24/01/2017 House of Commons


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Order! Order! The Ayes to the right, 127. The Noes to the left, 206.


The Ayes to the right. 127. The Noes to the left, 206. The Noes half


butt, the Noes habit. Unlock. We now come to the Wales Bill, money


resolution. It is to move formally. The question is, the money


resolution as on the order paper. As many as are of the opinion, say


"aye". To the contrary, "no". . The Ayes habit. We now come to the Wales


Bill, programme number three motion. The question is, as on the order


paper. As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary,


"no". The Ayes habit. The Ayes have it. The clerk will now proceed to


lead the orders of the day. The consideration of the Lords


amendments. The National Assembly of Wales pass the legislation consent


motion on the 17th of January, copies are available online and in


the vote office. I must draw the attention that financial privilege


is engaged by amendment nine. If it is agreed to, the customary entry


waving Commons privilege to be entered into the Journal. We will


begin with amendment nine. We will consider Lords amendment 40 four. I


call the Minister to move to agree a Lords amendment nine. Alun Cairns.


Thank you Madam Deputy Speaker, I beg this House moves to agree with a


medal name as you stated. I am pleased to open this debate on the


amendments to the Wales Bill in the Other Place. Given the number of


members who wish to speak in a short time in the debate, I will aim to


keep my comment Spieth. -- believe. I wish to place my gratitude to the


peers who contributed to the scrutiny during the House of Lords


to the Bill. It is dangerous to name them all for fear of forgetting some


of them. There were a number who regularly attended briefing sessions


and give feedback during the process who helped get this important piece


of legislation through the Other Place without any Government


defeats. I want to thank in particular the Lord from Aberystwyth


for stealing the Bill through the upper House, sponsored by the


equipped for the Bill. I want to take this opportunity to place on


record my thanks to a number of honourable and right honourable


members of this House. The Honourable Member for Cheshire and


Amersham who started the process of when she established a silk


commission in 2011. The member for Crewe West who guided the Wales act


2014 which implemented the silks commission fiscal recommendation


through Parliament. I wish to pay tribute to my right honourable


friend, the Member for Pembrokeshire. As a dash as the


Secretary of State, the two part in the cross-party St David's Day


process that put in place the framework of the Bill. This was a


bold move. It sought to bring all parties together to come up with an


of constitutional nature that would take both houses together that would


understand the politics of both sides of this House and the Other


Place. He believed in the importance of this Bill and subjected himself


to immense scrutiny of that contacts. A great rebuke to him. --


I pay tribute to him. I pay tribute to members on the other side who


paid an important part in the scrutiny, the Shadow Welsh


secondary, the honorary member -- Honourable Member for... Madam


Deputy Speaker, coming to the substance of this group, I wanted


amendments nine and 44 to be debated separately this afternoon to give


members and this House the opportunity to consider the fiscal


framework agreed between the UK Government and the Welsh Government.


These amendments are directly linked to that agreement. The agreement


between the British and Bell's governments as historic and his the


four wheels and to the rest of the generated kingdom. -- Wales. They


will be a referendum before Welsh rates of income tax are implemented


using scrutiny of the Bill last summer. The fiscal framework paves


way for devolution of these historic income tax powers April 20 19. The


block grant adjustment mechanisms that will take account of the


devolution of stamp duty and land tax, are also part of this


agreement. Ensuring that the replacements for these taxes in


Wales which the Welsh Government has legislated for come on stream in


April 20 18. I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way.


Like -- whilst he's talking about the fiscal frame, I welcome the


lifting on the cap for boring for capital expenditure for 1 billion.


It is not quite two billion. -- for boring. Does it give the opportunity


for continued investment in the infrastructure in the digital and


physical sense and also contribute to increased productivity as well. I


am grateful for the scrutiny at PV stages and also the comments at


integration he has made. -- previous stages. I hope he will recognise


this is a mature discussion between two institutions and he is right in


this paves the way for the Welsh Government to use its new borrowing


powers to legislate and finance things that really matter to the


Welsh people. The agreement ensures that when tax powers are devolved,


the Welsh Government will have a fair level of funding for the long


term, taking into account Welsh tax capacity and treating population


change consistently across tax and spending. In doing this, we are


delivering on the independent ambition of the long-term, fair


funding settlement and agreement for Wales. The professor is clear that


this is a fair settlement. There is now no case to say that Wales is


underfunded. The Government previously stated that Wales


receives a fair settlement. This cements that in place and this


enhances the settlement. The fiscal trademark is already out of date


because it was before Brexit and we now know that Wales is going to


suffer severely if we come out of the single market. Isn't it true


that this Bill is just another stepping stone on the way towards


forming a new Bill when we get the Thames of Brexit declared? The


Honourable Member is well aware that we have a positive dialogue with the


Welsh Government in terms of discussing the nature and framework


of the process and the ultimate outcomes of exiting the European


Union. I was happy to receive a paper from the Welsh Government


yesterday with -- about the proposals. I will give it close


consideration. It will be subject to a future joint ministerial Committee


for the European negotiations. The Secretary of State would disagree


his honourable friend who said yesterday in an interview that Wales


should get in line with the Brexit process and somehow kowtow to the


Prime Minister's agenda. I do not hear my honourable friend's


comments. Should there be any attempt to seek to frustrate the


process of exiting the European Union by the Welsh Government, that


is not something that the Welsh population would expect or want to


see. Wales did Vote Leave the European union and it is only right


and proper we act on that instruction and direction that came


from the public in Wales. I would hope that the Welsh Government would


continue to engage positively in terms of the way that they have. I


am very grateful for giving way. Does he not feel that given the


respect that he says that is between the institution of the National


Assembly and the Government in Westminster, he should be


disappointed that the supreme court has not ruled today that there


should be a formal consultation with wheels via the National Assembly. We


maintain that the views of the Welsh Government are important but the


views of other stakeholders in Wales are also relevant to the discussion.


The wealth discussion will rightly form is few and the UK Government


will come to a conclusion that is all part of the Kingdom, including


all stakeholders. The legal action at the Welsh Government too, it was


a matter for them, we have had the judgment and need to respect it and


act upon it. If I can return to the fiscal framework and the funding


settlement that comes. I have mentioned professional hops on a


moment ago. -- Professor Hoxton. Also to the Chief Secretary of the


Treasury for his part in the negotiations. And also for the way


in which the Welsh Government and the finance and local Government


minister in the National Assembly, and the Welsh Government, in terms


of how he went about the negotiations with my right


honourable friend as two mature institutions discussion serious


matters that will have long-term positive consequences for Wales.


Building on the existing funding floor. The Welsh Government will


continue to have a fair level of funding for the long-term, taking


into account Welsh tax capacity and treating population change


consistently. For the first time we have agreed to add a needs -based


factor of 115% into the Barnett Formula as was recommended.


Embedding the funding will be announced in December 2015 into the


mechanisms that decide how Wales is funded. The significance of this


should not be understated. This is something that the Labour Party


called forth from Cardiff Bay for many years whilst they were in power


in this place. It took a Conservative Government to introduce


that needs -based factor and deliver on the needs that Wales faced. I


hope the honourable lady opposite will recognise a significant step of


this needs -based factor that has been brought into the Barnett


Formula. Does he not share my concerns that


the needs-based factor will be ten years old by the time it comes in


and has actually called for a review by the time it starts? I'm grateful


to the honourable lady for intervention and the scrutiny and


interest she has shown through this bill but I would hope she'd


recognise the significance of the fiscal framework. The needs-based


factor is 115%. The level at the moment is well above that 115%. It


would fall, over time to 15% recognising the first settlement


Wales gets because of its needs, but a significant factor in that


needs-based factor is that that factor has been introduced into the


settlement of Wales for the first time, something that she and her


party have been calling for for some time, but it took the Conservative


Party to deliver it. I'm grateful to my Right Honourable Friend, who has


done a fantastic job steering this through the Commons stages.


Interesting point about the figures being out of date. The discussion I


had with Professor Horton to talk about Fair funding for Wales, he was


clear with me that there was no reason to think that, just because


of the passage of time the figures he had in mind are somehow


incorrect. The level that has been set by the Treasury is correct for


the needs of Wales at this time. My Right Honourable Friend has been a


key factor in ensuring that we get to the position of the needs-based


factor by framing in a way that we can come out with a successful


conclusion. And, ultimately, the Welsh government would


understandably have rejected the Wales Bill unless it had an


appropriate fair funding settlement. I will give way at the moment. I


hope that members opposite will absolutely recognise the


significance of this, because it really does matter to the long-term


funding public in Wales. I will give way. The Secretary of State is being


very generous. Does he accept that as the First Minister set out


yesterday that there was a difference between the Barnett


formula and the sort of arrangements we have under the CAP? As things are


moving rapidly, that Wales will not be left 1p worse off as a result of


leaving the European Union? The honourable member is tempting me to


go down a route for which no decisions have been taken and we are


keen to engage and discuss, we are keen to engage with the Welsh


government and with other devolved administrations on future funding


arrangements. I hope the honourable member will recognise the fair way


in which we have approached the Barnett settlement and the fiscal


framework, and that will give him confidence in terms of how we look


to get to a fresh settlement for Wales and for all parts of the


United Kingdom, as we exit the European Union. I would like to make


progress if I can but I will happily give way a little bit later on if


time permits. We had agreed a fair way for the block grant to be


adjusted to take account of tax devolution and the devolution of a


portion of income tax and the traditional multiplier, the 105%


within the Barnett formula that would give the Welsh government


additional money over and above current levels. Whenever we increase


spending in a devolved area. The 105% demonstrates even longer term


transitions to getting down to four of 115%. And we're doubling the


Welsh government's capital borrowing limit so that it is able to borrow


up to ?1 billion, as the honourable member pointed out a moment ago.


This will allow the Welsh government to invest in infrastructure across


Wales. Amendment mine pits the new cap of borrowing limit in place so


that it will be -- Amendment nine, so that it will be available as soon


as revenues raised from the taxes that we are devolving. We will put


in a new borrowing limit into place well in advance of the devolution of


tax powers. This, as the honourable member rightly highlighted, will


allow the Welsh government to get on with things that matter and to


legislate and use the new financial capacity that will be granted


through this bill. Taken together, with the Wales Bill, this agreement


paves the way to making the Welsh Assembly a more powerful,


accountable and mature institution with greater powers and


responsibility to grow and support the Welsh economy. Madam that the


Speaker, the fiscal framework agreement resolves once and for all


the perceived issues of underfunding that have overshadowed political


debate in Wales for so long. It provides the Welsh government with a


Golbourne new borrowing limit to deliver much-needed infrastructure


investment and ensures that the devolved government in Wales can


become truly accountable to the electorate by raising around one


quarter of the money that it spends. Gone are the days when poor levels


of public service in Wales could be blamed on perceived underfunding.


For too long, funding was used as an excuse for poor outcomes, not any


longer, Madam Peaty Speaker. If they want big government, the Welsh


government could raise taxes to pay for it or if they want to reduce


income tax levels they could look to drive out inefficiencies and allow


Wales to be seen in a new, entrepreneurial white. -- light. I


urge the House to accept these lords' amendments. The question is


that this House agrees with the Lords in their Amendment nine. Thank


you, Madam Deputy Speaker. And the spirit in which this bill has so far


developed we will see something of a rarity in my life in that I will


come on occasion, I agree with the government and agree with some of


the measures that they have taken but before the Secretary of State


gets too excited about that it must be put on record that this bill has


had a chequered history. It started out very badly, so badly, in fact,


the government have to take it away and start over again. The second


attempt was better. We reach a point today where it is still far from


ideal but there has been considerable movement by the


government as a result of pressure from these benches and from the


Other Place. I would like to place on record my thanks to my


predecessors, the members for Llanelli and Newport West and their


front bench teams for the work they have done during the passage of this


Bill. Particularly with my colleague Baroness Morgan and her team on the


Other Place with their stunning efforts to secure numerous


improvements to this bill through debates and discussions with the


government, utilising a constructive approach to concessions. Therefore,


we do support this bill in its current, improved form and we will


not attempt to frustrate its passage. I am not going to detain


the House for any longer than need be on matters where there are no


disagreement, but there are amendments tabled by the opposition


at the tail end of the group of amendments that I do wish to make


substantial points on and may wish to test the will of the House on,


but we are hopeful that we can make good progress and get it those


amendments. Given me importance of the consequences of amendments nine


and 44, should put something on the record about them. These amendments


will raise the Welsh government's capital borrowing ceiling to ?1


billion and from 2019 the annual capital borrowing limit will rise to


15% of the overall figure, 150 million. This, as Secretary of State


has pointed out, stems from the fiscal framework agreed by the


government in Westminster and the Welsh government. This is welcome


news and I congratulate the Welsh government, particularly the Cabinet


Secretary, as has the Secretary of State, Mark Draper, the Cabinet and


Local Government Secretary for sealing this important deal with the


UK Government. I pay tribute to the government for moving on this issue.


The increase in borrowing ability is so important because the austerity


that successive Conservative chancellors have imposed on Wales


has had severe consequences in terms of the ability of the Welsh


government to invest in infrastructure, in particular. And


that has been pointed out the loss of European funding that Wales will


experience once we lose -- leave the EU, the ability to invest in


infrastructure becomes even more critical. Therefore, moves to


enhance the Welsh government's ability to invest and develop


infrastructure for the future are of course welcome and this is all about


investing in Wales, boosting the economy and it is a measure that


will go a significant way to doing that. Since a wider structure


investment led by the Welsh government will help towards


improving productivity rates in Wales and will help increase the GVA


of Wales. But the government plans do not go far enough. In the Other


Place, my front bench colleague Baroness Morgan tabled an amendment


to raise the borrowing cap to ?2 billion based on the Holton


recommendations. We accept ?1 billion as a step forward but you


probably meet the demands of the Welsh economy it is clearly not


enough. Before the minister responsible is point, I caution that


the government should not view the cap as a target. The point is to


show the flexibility and dynamism from the higher limit rather than


just looking at how much is borrowed. Many successful businesses


do not utilise 100% of their borrowing facility but leveraged


borrowing to a sensible percentage of the facility based on the


economic context in which they are operating. We hire ?2 billion limit


would not necessarily have been utilised but would allow greater


flexibility and freedom for the Welsh government to invest in a


greater number and greater scale of critical schemes and infrastructure


projects. I make these points to the Minister, just put them on record,


and to push his conversations with the Treasury and head of the


forthcoming budget, but as I have said, we do welcome them as a step


forward that Lords Amendments nine and 44 provide, and we will not be


voting against them. Paul Flynn. Thank you very much. It is a matter


of some pleasure to see this bill going through. It started off, as My


Honourable Friend the member for Cardiff Central said, as a dreadful


bill, a very ugly Bill, not with the smack of firm government, this is


the timid cringe away week, uncertain government who do not know


what direction they were going in. But the result of it is generally


beneficial and it is a step forward, a statutory step forward, not one


that we can feel greatly proud of, and we know that we have to come


back to this because the world has changed post-Brexit. Whilst


accepting that there has been improvement with this ?1 billion in


this amendment that we talked about, it should have been ?2 billion, and


there is a very good record in a Welsh Assembly, in their investments


in infrastructure and other projects. But, we do need investment


in the future. The great success of purchasing Cardiff Airport, were


never greatly criticised... Can I thank the honourable member for


giving way? Much has been made of this ?1 billion cap. As the


honourable member will know the M4 relief road has been talked about


and access to borrowing has been available to the Welsh government to


crack on with that scheme, but they have done nothing. I think ?1


billion is a sensible number and I wonder where did the Jedward comment


on whether these powers are being used. The honourable gentleman well


knows why delays have taken place on that scheme, because of the


obstacles in the way, to go through the system of appeals and public


inquiry, but certainly, there is unlimited enthusiasm. It is nice to


see him sitting there amongst half an acre of empty green leather today


and I notice, on a previous reading of this Bill, where one party in


this House took great advantage with a video swiped during this part of


the House as empty, and their three members here, but the visual image


of that was that the person speaking was a Plaid Cymru member who


habitually empties these houses as people stampede to the tearoom


whenever he speaks! People should not like by using these misleading


pictures of the House. What we have before us is challenges to Wales


that are unprecedented. And we must understand what leaving the single


market will do for Wales, for Welsh industry, for Welsh farming, for the


health service. It will hate us much harder in the effect than in England


and we must make allowances for that and we're not doing anything of that


kind. On the question of roads, raised by the gentleman for Cardiff


North, we have a great problem in that the highway robbery which


lasted the 52 years of the Severn Bridge tolls, of double taxation to


local people, is set to continue, and I think that is an


infrastructure project that perhaps the Welsh SMB could look into,


because it is an outrage, that people are paying twice for the


tolls, we pay for the National road schemes throughout the United


Kingdom, we pay our share of that in Wales and the West of England and we


pay over again for the tolls. It was accepted by this House under the


Severn Bridge tolls Act to do that for a certain period. That period


will come to an end later this year or early next year when the Severn


Bridges have the same status as every other piece of motorway in the


rest of the United Kingdom and should be treated as such. And the


cost of maintenance should be borne by the national funding for road


services. That is an unquestionable argument in favour of the abolition


of the tolls. Those are set to begin similar argument on another bridge


but their genesis was rather different. We cannot allow this


psychological barrier to Wales to continue to exist. We want to give


the impression, complete accessibility, that will be


beneficial to those living on both sides of the river Severn, and I


hope the government can look at this again. I think, when we look at


these bills that come up year after year, we have seen a growing upset


this by the people of Wales or the idea of devolution. I'm glad to see


there is a total absence of that band of Conservative MPs who have


tried to vote against a clause very similar to this one, at the third


Reading debate that we had here. This will give the Welsh assembly


the position of dignity and status as a real parliament. And from that


point of view we welcome it. We would far prefer the grudged nature


of devolution. What the decision from the Supreme Court is saying is


that this parliament will rule on powers that have already been


devolved to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. They have no right to


do that. They are reversing the judgment. This Bill will not take


account of Brexit or to the's decision by the Supreme Court. I


hadn't planned to say anything this afternoon but I felt I would take


the opportunity to do so. To put on record my thanks and congratulations


to the Secretary of State for the fantastic way he has steered this


Bill through the Commons stages and handled discussions with the Welsh


Government and the opposition parties to bring this Bill to


fruition. I would like to put on record my thanks to somebody who has


not been mentioned this afternoon, Baroness Anderson. When she was a


minister in the Welsh office. She was a rock of wisdom and support,


and advice on matters about devolution. The matters give effect


to the fiscal framework agreement. They do represent the culmination of


all those original aims that we set out for this next stage of


devolution. I remember 2.5 years ago sitting down with David Cameron in


the lead up to the Scottish referendum, a time that we all felt


we were in a moment of unique constitutional history and having a


discussion with about where does this leave Wales? Do they need to do


something further on Welsh devolution? That was on a shelf. My


feeling was it was not good enough for Wales to leave Welsh devolution


in limbo. There was pressure coming from the Welsh Government and some


of the opposition parties to give effect to silk two. We could have


resisted that. I felt it was the right thing to do, to pick up the


challenge and to do something in terms of the next stage of Welsh


devolution. I am grateful to my honourable friend, the current


Secretary of State, and others, that we talked about, to look at what we


should now do. Comments being made this afternoon about the way that


this Bill changed from its precise format as a draft Bill. It has


followed an entirely correct process as a draft Bill, consulting, taking


guidance, coming back with Edmonds. And listening. That has been the


tone through this process. -- amendments. What we wanted to do at


the start has not changed. We wanted a stronger devolution settlement for


Wales, a clearer settlement. The end some of the constant argument that


ended in the Welsh Government and UK Government trotting off to the


Supreme Court to argue which institution was responsible for


which policy. Ridiculous. We wanted a fair settlement as well. I will


gladly give way. I pay tribute to what he did and I know my colleague


enjoyed her experience working with him and how he has pushed this


agenda forward. I pay tribute to that. One of the tests that he


employed, it should stand the test of time and the chapter should be


close. Wheels will get used to its new constitutional settlement and we


do not need to turn to devolution in the future. Has that has been met? I


do not think this is the end of the book in terms of Welsh devolution. I


think we do need a prolonged period with the Welsh Government learns to


deploy its powers and uses it competencies in a way that it


benefits the people of Wales. Talking about the Severn Bridge


error. We needed to get the new money for the Welsh Government to do


something. The M4 upgrade. I remember taking a question on it.


William Hague was sat next to me, he lent across and said he was talking


about this 20 years ago when he was Secretary of State for Wales and


we're still waiting for action. That was the challenge that risks


corroding public support for devolution in Wales. The sense that


the Welsh Government, despite the additional powers that they keep


receiving to get, is unable to crack on and take the big and bold


decisions to improve the lives of people in Wales. Coming back to the


point I was making about the core objectives that we set out. I do


believe this Bill meets those objectors. It creates stronger


devolution, with additional powers for the assembly as an institution


and for Welsh Government. It creates a clearer settlement as a result of


the fiscal framework. The amendments that we are debating in this


particular section which gives effect to the funding with the new


borrowing powers that the Welsh Government will get. I remember 2.5


years ago, being told that those four things they wanted to achieve,


there was no chance of getting them. I was told the Treasury would not


agree, the Welsh Government would not agree to take on tax-raising


powers, income tax, I was told that the backbenchers would not agree to


it. The approach of all parties working together, trying to sketch


out and respecting the differences of each other, parties like Plaid


Cymru have the long-standing aspirations and ambitions for Welsh


devolution that none of the whales bills have met over the years.


Nevertheless, there was a constructive tone that led a good


foundation and provided the smooth passage for what I believe is a


reasonably good Bill. Not the end of the story but I hope the end of an


interesting chapter on Welsh devolution. I am sure the House will


join me in wishing the best to my honourable friend, the Member for


Carmarthen East. He is expecting the imminent arrival for the latest


member of his family and I sympathise with all MPs who have to


balance family life with their duty. I extend a welcome to the fact that


the fiscal framework is now in place. It gives the Welsh Government


a degree of financial accountability that is intrinsic for any fully


functioning democratic parliament. Judgement is still very much out on


whether it can really deliver the economic accountability and the


levers for growth that are required. I therefore want to start with


making a few brief comments from the lack of aggression -- ambition for


this. I will discuss how this trademark will work and then


discussing the capital expenditure. Despite having the fiscal framework


in place, we still are behind every devolved administration in terms of


the powers and responsibilities we have got. Earlier today, as it seems


on most days, we are embroiled with the Brexit conundrum and all the


unravelling economic complications. This Government on the patchwork


approach to devolution means that Wales will not have the real levers


it needs for growth in need at this most difficult of economic times. If


the Party opposite wants to talk about the opportunities that a


single market and Customs union exit brings for Wales, we should look at


the fiscal levers for growth, including the most important tax for


Wales, value added tax and how that could be devolved. I hope this


minister will indicate he plans to review this framework in light of


recent developments to make sure that Wales has got these fiscal


levers. I want to touch on this technical point which my colleague,


Alan Price, has raised with the finance Secretary. The 115% rule


that is being referred to as the Horton floor is based on a satellite


criteria that determine the relative need of Wales in 2009-10. There are


plans to conduct a review of this relative need to grind it is


implemented in the Mac years from now. It is perfectly reasonable to


interpret them as being ten years out of date. Although we had


something of a debate over this in the interventions, surely the 115%


rule cannot be set in stone for all time. I would ask the Minister to


bring forward a proposal to investigate that. I am happy to


clarify the point that the fiscal framework agreement supported by the


Welsh Government, it does include opportunities for periodic review. I


welcome his comment on periodic reviews. It is timely given we are


holding this discussion now. Rather than using ten-year-old statistics,


this is a resident point and I do welcome his comment. I would like to


raise some concerns about the dispute resolution framework


mechanism. This may not be the time to do it here and it could be


something that can be resolved in discussions in the future. I would


like to finish on a final point that emphasises the lack of ambition of


both governments. In the House of Lords, Plaid Cymru called for the 10


billion capital expenditure limit and it was supported by Labour.


Under pressure from the devolution sceptic Conservative Party, we're


left with an expenditure of half of that. I am pleased that a fiscal


framework is finally in place. I cannot avoid the observation that


Wales is once again being short-changed by a lack of vision


and the of ambition. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker for calling me


to speak in a debate that is important to me as somebody who has


served as a member of the National Assembly of Wales for it back years,


come here, spending six years. Most of my political life has been


dogged, if I can use that word, on whales bills, of one sort or


another. I do not know if I will still be a member of this Party when


this -- this parliament when the next one comes. There may well be


the next round. It is a great honour to speak in a debate about the


whales Bill which is particularly important and does take devolution


foreword to a much more stable place than it has been since 1999 when it


was first established. There is a whole host of areas where I could


speak about. On some of them there will be disagreement across the


floor of this House. There are two Mac principles that are important to


me. The fiscal issues. I do think the reserved powers model, moving to


a reserved powers model is fundamental and hugely important.


There will be disagreements about what should be the reserved to the


Westminster Parliament and what should not. Moving to a reserved


powers model is a very big step forward. I have been part of Colin


Ford at since 1999. I do not think we should forget that in discussions


about finance. What we have been and discussion in this debate is to do


with financial issues. There is one related to borrowing powers and I


greatly support that. It does give new and important borrowing powers


to the Welsh Government. There have been some issues. Members have


raised it is not big enough or high and. I have heard that the


responsible Government minister in Cardiff, they will not borrow ?1


billion that is allowed in the first instance in any case. This does make


this borrowing power, it does make a significant difference to how the


Welsh Government can operate. Another issue that there has been


some debate about, it is the 115%. A number of speakers have referred to


this. Since I have been involved in the politics of Wales, we have had


the members of the opposition usually calling for exactly that.


Colin for your level of spending in Wales that was the equivalent of


what would happen in Britain. A is it. -- were hundreds and 15% is it.


It is below what is happening now. It is not sufficient... Not


sufficient appreciation has ever been for the skill of funding that


the current Government makes to Wales. Just complaining about


something all the time can give the wrong impression. What is being


called for since I have been a member of the assembly in 1999 and


here, has actually been delivered and we should recognise that. The


one other point I want to finish on, it has been particularly important


to me, is the devolution of income tax. I've long believed that this


was crucial. The devolution was going to move forward. Any future


Welsh Government would be accountable to the Welsh people, it


has to be financially accountable. It has to be a form of


accountability that the voting public recognise. Income tax is


that. It income tax is devolved, there will be a debate at every


election about the appropriate level of income tax. And people will be


voting looking at both sides of the ledger. What the Government intends


to spend and what it intends to raise. All we have had is a spending


plan. I would only refer to it as a


spending plan, not our budget. You have got to have both sides. That is


where we are moving too, with the devolution of income tax. This bill,


and I am hugely proud to have been a supporter of it, I think it is a


very good bill, it isn't the end of the story, of course it isn't. Who


knows what is going to be done in the next Parliament? But it is a


good bill. It takes is forward to a position that is much more stable.


It gives the Welsh government much more accountability. It delivers,


first of all, a position within a unified United Kingdom which I think


is clear. But it also does give a degree of influence and power to the


Welsh government to deliver the sort of devolution and power which the


people who live in Wales actually want the Welsh government to have.


Thank you. No more standing up. The question is, this House agrees with


the the Lords in their amendment nine, As many as are of that opinion


say Aye, contrary No. The Ayes have it, the Ayes have it. Ministers will


move to agree to Lords Amendment 44, formerly. The question is that this


House agrees with the laws in their amendment, 44. As many as are of


that opinion say Aye, contrary No. The Ayes have it, the Ayes have it.


We come to Lords Amendment ten and will consider the other amendments


listed on the selection paper. I call the Minister to move to agree


to Lords' amendment ten. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Madam Deputy


Speaker, this group of amendments delivers a comprehensive and lasting


devolution settlement for Wales on water and sewerage. Members will


know that water is an issue of great symbolic importance as well as


practical significance in Wales. Throughout the passage of this bill,


few issues of race more passion and debate than the issue of water.


There is no question that there cannot be a lasting devolution


settlement with Wales without water devolution. The government has


therefore been determined to grasp the nettle and resolve the matter


once and for all. Madam Deputy Speaker, I was delighted to be able


to announce last autumn that we would rip place the Secretary of


State's powers to intervene on both of statutory agreement between the


UK and Welsh governments, in other words, a water protocol between the


two governance Madam Deputy Speaker, replaced those intervention powers,


representing a clear break with the past and on another landmark in


history of Welsh devolution. The existing intervention powers put in


place in the government of Wales Act 2006 when the party opposite was in


government. Since then, they have taken on an almost totemic status


despite having never been used. Their removal is another important


change alongside many others in this bill that makes the coming-of-age of


devolved government in Wales. Amendments 30, 31 and 30 to give


effect to this historic change. -- 32. We are absolutely clear that


this will be a protocol that has teeth. Both governments will be


subject to a duty to Act in accordance with the new agreements


and, once in place, both will need to agree any changes to it. The


agreement will also need to have a process that both governments sign


up to, for resolving any disagreements. The new arrangements


will need to be negotiated, and that may take some time, but the bill as


amended in the House of Lords ensures that the Secretary of


State's intervention powers can be repealed once an agreement is


formally entered in to do. Amendment 31 is a crucial part of this package


as it enforces a duty on both UK and Welsh ministers to have regard to


putting this on either side of the border when exercising functions


relating to water resources, water supply or water quality. Madam


Deputy Speaker, the removal of these intervention powers ensured we were


able to conclude our consideration of the wider devolution issues


relating to water and sewerage, including the question of whether


powers over water and sewerage should be aligned with the England


and Wales order and whether the sewerage intervention policies, of


course 46 in the Delve when it with this House, could be removed.


Amendment 30 removed those intervention powers from the Bill


and a great deal of work has gone into the question of where the


devolution boundary should be aligned with the geographical


boundary of Wales. I will take a quick intervention from the


honourable member. I'm grateful to the menace of giving way. Thank you,


Madam Deputy Speaker. I thought might the giving of the intervention


power. Does the Minister remain concerned, as I am, that will be no


direct line of accountability between Ofwat and the Welsh


ministers? There will be an opportunity to consult and work


through with the Secretary of State on that issue and a protocol that


has been put in place should reveal more detail in due course but it is


a fact that we are moving in that direction on the basis protocol


between the two governments that the honourable should welcome. Yes, I


will give way to the honourable member. I am most grateful, he has


been very generous. Would you clarify the position as far as the


Competition and Markets Authority is concerned? They have a regulatory


role that is very relevant to water. Will they be accountable to the


Welsh government and to the Assembly? Is important to highlight


that this Bill is not devolving competition power. It is actually


being reserved. There will be an ability for the Welsh government and


for This Place, obviously, to ensure that the views of electors in Wales


on this important issue are taken into account, but clearly,


competition issues are being reserved, as part of this Bill.


Further work is needed to consider the practical implications of


implementing the commission recommendations. The government set


up the joint government 's programme board with Welsh government to at


these issues and report on the likely affect implementing the


recommendations would have won the efficient delivery of water and


sewerage services. After considering the conclusions of that work,


governments put forward amendment 28 of the government of Wales Act 2006


and says Tobias J Gill won into this Bill to be amended to devolve both


water and sewerage policy as it relates to Wales. While on paper


this signify -- simplifies the devolution arrangements it will


involve the unpicking of several parts of primary and secondary


legislation with the England and Wales border. Amendment 29 provides


an order making power limited to making changes to previously


transferred functions and functions directly conferred by planning


legislation relating to water and sewerage that we will be able to


make the various changes through secondary legislation, once the


spill has been enacted. Madam Deputy Speaker, the amendments of this


group provide a significant package of water devolution to Wales. They


deliver a stable, mature and affect the devolution settlement by


aligning powers over water and sewerage with the national border


and replacing the Secretary of State's intervention powers relating


to water with an intergovernmental protocol. These new arrangements are


in the best interests of water consumers on both sides of the


border and I urge the House to accept these laws' amendments. The


question is that this House agrees with Lords Amendment ten. Thank you,


Madam Deputy Speaker. I would like to speak about the amendments in


this section. The devolution of water and sewerage matters to the


Welsh government is welcome and somewhat overdue. The tragedy will


never be forgotten but the amendments in this section should be


another step forward in ensuring that nothing like it will ever


happen again. More broadly, whilst some cross-border aspects of water


regulation remains, we are pleased that the Secretary of State has


given up his ability to intervene on this issue and like the member for


Cardiff Central, I find myself in a somewhat strange place of thanking


the government for their movement on this issue, albeit after some


prodding year and on the Other Place. Unlike the member for Cardiff


Central I believe that these amendments do not go far enough.


Whilst these amendments correct some problems, there remains discrepancy


is, as the member for McAfee raised in an intervention. There is the


matter of Ofwat and this accountability to the Welsh


government. When it is discharging its function in Wales, it surely


ought to be accountable in some form to the National Assembly of Wales


and Welsh ministers. As it stands, Welsh ministers regulate water and


sewerage operators in Wales but with the Secretary of State being able to


exercises functions are giving general direction to Ofwat without


any legal, mandated consultation with Welsh ministers. To be clear,


our argument would be for Welsh ministers only to be able to provide


directions in connection with matters relating to water and


sewerage operators in Wales, or were licensed activities are carried out


using this is why system of water and sewerage operators in Wales.


Does that not seem a very reasonable and straightforward request? Surely


not a step beyond imagining for the Minister. That the regulator for the


sector should be mandated to consult with and speak to politicians


dealing with the implementation of that sector. As the member for


Wrexham may well expand on it, it is not sufficient to believe that


regulation from London will always work in the interests of communities


in Wales. I will let them expand upon this point and the


ramifications of these amendments with the campaign he's fighting in


this community, but I pay tribute to him and his work on raising this


issue and I would assure the House that we on this House, on the side


support him in it. The member for Cardiff Central, despite the gaps we


have in these amendments, we will not be voting against them today. I


would like the Minister to provide a substantial response to the points I


raised and give some assurance that the issue of Ofwat and the Welsh


government can be looked at through some mechanism outside of the bill,


and that he keeps the House informed of his progress with it. Yes, you


are on! In my advanced state of years I did not hear you, for which


I apologise but I am greatly honoured at being called by the


front bench speakers in this debate. I welcome this legislation. I'd go


as far as to say that its impact and its existence is actually having an


impact before it hits the statute book, because, as a firm believer in


the adage that there are no coincidences in politics, just as


this Bill and the amendment being put down in the Lords, my


constituency and that of my good friend from Clwyd South, our local


water company, the Valley water, was the subject of a takeover bid from


Severn Trent Water, and I suspect that that bid is not unconnected to


the existence of the clauses in this Bill, because, of course, the Bill


closes to give more powers and a greater role to Wales, the Assembly


for Wales and the Welsh government and, I suspect that the regulators


and the accountability that will now be transferred from the UK


Government to the Welsh government, it would be much more difficult to


advance the policy course which is taking place at the present time as


the Severn Trent bid was happening. I can't say too much specifically


about that bid because it is actually in the court tomorrow,


which is of course the most important court case that's taking


place this week! I am a great believer in local


accountability and services. In Wrexham we have got a good water


Company employing 300 people. The workforce to my knowledge are united


in the wish to have the Severn Trent bid rejected. And because water is a


monopoly, the role of regulators... There are two Mac regulators


involved in this process and there will be in future. It is crucially


important. My view is that the regulators have very much let me


down. As both a member of Parliament and as a local customer. Let the


workforce down and let the community down. The Government have also let


the community down because they have stepped aside host the very good,


efficient local business is being taken over by a much larger business


in what I would regard as a predatory way. The workforce are


very worried about their future. I do not want to be part of the


customer base that pays into a pot that pays the chief executive of


Severn Trent Water ?2.4 million per annum as a salary. I think that is


out of touch with the people that I represent. I do not think it is an


appropriate course. I do not agree with the situation where we are


having one less water company as a result of this proposed takeover.


That means we will have less competition and less benchmarks


against which to measure water companies in terms of price and


quality. I am disappointed that the competition and markets authority


have not got involved and have not revealed this enquiry to stage two


Mac enquiry to look into it in more detail. I think the Government has


let local people in Wrexham and Chester, where the valley water


supply watered-down, the regulator have let the people down. And the


RNA situation where the proposals in this Bill are very welcome indeed. I


do wish they happened one day to go. If they happened one year ago, the


people of the community that I represent would have been listened


to by a Government that had influence and authority and would


have exerted influence to prison -- to prevent the predatory taking over


of our local business which is serving our community well and has


been let down badly by this proposal. I rose to speak to the


second group of amendments led by amendment ten. My noble friend, a


Ridley, welcomed the proposals to have power over water. He outlined


how a historic wrong could be righted. He outlined in the great


depth how the drowning of Welsh valleys have motivated his politics


and so many people in Wales. How 50 years ago in Cabra Philae, the


expulsion of people from their homes on land led to the destruction of


communities. The high-handed way in which the people of Westminster


treated the people in Wales has repercussions. It is amendment 30


where this so-called water protocol is outlined which embodies the


entrenched Tory resistance to addressing this in Justin 's in any


meaningful terms. -- this injustice. What protocol this could take could


not be fleshed out. We could have a -- we do not have a draft protocol


in this Bill. We do not have an outline of a draft protocol. Or a


protocol by which to arrive at a protocol. Despite this lack of


clarity, the Government are willing to include Clauses watering down


this already thin provisioning. Amendment 31 explicitly charges


Welsh ministers with the interest of English consumers when it comes to


any changes to our water supply. It is important to note that it


references English consumers. We are not concerned with communities or


individuals. Communities are what matter. Consumers in this amendment


are what matters and the Welsh national resources are not ours to


dispose of two our best advantage. The Government is encouraging the


privacy of competition over the interests of Wales. The amendment


refers to the water industry act 1991. This act was based on the


issue of promoting competition. This -- does this means that we will have


a protocol, the well-being of the water consumer is tied up with the


tenants of free-market competition. Perhaps the Minister could explain


it further? I thank you for allowing me to intervene. In relation to the


contents of the protocol and whether it will be inclusive of the


Thatcherite dogma, surely that will be a matter for the Welsh Government


to agree with Westminster so they will be no Thatcherite dog but


unless the Welsh Government agrees to it. The Minister did explain that


competition was a reserved matter. It does beg the question what does


the dogma have to do with either of -- reserved powers in order for


Wales. My Party and many people in Wales feel cheated when the Minister


played the card of water devolution, we were led to believe this would be


a real game changer. It is no more than smoke and mirrors. We


considered putting 1132 vote but we will spill the chamber this exercise


because people only tweak with the wording something we have already


opposed. I want the record to reflect we will not be taken in by


empty words dressed up as substance by the Government. This remains a


cynical political sleight of hand, endeavouring to gain capital from a


historic event that is deep emotional significance in Wales. As


much as two Mac words can ever encapsulate a feeling or a sense, I


think those two Mac words remember... I do hope that we do not


look back on this year and think of another four words as in calculating


the spirit of our age. I do hope those words... Remembered the Valley


water. What my friend, the Honourable Member for Wrexham stated


powerfully, is a difficulty that is happening in our part of the North


East Wales which threaten the livelihoods of many people working


for a local water company. It is a David and Goliath battle in a sense.


There is real fear that on this occasion, David might not win. David


is in the courts tomorrow. We cannot speak of many of the intricacies of


this. What we can say is one of the smallest UK water companies, it


might be the smallest water company, the details on that I would have to


check, one has the fourth lowest water bills of any water Company in


the United Kingdom. It is in court against its Goliath. It is in court


to do with issues as to the votes of shareholders. One thing that this


does show, what we have seen in North East Wales over this issue, we


have seen what used to be called the unacceptable face of capitalism.


Where a monastic, large predator can come and try to take over a local


workforce, a local company, quite against the wills of the local


workforce and local consumers. I fear that the course of great


regret. When my honourable friend, the Member for Wrexham, speaks about


issues concerning us, issues to do with the role of competition and


markets authority. And the of linkage in terms of devolution to


the Welsh assembly. And also points he raised about of watch. They are


serious points indeed. There are serious points when we consider the


future of water in our area. There is symbolism that attaches itself


and rightly so. The chair of the action


Committee I would charge this House, as we approach the devolution of


water, forget capably about what is happening with Dee Valley water.


Aspects of company law, it should not be right if local people,


shareholders, employees of the company, if local ownership matters


to us then surely a predatory takeover is in nobody 's interests


other than the large predator itself.


I welcome those aspects which are devolving water to the Welsh


Government. I agree it is totemic and a symbolic. I want something


that works and something that works for people in North East Wales.


Thank you for calling me to say a few words specifically on Clause 46


of amendment 30 of the water protocol. Every time I travel south


in my constituency I go past a very famous bit of graffiti.


Intermittently, that acceptable bit of graffiti has been vandalised by


others. No sooner has it been vandalised. It does not take long


for it to be restored to its glory. And so it should. The Government


have a knowledge sensitive issues need to be dealt with sensitively.


History does not always them those sensitivities. In that spirit I


reflect on the very long gestation period of the water protocol. It was


recommended by Sir Paul silk in February 2015... I remember my Party


's representative as long as -- as well as the predecessor, employed in


the Wales Office, when we went through the silk recommendations and


came across the devolution of water responsibilities and sewage. It was


easier to dispense with sewage than it was with water. The officials


were charged with going back and looking at this issue. It was


complex. Not least assigning boundaries, national boundaries with


water companies responsibilities. I am pleased with the Government in


the St David's Day agreement having knowledge, my part in association


with the Conservative Party in Government too, that there should be


a water protocol. On paper at least, the protocol makes eminent sense. It


must be said that it will be easier for us to pass judgment on it where


we too have some draft. Indeed, any assessment of the criteria under


which it will work. That was a point made by the lordships in another


place. More detail would have been helpful as well as a timescale. The


protocol will swing into action and sometimes kill will be helpful. I


ask you to give some indication of that. There were some concerns


raised in another place, right up until the end of proceedings. If I


could summarise them. I look to the Minister to assure me these matters


will be dealt with. The lordships were looking for a clear statement


that the National Assembly has total control over the creation of


reservoirs in Wales. They were looking for the assembly to have


legislative control over all matters relating to water in all of Wales.


In terms of worth the Welsh border. Is he satisfied that those questions


will be adequately addressed by the protocol when it is enacted and


becomes a reality? The pedantic point on the first line about the


amendment, the new Clause 46, Welsh ministers and the Secretary of state


may make a protocol. Should that not read, shall make a protocol?


Anything less than this protocol that does not emerge on the list


difficulties in achieving this, it would not serve the people of Wales


well. I welcome the attempts. There are still unanswered questions and I


look forward to hearing from the Minister.


With Leader of the House will take Lords Amendments 28-32, 46...


Question then. -- with leave of the House. The question is does the


House agree with amendment ten from the Lords, As many as are of that


opinion say Aye, contrary No. The Ayes have it. With leave, we will


take Lords Amendments 28, 32, 46, and 137 together. I call the


Minister to move amendments 28-32, 46, and 130 seven. The question is


that this House agrees with the Lords Amendments 28-32, 46, 137, As


many as are of that opinion say Aye, contrary No. The Ayes have it, the


Ayes have it. We now come to Lords Amendment one with which it will be


convened to consider the remaining Lords Amendments A and B to


amendment 30 six. I call the Minister to agree with amendment


one. I beg to me that this House agrees with amendment one. As I


stated earlier, we have engaged with peers, the Welsh government, the


number of colleagues on all sides of this House and interested parties to


the issues raised. We have been opened and making changes to improve


the bill where there is a good case to do so and the bill before us


today is a better one as a result. Madam Deputy Speaker, there are


large number is of amendments in this grouping, testament to the fact


that the government has been open to improving the new devolution


settlement we can. Whilst I do not intend to discuss each amendment in


detail, there are a number of amendments to the bill I would like


to draw to the attention of the to draw to the attention of the


House. We've amended the bill to deal with particular concerns about


how universities are treated in the new reserve powers model. During the


passage of the bill through the Other Place, concerns were raised by


the higher education sector that defining universities as Wales


public authorities might suggest they should be classified more


widely as public authorities. This was not our intention. Amendments


three, four, and 115 resolve this by naming Wales public authorities as


devolved Welsh authorities. This response to the calls from


university specifically as well as universities in Wales. We have


ensured that the Open University will be defined as an authority


which carries out the mix of devolved and reserved functions


reflecting status as a UK wide institution this will allow the


Assembly to legislate to confer functions on the Open University


without requiring the consent of a UK minister. We have expanded the


list of devolved Welsh authorities in response to concerns raised by


the Welsh government and others. Turning to tribunal is, Madam Deputy


Speaker, the government also brought forward a number of amendments


relating to these. These amendments resulted from extensive discussions


with the Welsh government, the Ministry of Justice and the senior


judiciary. They are intended to improve their way it is managed and


to maximise flexibility in deploying judicial resources in Welsh tribunal


's. The amendments tabled in the Other Place would create a statutory


office of president of Welsh tribunal is to oversee the work of


the devolved Welsh tribunal 's. New schedule five of the bill provides


for a two stage process for the appointment of a person to this new


statutory role. These new clauses will also allow for the deployment


of judges between the tribunal 's and between reserve tribunal is in


England and Wales, to share expertise in a way that cannot


happen under current legislation. These are important amendments, a


product of constructive work with the Welsh government, the Ministry


of Justice and others. Madam Deputy Speaker, the government 's key aim


in introducing the new reserve powers model is to deliver clarity


in the boundary to been the Assembly's competence and the


competence of this Parliament, particularly in light of the Supreme


Court judgment relating to the agricultural wages board settlement.


Many amendments, therefore, either alter or remove altogether


reservations contained in the new schedule seven A. The government has


brought forward a number of amendments to deal with the planning


system and the war that governs the construction of buildings,


responding to concerns raised by the Welsh government. Amendment 71


divorce companies are planning information to railways making it


consistent with the position in Scotland. We brought forward


amendments to replace the full reservation of compulsory purchase


with one that covers only compensation. This, again, was in


the calls to respond to discussions between the UK Government and the


Welsh government. Turning to amendments to schedule one more


widely we have benefited willingness to devolve significant further


powers to the Assembly were a clear rationale can be made for doing so.


This removes the reservation relating to teachers' pay and


conditions. This was something that I was keen to devolve from the


outset, that recognise concerns issued with colleagues on all sides


of the House as well as teachers' unions. Following constructive


engagement with the First Minister and discussions between officials,


we are pleased that we came to the same conclusion, that education is a


devolved matter, it makes more sense for the Assembly and Welsh ministers


to sign -- set the pay and conditions of teachers in Wales, in


light of the greater divergences between the education model in


England and the one in Wales. It is sensible to devolve teachers' terms


and conditions. We are devolving the community infrastructure Levy in


Wales amendment 72, that was a priority for the Welsh government


and has been for a number of years. Would listen to the case that they


have made and we are delivering on demand that the Welsh government has


made. We're happy to respond and constructively in due course.


Finally, Madam Diede Speaker, amendments 36 and 52 devolve


legislative and exit the competence to the Assembly to regulate the


number of high stake gaming machines in new betting premises licences in


Wales. This is an issue that the honourable lady the member for


Swansea East showed particular interest and passion in during the


early stages of this scripting of the bill. The commission made no


recommendation on the depletion of betting, gaming and lotteries but we


agreed as part of the St David's Day process in that constructive


dialogue to consider... In a moment, to consider non-fiscal


recommendations made by the Smith Commission that would be appropriate


to take forward in Wales. I will give way. May I, too, place on


record my congratulations to the member for Swansea East for her


campaign on this issue? With the Secretary of State agree that when


we see statistics that an average of ?3000 a day is being staked on these


machines, it's important that these powers are devolved and that


regulation takes place. I come to the specific point because there's a


review being conducted by the Department for Culture, Media and


Sport which will be able to answer some of the specific issues raised,


but for the moment I will stick to explaining the rationale behind the


amendments relating to fixed odds betting terminals. One of the


proposals was that the powers should be devolved to stop the


proliferation of the so-called fixed odds betting terminals and we


concluded that these powers should be devolved in Wales as they are in


Scotland, that came out of the Smith Commission. Amendment 36 and 52


ensured that the bill mirrored the provisions of the Scotland Act 2016


in respect of high-stakes gaming machines. This applies to sub


category B two gaming machines and will address public concerns in


Wales regarding the proliferation of these machines. Of course these


machines were established as part, regulated by the gambling Act of


2005 that was introduced when the party opposite was in power. The


amendments tabled by the opposition propose going much further than what


is already devolved in the Scotland Act by extending this provision to


all existing gaming machines with a stake of more than ?2, and devolving


powers over existing licenses. We did not believe that was


appropriate, because, as I mentioned a moment ago, the government has


already announced a review of the issue, because you recognise the


flaws in the 2005 Act and, as a result we are carrying out a


thorough process that will look at all aspects of gaming machine


regulation. This will include examining the categorisation,


maximum stakes and prizes, location, number and the impact they have on


players and the communities in relation to problem gambling and


crime amongst other things. All these factors are potentially


relevant and interrelated. These powers, the powers we have agreed to


devolve, are intended to enable the Welsh government and the Assembly to


take action to prevent the proliferation of fixed odds betting


terminals. Madam Deputy Speaker, the review we have announced is the


appropriate mechanism to consider all these issues in a more holistic


way and I would encourage the members opposite to withdraw their


amendment. If they do not, I will seek to do my best to respond to


some of the issues of concern. I would urge members to support the


Lords Amendments within this. The question is that this House agrees


with the Lords in their amendment one, Susan Wyn Jones. I wish to


speak in favour of the Labour amendment, limiting the amount of


staked on the fixed odds betting terminals to ?2. I think this is


actually very important. I welcome the review that the DCMS is carrying


out in This Place and I welcome the move to devolve this measure to the


Welsh Assembly. But the reason I support that, very much in line with


all the work My Honourable Friend, the member for Swansea East has done


in this, is that we could be in the ridiculous position, we all know


apart from certain advocates for the betting industry that what is


happening with fixed odds betting terminals is deeply concerning.


Figures of round about ?1.7 billion are among those quoted now as


profits made on these horrible machines, that are causing so much


devastation in our communities. We all know something has to be done,


and fairly urgently, on this matter. What I actually fear is that we


could have a situation where this House, collectively, could vote for


a stake below 10% on these machines and, yet, if we pass this measure as


it stands, all that would happen in Wales would be that it would go down


to a maximum, a minimum stake of ?10. Now that, to me, does not seem


right. In fact, let's think of it in this way. We could have a situation


where, collectively, this House votes for it in England and Wales to


be ?2, but, once it is devolved in Wales, the Welsh government would be


limited to ?10, but then this House could not vote for a lower stake


here because the government would say it's English Votes for English


Laws, so we would be banned to bringing it. What we're asking for


is something very pragmatic, something that would give the right


to decide on that level of steak and something that would benefit


communities, because let's make no bones about it, those machines and


what is happening in the gambling industry is hitting our poorest


communities the most. We see it in our industrial villages and towns,


we see the impact of it. And let me say once and for all to the harder


elements of the gambling industry, some of which will be e-mailing us


later, the nonsense of what is happening with fixed odds betting


terminals has to come to an end. Do not think that you can intimidate us


and those in the communities who are fed up of the whole bat you have on


them. It is time to Act firmly and it is time that we give the Welsh


government full devolution on this government full devolution on this


and it is time that we lower the staked a possible until the Welsh


government has the power to do it, and hopefully, This Place will, too.


I beg to move the amendments made in my name and those of my Right


Honourable Friends. As Secretary of State has pointed out the ra a large


number of amendments on important areas but given the limited time I


want to focus on Lords Amendment 36 and are amendments to that. We


welcome the government's Lords Amendment 36 as we did in the Other


Place but we want to go further and we have the opportunity today to


achieve that. The main contention we have with the government amendment


is that it limits the powers being devolved to the Welsh Assembly to


regulate fixed odds betting terminals. That ability to regulate


will only apply to machines licensed after the bill becomes law and which


have a stake of ?10 and above. The campaign for fair gambling have been


campaigning on this issue for some time and have been an invaluable


source of help on this amendment and I would like to put on record my


thanks to them. I would also like to thank the All Party Parliamentary


Group on betting terminals so ably chaired by my Noble Friend, the


member for Swansea East. They have completed their inquiry into these


machines and they are due to publish their report very shortly.


Both groups are clear that the ?10 threshold set by the government


amendment is still too high. They are the only machines on the High


Street, fixed odds betting terminals are the only machines with stakes of


?2 and above, and all of the machines in pubs, arcades and bingo


halls are capped at ?2 and and air. The first part of the amendment


seeks to allow devolved regulations of machines with stakes of ?2 and


above, rather than ?10, and only fixed odd betting terminals will be


covered by this. Any fears that the Welsh Assembly would be overstepping


devolution or limits would be confounded. In a similar spirit,


part B would ensure the assembly has the power to regulate all current


and future licensed fixed odds betting terminals at the point it


becomes law. This is important because there are an estimated 1500


terminals in Wales. According to the latest figures, covering 2015, ?50


million was staked and lost on them during that period. The financial


and social problems, the harm that these machines cause in communities


across Wales is well known. Having the ability to regulate terminals


already in place ensures that the Welsh Assembly does not have its


hands tied in seeking to deal with the issue. The Secretary of State


mentioned in the first part of his remarks about how they devolved


teacher paid to the Welsh government, because education is


devolved. We are in a situation where fixed odds terminals are being


devolved. It simply means we will be coming back in a nerd Wil Wales Bill


to reintroduce those relations. If the government concedes on this


point, would my honourable friend simply agree that it would just mean


we have these proposals in place now? It means we could lead the way


in Wales. The Secretary of State is aware of the social and economic


problems these machines cause. Although the DC MS review is going


to be underway, there is an opportunity here for stuff we know


what the problem is and we know we could deal with it right now. I know


the Minister has said the government's attention is simply to


match the powers given to Scotland. Devolution arrangements across


Wales, England and Scotland are already different. They are not in


alignment. There is no reason why the Government could not accept this


amendment is today and agree to the lowering of the state and the


application of that state through all current and future machines.


Anything less than that would be both a bureaucratic nightmare for


the assembly, and only half a solution to an already accepted


problem. I believe it is unacceptable for the Government to


refuse to give the Wales assembly the full powers it needs to seek to


deal with this, simply because Scotland doesn't yet have those


powers. Madam Deputy Speaker, there has been a 50% increase in betting


shops in Welsh town centres since 2004, but this overall statistic


masks the true story. The Campaign For Gambling Fairly shared some


research with me that shows what many on the bench is already know,


that there are four times more betting shops in areas of high


unemployment. These machines are deliberately placed so people in


areas least able to cope with the drain on their finances that problem


gambling can cause are subjected to the highest exposure of machines


most likely to cause it. These terminals allow players to stake up


to ?100 every 20 seconds, which is why, despite only 3% to 4% of the


population using fixed odds betting terminals, these players account for


66% of all UK gaming machine losses. Already massively profitable


bookmaking companies benefit even more from those losses, to the tune,


as my honourable friend has already pointed out, of ?1.7 billion on


those terminals just in the last year across the UK. It is not just


those on the opposition benches that think this is a problem. Polling


done for the campaign showed that 82% shop customers perceive fixed


odds betting terminals as an addictive activity, with 32% of


these borrowing cash in order to feed their habit and 72% had


witnessed violent behaviour emanating from people playing on


these machines. Other research has backed this up and consistently


shown that fixed odds betting terminals are one of the most


addictive unproblematic forms of gambling. One study published in an


article from the Harvard Medical School found the terminals had a


fourfold correlation with problem gambling, higher than any other


gambling product available in the UK. The machines are already causing


real and lasting damage to some gamblers and exacerbating problem


gambling more than any other form of betting. If the UK Government will


not tackle this issue now, they need to give the Welsh Assembly the power


so that it can do it instead in Wales. The power to regulate


existing machines is crucial to tackling the harm they are causing


to communities across Wales and our amendments help to ensure that all


such machines can be regulated. I urge the Minister to follow his own


logic, to be innovative and accept our amendments. If he does not, I am


ready to test the will of the house, certainly on our first Amendment.


I welcome this amendment and the consideration that honourable


colleagues in the other place have given to this. I do declare an


interest as chair of the All-party Group On Fixed Odds Betting


Terminals Norma,. I have campaigned on this issue for over a year and


sometimes feel it has taken over my life. There are 35,000 fixed odds


betting terminals in betting shops across the UK. These casino style


games are in low supervision environments and are easily


accessible to those most vulnerable to gambling related harm. There is a


growing problem with them in local communities in Wales. According to


the latest statistics, over ?50 million was lost on the machines in


2015. While the amendment is welcome, in my opinion the bill does


not go far enough. The Welsh Assembly should have powers to


devolved to it and allow local authorities to deal with existing


clusters of betting shops in deprived areas. The most effective


way of doing this is to reduce the maximum stake to ?2. This power is


not included in the Wales Bill. The call for a reduction in the maximum


stake is growing, with over 93 local councils across the UK, led by new


council, having petitioned the Government to reduce the stake to


?2. We have included an inquiry into these machines and found that,


beyond reasonable doubt, the maximum stake should be reduced to ?2 on a


precautionary basis, in line with the objectives of the gambling


commission. The full findings of the report are due to be published


shortly. We have been encouraged by the DCMS ministers willing as to


work with them on this issue. I very much hope they will respond


positively and reduce the stake, and properly regulated FOBTs, and I


eagerly await the result of the current review. These machines are


directly linked to problem gambling in four out of five FOBT gamblers,


exhibiting problem gambling behaviour at stakes in excess of ?13


a spin. That is compared to one in five at stakes of ?2 and under.


FOBTs are causing significant economic and social problems. In


particular, they lead to increasing incidence of money laundering in


bookmakers, as the activity is largely unsupervised and is


therefore relatively easy for fraudsters to clean their money.


More problems with payday loans, as players take out loans to sustain


their FOBT usage. Increasing crime levels. Betting shops now account


for 97% of all police call-outs to gambling venues. After September


2014, there was also a 20% increase in police call-outs to betting


shops. The clustering of betting shops in Britain's high streets,


there is a 43% increase in betting shops located in towns and city


centres, which is destroying the health and vibrancy of our high


streets. The most effective way to limit the harm for the machines is


to reduce the stake, which can be gambled currently at ?100. A


substantially lower stake would bring FOBTs into line with machines


in the low supervision environments like adult gaming centres and bingo


halls. The gambling Commission themselves said that if they were


staking levels that were now being set, they would strongly advise


against the ?100 stake on a precautionary basis. A lower stake


of ?2 is the level that the previous government said would bring adequate


public protection. I would encourage the Government to support this


amendment to devolved powers to Wales and to allow local communities


to tackle the problems caused by FOBTs. It would be a proactive move


to recognise the danger of the machines. It would establish good


practice to protect communities from the dangers of these addictive


machines, and it would be a positive step to ensuring that, as a society,


we are taking our moral responsibility seriously.


It is a very wide-ranging group, of course, some, I regret to say,


resulted in my party watering the bill down in National Assembly. Time


is limited, but I will focus on key amendments salient to my colleague's


decision-making. The Government has conceded on certain issues and I


commend them for this. This includes areas where Plaid Cymru has put


pressure on the Government in both places. This should be noted.


Amendment 73 devolves compulsory purchase, as referred to earlier,


and we previously give input on that subject, meaning that projects will


go ahead. These are only small concessions, and a skirt around more


substantive policy areas that could make a difference. Amendment 48, the


clause creating a statutory office for the President of tribunal is,


already devolved, this is a welcome move on a practical level, but it


does little to satisfy those of us, including the Welsh government, I


might say, that have been calling for a separate legal jurisdiction.


Without a strong and definitive legal jurisdiction of our own,


overseeing the challenges that we all face when picking European law,


the appeal bill will make it even more difficult. I would go as far as


to say that the whole bill has rather been overtaken by Brexit,


leaving constitutional lawyers and academics, even people of the Welsh


Tories agree with this point, that the constitutional future of the


British states are in flux. There are many opportunities and


possibilities for both sides, for those championed evolution, such as


ourselves, and for those sceptical. Famously, devolution is a process,


not an event. We should be clear about the dangers of substantial


rollback. This brings me to the main focus of my speech in relation to a


series of government amendments, alterations on amendment three,


which will give Wales' public authorities a different name,


devolved Welsh authorities. This wording clarifies what constitutes a


devolved public authority. While the amendment in isolation is not a


concern, it does allude to a more worrying aspect of the bill, in


which there are substantial rollback. Throughout the scrutiny of


the bill we have tabled amendments about the potential effect on the


National Assembly's power to legislate powers pertaining to the


Welsh line which. The effect of schedule two of the bill is that


when the assembly wishes to legislate for the Welsh language, it


will require the consent of a UK minister. Another ministerial


consent is required only when imposing Welsh language functions on


ministers of the Crown. Ministers in both houses have confirmed that if a


future Welsh line which measure was to be proposed, it would no longer


be applicable to many more reserved authorities, such as HMRC, the Crown


Prosecution Service. Consent would be required for the list of devolved


public authorities, which are contained in the amendments today.


The Minister's words offered no reassurance of justification as to


why this bill should include such a regressive step. The National


Assembly research service has produced a briefing paper confirming


fears, outlining another bill, as it currently understands, and there


will be a loss of legislative power relating to the Welsh language. In


the other place, the noble Lord agreed this would be true. He


justified the government's position by stating that amendments we have


tabled to rollback, it would cut across one of the underlying core


principles of the bill and the assembly should not be able to


impose burdens on non-devolved bodies without agreement. To add a


specific exception to the consent process for the Welsh language would


undermine that principle. So, Madam Deputy Speaker, this bill does


indeed take powers away from the National Assembly. Any exception for


the Welsh language would undermine UK sovereignty. I referred earlier


in my speech to the dangers of reverse devolution agenda,


post-Brexit. It seems as though this is the reality we are facing today.


Unfortunately, this is not the only example of significant rollbacks in


this bill, some of the measures in it have been the subject of damning


criticism and scrutiny. As to any assembly act deemed ancillary for


any of the revelations, of which there are in excess of 200, the UK


Government would be entitled to overrule the assembly. The Plaid


Cymru group voted quite clearly against the legislative consent


motion for the simple reason that powers are being clawed back. The


legislative powers of the assembly were endorsed by a measure of 2-1 in


the referendum, in 2011 and the powers implicit in that boat are now


being retracted. We tabled amendments at several


stages in the bill to include the word normally so that there would be


no doubt as to whether the government would grant the Assembly


rapidly after this historic Supreme Court ruling today. To finish, I


quote no less a person than the leader of the Welsh Tories in a


radio interview on January 17, Mr Andrew Davies, who said this will be


the last Wales Bill. Brexit will require devolution changes to be


aligned with responsibilities. I can assure the House today that my party


will be doing everything in its power to reverse the rollbacks, to


ensure that both ministers are taken seriously over exit and to build a


truly lasting devolution settlement for Wales. -- over Brexit. I'm


grateful to all members that have contributed to the scrutiny of... I


shall respond to the points that have been made. Madam Deputy


Speaker, I would like to thank all members who have contributed in this


section for purposes of the bill as it is passed through this House and


the Other Place. I must say I'm disappointed that the opposition are


looking to divide on the amendments we brought forward from the Other


Place on fixed odds betting terminals. These amendments were


responding positively to calls made from colleagues on both sides of the


House and from the Welsh government. The Smith Commission made no


recommendations in this area of having considered the Smith


commission recommendations for Scotland, we believe it is right to


put the Assembly on the same footing as a Scottish Parliament and allow


them to legislate on the proliferation of fixed odds betting


terminals in Wales. There are conservative members of the Welsh


Assembly that actually oppose what the government is proposing and have


supported the member for Swansea East, including Barry Miller, from


North Wales. As he consulted with his Assembly Members on this point


as macro the honourable member makes a relevant point and we do take the


issue of Rob gambling seriously. As I have already mentioned, we are


committed to looking at all aspects of gaming machines -- problem


gambling. The regulation of fixed odds betting terminals is covered


under the gambling Act, 2005, and we recognise that flaws exist in the


current regulatory arrangements. They were introduced by the party


opposite and it is time that that was reviewed. And the Secretary of


State for Culture, Media and Sport State for Culture, Media and Sport


is doing that. We hope that honourable members will vote against


amendments tabled by the opposition and vote to support the government


amendments that we have brought forward. Madam Deputy Speaker, in


closing, it was suggested by the honourable member for Newport West


that this was a half-hearted approach towards devolution. In the


positive spirit that this bill has progressed through both houses in,


can I remind him that legislative competence orders were in place when


we came into power in 2010 when we started this process, that there was


a conferred model in place. This now introduces a reserved model. We have


a needs -based funding settlement in place, something that has been


called on for decades were evolving significant tax powers, we've


removed the water intervention powers and extended the powers of


the Welsh government in a significant range of areas such as


energy, fracking, elections and running their own affairs. There's a


host of positive steps that have taken place here. I would also say


that we all know that members in the Other Place rightly pay very close


scrutiny to matters of constitutional importance and bills


of this type. The government was not defeated despite it being in a


minority in the Other Place. The government was not defeated with


this bill. So I therefore hope that members on all sides of the House


and all members of the opposition would recognise the significance of


this bill and, once and for all, welcome it because of the positive


steps it makes in bringing about a settlement of devolution that will


last for a long time to come. The question is that this House agrees


with the Lord is an amendment one, As many as are of that opinion say


Aye, contrary No. I think the Ayes have it, the Ayes have it. With


lead, we will take Lords Amendments to - eight, 11-27, 30 3-35 together


and for the Minister to move formally to agree those amendments.


The question is that this House agrees with the laws and although


they are remaining amendments, As many as are of that opinion say Aye,


contrary No. I think the Ayes have it, The Ayes have it. I call Jill


Stevens to move amendment 36th formers -- formally. The question is


that the amendment be made, As many as are of that opinion say Aye,


contrary No. Division, clear the lobbies.


That the amendment be made, As many as are of that opinion say Aye,


contrary No. Tellers for the Ayes Vicky Foxcroft and Jeff Smith,


tellers for the Noes, Steve Bryant and Andrew Griffiths. Thank you very


much. Order. The ayes to the right, 170.


The noes to the left, 281. The noes have it, the noes habit.


Unlock. We will take all the remain... Not again! Sorry. Did you


give me that? Minister to move to agree to the amendment 36, formerly.


The question is that the house agrees with the amendment 36, as


many of that opinion say aye? I think the ayes have it. With leave,


we will take all of the remaining amendments together. I call the


Minister to formally agree to all of the remaining amendments. The


question is that the house agrees with the Lords on all remaining


Arminians. -- amendments. I think the ayes have it. We now come to


motion number five on the charter for budget responsibility. I called


the Chancellor to move the motion. I beg to move that the Charter For


Budget Responsibility be approved. This debate is not about the


technicalities of fiscal policy. It is about our commitment to fiscal


responsibility and delivering it in a way that is appropriate to our


current circumstances. It is about supporting our economy through the


uncertainty following the Brexit vote and preparing it is to take


full advantage of the new opportunities ahead. It is about


securing Britain's economic future, supporting working families and


ensuring that our children are not burdened with debt but our


generation chooses not to play. Butland Deputy Speaker, when my


predecessor came into office in 2010, he inherited the highest


budget deficit in post-war history. Government borrowing was ?1 in every


?4 it spent. Debt had almost doubled since 2005-6. Unemployment was up 8%


and the UK percentage increase in national debt between 2007-10 was


the biggest in the G7. The 2008 recession showed the price that is


paid for seven years of irresponsible fiscal policy. It


demonstrated once again that it is always the poorest in our country


that suffer the most when the economy crashes and unemployment


rises. So, we remain resolute in our determination to return the public


finances to balance, to get debt falling and to pay our way in the


world. But we have to do so in a way that protects our economy and our


living standards in challenging times. At the same time, we must


maintain our focus on the long-term challenge of productivity, a


challenge which we must rise to if we are to seize the opportunities


that lie ahead for Britain. Madam Deputy Speaker, in proposing this


charter, I'd build on the work of my right honourable friend, the member


for Tatton. His plans, action by the hard work of millions of people up


and down the United Kingdom, have turned our economy around. The


employment rate is at a record high, unemployment is at an 11 year low,


income inequality is at its lowest level in 30 years. The OECD and the


IMF expect the UK to have been the fastest-growing economy in the G7 in


2016. The economic plan that has delivered jobs and growth has also


reduced the deficit from 10.1% to 4% of GDP, so in 2016 we borrowed ?1


for every ?10 that we spend. These are significant achievements, but we


have further to go. Madam Deputy Speaker, in the medium term, we are


well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that leaving the


European Union presents. But at the time of the Autumn Statement, the


OBR judged that in the near term uncertainty about the new trading


relationship with the EU, coupled with the impact of higher inflation,


driven by the depreciation of the pound, is likely to reduce the rate


of economic growth relative to previous expectations. I will give


way to the honourable gentleman. I do thank the Chancellor. He makes an


interesting case about the strength of the economy. Does he not actually


associate something of that growth in the economy with the fact that


the government borrowed and invested in the economy, and that borrowing


is therefore not necessarily a bad thing in itself? Well, Mr Speaker, I


think my track record of one fiscal event answers the honourable


gentleman's question. Clearly, I made the decision in November to


borrow a discretionary ?23 billion to invest in targeted areas that


were specifically focused on raising productivity levels in the UK


economy. Of course, the answer to the question can borrowing to invest


ever be sensible, the answer is yes, if the circumstances are right, if


it is a judicious amount of borrowing and is precisely targeted


to achieve a purpose. Madam Deputy Speaker, as I will say... I will


give way. I am most grateful to the Chancellor. It is a related point to


that raised by the previous member. Does the Chancellor believes that


the charter gives him enough flexibility to be able to address


any economic issues that make, during the course of the parliament?


As I shall explain in a moment, one of the purposes of the new fiscal


rules proposed is to allow sufficient flexibility to deal with


any unexpected and forecast shocks along the way during a period of


more than usual uncertainty in the economy. This OBR judgment and


Autumn Statement that I referred to implied ?84 billion of additional


borrowing over the forecast horizon, although it should say that the OBR


acknowledges a higher than usual degree of uncertainty in the


forecast. At Autumn Statement, I had to make a forecast. I could have


looked for further savings to maintain the trajectory of


consolidation my predecessor set out. I judge this would not be a


responsible way to support the economy in present circumstances.


The Autumn Statement, I set out the new plan, a plan that offered fiscal


had room, if needed, to deal with unforeseen, and forecasted economic


shocks, and scope to raise productivity and lift real wages and


living standards. Let me set out the principles that inform the fiscal


rules I have placed before the house today. First, the public finances


should be returned to balance at the earliest date that is compatible


with the prudent management of the economy. I judge, in current


circumstances, that will be in the next parliament, after our EU exit


is complete. In the interim, I have committed to reducing the structural


deficit to a low 2% of GDP by the end of this Parliament. Targeting a


structural deficit means that I can let the public finances respond to


any short-term fluctuations in the economy, through the so-called


automatic stabilisers. The OBR forecasted at Autumn Statement 2016


that I will meet this rule two years early. This leaves some headroom,


about ?27 billion, for a discretionary response to any


further shocks, should such a response be necessary. Second, I


have committed to getting debt falling by the end of this


Parliament and this will be the first time since the start of the


century that debt has fallen. Again, the OBR forecast that debt will


begin falling two years before the rule requires. Madam Deputy Speaker,


delaying the return to balance until the next Parliament not only ensures


we have fiscal had room to respond to shocks, but means the government


has scope to invest to improve the UK's productivity, and the


productivity gap is the biggest challenge facing the UK economy. It


has been said many times before, but I will say it again, it takes


workers in Germany less than four days to produce what we produce in


five days. That means that many British workers work harder, longer


hours, for lower pay than their counterparts and this has to change


if we're going to build an economy that works for everyone.


My right now the trend is absolutely right to point out the productivity


gap but may I gently chide him by letting him know that the Nissan


plant in Sunderland is second only to the planned in York, in Japan


itself, the headquarters. -- in York will hammer. It is outside of Japan


the most profitable and productive engineering plant in the Nissan


Rogue. Always a pleasure to be gently chided by my honourable


friend who is of course absolutely right and that is the conundrum


about Britain's productivity. We have some of the most fantastically


productive companies, businesses, indeed some of the most productive


cities in the world but we also have some of the poorest examples of


productivity performance. Working out how to spread across the economy


best practice of productivity that we see in our economy so that all


regions, all corners of our economy, all sectors of the economy can share


in this productivity performance and thus can deliver the higher real


wages and living standards that this implies, that is the challenge


before us and I say again, it is the biggest challenge facing the UK


economy but it is a challenge that successive governments have failed


to do anything effective about. I gave way. I thank the right


Honourable gentleman and I am certainly not in the mode of wanting


to chide him for anything in particular but it is worth pointing


out that putting the productivity issues into some context, it is also


the case and has been the case during the time that he has been in


office but just as Chancellor but since 2010 that our unappointed rate


has been rather lower and that perhaps has been a factor in the per


productivity that the UK economy has had relative to many of our European


partners. The fact has been that this government or more importantly


British business have that keeping employment rates had higher and


higher than perhaps the very urgent improvements to productivity to its


universe. My honourable who represents one of the most


productive sub regions in the entire European Union is right of course,


there is a perfectly respectable economic argument that as you


increase participation in the labour force and bring more marginally


productive workers into the labour force that it may have a depressing


effect on labour productivity overall but I would say to my


honourable friend that when we look at unemployment rates or employment


participation rates in Germany and in the UK they are not so different


and I do not think we can explain a 30% productivity performance gap by


differences in levels of participation in the economy, indeed


there is much debate among economists about what the cause of


this productivity gap is and more generally what the cause of the


generally pure productivity performance of the developed


economies over the last few years has been. Madam Deputy Speaker, we


chose an Autumn Statement in 2016 to invest an additional ?23 billion


through national productivity investment fund which aims to raise


productivity, supports job creation and boost real wages and living


standards. Every penny we spend from this fund will be used to boost


economic infrastructure, research and development and housing, it will


bring total investment in the areas to ?170 billion over the next five


years and it means that gross public investment will be at least 4% of


GDP for the rest of this Parliament, that is higher than in any period


between 1983 and the great crash. I gave way. I'm grateful. I think he


is right to place productivity at the centre of the economic problem


and the productivity will be helpful in terms of infrastructure but one


of the challenges is to get the corporate sector by investing which


is one of the lessons from I honourable friend from Lichfield, a


new factory with new technology and getting corporate to invest can also


visit the productivity and I wonder what measures you looking to bring


forward on that. My honourable friend is absolutely right, public


investment in infrastructure is part of the story, I work and private


investment in skills is part of the story, but increasing the stock of


capital available for each worker to use is also part of the story of


improving labour productivity and we know that business hates


uncertainty, and the uncertainty that has been created by the Brexit


vote has undoubtedly slowed down business investment decisions but


the problem we're looking at in terms of productivity is not a


short-term issue in response to the Brexit vote it is a much longer-term


challenge in the UK economy, large companies in the UK are well


capitalised, similar levels of capitalisation to double businesses


elsewhere, but I would suggest that there is a challenge over the


capitalisation of smaller businesses in the UK and access to long-term


capital in the UK is one of the challenges that we need to address


and the government undertook at the Autumn Statement to conduct a review


into the availability of patient long-term capital for small


businesses in the UK. Madam Deputy Speaker the money that I have just


spoken about for public investment through the national productivity


investment fund will provide the financial foundations for our


industrial strategy, watched yesterday, which works to build on


Britain's strengths. When BB clear, this charter is not consistent with


the proposal from Labour which is to borrow at all times for anything


which its terms investment. And if any of my honourable friend are


thinking that this sounds horribly familiar that is probably because it


is essentially Gordon Brown's called Golden rule, the very antithesis of


budget responsibility and we almost where that got us. An unsustainable


boom in government spending, which took that into the great recession


with the largest structural deficit in the G seven. And Labour's big


idea today is to repeat the same mistake all over again. This is yet


another demonstration that the party opposite is not willing to learn


from the past, and has no ideas for the future. What I propose is


different. The national productivity investment fund will be targeted at


economic infrastructure projects, housing and are indeed that will


boost our national productivity and the National infrastructure


commission will ensure that our future infrastructure decisions are


based on independent robust analysis. We choose to invest in


productivity, not just because doing so can transform the growth


potential of our economy, but because it also contributes to


addressing the social challenges that we face. Sustainable living


standards for all parts of the country, and all sectors of the


population depend on as improving productivity through better skills,


opportunities to be trained, veteran infrastructure and better private


investment. This investment is only possible because we are prepared to


take tough decisions to maintain control of current spending. But as


the old BR made clear last week in the fiscal sustainability report the


end of the parliament is not the end of the challenge. That report


contains some tough messages and some important early warnings, he or


BR sets out clearly the significant challenges that we will face as our


pop we're -- as our population continues to age over the next half


century driven by increasing life expectancy, low fertility rates and


the baby boom bubble retiring at the dependency ratio will go from 3.5


people of working age supporting each retired the two just 2.2 in


2066 and the old BR projects that these demographics will lead to


increased spending in age-related areas like health and long-term care


and the state pension and at the same demographic and economic trends


mean that revenues will remain broadly stable. The old BR notes


that we're not the only country facing these challenges and it notes


that these figures are highly uncertain and should be seen as


illustrative projections rather than precise forecasts but the potential


impact on the public finances is very significant. On the assumption


of no policy response, ie the assumption that government does


nothing which I can promise you Madam Deputy Speaker will not be the


case, it could rise to 234% of GDP by the end of the 50 year projection


period with two thirds of the increase since the 2015 report being


attributed to health care spending. Rather near term the report also


shows that without further policy action we will not hit a surplus in


the next Parliament and that is why at autumn 2016, the Autumn Statement


2016I reiterated the tax and spending commitments for this


Parliament set out in the 2015 spending review will be delivered


and we will meet our manifesto commitments to protect the budgets


and prioritise public services and I confirmed that the government will


review public spending priorities and other commitments for the next


Parliament in light of the evolving fiscal position at the next spending


review. There will be more difficult choices to make, before we have


completed the job of restoring the public finances to health. Madam


Deputy Speaker controlling our welfare bill is a vital element of


getting back to balance, a ?220 billion welfare represent a quarter


of all government spending, and in the absence of an effective


framework, spending on working age benefits tripled in real terms


between 1980 and 2014 so that by 2014 each person in this country in


work was contributing an average ?3000 per year to the cost of


working age benefits. Action that has been taken since 2010 including


the welfare cap in the previous charter has stabilised welfare


spending and we will maintain that stability. The charter before the


house today introduces a new medium-term welfare gap set to


represent the current forecast of eligible welfare spend taking into


account the policy changes made since the last budget. The cap will


apply to welfare spending in 2021-22, and performance against


this cap will be formally assessed by the OBR once in the year before,


in 2020,-21. In the interim, progress towards the cap will be


monitored by the government based on the tenth eMac's forecast on welfare


spending, Madam Debbie Speaker shifting from an annual to medium


format will avoid the government have a great short-term responses to


changes in the welfare forecast while ensuring that welfare spending


remained sustainable over the medium-term. Let me reiterate today


to the house what I have said before, the government will deliver


the overall portal of welfare savings already identified, but we


have no plans to introduce further welfare savings in this Parliament


beyond those already announced. I will give way. I am very grateful to


my right honourable friend who has been generous in giving way to me.


He quite rightly points out that Brexit creates uncertainty and


business does not like uncertainty, but in relation to the welfare cap


and overall welfare spending I wonder whether he can identify


advantages in Brexit whether through tighter controls on certain types of


immigration it might mean that the forecast might be lower than he


anticipated. My honourable friend is right of course, we will have the


ability to set our own immigration controls after leaving the European


Union and the kid at the margin be an impact on welfare claims. I think


the OBR would say although it is for them and not for me that it would


probably be quite marginal, or the data suggests it would be a marginal


effect. This government and the previous one have made significant


progress in bringing this country back from the brink of financial


collapse and fiscal ruin. The framework provided by our charter


for budget responsibility played a major role. My predecessor aspired


to eliminate the deficit entirely in this Parliament. In the Autumn


Statement 2016 we revealed new fiscal pressures and the referendum


result has created additional uncertainty in the economy. And when


the facts change it is right to change plans. This charter strikes


the right balance for our current circumstances. A credible plan to


restore the public finances to health, and flexibility to support


the economy in the short-term and scope to invest in productivity to


boost real wages and living standards in the medium-term. A


charter that will support Brexit, helping us to the short-term


uncertainty and preparing us to seize the opportunities that lie


beyond it. A charter that underpins our vision of an economy that works


for everyone. And I commend it to the house. The question is the


motion on the charter for budget responsibility as on the order


paper. John McDonald. Madam Deputy Speaker. The motion in front of the


house is rewriting the rule by which the government intends to manage its


fiscal policies, as the Chancellor set out and the reason this


rewriting is urgently needed is because the government's previous


fiscal rule now lives in absolute tatters.


As we argued at the time, when the amendment was introduced, it was a


political device rather than a sound economic tool. In that version, the


commitment to reach a budget surplus by the end of the Parliament, we


argued was unachievable. That became obvious by the budget last year,


when the previous Chancellor had to stretch budget validity to breaking


point simply to claim the economy was still on course to achieve the


target. This was well before the referendum. By the summer, the


target had to be abandoned entirely. It was dropped because the surplus


target was never about sound management. No credible economist


could be found to support the surplus target because it had no


plausible economic justification. The Treasury Select Committee


rightly concluded that the old surplus rule was, and I quote, not


credible in its current form. So, instead, the previous Chancellor


made a political choice to impose the target. The austerity measures,


the measures that the target required, there were not just cruel,


there were unnecessary. Those measures, members will recall, have


meant that people living with disabilities are suddenly were


threatened with the loss of their independence. Those in work, doing


the right thing, looking after their children, going to work, just


attempting to get by, they were suddenly faced with serious cuts to


their incomes. The tragedy here is that all those sacrifices, all that


suffering, had been made in vain. The record of this government in


office speaks for itself. At the same time as imposing grinding


spending cuts, the government, as of this morning's figures, have added


almost 700 billion to the national debt. This isn't just more than the


previous Labour government, it is more boring than any post-war Labour


government added together. It is equivalent to ?25,600 of extra debt


for every household in the country. Can you confirm it is still his


policy to borrow another - billion pounds on top? I am pleased he has


raised that. We have just seen 700 billion borrowed over the last seven


years as a result of economic failure the Labour Party's policy,


based upon the recommendations of the CBI and others, is to look to


spend ?500 billion on investment. 200 billion mainstream direct


funding, 100 billion to a national investment bank which will prize,


from the private sector and elsewhere, 250 billion. The


infrastructure investment that is required to tackle the productivity


crisis caused by his government, and I will give way. I am grateful to


the Right Honourable Gentleman. I wonder if he could clarify? He has


just cried the fact that the national debt has increased by ?700


billion. Is he saying he would not have spent that ?700 billion? Would


he continued to maintain the same deficit that we currently have and


spend this ?500 billion on top of that? I am not quite sure of his


maths. We would have invested in the beginning in infrastructure and


skills, invested in the economy and not had to borrow ?700 billion for


failure, rather than growth and success. Because of the focus of the


Government being an unobtainable surplus target, they did not use the


borrow wisely. The sound policy, as recommended by organisations like


the IMF and CBI is to put Britain to work in supporting investment.


Instead, in seven wasted years the Government has cut its investment.


If I can finish the sentence, it fell to the lowest level in a


decade. I thank the Right Honourable Gentleman for giving way. He rightly


says, and I think many of us feel, we have borrowed a hell of a lot of


money, probably too much money, since 2010, ?700 billion. It does


give a lie to the idea that there has been grinding austerity. We are


still borrowing huge wads of money and there has been a balance in


ensuring welfare has been maintained. In relation to


investment, one of the most insidious elements of investment of


the last Labour administration was in relation to PPP and PFI schemes,


many of which we are still paying off and will be for decades to come.


A colossal amount of money of so-called investment, that is


actually just adding more to our debt. The honourable gentleman will


recall my opposition to PFI in the past. But let's be absolutely clear,


borrowing for investment to ensure that people have the skills and to


ensure they have the resources to tackle productivity crisis and


therefore grow the economy, achieve high skills, high wages, that they


can then pay the taxes to afford public services is, on one hand,


creditable. Borrowing because of the failure of government economic


policy is what we have seen over the last seven years. Instead of the


next... I repeat, over nearly seven years, we have seen Government


actually cutting investment. The consequence of inadequate investment


is clear. Austerity measures and lower investment have fed directly


into what the governor of the Bank of England has called a lost decade


for earnings. Productivity growth has stagnated, as even the


Government's own White Paper on strategy acknowledged. I Shadow


Chancellor's concerns. Every hour worked in Britain produces a third


less than every hour worked in the US, Germany or France. We have been


arguing this case at least since I have been a Shadow Chancellor, but


it was not acknowledged by the Government until literally


yesterday. It is no use those on the benches opposite talking about a


post-Brexit Britain taking on the world with that record of


underinvestment. An economy with low productivity can only compete on the


lowest common denominator. That means, as happened, slashing wages


and salaries and hacking away at social protections like the NHS and


pensions. This is the grim reality of the Conservative's low


investment, low productivity, low-wage economy. It can easily get


worse from here. Clearly, some of the benches opposite, well, for


them, and economy shorn of basic protections in the workplace, with


rock bottom wages, with social spending provisions stripped to the


barest minimum, for some it would be a desirable goal. We have seen a


glimpse of that future in the Chancellor's own threats to turn


Britain into a tax haven. I will come back to the honourable


gentleman. To even hold up this prospect is to admit that the


government has no better plan than the steady management of decline.


Look, I've been in opposition, so I know what the honourable gentleman


is doing, and I understand that. But there has to be a little bit of


reality. We are the fastest-growing economy in the G7. I've been to


France, as he has, I've been to Germany, to Spain, as he has. Is he


aware of the rates of unemployment in those countries? Let's just


compare what is happening now, out there, in the real world. We welcome


the growth of employment. Let's talk about what has happened to wages. We


have had the biggest fall in wages among OECD countries in the last ten


years, matched only by Greece. One in five employees were low paid in


Britain in 2015. Mark Carney cordoba lost decade of income growth -- he


called it the lost decade of income growth. On average, they earn less


than 20 years ago. Yes, I welcome the growth of employment, but I


don't welcome the growth of poverty payments like this, whether you are


self-employed, or an zero hours contracts, or being exploited


accordingly. He will know the Rowntree foundation are saying the


gap between the rich and the poor has actually reduced since 2010. He


will also know that, on a minimum our salaries, on the zero hour...


What is the phrase? Thank you, on the zero hour contract! Over half of


people polled say that they wish to have that flexibility. Yes, people


in self-employment do often earn less, but it is their decision to do


it. I was self-employed before I created my own company. It was my


choice to do that, rather than earning more in a larger


corporation. What we now have in our economy is a scandal of bogus


self-employment. A large amount of the growth in self-employment is on


that basis, and part of it is the most exploitative. Let's look at


some of the figures on inequality. If we use another index, other than


the one which does not take into account the outstripping of the


super-rich, if he used the ratio of between the tenth and 90th


percentile is, inequality has risen every year over the last five years.


If you look at what has happened in individual countries, the FTSE 100


chief executives, the average total pay off their employees in 2015, the


comparison, 129-1. In the mid-1990s, it was no more than 45-1. That is


the grotesque level of inequality we are seeing as a result of the


economy that has been created over the last seven years. Actually,


yesterday's Green paper actually seemed to recognise the failure of


previous policy. There has certainly been a change of rhetoric. The Prime


Minister has suddenly been one to the... -- won to the merits of that


policy. The message that the previous years have failed badly is


welcome. But nowhere is it clear that the Government recognises the


scale of the problem. The witnesses and inequalities stem from decades


of underinvestment, where decisions about where and what to invest has


been taken by too few people at the top, to the benefit of that tiny


handful. It leads to an economy where what the Government plans,


over ?5,000 of investment per head in London, but just ?413 in the


north-east of England, or where a single London capital project


receives more open and backing on the Yorkshire, or when the 500


million announced for the North of England promised yesterday is set


against ?18 billion worth of cuts from local authority budgets in


2010. I see the honourable gentleman is ready to jump. Defending London's


on certain extent. Surely, the Right Honourable Gentleman recognises that


significant amounts of money that comes in to the capital for


investment, if they didn't come here, it would go to another


national capital. Many of the cranes in my constituency, and very near


his constituency, near Heathrow, many of them are up with large-scale


investment and infrastructure projects. They are producing huge


numbers of jobs in construction and contracting well beyond the capital


city. It is the case that there is a large amount of investment that goes


on here in London. But that has a benefit well beyond the capital


city. Don't worry, I was enjoying it. The reality is this, this is


Government investment. Those figures, they are just not


acceptable. 5000 per head, in London, in comparison with 400 in


the north-east, it is not acceptable. That is a level of


inequality that has to be challenged, and the gentleman is


usually fair, and I am sure he will accept that, no matter how much we


are both champions for our capital city. So, yes, the shift in rhetoric


is welcome, but it must be backed up by meaningful action. This is where


the revised charter still falls short. It's good to see the


Chancellor has taken on board labour's recommendations and has


ditched the surplus target. In doing so, he has held out at is the


potential of letting some of the burden of the austerity measures


that have led to crises in health and social care. Yet, last year's


Autumn Statement, I deeply regret that he failed to take this option.


The result of his failure to act on both the NHS and social care funding


has been to contribute to the worst funding crisis to the NHS for


decades. A social care system pushed beyond breaking point. There are


sometimes an image that captures the plight on a particular issue. A


couple of years ago, it was the plight of that child's body on the


shores of the Mediterranean that brought to our attention the crisis


of the refugees. Last year, it was the plight of that child, the


photograph of that child in an ambulance, in blood and dust, being


pulled out of the debris in Aleppo. The image to me that has focused the


NHS crisis was two weeks ago, of a child below the age of five, in a


hospital corridor, being treated on two plastic chairs pushed together.


That is unacceptable in the sixth richest country in the world,


unacceptable. It is as a result of the failure to act in the Autumn


Statement to address the underfunding. I have written now to


the chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility to ask if the office


can look into providing assessments of the impact of health care funding


against expected need. As we saw last month, the British Red Cross


has now described the ongoing situation as a humanitarian crisis


and the response from the government is to play down the situation,


despite the volume of continued complaints from front line NHS


staff. I strongly believe that this is leading to widespread public


distrust in the Government's presentation of the levels of


funding and support for the NHS and social care. So it makes sense to


attempt to provide some objective assessment of the real needs of the


NHS to help prevent the real terms funding cuts that have taken place


under this government. I say to the Chancellor again now, he can and


must now take response action to ensure that health and social care


are properly funded in this period of crisis. Instead, the Charter


represents only the smallest improvement on the previous dire


fiscal policy. Unbelievably, contrary to all advice, it still


attempts to keep investment spending inside the spending control


framework. Already, this has been criticised by experts from the


Institute for Fiscal Studies and keeping the investment spending


inside the overall cap means that every pound delivered for investment


comes at the expense of potential spending on public services.


At a time when the costs of capital for government are close to the


lowest in history this choice makes little sense. And facing Brexit the


challenge for all of us is to think boldly about how this country can


respond and the amended rule. Far short of this. And want to ask the


honourable gentleman on his position about public debt. Ours is set to


peak at just over 90% of GDP and yet he is setting out a course of action


which would have public the driving indefinitely, going on rising


forever. Is the comfortable with this position? That is clearly not


the case and if you look carefully at Labour's fiscal credibility rule


he would have seen and adopted it, he would have seen that actually


what we will be doing is reducing debt for the lifetime of a


Parliament and that is as a result of ensuring that we have proper


investment tackling the productivity gap, bringing people back to work,


ensuring they have the skills and produce high wages and in that way


they can fund it to a tax-raising that is thinner than the existing


one. It simply will not be possible to deliver the scale of support and


investment needed to rebuild our economy inside the restrictions of


the rules he is proposing. We will get half measures and rhetorical


commitments. What we will not get is a serious commitment to deliver the


economic as remission we need. To do so would acquire government ticking


on a few too many vested interests. It would mean a serious attempt to


clamp down on tax avoidance, it would mean reversing the hand-outs


to the giant corporations and the super-rich, it would mean ending in


reality not only in rhetoric and colossal in balance in investment


between a few favourite places in the south-east and the rest of the


country. In changing the rules the government is admitting its prior


failure and then failing to seriously address its cousins.


Investment is too low, productivity is too low, wages are too low.


Labourers or fiscal readability rule follows the recommendations of world


fiscal organisations and trade unions to keep day-to-day spending


entirely separate from the government plans to invest. This


government's fiscal rule is titled government investment, at the same


time as being obsessively loose on government control. The primary


reason for introducing the rule is to show the government's one fiscal


plans are consistent and planned well in advance. It allows business


and investors themselves to plan and act as a reassurance to markets that


the government will not attempt to spend excessively. The rule should


be basis of the stricter deportment of borrowing limits. We accept that,


but it should also contain the flexibility of governments to


contain -- to respond when unexpected shocks Walker. Getting


the balance between these point is difficult so following the best


economic advice Labour's fiscal credibility rule raises the power to


determine whether we are outside normal times in the hands of the


monetary policy committee -- committee and they can determine if


it is necessary for fiscal policy to adjust in response to another


anticipated shock. The freedom to determine the fiscal stance is a


significant power for a government and one has to be used responsibly.


Labour do not believe that it is desirable to return to the days when


governments would produce their own economic forecasts and then decide


on their own terms where the business cycle was and how much


extra fiscal leeway they were allowed. It meant that the Treasury


had excessive power to determine fiscal policy and that in turn meant


governments would have the power to favour short-term quick fixes at the


expense of longer-term action to rebuild the economy. A credible


fiscal rule should not allow that to happen. And it should be bolted into


place and compel a government to act for the longer-term good. Labour's


fiscal rule does this, that hands power to recognise economic shocks


to the monetary policy committee, get the new charter for budget


responsibility is to have the power to recognise economic shocks


straight back to the Treasury. It returns us to the bad old days when


short-term Treasury thinking would be allowed to dominate economic


policy-making. It could mean that once again Conservative chancellors


could be tempted to ease off or tighten up on the spending not


because of the economy but because an election is due. In other words


it defeats the purpose of having a rule of fiscal rule in the first


place. Instead of breaking with the short-term thinking of the past it


bolted more firmly into place. How can the rule be taken seriously when


it is so obviously open to being undermined? The revised charter


brings us close to the worst of both worlds, in suggesting titled


government investment in building a post Brexit economy should demand


government intervention and yet it is excessively loose and the


government itself, and in too much power to the Treasury. The


Chancellor and the government are squandering an opportunity here,


they could have ditched the field existing fiscal rule and put in


place a new fiscal mandate that would give us the space needed to be


built and transform the economy as we prepare for Brexit. Instead, they


have handed more powers back to the Treasury while the Chancellor has


insisted on maintaining austerity spending cuts. No part of this


government's fiscal rule can be supported and Mr Speaker we will be


voting against the charter as a whole. Thank you Mr Speaker, I am


somewhat in order to pack in your place. The Chancellor was very


measured in his defence of the new charter and his presentation was


without the usual gimmicks and flamboyance of his predecessor and


it was no worse for that. But Mr Speaker I have read my Sherlock


Holmes and it is the dog that didn't bark in the night that you have to


look out for. This is only 15 months Mr Speaker, only 15 months since we


last debated the new set of Treasury rules. I am in favour of such rules,


rules are there to create stability and sustainability in the national


finances, they are there to give confidence to lenders and indeed


they are there to restrain politicians from using the public


purse for party advantage. That said, it should be obvious to anyone


that if this Conservative government is bent on rewriting the fiscal rule


book only 15 months after the last time it did it then intermodulation


and seriousness is open to question and the Chancellor did not address


that. And it is a serious point Mr Speaker that if you keep changing


the rules even though you stand up and make the measured defence of the


new set of rules then you have to explain why you keep changing them


if you want people to have confidence in the next set of rules.


The Chancellor field to do that. Let me explain, we suffered an exogenous


shock which according to the OBE are implied an extra ?84 billion of


additional borrowing over the forecast horizon. I would say when


the facts change we should change our plans. Mr Speaker, that is not


what rules are for. The rules should not change when the situation


changes, the policy should change what the rules are the two protect


and to assist -- to protect sustainability and to protect the


ability of the markets to feel they have confidence in the government.


The point is the Chancellor, is of course there was an exogenous shock,


Brexit has produced that exogenous shock and the full force of that


shock has yet to arrive in the British economy and the total is


preparing the ground for when the week if the economy but the point is


that the policy issue, why would the rules change? The rules are there


for sustainability. If the rules change every ten circumstances


change I put it to you what is the point of having the rules? Surely


the honourable death woman must recognise that the proof of the


pudding is whether or not there has been a sense of confidence drifting


away from banks and carpets in relation to that. They have a


recommendation that this has been a major event, and the impact of


Brexit is still some way ahead. Nevertheless that impact means it is


quite legitimate not to be bound by rules that 50 months ago are in a


different world to the one that we are going to have the experience in


the months and years to come. Mr Speaker, I thank the members for


putting clearly the point I'm trying to make. The rules are a hostage to


fortune. That is what the members of that side of the house are saying.


The rules will change when circumstances change, when you need


to change the rules to get the results you want therefore what is


the point of having the rules at all? You're confirming the point you


put forward, that forward by the Shadow Chancellor, and the rules are


flexible politically. Therefore they are not rules. And you can prove


this, if you look at this government's borrowing record. Since


2010 when this government was elected between 2010 and 2015 the


national debt rose by 50%. The latest OBR forecast suggests that


between 2010 and the end of this parliament the national debt will


have doubled, it will be almost doubled. That is not something you


can go on winning an the former Labour government. That said of the


house has doubled the national debt in its tenure in office. The


Chancellor has gone away with that, the previous Chancellor, because


they keep coming to this house would rules to pretend that they are


fiscally responsible yet the doubled the national debt. Inheriting a


deficit the size that we did in 2010 there would have been our way of


avoiding doubling the national debt, that would have involved an even


harsher period of consolidation of the public finances as I wandered


and party and opposition voted against every single measure to


consolidate but let me make this point, the previous fiscal rules


called a surplus in 2020, 2021, the honourable gentleman seems to be


advocating a policy response which says we will squeeze the economy


harder in order to meet the old rules in the new circumstances. Is


that what he would like? I'm glad the Chancellor has admitted that


they have, by the end of this Parliament they will have doubled


the national debt. So much Mr Speaker for the fiscal rules. I have


happy to admit to the Chancellor, I was actually in favour of doubling


the national debt. That does not give me a problem. I think that is


what saved the economy. But I cannot abide Mr Speaker is the rank


hypocrisy of a government that keeps coming up with laughter rule after


rule to pretend that it's fiscally prudent... Order. We need to be


clear that the honourable gentleman is not accusing any minister in the


government, any individual of hypocrisy, for that would be


completely disorderly. It is not a debating matter nor something on


which I am looking for the honourable gentleman 's


interpretation. I'm generally same to him that if that is what you


saying then he must withdraw it. If he's making a charge at the


collective then he can just about get away with it under the


procedures. I'm suitably chided Mr Speaker. I make no aspersion on the


character of any individual in government. As a collective though,


I make the point in the Chancellor has admitted this, that they have


changed the rules to suit themselves, that is the basic point


I'm trying to get across. This new set of rules, what possible faith


and be that the bomb be changed another 50 months? John McDonald? I


don't want to interfere but they could draw the honourable member's


attention that intruders and named very Chancellor, the person who is


the Chancellor was condemning any concept of rules at all whatsoever


and that in that school that he eventually in the method and


opposition that came to court there was a welfare cap that has been


completely disregarded, the reduction in the deficit was not to


be a reduction it is meant to be an elimination and a reduction of debt


so rules seem to have gone out the window very early. Particular point.


I do agree with the honourable Doberman. Like the moon or -- let me


move on Mr Speaker. In very grit detail. He did press


the point he's made here today -- very great detail. The new fiscal


rules plus the Autumn Statement were designed to give the Government


enough fiscal headroom to meet any unforeseeable circumstances should


the economy and economic growth slow as a result of Brexit decision. I


respect that. Here's my point. Why give yourself headroom for a future


event, a future dangerous event? Why not take action now in order to


forestall that event? What this fiscal charter in essence suggests,


is that, it gives the Chancellor the room in two, three, four years'


time, if the economy begins to slow, to use a fiscal surplus in order to


be able to invest in the economy and crank up growth. Why not do that


now? The dangerous impression that the fiscal charter gives is somehow


it will prevent the ill effects of Brexit. The Chancellor can intervene


if something goes wrong. My point is why not use that fiscal headroom


now? The problem is, of course, the underlying strength of the economy


is nowhere nearly as strong as the Chancellor's trying to make out in


his presentation. Yes, there is growth. But if you look at the


underpinnings of the growth for the last year, it is largely come from


an expansion of consumer spending underpinned by a consumer borrowing,


unsecured consumer borrowing. At the same time, post the Brexit vote, the


pound has fallen substantially in international markets. That's


stoking up inflation. I cannot imagine a more dangerous situation


for growth to be dependent on unsecured consumer borrowing when


inflation's starting to rise, the bling... I'm grateful for the


honourable gentleman for giving way. Doesn't' regard it as contradictory


he may be advocating Government expenditure while at the same time


warning about the risk of inflation? Not if you talk into account the


fact what is likely to happen is if inflation starts to rise and the


Bank of England, the honourable member will know this, the Bank of


England decides to let inflation flow through the economy and


inflation rises to the top of its current forecast range of 3%, it


thinks it will then start to decline again. There are other people, the


Federation of Small Businesses, for instance, thinks inflation will go


above the core forecast from Bank of England of the we could be looking


at inflation in two years' time of 5%. That will have a crippling


effect... The Chancellor shakes his head. All I'm quoting is the


Federation of Small Businesses, not an unresponsible organisation, that


thinks the core forecast which takes us up to about 3% of CPI from Bank


of England will be exceeded. I think that is a strong possibility. If we


head up to 5% inflation, the Bank of England said it will not raise


interest rates to compensate that, consumer spending will start to


fall. My argument in reply to the question asked by the honourable


member, if consumer spending tanks, we are in a hard Brexit situation,


foreign investment is is falling and firms are reluctant to conduct


business investment, the only agency left to plug the gap is the


Government. What I'm pointing out is the Chancellor, rather than wait for


that to happen, by which point the fiscal policy to kick in will take


two or three years beyond that, he should be doing it now. That is the


basic point I'm trying to make. I'm listening 209 honourable gentleman


with great interest. I like his debating style. Reminds me of an old


professioner I had at university! I have to say, has he not just


contradicted himself. Early ear he said there's no need for changing


the rules, then he gives us a nightmare scenario for the future


because of Brexit and says we do need change. He has to make up his


mind. I did not say that the rules should be changed. I don't like the


original rules and once being brought forward. I believe there


should be fiscal rules, a fiscal mandate to restrain Government. My


primary point is if we keep changing the rules, that mandate does not


exist. My set of rules, I don't have the time tonight to go substantially


into them and I won't press the patience of the speaker, there


should be a restraint on current expenditure. I'm more liberal when


it comes to capital expenditure. Provided it is linked to trained


growth can be counter cyclical. The present rules, the fact they are


being changed is the issue. Why the present charter' not worth the paper


it's written on as it will have to be changed in a few months' time


anyway. My - if you go back to the year 1956, Harold Macmillan gave his


one and only Budget speech as Chancellor. If you go back to 1956,


what was the ratio of the national debt to GDP? 150%. 150%. Almost


double what it is today. Macmillan got up, I read his speech the other


day, he quoted Macaulay, one of his he is says, quite sophisticated


Chancellors we had in those days. What he did was he quotes Macaulay


going through practically every administration since the 1600s.


Somebody got up and complained about the level of national debt.


Macmillan's point, an expansionary budget, 150% of GDP, debt to GDP


rash ya, Macmillan made the point, the point is when we look back, we


see the benefits of that borrowing and investment. But when we look


forward all we see is the dangers. Macmillan said the trouble is


therefore that stops you being bold. I would like this Chancellor to be


bolder. I would like him to spend more money. To spend the money


before the Brexit recession hits rather than wait until it happens


and say I've armoury, weapons to deal with it. Let's deal with the


problem before it happens. That's my point.


Thank you Mr Speaker. The credibility of the Government's


fiscal planned as outlined in the charter's been called into Question


Time and time again. Labour oppose the Government's amended charter in


2015 as it epitomised the Government's austerity agenda and


refusal to intervene and invest in our nation's future. Today, the


current clanser attempts to seek approval to break the fist cal


target and Amen the charter. Is this good news? Has the Chancellor


accepted advice from the IMF, that the austerity is not a credible


economic model and Government's role is to support investment? Well, no,


sadly he hasn't. The amendments to the rules considered today still


commit to the Government's austerity agenda which has forced misery on


the most vulnerable people in Britain. It also fails to allow the


necessary investment for future growth and pros perity. The Shadow


Chancellor joltlined earlier it is encouraging -- outlined earlier the


surplus target for 2020 has been ditched. Now the Government seeks


O'To balance the books at some point in the next Parliament. Crucially,


capital and current spend can are still lumped together and subject to


the framework. The Government's ability to large scale investment is


significantly constrained. This is quite the opposite of Labour's


fiscal position outlined today. ?250 billion of direct Government


investment with a further ?250 plea mobilised with private sector


support through a national investment bank and regional


development banks. The Government's own infrastructure pipe lines lists


?500 billion of projects. This is the scale of investment deemed


necessary by organisations such as the CBI to simply put us on a level


footing with other industrial countries around the word. We know


the rules contained within the charter simply don't work


effectively and so does the Government. But rather than put in


place a new fiscal rule that would provides the structure needed to


rebuild and transform our economy as we prepare for Brexit, the


Chancellor's chosen to cut off the oxygen needed to create a fertile


environment for business. It's time he realised we must forge a new


economy destiny to ensure Britain has a prestigious place at the


world's table not turn us into a tax haven. We need to rebuild


communities left behind for far too long. If anything should have woken


the Government up, Brexit should. Was those communities which have


been strafshed of investment for decades who were angry. They are


right to be angry. They endured nearly seven wasted years where


investment had been allocated on an almost lottery basis. App economy


where the Government promised ?5,000 of investment per head in London but


just ?413 per head in the north-east. An economy where local


authorities have lost ?18 billion of Government funding in real terms


between 2010 and 2015 with the poorest baring the brunt of this. An


economy about the Government slashes the budgets of vital services such


as social care and asks local areas to find the money yourselves through


council tax increases. But, it's all part of a bigger plan, we're told.


Let's assess whether this strategy has worked. We were told if we


pulled together and dealt with the sting of austerity for a while


things would improve. Is the deficit at zero? We slashed national debt?


Well, no. As we heard today, the Government to date has added over


?700 billion to the national debt. We have an economy driven by con


summer spending. The Bank of England voiced concerns over the


sustainability of this model going forward. This is fuelled by


extremely worrying levels of household debt, incurred by people


who simply can't make ends meet. Then we've what the bank calls a


lost decade on earnings. Wages have stagnated to the extent most


non-retired families have less money now than they did before the


financial crash according to the Office for National Statistics.


We've heard productivity growth has stagnated. German workers produce


the same in four days as UK workers do in five. I'm pleased the


Chancellor brought up this point in his own contribution today. They had


a Government that invested in industry. Sadly, we do not. This is


not the soundtrack of a Government who is justling to make us one of


the world's leading economies post-Brexit. They've carved us out a


future based on low investment, productivity and low wages and


skeleton public services. I'm a northern MP as you can tell by Mayak


sent. I still recall the Conservative Government of the 1980


stripping away industry from northern towns and cities. Our


community #1u6red impressurable damage. The Government provided back


then our northern towns and cities would simply be allowed to enter


into a state of managed decline. What we see today in the amended


charter is no better than that managed decline. For these reasons


we will not be approving the amended charter


Thank you. What the British people want is a stable and successful


economy, one that means jobs opportunities and a high quality of


life and that is what this government Mr Speaker is delivering.


That is what we will continue to deliver because unlike the parties


opposite we are not ignoring economic realities, we are facing up


to them. We are not paying to our responsibilities we are shouldering


them and we are not pretending every problem can be solved by spending


more and borrowing more or taxing more. We are restoring the public


finances to health and investing sensibly and in a well targeted way


in the future success of this country. That is how we have turned


our economy around, not only are we forecast to have achieved faster


growth than any other G-7 economy last year with near record


employment and unemployment at its lowest rate in over a decade but at


the same time we have made great progress with getting to grips with


the public purse, cutting our deficit from its post-war high of


10.1% in 2010 to 4% last year. And borrowing one in every ?10 we spend


not the one in every four that we saw under the last Labour


government. And as my right honourable friend the Chancellor has


pointed out the recent fiscal sustainability reports from the OBR


reminds us of the necessity of action that we must continue to take


in addressing our deficit. The fiscal rules that we are looking at


today strike the rate balance for the challenges and opportunities we


face. An incredible plan to turn our public finances to balance, enough


headroom to guard against economic shocks and scope to invest in


improving productivity. The structural deficit must be below 2%


of GDP by the end of this Parliament, which sets the right


course to ensure the deficit is eliminated altogether next


Parliament. Debt will be falling by the end of this Parliament, the new


medium term welfare cap is an important component to the plan, a


medium-term cap rather than an annual one allows us to make sure


that we can control welfare spending, without needing to make


short-term changes to react to fluctuations in the forecast for


spending. To reiterate, the government will deliver the overall


total of welfare savings already identified but has no plans to


introduce further welfare savings in this Parliament beyond those already


announced. And with welfare accounting for around one quarter of


all our spending, a right course of action is not to refuse to consider


a kind of control, it is to make sure our expenditure is stable and


sustainable and we have already announced all of the measures we


will take in this Parliament for savings in this area. This then Mr


Speaker is a credible fiscal plan. First because it means tackling the


deficit and bringing the public finances into balance, the


importance of which continues to be completely overlooked by the party


opposite, second, because it sets feasible targets in fact the old BR


forecasts that we will meet our aims for this Parliament two years early.


Third, because it also gives us the space to react to any short-term


fluctuations in our economy, in dispute of adjustment. And also


because it gives us the scope to address the long-term structural


changes and invest in our future success and I refer specifically to


the additional ?23 billion we will be investing in our national


productivity, one willing to fund improvements for businesses and


families alike in our infrastructure, research and


development and housing. So the charter enshrines a commitment to


fiscal restraint, it reflects our refusal to allow public spending to


ever skyrocket as the party opposite allowed, and determination not to


put ourselves again in such a vulnerable position as Labour did in


running up the largest structural deficit of any G-7 country ahead of


the great recession and a rejection of the requisite economics of the


party opposite continue to favour one of blank cheques, unfunded


spending commitments and magic money trees. Isn't it time that Labour


finally start learning from the mistakes and caring about the


economic security that the people of this country deserve? They clearly


don't have a credible fiscal plan of their own. They clearly don't have


much interest in the matter not after all not a single -- not a


single Labour backbencher attended this debate until the 67th minute of


it. Let me invite them to join with us today in voting for a plan that


is not only in the interests of working people today but the


interests of the children and their grandchildren to fall, Mr Speaker I


commend this charter to the house. The question is in motion on the


charter for budget responsibility as the order papers, as many in favour


say aye. To the contrary, no. Division. Clear the lobby.


The question is the motion of the charter of budget responsibility is


as the order paper. As many in favour aye. On the contrary, no.


Tellers for the eyes, tellers for the nose.


THE SPEAKER: Order! Order! The eyes to the right, 292 -- ayes. The nos


to the left, 193. THE SPEAKER: The ayes to the right 2


2. The nos to the left, 193. So the ayes have it. The ayes have it.


Unlock. Order. We now come to motion number 4 relating to the appointment


of the parliamentary commissioner for administration and health


service commissioner for England. To move the motion, I call the


minister, Chris Skidmore. Thank you, I beg to move a humble address be


presented to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty will appoint Rob Behr ins to


the office of parliamentary commissioner of administration and


health service commissioner for England. I rush to record the


Government's gratitude to dame Mellor who's taken on the role with


compassion and commitment. I agree to her staying in post until a


success err is in post. I'm grateful to the member of Harwich and Essex


and their role in the selection. I'm pleased in the process has


identified and outstandings candidate. The recommendation


contained in the report which was published last Friday forms the


basis of the Government's motion and I commend this to the House.


THE SPEAKER: The question is as on the order paper.


Can I welcome the minister's comments and endorse the sentiments


and we both served as a member of the Health Select Committee. We know


of dame melor's hard work. The other panel EUs are all extremely


formidable and the scrutiny of the health and public administration of


Public Affairs Committee at their pre-appointment hearing. Mr Berrins


is an extremely qualified candidate for the role of parliamentary and


health ombudsman with all the expectations that role by the public


which he has shown as the independent adjudicator and Chief


Executive of the office of independent adjudicator and higher


education. More importantly, his work on the transformation to


democratic rule in South Africa for which he was personally commended by


the late president Nelson Mandela and also now Lord Robin Butler of


the other place. As transform tiff work deliver agree view which led to


52 changes in disciplinary and complaints procedures, including a


new process determination by agreement and setting up the widely


respective civil service fast stream. Her Majesty's opposition


welcome and endorse the appointment of Mr Rob BerrinCBE and wishes him


well in his new role. Mr Speaker, the public administration


constitution affairs committee was originally established as the public


administration select committee in order to receive the reports of PHSO


and to scrutinise its performness. This was in the 1960s long before


the establishment of most of today's department Alchemies. Our remit is


much wider these days but we regard our work with PHSO as one of our


most important functions. It exemplifies and underpins our


purpose as a committee. We exist to receive complaints about


maladministration in the public service and in the NHS. This word


maladministration may be an acrid term but is not very appeal. Our


role and remit is clear. Our purpose is implied rather than spelt out.


Our purpose is to sustain and enhance public confidence in the


effectiveness of Government and working with PHSO that is what we've


sought to do. In respect of PHSO therefore, we now not only receive


PHSO's reports on behalf of Parliament, we actively scrutinise


each of them and the public service the report itself is addressing to


make sure PHSO's recommendations are properly heard and followed through


by which ever department they're addressed to. We have become the


accountability mechanism that makes PHSO's reports and work effective.


So, we have scrutinised in the past few months PHSO's reports such as


driven to despair how drivers have been let down by the Driver and


Vehicle Licensing Agency, the report learning from mistakes, an vex


report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman about how the NHS failed


to properly investigate the death of a child. Our report is being


published on 31st January on that. More recently w he published our


report on their report on unsafe discharges from hospital. Having


been myself involved in the recruitment process so that I did


not take part myself in the pre-appointment hearing, I would


like to welcome Rob Behr rinse as the new parliamentary and health


service ohm you us man. From his time as adjudicator for higher


education in England and Wales and as a senior adviser he has gained


considerable ex-poorens of complaint handling and a de#25i8ed


understanding of the role of an ohm buds man. I'm sure this will enable


him to make a success of his new role. I should just point out both


the public administration and constitutional affairs economy and


Health Select Committee were unanimous in approving his


appointment. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute


to dame Julie Mellor for the work she has done to take forward the


work of PHSO. She's built on the work of her predecessor. PHSO is


much more engaged with Parliament. I would like to thank her for staying


at the healp while her replacement has been appointed. PSHO has faced


many challenges, not least a cut of over 24% in spending between now and


2020. It has been a target of critical public scrutiny, maybe it's


justified, some certainly is, but it is made a very challenging role. It


is in the middle of a five-year reform plan and faces further reform


in the future if the public serviceman ombudsman bill is to come


into effect. PHSO must improve the quality and speed of its


investigations. Implement technological change. Adapt to the


way people in our society expect complaints processes to work. Better


engage its staff in order to do so. All this while reducing costs and


overheads. The scale of these challenges is significant. I'm


confident that Rob Berrins possesses the strong leadership skills and


judgment as well as experience as an ohm buds man which will enable these


challenges to be met. We look forward to working with him as PHSO


continues its work. Pleasure for me to support everything said so far


both about dame Julie Melloa and about Bob Berrins. Great pleasure


working with Julie over the years during her term of office. She is a


charming, intelligent person. Has had quite a hard time because of the


pressures of getting the ombudsman's work right. That work will have to


continue. Looking forward to a reception in your rooms very


shortly, Mr Speaker, as well for dame Julie. As for Bob Berrins, much


has been said about his experience. He has a wealth of valuable and


varied experience. His role in South Africa, it was quite stunning,


really. I took part in the confirmation hearing as a member of


the public select committee. He was impressed with his performance.


Measured, highly intelligent, precise and thoughtful. Every


question he answered in that manner. I think he will do an excellent job


carrying on the role of the ombudsman. I just wanted to say it


is important we have a backbencher from this side of the House as well


as the frontbenches and the chair of the select committee who has spoken


so eloquently about what we have done on behalf of the present and


future ombudsman. Thank you for allowing me to speak, Mr Speaker. I


endorse everything said. Mr Speaker, I very much welcome Mr Berrins to


his important new appointment, the PHSO is a vital backstop for


complaints about the National Health Service. Its function is clearly


vital to our constituents. I'm sure Mr Berrins is seized of the


importance of his new duties. An he can totally, it seems to me the


service has become more responsive since 2012. A great deal of credit


is due to dame Julie Mellor for improving the service as it seems to


me. I think it's only right to record that the patients'


association doesn't necessarily share that opinion. And has rightly


highlighted shortcomings as it sees them. In particular, a perceived


lack of responsiveness of the ombudsman service. A perception that


perhaps the PHSO is on the side of organisations rather than


individuals. I have no way, really, of telling whether that's realistic.


But it's important for Dame Julie's successor to understand those


criticisms. I hope you seek to work closely with organisations like the


patients' association in the years ahead. It is also reasonable to


point out failings such as the Morecambe Bay catastrophe, which the


ombudsman didn't handle terribly well in my view and the view of many


of those who take an interest in these matters.


I hope that he will repeat the process as predators are undertaken


2012 to ensure that the office he holds is maximising its


effectiveness, I think that is a worthwhile thing to undertake and


that people consider it carefully. I hope also that ministers may perhaps


consider the suggestion made by Sir Bruce Keogh that petitioners might


complain to the Care Quality Commission as an intermediary stage


and thus perhaps relieve some of the burden that falls on the PHS all


that has been responsible over the years for some of the backlog in


cases that the office has recognised to be a major block in the work that


it does and the responsiveness that it is able to offer people that


complain to it. In conclusion Mr Speaker, Mr Deputy Speaker, I would


like to commend Dame Julie for her work over the past four years and to


congratulate her particularly for doing more as she has found her


resources have been curbed. Thank you Mr Deputy Speaker. We would like


to commend the recruitment process that has led to the appointment, I


always think that the best way to measure how effective any process is


is by looking at the outcome in any reasonable person looking at the


track record would recognise that a tribute has to be paid to all of


those who were involved in this process. When we look at his track


record, his international work that has already been mentioned in South


Africa or in Europe, when you look at the range of areas he has worked


in from higher education through to the law, and if we would not only at


the way in which he has discharged his roles, but also in so many, the


way in which he has conducted studies and produced reports that


have been meaningful and influential, I think we can all wish


him well for the future with great confidence. The question is as on


the order paper, as many of that opinion say aye. To the contrary,


no. The ayes have it, the ayes have it. We now come to motion seven.


Standing orders planning national policy statements. Thank you for


that. The question is on the order paper as many of that opinion say


aye, to the contrary, no. The ayes have it. I beg to move this house do


now adjourn. The question is does this house now adjourn? It is a


pleasure getting on at 6:33pm I remember a number of years ago


getting the adjournment and expecting to come on at seven


o'clock and I seem to recall I got on at quarter past 11. Those were


the days when we had those European documents for any errors saw I very


pleased that we don't... Hopefully not tonight anyway. Can I begin by


declaring an interest as co-chair of the group one stem cells, I'm very


pleased to see Michael Jyrki Honourable member for Southgate in


the chamber today and I'm sure he will have some comments later. Can I


also put on record that my son received a life-saving stem cell


transplant a number of years ago? A stem cell transplant offers a last


chance of life to people with a blood cancer or a blood disorder. It


works because stem cells have an incredible ability to replace


damaged blood cells and it is a remarkable treatment and I think it


has great potential wing forward in our health care process. There are


different types of stem cell transplants, having some of your


order from a donor or related or otherwise and tonight and want to


talk about stem cell transplants from donors. Around two dozen people


in the UK will meet one every year. Two thirds of these people will not


find a matching donor in the families so they require an


unrelated donor and I want is arguably paying tribute to Anthony


Nolan to provide patients with matching donors from the stem cell


donor register. As well as sourcing those transplants, supporting them


and their families, I think it is very important, and their families,


through the transplants journey and advocating for their behalf. Last


year and Nolan to help find a match for over 1200 people with a blood


cancer or a blood disorder. I know the house will join me in thanking


the selfless stem cell donors who have made this possible at all of


those who have joined the stem cell donor register who made only in the


future and there are more than 600,000 of those. But sadly it is


true that one in eight people will not receive a life-saving


transplant, because they're either is not a donor available or a donor


cannot be found quickly enough. The odds dramatically from -- for


patience from a black Asian ethnic minority background, Anthony Nolan


are therefore working very hard to build on and diversify the stem cell


donor register to ensure they are able to provide the best match. A


lot of work has gone on, it is much better than it was of usable but it


is still shopping that if you are from that background the chance of


finding a donor is so much less than if you are white. I hope that the


minister, I'm sure the Minister will show her support for that. Despite


the fact that stem cell transplants are well-established treatment, the


huge financial pressures on the NHS causing real problems for patients.


I think the most serious of these is those who are in need of a second


stem cell transplant. Because sometimes after having a first


transplant a patient was my blood cancer blood disorder will come back


or relapse. This is devastating news in itself and for about 20 patients


every year there will be a recommendation from the doctor or


clinician of a second cell transplant is the best and often


only chance of life. I think it is worth emphasising that this is not


some unknown experimental treatment that people are just taking a punt


on, I mean we know that one in three patients receiving a second stem


cell transplant will reach the milestone of a five-year survival.


We know that for children the results are even better, seven in


ten. We know that the medical profession recommend the treatment.


We also know that it is routinely and this is the key, routinely


available in other parts of the UK as well as countries right across


Europe and America. We know that it used to be available in England


before 2013 and that there are many people who are alive today leading


active lives with their families because they have received a second


stem cell transplant. Of course I will give way. I thank him for


raising this important issue, I have looked after patients during my time


as a nurse who have had the stem cell transplant and talking to


haematology colleagues they agree with the honourable Jed Allan's


statement that between 20-40% of patients have a second stem cell


cars can be cured and this is indeed a treatment offered in many parts of


you in the US and it is shameful that it is not being offered in the


UK. I would totally agree with her, and I will go on to say that it is


obviously a very small number of people but for them it is the only


chance if they have a B lacks. Despite all this in December 2016


NHS England confirmed that they would not routinely fund stem cell


transplants. And they really decided that that person's life was not


worth the money. One of these people is Sasha Jones, a 34-year-old mother


of two from Greenwich. In March 2015 she was given the devastating news


that she had AML. It is a type of blood cancer. Over the next few


months she had rounds of chemotherapy at first stem cell


transplant. It was not without difficulties but by the beginning of


October 2015 she was well enough to go home to her husband and their two


young children who are aged just 13 and eight at the time. However, in


August 2016 she was told that the blood cancer has come back and buy


this in NHS England had decided it was not going to routinely give


second transplants for patients in her situation despite it being


recommended by the doctors. They tried to get a second transplant by


going through the individual funding request route which is something I


will go on to talk about later, which allowed NHS England to fund


treatment for patients on an individual basis if they are deemed


to be an exceptional case. But Mr deputies speaker what is an


exceptional case? How will you decide that? And importantly how


long does it take to be considered that you are or are not an


exceptional case. This has to be done at a time when the family and


the patient have to deal with devastating news that what they


thought was potentially a cure has come back, and they have to cope


with all of that and yet they have to go through this process. For


Sasha that request was turned down. She has effectively been left with


no alternative for treatment. She now has two choices. Find the money


to pay for a second transplant herself, or accept that she may only


have months to live. Accept that her two young children can grow up


without the mother. It is fair to say that Sasha and her friends and


family are desperate, the petition they started for the reversal of NHS


England's decision not to fund second cell transplants now has more


than 165,000 signatures. There is a fund that has been set-up to try and


the money for Sasha, to pay for her second transplant, and this


currently stands at ?90,000 but it is still not enough and it is still


short of the sum of money that is needed. Can you imagine the enormous


pressure that is an Sasha and her family at this time? In the Sasha 's


own words she said she has been condemned to death. In having been


denied access to second stem so transplant it has been decided that


I am not worthy of a second chance at life. My children do not need a


mother, my husband Wilbur, a widower. It is a scandal that


someone might Sasha will find herself in the situation. Denying


the life-saving treatment that other patients have had in the past


because the treatment is neither now apparently affordable or


justifiable. I will give way. I thank the Honourable gentleman and


apologies for not being here and starting. The Honourable gentleman


has outlined very clearly why there is NHS support from a second


transplant. The C of E with the Anthony Nolan Trust and analysis


that shows is the cost of caring for someone who is using a transponder


somewhere upwards of ?130,000 would be transplant would only cost


hundred and ?20,000 at potentially save a life and devastation to a


family. There is a financial as well as moral incentive here. Does he


agree with that? I do and I think it is how we look at the cost of


treatment. I fully accept that the cost of the transplant is a lot of


money in the initial upfront cost, if it works in the actual cost


longer term is not great. Whereas we seem willing and able to fund drug


for people that may well not cure them and may not extend their lives


very much, but because if we add them myelopathy may well cost more


than that some but we feel able to do that -- able to do that in the


situation. We are seeing we will not find that and I do not think that is


right. I don't think Sasha is a unique case and there will be many


more like her in the future if we do not change where we are on this.


Will the Minister please respond directly to this case and other


people that find themselves in this situation? And there will be other


people in the years and months to come and I think the voices need to


be heard. I will give way. I thank my honourable friend forgiving way.


To declare an interest, my husband had a stem cell transplant


successful in 2014. For patients with blood cancer, would he agree


that the fear of relapse is something which causes a huge amount


of anxiety and patients speak of a common feeling of dread when they go


to college routine blood results and I commiserate with that. Following


the NHS England decision that thousands of patients who received


the first stem cell transplant will now have that added fear that if the


worst happens and they do relapse in the HS will not provide them with


the treatment which would save their lives. I hope my honourable friend


will add knowledge and also the Minister that this decision affects


not only the 20 desperately ill patients per year a needy second


transplants to survive but also the many thousands who live in fear of


relapse everyday. I agree with her and would say from


personal experience, yes, that is always a fear. Every time you go for


a check up, blood, there is in the back of your mind, let's hope


everything is OK. It is a very rocky road. I'm sure the whole House will


wish Sasha well as she carried on her journey. I would like to pay


tribute to the member for Erith and Thames Meade who has been working


tirelessly to support Sasha and her family in this incredibly difficult


time for them. The Department of Health must accept responsibility in


this case and others. Over the past weeks we've been told about the


enormous pressure the NHS is under, the winter crisis, hospitals on


black alert across the country. Weigh waiting times missed cancer


patients having operations can said. Treatments like second cell


transplants are being rationed. I accept the NHS is under-funded.


Perhaps it always will be under-funded. It can always spend


more money. I accept that. I think we are getting to a crisis


situation. I think we really need to start and be honest and address


# Use issues such as social care. Until we address these and be


honest, we'll not sort out of funding situation for the NHS. I


don't want to make political points here. I just really want to say we


do need to stand up for patients like Sasha whose lives, it really is


their lives, are at risk. When NHS England originally announced their


decision not to fund second stem cell transplants in July 2016 it


caused outrage amongst patients and their families. Over 6,500 people


wrote to their MPs and 18,000 people signed a letter to the Secretary of


State for Health in a bid to get that decision changed. In addition,


30 leading clinicians wrote to the editor of the Times saying that the


NHS is ignoring the advice of the clinical community therefore


effectively handing most of these patients a death sentence. They were


all ignored. As we know, NHS England confirmed that decision in December


2016. On a positive note, the good news is that there is a chance for


them to get and make things right. NHS England will look again at the


policies it funds in the spring. I'd therefore urge the minister and her


department to intervene to ensure every patient who needs a second


transplant can get access to one. As I said at the beginning, we are not


talking huge numbers here. But for those small number of people that


are affected, it is their only chance. I don't wish to pre-'em the


minister's remarks, but I suspect she may highlight that this is a


decision taken by NHS England and not the Government but the


Department of Health ultimately has the responsibility for the treatment


the patient receives. In the case of second stem cell transplant access


to that treatment has been denied. I want to make three very important


points. Firstly, as I've already explained, second cell transplants


are supported by the evidence. It is standard practice in many countries


which the NHS England seems to have completely ignored. They've also


ignored the potential to offset a lot of the cost of the second cell


transplant, as my honourable friend here has pointed out, when you look


at the cost of alternative treatments. In their own impact


assessment, they accept, acknowledge for patients who have alternative


treatments, the mortality in these cases was extremely high. While the


costs of alternative treatments are difficult to quantify and vary


between patients there is considerable scope to offset some of


those costs if you look it cost over the entire patient's life. A patient


who has a successful transplant is far more likely to return or join


the workforce and and actually pay back some of those costst that they


have or their transplant ease cost. We don't seem to factor that in


either. NHS England has not been remotely transparent in their


decision making. All they have said is second stem cell transplants are


not currently affordable and not routinely commissioned at this time.


But this tells us really nothing how NHS England arrived at this


decision. Neither the minutes of the clinical priorities advisory group


nor the minutes of specialised services commissioning committee are


publicly available. The Government agreed with the public expects


committee which said when NHS England's decision making in


relation to specialist services needs to be more transparent. Can


the minutes of these two groups be published on the NHS England's


website in future? Thirdly, the way NHS England's decision is commune


Kated to patients has quite frankly been shocking. It consists of a


single bull let point added to the bottom of a press release under


further information. Does the minister agree this is unacceptable


and far more needs to be done to ensure these decisions that could


cost a patient their lives are shared in a sensitive and caring


manner and not just added as some sort of footnote. I asked the


minister the most important question, does she accept her


department must do more to hold NHS England to account? Will she agree


to take steps to ensure every patient has the access to a second


stem cell transplant if they need it? In her remarks, I also suspect


the minister may say that despite NHS England's decision not to


routinely commission second stem cell transplants, patients will be


able to access this potentially life saving treatment they need through


the individual funding request route. However, patients and their


doctors know in reality the chances of success through this route are


very slim indeed. In November 2016, the all Parliamentary group on stem


cell transplantation had the pleasure to meet Emma Payne. Emma


was diagnosed with a blood disorder called severe A plastic anaemia in


2005. After her first transplant, Emma relapsed and, like Sasha,


doctors recommended a second stem cell transplant. They tried to get


this via the individual funding request route and to do this, she


had to prove she was an exceptional case. Emma was left waiting in the


dark for four months and her doctors had to fight her corner. During this


time, she was very unwell with infections and her consultant


decided to gamble and start the chemotherapy in preparation for the


second stem cell transplant early fearing she would die if they didn't


start at that time. Although Emma eventually found out from her doctor


the very good news that she was successful in this case, she did not


receive her second stem cell transplant until January 2016, some


six months after she relapsed. Emma said, I always assumed that if there


was one treatment that could save my life, I would be offered it without


question. And the biggest barrier to having my second stem cell


transplant would be to find another donor not having to fight the NHS to


get it funded, I thought. I am a 28-year-old woman and a panel of


people will decide whether I get to live or die. Will the minister agree


the individual funding request route is never really going to be


successful for all patients who need a second stem cell transplant? And


even for those that are successful, it's an incredibly tourious route to


go through. Can I close by urging the minister, the whole House, to


remember the patients caught up in all of this. Not just those who are


waiting for a second stem cell transplant today, but the countless


individuals who will be left without the chance of a second stem cell


transplant in the future. Left without the last hope of a cure. I


hope the minister, I'm sure she will not wash her hands of the problem


and instead fully accept her department has to really play the


key role in this to ensure that action is taken to ensure every


patient that needs a second stem cell transplant can access it? The


lives of people like Sasha and Emma depend on it. Thank you. A pleasure


to take part in this debate. Honourable members on both side who


share a deep concern about the great life savings value we've spoken


about for a number of years in relation to stem cells and stem cell


transplantation. Ten years ago I had little or no knowledge about the


life saving treatment available through stem cell transplantation.


Now after a Private Members Bill and years of co-chairing the AGCB and


meeting individuals and families themselves affected by blood cancers


and disorders and knowing that stem cell transplantation saves lives, it


is important that we make the case for, particularly in relation to


those facing an awful prospect of not seeing a second transplant being


able to save their lives. But we are saying this. But the Government


knows this. The Government knows the great value of stem cell


transplantation not least because it's put the money where all or


mouths have been over a number of years. Firstly in the source of this


transplantation in relation to core blood stem cells. Since 2010, some


?20 million of taxpayers' money has been invested quite rightly in


improving the provision of tell cells, including umbilical core


blood. The last debate we had in relation to this issue was on 15th


accept in 2015 when my honourable friend from Mid Norfolk responded to


a debate from similar to one of the honourable members today, a debate


about the national stem cell transplantation trials network.


These were his words. Stem cell transplantation is a life saving


treatment that plays a key role in the treatment of leukaemia and some


other diseases. That is the basis of our plea to the minister and NHS


England today. That what we all have come to know over the years and


indeed, the very real life examples here and family members here today,


that we recognise and have been urging and am very pleased to see


the Government very much investing in core blood collections, in


wanting to ensure and join with us the ambition of a national stem cell


transplantation trial network. The minister then was talking about how


there had been work we've recognised today of the Anthony Nolan and NHS


Blood and Transplant, great partnership working, talking about


how the Government's worked very hard in supporting, directly funding


a unified registry. How there's the trials acceleration programme


providing additional qualitiry rewe have been which helps provide the


outcome -- reseven which helps provide the outcome. There's been


four new blood and transplant units in 2015. There's been the


recognition about the shortage in relation particularly to black,


Asian and minority ethnic groups. How, because of the targeted


recruitment, there's been an improvement in their life chances,


so going up from 40% to 60% and how the residue now of core blood banks


of what was some 12,000 back in 2015 has enabled there to be much greater


opportunities of providing quicker and easier transplantation. That is


what it is all about. That context is important when we're looking at


this particular focus of this particular debate, which is about


the prospects of those needing a second transplant. We are talking


about a small number of those who have relapsed. Some 1-20 per year.


It is their doctors' recommending this is the clinical...


THE SPEAKER: Order! Order.


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