10/07/2017 House of Commons

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Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the Commons, including debate on the general principles of the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Relief from Non-Domestic Rates) Bill.

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encourage our prime contractors to see where they can use British Steel


and I am sure in due course he will be pleased to see progress.


Statement, the Prime Minister. With permission, I would like to make a


statement on the G20 in Hamburg. At this summit we showed how a global


Britain can play a key role in shaping international responses to


some of the biggest challenges of our time. On terrorism, trade,


climate change, international develop and, migration, modern


slavery and women's economic empowerment, we made leading


contributions on issues that critically affect our national


interest but which can only be addressed by working together with


our international partners. First on terrorism, as we have seen with the


horrific attacks in Manchester and London, the nature of the threat we


face is evolving and our response must evolve to meet it. The UK is


leading the way. At the G-7 and subsequently through a detailed


action plan with President Macron, I called for industry take


responsibility to more rapidly detect and report extremist content


online and industry has now announced the launch of a global


Forum to do just that. At this summit we set the agenda again. We


called on allergy 20 partners to squeeze the life blood of terrorist


networks by making the global financial system and entirely


hostile system for terrorists. And we secured agreement on all


proposals. We agreed to work together to ensure there are no safe


spaces for terrorist financing by increasing capacity building and


raising standards worldwide especially in terrorist finance


hotspots will stop we agree to bring industry and law enforcement


together to develop new tools and technologies to better identify


suspicious small flows of money being used low-cost terrorist


attacks such as those we have seen in the UK. And just as interior


ministers are following up on the online agenda, so finance ministers


will follow through on these T20 commitments to cut off the funding


that throws a terrorist threats we face. I also called for the G 22


come together to better management arrest throws for foreign fighters


as exposed in France were Syria and Iraq and we agreed we would work to


improve international information sharing the movement of individuals


known to have travelled to and from Dyche territory. By working together


in these ways we can defeat the terrorist threat and ensure our way


of life will always prevail. Turning to the global economy, we are seeing


encouraging signs of recovery with the IMF forecasting the will rise by


3.5% this year. But many both here and the UK and across the UK are not


sharing in the benefits. We need to build a global economy that works


for everyone be ensuring trade is not just free but also crucially


fair for all. That means fair people in the UK, which is why we are


forging a modern industrial strategy that will help to bring the benefits


of trade to every part of the country. It means fair terms of


trade for the poorest countries which is why we will protect their


trade preferences as we leave the EU, and in time explore options to


improve their trade access. And it means strengthening the


international rules that make trade fair between countries. At this


summit I argued that we must reform the international trading system


especially the World Trade Organisation given its central role


so that it keeps pace with developments in key sectors like


digital and services and so it is better able to resolve disputes.


Some countries are not playing by the rules. They are not behaving


responsibly and are creating risks to the global trading system.


Nowhere is this more clear than in relation to the dumping of steel on


global markets. The urgent need to react to remove excess capacity was


recognised last year at the G20's but not enough has been done since.


If we are to avoid unilateral action we need immediate collective action.


We agreed that the global Forum established last year needs to be


more effective and the pace of its work must quicken. In order to


ensure its work gets the necessary attention and there is a senior


accountability, I have pressed for aggressive ministers to meet around


the world. The UK will play a leading role in championing these


reforms so that all citizens can share in the benefits of global


growth. As we leave the EU, we will negotiate a new comprehensive bold


and ambitious free trade agreement with the EU.


LAUGHTER Yes. But we will also sees the


exciting opportunities to strike deals with old friends and new


partners. And that this summit I hold a number of meetings with other


world leaders, all of whom made clear their strong desire to form


ambitious new bilateral trading relationships after Brexit. This


included America, Japan, China and India. This morning I welcomed


Australian Prime Minister to handle to Downing Street where he also


reiterated his desire for a bold new trading relationship. All these


discussions are a clear and powerful vote of confidence in British goods,


services, economy and the British people. I look forward to building


on them in the months ahead. On climate change, the UK reaffirmed


our commitment to the Paris agreement which is vital if we are


to take responsibility for the world we pass on to our children and


grandchildren. There is not a choice between decarbonisation and economic


growth as the UK's own experience shows. We have reduced emissions by


around 40% over the last 16 years, but growing GDP by almost two


thirds. I am my counterparts at the G20 are dismayed at America's


withdrawal from the agreement. I spoke personally to President Trump


to encourage him to rejoin the Paris agreement and I continue to hope


that is exactly what he will do. On international development, we


reaffirmed our commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income and an


element assistance and we set out plans for a new long-term approach


to reduce Africa's relies on aid. This includes focusing on supporting


asp and aspirations of trade and growth, creating millions of new


jobs and harnessing the power of capital markets to generate


trillions of new investment. We welcomed Germany's new compact with


Africa which reflects those bristles. On migration, I expressed


the UK continued support for the scale of the challenge facing Italy


and agreed with the Prime Minister that a UK expert Home Office


delegation will travel to Italy to see how we can help further. This is


yet further evidence that while we are leaving the EU, as a global


Britain we will continue to work closely with all our EU partners.


Did you 20 also agreed to use the upcoming negotiations on the UN


global compact is to seek the conference of approach that the UK


has been arguing for. This includes ensuring refugees claim asylum in


the first safe country they reach, Inc proving the way we distinguish


between refugees and economic migrants, and developing a better


overall approach to managing economic migration. It is so


includes providing humanitarian and vegetarian assistance. We committed


?55 million to support the Government of Tanzania in managing


its refugee and migrant policies and to support the further integration


of new naturalise refugees. Turning to modern slavery, it is hard to


comprehend that in today's modern world, innocent people are being


enslaved, forced to do hard labour. Raped, beaten and passed from abuse


to abuse for profit. We cannot it and will not ignore this dark and


barbaric trade in human beings that is simply horrifying in its


inhumanity. That is why I put this in shoe on the G20 agenda at my


first summit a year ago, and at this I pushed for a global and


coordinated approach to the complex business supply chains which can


feed the demand for forced labour and child labour. Our


ground-breaking UK modern slavery and it requires companies to examine


all aspects of their businesses including their supply chains and to


publish their results. I called IgE 20 partners to follow Britain's


lead. And I welcomed Germany's proposed vision zero fund to which


the UK is contributing as an important part of ensuring the


health and safety of workers in global supply chains. Finally, we


agreed to create better job of reduced the women, remove the legal


barriers and end discrimination and gender-based violence that restrict


opportunities at home and abroad, and as part of this the UK is


contributing to the women entrepreneurs finance initiative


launched by the World Bank which will provide more than $1 billion to


support women in developing countries to start agribusinesses.


This is not just Molly really right it is economically essential and the


UK will continue to play a leading role in driving forward women's


economic empowerment across the world. Of course we did not agree on


everything at the summit, in particular climate change. But when


we have such disagreements it is only more important that we come


together in forums such as the G20 to try to resolve them. And as a


global Britain we will continue to work at bridging differences between


nations and forging global responses to issues that are fundamental to


our prosperity and security and that of our allies around the world. That


is what we did at this summit, that is what the Government will continue


to do and I commend this statement to the house.


Jeremy Corbyn. Thank you Mr Speaker and I thank the Prime Minister for


the advance copy of the statement. I am surprised she had so much to


contribute to the G20 given that there was barely a mention of


international policy and her party 's election manifesto. Or any policy


so much so that the government is now apparently asking other parties


for their policy ideas. So if the Prime Minister would like it am


happy to finish with a copy of our election manifesto. Or better still


an early election so that the people of this country can decide! Lets


face it Mr Speaker the government has run out of steam out of the


pivotal moment in our country and the world amid uncertainty of


Brexit, conflict in the Gulf states, nuclear sabre rattling over North


Korea, refugees continue to flee war and discretion, ongoing pandemics,


cross-border terrorism, poverty, inequality and the impact of climate


change are the core global challenges of our time. When we need


strong government we have weakness from this government. The US


president attempts to pull the plug on the climate change deal. And only


Mr Speaker a belated informal mention and brief meeting with him.


No ability to sign a joint letter from European leaders at the time he


made the announcement. The UK's trade deficit, Mr Speaker, is


growing at a time when we are negotiating our exit from the


European Union. The UK backed Saudi war in Yeaman continues to kill,


displays and injure thousands. With 300,000 cases of cholera. And on


this, a man-made catastrophe but was, Mr Speaker the government


continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, one of the most oppressive


and butter regimes that finances terrorism and is breaching


humanitarian law. The court may have ruled that the government actively


gay. It certainly is not acting ethically. -- acted legally. We on


the ceasefire agreed, it is good news, did the Prime Minister play


any role in those negotiations. But she commit to work with them to


expand the ceasefire to the rest of that poor benighted country. The US


President's attempt to pull out of the climate change deal is both


reckless and very dangerous. The commitments made in Paris are a


vital move to stop the world reaching the point of no return on


climate change. The T20 leaders have been unequivocal with the US


president but not our Prime Minister who raised the is suing formally. I


don't know what that means but the Prime Minister can tell us exactly


what the nature of meeting was. What a complete neglect of her duty both


to our people and perhaps equally importantly to our planet as well.


We need a leader prepared to speak out and talk up follies of


international co-operation, of human rights, social justice and respect


for international law. She needs to listen. So I ask, will she condemn


attempts to undermine global co-operation on climate change. Will


she take meaningful action against our country's role in global tax


avoidance, which starts many developing countries of funding for


sustainable growth which is also sucking investment out of our public


services. Will she offer European union National is in Britain the


same rights as they have now. What proposals does she have, what


discussants did she have on Britain's membership of your Tom.


Will she hold immoral arms sales to Saudi Arabia as Germany has and will


she backed Germany's call to end the bombing in Yemen. We've heard of the


Prime Minister talk about safe spaces for terrorist finance. So why


are so government sat on the report into foreign funding of extremism


and radicalisation in the UK. When will this report be released. And


what new regulations is the UK bringing forward for UK companies


and banks as part of her new accord on terrorist financing. Mr Speaker,


keeping Britain global is one of our country's most urgent tasks. Yet the


truth is this country needs a new approach to foreign policy and


global co-operation. The Conservative government, simply


cannot deliver. Responding to the grotesque levels of inequality


within countries and between them is important to the security and


sustainability of our world. In a joint report published in April, the


World Bank, the IMF, the world trade organisation recognised what they


referred to as the long-lasting displacement as well as large


winning bosses of workers. And that the negative experience of


globalisation has informed the public 's rejection of the


established political order. The Prime Minister talks of the dumping


of steel in global markets but white as it failed to take the action that


the other European nations did of the most acute time an our steel


industry is suffering? This government is the architect of the


failed austerity policies and now threatens to use Brexit to turn


Britain into a low wage deregulated tax haven on the shores of Europe.


And narrow, hopeless vision of the potential of this country, which


would only serve the few. One that would ruin industry, destroy


innovation and hit living standards. And finally Mr Speaker the US


president said, a US- UK trade deal will happen quickly. Can the Prime


Minister give any detail or timetable or any of the terms of


this agreement on environmental protections, workers' rights,


consumer rights, product safety, any of those PCs that is so concerned


that so many people? Mr Speaker, she lost her mandate at home and know


she is losing Britain and her influence abroad. Prime Minister.


Thank you Mr Speaker. Can I say to the right honourable gentleman on


the issue of terrorist financing it is the UK that has been not only


developing approaches within the UK with working with our financial


sector but is taking this internationally and as I said raised


this at the G20 and has agreement from those countries sitting around


the T20 table that we will take this forward together. What was important


was that we had a separate communique on counterterrorism which


specifically identifies issues like working with the financial sector to


identify suspicious small flows of funding. This is what the UK has


been leading on, it was the UK's proposal and was in the communique


at the due 20. He talks of global tax avoidance. If the UK that has


led on the issue of global tax avoidance. Global tax avoidance is


only on the agenda at international meetings because right honourable


predecessor David Cameron put it there. It is the UK that has leading


on that. He talks about trade deals, I am very happy to say that we are


already working with the Americans and what a trade deal might look


like, we already have a working group with the Australians and one


with India as well. We are out there. He says what Britain needs is


somebody standing up and speaking about these things, what we need is


someone doing these things and this is exactly what we are doing. And on


the issue of climate change this country has a proud record on


climate change. We secured the first truly globally legal binding


agreement on climate change at the Paris agreement, we are third best


country in the world on tackling climate change, at the leading edge


on putting our own legislation through regarding emissions and we


will continue to lead on this issue. He refers to the question of the


sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. I welcome the High Court judgment


today. This shows that Mike right honourable friend the Defence


Secretary will make a statement on this later, but it shows that we do


operate one of the most robust export control regimes in the world.


And finally he talked of the government 's agenda. This


government has an ambitious agenda to change this country. There are


many issues... Mr Ashworth you are a cheeky and other excitable


whippersnapper. Calm yourself. Take some sort of soothing medicament. It


is a refrain of mine, with good reason. Per minister. Mr Speaker


that many issues on which I hope we will achieve consensus across this


House. Like ensuring that our police and security agencies have the


powers they need to deal with the terrorist threat we face. It is like


responding to the Matthew Taylor report which I initiated to ensure


that in the new gig economy as we see the world of work changing


workers have their rights protected. Finally I also hope we talked about


women's empowerment at this G20 summit. One of the issues that have


been concerned about recently is the fact that many female candidates in


the general election found themselves bullied and harassed. And


in receipt of bullying and harassment. I would have thought, as


has been referred to by the right Honourable Lady, the Member for


Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, I would have hoped that


every leader of every party in this House would condemn such action and


it's time he did so. John Redwood. I congratulate the Prime Minister on


her many successes at a productive summit particularly on the trade


front. Would she confirmed that ministers are working not just on


trade deals with those countries who don't have once about the moment but


will when we are outside the EU but or making sure we transferred the EU


ones to the UK as well as to the rest of the EU on Brexit. Am happy


to give that confirmation to my right honourable friend. Three areas


in trade we are working on. One, looking ahead to trade agreements we


can have with countries we don't have them with as a member of the


EU, the second, ensuring that where there are trade agreements with the


EU, as we Lee Hook enrolled as Ford, the third area is working with


countries like India and Australia to say what changes we can make now


before we leave the EU to Wood EU to improve our trade relationship.


Thank you Mr Speaker. The G20's and was an eye opening event, the UK is


now floundering on a global stage desperately trying to win friends. A


disastrous, and predictable alliance formed with the American president


on trade. Goodness knows what a trade deal with America would mean


for public services, food quality and workers' rights. Talk about UK-


US trade deal was dubbed a blow by the Prime Minister 's own Justice


Secretary who only hours after the summit ended said it wouldn't be


enough on its own. The Prime Minister must now come to her


senses. The United Kingdom outside the single market would be ruinous.


Our EU friends and partners are moving on without us. This year


alone finalising trade deals with Japan and Canada while the UK turns


in on itself. Today's Scottish chamber of commerce shows 61% of


Scottish businesses feel the UK should remain in both the single


market and the customs union. It is quite scandalous that the Prime


Minister turns a blind eye to the economy in favour of Eurosceptic


colleagues. Mr Speaker, I welcome the progress made at the G20 summit.


I especially pay tribute to the work of the German Chancellor who hosted


and delivered a challenging agenda on global issues. The communique is


clear, we must redouble our efforts in the Paris agreement, calling it


irreversible. As the Prime Minister to set up the next steps in


delivering the Paris agreement. The communique also delivers the T20-


Africa partnership to boost growth and jobs across Africa including an


initiative on rural employment creating 1.1 million new jobs by


2022. Can the Prime Minister explain the UK's role in delivering the


initiative and confirm whether the UK role will continue after exiting


the EU. Mr Speaker, the agreement to take further action to achieve


gender equality is universally welcomed in this House. The


conclusions also push the T20 to taking immediate effective measures


to eliminate child Labour by 2025, forced Labour, human trafficking and


all forms of modern slavery, promising step indeed. However Mr


Speaker the Prime Minister went to Hamburg with an open message, she


wanted the T20 to tackle terrorism. In particular she wanted the G20 to


tackle terrorist financing. What staggering hypocrisy. The Prime


Minister, sitting on a board commissioned by her predecessor,


denying us the truth about terrorist financing in the UK had the brass


neck to call upon the G20 to do more. What an absolute outrage. Will


she publish the Home Office report on terror funding in the UK and


world she said at a public inquiry into questions around the funding of


extremism? I hope that the honourable gentleman was not making


a personal accusation against the Prime Minister. Order, order, I know


what I'm doing in these matters. I cannot believe that he would


knowingly do that, make a personal accusation against the Prime


Minister because it is disorderly and if he is not aware of that it is


time he was. I think he ought to spring to his feet and clarify the


position. I'm happy to clarify. Point of explanation. My sense was


that there was an element of an accusation. Withdraw. I will


withdraw the allegation against the Prime Minister. Per minister. -- per


minister. As I stepped out in my statement


earlier. We have set out with a number of countries, the United


States, Japan, China, India, and other countries at the G20. He asked


about the compact with Africa, this is not a unique EU -ish and


initiative, it is something that has been led by Chancellor Merkel under


the G20 and the UK is playing its role. The principles that underpin


the compact with Africa are principles we have used in our


systems we have been giving it development aid to do variety of


countries in Africa are already, and we already have a compact with


Ethiopian witness the UK has put forward which will create 100,000


jobs including jobs for refugees living in Ethiopia. Again, we have


shown by what we are doing a commitment to these issues already.


He talks about the issue of terrorist financing, of course what


we looks to cast is that we are looking across the board at all


aspects of terrorist financing and that means as we look at the


changing nature of terrorism that we do not just look at large-scale


financing we also look at the small sums of financing that are harder to


trace, harder to identify, but which could potentially underpin attacks


that take place. That is where the communique clearly put a focus and


that is a new initiative that has been taken. Then he talks about


modern slavery, I think it is important to eradicate that. It was


in the G20 agenda, because I put it there. Because modern slavery is an


issue this Government takes very seriously. We introduced a modern


slavery act, the first piece of legislation in its kind in the


world, and we are working with others to ensure we eradicate modern


slavery. I have to say, his portrayal of the UK's position at


the G20 was simply wrong. But then he wasn't there, and I was. If I am


to accommodate the extensive interests of colleagues in this


matter, there will be an imperative for great brevity, to be I hope


spectacularly exemplified now. That is kind of you, but I didn't


actually have a question. LAUGHTER


Well the answer is, the right honourable lady... All! I didn't


imagine it in my sleep, the Right Honourable lay lady was standing. If


she sees to do so I did not realise, but she has led to her feet with


alacrity, the house is in a state of eager anticipation and baited


breath. I would like to take the opportunity to say something. I


wondered if my right honourable friend could help is with the modern


slavery act because she rightly identifies we have led the world on


this sort of legislation and many of us are hugely proud of the work she


did when she was Home Secretary. Is she finding that across the world


there is now a desire for other countries to follow where she and


this country have led? I am pleased to be able to say to her that is


indeed the case. We are seeing a much greater awareness of this wish


you around the world and we are seeing a much greater willingness


for governments to look at this issue. First, I think governments


are looking at the human trafficking aspect across borders but as we know


in the UK it is also important to look at what happens in country two


to citizens of 1's own country, and that is what we are doing. I am


certain the member will be as brief as his surname. In the light of the


discussions of security, the Prime Minister will no doubt be aware


across the house about her proposal to withdraw the UK from the Euratom


treaty despite the concerns there are about the implications for


scientists, materials and is life-saving therapies. Can she


explained what the cake nuclear industry gains from such a policy? I


am sure he will be aware from his chairing of the select committee


that members see of Euratom is inextricably linked with membership


of the EU. What we are doing, as was signalled in the Queen's speech,


with reference to a future Bill on this issue, is wanting to ensure we


can in maintaining these relationships which enable the


exchange of scientists, material, there are countries around the world


that have that relationship with Euratom but are not memberships of


the EU. I look forward to the Bill. Does my right honourable friend


agree that free trade is going to be one of the great Brexit dividends,


that it will provide cheaper feud, clothing and footwear to the


greatest benefit of the poorest in our society? I agree that it is free


trade that enables us to grow economies, increase prosperity,


provide jobs. And there will be benefits from the trade agreements


that we want to negotiate around the whole of the world. But we also need


as a country to defend the concept of free trade because it is under


too much attack from protectionists. When journalists and have been


murdered in Putin's Russia, does the primaries to share my anger at the


chilling sight of Presidents Trump and Putin joking about the


inconvenience of a free press? Will she commit to raising the importance


of the independence of the media to both leaders when she meets them


next? We defend a free press, we think it is an intentional and


depending of our democracy here and we want to defend it around the


world. I can assure the lady that indeed we do regularly raise this


issue with the Russian president and at all levels in Russian


authorities. Can I also pay tribute to my right honourable friend for


the all that work she has done in the past on the issue of human


trafficking and slavery and I commend her for raising this at the


G20. With the world on the move unfortunately opportunities for more


of this rather than less are now there. So what can we do between the


G20's to ensure other countries take this as seriously as we do. We have


set the bar in this we need to raise others to it. That is right. We are


taking action across a number of areas. The specific area we focused


on the G20 was the business supply chains, but one of the key ways of


ensuring we can act against human trafficking and modern slavery is


through the cooperation of law enforcement agencies here in the UK


with others around the world, and that is exactly what we are


encouraging and what is happening with some success. A year ago the


then financial secretary told the house that the Government supported


a multilateral deal on public country by country reporting. He


said if we have not made progress by this time next year on reaching a


multilateral agreement we will need to look carefully at the issue


again. A year on, can I ask for confirmation of what discussant she


has had with G20 members to make sure we can cap tackle corporate tax


avoidance? This is an issue we regularly raise. It is true to say


that we are disappointed at the lack of progress that has been made in


this area. We will continue to press on this issue but if we are going to


get that multilateral agreement others have to agree to this concept


as well. We will continue to press it. It is there because the UK has


been putting it on the agenda in the past. We will continue to do so.


About this new love fest with the benches opposite, given the record


of the Leader of the Opposition on the counterterrorism and security


act, does she possessed a very long spoon?


LAUGHTER Yes, I can say to my right


honourable friend that I have in the past as Home Secretary welcomes the


cooperation which I have had from the Labour benches, not from the


right honourable gentleman who is currently the Leader of the


Opposition, but from others who have seen the need to ensure our agencies


have appropriate powers to deal with terrorist threats that we face. I


look forward to Labour MPs and indeed others across the benches


opposite in this house, coming forward and supporting those


counterterrorism measures when they are brought forward. The G20


communique includes important reference to investment in global


education, including the global partnership for education and


education cannot wait. The UK has a proud record in leading in global


health. Will she join with Argentina in the forthcoming G20 presidency to


give investment in global dedication the premise to it deserves? Indeed I


would say it is not about looking at ahead to the agenda for the next


meeting, it is also about what the UK has been doing practically


through our international development budget as significant


number of girls around the world being educated as a result of the


input we put in. We think that global education agenda is very


important. Thank you. As the Prime Minister said in her statement, as


we are leaving the EU we are not leaving Europe. Can I welcome the


announcement we will continue to work with our European friends and


allies in developing a better overall approach to managing


economic migration? He is right. I think this is an issue that the UK


again has been leading on. And increasingly we see other countries


recognising that what the UK has said about the importance of


differentiating refugees and economic migrants, we will continue


to work not just in the G20 on that but in the UN work that started last


year that will be progressing towards the end of this year in


terms of looking at the compact for migration and refugees across the


world. We know that US intelligence services leaked sensitive UK


intelligence in the hours following the attack on the Ariana Grande


concert in Manchester. This weekend we had Presidents Trump and Putin


discussing forming and penetrable cyber security unit so that election


hacking will be guarded and safe. According to Presidents Trump's


tweet. Can she guarantee that UK intelligence assets on cyber warfare


will not be compromised or shared in anyway as long as there is a risk of


this sort of bizarre and dangerous alliance with the Russians? I can


say to the honourable lady that we take the issue of intelligence


sharing very seriously. It is important we are able to share


intelligence with our allies in the US and with other allies around the


world, but what what matters is we are able to do that on the basis of


confidence, that that intelligence will be treated appropriately. I can


assure her we take the whole issue of cyber security extremely


seriously, that is why we set up the new National Cyber Security Centre


and we recognise and understand the threat Russia poses in that area.


The G20 summit we heard positive words from the president of the US


and more this morning from the President of Australia as to the


opportunities for rapid and comprehensive trade deals between


their companies and the UK. Does my right honourable friend agree that


new trade deals with old friends and knew that are only really a risible


outside the customs union will add to the prosperity of a new global


Britain? He is right. We have been very clear that we want to be able


to and take an sign up to and activate those new trade deals with


old friends and new allies alike, and that means not being in the part


of the customs union that would prevent it. It is important we are


able to negotiate trade agreement with the EU and the rest of the


world. Can I press the Prime Minister on the issue of migration


and displacement that affects 65 million people worldwide? She will


know since the 1st of January 82,800 people have risked their lives


trying to cross the Mediterranean and 2000 have died. The G20 leaders


run 84% of the economy of the world. Apart from the 55 million as you


mentioned going to Tanzania, what other resources are being given to


deal with this catastrophic problem? The resources being given to this


issue are significant and varied. From the UK's own point of view,


there is the work we have been doing through our development aid budget,


particularly in another of countries in Africa, I referred earlier to the


compact we have of Ethiopia, which is providing jobs there for refugees


and others, because we see it as important to ensure that there are


economic opportunities in the countries of origin for this


migration so people do not feel the need to make this journey. We have


also, as I announced, we are giving extra funding, 75 million to work


with Libya and Italy to ensure that there are humane conditions for


people to able to return to countries in Africa that we increase


the ability of the Libyan coast guard to ensure they are properly


intercepting those boats which could pose a risk to people in terms of


their life if they were to make it across the Mediterranean. It is


multifaceted, but the UK is involved in every aspect. The Leader of the


Opposition has spent his entire life opposing trade deals with countries


around the world such as Mexico and India. The Prime Minister success at


G20 means we can look both East and West securing trade deals and does


my right honourable friend agree that we should recognise and be


proud of the global confidence in British services, goods, and the


British economy? My honourable friend is absolutely right. I think


the fact that a number of leaders, those I have mentioned, but others


as well, have expressed their interest in trade deals with the UK,


it is a vote of confidence in the British people.


Mr Speaker, I would be interested to know when the Prime Minister expects


to sign a trade deal with Australia and India how much these deals will


be worth and how much extra immigration she will accept as part


of these deals. The honourable lady may know that there's a limit to


what we can put in place while we are still members of the EU but we


can still discuss what a future trade agreement might be and it


doesn't mean we can't discuss how to improve trade relations already,


there are some areas we can do that which are not covered in terms of EU


competences and those discussions are having. Has been found. There


does seem to be consensus that when we leave the European Union UK- US


free trade deal would be a good and necessary thing. Does the Prime


Minister welcomed the clear support of the American administration that


this is expressed at the G20 but the other important decision-makers in


this are the US Congress. Following her successful visit to Philadelphia


with the Republican caucus witchy enable the excellent Congressional


relations office of our office in Washington to up MPs make the case


to congressional colleagues for this free trade deal? My right honourable


friend is right about the role Congress will play, he has raised an


interesting idea. I did indeed have discussions with members of Congress


in Philadelphia and I know that my right honourable friend was


Secretary of State for International Development has been having


discussions recently in America with members of Congress as well. We will


certainly consider the proposal that my right honourable friend has put


forward. He's right, we will work with Congress and the American


administration on this. Mr Speaker she says she wants help for building


consensus on sensible policies, there a majority in this House to


stay in Euratom and also in the European medicines agency so why


not. As referred to the membership of ten 2-mac is inextricably linked


with membership of the EU and as we leave the EU we will leave Euratom.


Yet what we look to put in place is a similar relationship with Euratom


like other countries which are not members of the EU having access to


the movement of scientists and materials and the standards produced


under Euratom. We recognise the importance of this, this is why a


bill in relation to this was in the Queen's Speech. Sir Edward Lee. As


my right honourable friend is now open to ideas to a man who tried to


remove her from office will she take an idea from a friend who stood on a


platform of keeping her in office? And once it is day in office. The


honourable gentleman from Rhondda should come himself, I want to hear


what the honourable member the gains that has to say. We have warm words


on helping Italy of migration but as long as Italy is forced to take all


the refugees more and more will come. Will my right honourable


friend work with our allies to establish safe havens in Libya so


that people can be returned safely to Libya. That's a conservative


idea, not useless socialist one! I have to say to my right honourable


friend not only is that concept of being able to return people to Libya


a good one, it is one we already working on. This is one of the


issues we will be discussing with the Italians and others in relation


to the extra humanitarian aid we are making available. We've also made


available, offered to the Italians, support and help to return as to


Nigeria because a significant number of those reaching Italy are from


Nigeria and we have arrangements already run by the United Kingdom in


Nigeria to provide just that sort of area where people are able to stay.


Alison McGovern. May I ask the Prime Minister about Syria and the loss of


civilian life specifically as it relates to you as operations against


Morisi in Raqqa. It appears that the rules of engagement have changed. So


has she raised this with the US or have any of her ministers -- US


operations against Daesh. We regularly in discussion with the


Americans and others in the coalition about the action. The


action taken place in Mosul to drive Daesh of muscle is important and the


reaction in Raqqa will be important but as United Kingdom we take the


position that we want to ensure that these actions deal with those who


they are supposed to deal with, ie the terrorists, and don't affect


civilians. Mr Costa. Thank you Mr Speaker, may I add my welcome to the


statement from the Prime Minister particularly in respect of


assistance given to Italy to tackle migration. I am chairman of the APPG


research group and as my right honourable friend knows, Greece also


has a huge burden with the movement of migrants. Would my right


honourable friend agreed to consider whether the delegation that has been


sent to Italy might also be sent in due course to Greece? What we are


doing is mirroring in Italy something we have offered Greece and


which they have taken up. It's difficult because of the deal with


Turkey that EU did so we've seen a significant reduction in the number


of migrants trying to reach Greece. We've also seen people coming


through those roots and trying to go through Libya into Italy. But we


will certainly ensure that we are giving as much support as we can to


Italy in this matter. Sir Vincent cable. In the Prime Minister's


enthusiasm for a bilateral trade union with the USA Wilshere accept


American insistence that we don't loot food standards and agree to the


establishments of investment protection mechanisms which override


British courts -- Wilshere accept? . Nash will she accept that we dilate


food standards? This hasn't yet taken place, we will be negotiating


trade commissions with the Americans. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Many countries are eager to trade free from punitive tariffs, does my


right honourable friend agree that Britain can be a leader in free


trade fair trade once we leave the by setting off our own standards and


striking our: trade deals. It's important, we will have that ability


once outside the EU to strike deals around the world, underpinning what


my right honourable friend asks is the need for the UK to stand up and


promote free and fair trade around the world. As I said earlier in


response to another honourable friend, there is this attempt in


some areas to towards protectionism. I think we should stand against


that. We should show clearly that it is free trade that brings prosperity


and jobs and help is not just economy is like ours but some of the


poorest countries in the world to develop. Given the special


relationship the Prime Minister enjoys with President Trump can she


explain why she failed to influence him from preventing him from pulling


out the Paris climate agreement? And will she commend that decision and


refrain from rolling out the red carpet in the form of a state visit


to him. We made, i-mate, the UK made, our views on the Paris climate


agreement is well-known, the US takes its own decisions, this is a


commitment President Trump made in his electoral campaign, I said to


him more than once that either the USA can be encouraged to come back


into the Paris agreement, I think it is important and we will try to work


to get them back in. David TC Davies. Mr Speaker given that most


of the MPC are stored on a platform backing tracks and including the


Leader of the Opposition isn't it time people stopped using these


negotiations for political or personal advantage and united behind


the Prime Minister and her ministers to get on with the deal that works


for the Halliburton? Whole of Britain. My honourable friend is


right, 80% of votes in the general election were for parties that


wanted to deliver on the Brexit decision taken by the British people


in the referendum master. That is what the government will get on and


do and I hope others in the House was aborted. The Prime Minister said


in a statement that women and children are being enslaved, forced


into hard Labour, raped and beaten and passed from abuse and to abuse


of profit. Does she agree that this is no more true than the depravity


of child prostitution in India and did she raised this with the Prime


Minister of India? I have raised this issue previously with the Prime


Minister of India, the question of modern slavery, as we have, to


address this particular issue. We are very clear that we want to see


this issue being dealt with, this is one reason why we have put into


legislation requirement for companies in the UK who will be


manufacturing and sourcing products from around the world that they need


to look at their supply chains and make sure and report on they find in


their supply chains and whether or not modern slavery is taking place


within those supply chains. Does the Prime Minister agree that while we


are still leaving the EU there are many manners in which we still need


to cooperate, especially dealing with the migrant problems, how we


will manage international trade and work with Europe to tackle the evil


of people trafficking, and also cooperate to stop multinationals


abusing tax systems across the continent. I agree with my


honourable friend, there is much on which we will continue to cooperate.


With countries in the European Union, the relations we have with


French and Belgium in particular in relation to ports and the traffic of


people across the Channel is very important to us. And we have been


working increasingly with the French authorities and reversing including


the Greek authorities in dealing with this issue of human trafficking


and successfully insuring criminal gangs involved in this are not just


identified but investigated and prosecuted.


Bambos Charalambous. As the Prime Minister spoken to the president of


Turkey about the Cyprus talks? Headed on by authors put to the


Secretary General of the UN who was president at the talks. About the


reasons why they broke down. It is a matter not only of disappointment


but great sadness that those talks did not come to fruition, they were


the closest we have come to finding a solution for the unification of


Cyprus. It was a matter of sadness that this could not be achieved. The


United Kingdom played a strong role in trying to achieve that but sadly


it did not happen. One quarter of G20 members are also members of the


Commonwealth, I welcome my honourable friend welcoming


preliminary discussions with Australia and India, can she also


say what discussions have been had with other Commonwealth countries


like New Zealand. And happy to let my honourable friend know that we


have also been discussing with New Zealand, this is an issue we can


progress with other members of the Commonwealth, not just New Zealand,


also Canada. Catherine West. Mr Speaker, what concrete steps will be


taken to get climate change back on the discussion with the US


administration. We raise the issue regularly with them but crucially


there was a clear message from everyone at the G 22 the US


administration about the importance we all placed on that climate change


agreement, the Paris agreement and the US being a member of it. Mr


Philip collarbone. Kettering is located at the economic beating


heart of the nation so a strong economy and new international trade


deals post Brexit are very important for all of us live there. The Prime


Minister has told the house that over the weekend she met the leaders


of America, China, Japan and India to talk about new trade deals. May I


say it sounds like a very good start and a very good week and's work. I


thank my honourable friend and can I also recognise the important role


Kettering plays in the economy of this country and the benefits when


we see new trade deals coming into place. Mr Speaker can the Prime


Minister guarantee that Brexit will not weaken the fight against


terrorism? Will we retain full membership of Eurapo and Eurajust? I


have defended our membership of that and various other things, we are


informal negotiations with the EU and these will be part of the


negotiations but I am sure, some of the arrangements with countries are


arrangements we have outside EU but we want to retain that co-operation


because it is important not only for us but the countries outside euro


FIA - EU. What does she see in that crisis and might not part of it be


restrictions against British banks, two of which had impositions against


them for inadvertently treading with North Korea. And happy to say I've


had discussions with other leaders about what is happening on the


Korean peninsula, especially with the president of China because I


think the role of China is a crucial one, they are the country that has


the greatest leveraged in relation to North Korea and I urge the


president of China as I believe others have done to exercise that


leveraged. We want to see the denuclearisation of North Korea.


The Prime Minister talks about boosting trade but could she tell is


what discussions he had with other leaders about the open skies


agreement with the USA which depends upon our relationship with the EU,


is a cause for concern to the aviation industry. Time is very


short. The open skies agreement was referenced in the conversation I had


with President ramp. Can I congratulate her on her comments


condemning President Trump's decision to abandon Paris? Can I


encourage her to keep the UK in the global Vanguard on climate change by


publishing so that those who are more reluctant can see the value of


a green economy? I think the UK has a good record on this. We can


PowerPoint are ready to the actions we have taken, but we can be looking


to do more on air quality in the future, but we can already show the


action we have taken and the benefit it has had. As I said earlier, there


is no contradiction between decarbonisation and a growing


economy. Is a bad trade deal with the United States better than no




We will be working to negotiate a good trade deal with the US. She


will recall that the recently deceased teat it would have included


grotesque provisions for private corporations to prosecute legitimate


democratic governments. Would she resist any deal that includes such


proportions? I can assure him that as we look to negotiate a trade deal


with the US we will be looking for one in the best interest of the


United Kingdom. For all the progress against Dyche there are mine


hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria who remain under siege from


the evil Al Assad Government. Will she look again at the issue of


getting aid with multilateral agreement into those besieged towns


and cities? He raised a very important issue which we do


regularly discuss with our coalition partners about the possibility of


getting that aid in. As he will know, there have been some attempts


to ensure aid can be getting through to those civilians who are besieged.


They have not always... He says try again. We do regularly raise this as


an issue. The best answer is to find a solution to the situation in Syria


which leads to a stable Syria meaning those civilians are no


longer besieged. In a summit of extraordinarily awkward moments,


perhaps the most bizarre was when President Trump's seat was taken by


his daughter. The Prime Minister did not seem to bat an eyelid, which I


assume is because she's exhuming somebody else will take her seat


soon. I wonder who she hopes that will be, the Home Secretary, the


Foreign Secretary, or the Chancellor? I have to say, in


relation to the fact that Iran could Trump took the present's seat at one


point, that was after a session we had had in the morning where we had


launched the rim and entrepreneurs financing initiative, which is an


initiative that has been developed by Yvonne could Trump and the World


Bank so I think it was entirely reasonable! It is welcome and that


the Prime Minister raised the issue of the jumping of Chinese steel but


quite frankly words are cheap. It is actions that matter. Can she please


tell the house what specific actions are going to be taken to ensure


China starts playing by the rules? The honourable gentleman will be


aware of the action we have taken here in the UK to support our steel


industry. We have urged at the last T20 took the decision that the


global Forum would be the basis on which work could be done


internationally to look at the issue of excess capacity in steel. That


has not worked as well as hoped. It was set up under the Chinese


presidency and it is that that we want to see with the ministerial


meeting to look at excess steel capacity this year. Will the Prime


Minister confirmed that the NHS will be excluded from any trade deal with


the United States? I am conscious that this was an issue that was


raised in relation to the T tip deal and concerned people had that


somehow that was about changing the NHS. We are not going to change the


NHS. The deal was never a deal that was going to impact on the NHS in


the way the opposition suggested. Not all G20 countries have made the


same sort of progress we have in this country in relation to racist


and discrimination are re-language. That was an issue she discussed and


does she agree that where it happens organisations should take decisive


and swift action? I have to say to him, I think it is beholden on a


salt to make sure we use appropriate language at all times. With the


President of German industries stating it would be negative from


Brexit, has she got any closer to carrying out an economic assessment


of the UK leaving the single market? What is very clear is that we want


to negotiate a comp Raza agreement with the European Union, which gives


us access to the single market. But anybody looking at the impact that


take place of leaving the single market should recognise that the


single market that is most important two nations within the ice kingdom


is the United Kingdom. Given her personal commitment to ending modern


slavery and her desire for other countries to follow the UK's please,


why did she think it takes her Home Office more than two years to


investigate the case of a woman in my constituency who is a victim of


rape, slavery and trafficking? What kind of example issue setting for


the G20 there? I am not aware of the individual case that you raise. He


talks about investigation of a case of rape. That is not a matter for


the Home Office, it is for the police. Following the questions by


Mike Right Honourable friend the member for Leeds Central and Exeter,


the Prime Minister said our membership of your atom is linked


with membership of the EU and yet we have been members of your atom for


longer than we have of the EU. So how can that be the case and world


Government rethink our arrangements and returns of your atom which is so


important? The fact is the treaty makes it clear that there is either


link between the membership. If you are a membership of the EU and


membership of the Euratom. Across the house we are all agreed that we


want to maintain the arrangements and relationships that currently


exist under Euratom. But they will be on a different basis in the


future. But we want to maintain them. There is no argument about


that. I thank her for her statement and note her effort to reform the


World Trade Organisation rules in order for them to keep up with the


services and digital sectors, crucial to the British economy. Does


she agree with me that any reform to the WTA rules will take longer than


we have left before we leave the EU? One of the point I was making at the


G20's we need to speed up the way the world trade organisation looks


at these issues. Looking a trade rules around the Digital economy is


not something they will be starting from scratch, they have been doing


ever some time, we need to ensure we get on with it and get get rules


set. I welcome her indication that she wants to coax the United States


back into the Paris agreement. Will she consider strengthening her


negotiating hand by suggesting to President Trump that there will be


no negotiations on a free-trade deal until they come back into the deal,


or is securing a free-trade deal with the US is more important than


securing the future the planet? What we want is to ensure we get a good


trade deal with the US because it will be to the benefit of people in


the UK with proper parity and economic growth and jobs across the


UK. But we will continue to press on climate change agreement as well.


And as I say, I am encouraging President Trump as are others to


find a way back into the Paris agreement. I think it is important


for us all. Meanwhile we will continue to do our bit in terms of


the application of the Paris agreement. Older. I think the right


honourable gentleman wanted to raise a point of order. No? OK. I was


going to say if he wanted to it would normally be after statements


but he could raise it now if he wanted to. But he does not wish to.


That is fine. Thank you. We move now to the second statement. The


statement the Secretary of State for International Development, Doctor


Liam Fox. With permission I would like to make a station on the High


Court judgment on export licensing. We welcome the divisional Court


judgment today dismissing the claim by the campaign against Arms trade


for judicial review of decisions revising exporter Saudi Arabia for


possible use of the conflict in Yemen. We are grateful to the court


for the careful and meticulous way the evidence from both sides has


been considered in reaching the judgment. The judgment recognises


the rigorous and robust processes we have in place across Government to


ensure UK defence exports are licensed consistence with the


Government consisted national arms licensing criteria. These criteria


give effect to an EU Common position setting out rules for assessing


Mapes Arias sports. They were introduced in October 2000 and last


updated in 2014. The Consolidated criteria used to assess each


exporter licence application cover our international obligations


including sanctions, human rights and international humanitarian law,


and confidence, national security and the security of our allies,


terrorism, risk of diversion and the technical and economic capacity of


the recipient country. The claim that challenge decisions not to


suspend extant licences for the sale of transfer of arms or military


equipment and to continue to grant is new lances for such transfers.


The judgment states these decisions were lawful and rational. It


describes the Government discussion about export licences as and I


quote, highly sophisticated, structured and multifaceted. We note


the application to appeal and will continue to defend the decision is


challenged. We remain confident that the UK operates one of the most


robust export control regimes in the world. The central issue in relation


to the defence exports to Saudi Arabia in the context of the


conflict in Yemen is criterion to see of the Consolidated EU and


national arms licensing criteria. That is that the Government will not


grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in


the commission of a serious violation of international


humanitarian law. We have sufficient information to carry out proper


risk-based assessment is against criterion to see, the core situation


has been kept under close review, and to date we have not refused


licences on to see grounds because we have assessed on all the event


nation available including information not publicly available,


that the clear risk threshold has not been reached. The judgment says


that on the evidence we were rationally entitled to conclude this


threat has not been reached. The exercise taken to into form these


rest than is has in the words of the Government, all the hallmarks of a


rigorous and robust multilayered process of analysis, carried out by


numerous expert personnel upon which the secretary of state could rely.


In addition by considered analysis of humanitarian law, there has been


intensive engagement with the Saudis at the highest level, stressing the


need to comply with international humanitarian law, to investigate all


instances of concern and ensure lessons are learned. Through this


engagement and our long-standing relationship with the Saudis, we


have developed a higher degree of insight into Saudi military


processes and procedures adopted in Yemen and might be expected for a


country not party to the conflict. We have also considered public


commitments to comply with international humanitarian law made


by the Saudis and monitored and analysed development on the ground.


Each of these strands takes into account a wide range of sources and


analyses including those of a sensitive nature to which other


parties such as NGOs and the UN do not have access. Taken together,


these strands of information and analysis which are reviewed


regularly by the FCO in comprehensive reports to the Foreign


Secretary, have enabled ministers to take informed decisions about the


overall criterion to see position and individual export licence


applications. They provide a sound basis on which the Foreign Secretary


is able to advise me on these points. That the assessment has been


that the issue of military exports to Saudi Arabia is finally balanced,


is seen by the judgment as instructive and points two and again


I quote, anxious scrutiny given to the matter and the essential


rationality and rigour of the process in which the secretary of


state was engaged. And as the judgment states on the basis of this


information and analysis we were rationally entitled to conclude


Saudi Arabia has put processes in place to secure respect for


compliance with international humanitarian law and that Saudi


Arabia has been and remains committed to compliance with


international humanitarian law. The Saudis have engaged and continue to


engage constructively with the UK on these matters.


We do not receive this judgment as a signal to do anything other than to


take our exports responsibilities very seriously. Our policy is to


assess licence applications on a case-by-case basis against the


rigorous tests set out in the Consolidated EU and national arms


export licensing criteria. We will not grant a licence if to do so


would be inconsistent with these criteria. We will continue to keep


the situation in Yemen under close scrutiny and base our export


licensing assessments on the most up-to-date information and analysis


available. If we assess that the clear risk threshold under criterion


to see of the Consolidated EU and national licensing criteria has been


reached them you will not hesitate to refuse export licences and


suspend licences already in circulation. I commend the statement


to the House. Thank you. I thank the Secretary of State for his


statement. I know he and the whole House will agree that the war in


Yemen as each monetary tragedy. Thousands of people the --


humanitarian tragedy. Thousands of people have been at effect through


loss of hospitals and water supplies and all of us should do more on


that. The question for the High Court was whether we are entitled to


conclude that there was no risk British weapons would be used in


serious violations of international humanitarian law. Since the bombing


of Yemen began, the UK has licensed more than ?3.3 billion worth of arms


to the Saudi regime including 2.2 billion pounds worth of licences


dealing with aircraft and helicopters. 1.1 billion pounds


worth doing with grenades and bombs and countermeasures and ?430,000


worth dealing with armoured vehicles and tanks. The Secretary of State


knows that instrument use of air strikes, the destruction of the


countries means of food production and the targeting of civilians are


all classed as war crimes under international humanitarian law. Does


she recall that in January 2016 a United Nations panel of experts


reported that Saudi Arabian forces had engaged in widespread and


systematic targeting of civilians. Does she recall that in July last


year the Government corrected its previous declarations that they had


no evidence of any violations and that in September the Foreign


Secretary stated in the Government's new position was that they had been


unable to make an assessment and that the Saudi authorities are best


placed to make such an assessment? Does he accept that the Foreign


Secretary was wrong to franchise out our obligation in this way and that


we, not the Saudis, have the duty to assess whether there is a risk that


British arms sold to the Saudis might be used in contravention? Is


she recall that evidence revealed in the High Court in February showed


that the civil servant at the head of export control had provided


advice to the previous Secretary of State recommending that the UK


suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia given in the gaps in knowledge about


Saudi operations? Can he explain to the housewife that recommendation


was overruled by the then Secretary of State and sits alongside him? But


the Secretary of State at the committee should be set up in this


Parliament without delay so that export licensing for arms sales and


commander of the necessary parliamentary scrutiny? Does he


agree that today's judgment did not seek to whether the Government were


correct and concluding that there was no clear risk of a serious


breach of international managerial role but rather whether Ensor


concluding they had reached a decision which could be considered


rational given in the procedures they had adopted and the evidence


they had considered? Does he further except that if such procedures


themselves were defective or the evidence they had considered


insufficient or misleading or not comprehensive, then it follows that


the decision, however rational within its own parameters, could be


deeply flawed and this country might be at grave risk of violating their


obligations in international humanitarian law? The Government


relied upon material which brought forward only and closed hearing,


evidence which was not able to be seen or heard by the campaign


against the Arms trade or their lawyers. The court ruling that the


Government 's decision was irrational one given in the


procedures and evidence at considered was based on secret


evidence which it was impossible to challenge. Does the Secretary of


State except that the court 's judgment makes specific reference to


the substantial body of evidence is presented in open session that in


fact suggests a clear risk does exist that British arms might be


used in violation of international monetary and more? Will he agree to


make evidence that was available on the enclosed session available to


members of this House on Privy Council terms or indeed make it


available to the intelligence and security select committee? Does he


agree that in mattress review would wish this country not only to adopt


the highest ethical standards and controls but also to be seen to


adopt them, it would be helpful if he could no reassure the House that


is his considered view that not only was the Government rational and


adopting the view instead given the procedures it followed and the


evidence at considered, but that he personally can give his assurance to


this House that there is too has a certain knowledge no risk whatsoever


that UK arms make use by Saudi Arabia and Yemen or in any way that


might constitute a violation of our obligations and international


humanitarian law? Can I say first of all that I agree with the honourable


gentleman and Yemen is indeed a humanitarian disaster that is


begging for a political social ocean to lead to enable us to carry out


without a dramatic efforts and Germanic taking efforts. I doubt


anyone would disagree with that. In terms of what he said, he wasn't


quite accurate in terms for the court case was about. There were


three grounds of challenge. Firstly there to ask the correct questions


to make enquiries. Failure to apply the suspension mechanism and a


rationally concluding there was no clear risk under criterion 2C. All


these grounds have been dismissed by the court. He makes the point about


targeting. Can I say to him that the efforts by the MOD have gone to the


smallest degree to improve the ability of the Saudis to target more


effectively including by training. By UK personnel. That is that one of


the biggest advantage is that we have helped the Saudis make on this.


He said the United Nations have set out their own reservations about


what had happened but as the judgment made very clear, it didn't


have all the information, that the judges were able to look at as part


of that and 20 said that there were gaps in the Government's knowledge,


he's the court made very clear that not only did the Government have the


ability to assess what the gaps in the knowledge might have been, they


had the appropriate means of addressing that and I remain timid


that the criteria that we operate a part of the EU Consolidated


criteria, not UK Government unilateral criteria. I take


exception with the final point that he made because this idea that


somehow if we have closed sessions that makes the judgment less valid,


I substitute except because I don't accept this idea that we simply


cannot have closed sessions. That particular national security for the


personnel involved in a national security, our sources need to be


protected. Ellis to the argument he makes but I cannot bring myself to


accept it. -- I listened to the argument. At the end of the


statement he referred to steps that could be taken if it were found that


Saudi Arabia were misusing the arms which we supply. Can I ask you to


expand on that, an issue that has come up before any committees for


arms export controls? Supposing we supply it consists in Saint of


sophisticated weapons for use in one way and it is used in a different


way or abused in defiance of the laws of war, what could be rendered


to rectify that? As he knows from his experience, there are a number


of criteria for refusal is and revocations. If he has not seen the


list I will ensure he is sent it and if we believe that we are not able


to convince ourselves that we were operating entirely within the


Consolidated criteria, we can suspend licences and refuse new ones


and as I made clear, if we believe that we are not fully in alignment


with those criteria, we would do so. Apologies for my horse voice. --


horse voice. Amnesty International believes UK and US weapons have been


used against Yemeni civilian is. 10,000 civilians have been killed


and 3 million displaced. Today's judgment raises questions and be


paid tribute to the campaign against Arms trade love taking the


Government to court and force them to explain themselves. We have


knowledge they plan to appeal but the UK Government should be coming


to this House with all the facts at all times, but having to be dragged


through the courts for the public to get a full explanation so does he


accept that it cannot be beneficial of the public loses confidence in


the Government over its solution ship with the supposed ally? One


which is infrequent breach of its international humanitarian law and


Yemen? Let's not forget that Saudi Arabia, UK's largest weapons client


has bought more than ?3 billion worth of British arms and the last


two years. UK and EU arms sales rules that state export licences


cannot be granted if there is not a clear risk that the equipment can be


used in breach of international humanitarian law. He says that he


takes it very seriously and he will know that our former colleague Angus


Robertson was strong advocate for the re-establish that of the


committee on arms export control. UK Government promised before the


election it would be reconvened. Can I ask the Secretary of State when


will that committee take place, when will its first meeting happen and


can he give us categorical assurances that the election does


not mean that such an important committee will be kicked into the


long grass? As the judgment itself set out, the case focused on the air


strikes conducted by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and support of the


legitimate Government of Yemen against the rebellion so we need to


put on record that that is the origin of the conflict. Of course


the humanitarian issues and Yemen are deeply troubling to all of us,


we have all seen the pictures and the United Kingdom through our


various agencies and Government departments have been fulfilling as


much of our diplomatic and you manage union actions as we can and


the circumstances. It will only be brought to an end by a political


settlement, not a military one. She talks about the clear risk test, the


judgment could not have been clearer that the Government admitted the


clear risk test of criterion 2C in the way the Government has carried


this out. On her point about the committee on Arms exports, I have


absolutely no objections to such a committee being set up in fact I


think it is beneficial to us to ensure at all times the highest


reputation of our property in these matters and I would have absolutely


no objection to such a committee being in place. Does the Secretary


of State agree with me that the detail of this judgment actually


makes it clear just what a great job as civil servants and other civil


servants and officials in both MOD and the Foreign Office have done any


rigorous way they have gone about their responsibilities so that the


judgment can then say that they were highly sophisticated structures and


multifaceted and it deserves congratulations?


I don't think the judgment could have been more unequivocal, and I am


very grateful for his comments. We have been utterly rigorous in the


process. The work between the FCO and the MoD and the de-IT has been


extremely close. Our officials have done a wonderful job. I'm not sure


they appreciated the number of letters necessary that went between


is to ensure the process works as tightly as it has, but I am sure


they will all feel totally vindicated by the judgment and in


the way they have carried out their duties on behalf of this country's


international duties and law. Can I welcome the judgment and say it


demonstrates how robust the Arms export control act of 2002


introduced by the Labour Government is. It also supports hard-working


defence workers in our defence industry. In the judgment, it says


the coalition would not targeting civilians and Saudis have procedures


to abide by the principles of international humanitarian law. In


light of that can the union should make representations of the Saudis


to publish their own enquiries ins to the stars? I thank him for his


comments. We do as I said have I think the most robust system in


place on defence exports that exists. And we have been very clear


with the Saudis that they have to carry out investigations into some


of the incidents he mentioned and they had to make that clear to the


United Kingdom Government and that we had to be very clear if we were


to license further defence exports that those lessons had been learned


and that mechanisms have been put in place to ensure they would not


happen again. Given the High Court has today found the Government has


been meticulous in its export licensing processes, could he


perhaps inform the house how much the court case will cost the


taxpayer in legal fees? I hesitate a little because there may well be an


appeal and we may not yet be at the end of the legal process. But to


date the case has cost the UK taxpayers somewhat in excess of


?600,000. The secretary of state and the Government may have won the


legal skirmish but they have not won the moral case and there are still


many unanswered questions about the relationship here and the terrible


situation we see in Yemen. The Secretary of State says he was


confident but on the other hand the court judgment makes it clear he was


anxious. He knows he wrote to the Foreign Secretary saying he was


concerned that it continue to be finely balanced and he asked they


commissioned a further investigation and seek advice from lawyers. Why


was he anxious? Was it the civilian deaths,? The use of cluster bombs,


all the attacks on humanitarian supplies including water and


medication? I know he takes a close interest in this but I would not


describe today's landmark case as a skirmish and I think everyone in the


house would be advised to read the full judgment. It is my job to be


anxious about these things. It is my job to give the nth degree of


scrutiny because lives are potentially being lost if we give


the wrong judgments. It is the judgment of myself, the Foreign


Secretary and other senior ministers that gives us such anxiety. Were we


to be cavalier he would be absolutely right to criticise us.


When we take the nth degree of care about the judgments we make, as


previous governments have done, he ought to be grateful that we are


doing so. I welcome my friend's statement as it comes from an


independent judiciary and underscores the robustness of the


assessment of the export licence applications. He will be aware that


Saudi Arabia is going through self authored and hugely welcome


modernisation and change. Can he assure me that these changes within


the kingdom will be taken into account when considering future


export licence applications to our strong and reliable ally in the


Middle East? We take all of this information into account when coming


to a judgment. We look across what is happening from the information we


have from the FCO, the MOD, my department, we will put all this


picture together before we come to judgment. I think we can hardly be


accused of spending too much time and looking at too much evidence in


order to come to the right conclusion. Of course we accept the


guy judgment of the court because we accept the rule of law in this


country. However, how does this help the Yemeni people? So far 10,000


people have died, 14 million people have been displaced and 200,000


people are suffering from cholera. He is a former Foreign Minister,


former Defence Secretary, could he after this statement go back to the


Foreign Office and get everyone back at the negotiating table? Please?


This Government are leaving no stone unturned to try to get the peace


process driven forward. We have had so many attempts to try to do so.


And it is in all our interests to stop what is a dreadful humanitarian


disaster. He is absolutely right, the parties need to understand that


it cannot be solved by a purely military solution. It has to be a


political solution. Can I also welcome today's landmark ruling on


what was a very difficult case. Tens of thousands of defence workers,


many in my constituency, whose job depends on the deals that are done.


Can he assure me we will do is continue to work with the Saudis to


ensure accurate targeting and also robust and sales? Of course we will


continue to work with the Saudis to get an improvement in the position


to make sure any decisions we take our within the criteria. He is right


that a lot of jobs in this country depend on our defence industry. And


whether campaigns such as the campaigns against the Arms trade to


be successful it would mean there would be a rapid proliferation of


new defence companies trying to set up around the world. They would


actually be less control over proliferation rather than more.


Parliamentary scrutiny of arms exports is necessary. May I welcome


what he said in response to challenges on arms export controls,


it is vitally important they are established soon. Can I also asked


the Government to look again at the question of independent UN led


investigation into all alleged humanitarian law of the conflict? We


have never had any objection to an independent UN enquiry. Part of the


trouble was set out in the judgment itself, which is the availability of


evidence. Especially in open session, that I'd be available to


such an enquiry. That is why I think when members read the full judgment


they will see why there is such significance to this particularly


judgment, but I am open-minded about any future UN enquiry. Instances


have been refused. There are a number of different criteria and


they are assessed on a regular basis. There were 366 refusals or


revocations in 2016. They are set out in a number of eight different


categories. Of refusals and revocations. Additive is helpful I


shall make a copy available in the library if it is not there already.


Can the secretary of state confirmed that this judgment does not confirm


there was no risk of IHL breaches in the Yemen, that the judge


acknowledged significant evidence which submits just there was a risk


or is and it remains a risk the UK Government is heavily dependent on


Saudi guarantees that they are not targeting civilians? It is


impossible to sell anybody to anything, anything to anybody, that


has no risk attached. That is why we have a clear risk test in the


Consolidated criteria. And we are in close touch to a degree I have never


known before with a country that is party to a military dispute in terms


of seeing how they do their targeting, understanding their


methods, and their information, and we have been very close in helping


to instruct them in ways that will minimise visual and counselled


season future. I have had the opportunity of travelling to Saudi


Arabia and visiting the targeting Centre in Riyadh where targets in


Yemen are allocated. Would he agree with me that as well as exporting


hardware we also export a doctrine of responsible use that at the end


of the day saves lives? I would entirely agree. It is not just the


doctrine that we export it is the professional expertise and training


which can help turn that doctrine into effect. Medicine some frontier


say Yemenis are free to go to the cholera treatment centre. Jeered


declared this was an unintentional mistake along with facilities


elsewhere. All of these were hit by Saudi bombs. How many hospitals


protected by international humanitarian law will the secretary


of state allow to be hit by Saudi Arabia before he stopped selling


them bombs? The Honourable lady talks as though there is only one


party in this particular dispute in this part of the world, and


unfortunately it is not. We take the absolute the queer risk criteria


very seriously but I'm afraid making the sort of uninformed point she


does for propaganda purposes does not help the humanitarian situation.


Would he agree with me that amongst our many security objectives and


values, keeping faith with important allies and being a reliable security


partner should be among the most important and so our allies today


can see we take these important decisions rigorously, with due


process which they deserve, and under the rule of law? He is right.


Protection of our allies and working with them is extremely important.


But it is almost important that they had themselves understand we will


rigorously apply the criteria that we have set out and been party to


international agreement for. I think getting the balance right between


those things is exactly what the Government has sought to achieve.


Will the secretary of state please enlighten us as to why he does not


take more notice of the foreign and Commonwealth offices reports into


countries of concern for human and repression? Perhaps we are talking


about a different judgment, because the judgment makes very clear that


we did take very clear account of the advice given by the Foreign


Office and indeed sought further advice from the Foreign Office when


it was necessary. Does he agree that closed sessions are absolutely


standard in litigation of this nature and it is nature wrong to


seek to undermine a clear and impartial ruling of the High Court


which confirms the rigorous and detailed scrutiny. I think there is


a danger in making that sort of attack on the court system. Not


least because secret or classified evidence was open to challenge by


the special advocates representing the claimants in this case. The


Secretary of State will be aware of reports by the BBC and Danish


newspapers in relation to the sale of surveillance and decryption


technology to Saudi Arabia by British companies via Danish subsidy


Aries. This has been used to crush internal dissent and has a potential


impact on UK security. Will they be reviewing legislation and oversight


procedures governing sales of this data? If any individual or gaunt


organisation has evidence they believe quite clearly illustrates


wrongdoing they should bring it to the attention of the Government in


detail. Could this judgment we have heard today shows the UK is very


robust in its licensing criteria but in light of this decision could he


reassures the house that under decision decisions to grant such


licences are and occasion and indication humanitarian law? The


judgment makes clear it is the case. I think that those who criticise the


UK system should look to see how robust we are in comparison to other


countries. I think it would do everybody in this country good to


recognise how robust and clear we are in the decisions we make and how


transparent we are in their contact. The secretary of state rightly draws


attention to the robust nature of the wording in the document produced


by the courts. Does he agree that because this judgment relates to a


decision under the EU consolidation criteria that it will be extremely


important that in future we continue to maintain control of arms exports


at least as strong as under the existing EU Consolidated criteria?


It is slightly worrying to me how often I do agree with the honourable


gentleman, and I find myself doing so again today. It is not what the


criteria are called, it is what they contain that matters. And the


content has clearly stood the rigour of scrutiny by the court today and I


completely agree with him that it would be wayward to say the least


for any Government to consider criteria that were any less rigorous


than the ones we have today. He doesn't look worried at all. He


looks in a state of high contentment. Anyone would think that


Christmas had come early. But I suppose it is always good when


people agree with one. Could she tell you House that the


High Court had before it all the information needed in order to reach


the judgment? That was very much the view of the court. Could I ask if he


continues to promote the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia what regard


this Government has today factor for hundred and 57 people were executed


there last year including minors and four young men arrested as minus


remain at imminent risk of execution by crucifixion? By our engagement


with Saudi Arabia be able to raise any reservations that we have about


international humanitarian law or human rights which we do. At the


last Parliament urged to quit some period of time for the committee on


Arms export controls to be set up. Will my friend speak to the Leader


of the House speak to the two C of this committee can be set up as


quickly as possible? The usual channels will have heard the view, I


have no objection to be such a committee being in place, it is a


balanced judgment as to whether we have such a committee or not but as


I have said any committee looking into the property decision of


ministers should be welcomed by ministers as well as the House as a


whole. In 2013 in the Government launched its plan on business human


rights to great fanfare but subsequent questions revealed that


appears to be little more than a piece of paper. Not an action plan.


How does that suppose it action plan and former business Roshan ship with


Saudi Arabia and how will it going forward? It will not be affected by


this judgment because it said that the Government was carrying out a


rigorous and responsible and rational view of the decisions on


defence exports. I would have thought that the House might have


been pleased that our systems are working so clearly and transparently


well. I visited Saudi Arabia as part of a cross-party delegation in April


and have declared this in the register. It is quite right that


arms exports are subject to legal challenge and everyone agrees about


the material crisis and Yemen but I was surprised to learn that 65,000


shells and rockets have been fired from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, that


there have been civilian deaths and injuries and Saudi Arabia, civilians


have been evacuated and displaced and hospitals damaged all and Saudi


Arabia. Would you welcome more balanced coverage of this


distressing conflict? He makes a very important point that this was


not a conflict that Saudi Arabia or the coalition sought and they have a


legitimate right of self-defence and they have a legitimate right to


acquire the means of conducting that self defence. It is quite clear that


this is a bloody and brutal conflict and it requires a proper political


settlement and to continue with humanitarian and automatic efforts


and he is right that we could not do any harm to have a little more


objective than simply a one-sided blast that we have seen rather too


often in this House and elsewhere. Today's judgment was unequivocal.


Really Government has failed as an advancing the peace process and


Yemen and that includes Saudi Arabia. When will we see the


Government make progress on a peace settlement for that country? This


Government is doing all it can to help take that process forward.


Where it is so simple that we could simply unilaterally create a


solution in that walk on part of the world. We are doing what we can to


help our allies reached a settlement and we will continue to do so. It is


easy monetary disaster but we sadly don't have it unilaterally in our


power to bring it to an end. -- humanitarian disaster. I will take


the points of order no because there are many of them. The two honourable


gentleman can wait. On a point of order, during the most recent


business energy and industrial strategy questions, I raised the


case of local employers misleading workers about the rights to holiday


pay. I was assured that the Government have increased the power


is open to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to enforce those rights. I


have received a written answer from the same minister stating that HM


Revenue and Customs has no powers to sanction companies from uploading


holiday pay. The Minister has given me to Asda is stating the complete


opposite and the space of a few days. Clearly one or other of those


answers must be wrong and double I am not out of the new to this place


I was given to understand that ministers were a particular


obligation not to mislead the House even if inadvertently. More


importantly this leaves us unable to say for certain what the Government


is actually going to do about the problem I raised. Can you advise me


whether there is any way to bring the minister back to the House to


tell us which of her answers as final? And grateful for the point of


order and courtesy in giving me advance notice of it. There was also


exceptionally helpful to attach to her proposed point of order the text


of those two answers. I must say that textual exegesis is of the


essence in these matters. I have pored over the two answers and


sought to reflect on whether they might in some way be not


incompatible with each other. But such a conclusion is beyond my


limited intellectual capacities. It certainly appears that the two


answers are echoes of reconcilable. One must be correct and therefore


one must not be. It is quit difficult to see how one can


increase power is open to her HMO see if in fact we have no such


powers at all. We mattered as I think require some clarification.


The honourable lady has made her concern clear. The content of


answers is not a matter for the chair but our concern has been


conveyed to the Minister in the sense that the presenters of the


Treasury bench will have heard it at her point will be recorded in the


official report. If the Minister considers that she has


unintentionally misled the House I'm sure she will take steps to put the


record straight. I advise on the honourable lady to watch this space


and see whether such an attempt at corrective action is made. If it is,


she will be happy. If it isn't, my advice to her would be to become to


the matter through further questioning or possibly if necessary


in extremists by a recourse to the chair. Given the importance of


parliamentary scrutiny on arms export controls, would you believe


there is anything preventing the committees on arms export controls


or other committees to be able to review and look at classified


information that was relevant to these matters provided that the


necessary security clearances were obtained? Wouldn't be anything


preventing that? I would say that the only thing I can imagine of the


top of my head that would prevent that would be a Government refusal


to divulge the information on the grounds that it was classified ad


that the relative department or agency didn't think such site by the


committee was necessary or desirable. Otherwise there is


nothing to prevent it. If such a committee were to seek it, it might


find that its search was successful. If it had anything to do with the


prodigious efforts of the honourable gentleman, I'm sure it would have a


very good chance of being successful. I hope that'll do for no


because that is the best answer I can offer. During the statements


just now, there were strong cross-party support for the


re-establishment of the committees on arms export controls. In the


previous parliament that committee ceased to meet because one of its


component select committees voted to unilaterally leave the committee.


Can I ask you to use your good offices to ensure that what both the


Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary and SNP spokesperson said


during the statement is fulfilled and we re-establish the committees


as as soon as possible? It would be desirable for Parliament and for the


scrutiny of the executive branch by Parliament for that committee to be


re-established sooner rather than later. The word of caution caveat


that I insert which you will appreciate is that unless I am much


mistaken, that committee can be established only when what might be


called the feeder or constituent committees have themselves been


established. That requires, I must say to you, not merely the election


of the chair is of those committees which is due to take place on


Wednesday of this week, but the election by such methods as they has


adopted by the respective parties of their member contingent on those


committees. I have not been given much encouragement to think that


those committees will be fully constituted by the time of the


summer recess though I must say to the honourable gentleman that it


would be perfectly possible fully to constitute all of the select


committees by the time of the summer recess if there were a proper will


to do so. If it were the case that none of the constituent political


parties was interested in getting its act together, but I think would


reflect very badly on them to be frank. The issue is not the interest


of the party but the interest of Parliament. Never transpired that


some parties were ready to elect their members to those committees


and other parties were not, that would look very bad for the parties


that were not ready. They have a responsibility in this matter and I


don't wish to say this and kindly but it is absolutely natural that


the seal and enthusiasm to establish the it site committees scrutinise


the executive branch are never as obvious within the executive branch


as they are within Parliament. As Speaker, I am concerned about


Parliament exercising its rates and Parliament doing its duty. I would


rather hope that to put it bluntly, instead of faffing around, we could


get on with this matter. Further to that point of order, in defence of


the former Foreign Affairs Committee, it must be said that I


think the reason for their withdrawal from the committees on


arms export controls was the unauthorised leaking of a draft


report so it was a more compact situation than was first suggested.


Is there anyway reverting to the question, given that they understand


the need to 22 committee hasn't held its elections and it would normally


handle the election of ordinary members to the select committees, is


there anyway that the resources of the House might be involved in some


way in assisting this process to get underway more quickly in the absence


of the election of members of the executive of the need to 22


committee to a minister? I would quibble with your first point, I


don't want to enter into the dispute about what caused the ceasing to


operate that committee. I simply note what he said. So far as the


second point is concerned, I note that he used the word the offices of


the 1922 normally handle the election of members. To put it


bluntly, but the officers of the 1922 committee usually do in respect


of their party is to put it very simply to oversee the count. As to


whether the officers of the 1922 committee of our elected, that is a


party matter. Overseeing the count does not require the qualities of


Einstein. It is a pretty prosaic task. I don't think it would be


great to see that the resources of the House can be made available and


what is essentially the oversight of the matter undertaken by parties.


However it seems to me perfectly feasible of my colleagues were so


willing that the Deputy speakers and I could volunteer services to


oversee the count of the House thought that that was helpful. My


basic point I think stands, do colleagues want these committees to


be set up sooner rather than later? If they don't that is a pity but if


they do within those of us who are of good will and can be relied upon


to conduct the count perfect family would I suspect be very happy to


offer our services. I can hardly be more explicit. I think Google leave


it there for now. If there are no further points of order, we will


note move on and specifically I want to call Diana Johnson to make an


application for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important


matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of


standing order number 24. The honourable member has to three


minutes in which to make such an application.


I seek leave to propose that the House should debate a specific and


important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely the


need for the Government to establish an independent public inquiry into


being contaminated blood scandal, the worst treatment disaster in


history of the NHS. In his valedictory speech to this House on


the 25th of April 2017, B then Honourable member for Lee outlined a


dossier of extremely serious allegations amounting to criminal


conduct on the part of individuals involved in the contaminated blood


scandal. He says that if the Government did not commit to a


public inquiry before the summer recess, he was referred as evidence


to the police. But then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of


State for health asked him to submit his dossier of evidence to the


Health Secretary which he did. She assured the House that this would be


given the highest priority. However, we have heard nothing since then.


And we now have further unanswered questions which underlined the need


for an emergency debate. Best of all, last week, the Daily Mail set


out evidence that as early as 1980, officials knew that 50 people with


haemophilia per year were being infected with hepatitis C. Nothing


was done about this for five years. Secondly, as reported in the Sunday


Times, on Friday the 7th of July, the Westminster readers of all six


non-government parties in the House of Commons, including the Democratic


Unionist Party, wrote a joint letter to be Prime Minister urging her to


commit to a Hillsborough style inquiry and thirdly yesterday, the


Right Honourable Andy Burnham reaffirmed his commitment to take


alleged criminality cases to the police confirmed he has an


appointment on the 26th of July with the police. We are now fast


approaching the summer recess airline, yet what little comments


the Government has made is only adding to the confusion and


strengthening the case for this emergency debate application. It


would appear that the Secretary of State for Health has not considered


the dossier as promised on the 25th of April. And last week, but the


Prime Minister and a Leader of the House of Commons responded to


questions about scandals, one for myself and the other from my right


honourable friend the member for Newport East, yet neither address


the direct question about the need for a public inquiry. Indeed, both


raised further confusion by referring to the financial support


for those affecting as compensation, contradicting the position taken by


previous ministers. Mr Speaker, please recent developments have been


extremely significant. The letter of the 7th of July raises the prospect


that if this matter, the matter of a public inquiry, were to be put to a


vote in this House, it would command the support of the majority of


members of Parliament. For all the reasons I have outlined, I believe


that we now need an emergency debate and for the Government to do the


right thing and secure justice for those affected in this scandal,


including justice by the 2400 people who have already died. Here, here. I


have listened carefully to the application from the honourable


member and I am satisfied that their matter raised by her is proper to be


discussed under the terms of standing order number 24. Has the


honourable member the leave of the House? The honourable member has


obtained the leave of the House. I can inform the House that the debate


will be held... Thank you! Thank you very much. I can inform the House


that the debate will be held tomorrow, Tuesday the 11th of July,


as the first item of public business. The debate... Excuse me


the debate, colleagues, will last for up the hours and will arise on


emotion that the House has considered the specified manner set


out in the honourable member's application. She may wish to liaise


either with my office or at the Clark says that the precise wording,


but I think was referenced in her initial application to me and it


conveys the gravel and of the issue in terms that are unmistakable. So I


hope that is helpful to the honourable member and the House


which has a little under 24 hours, or 24 about hours' notice. Perhaps a


bit less than that, but anyway, it has notice of the intended debate.


Thank you. The clerk will now proceed to read the orders of the


day. Telecommunications infrastructure, nondomestic rates


bill second reading. Now. Thank you. To move the second reading of the


bill, I called the Minister of State, Minister Matt Hancock. Thank


you very much, Mr Ziegler. I bid to move that the bill now be ready


second time. Mr Speaker, we all know in this House of the importance of


being connected whether through traditional means or increasingly


through digital connections. Whether the next generation of broadband


technology, better mobile phone coverage, or preparing for the next


generation of five G. And this bill is all about improved connectivity


whether over fixed networks in the ground or using the Next Generation


of mobile and wireless connectivity. What people care about is how


well-connected they are. Your download speeds, upload speeds,


reliability, latency and how quickly you get reconnected when there is a


problem. It's a problem, Madam Deputy Speaker, that we can all


identify with and if I may say so, it is a great pleasure to see you in


the chair for the first time I have been at this dispatch box. Our task


is to prepare for a world of considerably greater demand for


digital connectivity and just as Moore 's law states that the cost of


computing Hafeez year, so Nielsen's law has seen the doubling of data


demands every two as world-class collectivity is important for people


to function in the modern world, whether that be at work or at play.


And it will continue to transform our public services and bring


efficiency is important for people to function in the modern world,


whether that be at work or at play. And it will continue to transform


our public services and bring efficiencies there the challenge is


always to stay one step ahead of needs. We need the digital of a


structure that can support this, providing ubiquitous coverage so


that no one is left out. With sufficient capacity to ensure data


can flow at the volume, with the speed and with the reliability to


meet the demands of modern life. All these connections rely on Britain


laying more fibre-optic cable, whether that is the fibre all the


way to the premise or to each home and to ease business or the fibre


underpinning the mobile network, all modern collectivity runs off a


fiver. Around five years ago, we took a strategic decision as a


nation to roll out high-speed broadband based largely on eight


part five are part of what copper network and superfast broadband


delivered in this way is now available to 93% of UK homes and


businesses and we rank amongst the Mac first amongst the big European


states for superfast connections on track to reach 95% by the end of


this year. In discussing this, may I pay tribute to my right honourable


friend the member for Wantage, who did so much and never let me forget!


How much he did to deliver first-rate, high-quality, superfast


broadband connectivity to homes and businesses around the country that


now allows us to say that 93% have access to, but not necessarily all


take up, superfast broadband. I will give way. I thank the Right


Honourable does never been so quick to give an intervention but may I


suggest he is a little paint is glossy and positive in his approach


because I think we have received a number of complaints and yet the


grin on his face suggests quite the opposite. That was me talking about


what we have done so far. Wait until I talk about what we need to do in


the future. I agree very strongly with heard that there is much more


that we need to do. I will come onto that because that is what the bulk


of the speech is all about and indeed, that's what this bill is all


about and if she caught the view that she espouses, I look forward to


her marching through the division lobbies and support later. Precisely


on the point she raises, of course, 7% of people don't yet have access


to superfast connections or 7% of premises, I should say. And so we


are introducing the new broadband universal service obligation so that


by 2020, everyone has the access to a minimum level of service. This


will provide a vital safety net and make sure that nobody is left behind


as the country takes these strides towards better connectivity. Yet


even this isn't enough. Demand marches on. People's needs and


expectations have risen further and will continue to keep on rising. So


we need to, yes, celebrate what we have done so far but also deliver


deeper connectivity now and in the future to support a competitive


market and to make sure that we get this infrastructure in the ground.


We must work now to deliver the next generation of technologies, 5G and


five over the decades ahead. This bill is part of a suite of actions


we are taking to boost to Britain's fibre. We will break down barriers


to better broadband for visitors and get quicker collectivity for


consumers. First, in the Digital economy act, we reformed the


electronic communications code which regulates agreements between people


who provide the sites and the digital communication operators.


This new code will make it easier for electronic communications in the


structure to be deployed, maintained and upgraded and we are currently


finalising the regulations needed to support the new Golden planned to


commence it later this year when the work has been completed. Second,


with the separation of open reach from BT, we will see a more


competitive market with an Open reach that will serve our customers


well, not just focus on BT. This decision has been largely welcomed


by BT's competitors and is the result of some intense negotiations


between off, and BT and I think it is the right outcome and the one


that will ensure Openreach delivers not just for its customers but for


the whole country. Third, we support the fibre roll-out through a 400


million digital infrastructure investment fund to help competitors


in the market to reach scale and to deliver. The fund will improve


access to funding for alternative providers for fibre infrastructure


to allow them to compete with larger players. Well that assist those


areas of which there seemed to be a great number in my old constituency


where one part of, say, a market town or small village has actually


had the box upgraded by BT but because some of the users are a few


yards further away from the box, with longer copper wires, they can't


get a decent service? It may well help, but the thing that will really


help those people is the universal service obligation. That means that


everybody will have a right to a high-speed broadband connection so


they can get connected. Some of these will be delivered by the


next-generation full fibre collectivity. Some of them by the


existing technology, but part of our whole package of measures which


delivers better broadband and quicker collectivity will ensure


that we reach those people who frustratingly can be just a few


yards away, further away, from the box or indeed see the bitter fibre


go down the road in front of them but not be connected. I welcome this


bill, I think this is essential for moving the country forward in making


our businesses are strong as possible, but even in the centre of


Thompson, Taunton Deane and the county town Taunton, there are areas


they still cannot get fast broadband so I wonder if the Minister might


tell us how quickly they might be able to take advantage of this new


service? The universal service obligation is in the law to make


sure that everybody can have access to that service by 2020, but that is


an end state. That is a deadline. As I said earlier, we have now reached


93% of premises. Crucially, this is access to broadband for 92% of


broadband. You still have to take it up and everybody who takes up the


service, if it is in a subsidised area, then puts more money into the


box we can get more out and give access to superfast broadband to


more people and so we have gone from 42% in 2010 when my right honourable


friend for Wantage took up the reins of delivering this. Just 42% of the


country had it, now it is 93% have access to it, on track to get to 95%


by the end of the year and 100% of premises will have access to


high-speed broadband by 2020. As she can see, we are rolling that out.


But the crucial thing is that that is delivering today's technology


that delivers the needs of the average household today. But we


also, at the same time, need to make sure we are ahead of the curve on


the next generation of technology and so the digital investment fund


will... The idea here is that it supports the commercial finance of


alternative developers so we get more players into the market. It's


not just BT and Version, but more players into the market and the


Government's investment will be matched by private sector investment


so we expected to capitalise more private investment and bring over ?1


billion of investment over all, we hope, into full fibre broadband,


getting very high speeds that some people need and want now but many,


many more will in the future as these demands increase.


Referring back to the universal service obligation which is a


revolution in provision by wonder if she could indicate greater


constituents are like this noteworthy cost cap is going to be


and whether he will burnish his credentials are as a hero of the


rule Britain or not? I know it'd take a condiment as a threat. --


compliment. It all depends on the technology because for some places


and there are a long way away from the existing network it may cost an


awful lot to Dick a trench and get a piece of fibre or the rate to them


and new technologies are coming on stream to beam a signal from one


place to another and as a last resort satellite technologies which


are good but just not as reliable. That means that everybody can get


connected to the aim is to get decent speed broadband to every


premise that wants them but to make sure that as much of that is as


feasibly possible is covered by a fixed network but also using


technologies to reach the hardest to reach. Thank you for confirming that


100% of properties will have access by 2020 but will he confirm what


speeds they will have access to? There is a range of 2 megabits per


second and 24 megabits per second, what range of speeds as he talking


about? 10 megabits per second as a minimum and that is the off,


analysis of the needs today of the average household because this is


about making sure there is a service that everybody can use. As we ask


people to pay their taxes and get the passport online or indeed or


indeed do their applications for payment services for example, it is


perfectly reasonable request back to us in Government that people should


have a decent level broadband. If you want to be related top level,


then people may have to pay more for that and I think that is not a


reasonable either. We are saying there must be a decent level of


high-speed broadband. At the moment we have said 10 megabits per second


as a minimum but we have also said it has to be reviewed in an upper


selection in due course. I speak as someone whose constituency is one


big roadworks and 52 premises is welcomed by people Robert


committees. Will you be able to help us concerns you might have about


this discussion with the valuations office agency who seem to not


understand the way the world is and at the click of a bureaucrat's


modes, cancel radically alter the finances of a local authority in


terms of how business rate networks. I beef we are committed to


e-business reach review to look at the existing fibre that is currently


in the ground and I'm sure the Secretary of State and Minister will


have hurt him but the heart of this bill is making sure that new fibre


that goes into the ground will have no such right at all for the next


five years and that is why we're here legislating today to make sure


that companies like the one mentioned can get on and this fibre


and stick it into the ground has sufficient it and cheaply as


possible and reduce the tax on that. The next thing fibre is important


for its gentleman thief IG strategy, including a cut and shut up


products. You want mobile phone coverage where people live and work


and travel. We are working with off, to make sure they are five G ready


and working right across Government to make sure we get the rules around


putting that infrastructure in place right. We are supporting 5G pilots


so we can rule out the first 5G next year which will mean Britain will be


a global leader in 5G. All 5G Robert is supported by fibre. You cant have


a 5G mask of 35 connecting it to the network. The programme is about


supporting local bodies testability market for fibre connectivity. You


can't deliver this with some sort of entirely nationalised top-down


taxpayer funded system. You have to do it in collaboration with the


private sector. The local fibre networks programme is being


delivered in support of local bodies to encourage the market to provide


more fibre connectivity for instance through the public sector anchor


tenancy which will bring public sector broadband demand together in


an area to create an anchor customer to make sure that there is investors


know there is enough revenue to reduce the risk of building a new


network directly connecting into public sector buildings and schools


and hospitals and at the same team will improve the connectivity for


those working in our vital public services. And bringing fibre closer


to more homes and businesses allowing them to be connected as


well. The first will begin later in the year. It is a great example of


the public and private sector working together to improve


connectivity for all. Our business broadband fibre connection of


vouchers, this is incredibly exciting afflict me you are


frustrated at the poor quality of broadband been delivered to


businesses. Any last parliament we had a really effective voucher


scheme for superfast broadband for businesses and this will be trialled


by the end of the year. It will be for full fibre connections for


businesses and we will roll it out more widely in 2018 to help


businesses get the best fibre broadband because we notes are many


jobs and business growth depends on it. This Bill takes a further step,


business rates are an important source of revenue for local services


but have long been sated by the Telecom service as a barrier to


investment. Has been consternation about how these rates have been


acculturated with the perception of a disparity right for fairness and


the rates paid by some operators like BT and virgin media and smaller


alternative networks. The rating methodology as a matter for the


independent VOA that has been working with the sector on this but


this is a complex work and we haven't got a moment to waste. We


recognise the urgent need to go the urgent mail so in the Autumn


Statement last year the Chancellor announced 100% rates relief on all


new fibre networks repeat of five years from April 2017 with any


relief to that date. We will find a group of fuel a full fibre future


and we have brought forward at this Bill Elliott in this Parliament to


bring forward the changes to legislation to make it happen. The


bill introduces new rules into each provision for business rates to


allow us to vary the rates bill for telecommunication infrastructure


which will be set so that no rates are paid on new fibre for five years


from the April just gone. I'm grateful for giving way. Does he


think the five-year period will be sufficient to incentivise the


players and the market to get on and roll out this fibre broadband and


can he try and ensure that in doing that we get coverage across the


country that is just starting any easy to reach areas first? There is


no doubt that the five-year business rates according shows that we are


reducing the cost of getting this fibre into the ground. It is time


limited so my message to alternative providers and the big players is get


on with it. Make use of this relief while it is available. It gives us


time through the business rates review and the VOA to look at the


context is in this of a reasonable period of time and come forward with


a long-term sustainable scheme and and I'm sure Hansard from excess but


similarly eloquent, I can't remember right was up to and I have lost my


train of thought... The other thing is, the final thing I was going to


say is that it will give us the opportunity towards the end of that


period to decide whether five years has been long enough and whether we


want to extend it. The fact it is a five-year period demonstrates that


people should get on with it and it will be no shorter than five years,


I can reassure you of that Diane Whipple for the intervention because


it allowed me to completely get confused with my own points.


Entitled is all part of an effort for the ?1.1 billion to support the


market lead role of fibre broadband and ensure we are at the front of


the queue for five G. There is a lot more work to be done. You will


consult shortly on the technical details of implementation. The


relief will introduce cost of 2.1, incentivise the market to deliver


and I hope that in the spirit of cross-party collaboration, the bill


will get support from all sides as it will benefit people right across


our United Kingdom. We want to see a country where people are better


connected, where everyone can get online and reach their full


potential and make sure nobody is left behind. This bill provides a


step on that journey and I commend the bill to the House. The question


is that the bill be no read a second time. Thank you. Can I welcome you


to nature, it is a pleasure to see you and your rightful place. Kerry


also take this opportunity to welcome my shadow communities and


local Government team, the honourable friend the member member


for old west, the member for make a field and the member for Portsmouth


South who has agreed to be my McAfee. We cautiously welcome the


Government's apparent commitment for five years for all new investment in


full fibre internet. I see cautiously and I will set out wide


and the course of my speech. Until the last and from dimension the


minister waxed lyrically for 20 minutes before he got onto the


subject of a very short bill which is a business rate relief. We on the


side of the housework and the opportunity to finally discuss a


crucial piece of infrastructure policy which will have a huge impact


on the potential investment opportunities for all other


amenities over the coming decades. I do think it is rather ironic that on


the day that pretty much all of the parliamentary internet connection


own that we are talking about IT connections but nevertheless I have


it on good assurance that the parliamentary offices at busily


trying to reconnect MPs to their e-mail accounts and the intranet.


All members all know that this policy will have an impact on every


part of the country, urban or rule and we have to get this right.


Members I'm sure will fuel the circular today as we and others duff


struggle with the collapse of the internet across the Westminster


estate. We are expecting a larger and more substantial bill here today


not least considering the scope of investment and certainty needed both


in terms of a full fibre infrastructure as well as on


business rates more widely. It would appear that the Government has been


an permanent listening mode for quite some known which would explain


their decision to acquiesce to the concerns of independent and large


internet providers who had the end of last year faced an excess of


fourfold increase and there are rateable values. It has been


estimated by the UK's main providers and broadband commission that UK 5G


infrastructure will outstrip economic benefits of fibre broadband


which most of the country and the users by 2026 when it will be


outdated. By 2020 six the UK will reach a tipping point where the


direct economic benefits will be the conventional fibre broadband.


Various estimates point to a boost to the UK economy between five


billion and ?7 billion just to six years from roll-out. With 5G


broadband delivering economic growth almost twice as quickly as


conventional fibre broadband use today. Much like a railways and


roads thanks, the quicker the connection, the faster businesses


will grow particularly in an age where online sales, social media and


direct online contact with the buyers and sellers is becoming ever


more the norm. Boasting all the productivity by a


total of ?10 billion. As I've already mentioned, Madam Deputy


seeker, this makes good sound economic sense. With improved


collectivity comes greater economic growth, more jobs and improved links


between business hubs and individuals alike. So whilst I'm


sure that today's bill will be welcomed by larger providers in the


sector to relieve some of the burden that they face from increases in


business rates, this ?60 million on offer and it is a big giveaway to


them, I worry we'll do not as much as perhaps it ought to for the


independent providers and won't come close to mitigating for the fourfold


increase all providers have faced or, perhaps, in winding up perhaps


the Minister can give some reassurances that respect. Because,


not only do need assurances, also consumers need assurances that those


costs will not be passed on to them. Additionally, Madam Deputy Speaker,


I am slightly disappointed because today we only have the opportunity


to debate a partial bill instead of a more details and wide-ranging set


of proposals that were outlined in the local Government Finance bill of


which these measures originally were parked. And I specifically mentioned


the local Government Finance Bill which I note had already


successfully passed committee as it did include proposals on local


business rate retention for local authorities as well as the


legislation for business rate relief for a new full fibre broadband which


we are now discussing today. However, the fullest set of measures


seems to have disappeared since the general election. Since that


election, I have asked the Secretary of State on three separate occasions


for clarification on the progress of delivering business rate retention


for local authorities. Now, perhaps the Minister can respond either...


I'll allow him to intervene on me or he can respond in the closing, but I


ask him again, what is happening to retention and why has business rate


relief for a new 5G collectivity now been separated into this smaller


separate bill? I wrote to the Secretary of State and I await his


response, although by this stage I do hope the department can do


somewhat less listening and some more acting, so perhaps we can have


some answers and some clarity on the issue of business rate retention and


in the spirit of the cross-party co-operation that the Prime Minister


herself is now asking for, and in respect of ideas and a genuine


dialogue between the opposition and the Government, perhaps we can work


together on a shared future for local Government finance because the


local Government sector deserve more than a policy and a financial black


hole that they are currently faced with, with the exclusion of the


local Government Finance bill from the Queen's speech, but at the same


time, with the Government still announcing their intention to remove


the revenue support grant. So perhaps the Minister can clarify


that when closing. Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, the Secretary of State and


I both visited the LGA conference last week and admittedly we received


a slightly different restriction. At the conference, I'm sure he would


have been reminded again and again by representatives from councils of


all political colours of the financial certainty that a local


authority desperately need. Specifically, at a time when they


have already absorbed around 40% of cuts to their budgets. Now, instead,


like me, they have received no updates and no certainty, so while


we are talking about an element of the business rate in this bill,


perhaps we can remind the Secretary of State is that local authorities


need to have that clarity and that certainty for financial planning


going for words that they are going to get some idea from this


Government of where there are wider business rates policy is going.


Because I will repeat what I said during my speech to the local


Government Association, the Secretary of State told local


Government that they faced a looming crisis in confidence. He's wrong.


It's this Government that are facing a looming crisis in confidence.


Because the lack of clarity on business rates, this Government's


botched prisons rates and evaluation have left thousands of businesses


facing the cliff edge of increases in their rates as well as the


Government's support packages and promises to review the re-evaluation


progress is going nowhere near far enough. It's clear that business


rates are at this department's ticking time bomb and it threatens


to destroy high streets and town centres across the country. Now, on


the side of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, we advocate introducing


statutory annual re-evaluations to start businesses facing periodic and


unmanageable hikes. And guarantee a fair and transparent appeals


process. We will reform business rates, we will scrap quarterly


reporting and we will end the scourge of late payments because it


is this side of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, the Labour Party,


which is the party of business. LAUGHTER


They can heckle, but... But the fact is speak clearly. This Government


have lets down a business and they have let down local Government. Now,


Madam Deputy Speaker, there was a further mission to this bill. I will


give way. Could he just remind us of the Labour Party's policy on


corporation tax rates? Absolutely! The Labour Party would have


increased corporation tax to pay for better public services, but our


corporation tax rates would still have been some of the lowest in the


G20. It's a question of priorities. You can either have poorly funded


public services or you can put that money where people want it, in a


better NHS, in better local governments, in better education or


you can give tax giveaways to those at the very top. It seems quite


clear that the Conservative Party, for all the rhetoric of ending


austerity, have not changed one iota. Now, Madam Deputy Speaker,


there was a further admission to this bill, specifically... I will


give way. I'm very grateful. I wonder, witty acknowledge, does he


recognise that the reductions in corporation tax over the last few


years have led to a massive increase to be cast collected by the


Treasury? As I said before, it's a question of priorities. You can give


tax cuts to big business or you can invest in public services. Now, the


point is we made a very clear choice. We have differences of


opinions on this. The honourable gentleman, I don't dispute, feels


that having the lowest corporation tax is a good thing. I think having


some of the lowest corporation tax in the world, but having a better


funded public... It's not an anti-business rads! It's both


pro-business and pro-public services and that is the choice because our


public services are on their knees and if this is the cross-party


co-operation Minister and Prime Minister wants, then I'm afraid it's


going to be a long time waiting. I will give way because we are talking


now about infrastructure. -- I will not give way. No, I have given way


once. I am not giving again. There is a further admission to this bill,


Madam Deputy Speaker, and it is specifically the exclusion of any


real and meaningful legislative commitments on growing of broadband


within this bill. I am worried that there appears to be absolutely no


mention in the Bill's body or the explanatory notes of growing and


expanding the UK's superfast broadband in our rural areas. I know


the Minister touched on it and I think that there is some consensus


of the desirability of getting this hands I will give a short anecdote


that last year, I was privileged to be in the delegation to Zambia with


the interparliamentary union for their assembly. In the middle of


Africa, and we were in the middle of nowhere on literally one of the


visits to a health scheme near the Zambezi River, I received almost


perfect for Jie collectivity to my mobile phone. Madam Deputy Speaker,


there are parts of my own constituency where you don't get is


such perfect 4G connection and so I do think that we do have to look at


our Internet connections, our broadband connections, our mobile


telephone connections in this country so that we have the very


best to support business, to support consumers and to support


individuals. As I'm sure the Minister is aware, families living


in rural areas are, many of them, struggling to get anything close to


fast broadband, let alone 5G which is being discussed today. Many


others are struggling to get anything above two mega megabytes


per second, making most average use of day-to-day Internet functions and


can be frustrating. The impact on rural businesses is steeper with the


environment, food and real affairs committee warning before the 2015


general election that rural communities are being overlooked for


investment by businesses looking to either expand and develop due to


certain regions having very poor digital collectivity. In fact, the


then chair of the committee, the former member for Thirsk and Malton,


said that there is a risk in the current approach that improving


services for those who already have it will leave even further behind


those that have little or none. Now, rather than taking responsibility


for this ever growing chasm in our technology and identifying specific


areas that desperately need investment, the Government has


instead chosen to rely solely on the market to encourage improvements in


any given area. I will give way. I just want to let him know that's not


in fact the case and the Digital economy act, which is the last Bill


packed in the last Parliament, gives us the power to require the


universal service obligation to give high-speed broadband to everybody.


Exactly, as my honourable friend the member for Alden Western Royton


says, that should be shared with the backbenchers because there is


growing dissatisfaction across all areas of the House with some of the


Google broadband collectivity. The impact that is having not just on


consumers but on businesses and the slow pace at getting those


improvements in and it's clear that perhaps the Government ought to use


those powers that it has to make sure that those improvements do


indeed happen because it is a massive frustration and I can see


the Minister nodding his head in agreement. It is a massive


frustration for those communities and those businesses. I will give


way. It is a massive frustration and we will use the powers. If she can


let me answer the intervention that the Minister has just said before


taking a second intervention. I'm grateful to hear that from the


Minister and we will certainly hold the Government to account to make


sure that that intervention takes place because, as he knows, we are


all here to make sure that those improvements happen and if he has


given a commitment from the dispatch box that he is going to use his


ministerial position to ensure that the market isn't given a free for


all and that the Government will ensure that those improvements


happen in those rural areas, to those rural businesses and those


rural consumers then that will certainly have support from the side


of the House. I will give way. Many of us are campaigning on behalf


of constituents for a better broadband but I would also say that


I appreciate on behalf of 20% of the properties and many of my


constituents, 20% of those properties have been connected with


superfast broadband back to the Government's intervention. I'm


expecting to see up to 100% as a minister referred to connected


thanks to the obligation so I am looking forward to being very


grateful to this Government of what they are doing for my constituents.


I'm grateful to the intervention because it wasn't just from the


Government and I don't know whether she was a remain or a lever but it


would be very remiss of this House would ever 1's views on Brexit are


to also acknowledge the involvement of the European Commission in


ensuring that the roll-out of some of this infrastructure and


technology was funded through the European Commission as well. Not


just from this Government but actually from others and you can see


from the boxes and down country, the country, the European flag is


actually on a number of those cabins and infrastructure. I'm afraid I


have probably by mentioning the word Europe have upset the honourable


gentleman. On that point of the EU, he has to recognise the downside to


the involvement. I know he struggled for a long time with EU state aid


rules with the roll-out of broadband and had to come up with a slightly


Heath Robinson scheme of vouchers to get around these EU rules. If


anything they have the right not assisting. You're absolutely right.


I am not saying that everything was perfect with that scheme with the


European Community or the European Union. Merely passing the point to


the lady's intervention that it would be remiss of us to suggest it


was just all from the central Government, the funding for this, it


has come from a variety of sources including from the European


Commission as on all the cabins give a testament to four. As I have


already said, what are rural areas and you need is that long-term


investment strategy and we don't just need a short-term subsidy


helpful though that is and so I look forward to making sure and holding


this minister to account when he is in this post. To make sure he makes


good on his word today at the dispatch box, that the short-term


subsidy will help of some of this investment but we do need to make


sure that investment continues apace beyond the deadline of the five


years of this business rate relief and that we continually update our


internet connections with whatever is on the latest technology of the


day. On the side of the House, focus is touring college investment in old


amenities by excluding new investment in plant and machinery


from future business rates valuation which will free up medium and large


businesses to invest in any area of the country. The country does need


fresh ideas in order to meet the emerging challenges of the new


century network we have seen today in a strip Stone Bill as the lack of


compliance of an compelling alliterative framework supporting


all businesses and local authorities in respect of business rates. On


that I do desperately plead that the corporation the Prime Minister has


asked for is genuine and heartfelt hope and that she doesn't look for


ideas genuinely from the side of the House which we are more than happy


to provide to the Government both in terms of how we improve


infrastructure and cities and in rural areas, how we update our


connectivity not just in the physical but also through the cloud


and other technologies as well, how we use emerging technologies to


benefit British business which is going to be absolutely crucial if we


are going to keep a competitive advantage in the uncertain years


ahead as we remove ourselves from the European Union and the strike a


new set of trade deals across the world, we've got to keep that


competitive edge. I agree with the minister is that and emerging


technology and infrastructure as part of that mechanism to be able to


drive forward the British economy and these new challenges that lie


ahead. I will end on this because we would divide the House tonight, we


will look to strengthen the bill and committee, we will continue to


challenge the Government on the right policy for local Government


finance until we get the answers and the certainty that the local


Government sector so desperately needs but not infrastructure and


building that capacity for Britain to grow, and develop and a changing


world, a world where we are looking to emerging markets and looking into


new markets, that technology and infrastructure is vital to our


present Government in the future, it is incumbent on the party in power


working constructively with others to make sure that Britain's


infrastructure is kept as up-to-date and as state of the art as possible


and in that respect we give our cautious welcome to this bill. We


will seek to strengthen it and committee but let's work committee


telly-mac together for some of the measures because as local Government


minister knows, local Government does need that sister. -- certainty.


Am grateful for the chance to appear for the second time and I have sent


you to my entries. It is a great pleasure to take part in this debate


which I thought might be narrowly focused but a just from the


interventions that clearly this is going to be yet another pork -fest


about equality but for client -- talk fest. I know they are


unswerving and the support of my right honourable friend but don't


have a go at me when I did his job. It was good to hear the speech from


the opposition spokesman because she spent very little time actually


talking about broadband which thinks shows how will the job has been


done. He finished his speech to drop wildly about business rates are not


broadband. I respect his reasons because what we have seen under the


stewardship of my right honourable friend is the most successful rural


broadband programme ever devised another in the world. There was


Mitsubishi cheer. -- met to be a cheer. I will give you my cue points


as I go through my speech. This incredibly successful programme for


a few hundred million pounds has delivered superfast broadband to


fourth and a half million premises. All that money welcome back to the


Government because of the way the contracts reconstructed means that


once take-up passes a certain threshold, money is starting to be


paid back. I would echo my honourable friend when she talked


about the 20% and misses in her constituency that have superfast


broadband, it is important that we see our cup is half full and they


know the opposition Chief Whip Nick and his cup is half full at the


moment though that that deputy chief work? I digress. The cup is


half-full and it is absolutely understandable that we hear from


people who don't have broadband and are waiting for it and they are


understandably irritated but those of voices obviously grow louder as


superfast or bond spreads and more and more people do have access to


this fantastic technology. I got involved in the debate about


business rates for broadband many years ago, when I was in opposition


are used to tease then telecoms Minister and they came up with an


opposition policy that we were going to reduce or illuminate business


rates on telecoms infrastructure and every provider I came to used to


tell me that business rates were a big impediment to investment and I


challenged the Minister about what he was going to do about it. The


valuation office agency was in charge and it was his job to sort


this out and when I got into office I realised there was absolutely


nothing I could do about this. The VOA is independent, it says the


level of business rates and certainly sees off any Minister that


tries to alter its independence or affect its judgment and quite right


too. The other role we had is that apparently BT gets a better deal on


its business rates compared to some of the smaller providers about


understanding is that is because of long-standing court case which BT


took and it is one of those unfortunate things because BT has


much more infrastructure and the ground, it was able to cut a


wholesale deal but it is much more difficult for small providers


getting underway. The point I am trying to make in my rambling


fashion is that the impact is real, one of the factors people take into


account when they are trying to build infrastructures so this bill


is a welcome measure to address that problem. I have to say, the bill is


the most boring and technical bill I have a read. It is only six clauses


and they sought six officials in the box and I wondered of each one had


been given a clause because the chance of making it to the end of


even one as most impossible and I don't know if under the stress of


doing this job any of my honourable friend to suffer from insomnia but I


strongly recommend you take this bill home and halfway through clause


one you will be sound asleep. But we understand the thrust of what it is


trying to do which is to encourage new investment in broadband


infrastructure so by suspending the levying of business rates it should


encourage investment in infrastructure and I think the


Government has cultivated something like ?60 million worth of savings


are potentially going to be made available. I echo what was said at


the dispatch box and I hope that all new infrastructure providers will


take advantage of this because this bill is aimed squarely at them to


remove a financial barrier to further investment. Of course what I


think the Government is trying to do is understand that we are no moving


to the next phase broadband roll-out. The key task of the last


Parliament was to get effectively workable broadband, speeds of around


24 megabits to as many people as possible and that has pretty much


been completed and I understand people and the last 5% might get


lower speeds but those are still workable speeds. Starting to build


the infrastructure that will be future proof, that will be able to


deliver fast and reliable broadband at speeds above 30 megabits and more


indicator broadband speeds you will be able to dial up as more and more


people make use of this technology. We all know how much of this


technology and data be no use in terms of just the average home, with


CO2 teenagers at home and parents watching four K content at home,


became the bandwidth you need for that kind of content let alone


business needs as well. I would mention the biggest impediment apart


from business rates is of course planning. This is what a lot of


people do forget, that you think it is very easy to build this


infrastructure, it is not at all. One comes across far too many cases


of cancels not being coordinated, of broadband providers having to go to


five different departments and a council to get permission to dig up


the highway all the sort of permissions they need to make the


skin of infrastructure. That really is something that needs to be


gripped in some shape of fashion and in the spirit of cooperation, the


Prime Minister has announced this morning, there must be an


opportunity for the London mayor to set up a broadband task force to get


local London boroughs to coordinate the planet. I have heard of cases of


cancels, doesn't really matter for political colour, not granting way


leads to broadband provider who wanted to provide broadband for


social housing in London. I've heard of other councils the green boxes on


the pavements because they didn't like the design. I came across other


councils who because the broadband provider hadn't cleared up after


themselves on the previous work refused to let them go ahead with


future work. I understand the irritation but at the same time


there are still holding it back. There must be an opportunity, it is


a credible adult point, to coordinate the planning functions of


the Dunbar is but also cancels all across the country.


I disagree vigorously as it is not a boring point, it is a very important


point that these companies got after themselves because it gives


reputational damage as well when a company goes in trying to deliver


superfast broadband and they leave a mess behind them. That causes


concern to residences, has caused concern in my constituency. This is


an important point as well, it is important for them to get it right


so they can be encouraged to do more in the future as well. Virgin Media,


while I welcome their investment in Didcot, has in fact irritated quite


a few of my constituents on the Lido Grove estate, is you are quite


right. They should clear up after themselves. I did not make light of


clear, whilst they should be held accountable for that, their


reputation should not be, "You can't do any more work" because then they


are punishing other constituents for a past transgression. Clearly what


the Government wants to do is to encourage full fibre, fibre to the


premises and it is true that we are falling behind to some other


countries. Spain, for example, is well advanced but that is a


historical advantage that Spain has because it put the infrastructure in


some 30 years ago with extraordinary foresight and also, one has to


remember, topography. The built environment topography, the more


apartment blocks and someone you have, the easier it is to deliver


broadband quickly as opposed to spread out domestic homes. It is


also the case that one shouldn't necessarily be seduced by


statistics. You might see for example that France is ahead of us


in terms of fibre to premises but that fibre is in the same place as


fibre to the Cabinet and very few people therefore take it up. A lot


would say they have wasted investments in the approach that has


been taken so far, the incremental approach in the UK, in terms of


moving on to fibre are premises is the right approach because it keeps


pace with customer demand. Nevertheless, the good news about


fibre to premise is that the cost is coming down rapidly. Talk talk has


conducted trials in Europe and it is very telling to see what has


happened in Europe. They have the cost of connecting each home down to


a few hundred. -- in York. In the community, they talk about whether


people are in the Green zone which is word the fibre to the premises,


people want to be there and also interestingly, in terms of what


customers want, they don't actually care whether or not they're able to


access per gigabit. What they get, and all of us who have accessed as a


bras brought man's, is that they get 100% reliable servers whereas even


those who have superfast broadband know that the service can drop out.


So this is a very important and very welcome bill. All I would ask the


Minister is whether... If he could talk a little bit in summing up, I


don't know whether it will be the Secretary of State or my right


honourable friend summing up, about whether or not the Government has


considered how this release impacts on mobile infrastructure, so the


roll out of forgery in this country has been very successful and let's


not forget that has all been done by private investment. We really get


the mobile operators, but we have to remember that they pay us, as it


were, as taxpayers by paying into the Treasury coppers and then build


up their networks effectively with their own capital. They come across


the most bizarre planning issues all the time. I know the minister talked


about the electronic dealing cases code which is going to help make


mobile planning easier but whether or not this bill applies potentially


to be fibre Google from masts bark to the cabinets or whether it could


be amended, perhaps, to include mobile masts being free from


whatever business rates they pay. And also how this bill will


encourage the roll-out of 5G because 5G is going to potentially transform


everything and what we need there is a small cells dotted throughout an


urban environment and I know I company like our Kiva is already


trialling if 5G network. We knew that a rethink on planning that will


make it much much easier for mobile companies to roll out the small


cells because if they have to get some form of planning permission


regarding small cells they need for the dense coverage for the cells for


5G, it will be a real hindrance to the fast roll-out of 5G. I could


tell, as they made these remarks, that I had the full attention of the


House (!) I noticed one or two yarns, argues that the irritated


looks, when is this guy going to finish so I can get my spirits?


More! More! The time is now, I have finished. Thank you. Thank you for


calling me to speak in this debate is an air also, and perhaps of my


Plaid Cymru colleagues congratulate you on your election as Deputy


Speaker and is to say how much we're looking forward to working and


serving under your guidance for the duration of this Parliament. I will


keep my contributions short, as were all in and purposes from lost


perspective, this is a neighbouring bill. We broadly welcomed the


provisions as outlined in the Bill which provide power was for Welsh


ministers to give business relief for properties used to transmit


broadband and mobile communications. This is at least one step in the


right direction for my constituents who have seen a little digital


dividend from the hundreds of millions of pounds spent on


broadband and mobile signal to date. I do however have some concerns in


relation to the Government strategy into the most advanced technology.


As I understand the bill, the plan in England this revival of hundred


percent business rate relief for technology that supports 5G and


ultrafast broadband. As we heard in an earlier intervention, that is a


budget of around 60 million, which equates to budget consequential is


around ?3 million for Wales which will go into the general Welsh


Government pot and is vital, if I have one message from today's debate


that the Labour Boscombe and have ring fenced that cash and that that


is not spent on petrol tracks. 40% of my constituents, Madam Deputy


Speaker, are unable to access high-speed Internet. An even greater


proportion are unable to get a 4G mobile phone signal in their homes.


Madam Deputy Speaker, there is quite clear that we have a conductivity


problem. There is no doubt of course that is is holding back the Welsh


economy. We have no hope of making progress in terms of developing our


economy as we are able to get to the bottom of the telecommunication


infrastructure problems we face and if we were able to do so, I would be


exuding confidence that we have a very, very bright economic future in


Carmarthenshire and in Wales due to the incredible natural assets that


we have as a county and as a country. I'm very fortunate to have


been born and raised in one of the most peaceful parts of the world and


I have no hesitation in mentioning that. With a range of incredible


leisure activities and I think one of the things we will see in a


modern workplace is that work and leisure time will become compressed


and people will be looking to set up their businesses where there are


leisure activities lie so if you like horse riding, cycling,


mountaineering, canoeing, all those leisure activities we have in


abundance in Carmarthenshire and I'm very confident that if we were able


to deal with those basic telecommunication infrastructure


problems that we face that we would be able to put forward a very


attractive economic package for investors and people looking to set


up their businesses in our beautiful county. While I would urge the last


Government to incentivise a conductivity improvements in Wales,


I would like to call in my speech, Madam Deputy Speaker, Welsh


ministers to take an alternative approach to that put forward by the


UK Government. It is absolutely vital that future investment as a


bare minimum in ours reels to be too baroque playing field before we


start supporting these advanced technologies. He needs to be


eradicated are not entrenched and I'm afraid what we have seen over


recent years is the Government and providers concentrating investment


on easy hits, on the large cities and large towns in my country


whereas the more rural areas have been deliberately left behind. The


last Government, via this bill now have used these powers and


consequential is wisely. Rather than only incentivising the most advanced


telecommunications technology, it is time something drastic was done to


incentivise the building of telecommunications of the structure


in rural areas such as the communities I am fortunate to serve


in Carmarthenshire. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I suppose I should


apologise particularly to my honorary friends the Secretary of


State from the Department of communities and local governments


because the last time I was called to speak in a debate which didn't


have a time limit was on the local Government finance settlement in


2016. I think my honourable friend putter-mac skies have just about


heel from that process. I was starting to date, every time I was


on the list and call to speak, suddenly a new time limit was


imposed, usually shorter than that which had gone before hand and my


neighbour for mid Dorset North Poole suggested that one was putting


posture is the applicant had to speak but I hope Madam Deputy


Speaker will resist this proves a car. I am not allowed to speak with


the authority that is my right honourable friend for Wantage spoke


with because he speaks with great authority. But I would likely some


points. I very much welcome this bill and the fact that it appears to


be the result of a collaboration between three important Government


departments. The community of local Government, DC MS and the Treasury.


And that sort of joined up working of three departments coming together


to identify a problem and to create a solution is, I think, to be


welcomed and certainly signposts to a very likely successful


governmental modus operandi is for the final five years that we have a


Conservative Government at the head of us. Now, I find myself lost in a


way that I reached for the smelling salts in some form of remedial


medication agreeing with the honourable gentleman who spoke from


the Labour Party front bench. I probably approach it in a slightly


different way, but certainly as far as local Government is concerned and


especially small shire districts who are always trying to seek to be more


efficient, as welcome as the proposals are within this bill to


help speed and underscore the importance of the delivery of


broadband, I hope and indeed to note that my right honourable friend the


Minister for DC LG will of course be taking this reduction now in a


funding stream of nondomestic rates to a local authority into


consideration as he evolves the new settlement, the new funding


settlement for our local council to do so much good work to do those


services and I felt the honourable gentleman made that point well and


I'm sure it will have been heard on both sides of the House because both


the delivery of broadband and the delivery of those local council


services are important, very often to exactly the same constituents who


need to see both. And I hope that this bill and the financial


incentive, if that is the correct word, will act as a spur to existing


providers to deliver on the lot spots very prevalent, particularly


though not exclusively in our rural areas where the economic case for


delivery is either nonexistent or is marginal. Or where, as a result of


further economic investigation, they have fallen out with the confines


and the constraints of the initial contract, usually agreed within


county councils as in the case with Dorset and so many and British


Telecom. My right honourable friend the member for Wantage spoke with


huge authority and experience on this and I don't you are from


anything that he is said and my right honourable friend the member


for West Suffolk talked about the evolving technologies that it isn't


just going to be wire, copper, fibre etc but fixed wireless and satellite


are playing a part. I think occasionally, Madam Deputy Speaker,


so long has been this debate I would to my right arm friend the member


for Boston and Skegness who has... I he doesn't look to me but I would to


him, he has done so much to promote the delivery of rural broadband in


this area, so much that he has been made a PBS in the department which


means he can no longer speak on the subject. This, Madam Deputy Speaker,


points the route to promotion. Talk with authority and knowledge on a


subject and then gives a up and silenced for many years to come.


Maybe that is why I was moved to the Home Office, I don't know.


Because this debate has not around with public and political debate and


the media for so long, it is worthwhile I would suggest just


posing for a few moments and reminding ourselves of the most


enormous strides that broadband Oregon and


and I'm going to cheesy House because I ordered something online


yesterday to be delivered to my House tomorrow. The sketch writers


and anybody else may wish to run some sort of book on what it was.


Why were levelled tell you that it was not something I would have


guessed you could have ordered online even three or four years ago.


My honourable friend is looking even more perplexed than usual. But it


just struck me of the huge change that this has made and this bill


helps to underpin its delivery but from a rural point of view, what


could be more rural than North Dorset, it is worthwhile reapplying


the benefits derived from fast and superfast broadband and which I


believe will be further helped by the contents of this bill. It was a


pleasure to follow the gentleman who was a right to point out as I do the


huge unlocking of charisma potential -- charisma potential in terms of


hotel rooms and visitor attractions. Interactive tourist attractions the


local authorities have withdrawn from face-to-face encounters, for


the farmer trying to buy or sell stock or make a submission to the


rural payments agency. Fast reliable broadband of a speed and regularity


which no longer drops off just as you are adding that crucial moment


of send or loading up on that last map is going to be absolutely


crucial. For small and medium-size businesses and I think of to my


constituency both based in a small market town, they provide platforms


online and interactive platforms for large international conferences.


Offices based in Seattle, Sydney and storm and stimulant. There because


town has 4G, Herts, the sort of shop review don't say, do you sell, you


merely ask queer can I find bequest is one of those shops that sell


absolutely everything from blackout curtains to make a lasting, it is


all there. None of those things Madam Deputy Speaker you require. No


she knows what I was ordering and he would be wrong on all counts. The


largest amount of their sales takes place from the Kokrak department


online. And a small market town that had until a few years ago their main


centre of industry having the largest calf and livestock market in


the whole of the south-west, broadband transforming local rural


economies and creating good quality high-tech jobs. It also helps and we


forget this at our peril, with the delivery of a whole raft of other


things, the rural social life. Small businesses disconnected by geography


and not particularly will still buy a rural public transport. Trying to


support charitable fundraising events. I can see the frustration we


now have a faster broadband provision that we used to have but I


can see the frustration on my wife's face tried to download posters for


events she's trying to organise. Suddenly transformed by a faster


speed being able to do it to know everybody in North Dorset and


through the official report will no that this trade it sees the Saint


Gregory Sommer says love, everyone is invited, a huge fundraising event


for a local school, the promotion of which all better enabled through


broadband. I'm more about my honourable member's life now than I


did five minutes ago. The entire House still wants to reveal what he


ordered last week online that he couldn't have ordered four years ago


online. It is a terrible mission from the Torah of my honourable


friend 's domestic online and agents.


I will tantalise the House still further by telling that what it was


is that it is inflatable... LAUGHTER


And is made of rubber. It happens to be a small two-man dinghy to allow


my elder daughter and I to do a little bit of rowing and Michael


fishing during our summer holidays. That is either pleased or


disappointed, distressed or despondent my honourable friend on


the side of the House. Rural isolation... Or are relieved that it


was something so entirely innocent and innocuous. Fast broadband


allowing us to watch television and order online will help with rural


isolation particularly important in an area such as mine, helping keep


families together and keep those intergenerational conversations


going over geography and a weekly visit may be not always appropriate.


Feasible or affordable. Again, my honourable friend has a Glastonbury


in his constituency, I know he has lost all of his banks... He mentions


banks and they know in my constituency I have had several


branches shut and one of the arguments I am given is that people


can use online but this is the very reason why we do need to ensure that


we have at excellent broadband facilities. You make my point and a


far better rate than I was going to because she is absolutely right, a


town such as mine which is lost to banks within the last year and loses


the bank at the end of this. Customers are being told both


private and business customers are being told there is entered banking.


That is fine as long as the speed and service is reliable enough to


allow you to remember why you were only on by the time you have


actually logged on to try and remember what financial transaction


you were going to undertake. That will not be a situation... And


grateful for giving way and didn't use the word relieved it was


reassured that move onto my point and does he agree with me at in more


rural areas which is referring to that having the good speed broadband


to enable you to access banking services ready are no longer exist,


enable particularly small businesses to operate any business environment


so they are not competitively disadvantaged against those parts of


the country that do have a good broadband coverage? You're


absolutely right and which of us will not have gone to an


agricultural show or some small business which can't necessarily


always afford the infrastructure of having all of those interconnected


pieces which allow you to pay by credit card etc? But as you will


know all too well, it it baffles me whereby some device plugged into my


phone means my credit card can be charged for whatever services I


provided, purchased thereby helping small to medium-size businesses


particularly than not exclusively also helping those people who make


things and sell things from home. They don't actually have a


commercial premises on their own from which to trade. For all of


those reasons plus our next generation, because I think we are


always inclined to look at television advertisements, they will


always focus on getting the film a bit faster or watching the spot, all


that is of course welcome and laudable but he's huge learning


opportunities and potential for young people in delivering education


and a 21st-century setting to hopefully boost and bolster


productivity can also be assisted by superfast and rival broadband. --


reliable broadband. The Government has made the most enormous strides


and we have occasionally beaten up ministers and others about, I have


this village that villagers and cetera and we have all had it. I


said at the start of this is not just an issue reserved solely to the


rural setting, it also happens on the edge of London and elsewhere.


But when we actually pause and look at the data, notwithstanding some of


those problems which we have had, we are striding ahead of many of our


European friends and economic and commercial competitors and providing


access to broadband as we shouldn't always beat ourselves up. It is a


time when we are all been fed on the negative and the anti-, this is


actually something which was referenced earlier, something for


which we should be I think as a Government duly proud. This bill is


a fundamental and very important next step in that delivery. We hope


and believe that it will assist better and faster delivery and are


at rural areas in North Dorset and across the county of Dorset. It has


my full support. The ministers promoting it have my admiration and


encouragement and I look forward to making a speedy progress through


this House. The pleasure and honour to follow my comment from not


Dorset. -- my comrade. My first day I was told that if I wanted to keep


something secret I should make a speech about it in the House of


Commons. So it was on the 13th of September last year that I gave a


speech on the subject of this bill and called for a 100% rate relief on


new fibre networks. They even went so far as to draft an amendment to


the Digital economy Bill not to give that rate relief but to require the


valuation office to produce an annual report on the impact of the


rating system on competition in the telecoms sector because I had been


presented by various players in the industry with the ridiculous


conundrum that it was cheaper for them to rent fibre from BT and to


pay the rates bill on putting in a new fibre themselves. That was in


there a few entrenching the monopoly, near monopoly of BT and


giving an enormous structural advantage that was basically


chopping off competition. I spoke at the second reading of the Digital


economy Bill, draft of this amendment and had a very fruitful


conversation with the Minister who is not at his place at the moment


but he persuaded me that given some of the other amendments that I


should leave this to the Government to mull over for some months and


that they would give it some serious thought. So imagine my pleasure and


surprise when it appeared in the Autumn Statement last year and even


more now that it has appeared in this bill. Because it will provide


an enormous boost to competition in the sector, no doubt about it that


the differential, the asymmetric deal one business rates between BT


and new entrants is talking of new investment in large parts of the


country and means smaller countries have very little incentive and


competing directly with British Telecom the absolute for areas that


are currently underserved and commercial to try and make their


networks pay. This has resulted in a situation of innovation is had to


come by. BT have been helpful to me and my constituents as they have


been to a number of other members and I hope that they will take this


measure in the spirit at which it is intended which is that those of us


who believe any market economy that think that competition is good and


that it will not only be better for the consumer by better for BT


because it will drive them to greater innovation and efficiency


and hopefully greater profit in the future. This bill also represents a


welcome move for me towards seeing broadband and civic vacations as


what they should be fit as a utility. -- telecommunications. We


have seen recently more and more step towards that position so the


building regulations have been changed to make the position


broadband compulsory in new developments. We are so seeing


broadband been provided as a universal service hopefully over the


next few years and now we are seeing this listing of nondomestic rates on


parts of the network so that broadband is being treated much more


now like water or gas lighter city as a fatal utility which is course


is what it is becoming so I am pleased about this particular


development and hope this movement towards broadband as utility will


continue. Four seats like mine, broadband is


incredibly important. Very successful, vibrant countryside, if


it is going to compete with its urban neighbours, it needs to be


connected to the world. And socially, economically, the current


form of connection these days, more and more is not the road or the


motorway or visual carriageway but the superfast broadband. As my


honourable friend the member for North Dorset said, my constituency


like him it is peppered with businesses now wish to most of their


business online and we are very pleased to know that on Saturday I


attended the amp portrait and came across a brand-new business, very


pleasing business called Thames Valley gin which is a new brand of


June that is taking the market by storm. -- gender. Kate Griffin, the


inventor of this gin is having some success. 36 bottles a week,


production are selling like hot cakes, much of it online. I think


the website is called Jean Ali .co .uk. I'm very grateful to the


honourable gentleman. My ears pricked up when he mentioned gin but


perhaps in the interest of cross-party co-operation, you could


chairs around. Balls I have to confess to you, I was so taken with


the small sample because I was driving, the small sample that I did


buy a bottle. Media I will bring one in. I wondered whether at the House


of Commons authorities might start serving as in the bars. It is very,


very good. Our secret recipe of local herbs and spices, and


excellent drink I recommend to you. Businesses like that. Mike I had


of being in his constituency yesterday and I will back his


forgiveness provided not seek his permission... But honourable members


will be pleased to know it was purely for a cricket match and


therefore I did not feel I was obligated to seek his permission to


play cricket in his wonderful constituency. The point he's making


is an important one. It is not just his constituency but all our


constituents that broadband is more and more important to and I phrase


it as important as road and rail. Part of our infrastructure that all


of our constituents just can't do without. The honourable gentleman is


absolutely right, of course. He is very welcome to visit my


constituency at any time. I'm surprised he has only been once


recently, he should come more often. The door is always open. But it is


true that it's becoming a vital to maintaining rural life that villages


are connected to be world and it is ridiculous more and more to our


rural residents that they can see broadcast quality footage of Tim


Peake in the International Space Station but they can't go online and


post-complementary comments on my Facebook page. But many of my


constituents seem increasingly sold to do. By all means. Might I suggest


that his constituency might want to do the former rather than the latter


more often. That's very... Rather shy Leszek smack given how Coppola


Medran have been about him. -- rather churlish considering how


complement Riyadh have been about him. Perhaps I will reach the same


level of appreciation as Tim Peake. Something like 25% of small


businesses now are located in rural areas, nearly half a million


businesses are providing lots and lots of employment, jobs and


creating wealth that is going to be increasingly important. But this


bill points to a wider issue with which this House is going to have to


grapple over the next few years and the right honourable gentleman on


the front bench opposites did mention it and that's the


appropriateness of the business rates system. This is a tax that was


first devised in 1572 and now we are applying its to a 21st-century


economy, much of which takes place somewhere in the clouds, wherever


that might be. The bill acknowledges in its very core that business rates


have a disproportionate impact on competition in this sector and those


of us who have rural constituencies and indeed anyone with a high street


understands the disproportionality of business rates for retail


businesses. Particularly as more people are buying things online, as


my honourable friend from North Dorset said. If we are going to keep


our high-street vibrant and keep our businesses working, if we're going


to keep the competitiveness of the real economy against those huge


businesses that operate from nowhere these days, then whether business


rates, property on investment and expansion, taxes on investment and


expansion is an appropriate way to gather the revenue weenies, I would


question. I think there is going to, point over the next couple of


decades where we have to consider shifting taxation on corporations


away, perhaps even from profit and property, towards turnover. It is


certainly the case that if we were tasking the turnover of these large


international is, Google and Amazon etc, we would collect more from them


in a fairer way than we currently do and when we have corporations in


this country who transact here, perhaps dispatch goods from a second


country and yet booked the profit and a third country competing with


small shops on my high streets in north-west and a share, then we have


to think about the asymmetric taxation system on those two


organisations if we want a level playing field from the competition


point of view. So I welcome the bill, I welcome the direction of the


build towards broadband as a utility and awards in recognition of


business rates has a distorted effect on commerce and I hope that


over the next five years or so that many companies will take advantage


of this window. I suspect by the time we get to the end of the


window, it somehow will be extended and I hope that extension becomes


permanent that they will take advantage of the window and come to


North West Hampshire where they can plaster my entire constituency with


broadband, fibre to the Cabinet, fibre to the premises with my


pleasure and approval. Thank you. Thank you very much, Madam Deputy


Speaker. Like several other members here this afternoon, and this


evening, I had the pleasure of representing a beautiful and very


rural constituency. In fact, 42% of my constituency is part of an area


of outstanding natural beauty, so it makes a lovely constituency to go


walking in, to spend time in, to go for picnics N, fabulous for farming,


but is less good for connectivity. And I have, over the two and a bit


here is that I have been a member of Parliament, received letters and


occasionally e-mails if they have managed to get online, from


constituents in many villages including Kingswood, Doddington,


Eastern Lane, shelves which, all of which are lovely villages but all of


which struggle to be well connected and in all of which there are some


of my constituents who have had difficulty getting fast broadband


and also in several of those villages, it can be very difficult


to get a mobile phone signal. A couple of months ago during the


general election campaign, I was in Headcorn and I thought I might tweet


a picture from Headcorn station and I went to tweet that is not only did


I not have 4G on my mobile phone to do it, I did not have any mobile


phone signal at all. I couldn't even make an old-fashioned mobile phone


telephone call or send a text message. So there are parts of my


constituency like that patch of Headcorn where unless you happen to


be only one operator that may serve it a little bit, it's impossible to


even make a mobile phone call. So my constituency wants to have better


broadband and better mobile phone connections and is that is why I


welcome the commitment that this Government has been and is making to


connectivity across this country. As I mentioned earlier with an


intervention, thanks to the Government's programme on rolling


out high-speed broadband, 8432 properties have now got a high-speed


broadband connection that would not have had it without this programme


and by September 2018, I'm expecting around 2000 more properties to be on


high-speed broadband thanks to that programme. Which will amount to a


coverage of 25% of the properties in my constituency being connected


thanks to this Government's work and commitment to high-speed broadband.


That'll get Faversham and Mid Kent to around 90% of properties on


high-speed broadband, so we are still some way off the 100% that I


would like to see and so I very much welcome the universal service


obligation that is coming into force and, in fact, the work of my


honourable friend for Boston and Skegness who campaigned very hard to


put that into law. And I welcome the commitment made by my right


honourable friend the Minister earlier on the front bench of the


dispatch box when he mentioned that the cap, the financial cap that will


be in place for that will be high enough to make sure that 100% of


properties in constituencies like mine should receive access to


broadband of at least a 10 megabits per second. Now, that's not the


high-speed of the future, that is not the speed that we hope will be


delivered by legislation such as the legislation we are debating today,


but for those who have no or incredibly slow broadband at the


moment, 10 megabits per second will make a great difference. And that is


because, to all of us who represent a blog as it was is no, the


difference between the haves and have-nots that having high-speed


broadband esteem the life changing. Whether it allows you to do things


that we now consider to be everyday functions of life like sending


e-mails, like booking tickets and booking flights online, like


choosing Hall tells or B and B is, like comparing the offers on travel


insurance or publishers, like shopping for groceries, there is so


much which those about to have high-speed broadband take for


granted but some people still in my constituency do not even have that


access. I will give way. Which is surely not also adds that watching


BBC Parliament to watch this excellent speech for all her


constituents in Faversham and Mid Kent? I think my honourable friend


very much for that intervention. Although whether there is even one


of my constituents watching this speech, I won't hold my breath for


confirmation. But we know, for instance, that children often get


sent home work tasks that require them to look things up on the


Internet a child lives in a rural village or at the end of a track and


can't get online, they are disadvantaged in doing that work.


There is the very basic thing of staying in touch with distant


relatives who live all around the world now and actually I remember


when I was a Child is the enormous cost of making international call. I


think during my gap year when I was an 18-year-old, I need to phone


calls home in a period of nine months to my parents because it cost


such a huge amount to phone home. Now, you can do a video call


basically for nothing, so families can be in touch around the world and


also, as older people manage to get online and many people in their 70s,


80s and 90s are very active Internet users, it is one way I hope we will


be able to tackle the challenge of loneliness. Being able to make a


face time call to your grandma or grampa is a great way of keeping in


touch and much easier often than actually if it is very difficult to


go and see them. Then there is the question about work and that makes a


huge difference in rural areas as it does for the economy. Whether it is


enabling people to work from home, and I have two caseworkers who do


the majority of their work supporting me in my constituents


from home which enables them to double that work around their home


commitments. There are many people who run businesses from home in my


constituency and many quite significant rural businesses. There


is a fabulous business round the corner from where I live just


outside Faversham which makes amazing products out of maps. If any


of you are interested in making some interesting products with maps of


your constituencies, I recommend that you contact Bombast to get all


sorts of books, paper goods and lampshades made out of maps of your


constituency. On the other side of my constituency near Maidstone there


is a business which enables you to compare utility prices with around


100 employees. There is no way that business would exist without good


broadband so this is really, really important for the real economy.


It was around 12 years ago I was working at Warner and launching a


digital products and one of them was the UK's first video on demand


service so that you can download a film and one of the things we had to


do was plan ahead because if you wanted to watch that film you would


have two started downloading then go away and maybe cook something and


can back a couple of hours later and it would have downloaded enough to


be able to watch it if you were lucky. It might well have stopped


halfway through. At the time we were launching the product ever to that


ahead of 40 technology could do that now my children will sit down in


front of the television on a Sunday morning when tried to catch up on


some sleep and they will switch on the television and will be watching


something absolutely immediately with another delay which is turned


watching television into a completely different experience. I


very much welcome the Government's commitment to this but I would ask


them to press on with making sure that we get high-speed broadband to


100% of properties across constituencies like mine and also to


make sure the new technologies enabled in this bill like 5G and


Phil fibre broadband benefit not only those in urban areas but also


have benefits for those in the rural areas of the country. It shouldn't


be a simple sequential process as far as possible that you have the


kind of work your way and sometime in the distant future the eventually


get 5G. I am very keen that there should be almost some with these


technologies and that those in more rural areas may be able to catch up


thanks to the new forms of technology. It is particularly


important that this bill is going ahead and investing in these new


technologies in the challenging economic climate in which we live.


And the challenging economic times. I am very mental of the ageing


population -- I am very mindful of and the cost of that ageing


population and the dye desire to increase the page. We also face a


productivity challenge and we are not nearly as productive as a


country as we need to be for people to have a good and better standard


of living and we face global competition in this. I am pretty


realistic that unfortunately unlike the proposal from the Honourable


member opposite who wishes to raise a business rates and thinks


erroneously that that might increase revenue to spend on things like


public services, history tells us we very well know that increasing


business rates results in a fall in revenue and as he gave way to me I'm


me and I did give way to him. I merely want to correct the record


that is no stage did either I or the Labour Party say they wanted to


increase business rates. What we do want is to have a small increase in


corporation tax which would still result in as having one of the


smallest corporation taxes in the world. I appreciate him putting the


record straight because I have made an error amendments here and instead


of business rates, I did indeed mean to say and I was talking about


corporation tax and the point that I made earlier that we disagreed about


but the point in corporation tax does stand actually raising


corporation tax unfortunately results in a reduction in income and


revenue to the Government but I'm not happily give way. Was she is


shocked as I was that the front bench of Labour referred to the


small increase because the rate of 17 is most a 50% increase. That is


absolutely right and it is significant because as corporation


tax rates come down below 20%, businesses behave in different ways.


We are more likely to have businesses locate in this country,


invest in the business in this country, create jobs which is what


constituents want, to create jobs and also generate the revenue which


is then paid in taxes to fund public services. Order the matter of larger


increases, giving you you will be outraged about the 50% increase, you


must be absolutely distraught with the business rate evaluation that


are seen some go up by 200%. I think some respects we may agree, not with


the specifics of the point but has other members have said, we know


that business rates does need a further look as a system because I


am a happy with the way they tend to be nice high street shops and some


of my smaller towns. I have a constituency with the largest


employer is a brewer and pubs have really struggled with some increases


in business rates although I recognise in the efforts the


Chancellor made following lobbying to help pubs to help with the


changes to business routes but there was no question there is further


work to be done on business rates and that has been acknowledged by


the Government. Like to be corporation tax point, she is


absolutely right that the production has seen an increase in tax take and


that is the important thing, not looking at the rate but how much


taxes actually read in the final point is the one about jobs, record


level of employment across all other constituencies which is to be


welcomed and that is because we have businesses that want to expand and


take on more people. Thank you for that intervention. I will return to


talking about the content of the bill any moment but I am spending a


lot of time on this because the Honourable gentleman opposite spent


some time talking about corporation tax himself and I just think it is a


very important that we on the side of the House make clear that we are


absolutely committed to making sure that we can raise revenue for public


services. The last thing we want to see as tax changes that might seem


to gain any rate headlines but actually unfortunately have the


wrong effect on the bottom line from the Government's point of view and


we are absolutely committed to making sure we can raise revenue for


public services about which we care very much. But we recognise that to


do that you have to have a tax environment which is supportive to


businesses because they provide jobs and economic growth. To that point,


looking at economic growth at how we don't want people to have to just


work harder to keep up their standard of living, we know that as


an economy we need to be more productive and technology as the


crucial enabler of being more productive. That is exactly what


this bill is about supporting. For instance, 5G as a technology is and


will be a great enabler for instance of the intranet of things. Every


second around the world, 127 devices are a newly connected to the


intranet. 127 devices every second at the moment and that rate is


surely going to increase so the demand for connectivity and the


ability to carry large columns of data is only going to go up. It is


vital we are at the forefront of this. 5G is forecast to globally


boost economic value by four to $11 trillion by 2020. That is a huge


increase in economic value so it is vital that we as a country take our


share of that and that share of economic growth. What that will mean


in practice is things like the developments which will enable us to


have smart household appliances, driverless cars in due course and


one day driverless lorries which from my constituents are a very


unhappy about lorries parked openly buys a lot, could be in interesting


prospect. This is an issue we both face, the plight of residents and


businesses who are faced by HTV parking. I know this is something


she is passionate about, does she agree that as we advance in


technology we should be looking at different ways of doing business? I


am sure that the Honourable Lady will find an ingenious way of


relating the intervention from the other Honourable Lady precisely to


this bill. I can see a way of doing it, I'm sure the Honourable Lady


will succeed. Thank Q. I can see the frown on your face that might have


seemed like a stretch to go from telecommunications to lorry parking


but as 5G as an enabler of the internet of things and enabler of


driverless cars and lorries, run drivers were longer have to take


long breaks to sleep and that is the reason why they are part in the


lay-by is on our roads because the housekeeping. They have to do a


compulsory rest before they can keep driving but without a driver...


LAUGHTER . It does genuinely connect. To


return to what I was planning to talk about, another very important


application of 5G potentially as an health care and wearable devices.


For instance heart rate and blood pressure can be tracked. This is


very much part of the future of health care and preventative health


and happiness or look after ourselves and somebody who is very


committed to the NHS and make sure we have a sustainable NHS and


healthier population, I am very keen to make sure that we enable this


kind of health care development. Those are just a handful of examples


of what we hope that 5G may enable and we will hope to be at the


forefront of this technology by investing in it. The full fibre part


of this legislation I hope will be an end to what I often hear... You


have been generous with your time but before she moves away from 5G,


can we reflect on this point that it is important not to leave behind


those committees who have yet to clock on to 3G. And should have


constituency is the same there are areas for use of the car and get


access to 3G 4G Somerville 5G is to be welcomed, can she join me in


ensuring some areas are not left behind? There are parts of my


constituency which don't have 3G or 4G mobile signal to make a phone


call so absolutely I am very keen for the Government to intervene to


make sure that there is comprehensive mobile phone reception


across rural areas and also I hope we can do a catch up and go very


quickly straight to 5G very quickly in those areas. While we are on the


subject of areas at and Blackett alias, I wonder if she would agree


that there are a keeper at areas such as along really lines in my


constituency of Chelmsford, many of my constituents commute every day


and there is sophistry tee to be able to get a phone signal online,


real realignment that this bill will enable extra infrastructure to have


connected commuters would you think is key in the 21st century.


My honourable friend makes an important point, the focus on the


infrastructure along particular routes like rail lines and motorways


where it will be of particular benefit and I have commuters just as


she does who would like to be able to do more work on the train, which


that will enable. But I was just coming briefly before I conclude to


the point about full fibre broadband and how this should bring an end to


the problem that I often hear from BT engineers, the challenge of the


old last mile of those copper wires which are so very dated, some of


them over 100 years old, and though it is a technology that has served


us very well for many, many years, it is probably time to move on so


that people can genuinely get high-speed broadband and when you


live further away from the Cabinet and the traditional infrastructure.


I welcome the proposed legislation because I think this is very much


the right way of Government supporting this sort of development


of infrastructure, by incentivising and providing the conditions or


substantial private investment in that infrastructure which will


multiply by many, many, many times the level of investment that the


Government is making using taxpayer funds. But we've got the combination


of the 400 million digital infrastructure fund and the 60


million business rate relief included in this legislation and


that amount of money should be wearable for the Government


financially, put it that way, but result in much, much greater scale


investment in the country's digital infrastructure which is what we sow,


so badly needs. And one point just to conclude with, very much thinking


of the younger voters who I know that I want to make sure we reach


out and communicate with, and I would say to younger voters to take


note. You may not be watching the Parliament channel on your Internet


connection, but actually this is an example of the Government is looking


ahead to the sort of economy that we need for the future, looking ahead


at investing in the infrastructure that we need so that we will be able


to compete globally, so we will be able to have a model economy, so we


will be able to have innovation, so we will have the kind of jobs and


the kind of economy that will provide opportunities for decades to


come for younger workers and provide us with the economic growth we need


to fund a high standard of living and the public services that we care


so much about. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I would begin, even


though he is no longer in his place, by thanking the member for North


Dorset and indeed my right honourable friend for Faversham and


Mid Kent for being so kind about the work I have done previously on


broadband. When the member for North Dorset said I would not speak in


this debate, I was going to leap to my feet like some sort of digital


gazelle, but I thought I would keep the House waiting and I know that


having done that, we have heard several very extensive speech is


going through the many benefits of Government investing in digital


infrastructure, so while I shall be somewhat brief, I would like to


begin just by using a phrase from my right honourable friend for


Faversham and Mid Kent is Ebersohn of her constituents were not able to


do something as old-fashioned as make a mobile telephone call. Now,


more about telephone calls are, in our modern world, pretty


old-fashioned, but we should not forget that it was not many years


ago in this place when they were simply impossible. Now, we have not


only been through the period of the invention of mobile phones, we have


been through a period where all of our constituents railed against the


installation of mobile phone masts and now we have come full circle as


they rail against the absence of mobile phone masts. So the digital


revolution has thoroughly revolved. I want to say simply three brief


points about this bill. The first about this particular approach to in


courage in digital infrastructure investment is to say that while the


Government is forgoing a certain amount of revenue with business


rates relief, it seems to me obvious that by fostering digital


information and digital infrastructure investments, the


amount that the Government will get back through the broader benefits of


economic growth will be many times greater than that which the business


rates themselves cost the state and cost the taxpayer and that is, to


me, seems like it is the definition of the way the Government should be


using public money. It is pumped prime it economic investment so that


we can see the kind of economy develops that works in the digital


way that we have heard our children will expect and which all modern


businesses already expect. So I would absolutely commend the


Government for taking that approach. I would add, however, that it is


also commendable that by making this a five-year term for relief which my


right honourable friend the Minister hinted could even go beyond five


years, then it incentivising firms to invest in putting in a Firebird


now, even if they do not turn it on, so to speak, for a number of years,


so what effectively happens is that we can get the economies of scale of


broader investments, I would hope, but we will see the continued


benefits of a business rate relief on this investment and that can only


be a good thing and it addresses some of the concerns that industry


has raised prior to the introduction of this piece of legislation. And it


is worth remembering that that growth in demand for fibre is only


going to increase. When I was a journalist writing about the launch


of the eye player, which the BBC cunningly launched on Christmas Day


because they knew the demand would be rather more limited, they did not


think for one minute that they themselves would be broadcasting in


four K, 2016, 2017, much less that we would live routinely in


households where half a dozen people wanted to download the four K


streams that broadcasters now routinely provide. And it is in no


small irony that when Basil Jette build London's Sirs, by all accounts


he offered quadruple the capacity that was required in Victorian


London -- servers. Now we see that that quadruple capacity is more than


exhausted by a growing population. We should take the same approach


when it comes to investing in our digital infrastructure. The fact


that there is a very prominent Basil Jette still involved in the life of


our digital nation is not in anyway to draw the comparison between these


sewage and the modern digital output with which he is involved. Big huge


benefits of the man who brought as Big Brother and a host of other


things are not to be considered in that way in the slightest. All we


can say is that this is a family who have contributed a huge amount of


the life of our nation at every level of infrastructure. But what I


would say to conclude these brief remarks is that there is never an


excuse in this day and age to underestimate the amount of digital


capacity that we will require. 4K may seem like it is pretty adequate


for our purposes today. We may look back on it in a number of years and


we will see it as a paltry amount compared to what we will be using on


a routine basis, whether it is virtual reality, whether it is


revellers cars, whether it is all the technologies that will totally


eradicate the digital scourge of flight parking that is my honourable


friend the member for Cannock Chase previously mentioned. So I think


that we should encourage the Government is not only to hasten


that this bill as quickly as it possibly can but we should further


encourage any Government to make sure that this sort of rate relief


applies to investment in digital infrastructure whether that is


mobile or whether it is fixed and in that way, to continue from the


launch of the iPlayer not all that long ago, the Internet of things


that is now coming upon us will be fully served and it will be thanks


to the investment of governments such as this one. Thank you.


Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am very grateful to speak in this


even's debate and it is a real honour to follow my right honourable


friend, the member for Boston and Skegness who is a real expert in


this field and demonstrated in his contribution to night his expertise


in this whole world and I have to admit, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I


am a technical dinosaur. When it comes to communication, if I had a


choice, e-mail, text or a telephone, every single time, I would like to


have a conversation. It takes an awful lot less time to actually pick


up the phone and have that conversation one than very lengthy


e-mails which often can take hours to construct by virtue of the need


to check on the content, and the tone, as well as the text message


which at the moment I have about eight messages all building up and I


will probably no doubt forget to respond to each and every one of


them. Turning to the bill this evening, I welcome the


telecommunications infrastructure built which provides business rate


relief for new fibre-optic infrastructure. This bill and these


measures form part of a wider package to encourage is widely


investment in our infrastructure and to help ensure that Britain remains


a digital world leader. The Bill will have homes and businesses


across the country having faster, more of portable and more reliable


broadband collectivity. This evening, we have heard from many


members across the House who have a very different constituency to mind.


Many of them are very rural. We have heard a lot from many members about


the issues in terms of collectivity both in terms of mobile and


broadband in rural areas. My constituency, Madam Deputy Speaker,


is very different. I have largely towns and one large village which is


Cannock, Kingsford and Northern Keynes. The amount of rural space in


my constituency is really rather limited. I see my honourable friend


the member for Oldridge Brownhills who is one of my new neighbours,


nodding away. She recognises what my constituency looks like. I have


these towns but then I have a forest. To be honest, Madam Deputy


Speaker, if you are driving through the forest of Cannock Chase, the


chances are in that conversation that I have been talking about, the


phone call will cut off. I have to add, I am on Bluetooth. But it is an


issue in some of those smaller rural parts of my constituency so these


measures that will make broadband and mobile access is much better


will be welcomed by people and businesses across the country,


including my constituency. I will happily give way. I am grateful to


my honourable friend and neighbour for giving way this evening. Would


she agree though that although all her constituency has some


similarities with mine, that it is not largely rural. Even in a


non-rural constituency, you still can find those not spots, not just


in the forest but within built-up areas as well. I are very grateful


for my honourable friend because she makes an absolutely perfect point


and I will come onto some specific issues as I go into my contributions


this evening. I think about my office in the heart of Hednesford,


on market Street in Hednesford, the centre of the town, and guess what?


When I sat in my office, more often than not I cannot make those


telephone calls because I do not have any mobile phone reception.


Then also when I go to and from my office to my home, invariably, the


mobile phone reception falls. Why is broadband and mobile access so


important? Some honourable members today have actually discussed some


of the ways in which it is key to family and our daily lives. Keeping


in contact with our friends across the world via Facebook and social


media, banking, we talked about the closing of banks on high Street


across the country because increasingly, people are doing their


banking online but you need to have that excellent online access to be


able to do that. Actually, one thing I am not sure any members have


mentioned this evening is being able to switch your energy supplier so we


talk about trying to get better rates for their energy, their gas


and outer city, but most of this is best done by looking online portals.


If you haven't got a good Internet access, then you are actually


restricted in terms of the deals that you can get. Then there are


other things we have talked about that watching TV, personally I just


turn the TV on which goes back to being a bit of a dinosaur, but I


understand a lot of people use OnDemand services.


My mother has never used a computer but we bought her and I play than


she is reliant on it for clinical eating Li relocating with people.


She has to have excellent broadband access and they want to command to


specific issues in terms of broadband access and the roar of


full fibre connectivity. I have a number of residents who complain of


painfully low broadband speeds. This is a new development on the edge of


the town which comprises around 130 houses despite being billed as a


superb collection of homes including three or four bedroom homes,


high-quality homes and a mix of House types to suit a range of


tastes, and easy access to the local amenities, to which I fully support


these are fantastic things and it is a fantastic development, the one


thing that local residents don't enjoy is a fast and reliable


broadband access. I'm building a new housing development, developers


install gas, electricity and water as a matter of course. We are in a


time of broadband is the fourth utility and the provision of


superfast broadband should be treated in the very same way. This


is not a problem unique to chase water drains. Looking online, and I


have done a lot of research on this issue, I have been reading endless


reports of residents of new developments up and down the country


facing similar issues. My honourable friend the member for North West


Hampshire actually made the point that this problem has been


recognised in last year an agreement was made between the Government, BT


Openreach and the house-builders Federation to insure that superfast


and ultrafast broadband connectivity would provided free Oracle funded by


open reached new development. This has been extended to all development


is with more than 30 homes and it will be connected for free. We are


rightly placing emphasis on building new homes, we talk about this issue


on a regular basis. I am pleased to see that this recognition that


actually broadband connectivity is as important as the other utilities.


This is something that home buyers expect. This is something


particularly important in my constituency because we are seeing


thousands of new homes are being built all the time. I drove around


the constituency and I never cease to be amazed by these developments


are up to. Grey level we are building homes all the time and we


need to make sure we have access to the main utilities but also


broadband as well. The moves that have been made by BT Openreach and


the House builders Federation, it's good news but the trouble is it's


not going to resolve the issues faced by those residents in my


constituency. I was very pleased to learn last week that they have made


some progress as a community to secure funding from both BT


Openreach and Teller bumpy to complete the work to install the


fibre -based broadband. The issue however is this still face a


shortfall in terms of funding and in the Aaron publication with superfast


Staffordshire and hope there will be successful in being able to secure


some assistance to be able to fill the gap and ensure that this fibre


broadband is connected. I hope as a result of this that the residents


will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of fast and reliable


broadband, that they will be able to do their banking, that the teenagers


will be able to do their homework online. We can all agree that that


is important that they can complete their assignments. Also that those


of residents that I know want to work for home can work from home.


But the issues in terms of broadband speed and just I was cited in my


constituency, I hope of other places who have been waiting years for this


connectivity to be made. Also those of small number of properties that I


do have my constituency. They are still waiting for connectivity as


well. However, I want to talk about a slightly more positive aspect of


broadband access, fast broadband access and it would take this


opportunity took about the opportunities that the redevelopment


of the region power station present in terms been able to tuck into


existing superfast broadband infrastructure. On this note, the


power station sits alongside the West Coast mainline and actually


this has the superfast broadband network of running the line so it is


right next to this piece of land. Equally the canal network in the


area has got this infrastructure as well. The power station site is


where we have the real grind and the canal structure, we also have the


National Grid infrastructure as well. It is a connectivity crossover


as I have described it before in this House and we need to make the


most of this. This is an ideal opportunity to ensure we attract


businesses that are high-tech and advanced manufacturing to can make


the best of this infrastructure. Equally as part of the site there


will be some new home developments and the need to have this kind of


broadband infrastructure to the doors, the superfast broadband line


is so close and we do need to make the most of it. We need to make the


most of it not just for today but for future generations. There is a


real opportunity to ensure that the regeneration of this power station


site attracts the businesses that will create the high skill jobs and


high low-paid jobs for future generations. As I have said and will


no doubt say again, we need to ensure that we have ambitious, bold


and visionary plans. That one other site in my constituency which is


where we have excellent digital infrastructure and we need to ensure


that we make the most of it. That is the South Staffordshire codgers


campus. -- college campus. Disappointing news that it was going


to shut given falling numbers but there was multi-million pound


investment in a few years ago and part of this investment was insuring


it had excellent digital infrastructure. This is an


opportunity to make the most of this as we look at the plans for the


future, we need to ensure we tap into this digital infrastructure as


well. I think it is probably many members who want to speak into this


evening is very important debate. Having said that, it is important to


come back to the bill we were discussing tonight because this is


part of a weight range of reforms that the Government undertaking to


ensure that we have excellent digital infrastructure and across


our country. I welcome this bill and welcomed what it will do to ensure


that my constituents and other constituents in this chamber will


have access to faster and more reliable broadband and will be able


to enjoy all the benefits that the intranet and e-mails of us. Thank


you. Thank you. As always it is a pleasure to follow my constituency


neighbour and honourable friend the member for Cannock Chase. It is a


pleasure to take part in this debate this evening. Before I get onto the


content on my speech I would like to acknowledge and thank the Minister


who is not in his place for giving me a very congruence of response to


what I thought was quite a simple and straightforward intervention


earlier today. -- comprehensive response. And when the five-year


limit in terms of the deadline for the business rate relief because it


was an important point and death through this bill we can incentivise


companies to get paint investment in digital infrastructure then that is


a good thing and it is very far-reaching and positive benefits.


But this bill didn't make me think a couple of things and rather like my


honourable friend the member for Cannock Chase referred to herself I


believe is a technology dinosaur, I would trade myself as a technophobe.


In recent weeks with the challenges we have had to roared into net


connections here in Parliament that has been frustrating to see the very


least and on many occasions I will say it is very handy to have a


member of staff and your team is a good bit younger than yourself


because I have found they know everything about the intranet and


have been a huge shock to me. I am also reminded about 20 or more years


ago when we first started to see internet appear. I use the word


appear because that's what it felt like. I remember our first internet


connection, it was a big thing to have internet Atul Madison to recall


there was such thing as wireless, there was a wire that led to


downstairs from upstairs and you have to plug it in and pluck it out


and it wasn't possible for more than one person to be on a computer at


the same time. How things have progressed, how things have changed.


I'm also reminded of the mobile phone that we first had, I couldn't


fit it in even my large handbag. It was more like the size of a brick


and it had an aerial on it and used to walk around and even had a


handset with a curly cable attached to it. Again I say how things have


progressed. You can imagine that he would be standing here this evening


talking about 5G... And I'm grateful. I have to say that perhaps


my nostalgia is greater than hers because actually my Nokia brick was


far more reliable than my Apple iPhone ever has been. I bow to his


judgment on that. I didn't have much chance to use the brick that we had


as my husband tended to have that is at least I do have my own iPhone


these days. Things have changed. We also see today the way that we can


stream films into our homes, we can download music and they even have


one of these boxes, I call it the beauty box that I can have in the


kitchen and move around the House and the case at the music from my


iPhone. It is amazing what you can do until it has changed lives. It


has also changed business, changed so many other things that we do. The


bill we are looking at this evening and debating, the telecoms


infrastructure bill is actively relatively short. It is so very


important and it gives effect to one of the number of commitments under


jockey medication is that are made in the Autumn Statement last year.


But it is also important because it aims to give very hacked it is some


fought to the Lord of full fibre broadband connections and five


Chibhabha publications. The meet up with infrastructure then


this post so often we are talking about roads and railways and


bridges. We are talking about very visible pieces of infrastructure,


very tangible items of infrastructure, obviously items of


infrastructure that really matter often to a local area are much more


originally on a national basis. But sometimes what may appear to be a


small has a much more far-reaching impact. This infrastructure bill to


me is about a piece of infrastructure that is far less


visible. We may see the green broadband boxes as we drive around


our constituencies but we don't see this full fibre broadband would be


no it is their rebuild no it is there because we will be able to


access it. Whilst it isn't visible, through this Bill that will enable


full fibre broadband to reach across England and Wales. I believe global


benefit residents and businesses across the country and across my


constituency. As we have had this evening, many honourable members


have given us examples of their broadband can make a difference in


their own constituencies. Whether as individual households, a small


retail business, a large manufacturer or a business park. Or


someone who is working in the gig economy. If they think my own


constituency, a lot of small and medium-size businesses are the


absolute backbone of our local economy. It is businesses that are


creating the jobs, businesses that has driven investment into driving


down unemployment. In developing the skills of four today and for the


future. Whether that be in the village centre retail shops, whether


it is one of many in the sparks, where we have a whole variety of


businesses. But these businesses, they could be


using the Internet to sell goods, they could be using the Internet for


ordering components for their business, some will use it for


customer services. It is now an integral part of business. Access to


the Internet is as important as electricity. If the lights go out,


power go off, if you have a manufacturing business, you can have


a situation where you cannot produce goods. Without the Internet your


business grinds to a halt. Yes, my honourable friend is right. Before


coming into this place, I worked in a business in the optical industry


and we relied on the Internet for processing orders, sending stock


orders back across into Europe and the minute the Internet went down,


all of a sudden we could do nothing at all, showing just how crucial


that connectivity is. So this bill will be absolutely vital. Under


current broadband and superfast broadband and mobile coverage, there


are still some of those so-called not sports which we have heard about


this evening. We have heard a lot of contributions from members


representing the more rural constituencies of the country. My


constituency does not fall into that category and I agree with my friend


there member for Cannock Chase that it is not just the rural


constituencies affected. We do have some not sports and in my own home I


find that from time to time I have to move around to get some


telephone, mobile connection and were it not for the Wi-Fi


connection, I would really struggle. I hope that the days of having to


lean out of the kitchen window are moved to a certain spot in the


living room to enable a pick-up of the mobile phone signal. Be a thing


of the past. But it is not just businesses, we have heard a lot


about business, it is not just about individuals, but I think also of the


many voluntary sector organisations and charities that are in my


constituency, many of them provide lifelines to local residents. They


also rely on the Internet, they rely on a good Internet connection and


that means through their web pages there is information out there 24


hours a day so that people can pick up on that information. Through


Internet we're able to reach out much further than perhaps we could


in the past. But I also wanted to follow up on a point that a couple


of honourable friends made and that was related to demographics and


ages. Internet access is something that has the potential to cut across


all ages of society, whether you are an older person, through good


Internet access you can use the Internet to keep in touch with your


family, you can use Facebook, face time, things we did not have a fuel


years ago. If you have grandchildren living on the other side of the


country or the other side of town but you want to have that connection


with them, and it is much cheaper than using the telephone, that can


be facilitated through having a good Internet connection. I also think


about often when I go into a school, have a debate with young people


either primary school children or more often than not older, secondary


school children. The question will often come up, what does government


do for us as young people? Sitting here today has made me realise that


this is an excellent example of something that government is doing


that will help young people, not just older people but young people


as well, because they are the generation that rely and use and are


much more tax and phones savvy probably than all of us in here put


together, and I know I can speak about myself in regard to that. I am


sure my honourable friend will agree as it is that the age disparity we


have between young and old can be bridged through the Internet through


proper broadband and mobile connection, especially in rural


constituencies, those in Scotland and although some of these powers


have been devolved, unfortunately none of my SNP colleagues are here


tonight, but we recognise the importance Westminster can play in


giving funding and directing for broadband and mobile. It is England


and Wales and not Scotland. I am grateful to my honourable friend for


making that point. A very valuable point but I do think and I am sure I


will be corrected if I am wrong, that although this bill is for


England and Wales only, the Barnett Formula consequential is will apply.


My honourable friend from Scotland made a very valid point. This bill


that we are debating this evening, to me is about looking to the


future. It is about developing infrastructure for the future so


that we can take our country forward. As we seek to develop new


relationships and new partnerships in a post-Brexit world, this will


make that connectivity around the world so much easier and so much


better. If I turn now to the issue of business rates, only briefly,


because I believe that by providing the 100% business rate relief for


new for fibre infrastructure which this bill will enable, but for a


period of five years, I hope and trust this will provide an incentive


and an encouragement to telecommunications to get on with


the job and delivering what clearly week in this House want to see and I


hope that together with the universal service obligation will


start to make a real and significant difference to our constituents. Also


that in doing that we are able to make big contributions to closing


the digital divide, that digital divide that we have heard so much


about this evening. And that we can help to get higher quality, more


reliable connectivity into households and businesses because


that is what I want in my constituencies and that clearly is


what other members in this House want also. But this enclosing for me


is also about supporting a bill and supporting a government that is


investing in our country, investing in our infrastructure and investing


in the livelihoods and futures of not just today's generation but


tomorrow is as well, so I will be supporting this bill this evening.


It is a pleasure to follow my honourable friend who address the


substance of this important bill with her customary attention to


detail and indeed her personal reflections on the progress that the


Internet has made and they change it has made to all of our lives I thing


has been enormously valuable this evening. Let me go to the core of


the bill first and then let me explain why I believe this is so


important. I do believe that it is excellent that this bill will


provide for 100% business rate relief for for fibre infrastructure


for a five-year period from the 1st of April 2000 and 17. It is also


very important that this is backdated so that it will truly


support telecommunications companies who invest in their fibre network,


but what is also important is that the Government will cover the full


costs of this relief and I say that someone who has been a former


councillor, who knows the impact that government release can make


local government and it is important to note government has said here


because of the importance of this measure, that the Government will


meet the full costs of this belief. I am grateful to my honourable


friend and indeed my honourable friend is a member for South


Perthshire for mentioning the impact on Scotland because of course this


bill has territorial to England and Wales but the Barnett Formula


applies. So it is important to recognise how it affects the whole


of the UK. There are varying constituencies today, urban, rural


both tightly packed in urban settings button so more sparsely


located in rural settings and superfast broadband paste on part


five, part copper technology as today is now available to 93% of


premises. That is good progress and we have heard from my honourable


friend the progress the Internet has made. I recall having the dial-up


modem which would be the way which would connect you then to 25


kilobits and to be able to do this time or Skype would have been


inconceivable in those days. We have made huge progress and 93% of


premises being able to access the part copper, part fibre service is


good news, this relief provides I believe and the Minister will


correct me if I am wrong, ?60 million worth of support to


companies who invest in their fibre network by installing new fibre


lines and virgin media and it is important at this point to deviate


and demonstrate the shows the importance of having a competitive


corporation tax regime, which has been noted already today, which


means companies like liberty have invested in Britain and have bought


virgin media and are now taking it forward and I would have thought


this will boost virgin media's ?3 billion project expansion as well as


plans by Beattie opened the each -- BT Openreach to increase its


investment in fibre optics and also to help smaller alternative players


which as my honourable friend reference have been priced out of


the market in the past. Due to the impact of business rates along with


some other competitive and regulatory pressures. I welcome the


Government's aim through this and other measures to provide superfast


broadband, speeds of 24 megabits per second or more, for at least 95% of


the UK. That is progress beyond what we have achieved today, but I think


we should go further and that is why I am pleased that in the digital


economy act 2017 the act provided for every household to have a legal


right, a legal right to request fast broadband connection. I am grateful


that he mentions 95%. I don't apologise for reinforcing this point


because it is important. There are still 5%, many of whom are


constituencies left out, so will he join me in pressing the Government


to ensure this is universal and do we do welcome the measures set out


in the bill, we are still speaking out for constituents still waiting.


As ever my honourable friend makes a very important and cogent point


here. He is right to champion the interest for 100% of the UK and that


is why the universal service obligation is so important and it is


only a first step towards making sure that Britain is the most


competitive country and is the place that other businesses based


elsewhere in the world want to do business in the future, and as my


honourable friend also noted, that is even more important in a


post-Brexit world. We must make sure that we are match fit and ready to


go in the next century. That is why it is important that every household


has a legal right to request fast broadband connection and as has


become customary at some of the exchanges we listen to on Wednesday,


I want to reference the few points made by some of my constituents.


Some of my constituents in hazy league get less than half of 1


megabit per second and that is unacceptable. In fact, they say it


is worse than that because they say they have too much downtime because


the current connection is unreliable. It is not just homes and


individuals and families that are affected, but diversify rural


businesses. I got a quote from my constituent who said just yesterday


I saw a third visit this week by Openreach to my neighbour will stop


I took the perpetuity to talk to the engineer who confirmed there was a


major problem, perhaps with the old underground cabling to the area


simply giving up. He also confirmed that none of the line managers are


likely to take this further because of the cost to Beattie to supply


cabling would be too high. Not only is the company dealing with


old underground cabling that is simply giving up and was introduced


for technologies that are now old-fashioned, as another member


referenced but also, it is tackling the cost that applies to businesses


through business rates and other regulatory matters, particularly


business rates, the costs have been prohibitive in helping businesses


invest. I was a British British-American parliamentary group


in Tennessee, where the weather was almost as good as it has been here


recently. What is important is that I found a ?70 million grant, and


there is a population of just over 500,000 people in Chattanooga, a ?70


million grant had not local people in Chattanooga notched 24 megabits


per second, which is the Government's measure of success in


this phase of superfast broadband, but one GB per second and that was


through what the Government is trying to do today, fibre to the


premises, not just to the Cabinet, so this is absolutely right, as a


way forward. But coming back across the pond, to the seat of the Duke of


Wellington, the exchange there is the problem because at present, the


broadband connection given to my constituents say, and I'm sure


undoubtedly others, come from across the county boundary instead of


within the county of Hampshire. Bramley is closer than the current


location and so the length of cabling required from the exchange


to the home would be cut in half if it was from Bramley. This shows the


lack of flexibility in the system today, where we really need to make


sure it is the right technology in the right places to serve people in


the 21st century, not the convenience of telecommunications


operators from the 20th. And in Bramley, some are neither


Basingstoke but they're connected via cables from Bramley which are


steel and not copper because apparently when those cables when


installed by BT, at that point state-owned, not sure of the party


opposite wish to renationalise that as well... The honourable gentleman


said it is a possibility! Perhaps he would like to clarify the matter at


the dispatch box but the point being, that BT at the time said, it


is all right, we don't face any competition we will just shove some


steel cabling in there and it doesn't matter what happens to local


people. When it was analog telephone technology that was fine but in this


new digital age, we need to make sure people have the right


technology to their doorstep and that is why we must tackle this head


on. I don't want to be totally critical of BT, they have done good


work and have shown flexibility in the way things are delivered, for


example, in the parish of Ennis field in my constituency, BT came up


with a match funding scheme which said if the community can raise some


of the money, BT will put in half. I think that is innovative for a rural


community. But therein lies the problem, no one should be penalised


for what is, as my honourable friend, the member for Cannock


Chase, rightly set out, is now a utility. It is something people


should be able to accept and so, to charge people ?558 per dwelling is


not only on the cusp of what BT might ordinarily provide as a


commercial arrangement, but actually was penalising those resident in


rural areas for a living where they do. I am grateful, can I move to


Dorset and endorse what he is saying, advocating greater


flexibility in saying there is some good work being done but more could


be done. Would he not agree to any to see flexibility, not in


Hampshire, but across the piece, where that are difficult rural


issues, there should be sensible solutions? My honourable friend


makes an important further contribution to this debate, he is


correct and if I can take him back to the exchange and remarks by the


member for North West Hampshire, he pointed out breaks it an opportunity


here because European legislation got in the way of allowing local


communities to come up with solutions. When I was a local


councillor, there was a measure introduced called Kitty, a new way


of providing match funding from the Borough Council. And then that was


ruled out of order because it was deemed state aid and through careful


financial management, we kept council tax down and used excellent


initiatives by this Government in match funding and helping local


councils keep tax down but further, that money that we had saved and


wanted to put to good use for the residents of Basingstoke and steam


in North Hampshire could not be used because of state aid rules. Would


she give way? I am very grateful to the honourable gentleman for the


important point he is making. The combination of local Government and


local IT companies. We have a similar situation in my


constituency, but through good local governments and the freedom of local


companies with sensibly managed local finances, that is where we can


find the solution to the internet shortages. I thank my honourable


friend for that point and he is right, this is all part of the


competitive nature we need to try and show his supported and provide


local solutions to local problems. Mr Deputy Speaker, I am sure you are


aware that the County Council has been working to go beyond 96%


connectivity in the county of Hampshire... And if you weren't


aware, you are now! Is to Deputy Speaker, that could be met if we had


local firms meeting the 4% shortfall. If we allow local firms


to bid for further funding from the state, not hindered by EU state aid


rules but indeed further supported by these business rates initiatives,


we would close at 4% cap without a shadow of a doubt. And if I can turn


now from BT, who have had a great benefit from the current dismissed


rates arrangement to Virgin Media, who should benefit, as I outlined


earlier in passing but it is important to talk a little bit more


to outline the importance of this two British companies based in my


constituency, their corporate headquarters is in Coke in my


constituency, so they actually are running a competition through their


own commercial judgment to supercharge local communities and


though they haven't supercharged Hook yet, they have agreed to


supercharge Hartley Whitney and Phoenix Green, just down the road


and that means that they will have ultrafast fibre to the premise very


shortly, which is good news because those residents will get a head


start on what the Government aspires the home of the country to receive,


they will receive 52 premises, which means they will be eligible to get


one gigabit per second telecommunication connectivity that


is critical for the future. Businesses will benefit as well, not


just households. In Yateley, Samsung has its European quality control


centre. If we want those technical businesses to be based in


constituencies like mine, we need to make sure they have the connectivity


to match. Samsung being the technical giant it is, it needed


more than perhaps anyone else. So, it is absolutely brilliant news to


hear that these business rates initiatives will be introduced. But


it's not just the Giants, the small businesses also and in Fleet, there


is a business called CV library, set up in 2000 in the dot-com boom


mirror, a different internet era but an internet business it remains. And


it is very successful, it was set up by a young carpet fitter and it is


now the UK's third biggest job sport, which has thrived on the


great number of new jobs created under the economic management of


this Government. And it is one of the top 500 most visited website in


the UK. This is a well reputed website. This small business, set up


in 2000, has come a long, long way. Resume library is now allowing this


business to operate in the United States and it is now thriving as an


international business but again, just like Samsung, if we want these


businesses to be based outside of the main towns and cities, outside


of London, across the country, making sure we create an economy of


the nations and regions, not just of London, then we need connectivity


that serves businesses like CV library, allowing them to thrive and


connect with the world, as they have done with resume library and as I am


sure they will do in the future. Incidentally, they were the first


jobs website to allow people to apply for jobs on a mobile phone.


And I will come to that in a moment because I think that is also a very


important point. One resident in Bramley said to me, he found it


incredible that we are surrounded by much better services and yet it


appears we are unable to access fees. People like this resident are


used to going on their mobile phone, connecting to 4G and yet, in their


House, on fixed broadband, they cannot connect to the decent


service. He was told by BT, he says, that it is not possible to switch


exchanges. This is the point I raised earlier, from one to another


because it was simply too difficult. In the mobile mirror and the mobile


age where people can go about their daily business Valley walk to work,


it is not acceptable for something to simply be too difficult to a


monopoly provider. We must invent on the Government is doing this. And


that's why it's important the Government encourages this fool


fibre initiative. 100% business rate relief is focused on that fool


fibre, fibre to the premises initiative and indeed the digital


infrastructure investment fund has been designed to incentivise this


also. Traditionally, in Britain, it has been difficult to pronounce this


because the industry has been relatively young and there's a lack


of certainty that has existed around future demand, which is meant


investment has been difficult to secure. So, I hope the digital


infrastructure investment fund will pass these business rates


initiatives and ignite interest from private finance to invest in the


sector, an important sector, a critical part of infrastructure,


just like roads and rail, and I hope it will draw in private interest


that we really do need. And indeed, as my honourable friend mentioned,


drawing in private finance means this market will be more competitive


and it will allow local solutions to rise up and meet the needs of local


people. For fibre networks are so much more


resilient than the traditional copper networks. A constituent told


me the copper cabling was failing and that is because most Internet in


Britain's homes is delivered by copper cables. From the Green


cabinet that my honourable friend reference, the Green cabinet is that


people see springing up so that they can be enabled for fibre but still


the final part of the service is delivered by copper. These wires can


be degraded by distance as has been the case for my constituents, indeed


the constituents in Bramley have a long distance from the exchange,


whereas for fibre networks seek to run the connection straight to the


doors of customers homes or businesses and that is why I make


one plead to the Government. In planning law, planning legislation


there is still no capability for local councils to mandate on new


developments solving the problem that my honourable friend


referenced. There is no capability for local councils to mandate the


new developments but the only requirement they can make is there


will be a telephone connection to way home. If it is done on a scale,


the cost is marginalised if at all existent, but the fact that it is


made difficult for councils to mandate this could be something that


government does very easily and would be transformational in the new


homes that the Government aspires to build across the whole of the United


Kingdom. My honourable friend mentions copper and he mentioned the


fact that the wire can be degraded by age and distance, but it is also


by volume of traffic and will he agreed that on a Saturday night when


there is a popular programme on and more people want to be streaming or


gaming, the whole system grinds to a halt and that is part of the


degradation process as well. He is absolutely right. The capacity of


copper is insufficient for today's challenges and we must make sure


that we are not only dealing with today's challengers but tomorrow's


also so we must make sure there is more fibre than we today because we


do not want a situation, perhaps five, ten years from now whether


fibre we have installed today is not good enough for the challenges of


tomorrow. In turning to the challenges of tomorrow, it is


important to consider mobile communications which is enabled by


fibre broadband, Firebird linking the mobile mast together, five are


providing the connectivity to users via the mast who want to connect to


their banking on their phone as has been referenced by a number of


members. And deploying mobile infrastructure does remain


challenging at times, particularly in those remote locations or food


then more difficult topography, so it is important reconsidered the


viability of these initiatives as we move from 4G 25 G and remedying


those communities who have not moved to three or 4G in the first place.


We must make sure those initiatives are viable so that no one is left


behind. Indeed mobile telecommunications can be an


excellent way of providing mobile broadband, fast broadband to rural


communities instead of running fibre to those homes. It could be part of


the solution, part of dealing with the final 4% is indeed to make sure


there is fibre run to mobile masts that is then accessible to those


rural communities. Juicing operating costs is critical to make sure the


potential economic viability of these sites is considered properly.


I am sure the Government will consider this in the deliberations


they will have a head. Targeted business rates relief to enable


fibre cabling to be rolled out to those hard to reach areas would be


particularly helpful in not spots that are badly served by telecoms to


date, could be much better served by telecoms in the future. It is


important to prioritise sites like railways and motorways as has been


referenced by my honourable friend for Faversham Kent. The honourable


member for Chelmsford who demonstrated that connectivity,


connected commute was the term, connected can need Firebird... I


have let a lot of leeway and I do not want to get too involved in 4G,


five G, absolutely nothing to do with what we are discussing and I


know you have been asked to filibuster. With so many more


speakers to con you might deprive them! Filibuster never, informed the


nation! But it has to be on the subject we are discussing. We will


be talking about cricket next, come on! Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.


Perhaps I can demonstrate... Mr Deputy Speaker suggests this is a


filly Buster, my honourable friend has hardly cleared his throat! The


worry is I have heard too much already. You are very kind in your


last remark but I shall be bringing my remarks to a close very shortly.


I'd just do think it is important to recognise the way that fibre which


will be enabled by these initiatives, new fibre rolled out


and business rates relief, that new fibre does allow for better mobile


connectivity in those hard to reach areas. On the topic of


infrastructure, I think he makes a good point around infrastructure


linked to railways and roads but would he not agree that airports


need infrastructure there as well? I have a suggestion for the House. I


think we ought to put in another adjournment debate. As ever you make


an excellent suggestion there. I will speak to third honourable


gentleman in due course. As we allow fibre to be rolled out through this


relief, to areas that have not been accessible in the past, I think it


is important they reflect on the way that consumers, people are changing


their behaviour. People are moving to mobile, we need to make sure that


accessibility to the mobile networks, to the fibre network is


possible and that is why it is critical we work with people like


Network Rail to roll-up on their land as well as well as across other


people's land, but it is in contrast as my honourable friend referenced,


to the way in which we used to work, the way in which we used to work and


it is important that people are helped along this journey, because


if we want to roll out more fibre, we need to make sure there is demand


for red otherwise it is not commercially viable. We need to


reduced operating costs, we are doing that through relieving


business rates from new fibre rolled out but it is good to see new


digital training opportunities that are being created, the new digital


skills partnership seeing government, business and charities


come together, so this is really positive news. Indeed I should


declare an interest, refer members to the plan by Lloyds Banking Group


to give face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million people by


2020. Indeed a pledge by Google as part of their commitment to five


hours of free digital skills also. This is something adopted by


business. Let me conclude by saying that this strategy and these plans


do demonstrate that the Government takes businesses and people


seriously in rolling out fibre broadband to people across the


country. It is part of cuts to business rates, it is part of cuts


to business rates to the benefit of all ratepayers and it is part of the


Government's focus on making sure that we do create an economy that


serves the whole of this country, all of the nations and regions and


indeed it is about making sure that the Government is committed to the


long-term reforms of our economy. Who would have thought that Ali


Babar and Amazon would be the big retailers of today not the


greengrocer on the high Street? Who would have thought we would be


speaking to people across the world instead of flying to see them? Who


would have thought that people would be able to watch this speech on


their mobile phone rather than read it, there I say in hindsight? I am


sure many will. Sorry? Can I just say, I have a problem, I did not


expect to bring in a time limit. Can I just so, I do not want to put a


time limit on but if you think we have something up in about an hour


and we are still five speakers to come so if we aim for 12 minutes.


Thank you. The words that will bring in my ears, filibuster never, inform


the nation always. That is a lesson for us all. I will give you an extra


lotion. -- lesson. You have to inform the nation on the subject we


discuss. Of course, Mr Deputy Speaker. Thank you for that kind


reminder. This bill matters. And as my honourable friend the member for


Wantage, the former minister in this area mentioned, it is right that


this is not necessarily the most thrilling of bills. It is relatively


short, six clauses. As a former lawyer I can appreciate that


actually brevity is often harder than writing something very long, so


I admire the ability of the draughtsman of this bill for putting


together something so succinct. I believe that this bill should have


strong support not just from government benches but also from all


sides of this House as has already been indicated from speakers from


the opposition benches. My constituents only 30 to 40 miles


from central London face very patchy broadband coverage in many areas. I


appreciate the point made by my honourable friend the member for


Wantage that often it is harder to get broadband in spread out villages


and rural areas than it is in Tower blocks and urban areas and I


appreciate that point, but for example in the village of Kimbolton,


slap bang in the middle of my constituency, it has bad would ban


reception. Some statistics to back this point up. No resident or


business receives superfast broadband, not one. We are in the


bottom 7% of the country for average download speed and we are in the


bottom 0.5% for connections of over 30 megabytes, so there is still a


job to do and I would just with do deference as a new member say to the


Government, we still do have a job connecting up existing rural areas


and we should not forget that. I thank the member for giving way. As


he knows my 92-year-old aunt lives in the village of Kimpton. Would he


agree with me that it is most important in rural areas where there


are older people living in the community that we have access that


keeps them engaged with their friends and family? I would agree


and also ad that it is not just important that people are connected


to friends and family but the converse is one of loneliness in


many respects. We live in a society increasingly atomised that it is


helpful for older members to make sure that they have that fall


digital connectivity and that is another reason for this bill being


important. In a recent meeting, a business owner told me that in her


business situated in a rural area, it takes three days to back-up


server such as the slow download speed.


Business rates relief for the installation of fibre broadband will


provide an incentive for investors and that point has been made by


several members, not least the member for North East Hampshire. But


it is, I think, important to consider why. In the broader sense,


having world's leading digital structure is important, why are we


all here? I shall offer a few observations to the House. We are


going through a new industrial revolution. Technology, powered


largely by the internet, is powering a global future and we need to be


the heart of this in this country and fool fibre broadband, rolling


this out is central to that charge. This Bill will make that easy, it


will enable small businesses in rural areas like mine to have access


to the superfast they need and as the Minister of State said earlier,


it will break down barriers to business, something that I know


everybody at least on our side wants to see. This Bill also shows that


Government can, in limited ways, and when the time is right, provide


innovative solutions to help solve some of the biggest problem is


choking up areas of our economy. We need to strongly support the free


market, free enterprise, with the Government intervention, with little


Government intervention, unless necessary, but we do need to be bold


and I believe this Bill is bold and the Government actions are bold. We


need to use the tools of Government to allow the private sector to work


more efficiently and be incentivise to provide better results for our


constituents, who are, after all, the people who sent us to this place


on their behalf. Business rate relief is very welcome and many of


my right honourable friends and members on opposition benches have


mentioned this fact, but I urge the Government to also make sure we


don't lose sight of our manifesto commitment for a review of business


rates, a food business rate review, and produce a system more fit for


purpose because I think the system in certain ways in recent years has


shown itself to be capricious and cumbersome and frankly unfair in


some senses. I believe it is perhaps appropriate in discussion of a Bill


on digital infrastructure and point out the fundamental asymmetry and


unfairness that bricks and mortar businesses have when paying this


levy in comparison with some of their digital technology-based


businesses that they often compete with on a day-to-day basis. We all


know businesses on High Street have this problem. It is important for


the House to recognise there are many international taxation treaties


which inhibit the UK from taking unilateral action on the taxation of


global technology businesses because their nature is global rather than


domestic and everybody can appreciate the difficulties but I


would urge the Government to look to find more international agreement so


we can address the balance of business rate tax paid by physical


bricks and mortar businesses compared with their digital cousins.


I think it is incumbent on me, in line with staying true to the detail


and narrow nature of this Bill, to talk about five G mobile broadband,


following on from my honourable friend, this may seem a dull topic


but I can assure you, it is not. The reason it can be dull is because 5G,


like forgery or 3G, is something we take for granted. We don't think


about the work that goes into it. -- like 4G. Good to have released a


report that infrastructure for 5G will be just as pivotal over the


next ten years and will boost British productivity, something all


members of this House should wish to see. And the benefits are four areas


like telecare health apps, smarter cities, seamless public services,


user many benefits that 5G can bring and I urge members to support this


Bill because it provides some of the digital plumbing to enable us to


bring tangible benefits to constituents. I should also mention,


the point raised earlier, on 3G technology and 4G. There are some


areas still not at this level. I am bothered about time that I would


like to discuss this around broadband infrastructure rather than


4G etc, which is mobile phones. If the debate was on mobile


telecommunications that would be brilliant but we're not. The member


from North East Hampshire should know better than to lead you on to


discuss something not specifically related to... Forgive me, my first


point of order, I'm sure you'll indulge me as a relatively new


Member of Parliament, within the first clause, there is reference to


mobile phone telecommunication... I can help you because I am bothered


about the length of time and the number of speakers, so if we can


concentrate on the bulk of what it is about, it will be easier to get


everyone to speak. The last thing I would hate to do is not allow


someone to speak, seeing as you have been sat here all day, so I'd think


it is better to help the House move along to the area we need to


discuss, to talk about 3G over 4G is not relevant to today's debate, I


will make the Woodlands, you will listen and we can discuss it later


if you wish. Thank you. In closing, Mr Deputy Speaker, I believe this


Bill is a significant step forward, it helps our country to lead the


world in the new Industrial Revolution based on digital


technology and secondly, to show that this Government, indeed any


Government using its powers effectively, to make it truly


positive impact on people's lives when acting in the right way. To


enable superfast proper to reach more people more quickly. It is a


great pleasure to follow the distinguished speakers in this


debate who have made excellent points, particularly the member for


Hitchin Harpenden who so eloquently spoke of many issues we


face in our constituencies. I have some points to make about May I have


a little trip down memory lane to start? I recently purchased an


iPhone and it reminded me of my first iPhone which had a thing


called Edge, it did not have 3G. Those days are long behind us but


with this device, I can of course carry out a great number of tasks I


could not have done in the past. Today is my baby son, Henry's first


birthday. I apologise to him in advance if he ever watches this


Speech, but all is not lost, because due to the wonderful invention of


mobile phones on the internet, I can take part in the happy day and for


example, I can see him on Skype, I can speak to him, he wonders why his


father's voices coming out of a small box that my wife is holding in


front of him. I can see photographs. I can see videos of him opening


presents. These are present but of course were ordered by a well-known


very large internet company, I am sure, his everyday necessities are


ordered through the internet, there is no longer a requirement to go to


the shop and there is a possibility, I understand, to link up the House,


so I could turn up and down the lights in his room if I wished. I


could check on his welfare through a webcam that I could feel my mobile


phone. I think what is perhaps the most extraordinary and perhaps


disturbing, is there is a teddy bear in his room which is a company


called Cloud Pets, and I can record a message so that when he plays with


the Teddy, he can hear my voice. This is extraordinary. Lovely, of


course, on his first birthday, but the internet of course is not just


something to amuse and perhaps confuse, and perhaps even slightly


frightening, it is of course something of everyday importance for


us all. So many members have quite rightly referred to already, the


internet needs to be seen these days, and ceremony of the people of


Whitney and West Oxfordshire, as an essential utility. We all know and


expect that we're able to get about my roads, trains, that we're


connected to water, electricity and in some cases, gas. Those are things


we expect now and of course, the internet, not so many years ago, was


once seen as something that was a bit of a luxury. You might go online


and look at websites but it wasn't something you needed to have to do


but now it is very much the case because in many cases, services take


place online, so it is increasingly hard to carry this out over the


telephone and you increasingly encouraged by, for example,


utilities companies, rather than ringing and to speak to a person, to


go online and change your car off, for example, so it is absolutely


critical that everybody has access to these services immediately. --


change your car -- tariff. We have discussed broadband, superfast, and


I appreciate the House is aware that it's worth mentioning, it is


fibre-optic to Cabinet but from Cabinet to House is only copper and


that is an old system and it simply doesn't carry the data required


these days due to attenuation, the breakdown over the course of


difference and the physical effect of the current going through the


copper, the signal slows down so that by the time, even if you have


fibre-optic to the Cabinet, by the time you get to the House, you're


not receiving anything like superfast coverage. That is why,


although I am glad, and as the honourable member mentioned, that's


why there is still a job to do, as I think we would all accept and


superfast broadband is being rolled out across the entirety of the


country but there are 5-10% of people who don't have that, never


mind anything else and what we increasingly need his five to the


property, which enables you to have full speed broadband all the way. In


my own profession, I see why Mrs and I know other honourable members will


feel the same. As a barrister, papers are sent through the last


minute and they can be very large and Clerks would wish to e-mail them


to save us coming to Chambers to pick up papers before we go home and


if I had been in court in London and want to go to Chambers in Oxford


before I went home, I would wish to avoid that step. And that has been


the case, where I have had to go home to look at the e-mails to see


if it had been sent to me because there just wasn't broadband speed


enough to download the papers, so I had to get into the car, driving to


Chambers, pick up the political bundles and right back. All that


time I was wasting, wasting money, downgrading my productivity, adding


to the traffic on the roads, the pollution on the roads, all of which


was unnecessary and it is for those reasons, so when people write to me,


as they do frequently, who say it is impossible to carry out their


business, I entirely understand the point they make because I have


suffered from the same frustration myself. West Oxfordshire is full of


businesses who operate from home and I have been written to, I hope the


House will forgive me if just for a moment, I looked to my e-mails


before this debate and looked at how many villages had written to me and


over the brief time I have been a Member of Parliament I have been


contacted by constituents from various locations. 18 altogether.


I was written to by a gentleman and I quote him because he makes the


point very succinctly. He makes the point that they are lucky to get a


speed of 1.5 megabits per second and he points out that the indications


are that businesses working from high simply cannot, secondly, that


the traffic flow as I have alluded to people having collect items in


person or having to go to a workplace, but also third leave the


matter of education, that in many cases children are required to do


their homework online and cannot. My correspondent has missed out one of


the real drawbacks of the absence of a proper broadband connection and


that is in the ROMs of elderly care. We often go away to go and work


leaving in many case of elderly relatives in places without


immediate access to family. It is crucial that people are able to be


in contact with loved ones quickly and easily, and secondly, that they


are able to access the services as they need them the year to get


online to get medical advice or to book transport if that is necessary.


We are a long way away really from the days where I remember my father


going abroad on business trips and if he telephoned during the week, he


would wait while the signal parts of the satellite, went round the world.


When I was working in New Zealand, I was able to have a video conference


with my loved ones very quickly those powers exist only if you are


in an adequate Internet signal. For businesses particularly with regards


to the elderly, family and with regards to care as well. I have


referred to rural areas where I am conscious and I know many members


represent areas where that is the chief concern, but it is much the


same in cities as well. We are here in Westminster and in Westminster


and Lambeth, the speeds that are experienced by householders here in


many cases are not much better than those that we in representing rural


areas deal with there. Let us not think this is only something that


affects those of us who have loads of small villages in their area. The


same is true of cities as well. In my biggest town, Whitney, I was


written to by a lady and she makes the same point that has been


referred to by friends for Cannock Chase. With regards to developers.


Developments are built and certainly where my correspondent wrote to me,


she was frustrated to see that the Cabinet was very close but the


developers are not required to connect up the rest of the


properties and that clearly is something that causes immense


frustration understandably to that constituent and many others. The


digital economy is one, we agree 7%, three times faster than other areas


of the economy so it is one of enormous significance to the economy


and particularly in areas such as mine where there are so may people


who work from home, who are self-employed and who run small


businesses. That clearly is something very close to my heart. We


have talked about bank closures and there have been in many great bank


closures and that is because people are told that people do their


services online and that is all well and good provided they have the


ability to do so. Whilst you might have the strong signal in Kosten,


you would not necessarily in the surrounding villages outside. It


necessary to have that to pay your council tax, to go Internet


shopping. It is one of the wonders of the Internet age and when I was


younger, you might want to have a particular book, and you would have


to order from the local book shop and it would take months to arrive,


whereas now some of the romance of that is lost because you can have


almost anything and then it appears weird in a matter of days. But this


is a wonder of the Internet age as it is with music and for those of us


who are music lovers, once there was a particular song and album and you


might be able to track it down somewhere, now with many well-known


streaming services, one can listen to whatever you like immediately


again provided that you have a good enough Internet service to do it. It


is absolutely crucial that we have the ability to have decent


high-speed and I mean proper high-speed ultrafast broadband


capabilities for necessities and for business. The honourable member for


North Dorset has given an inkling to the sorts of things that happened


that are required in rural economies. In years gone by, much of


the economy was provided indirectly or directly by something by the


Cotswold lion. It is blankets and gloves that in not be too distant


past was the mainstay of Whitney's economy. Now we are looking to


unlock tourism, we are looking to provide bed-and-breakfast


accommodation. We have a great many houses that are let for sure lets.


It is essential that people are able to get those online. On Saturday I


went to the Whitney Carnival and many of these events and fates which


are all over West Oxford, there are small stores which are where people


sell things from their business and it may be artists, it may be food


products and again all of these are made possible and made successful by


access to good, fast broadband and without that, it simply will not


take place. The businesses will not work and so I cannot stress and


opener Joe for saying it and over again, broadband is not a luxury. It


is absolutely essential in this day and age and when people from West it


point out they have a slow connection and they ought to have a


fast one, I agree with them, it is essential for them for their


personal life and businesses. As we look at home businesses, premises,


tourism, across the entire industry, broadband is necessary. The


Government has taken great steps and I thank the Government from before


the times that I came into Parliament and its continuing


efforts for rolling out fast broadband, but it is necessary for


us to complete the job. I applaud the fact there is a legal rights


being introduced to superfast broadband. We have about 90%


coverage in Whitney at the moment but clearly we need to work towards


100% as possible, and I applaud and welcome the measures the Government


is introducing at this stage. The universal service obligation and the


400 million going into the digital infrastructure investment fund. I


particularly encourage their private investment that we have. I grateful


to BT for having being proactive in my constituency but with sound


money, good local governance the role of strong, investing locally,


we can provide this full solution and using local companies who are


flexible and agile and cost-effective for money and I would


encourage that. I will touch on the two cruises in the build that I


considered the most relevant. The first is business rates relief for


this bill quite rightly puts broadband alongside the belief that


already exists for small businesses, charitable beliefs and rural


businesses. And close six promises the effect of this will be more or


less immediate and I applaud that at this stage. Five G of course is


something as over the course of time... Broadband and mobile


telephony is combining over the course of the years and that is


something I wholly applaud. Fixing not spots is something we must do


and I applaud the Government for everything it has done. Just to say


he may want to take a few pages out at his now ten minutes each. I am


grateful for your ruling earlier on this evening because it has given me


the opportunity to speak for ten minutes rather than nine or I can


make it eight to give someone else more time? I am grateful indeed to


you for that. The member for Whitney, I felt great sympathy for


him and many would have been in a similar situation when trying to


communicate with members of our family whether it be birthdays or


anniversaries, but also because he and I and the honourable member for


Hexham were all members of the same chambers and therefore in the same


situation when trying to download papers on e-mail to make sure that


the papers arrived in court on time. But I do stand to me welcome this


bill and the importance of broadband as we have heard from so many other


members this evening cannot be overstated. It is as important as


road and rail, it is a vital part of our infrastructure and although I am


pleased with the progress the Government is making I will dwell on


one or two brief points to say where improvements still need to be made.


But I do start with a word of congratulations because it is right


to acknowledge where the Government is moving in the right direction and


to stand here and say 93% coverage for superfast at present is an


achievement indeed. I also applaud the ambition to have 95% coverage by


the end of 2017. I was pleased to hear that the Government is on


target. But it is frustrating and this is a point that has been


repeated this evening, it is frustrating for those of the 5% who


was still left without and many of us who are spoken will represent


constituents who are in exactly that position. I know a number of


constituents will not be consoled by the fact that 95% of the rest of the


population have access to superfast broadband whilst they do not. I


needn't dwell on specific speeds in relation to the Internet suffice it


to say that the 1000 Mb per second that is lauded as a part of this


bill is warmly welcomed but it is a figure that would be staggering to


many of my constituents who are struggling on 0.5 - 1 megabit per


second and cannot imagine those speeds so vast as 1000 Mb per


second. But if I may just well on two or three very brief examples


from my constituency. And those are examples that constituents have


raised with me and I must declare an interest that I'm a self in the


village of Lucian affected by many of these same issues. The first is a


constituent who wrote to me with great concern about the broadband


speeds and these are speeds of between 0.5 and 1 megabit per


second. It has been mentioned that we use our Internet for more and


more things these days, including education and I think my honourable


friend for Faversham mentioned researching points of education but


it goes further. Many of our children are asked to do homework


based on the Internet employee based on the Internet, in fact they have


to access the Internet to download homework they are doing on that


particular evening. One constituent wrote to me saying they have to


actually a Russian the amount of homework that their family can do


and take it intends to get onto the computer and carry out their


homework because the speeds of 0.5 - 1 megabit per second do not allow


for two children to do their homework at one and the same time.


This additional point was made that when updating software Microsoft


these days you don't get a wonderful DVD that you put in your computer,


you have to download it and therefore if the speeds are not fast


enough, you simply cannot download and update the software. The second


example that I have been given by a constituent involves several bull


business. This constituent lives about 100 metres from a different


network that would be so much faster where the business could function


properly, but as it is, struggling on less than 1 megabit per second he


has to go to his place of work in order to download his work, the


speeds simply will not allow the Atlantis was a point made. BT have


not been fixable enough. An example was merchant where Beatty were


flexible, however in this case they have not been flexible enough and


will not allow my constituent to change despite the distance of


nearly 50 metres or so. I am conscious of the time but I


want to make one or two final points, in relation to postcodes. I


am conscious the Minister will soon jump up to the dispatch box but


quite often date is arranged by postcode and percentages are


cultivated on the basis of postcodes but some roads in fact have the same


postcode but different exchanges and I think of one particular example in


Dorset where it is claimed they have the potential to access superfast


broadband on the basis of a postcode alone and the fact is that is


absolutely not the case because it has one postcode but two separate


exchanges. I warmly welcome the measures set out in this Bill but it


will not solve all the problems overnight and when my constituents


look at the full fibre speeds to the door rather than the Cabinet, they


applauded but they wanted soon. Thank you for indulging me, Mr


Deputy Speaker and I sit down in advance of those ten minutes. Doctor


Caroline Johnson. Thank you. To speak tonight on this Bill is a


pleasure because as I campaign to a by-election in December, broadband


was one of the major issues and trying to deliver broadband


throughout my constituency is part of the 5-point plan many of you


helped me campaign on in those winter months. I agree with my


colleague, the member for Whitney, when he says broadband is essential.


This is a relatively new thing, when a look back to my own childhood and


I am not that old, I remember there are simply being one BBC computer of


the school that we went to a class at a time to go into use. Only when


I got to university to burst out of the really use of the internet and


the ability to send e-mails but at that stage, it was e-mails to others


within the university. In my case, mostly to a man who is now my


husband, actually. But now we cannot see how we could possibly live


without it, whether we are young or old, as my colleague has said,


whether it is an opportunity to do homework and I know my constituents


and indeed my own children have come home with things like maths


applications that they're supposed to do online that they simply cannot


because with speeds of less than two megabytes of broadband, it is just


not possible to do this work and this is affecting opportunities for


education for children in our most rural constituencies. Young people


in general are having difficulties, when you turn on the television or


open sky broadband, you get suggestions to watch downloads, TV


on demand or downloading films but you cannot because actually that's


not available to those people living in rural constituencies that I


represent, where download speed of less than two megabytes are very


common. It is perhaps the business people that the lack of broadband


represents the greatest problem. For small businesses, particularly in


rural areas, farmers, who have to complete single farm payment online,


reloading and freeloading and reloading the page becomes very


wearisome. We are now being asked to complete tax online and will be


asked to come pleated four times a year online and VAT returns and all


this becomes more wearisome as we have to do it online and physically


cannot. Job applications, you want to advertise for a new employee? You


do it online. You want to apply, you do it online. All of the things


cannot be achieved because we do not have access to what is now in effect


a utility. For families who want to do their shopping, it's not possible


in many parts of my constituency. People tell me they live in the most


rural area and cannot order shopping. But for the elderly, it is


perhaps more of a concern. Jo Cox started a foundation for loneliness,


looking at people in our community, the elderly, you're cut off from


society and perhaps that more great in the rural communities and in the


cities. The internet offers people who live in rural communities the


opportunity to connect to families through Skype and other methods of


communication and it also offers opportunities for telemedicine, as


we look at opportunities for social care and the elderly, telemedicine


to monitor the condition and well-being of an elderly person, is


something that allows us to improve our social care offering to


communities everywhere but if we do not have the internet resource to


support that, we cannot do that. I do welcome the Government's 93%


coverage for superfast broadband and I think we have seen great strides


in increasing those people with access to this wonder but for those


who do not have access to it, it has become increasingly frustrating.


Those people living in one area, for example, said they can't see the


Cabinet and we do not have access to it because we're coming off a


different exchange and by the time the signal reaches us from that


Cabinet, it is now so slow as to be virtually useless. These people are


being supported through the community five Premiership and I


hope -- community vibe partnership. One constituents said they were full


of excitement at the sight of the superfast broadband sign of growing


up in the constituency, the little box in the corner but it was right


outside their House and they are not connected to it, they're connected


to one down the road. And finally, can I declare an interest that I


happen to live close to this village, they were told they would


get broadband by September that the railway line, which isn't new, they


have been told that because of the railway line, even though they were


promised for this September, it will now not certainly happen, it seems


to have been indefinitely postponed. It beggars belief that in this day


and age something as simple as a branch line should prevent the


upgrade of a broadband network. Overall, I think this Bill, which


will reduce or abolish temporarily the business rates on fibre


broadband for five years, will encourage placement of new fibre


lines and I very much hope it will encourage the placement of new fibre


lines into rural components of my constituency and I hope that in


focusing this money, this benefit, the minister is minded to ensure it


is those people in rural communities currently suffering without access


to this vital utility that are prioritised over increasing speeds


from very fast to even faster in the town centres and cities of this


country. Thank you. It is a pleasure to be the last Speaker to be called


during this debate, which has been interesting, I think at times the


connection between the clauses of this Bill and the content of


speeches has been perhaps well and truly lost. Indeed, there was a


suggestion that constituents of hours will have been able to watch


this debate online, in which case I find myself at certain parts having


sympathy with those 93% of the public that do indeed have access to


do so. The member for North East Hampton share made the point -- the


member for North East Hampshire. He made the point out a battery not


lasting long but this has been an interesting debate and one which I


am delighted to take the last few minutes to further. Mr Deputy


Speaker, despite great work by my county of East Sussex, and indeed


the Government, there are too many of my constituents who do not have a


connection to fast broadband. My constituency is one where the


constituents have an aged profile and from our perspective it is


essential to balance our economy to get more people to come and live and


work in East Sussex, which is of course not that far from London but


from a commuting perspective, for many, particularly with the travails


we have with Southern Rail, it is too far to attract workers to come


to our constituency. We are also fortunate to have 75% of the


geography as an area of outstanding natural beauty, so therefore, it's a


natural area for people to want to come and set up their own businesses


but they will not do so unless they have the conductivity of superfast


broadband. Would my honourable friend give way on that point? He


describes the constituency different from my errand, the city of


Gloucester, but with similar issues because we struggle with black


spots, where most of the city is covered but certain blackspots where


people cannot access broadband to enable them to work from home, which


is similar to the problem might honourable friend describes. I thank


my honourable friend for his point and he's absolutely right, it is not


just rural parts that parts which will not continue to regenerate


without this problem being fixed. I welcome this Bill as a result of 5G


installations and it should Act as a further incentive that they need in


my constituency to provide a fix. I also welcome the previous bills


introduction of the new universal service obligation, which again


should give the last 7% faster broadband. As has been mentioned,


this type of conductivity, this infrastructure in the modern age is


akin to the delivery of a new road or rail way to our constituents and


it is vital for the entire economy than we do not leave these


constituents behind. As well as recognising investment from the


Government and previous funding initiatives, may I recommend


conservative front East Sussex County Council and Labour-run Royton


and Hove Borough Council for working together to help businesses. Through


their East Sussex Project, Mark County have allocated money for


areas too expensive for the market to upgrade. Every exchange in East


Sussex will be included in the current project will cover an area


of 660 square miles and over 66,500 premises. This will result in over


400 new telecoms cabinets and other structures and will lay over 1000


kilometres of fibre, the same distance as would be between


Brighton and Berlin. The first East Sussex contract is receiving


excellent results in bringing better and more reliable fibre broadband to


many areas that would not otherwise benefit from an upgraded service.


However, there remain properties and hard to reach, for example where it


is too far from the upgraded cabinet to benefit from any speed uplift and


hard to reach generally means too expensive for the public purse to


fund. East Sussex has therefore assigned a secondary contract with


BT for further investment so that an additional 5000 homes and businesses


in East Sussex will be able to access high-speed fibre broadband.


There has been much talk of political parties coming together a


a common interest today. Perhaps this is a local illustration of the


power of positive collaboration and working together. I give way again.


I am grateful. Can he shared with us whether his council and that in


Brighton has introduced in its planning requirements and absolute


requirement on developers to provide superfast broadband as part of their


planning application? This is an area where our councils and others


could do more. Thank you. In answer to the comment, I do not believe


they have but this touches on another issue because whilst I am


referring to East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove


Borough Council, it is outside of Brighton but with the Sussex, the


district councils which actually have the planning powers he


referenced, so I am afraid to say that I doubt that they do this is


perhaps a good example of where districts could work together with


county cousins. Whilst all of this scene is great news for East Sussex,


I am afraid we are from a low base in terms of where we operate from. A


recent report by the consumer organisation which found that the


geography of the District Council in my constituency is in the bottom ten


of all district and boroughs in the entire British Isles for average


broadband speeds, so rather joins the Highlands, Shetland and Orkney


Islands in the bottom ten performing areas. In contrast, those fortunate


residents from Tamworth, which topped the list for speeds, with an


average of 30 megabits per second, will be more fortunate than my


constituents, with the average speed is less than 10 megabits per second


for Rother. I very much welcome the commitment


by the Minister that by 2020 100% of my constituents will receive 10


megabits by second. However it would appear that the increased


performance for the District Council will be vital if the Government is


going to meet its 100% target, so can I put in a blatant invitation to


the Minister to meet with me and discuss what in this bill could be


on offer to my constituents in order for me to then assist the Government


in meeting their 100% target. In conclusion, I welcome this bill as


part of a package of proactive measures from this Government to


deliver faster broadband. I should also mention that I additionally


welcome further reforms to the business rate mechanism and whilst I


do not wish to wander off too far, there have been examples where


business rates can impact businesses where services are being offered. We


should not forget that members are subject to business rates as well, a


matter I found out to my personal cost having excluded my staff


budgets. -- exceeded. I welcome the point that business rates can be


linked towards turnover rather than to premises and that will help my


constituency. As a further meander can I also make... There is no


prohibition on him deleting a little further if he is minded to do so. He


has clearly got an expected audience. I think at least part of


that sentence was perhaps a little helpful to me and perhaps not


accurate. But the point I wanted to touch on was with regard to


corporation tax and whilst I think I would be making a very collaborative


speech so far that members of the opposition may agree, it is this


aspect that I wish to take issue with because corporation tax as has


been pointed out has reduced and the overall yield, the amount of money


that can be put into the public services has increased, so for


whatever reason the opposition would want to increase corporation taxes


and reduced the amount of money on public services to me is illogical


and I give way. Has he not once more powerfully shown the benefits of the


Laffer curve where lower rates lead to more tax revenue? I thank the


honourable member for reminding me for something I have not heard since


my days doing A-levels, studying economics. He is absolutely right


and this brings me to another point with respect to the opposition. As


well as supporting this bill, it is important to support the aims which


are to increase business, to increase turnover, the amounts of


money we can put into public services. On a recent visit I've


made to the new Bexhill business park where the Government is


creating the funds for a new road and in return, there is hope that


investment is generated for new businesses setting up. There are


many businesses from across Europe who are looking to set up and place


their business headquarters on that business Park and at times when


perhaps business confidence is a little uncertain due to our own


position with regard to the EU, it is essential to make sure we have


the lowest possible corporation tax base to ensure those businesses have


every incentive to invest in this country not just for the short-term


but the long-term and I'm sure those businesses will be delighted that


this Government has been returned to deliver just that. In conclusion to


my conclusion, I very much welcome the steps that have been taken by


this Government to incentivise further broadband roll-out. I hope


that it will help my constituents who I repeat again in the lowest ten


districts in case the SNP had not heard the first time round and I


very much look forward to supporting this bill as it spends its many days


through committee stage. Thank you. We on this side of the House to


welcome this measure. It is vital that our homes and businesses have


access to broadband and that broadband is faster, safer and more


reliable than before. That is why we will be scrutinising this bill


carefully in committee. As the Chancellor has put it this country


was late to the forgery party, so let's do all we can to ensure the UK


is at the forefront of five G communications and has full fibre


broadband to support it. There was some doubt that this bill would


appear. The policy was originally announced in the Chancellor's Autumn


Statement in 2016 and was due to be implemented as the local got the


Finance bill but this was scuppered by the general election. It was not


mentioned in the Queen's speech and there were some industry nervousness


that it had been abandoned, but here we are, early July, with the


stand-alone bill and I am glad we are. Now as we have heard the bill


has a simple premise, at least I thought it was simple before I


attended the start of this debate five hours ago. It will encourage


firms to install new optical fibre by providing 100th and business rate


relief and will do so for a period of five years minimum backdated to


last April and we understand it will cost the Exchequer around 65 million


by 20 22. Sure to be welcome news to the UK's broadband companies and


many of whom wrote to the Chancellor to complain that the current


business rate regime is not fit for purpose and it discourages inward


investment and upgrades. This reform meets some of those concerns. The


fact is those business leaders were really talking about the whole


business rates regime. This bill deals with just one aspect where we


actually need to be talking about the whole system and many members


from across the House have agreed with that. There are many changes to


the system that we could help to support businesses and we outline


some of those in our manifesto, including switching from RPI to CPI


indexation, exempting new investment in plant and machinery and insurance


business have access to a proper appeals process. I appreciate this


is a stand-alone bill that deals with digital infrastructure, but I


do feel it is no more than a sticking plaster for our moribund


business rate system when we need a total rethink. It is a framework


bill, it is short on detail. For example, conditions of eligibility


will be outlined in future regulations and this is why we need


to scrutinise the bill, but I wonder which firms will benefit? The relief


is expected to boost the big data providers, for example, Virgin


Media, project lightning and also BT Openreach but it is not clear


whether the smaller firms will benefit at least originally and I


would like to hear from the minister about how he expects the reform to


impact on the smaller providers. It would be a great shame if this was


merely a bill for big business. Would it help smaller firms if the


provisions could be applied retrospectively to capture work on


the full fibre networks that have already taken place? Like many


members across the House I do have the concern about how it will


benefit Britain's rural communities who have not done so well out of the


broadband revolution. There are many areas that have been dogged by poor


connectivity and indeed it applies to urban areas as well. My own area


I could not get broadband speeds for the past seven years. It was last


week we were connected thanks to the housing plan -- company that built


my house not allowing them to cable it. But many customers still do not


get the advertised speeds that they are paying for. If they want an


upgrade, they pay for the upgrade. And what they are getting is not


what is advertised and I really commend their witch report on the


broadband speeds. If we pay for our water rates and the utility company


media gave us a trickle out of the tap, we would be quick to complain.


Many members have said that broadband and speeds are the next


utility. Why is this not included then? Businesses have suffered by


not having the proper access to markets and customers that they


should have, the public have suffered, cutting them off from


Internet sites and the entertainment sources and Air Jordan are doubly


penalised in so much of the modern education relies on online


resources, but I must mention Digital exclusion which has been


lacking here. More and more services are going online. In fact there have


been closures of job centres recently as people are encouraged to


apply online for all their benefits, council services and yet, many


people do not have access to this. In fact, in my own constituency in


the Wigan Borough, 99% of people do have access to faster broadband,


only 74% of them have the skills to use it. I do hope the cuts in the


adult education budget particularly of penalising these people from


joining the digital economy that we all enjoy here. As I said at the


outset, we on this side support the bill. It is an important step


towards securing better broadband connectivity and access, but it is


more than just access. It can only work if it is part of a broader


picture which on the one hand fully incentivises businesses to invest in


the future, and on the other hand ensures everyone and not just a


select few benefit from the reforms and that is more than just this


bill. It does mean education, it means ensuring that everyone has the


skills to take advantage of this great step forward. We have had an


interesting and at times wide ranging debate on this important


bill. It was good to see such interest on the Government


backbenchers in relation to this important subject, but slightly


disappointing not to see one speech from the opposition backbenches on


what is a critical issue across the country. The improvement of


connectivity in the digital age helps individuals in their


workplace, in their home and can transform public services and the


economy. Improved connectivity will bring significant economic reports.


Research suggests that increased broadband speeds alone could add ?17


billion to the UK output by 2024. This is something which has been


recognised by all members who have spoken today. I would like to thank


the many colleagues who have made contributions to date and the


passionate way in which members have spoken. It shows that we here in


Parliament will recognise the importance of investing in our


telecommunications infrastructure. This ensures that we help to close


the digital divide and help to get higher quality, more reliable and


resilient connectivity to more households and businesses. This


brings forward the technical changes to legislation needed to introduce


100% business rates relief for five years for newly installed fibre


infrastructure. The importance which we place in this relief is


recognised in the fact we have brought forward this bill so quickly


in the session. The Chancellor announced at the Autumn Statement


that we would provide relief on new fibre with effect from 1st of April


2000 17. It is vital we move quickly to reassure the sector that that


relief will follow. Investment decisions have been made upon the


back of the Chancellor 's commitment and it is right we move forward with


this bill to give us the power was to deliver the relief that has been


promised. The supports this bill introduces forms part of a wider ?1


billion government package of measures being put in place to


support investment in digital infrastructure and forms an


important part of the Government's Digital strategy. As such this bill


will help to maintain the UK's current high-ranking as an Internet


e-commerce economy as well as providing significant coverage of


quick reliable broadband connections to homes across the country. I want


to mention some of the contributions that have been made in this debate.


First of all by the honourable gentleman for Denton and Redditch


who did welcome the bill and he also made the economic case for the bill.


And I feel he did acknowledge that this Government is investing in the


technology of the future. He did intimate that the measures in the


bill will favour larger providers, but just to reassure him on the


contrary, this bill actually helps the smaller providers and opens up


competition and actually puts those smaller providers on a more level


playing field and I think we heard several contributions where that was


a view that was reiterated. In terms of business rate retention,


we're clear we want local Government to keep more of the taxes they raise


locally, that was in our manifesto and something we are looking to


follow through on. I will give way. I am grateful to the Minister for


giving way. I have raised this point in point of order and through other


mechanisms in the last week, can he clarify that it is still the


Government's intention to proceed with the measures that were in the


local Government Finance Bill relating to local retention of


business rates in the same timetable that was set out with the changes to


the revenue support grant? As I said, this Government is absolutely


committed to allowing local Government to keep taxes they raise


locally, that was in our manifesto, but he did make an important point


during his contribution about local Government wanting certainty, he


made that point using a little bit of faux rage, I thought, because


local Government currently has a four year... We do need to provide


certainty to local Government and it is our intention to do just that. He


also mentioned regular evaluations, I won't give way, I want to make


some progress, in terms of re-evaluations, I want to tell him


we are committed to delivering more frequent re-evaluations. Another


point was made about the detail of the measures within the Bill. As the


honourable lady who made the point knows, this is a framework and we


will bring forward for other regulations to implement this Bill


but I can assure her that those regulations will be put forward


before the Committee stage of this Bill, so that honourable members can


scrutinise those regulations during the passage of the Bill. Moving


on... Mr Andrew Quinn, point of order. You know I have stood up this


dispatch box on a number of locations on this important issue


and ask you how we can get a response and statement from the


Secretary of State for his ministers. The last time, the


Secretary of State did say we could raise it in a debate. I have asked


the question and we still have not got answers. How do we get that


certainty for local Government? The answer to the honourable gentleman


is that if he had first does not succeed, he must try and try again,


I am sure this is something his mother must have taught at school.


What I would say is, persist, go to the table office, think of the


opportunities for different types of questions and as we approach the


summer recess, the relative urgency or emergency of what he seeks.


Minister? Thank you, Mr Speaker. Moving onto contributions made by


other members. I just want to firstly comment on comments made by


the member for Wantage, he showed his significant knowledge in this


area when he welcomed the Bill and it was good to see the significant


knowledge that he has, he did confirm his fault was this would


help and incentivise smaller providers and increase the


competition, a point reiterated by the member for North West Hampshire.


My honourable friend for Wantage did mention the impact this would have


on mobile infrastructure and 5G. He also mentioned looking at the


planning system in relation to making sure we have mobile


infrastructure we need and I am sure my right honourable friend will be


aware that in the Digital Economy Act, there have since from that set


of regulations, been put forward in the House last November, which will


speed up the planning process for telecom infrastructure. With regard


to the honourable gentleman for Carmarthen, he welcomed the


framework for England and Wales and acknowledged this Bill actually will


put on a framework that will allow the devolved Government to take up


or not is the case maybe, the measures in Bill. He was right to


point out also that this will provide funding for Wales through


Barnett consequentials. My honourable friend for North Dorset


also made a very important point about the potential loss of income


to local authorities during the implementation of this Bill and just


to reassure him, that where a network is on the local waiting


list, compensation for local Government will be provided via a


grant to cover that particular local authority's share of the cost of


providing the business rate relief. My honourable friend for North West


Hampshire welcomed the Bill, which fulfils a wish, as I understand it,


of his, that he had during the passage of the Digital economy is


ill and he seemed extremely pleased that one of the suggestions made was


giving this very business rate relief has been taken up by the


Government. My honourable friend for Faversham talked about the


importance of the Bill in the context of social conclusion and


tackling loneliness. Tim Visser into rural small businesses that would


benefit from the delivery of five broadband to those communities. My


honourable friend for Aldridge-Brownhills recognise that


the five-year rate relief period would provide a significant


incentive to providers of fibre broadband and she made a perceptive


comment, as did my honourable friend for Bexhill and Battle that this


type of fibre broadband is becoming as an important part of our nation's


infrastructure as is currently our road and rail network. My honourable


friend for Boston and Skegness made a very important contribution and I


know has campaigned tirelessly on this particular issue, spoke about


the benefits the Government will get in terms of its investment in this


area being returned many times over, as a result of the increase in


economic activity it will create. My honourable friend for Cannock Chase


talked about the importance of fibre connectivity on new housing estates


and sited close water Grange and also mentioned the opportunity the


fibre roll-out could give to new industrial developments and my


honourable friend did not lose the opportunity or for covert, to


mention the rooms lead the power station site, which China is


important to her to her and her constituents. My honourable friend


for North East Hampshire welcomed the Bill and mentioned that in rural


areas, this profession could well assist tech jobs that had it you may


not have been able to be delivered in rural areas. I will give way.


Thank you, you are mentioning rural areas and I would like you to


reference my constituency, broadband is imperative not only for my


constituency need to log files but for many businesses across the three


towns I represent, Wayne collectivity in our rural areas and


a headache and comment that. High concurrent with what my honourable


friend says, and my honourable friend for Sleaford and North


Hykeham made similar comments with regard to how these types of


measures will help those engaged in her constituency in terms of the


agricultural industry and farming. So, Mr Speaker... In conclusion,


this Bill will help businesses and households with their broadband and


support the economy. It is only one of several measures. The House


cannot wait to hear more of the auditory of the honourable


gentleman. This is one of several measures we're taking on relating to


broadband and business rates and I commend it to the House. The


question is that the Bill now be read a second time. As many as are


of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no". I think the ayes


have it. Motion to be moved formally. As many as are of the


opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no". The ayes have it. The question


is as on the order paper. As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To


the contrary, "no". The ayes have it. Order, order. We come to the


adjournment. Quick to move. The question is that this House does now


adjourned. As I am often moved to observe, if inexplicably some


members do not wish to hear the debate on the future of the King


George Hospital in Ilford, I hope they will leave the Chamber quickly


and quietly. So we can hear the oration from the constituency Member


of Parliament and his neighbour, to whom the matter is of great


importance. The question is that this House do now adjourned. Thank


you, it is a pleasure to be called before 10pm. I wish to begin by


saying that earlier this evening, I was at a celebration function


organised by the barking Havering and Redbridge University trust. This


was to celebrate the fact that they, after three years, came out of


special measures in March. This event was a very good occasion


because it enabled me to get even more up-to-date information before


this debate. They have published ten tips to climb out of special


measures and I'm sure other NHS trusts may find this accountable.


They have also published a booklet, the only way is up, which is


original, and this details the strenuous efforts made by all the


staff and the management and various people that they were engaged with


in order to achieve this great progress. In my 25 years in this


House, I have often had to bring to the attention of the House and the


Government, problems in the NHS in my area. It's not the first time I


have talked about the future of King George Hospital. And although the


hospital, which is one of the two hospitals with Queen's Hospital,


Romford, within our trust, is now improving and is under the best


management, in my opinion, that it is ever had in 25 years, there are


still clouds on the horizon. Firstly, there is inexplicably a


delay in an announcement about the future of the north-east London NHS


treatment centre, where I understand there is some difference of opinion


between local CCGs and I have to declare an interest, I had an


operation on my nose in that facility a few years ago and found


it to be very good. But there is a very strong argument that this


facility could be brought in House, within the NHS and no longer


provided by Care UK as a provider. And that would allow greater


flexibility on site for longer planning of what might happen at


King George Hospital. Secondly, I referred to clouds on the horizon,


there is the ongoing social care crisis. This has impacted in my


local authority and neighbouring authorities very much. It is linked


to the 40% cuts in funding for Redbridge local authority which we


have hacked and also the one hand, ageing population but secondly...


Order, the two move. The question is that this House now do adjournment.


The ongoing social care crisis which has major difficulties. Private care


homes are struggling and there is an issue of quality. And one advantage


it seems to me of the King George Hospital site is that it is


co-located next door to the facilities of the north-east London


foundation trust, good maize hospital and its various other


facilities that provide support for people with learning difficulties,


people with acute and severe but also with minor, less severe mental


health problems. It would seem logical if we are going to have


joined up NHS treatment that we could have alongside a hospital


facilities for those who need short-term, temporary or maybe


longer care in a transition either to or from the NHS facilities next


door. This site is big enough to do that and with imagination, it could


be a model which could be followed. We also have a third cloud on the


horizon. Which is the north-east London draft stability and


transformation plan. The Minister will recall that he and I had a very


useful meeting in February when I met him and his then colleague, we


had a very useful discussion about the implications of the huge deficit


in north-east London, ?586 million, and the potential cuts that would be


huge. In the budget over the next four years. And the implications


that would have. I raise this in detail in the debate on the 16th of


December 2016 and that was why following that I had a meeting with


ministers. I have to say I am very concerned that the funding gap, even


if we have predicted regular savings within the NHS of around ?220


million or ?240 million would still be ?336 million by 2021. One of the


most worrying points about this plan and I understand it's still a draft,


it has not been signed off, but I went to a meeting last week whether


people involved in this organisation looking at the plan were discussing


it and reference was made by senior figures in the London NHS to the


plan and they said, you have to work on the basis of the plan. The plan


has not been signed off, it has not been approved yet by the people


within the NHS health economy in north-east London are thinking ahead


as though it will be. And one of the points in that plan points out that


the population of the north-east London boroughs will increase by 18%


over the next 15 years. And that is equivalent to a new city. Normally


with that level of population increase you would need a new


hospital, but there is no provision and no funding and no expectation of


a new hospital. Instead what is proposed and it is still in the


plan, is the downgrading of the existing King George Hospital in my


constituency and the accident and emergency department to be taken


away. This is not a new proposal. In fact I have been campaigning to save


the A in my constituency for more than ten years. But formerly the


decision was only taken by the former Health Secretary Andrew


Lansley in 2011. That decision linked at that time to a suggestion


of closing the maternity services at King George Hospital said that those


two things would happen in around two years. That was October 2000 and


11. The reality is the maternity services did go in early 2013. They


went to Queens and they have been improvements, I don't question that,


but the way and he could not close, there was no capacity at other


hospitals in the region, in the area and in addition it was quite clear


that it required a huge capital investment that was not forthcoming.


So 2011 decision, 2013 no action. Issue was deferred and then because


of a variety of issues, the trust got into the special measures three


years ago to which I have already made mention. When the trust came


out of special measures, of course, then the question becomes does it


then go ahead with the plans to close the A? I know that it is


impossible practically for that closure to happen soon. But the


plan, the stability and transformation plan still says that


it is intended to close the a and D in 2019. The original suggestion was


that from September this year they would stop having a 24-hour service


and they would get rid of the overnight A In January, that was


dropped. Which I welcome. But the reality is it is still in the plan


and it is still proposed and this cloud still hangs over this trust


and all the accident staff who have done so much to bring our hospital


out of special measures. I give way. I congratulate him on securing this


important debate. In my capacity as a Labour councillor I am chairing a


cross-party working group on the future of A provision and one of


the frustrating things is that all of the local health leaves in


north-east London are working to a decision made by the previous


Secretary of State, a decision which still stands, they have to work


towards it, they do not believe it is achievable, clinically sound and


yet when pressed to abandon the plan they printed the -- point to the


Secretary of State. I hope the Minister will be able to reverse the


decision. I am grateful to that intervention. In fact, the Secretary


of State came to Ilford to my honourable friend constituency


during the election campaign for a private Conservative Party function


and he was asked by the local paper about the plans to close the A at


King George Hospital, and he said, quote, it would not be closed, there


were no plans to close it in the foreseeable future. I don't know how


big the crystal ball is, I don't know what kind of telescope the


Secretary of State has an witch and he is looking through. The fact is


foreseeable does not necessarily mean it is not going to close in


2019. If it is not going to close in the near future or even the


medium-term future, why not lift the cloud of uncertainty over the staff


and over the planning process? And secondly, then we could have a


serious look at the draft stability and transformation plan for


north-east London, which is predicated as part of its proposals


on the closure of the A at King George Hospital. In January, the


trust wrote a letter saying that it is our intention to make the changes


by 2019, but please be assured nothing will happen until we are


fully satisfied all necessary resources are in place, including


the additional capacity of neighbouring hospitals and we have


made sure it is safe for our patients. In the meantime, the


existing A facilities at King George will continue to operate as


now. The reality is there real snow additional resorts going in than the


capital that will be required to provide the beds for 400 patients at


King George Oval all and we are in a very uncertain future if the A was


to be close, where with this patients go? There would be need for


capital investment at Queens, big capital investment at whips across


and that would take time and resources at a time when NHS budgets


of seriously pressed, and we still have that huge deficit within our


regional health economy. Why not take the issue of the agenda and my


friend and I wrote jointly a letter to the Secretary of State with the


leader of our council, leader of Redbridge council last month


requesting that the Secretary of State reverse the decision taken by


his predecessor, formerly to allow certainty and allow planning on a


more sensible basis than we currently have. Last week, one of


our health campaigners who put various questions and freedom of


information requests, Andy Walker, who is a very persistent campaigner,


received a response from the barking, favouring an Redbridge


trust which commented on this issue and it also made clear the same


formulation. We have been very clear, no changes will be made until


we have the relevant assurance that it is safe to do so and this remains


the case. That formulation has been used for several years. It is like a


stuck record. It is not safe to make the changes, it is not safe, why not


have a new approach, an imaginative approach that says let's look at


social care? Look at the potential for developing the site? Look at


collaboration between the mental health services of the north-east


London foundation trust and providing particular forms of


housing and support? And this area could be a model for a new way


forward. I know from discussions I have had that there are people


within various NHS organisations who are currently working on


possibilities of this kind. But they cannot go any further than possible


explorations whilst this cloud of the threat to close the A still


lives on the table. If the Secretary of State would take that off the


table then we could have some serious discussions about


improvements to health facilities, not just dealing with the A but


also trying to deal with other issues. We have on the King George


site at this moment, we also have an urgent care centre which just


recently had a CQC inspection and was rated as requires improvement.


And this is an indication again of the problems that we face. I then my


constituency have a lot of inadequate GP facilities. I have


lots of problems with people coming to me complaining that they cannot


get through one-stop primary care has a crisis in north-east London.


Of of recruitment, of standards of services. Again, if we could have an


Emmanuel at it you of the facilities at the King George Hospital site, we


could make a big difference to primary care as well as to the acute


services and the mental health services next door. So my plea to


the Minister, to the Government is take the closure of the A off the


table and let us then work in a collaborative way to improve the NHS


in north-east London and in my constituency. It is a pleasure to


serve under you, Mr Speaker, this evening and to have another debate


sponsored by the honourable member for Ilford South and I congratulate


him for his tenacity in keeping the subject of the King George Hospital


at the forefront of health ministers's minds in recent years,


not least during my tenure as he rightly said earlier on, we had a


meeting in February with myself and my former colleague to discuss many


of the issues he has raised this evening, so I hope he will forgive


me if some of what I say he has heard before, but his honourable


friend their member for Ilford North, I congratulate him on joining


us this evening. He obviously has experience of these matters as well


given his role in the local council. I'd like to stand by joining the


honourable gentleman in paying tribute to the staff and management


at the University Hospital NHS Trust in the extenuating measures after


what has undoubtedly been a long journey for them over the last three


years. I was very pleased they were able to exit special measures in


March this year and it's a huge tribute to everyone involved in


ensuring they were focused on the areas where the CQC had identified


not the best practice and they have focused on improving the


deficiencies and the fact they were awarded an improved rating enabled


us to take that decision. I also join him in congratulating the


quality of management now in place on a substantive basis in the trust,


at least one of whose members has himself been a beneficiary of


treatment, I think for a different complaint to the honourable


gentleman, in the urgent, intermediate treatment centre but


all credit to that member of the executive team. He has touched on a


couple of clouds, as he described them, which I will touch on before I


get into the substance of my response. And the first was the


intermediate treatment centre, which provides elective and planned


procedures provided by an independent provider, Care UK, and


we do as he will appreciate, in fact, under the previous Labour


Government, when the independent sector was provided capacity to


support the NHS and a number of areas, we have had a policy of


allowing independent providers to be commissioned to undertake care and


this is a matter for the local commissioners in his area to do so.


It is not for me to tell them who are the best providers to undertake


care. I am pleased he was a beneficiary of some of that care and


it will be up to the commissioners working with the NHS to decide who


is best to provide services in his area, as they come up for renewal


from time to time. He also referred to the social care challenge which


exists in north-east London, as many other parts the country, which is


why we decided in the budget in March this year to inject additional


?1 billion into adult social care budgets of local authorities across


the country and a further ?1 billion in the next financial year and last


week announced some measures to scrutinise the performance of local


authorities in managing those budgets in particular, so they


contribute to the patient flew challenge, which we experience in


many hospitals, including the King George Hospital, of having patients


occupying hospital beds in acute settings who have no medical reason


to continue to be there because of the challenge of providing


placements into the community. It is important that is closer integration


of social care through local authorities but also, as he rightly


identifies, throughout the NHS providers, in particular if they are


co-located on the site and he describes an opportunity for the


north-east London and NHS Foundation Trust to work alongside BHR in


trying to smooth the passage and find other opportunities in the


community for a more appropriate patient flew, that was very


interesting and I very much hope he is engaging with the SDP leadership


to try to put some of these imaginative ideas forward in the


hope that some of them will be assessed appropriately when looking


at providing the future pattern of health care in his area. The


honourable gentleman is focused mostly about the challenge to the


A at King George and I would like to spend most of the rest of my


remarks on trying to address his concerns as best I can. He will


appreciate that across the country, the NHS is coming together through


the sustainability and transformation plans, as published


at the end of last year, to try to identify the right pattern of care


across an individual NHS footprint and north-east London has come


together within the SDP for that area and it is our view that this is


the right way to try to encourage a more holistic way of looking at the


future provision of NHS services. But it needs to be led by clinicians


and led by those responsible for managing NHS organisations and to


work in a collaborative and perhaps more open way than in the past with


local authorities, who have their part to play. In facilitating the


passage beyond hospital back into the community. We're clear that any


significant service change which arises out of the implementation of


STP plans must be subject to consultation proposals must meet


reconfiguration tests, which support for clinical commissioners, clarity


and a robust public and patient engagement of support for patient


choice. And there was additional NHS guidance which means that proposed


service reconfigurations should be tested for their impact on overall


bed numbers in the area, a point the honourable gentleman identified


appears to be lacking at present from the STP plans and something I


would urge him to continue to challenge within his area. I am


grateful to the Minister for giving way, can the Minister clarify


therefore that it would be his expectation that the STP process


should now publicly consult on any proposal he romped to close the A


at King George Hospital and furthermore that where the


recommends ministers that the A should remain, that ministers would


heed the advice and the STP process should not be constrained by the


decision made by the Secretary of State previously? I will have to


disappoint the honourable gentleman because I am not in a position to


second-guess the conclusions of the STP discussions and recommendations


that they make. It is appropriate for them to take into account its


clinical decisions made in the recent past and a decision over the


A at King George is one of those and it is up to them to decide


whether that is something they intend to take forward as the STP


evolves. It is right that the STP management looked at the health


provision in the round, they will be responsible for delivering health


care to local residents and they need to take into account all the


information sources they have available. I don't think it is right


to say they have to necessarily re-consult on issues, they need to


form a view as to what is the right configuration and then use available


data sources and go through the process. I will come on to try to


explain to him the process that as I understand it is now under way in


his area. Both honourable gentlemen are right that it was a decision in


2011 by the then Secretary of State on advice from the independent


reconfiguration panel, who approved the proposal, that the north-east


London scheme should be allowed to proceed. That the Secretary of State


at the time and, as repeated since by anybody who has asked the


question of health authorities in the area, made it very clear that no


changes were to take place until it was clinically safe to do so. I


believe it is in that context that remarks which might have been made


by the Secretary of State when visiting the area recently should be


considered. There can't be a number of changes since the decision was


made -- there have been a number of changes. First of all, the STP team


are reviewing entry validating the modelling used in 2010 to ensure


proposals then made remain appropriates, which is as one would


expect. Secondly, the governing members of the CCG board, the trust


board and the STP port will need to agree the business case that arises


coming out of STP recommendations. Thirdly, once that has been


achieved, if it is, both NHS England and NHS improvement would be


required to approve the business case. And finally, it is envisaged


it would be a clinically led Gateway assurance team, and NHS construct,


who would manage a series of Gateway reviews at different stages of the


process, from planning to implementation, as they project


proceeds, to assure patient safety and system readiness at every step.


Does he think the whole process could be completed by 2019? I am


going to have to disappoint him again, it is not for me to prejudge


how long I would take. I think in all honesty, it is most unlikely


that would take place within less than two years, so it is conceivable


it could be concluded by the end of 2019 but I think it is a two-year


process. As a minimum. In the meantime, CQC visits and reports


will continue to take place on a routine basis, now that the trust


has exited special measures they will be somewhat less frequent than


when they were in special measures and any information coming from that


well-informed decisions taken by rate the trust and the STP area. In


the last comment I make, I would like to try to reassure the


honourable gentleman and their residents that the proposals include


a new urgent care centre at King George Hospital which would provide


emergency support to local residents for the majority of present


attendances at A, which would be handled by the urgent care centre.


It would be blue light trauma and emergency cases requiring full


emergency medical teams to provide support to patients which would take


place at other hospitals in the area. The majority of cases


currently treated at King George would continue to do so in the new


urgent care centre would benefit from a number of improvements,


including more space and access for diagnosis, x-ray, blood tests and so


on. I hope that would provide the honourable gentleman with some


reassurance that facilities which would remain at King George would


continue to provide the majority of their constituents with the care


they need, should they need it in an emergency. Taking an intervention or


concluded? Very briefly, what the minister is saying is that the STP


process should not be constrained by the decision of 2011 if they think


it was the wrong decision? It should be informed by decisions taken in


2010 but it will be up to today's STP leadership to decide what to do.


The question is that this House now do adjourn. As many as are of the


opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no". The ayes have it. Order,


order. Subtitles will resume at 11pm,


with Monday In Parliament.


Live coverage of the day's proceedings in the House of Commons, including (estimated timings):

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