraq


have grave concerns about the impact as it passes through our


constituencies. -- have grave concerns. I am sympathetic to her


cause. She knows as well as I do, that is a commitment to the


high-speed rail. These one has received a cent. We will continue to


look at the construction phase and what more can be done to compensate


our constituents. A lot of my constituents are very hacked off


about the matter as well. I thank the House for what passes for


business for next week. Can I join her in wishing well all of those


participating in pride week. There are no this week. Anon next week


probably no votes before we get into the summer recess. This is quickly


becoming the zombie cop flicks Parliament -- Apocalypse Parliament


where they look for brains only to seek the help all left the country,


like everybody else. I wonder how long they will be able to pad out


the business. The will of this house will have to be tested. We are all


going to be deciding the chairs of the select committee. It is good to


see the select committees up and running but what is happening with


the standing committees of this house? They have already passed


secondary bills and another one next week, they have to have a


conversation and discussion about them because they are important than


the passing of legislation. I have looked at the arithmetic and I have


figured out they should be nine Conservative members, seven Labour


members and to SNP members. The reader of the House can correct me


if I have that wrong but when will we see in Motion coming to this


house. When will be standing committees be up and running? Can I


support the shadow Leader of the House on having a full debate on the


50s women issue. There are so many members of Parliament wanted to


represent their view my constituents born in the 1950s. We have to have


the debate here on the House and noticed there is a cooling in the


mid and Conservative members of this. We saw that ?1 billion bill


for the DP. Let's have a vote here. Lastly, it was one year ago before


we had the Chilcott report. I remember we debated this for two


days. Today, Sir John Chilcott said that Tony Blair was not straight


with the nation. Is it now not time for a parliamentary committee to


investigate this properly and take appropriate action against the


Thank you, Mr Speaker. I encourage the honourable gentleman to


consider, perhaps in Hansard, if he wasn't listening, the strong case


and made for the measures this government will be taking to


significantly take steps forward for our country to improve the situation


for all of our residents across the UK. He says there have been no


votes, and that is testament to the agreement across the House that's


what we are doing is right. I encourage him and his honourable


friends to continue to support the government efforts. His comments on


standing committees are being looked at. They will be appointed in due


course and those issues will be resolved. On the Waspi issue, we


have had five debates on this, and as with all high-profile and very


concerning issues, the government continues to look at these issues.


But he will appreciate that unfortunately, we are still trying


to deal with the problems in our economy left to us by the last


Labour government. No, you might groan on the opposition benches, but


the reality is that this government is still clearing up the mess from


the last Labour government. Therefore, we have had to take tough


decisions across those people coming up to retirement age as well as


those of working age. His final point about the Chilcot Inquiry,


that was a seven-year long inquiry. The government has looked at this in


great length and it has been discussed. And the government


continues to learn the lessons from the Chilcot Inquiry and will be


committed to continuing to do so. But it doesn't have plans at the


moment to reopen a further inquiry. Can we have a statement from the


Secretary of State for the environment about dog thefts and


dogfighting? There are far too many dog thefts in my part of the world


and probably others, many of which are used as bait for dogfighting,


which is disgusting. There appears to be not enough done about this by


the law enforcement agencies and animal welfare agencies. Can we have


a statement from the Secretary of State as to what he intends to do to


clamp down on this disgusting practice? Right honourable friend


raises an important point. There is no doubt that we are a nation of dog


lovers. As Secretary of State for Defra, I did spend a lot of time


trying to improve the rules on puppy licensing, to get backstreet


breeders out of the way and improve the issues around animal welfare and


training. But he raises an important point and I encourage him to get in


touch with Defra again on what is an important matter for all of us.


South Yorkshire has lost over 400 police officers since 2010. Can I


ask the Leader of the House if we could have a debate on what extra


resources can be made available to make people in Barnsley safe? I


would like to welcome the honourable lady to her place and wish her


success in her new role in this House. She raises an important


matter across the country, that of policing. She will know the


government has protected police funding in real terms. I met my own


police and crime commission only yesterday to talk about the


difference in the way that policing is happening. She will be pleased to


know that crime has fallen by a third since 2010, enabling police


forces to put more into cyber crime and crime prevention and online


crime. Nevertheless, the relevant minister will have heard her points.


With my honourable friend find time for a debate on the criteria for


awarding city status? In every respect, Southend-on-Sea, with its


many qualities, should already be a city. I believe it is an oversight


which attention could be drawn to in a general debate. My honourable


friend is a huge supporter of his constituency in Southend. I am sure


all members will have spent happy hours on the beaches there.


Nevertheless, he will appreciate that city status is a rare privilege


to be conferred by Her Majesty on advice from ministers and not


something for this House. In the last Parliament, I rose to seek the


support of the then Prime Minister for a constituent who has been


missing in Spain since November 2015, Lisa Brown. I now found myself


having to rise again in relation to an additional constituent, Caroline


Hope, who in travelling to Turkey on personal matters before returning


home to Scotland has been diagnosed with cancer and sought emergency


surgery and has now been infected with E. Coli and is now having to


rely on the support of family and friends and strangers to raise over


?30,000 to bring Caroline home to Scotland to West Dunbartonshire.


Could I impress upon the Leader of the House to seek from the Foreign


Commonwealth Office and the Foreign Secretary a quick response to a


letter I have sent to them this week in terms of both Caroline's


situation and for further support in terms of Lisa being missing in


Spain? I am obviously incredibly sympathetic. That sounds like a


terrible situation. He will be aware that there are oral questions to the


Foreign Office next week and he may wish to raise it then. My village is


lucky in the sense that it had flood defences put in place before the


Boxing Day flood. But the water still got within one inch of


people's doorstep and my village nearby had similar problems. The


devastation has been huge and there has been a rush to put bigger flood


defences in column but could I have a statement from the relevant


minister in relation to the flood strategy for Leeds and with specific


mention unconcern of what modelling has been done to ensure that more


water is not coming down to my villages, which already have flood


defences in place, but came close to being breached. I had the great


pleasure as Environment Secretary to go to Leeds last year to see the new


proposed move weirs, which should make a big difference to the ability


to prevent water becoming overwhelming. The Environment Agency


is working with Leeds City Council and the local flood groups to


understand the latest flood modelling results and identify the


most appropriate options. But there is a lot of work including ?3


million of additional government funding to try and address the leads


flood alleviation scheme. In west Yorkshire, our bluelight services


and those who represents rank and file staff are clear that our


emergency services are in crisis and staff are struggling. West Yorkshire


has lost more than 1200 police officers since 2010 and 554


firefighters. It is no wonder my constituents feel less safe. Given


that we haven't had an opposition day since January, will the Leader


of the House allow government time for this important debate before the


summer recess? I refer the honourable lady to what I said to


her honourable friend. Crime is down. This government has protected


police funding. She may wish to raise the specific issues from her


constituency by applying for an adjournment debate or a Westminster


Hall debate. At the weekend, I joined a group of volunteers from


the heart of Hednesford group who were planting hay racks on the


platforms of the nearby rail station to give passengers a colourful


welcome to the town. Will my right honourable friend join me in


congratulating and thanking this group of volunteers, but could we


also have a debate in government time about the role of volunteers


and community groups in their local communities? I am delighted to share


in her congratulations to her volunteers. We all appreciate the


amazing work done by volunteers, whether it is litter picking,


planting flowers, supporting vulnerable people and so on. We have


frequent debates in this place on the subject of volunteers. I


encourage her to have a further want to show our appreciation. Would the


Leader of the House arrange for a statement to clarify the position of


who is responsible for dealing with the increasing problem of urban


foxes? This is something I have had huge buzz of complaints about


recently. It is an area where no one takes responsibility. I am not


suggesting the setting up of a Vauxhall hunt! But I am looking to


help those constituents who are finding their lives not just


intolerable in their homes, but what can be done and who takes


responsibility? The more time the honourable lady is in her


constituency, the more terrified the foxes will be! I think they have a


cheek, going to Vauxhall with the honourable lady's views of foxes!


Very brave of them. There are obviously strict rules around


dealing with wildlife in urban as well as rural areas and keeping the


fox population down is an important issue. I suggest that she writes to


the Secretary of State for Defra. Gosh, just as we are talking about


foxes, who should come into the chamber but the Secretary of State


for International Development! How very timely. Given the number of


terrorist acts carried out in the UK by people who are prevented from


going to the Middle East, may we have a statement from an appropriate


government minister setting out the arguments for and against preventing


would-be jihadists who are adults from travelling abroad and keeping


them at home when we know that they cannot all be monitored at home


around the clock? My honourable friend raises an important issue.


Approximately 850 UK linked individuals of national security


concern have travelled to engage with the Syrian conflict. We think


about half have returned to the UK and over 15% have subsequently been


killed in fighting in the region. Our priority is of course to


dissuade people from travelling to areas of conflict and our Prevent


strategy includes a lot of work to support individuals at risk of


radicalisation. This is clearly something for the commission of


countering extremism which is being set up. And I am sure the foreign


affairs select committee will also be interested. The Leader of the


House mentioned in her opening remarks extremism. Will the Leader


of the House make time available for us to have a debate on the report


into extremism and the funding of extreme activity in the UK which has


not yet been published by the government? Members are entitled to


know, for instance, whether it is because there are many references to


the activities of the Saudis in this report. Can we have time for such a


debate? The honourable gentleman will appreciate that this is clearly


something for the commission for countering extremism. It will be


looking at reports of what has gone on already and they will be keen to


take up. ChildLine, which is now part of the NSPCC, was founded 30


years ago and over that time has helped more than 4 million children.


Can we have a debate about how the government could work more closely


with ChildLine and the NSPCC, particularly in areas such as online


abuse and children's mental health? My honourable friend has been a huge


advocate of the work that ChildLine do and everybody across the House


would want to congratulate them on show appreciation for the excellent


work they do. He will be aware that teachers and school staff across the


country have started training to be able to identify and respond to


early signs of mental health problems among pupils, which is a


very good thing. He may want to expand on that discussion in


applying for a debate. I would encourage him to look at the early


years infant mental health, which is so important is that young people up


with lifelong emotional well-being. The M56 is the printable economic


artery not just for West Cheshire, but large parts of north Wales and


continues to jam up regularly, at which point all the roads around it


jam up as well. Can we have a debate on why the Reg Treasury has failed


to find any investment for the M56 in the last 20 years -- the road


strategy has failed to find investment. This government has


significantly invested in roads and continues to do so. If he has


specific issue about the M56, I encourage you to apply for an


adjournment debate, but this government is committed to improving


on our infrastructure to get the economy going and boost even more


jobs for people in this country. We share a strong interest in giving


babies the best start in life. I am greatly encouraged by the government


's's commitment to a mental health Bill in the green's speech and


particularly for the amendments to an equalities Bill to reduce any


discrimination against people with mental ill-health. Can she give us a


timeline for that legislation and what it may cover, to promote


perinatal mental health in giving our children the very best start in


mental health in their lives? I am very grateful to him for raising


that issue, very dear to his heart and mind, giving babies the best


start in life through secure early bonding is absolutely vital, and I'm


sure it will be part of our new Mental Health Act that was mentioned


in the Queen's speech, and that there will be members right across


the house keen to put forward their views. That's timing will be decided


in due course. After Home Office questions on Monday, when the Home


Secretary claimed police funding had been protected, although it has not


been on Merseyside, there was yet another firearms discharge in my


constituency. That makes over 100 shootings across Merseyside in the


last 18 months, involving five murders. Can we have a debate about


the increasing gun crime happening across Merseyside, and what the


government will do better to equip our police to deal proactively with


the serious threat to public safety that it represents? She is exactly


right to raise this issue, in her constituency, it's very serious. She


will be pleased to know that since 2010, there have been over 370,000


fewer violent crimes a year, but that doesn't help at all, when in


her constituency, there have been many of them, and I do suggest she


takes that up via a Westminster adjournment debate. Could we have a


debate on the accountability of local councils? Taunton Deane


council have given permission for 17,000 houses. One company alone has


built up a multi-million pound land bank on the assumption that the


council will be giving them permission. Could we please have the


tightening of rules on that before that is a serious situation, where


councils are accused of all sorts of things that I suspect they don't


want to be. He raises an important point, which is that housing needs


to be sited in an appropriate place and there needs to be clear and


transparent rules around planning. But there is a balance, because we


desperately need to be building more houses. We have a great record of


building over 800,000 new homes since 2010 in this country, which is


a very good contribution. More needs to be done. He may want to raise his


specific point at the questions that will happen before the end of this


summer session. Further to the point made just a moment ago, and in light


of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, and


yesterday's report by the Henry Jackson Society on foreign funding


of extremism in the UK, can I ask when the Prime Minister will either


publish the report into the foreign funding of terrorism that was


commissioned when she was Home Secretary, or make a statement to


this house on foreign funding to extremist groups in the UK? In


answer, he will know that this is an enormously important issue for the


Prime Minister personally, and that she has committed to doing


everything possible to keep our people safe. She is setting up the


commission for countering extremism and she is fully occupied in


resolving this issue, so I'm sure he can rely on the fact that she will


be doing everything possible to stamp out extremism in all its


forms. One of the regular issues to land in my inbox is litter and


fly-tipping, and I'm sure it lands in many other members' inboxes as


well. Fly-tipping alone costs local authorities in England ?49.8 million


in 2015/2016, that's on top of the cost of litter clean-ups. Family


have a debate on more can be done, how effective the enforcement of


fly-tipping and Leicester is, and how we can encourage members of the


public to dispose of the litter and waste properly? I'm very happy to


encourage everybody to take their litter home with them, but she is


right, this cost of street cleaning costs local government nearly ?800


million in 2015/ 2016. There's a huge amount of money that could be


better used to doing other things. I was very pleased to launch our


national litter strategy for England, looking at the areas,


enforcement, infrastructure for bins and also education. That


consultation has finished and there will be further announcements coming


forward very soon. Today is a sad day for Glasgow politics, as this


morning is the funeral of Councillor Alistair Watson, whose life was


celebrated in an early motion, a gentleman to give 22 years of


service to the communities of Donald. I would like to send my


condolences to his family and the members of the Glasgow Labour


family. I would like to share with him in offering condolences to the


family of the council that he mentions. And there are, right


across the country, people who written many, many years of public


service, trying to improve their own local community or indeed, the


country that they live in, and that's absolutely vital to of us. I


think he makes a very good points, that we should have a debate to try


and encourage more people to get involved, but also to celebrate


those who have, and I do encourage him to apply for a debate on that


subject. As Daesh have failed to do love the caliphate, they grow more


desperate. Maybe have an early debate on the application of


international law to bring prosecution against Daesh fighters,


those who choose to partner with them and even marry them, to make


sure that every terrorist is held accountable for their barbaric


crimes. We are very concerned about the appalling crimes committed by


Daesh against Christians and other minorities, as well as against the


majority Muslim population in Iraq and Syria. Ultimately, the only way


to stop the abuse is to defeat Daesh and establish a long-term political


settlement in Iraq and Syria. So we continue to work closely with the


government of Iraq and the United Nations to do just that, but she


should be reassured that any Daesh supporters returning to the UK will


face the whole force of the law. Developers in London routinely use a


variety of methods to aggressively drive down levels of affordable


housing. The recent Battersea Power Station development being the most


recent and high profile example. Can we have a debate about what more


needs to be done to make sure that private development includes


sufficient public gain an adequate levels of affordable housing? We all


share the desire to see more affordable housing. There's a big


commitment on the part of this government. More than 300,000 new


affordable homes have been built since 2010. Of course, it is a


matter for local planning authorities to make sure that the


right proportions are built in new development. I heard what the Leader


of the House said earlier about student loans. While the original


policy introduced by the Coalition Government was widely supported and


remains progressive, things have changed slightly, because the level


of interest at which both living costs and studies will be repaid,


rises to 6.1% this September, and that, allied with compound interest


over a 30 year period, is what gave the IDF S in their reports yesterday


the calculation of total debt being ?55,000. A number of us are very


concerned about this. Could I urge you to find government time for that


debate, which the first Secretary of State intimated he would like to see


as well? Of all people, I think my honourable friend would recognise


that student finance is not like a normal commercial loan. The taxpayer


contributes significantly still to the cost of higher education for


university students, and it's right that those who will benefit from the


higher earnings attractive undergraduate rules should


contribute to that cost. However, I think the mood of many colleagues


has been heard, and I'm quite sure at the Department for Education are


considering this. Gun and knife crime is up across London, and this


month marks the two-year anniversary of the high-profile trial by


mistaken identity shooting in Wood Green. And despite a number of


representations, this homicide remains unsolved. Could we have a


debate in government time around resources, particularly for London


boroughs, where there is this increase in gun and knife crime, and


in the light of Grenfell Tower, where 200 officers have now been


moved over to the important work, that we can still rely on the fact


that there will be enough detectives working to solve what is now a


two-year-old crime? I do think it's very important to be clear that


there are of course pockets, and there are terrible incidents that


take place, and this sounds like a really awful experience in her


constituency. But nevertheless, there are 370,000 fewer violent


crimes since 2010, I do think it's important we speak in measured


terms, because it's very easy to scare people into thinking things


are getting worse when they are getting better. It has been made


very clear that police funding has been protected, but the police


themselves are changing the way they manage things operationally to put


more money into cyber policing and dealing with online crime and into


counterintelligence and so on. Nevertheless, she may wish to raise


the specific issues in her constituency through an adjournment


debate. She may be aware of the problems which writing schools up


and down the country are having with the valuation office agency and


their valuations ascribed to their premises. Some are now closing


because of this, and this will undoubtedly have an effect on


writing for the disabled. Could we have a debate on the subject, and


perhaps she could raise it with her colleague in the cabinets? I'm very


much aware of the issue for riding schools and other large premises in


rural areas with rates. He may know that as part of the package of


support lunched at the budget, the Chancellor announced a ?300 million


discretionary relief funds to 2018 so that local authorities could


provide additional support to local businesses. I encourage him to


suggest his constituents that they apply to the local council to see


whether they are eligible for this discretionary relief. Following the


revelation contained in the independent audit on loans to state


owned companies in Mozambique, those loans are now falling on the


shoulder of any man, woman and child in the country. What measures are


the UK Government considering to make sure that loans given to


governments are transparent? The issue of transparency in government


loans and indeed in overseas aid, is very important to the government.


There are Foreign Office questions next week, I believe, and he will


wish to raise that they are, I'm sure. There is some concern about


broadcast media's coverage of the Brexit negotiations. You may have to


watch Newsnight from last night to see why. One of my constituents has


e-mailed me to say, I need to know whether I made the right decision,


but the mainstream media just do not cover EU developments. Good the


minister come to the dispatch box and justified that the BBC is


continuing to comply with its Royal Charter? I think what we all want to


see is balance in reporting. And giving as much time to the


opportunities of leaving the EU as is given to the other side of the


argument. I think a number of people expressed concerns that the balance


isn't there. All of us across this house would wish to see that very


closely. Will the Leader of the House provide temporary debate on


local government funding. Kirklees Council, which covers my


constituency, is losing ?1 million a week. Services are close to breaking


point, with vulnerable people suffering the most. As the Cabinet


now seem to be conducting a debate on a story ditty in the tabloid


front pages, could we also have one in this house? I would remind her


that it is this government that is sorting out our public finances. It


is under this government that we have seen employment up by 2.9


million people. Over 800,000 fewer workless households. A pay rise by


30 million people through income tax cuts. Basic rate tax payers are


?1000 a year better off under this government, so to suggest everything


is falling apart is simply not true. Opposition members need to stop


scaremongering. And I do urge her to look at the facts.


Hamble lane, Eastleigh town centre and Berkeley sent to leave


consistent queues and jams on the resultant air pollution which


remains a key concern for my constituents, particularly parents


of children with asthma. Will the Leader of the House can define time


for a debate on air pollution so that we can tackle and really talk


about this growing public health concern? Air quality is a serious


public health issue, as she is right to point out that one of the major


links is to asthma and that is a serious condition in itself. The


honourable lady will have many opportunities to raise this in the


future, when we have the judgment from the High Court and when our


proposals from our consultation are published later in the summer. 200


staff were let go on Sunday. There were supposed to be working at a


Green Day concert which was cancelled at short notice by the


promoters. And they were only offered their bus fare by their


employer. Can we have a debate on contracts and workers' rights, and


does she agree in this case that clearly, these workers have been


exploited and that is unacceptable? I certainly agree that that does not


sound acceptable if it is the case. On the wider point about zero hours


contracts, there has been a lot of discussion in this House about the


measures this government has taken to stamp out abuse of those


contracts. It is the fact that for many people, they are content with


their zero hours contracts and it works for them. So the honourable


lady raises an important specific point, but the broader point has


been well debated across this chamber. Some travel camps in Dudley


have left behind them criminal damage and large clean-up bills for


council tax payers. Could we have a debate on the use of police powers


to remove illegal camps and also on proposals to allow combined


authorities to pull provision for authorised travellers' sites, rather


than insisting that each local authority has their own provision?


My honourable friend raises a subject that has already been raised


that every business questions so far, which highlights what an


important issue this is for every member of Parliament. Local


authorities and the police have a wide range of powers to help them


take action, including being able to direct trespassers to leave the


land, removing any vehicles and property from the land when there is


a suitable pitch elsewhere in that authority area. I hear his point


about pooling local authority resources. That is not something


that is currently able to be done, but it is something he may wish to


raise directly with ministers. Could I also raise with the Leader of the


House the question of the need for a debate on illegal encampment is? In


South Birmingham, the past few months have seen an unprecedented


rise in the number of those encampments in their scale and


frequency, often with public concern made worse by the anti-social


behaviour associated with them and the level of mess that is left


behind. Often, they will leave one place and be evicted, only to


reappear down the road. So we need an early debate. We should review


the status of the existing powers, review where best practice can be


applied and if the powers that are available need further review, to


set the ball rolling. Could we have short questions in order to get


everybody in? I do not want to miss anyone out. Everybody has been


standing. I say to the honourable gentleman again, there are already


strong police powers. There are occasionally issues with


enforcement, but where travellers fail to comply with a police


direction, it is a criminal offence which is punishable by up to six


months imprisonment. So is re-entry onto land by a person that is


subject to that direction within three months afterwards. He should


be aware that 84% of traveller caravans are now on authorised land


compared to 77% in 2007. The government is committed to reducing


the number of unauthorised sites by making sure there is reasonable


provision for travellers that takes account of their cultural


requirements to enable them to avoid being on unauthorised sites. The


rugby club in Brecon and Radnorshire recently completed a sponsored bike


ride in Wales, raising ?45,000 towards the cost of purchasing their


rugby pitches from the local authority. Would my right honourable


friend join me in congratulating all of the town on this outstanding


achievement and also allow a debate on what more could be done to


transfer assets to local community groups without exceptionally high


costs to those groups? I certainly congratulate all of those involved.


That is an impressive sum for a sponsored bike ride. If he was


involved, I commend him for that. As he will know, responsibility for


grass-roots sport is devolved in Wales. Sport Wales are the


organisation with responsibility for investing in and supporting


grassroots sport. Sport England this year have launched a community asset


fund worth up to ?15 million. He might want to talk to sport Wales


about whether they have any similar schemes. I know the Leader of the


House likes to be patriotic, like many of us, and used our national


carrier airline, British Airways. But can we have a debate about the


shameful way they are treating their cabin crew and the fact that the


government has given permission to British Airways to do a wet lease,


ie the planes on the stuff of cat are Airways, in order to keep


flights going during the current industrial dispute, despite the


terrible record that airline has with its female worker -- Qatar


Airways? The honourable gentleman raises an important point about


workers' rights. He will know that a good opportunity to raise that would


be through applying for a debate in Westminster Hall or for an


adjournment debate. However, it is important in all industrial disputes


that the considerations for passengers are also taking into


account. I am sure he would agree that that would be the right balance


in all disputes. I welcome the government's commitment to expanding


investment in our road networks such as the A303 in my constituency. I


wonder if we could find time for a debate on how we can capitalise on


that investment to deliver jobs, housing and skills development in


association with that? My honourable friend is a great champion for his


constituency and having spent many hours queueing patiently on the


A303, I can understand his desire to see it upgraded. And also for the


jobs and growth that new infrastructure brings in every


constituency. It is something this government is committed to, with new


investment in capital infrastructure spending. He may well wish to raise


that through the usual channels to give all colleagues the opportunity


to talk about the work this government is doing to build the


economy. The Leader of the House will have heard, I hope, my question


to the Prime Minister yesterday about my constituent and her


daughter who is under threat of FGM. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister's


reply was almost as bad as the letters I have had from the Home


Office. Can we have a debate on the processes of the Home Office and the


measures that are in place to protect women suffering from


domestic violence on women and girls under the threat of FGM? There is


nobody in this House would for a moment condone or have anything


other than disgust and abhorrence at the whole subject of FGM. It is an


appalling abuse of young girls and women and nobody would condone it.


This government has made a huge effort to try and stamp out FGM. It


is extraordinarily difficult, but we are getting breakthroughs. At least


through her question today, we can highlight again the plight of those


suffering this appalling abuse. The honourable lady raises a


constituency point and I urge her to raise that in Home Office questions


or to continue to raise it in PMQs. She has the support of the whole


House in seeing this stamped out. Colin Smith received contaminated


blood in 1983 when he was just eight months old. That blood turned out to


be from Arkansas prison and he died aged just seven, his whole life


spent fighting illness. So for Colin's family and all those


affected, can we have an opportunity before recess to debate the new


reports that suggest that risks of contaminated blood were known from


1980? Those affected need a public inquiry to get to the truth. I agree


that the contaminated blood situation over several decades,


affecting people in so many ways, was a terrible thing to happen. She


will appreciate that successive governments over decades have


reviewed the situation and made compensation available to the


victims. I am aware that the last review in 2015 has made further


recommendations and that there are concerns about the possibility that


there was some cover-up. I encourage the honourable lady to seek an


opportunity for a debate to try and air that issue further. As we have


already heard, the broken business rate system is so judgmental to


business and is frankly a shambles. In fact, this is echoed in


businesses across Europe including those trading in the shambles Luke


Shambles. Can we have the consultation brought to this house?


We were promised this in February and has not seen the light of day,


so I would like to know why not. The honourable lady will know that


rateable values are set independently by the VOA and reflect


open market rental value. The government doesn't intervene in the


independent exercise, but I understand that if the market rent


for the area has changed, then rateable values change with them.


She will be aware that the Chancellor announced a ?300 million


discretionary fund over four years from 2017-18 to deal with issues of


rates changing for particular businesses. That has been made


available to local authorities so that at their discretion, they can


support individual businesses with their issues. The companies and


markets page of the Financial Times had an article this Monday talking


about how investment in the car industry has slumped amidst Brexit


concerns. This was raised with me numerous times during the election,


as I have a large Ford plant in my constituency. What is clear from the


article and the experience of Ford workers is that new investment is


not coming into the plant. It has slumped by 30% across the UK. The


Association of automotive traders and manufacturers have said that it


would be a devastating impact and permanent damage to the UK car


industry if, when the UK leads the customs union and the single market,


this is not addressed. Can we have an impact on the impact of Brexit on


the automotive industry? The honourable lady raises an important


issue for her constituency. The UK has a thriving automotive industry


and I am sure she will be delighted that we are bringing forward


measures to support electric vehicles and be a world leader in


that area. She may also be pleased to know that the department for


industry and trade figures released today show a record-breaking number


of foreign direct investment projects coming into the UK, up 2%


on 2015-16. So the direction is in the right place. But she may wish to


raise specific issues for Ford in her constituency through a


Westminster Hall debate. Before 2015 general election, Chancellor Osborne


made a commitment with the residents of Warrington that the Runcorn


Bridge would be toll-free. Earlier this year, the junior transport


minister broke that promise. Can I request that the Leader of the House


arrange for the Secretary of State for Transport to come here and make


a statement and inform when the government will announce that they


will keep the promise, or arrange a debate? This issue is affecting the


whole region. The honourable gentleman raises an important point


for his constituency. He will be pleased to know that transport


questions are on Thursday the 13th of July and I am sure he will be


able to raise that with ministers then.


Can be heavy debate on Home Office intransigence? Ten Minister come to


the size and explain why, despite following Home Office advice in


submitting his application for leave to remain, my constituents and his


wife have been stripped of their status, forced to quit their jobs


and let their children, British citizens, destitute. Can we have an


urgent debate on review of Home Office procedures that leaves many


vulnerable and in desperate situations? He raises a very


concerning case in his own constituency and I'm sure he will


want to raise that Adalat oral questions to the Home Office or


through writing to ministers, but as we all know, there is an MPs hotline


and they do deal with as matter of priority with MPs' cases, so he


might want to take that up with them. In 2015, the government


promised not to sell HMS Ocean and not to close a barracks in Plymouth.


The helicopter carrier and both pieces are no Brasil. Local region


agreed to debate on base closures and how we maintain helicopter


capability at Devonport? I welcome him and wish him success. He is


using something dear to all our hearts, which is the fortunes of our


military, whether Royal Navy, royal air force or the Army. Sadly, I feel


his views are not shared by many on his side of the house, who argue


against protecting our citizens, but nevertheless, his point has been


heard and I am sure he will be raising it with ministers whenever


he can. It has been common practice in the NHS for employees to be


required to repay redundancy payments if they secure another job


in the health service within a certain period of time, so given the


fact that several members who lost their seats at the last election


have now taken up page rules as government advisers, will use set


aside time for a debate on whether it's appropriate for members to


receive redundancy payments and then take up a page role as an adviser?


Sheep shouts from a sedentary position, named names! My concern


has been that members who lost their seats, particularly this time


around, have actually struggled in some cases, genuinely struggled.


With an ability to feed into the policies for members' pay and


expenses, he raises an important point, but I think he will find that


members across the house are concerned that members who loses


seats are not being fairly treated, quite the opposite to that point.


I'm remember a sample size of the house will want to wish a happy 69th


birthday to the NHS, which clocked up the milestone yesterday. But


local provision seems to be less healthy. We have lost to A and if


this continues, there will be hardly any beds left. Can we have a debate


on this cherished Labour created institution? She will know that this


government is totally committed to the NHS and is funding it to a far


greater extent than the Labour Party's on manifesto would have


pledged. Under this government, we have seen millions more operations,


A visits, we have seen enormous strides forward in medical science,


in technology, that enables people to have far better treatments. The


Commonwealth fund says the NHS is one of the best health services in


the world. We are absolutely committed to the success of the NHS


on this side of the house and I think all members should really do


more to support the excellent work of our NHS staff, who do so much to


support all of us. The shadow Leader of the House and other honourable


members have raised very important question is, why has there not been


an opposition day since the 25th of January? Given the scarcity of


substantive government business, given the huge red issues raised on


these benches, why is the leader of the highest refusing to schedule one


for the summer recess? Why does she want to commit to one now? I can say


that there are standing orders around opposition day, sitting


Fridays and back bench business days. The government, through the


usual channels, is working on setting out those days and the house


will be informed as soon as possible.


Last week, I mentioned just a few of the failings in the Scottish


Secretary of State and I challenged the Leader of the House to list some


of his achievements. She said that he has spoken up for energy in


Scotland and he's been an enormous advocate for Scottish agriculture.


When the government pulled the plug on carbon capture storage and


renewables, and the government has withheld nearly ?2 million of EU


funding meant for Scottish farmers, given that is his achievements, is


there any other outstanding achievements she colours that makes


my point for me that he is not standing up for Scotland? That is at


nonsense and not worthy of the honourable gentleman. Would you like


to mention the Secretary of State for Scotland's support for the oil


and gas sector in Scotland, where he gave hours and hours of permitted


time to discuss a package of fiscal relief to support the oil and gas


sector in Scotland? The hours he spent working with me as an energy


Minster, so I know very well what he did, working on a supply chain to


give Scottish fabrication yards the chance to the parts of the wind


sector, which this government has supported. We have half of the


world's offshore wind turbines. He not mentioning any of the Roses.


This is their petty and spiteful act of an opposition should be ashamed


of itself. The Secretary of State has spoken up at every opportunity


for the people of Scotland. In the last Parliament, the Public Accounts


Committee and a number of constituency members of all


parliaments raised concerns about the HMR see State reorganisation. It


appears major contracts were signed while this House was dissolved in


that appears to fly in the face of official guidance to the civil


servants about not making big decisions about commercial contracts


during that time. Would you look into this and make sure that a


minister reports back, and given that the HMR see is not led by a


minister, would she also grabbed a debate so that we can raise our


concerns very directly? If she would like to raise specific issues about


process for each MRC, I will certainly take them forward for her,


but I would like to use this opportunity to point out that since


2010, each MRC has secured ?150 billion for this country in


additional compliance revenues, as a result of their work to tackle tax


avoidance. In 2016 alone, HMRC collected record revenues of ?26.5


billion for compliance activities. We've secured nearly 3 billion from


offshore tax evaders. And in total, an additional 2.5 billion from the


very wealthiest since 2010. So if she or anyone else in the chamber


would like to praise HMRC for their contribution to sorting out our


economy and getting it back to living within our means, then I'd be


delighted to hear it. Earlier, the honourable member for Ealing Central


and actor described the NHS as the Leeper institution. It is not a


political institution, it does not belong to any party. There are


members on all sides of this house who have served the NHS as we have


the armed forces and other public services. If she was still in this


place I would ask her to withdraw it. And therefore be in order to ask


you that could be withdrawn? Your view is on the record and it is a


point of order for the chair. We now come to the general debate relating


to exiting the European Union


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