23/01/2017 Monday in Parliament


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23/01/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Monday 23 January presented by Joanna Shinn.


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Hello and welcome to Monday In Parliament,

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our look at the day at Westminster.

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The headlines...

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The Defence Secretary says he has full confidence in the Trident

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nuclear deterrent, but won't give the Commons any details on reports

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of an unarmed missile going off course in a test last year.

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Labour have questioned the Prime Minister's response.

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And yet when she came to this House on the 18th of July to

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call on members to back the renewal of Britain's nuclear submarines,

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she did not say a word, not a single word.

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But many Conservative MPs defended Trident and the need

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to keep the tests secret.

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Is it not the case that the unilateralists

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opposite who are complaining today are in the position of eunuchs

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complaining about the cost of Viagra?

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Also tonight, users of adult social care explain what the shortage

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of funding means for their lives.

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It's now legally acceptable for them to just say use

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incontinence pads even if you're not incontinent because

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you can't have a night-time carer.

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The Defence Secretary has told MPs he has "full confidence"

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in the Trident nuclear weapons system, following reports

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of an unarmed missile going off-course during a test launch.

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But Sir Michael Fallon would not be drawn on the reports,

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other than to tell MPs not to believe everything

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they read in the papers.

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Before an urgent question on the subject from a former defence

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minister, there was a call from the Conservative

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Jacob Rees-Mogg for the Commons sit in private.

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Mr Speaker, as the matters we are about to discuss

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are of the utmost confidentiality and may give succour to Her

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Majesty's enemies, I beg to move...

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I beg to move that the House sit in private.

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Under standing order number 163, I am obliged to put this question

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to the House without debate.

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The question is that the House do sit in private.

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

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Aye.

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To the contrary, "no".

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No.

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I think the noes have it.

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The noes have it.

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In June last year, the Royal Navy conducted a demonstration

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and shakedown operation designed to certify HMS Vengeance

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and her crew prior to their return to operations.

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This included a routine, unarmed Trident missile test launch.

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Contrary to reports in the weekend press, HMS Vengeance and her crew

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were successfully tested and certified as ready to rejoin

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the operational cycle.

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We do not comment on the detail of submarine operations.

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I can however assure the House that during any test-firing,

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the safety of the crew and public is paramount and is

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never compromised.

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He will have seen the press at the weekend, the claims

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that the missile veered off towards the United States.

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Could he confirm whether that was the case?

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Could he also tell the House when he was first informed

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that there was a problem with the test and when his

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department informed the then Prime Minister David Cameron

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of the problem?

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Yesterday, the Prime Minister refused four times on live

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television to say when she became aware of the details

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of this missile test.

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Today number ten admitted that the Prime Minister was told

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about this incident as soon as she took office.

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And yet when she came to this House on the 18th of July to call

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on members to back the renewal of Britain's nuclear submarines,

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she did not say a word, not a single word.

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Mr Speaker, this is just not good enough.

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The British public deserve the facts on a matter of importance

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of Britain's nuclear deterrent and they deserve to hear those facts

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from the Prime Minister, not in allegations sprawled

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across a Sunday paper.

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Is the Secretary of State telling us that nothing went wrong

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on this particular launch?

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While accepting that the nuclear deterrent needs to be

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shrouded in secrecy, it also needs to deter and once

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stories get out there that a missile may have failed,

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isn't it better to be quite frank about it,

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especially if it has no strategic significance as in this case

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it probably has none?

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It is absolutely outrageous that this House had to rely

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on a leak to a Sunday newspaper to find out about this

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and the subsequent cover-up.

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Can the Secretary of State tell me when did he first find out

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about this missile failure?

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Was it he who informed the new Prime Minister

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about the failure and who took the decision not to inform

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Parliament of this incident?

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Well, the honourable gentleman, of course, is opposed to the Trident

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deterrent that has kept this country safe for so many years.

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Let me, first of all, caution him against believing

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everything he has read in the weekend press.

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Ah, yes.

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Young Gove.

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Mr Michael Gove.

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Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

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Would my right honourable friend agree that investment

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in our continuous at sea nuclear deterrent has bought us not only

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peace since 1968 and the protection of western Europe but has also

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congruent with our position as a Permanent Five member

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of the UN's Security Council?

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And is it not the case that the unilateralists opposite

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who are complaining today are in the position

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of eunuchs complaining about the cost of Viagra?

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I agree with all three, all three of my right honourable

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friend's propositions.

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The Secretary of State has advised us not to believe everything we read

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in the Sunday newspapers but should we believe the White House official

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who, while we've been sitting here debating,

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has confirmed to CNN that the missile did auto

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self-destruct off the coast of Florida and if that is the case,

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why is the British Parliament and the British public the last

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people to know?

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Mr Hague.

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We do not, in this House, nor has any previous Government

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given operational details of the demonstration and shakedown

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operation of one of our submarines conducting a test with one

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of our Trident missiles.

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Later, in the House of Lords, the historian Lord Hennessy said

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he witnessed the test last June.

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May I declare an interest in that I witnessed the launch in question

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from the survey vessel two and a half miles away

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from where the missile came out of the sea?

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My Lords, may I put it to the noble Earl, the minister,

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with great respect, that for those of us who support the independent

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deterrent, very powerfully supported, and also the building

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of the four dreadnoughts submarines in the successor class,

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it would make it much easier for us to make the case generally in

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the country when we are interviewed in the media if the noble Earl

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could assure us that a full analysis has been successfully made

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of whatever it was that went wrong, and I have no knowledge at all

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of the nature of what went wrong, and remedies have been put in place.

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The Defence Minister, Lord Howe, said there was "absolute

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confidence" in the system.

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The government has launched a new industrial strategy preparing

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for Britain's post-Brexit future.

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The plans, personally unveiled by the Prime Minister at a cabinet

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meeting in Cheshire, include a ?556 million

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boost for the so-called "northern Powerhouse",

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an overhaul of technical education and a ?170 million cash

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injection for science, technology, engineering

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and innovation.

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The Business Secretary told MPs it was about creating

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the right conditions for new and growing enterprises.

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To meet these challenges, we have identified ten pillars around

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which the strategy is structured.

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That is to say ten areas of action to drive growth across the economy

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and in every part of the country.

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They're to invest in science, research and innovation,

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to further develop our skills, to upgrade our infrastructure,

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to support businesses to start and grow, to improve public

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procurement, to encourage trade and investment,

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to deliver affordable energy and clean growth, to cultivate

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world leading sectors, to drive growth across all parts

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of the country and to create the right institutions to bring

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together sectors and places.

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Across all of these areas, the Government is taking strategic

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decisions to keep British business on the front foot.

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There is a glaring inconsistency between the noble aims of this green

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paper and the threats made by the Prime Minister to turn

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Britain into an offshore tax haven if she fails

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in her Brexit negotiations.

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Until now, the industrial strategy has seemingly consisted of one deal,

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made in secret with Nissan.

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If the Nissan deal didn't last six months, how can businesses be

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confident of the other commitments in this green paper?

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It's often said, correctly, that an industrial strategy

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is a long-term project and that to work it must outlast

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particular governments.

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With this in mind, I can pledge our support for its broad aims

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from this side of the chamber but I feel compelled to ask,

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can the Secretary of State count on the same from his own side?

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When we previously debated the industrial strategy here,

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one of his own honourable friends said they had

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two problems with it.

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One was industrial and the other was strategy.

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However good this industrial strategy may be, we have to accept

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that the biggest threat to Scotland's economy and I believe

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the UK economy is the lack of access to the markets and the skilled

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people that come through our EU membership.

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Will he give serious consideration to the Scottish Government's plans

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that would see Scotland maintain its membership

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of the European single market?

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There's one area of infrastructure where Britain lags behind

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all our competitors enormously and that's with the

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cost of childcare.

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Childcare in Britain costs more than every other OECD country apart

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from Switzerland and takes up over 40% of the average wage and yet it's

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hardly mentioned in his green paper.

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This is the way to liberate the talent of women,

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what's he going to do about it?

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In the green paper that the Secretary of State has brought

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forward there is mention of an overhaul of technical

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and vocational education.

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Can I say to him I think what this country needs is a cultural change,

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a shift to valuing technical and vocational education and skills

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education as highly as it does academic education?

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And until that changes, the Secretary of State will not

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achieve what he wants, however much all of us want him to.

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The Prime Minister's strategy lacks concrete proposals for Wales,

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considering our ?5 billion of trade and good net surplus with the EU,

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Wales is set to suffer most at the pursuit of a brutal Brexit.

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Does the Minister accept that doing nothing to counter the loss

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of the EU convergence funding will serve only to exacerbate

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the already significant geographical wealth and earnings inequalities

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which characterise the British state?

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May I welcome this wide ranging discussion of Government

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policies at this time, even if the broad buffet of good

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things outlined will unleash a torrent of insatiable demands,

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not least from the Davos business leaders jetting back

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with their Government advisers to barge their way to

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the front of the table?

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So will my right honourable friend assure me that his agenda will be

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set by entrepreneurs?

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Greg Clark assured him there would be, as he put it,

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"no cosy clubs for the incumbents".

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Where does the crucial role of free markets sit in the strategy?

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It runs through every page of the strategy, Mr Deputy Speaker.

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Laughter

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Laughter at

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Laughter at the

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Laughter at the diplomatic

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Laughter at the diplomatic reply.

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At the start of the day, the writs were moved for two

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by-elections following the departure of two Labour MPs.

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I beg to move that, Mr Speaker, to issue his warrant to the clerk

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of the crown to make out a new writ for the electing other

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member to serve in this present Parliament...

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Both elections will be held on the 23rd February.

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One is to replace the Jamie Reed, who represented Copeland -

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he's taken a job at Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant.

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The other replaces Stoke-on-Trent Central's Tristram Hunt,

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who is becoming the director of London's Victoria

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and Albert Museum.

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Now, moves which would allow local councils in England to keep

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all the proceeds from business rates raised in their area have

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had their first main debate in the Commons.

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The local government Finance Bill will also enable councillors to vary

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the level of business rates.

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Ministers say the move would encourage local

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authorities to boost business, increasing the income from local

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taxes that can be spent in the area.

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I am often told that local authorities lack

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meaningful incentives to grow their local economies.

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They tell me the system is overcentralised, that residents

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see no connection between the level of local taxation and the level

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of services they receive, that the proceeds of local growth

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disappear into national coffers, forcing councils to go cap in hand

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asking Whitehall for funding.

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Mr Deputy Speaker, that is not good enough.

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Local authorities, local businesses and local communities deserve

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a better deal and this Bill will provide it.

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It could exacerbate the social care crisis and leave council taxpayers

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having to foot even more of the bill for local services.

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Badly introduced, it could deepen regional inequality and increase

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the divisions between those areas with a large business

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community and those with more entrenched barriers to growth.

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We support the principle of a 100% business rate retention,

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but it needs to be accompanied by a redistribution formula,

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which redresses the divide between those councils that do have

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sizeable business rates income already and those that don't.

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The Shadow Local Government Minister, Gareth Thomas.

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You're watching Monday In Parliament.

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Our top story...

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The Defence Secretary says he has full confidence

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in the Trident nuclear deterrent, but has refused to give any details

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on press reports suggesting a missile went off-course

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during a test last June.

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Now, last week Surrey County Council announced it would be holding

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a referendum to find out whether voters would approve a big

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rise in council tax to pay for better social care.

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The Council said care was in crisis, a message that's been echoed

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elsewhere in the country.

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MPs on the Communities and Local Government Committee heard

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the views of three people who use adult social care services.

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The main worry I think comes from not that even that my quality

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of life would have improved but that if my condition gets worse,

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and I don't know what's going to happen in the future,

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that the care won't increase to even keep, to even be dignified, really.

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I know of local authorities now that say at night-time if you need

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assistance going to the toilet it's now legally acceptable for them

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to just say use incontinence pads, even if you're not incontinent,

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because you can't have a night-time carer.

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Now, I don't need that fortunately at the moment but that is a fear

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for me that if one day I needed that support,

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would it actually be provided?

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I have been in the process of recently having health

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professionals and social care professionals making

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a recommendation and the panel who have never met me making

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a decision around providing something that's ?500 cheaper

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and I have now got to trial a product that isn't going to work

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and is wasting my time and the professionals' time just

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to please the panel.

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It's all about, for me, it has all been a game

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of aligning what you need

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with the people that can often support you and sometimes your voice

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gets lost within that.

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I think people who enter this profession of providing care do

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so with a sense of vocation and a sense of service and a desire

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to want to make a difference and to change things and to be

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of service and I happen to be mindful of not taking

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that for granted and certainly not abusing it but it is a messy,

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it's a messy place to go, this.

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I get six hours a week for socialisation,

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whatever that means.

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That includes, has to include my food shopping,

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my hospital appointments, which average one a week,

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going to church and if I want to go swimming, because none of those

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things can be separately, you know, they don't get covered otherwise.

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So by the time you've done that, there is no socialisation left.

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There's certainly no flexibility or, you know if a friend rings up

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and says "do you want to go here?"

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It's "oh sorry, I've used by hours."

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So, for me, I think it's, you know, you try and get on and you try

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and make most of the situation and I do find myself having make

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choices sometimes so there will be times and I think I want to go here,

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I won't have a shower or I won't cook a meal

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that day with my PA, I'll use the time to do

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the socialisation aspect of it because otherwise you become

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extremely isolated and that's quite depressing or, you know,

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it's hard not to feel like I'm a 31-year-old and my friends that

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were in university with me are all out doing all these things

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and actually my life looks extremely different to theirs.

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I live in my own home, my own home is becoming more

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like an institution.

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I have support and there are times and I feel really isolated

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and I need that additional support but it's not available and for me

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it has been really detrimental and it has really had a massive impact

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on my mental ill-health.

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It's something that I would think that lots of people with care

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and support needs often struggle with, so, you know, the practical

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stuff is amazing, you know, I'm grateful to live in a country

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where we do have that system, but sometimes I just feel like I'm

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a product of a system that is just functional, so I'm just like dress,

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wash, eat, nothing about well-being, nothing about relationships

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and the hardest thing is being somebody that has hopes

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and dreams and aspirations and you have to sometimes say

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to yourself and people around you, that's not possible.

0:19:070:19:12

Now, there have been further calls for increased sex and relationships

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education in schools to tackle online grooming for child abuse.

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But at Home Office Questions, ministers insisted the resources

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for staying safe online were available and schools

0:19:200:19:24

were already taking action.

0:19:240:19:25

Can I urge the House that people recommend to their constituents that

0:19:250:19:29

a process of contributing to keeping their own children safe

0:19:290:19:32

is to take time out to look at the Think You Know campaign

0:19:320:19:35

on the National Crime Agency because we all, I as a parent,

0:19:350:19:38

have a role in making sure my children know

0:19:380:19:41

what's safe online.

0:19:410:19:45

But actually, don't children need to be educated about how to help

0:19:450:19:48

themselves stay safe online and wouldn't it be the case

0:19:480:19:51

if we had compulsory sex and relationship education that

0:19:510:19:55

every school could make sure that every child knew

0:19:550:19:58

how to be safe online?

0:19:580:19:59

Can I ask the Honourable Lady to go onto the website

0:19:590:20:04

of the National Crime Agency and look at the Think

0:20:040:20:06

You Know campaign.

0:20:060:20:07

It is tailor-made for children to go through the tutorial online

0:20:070:20:13

and it's broken down by age, so my young children

0:20:130:20:15

have an appropriate curriculum to look at and it makes

0:20:150:20:19

a real difference.

0:20:190:20:22

There's even one for her so she could follow it

0:20:220:20:24

and understand how she can be safe online and make sure

0:20:240:20:27

children are as well.

0:20:270:20:28

The Minister is being far too glib on this.

0:20:280:20:31

All the research shows the best intermediary for teaching children

0:20:310:20:33

is someone they trust in the school.

0:20:330:20:35

That is the truth and online work isn't actually very effective.

0:20:350:20:40

Isn't it the truth that bullying, exploitation, is rampant and isn't

0:20:400:20:44

it about time we stopped making excuses and took on the Googles

0:20:440:20:48

and the people who allow this to be transmitted?

0:20:480:20:51

The honourable gentleman misses the point.

0:20:510:20:54

We are taking on the Googles and the big internet companies

0:20:540:20:58

and also if he spends time in the schools, in the primary

0:20:580:21:03

school when my children go to, they are given classes on how

0:21:030:21:06

to stay safe online.

0:21:060:21:10

This is not done in a silo way, it's not just a website,

0:21:100:21:13

it's a website, it's teachers, its parents, everyone has a role

0:21:130:21:16

in it and that is being delivered.

0:21:160:21:18

The challenge we have in the world of the internet is keeping pace

0:21:180:21:21

with the huge numbers of referrals we get every month from

0:21:210:21:23

international paedophiles who abuse the internet to exploit our children

0:21:230:21:26

and take advantage of the very latest technology, to make

0:21:260:21:29

sure our law enforcement agencies are having to constantly go

0:21:290:21:31

the extra mile to catch them.

0:21:310:21:33

Mr Speaker, we have had a dreadful local case where an international

0:21:330:21:39

paedophile ring such as the one the Minister was mentioning

0:21:390:21:41

infiltrated a chat room aimed at 9-year-olds with really

0:21:410:21:44

dreadful consequences for those children.

0:21:440:21:45

Could the Minister tell us what investment the government

0:21:450:21:51

is making to help the police and other law enforcement

0:21:510:21:53

agencies deal with and stamp out this sort of abuse?

0:21:530:21:57

I'm grateful to my honourable friend, the National Crime Agency's

0:21:570:22:00

child exploitation and online protection command receives an extra

0:22:000:22:04

?10 million this year and in November 2015,

0:22:040:22:09

the NCA joined up with GCHQ in a joint operation to make sure

0:22:090:22:13

that we tackle some of the most complicated crimes online.

0:22:130:22:18

Labour's Rupa Huq raised the immigration status of EU

0:22:180:22:22

nationals in the UK seeking some certainty following the Brexit vote.

0:22:220:22:28

People like Mrs Fabio La Paras, Spanish by birth but married

0:22:280:22:30

and resident in Acton for decades, now dismayed at having been rejected

0:22:300:22:34

because they cannot prove either five years continuous service

0:22:340:22:39

with the same employer or having paid in for

0:22:390:22:42

private health insurance.

0:22:430:22:44

Can the Home Secretary revisit these rigid requirements that penalised EU

0:22:440:22:47

nationals like her who have been homemakers or students,

0:22:470:22:52

on short term contracta or self-employed and end

0:22:520:22:54

this bureaucratic nightmare?

0:22:540:22:56

There is no penalising of people like the lady who the Honourable

0:22:560:23:00

Lady was referring to.

0:23:000:23:03

We continue to value the important contribution that EU nationals make

0:23:030:23:07

to this country and I would repeat and I would urge the honourable lady

0:23:070:23:11

to follow the advice I previously set out,

0:23:110:23:13

which is to reassure constituents like the one she referred to that

0:23:130:23:16

in fact we are doing our best to ensure that their future will be

0:23:160:23:21

secure and as the Prime Minister says, it will be an early

0:23:210:23:24

priority to do so.

0:23:240:23:25

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd replying there.

0:23:250:23:27

Now, returning to social care, Labour peers have called

0:23:270:23:30

on ministers to reverse cuts

0:23:300:23:32

in funding, which they say have had

0:23:320:23:33

a knock-on effect on the whole of the National Health

0:23:330:23:36

Service in England.

0:23:360:23:37

Raising the matter at Question Time in the Lords, Lady McDonagh said

0:23:370:23:40

the government had cut the social care budget by nearly ?2 billion.

0:23:400:23:44

It is the case that the government have cut ?1.8 billion to social

0:23:440:23:49

care during this period, which has led to the escalation

0:23:490:23:52

of the ?2.5 billion in NHS debt.

0:23:520:23:58

I don't know whether it's through incompetence or ideology

0:23:580:24:01

but the government has set about providing us with the most

0:24:010:24:05

expensive and the worst system of care for the elderly

0:24:050:24:08

in the Western world.

0:24:080:24:10

Can I ask the noble Lord the minister whether he would use

0:24:100:24:12

all his powers of persuasion to do what the Chancellor wanted to do

0:24:120:24:18

last year and persuade the Prime Minister to put more money

0:24:180:24:21

into local authorities for social care?

0:24:210:24:24

It will save lives and money.

0:24:240:24:28

The Minister said he accepted there were challenges still there.

0:24:280:24:31

There are a million more over 65-year-olds

0:24:310:24:32

than there were in 2010.

0:24:330:24:37

The social care is under a lot of pressure, of course it is,

0:24:370:24:40

which is why in the Autumn Statement additional money was

0:24:400:24:42

outlined for social care.

0:24:420:24:43

There is ?900 million extra over the next couple of years

0:24:430:24:46

and the precept is rising faster than it was previously

0:24:460:24:49

and we have the Better Care fund.

0:24:490:24:51

So there is money going in, but I accept the fact

0:24:510:24:54

that there is pressure on the system.

0:24:540:24:55

The Minister said he accepted there were challenges still there.

0:24:550:24:58

And that's all from me for now.

0:24:580:25:00

Kristina Cooper's here for the rest of the week but from me,

0:25:000:25:02

Joanna Shinn, goodbye.

0:25:030:25:07