05/03/2018 Monday in Parliament


05/03/2018

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Monday 5 March, presented by Keith Macdougall.


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Hello and welcome to

Monday In Parliament.

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Coming up on the programme:

Theresa May says she's confident

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she can reach a deal with the EU.

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The pragmatism, calm and patient

discussion, I am confident we can

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set an example to the world.

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But Labour dismiss her

vision as a shambles.

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This government's reckless strategy

is putting our jobs in manufacturing

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industry at risk.

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The Defence Secretary repeats his

verbal attacks on Russia.

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Putin has made it quite clear that

he has hostile intent towards this

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country.

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And warnings in the Lords

about family doctors retiring early

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and junior doctors quitting the NHS

after their training.

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With the noble Lord care to

speculate why there is a flood of

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departing junior doctors right now?

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But first, emboldened

by her landmark speech

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on Brexit last Friday,

Theresa May told the Commons

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she's confident Britain

can reach an agreement

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with the European Union.

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Last week, she spelt out her vision

for the new relationship,

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in which she said the UK will leave

the single market, the jurisdiction

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of the European Court

of Justice will end,

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some regulations will remain

in step with the EU,

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and she said she wants trade

across borders which is

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as frictionless as possible.

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This was the first time

the Prime Minster had faced

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MPs since that speech.

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I am confident we can solve our

remaining differences in the days

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ahead. Now we must focus on our

future relationship. A new

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relationship that respects the

result of the referendum, provides

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an enduring solution, protects

people's jobs and security, is

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consistent with the kind of country

we want to beat and strengthens our

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union of nations and people.

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It was clear MPs from all sides

wanted to make their views heard.

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We must resolve the tensions between

our objectives. We want the freedom

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to negotiate trade agreements around

the world, we want control of our

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borders and a frictionless as border

are possible with the EU so we did

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not damage the integrated supply

chain to our industries rely on.

A

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very considerable level of heckling

taking place in the House.

20 months

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passed since the referendum. A year

has passed since the triggering of

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Article 50, 20 wasted months in

which the arrogance of some of the

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Cabinet who said it would be the

easiest deal in history has turned

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into debilitating in fighting. This

government's reckless strategy is

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putting our jobs in manufacturing

industries at risk. The Prime

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Minister's only clear priority seems

to be to tie the UK permanently to

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EU rules which are being used to

enforce privatisation and block

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support the industry.

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The Liberal Democrats were keen

to address concerns that a future

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trade deal with the US would open up

the NHS to American health giants.

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Can I first congratulate the Prime

Minister on the fact that, after 20

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months of tough negotiation, she

appears to have delivered at least a

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trade deal with her own Cabinet?

Specifically in her future,

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independent trade negotiations with

the economic nationalists and

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warmongering in the White House,

what exactly at the Prime Minister's

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redlines? Do they include the NHS?

I

am absolutely clear that as we look

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to negotiate a trade with the US,

the NHS will remain as it is today,

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it will remain free of the point of

use, it is not for sale.

Last month,

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as the Prime Minister gathered with

her Cabinet at Chequers, there was

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one glaring absence. Where was the

Secretary of State for Scotland?

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Scotland's voice was not heard that

these crucial Cabinet discussions.

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The House, Mr Speaker, been a

flagrant disregard by this

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government of the nations that make

up the United Kingdom.

The decision

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that led to the approach in my

speech were taken by the whole

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Cabinet, not by a subgroup of the

Cabinet, and all members bar one

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that was in this House at the time

were present when that was taken.

On

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Friday and today, the Prime Minister

said access to one another's markets

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would be less than it is now. This

is the public burial of the claim

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made by her Brexit secretary year

ago in this House that the

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government's aim was to secure the

exact same benefits. The Prime

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Minister has admitted to her country

that there is economic cost to

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Brexit. So blushing now tell us,

what is that economic cost, when

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will the public be told about it,

and who will pay it?

Can I say to

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the right honourable gentleman, life

will be different in the future

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because we will have a different

relationship of the European Union?

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But while he and the Labour Party

consistently only focus on our

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relationship with the European

Union, what we're doing as a

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government is ensuring that the good

trade deal, the best possible trade

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deal with the European Union,

together with trade deals with

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countries around the world and

develop a colour me so it is a

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Britain the future.

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And just in case you thought it was

possible for politicians to discuss

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Brexit without any food metaphors...

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When she gets into negotiations with

the European counterparts about

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trade arrangements, could she remind

them that cake exists to be eaten

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and cherries exist to be picked?

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Iain Duncan Smith there.

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After spending the best part

of an hour watching Theresa May

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answer questions on Brexit,

the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond,

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faced his own inquisition.

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The European Scrutiny Committee

wanted to know first of all

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if the UK would agree to any

new EU taxes - for example

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on financial transactions -

if they were introduced

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during a transition

period after Brexit.

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Would you regard this as something

which we would have to reject

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because, after all, we have said

categorically we are not in favour

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of financial transaction tax, but

there is nothing on the face of it

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to prevent the EU from bringing in

something like that?

The question

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you are asking is, could rules or

regulations be introduced during the

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transition period which we maybe

didn't like? The question is whether

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we would be required to implement

them. We think we have got very good

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visibility of the pipeline of

potential legislation. In this case,

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the relatively slow pace at which

the EU sausage machine grinds works

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in our favour. We are talking about

a transition period, implementation

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period of around two years from the

time we cease to take part as a

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participant in decision-making. And,

as a matter of fact, during the

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course of 2019, quite a lot of the

EU decision-making apparatus will be

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in a state of suspended animation.

Six months ago, H R C had both here

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and in the Republic of Ireland said

there was no issue about having a

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hard border, and yet it has suddenly

become, over the last month or two,

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huge issue and all these people are

jumping up and down getting

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interested in Northern Ireland. Do

you not feel that, if the Irish

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government really wanted this to

work, they should be getting

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together with the British government

and officials on either side and

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looking at technology and some of

the things that have been said by

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the European Parliament or

constitutional committee, that it

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could work?

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Mr Hammond said the UK also

needed a free-flowing

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border at Dover-Calais.

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As we seek solutions with the

European Union, including

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technology-based solutions to

achieve that objective, lorries

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coming off the ferry at Calais can

roll straight through Dover and vice

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versa, which has to be our

objective. As we seek a solution

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that delivers that, we expect that

we will find in that solution the

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basis for a working solution in the

Irish border as well.

Have you found

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who licked those documents?

The

cross government economists. The

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Cabinet Secretary, as I understand

it, is, you know... Carrying out an

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investigation, as always happens

when an unauthorised leaks of

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documents occur. I have not heard he

has reached any conclusions yet.

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The Chancellor also said

he was setting aside £3 billion

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over the next two years

to prepare for Brexit.

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It is being spent on ensuring we are

prepared for a full range of

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outcomes. Some of it is being spent

on preparations for a no deal exit

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in March 20 19. Clearly, we will

make his money available to

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departments on the basis that we

will continually review the

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situation. They have to get on with

this now because, obviously, there

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is limited time.

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The Chancellor.

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You're watching Monday

in Parliament, with me, Lucy Grey.

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The Prime Minister has announced

changes to the planning rules

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in England after admitting young

people without family wealth

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were "right to be angry"

at not being able to buy a home.

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She told a conference

in London that the disparity

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was entrenching social inequality.

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It was left to her Housing

Secretary, Sajid Javid,

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to sell the new policy to MPs.

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I am confident that the bold and

ambitious measures we are proposing

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will have a huge impact. Not just on

the number of homes built but

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ultimately on people's prospects and

our prospects as a country to ensure

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that local authorities and

developers can no longer be in any

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doubt where they stand about what is

expected of them and what they must

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do to help fix our broken housing

market and deliver the homes that

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the people of this country need and

deserve.

Today once again we have

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seen the government bring forward

proposals that tinker with the

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planning system and yet another

failed attempt to look as though

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they are doing something about the

housing and infrastructure prices

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the country is facing and which is

largely of their making. And let's

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be clear about the skill of the

problem that has arisen. Many

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communities up and down the country

do not have the homes they need.

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Since 2010, the number of rough

sleepers in England has nearly

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trebled from 1700 to nearly 5000

last year.

Given the scale of the

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housing crisis in London, does he

really think it is acceptable that

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developers use viability assessment

is to drive down levels of

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affordable housing simply because to

do otherwise would limit their

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profits to below 20%?

Mr Speaker, I

do not think it is acceptable for

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developers to not meet the

commitments they have set at the

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start. We have seen particularly in

London too many examples where a

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percentage of the developer will set

out for affordable housing, it was

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not met on the way the assessment

process works. That is why I hope

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you will support the process was set

up the day the greater

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standardisation and much more

transparency.

In 1909, Winston

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Churchill spoke about the value of

the land tax while public money is

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used to enhance an area. Today

developers are sitting on almost 1

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million plots as young people face a

lifetime of house and security in

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prices. Is it not time of the

government to look again at the

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benefits of a land value taxation?

The honourable lady might be

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interested in the consultation that

we have set up to on developer

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contributions because I'm sure she

will agree that developer

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contributions are a type of tax on

developers. They are expected to

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provide for perhaps infrastructure

or affordable housing, in some cases

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both, so if she's really interested

in this issue I would urge to look

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at that consultation.

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The SNP felt England should look

to Scotland in the area of housing.

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Affordable housing is a third higher

per head of population than in

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England. Has the government learned

from the SNP's building programme?

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Scrapping right to buy has allowed

the Scottish Government to improve

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our council housing stock. What

council houses had been delivered

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across 32 local authorities in

Scotland than 326 local authority

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areas in England. Or the Minister

rather than extending right to buy

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the further reduce housing supply

follows:'s lead and abolish it?

Has

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the government learnt anything from

Pete 's SNP's approach to housing?

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No. She has also then asked about

the right to buy. We have not

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learned anything from that because

they followed exactly the wrong

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policy. We actually believe it is a

good thing to allow people to buy

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the House.

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Sajid Javid.

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Now, could we be heading

for a crisis of departing doctors?

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The number of GPs retiring early

in England is on the increase,

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according to recent figures.

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And the departure of junior doctors

from the National Health Service

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at the end of their training

has become a flood,

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in the words of one Labour peer.

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The Government denies

the situation is serious.

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The issue was raised at question

time in the House of Lords.

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My Lords, we appear to be

in a vicious cycle of doctors

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either retiring early and then

coming back and working part-time,

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and fewer EU doctors

coming to work here.

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What can my noble friend

the Minister do to increase

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the number of doctors wishing

to enter GP practice,

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as opposed to other

specialties?

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And as regards EU doctors,

what is the certification procedure

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going to be for them to be

recognised as doctors

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to practise post-Brexit

in this country?

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It's interesting to

note that the total number

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of retirees from general practice

has been falling in recent years,

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which I think is very welcome,

even though there has been

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an increase in the last

few years in the number

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taking early retirement.

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In terms of entering general

practice, of course,

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that is how we need to get more GPs.

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The number of training places

has increased to a record 3250,

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and that has been, again, an 18%

increase over the last three years.

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Finally, on the issue

of certification, mutual recognition

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of professional qualifications is,

of course, a matter for negotiation

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as part of our future

relationship with the EU.

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But I can tell that the Government

is committed, under whatever

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circumstances, to recruit

2000 international GPs

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in the coming years.

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One of the reasons why general

practice is less attractive

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than it used to be is

because of the enormous

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bureaucratic load that

is placed upon them nowadays.

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They have to sit on

committees, on CCGs,

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and they are rushing around

doing nonclinical work.

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Is there anyway of reducing this

nonclinical workload?

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I would point the noble Lord,

and other noble Lords,

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to NHS England's ten

high-impact actions.

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These are actions that all GP

surgeries can take, whether it's

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using technology such as e-booking

and e-prescribing to work

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to reduce the kind of workload

that he's talking about.

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More GPs are leaving the profession

than joining it, and there

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are soaring numbers of junior

doctors leaving the NHS after

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their two-year foundation training.

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So how does the Government

intended to fill

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the failing pipeline of junior

doctors, and would the noble

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Lord the minister care

to speculate

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why there is a flood of departing

junior doctors right now?

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Could it be due to the

rock-bottom level of morale

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of junior doctors after their shabby

treatment by the Secretary of State?

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Well, the noble lady might be

interested to note that if you look

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at the number of GPs in specialty

training in 2014, it was 2671,

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in 2017 it was 3157 -

an increase of nearly 400.

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That is how

we're filling the places.

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Is the noble Lord the Minister aware

of the increasing number

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of inner-city GP practices where

the entire GP workforce consists

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of locum doctors because of

recruitment problems?

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And does he agree that

that is an expensive way

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of providing GPs,

and one which diminishes

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the doctor-patient relationship?

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Yes, I do agree with the noble Lord,

we do need to crack down

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on agency and locum spend, which has

been falling in recent years.

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Of course, the way that we fix this

issue and the demand for

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general practice in a sustainable

way is to increase the number of GPs

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coming into the service,

and as I've said,

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exactly what we're doing.

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Health Minister Lord O'Shaugnessy.

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The world is sliding

into a second Cold War.

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That was the stark assessment

of an Opposition MP during

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defence questions in the Commons.

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It follows the state-of-the-nation

speech made by President Putin last

0:17:490:17:54

week, when he announced

that Russia had tested an array

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of new strategic nuclear weapons

that couldn't be intercepted.

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He said his country was now

in possession of missiles

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that no other country had.

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A Labour MP was clearly troubled

at the turn of recent global events.

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Surely the Secretary of State knows

that what Mr Putin announced

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a few days ago was, basically,

a new Cold War.

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And it's not just cyber warfare,

it's every kind of warfare,

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at a time when Europe

seems to be fragmenting,

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our commitment to Nato is

deeply hurt by Donald Trump

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moving into a new phase

of withdrawal.

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What are we going to

do about all this?

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So Putin has made it quite clear

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that he has hostile intent

towards this country.

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We've been seeing the build-up

of his forces across the Eastern

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front, and in terms of what they're

doing over many years now.

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We have to wake up to that thread,

and we have to respond to it.

0:18:540:18:58

We have to match what Putin is doing

with Russian forces, we

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have to be aware of the challenges

that they face, and that is

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very much why we're engaging

in the modernising defence

0:19:090:19:12

programme, to ensure that we can

match the Russians going forward.

0:19:120:19:14

The US Nuclear Posture Review

was met with an equal level

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of posturing by President Putin

in his state-of-the-nation

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speech last Thursday.

0:19:210:19:22

What is the British Government's

policy response to these worrying

0:19:220:19:25

developments at the world slides

needlessly into a second Cold War?

0:19:250:19:27

Does he believe the British

Government has an opportunity

0:19:270:19:29

to de-escalate the situation?

0:19:290:19:31

Let's be really clear.

0:19:310:19:34

President Putin has been developing

a much more hostile and aggressive

0:19:340:19:40

posture towards the United Kingdom,

towards the United States,

0:19:400:19:44

towards our allies for an awful lot

longer than the last 12 months.

0:19:440:19:50

They want to assert their rights,

they want to...

0:19:500:19:54

You've seen increased Russian

activity in the North Atlantic,

0:19:540:19:58

a tenfold increase over

the last few years.

0:19:580:20:01

And do we sit submissively by,

do we just accept that

0:20:010:20:05

President Putin can do

whatever he wishes to do?

0:20:050:20:10

Or do we have to look at how

we respond and make it clear

0:20:100:20:17

that we are not willing

to stand up to bullying?

0:20:170:20:20

Can I implore my right honourable

friend not to listen

0:20:200:20:22

to the Trump bashing opposite?

0:20:220:20:24

There is absolutely

no indication whatsoever

0:20:240:20:26

that President Trump

is attenuating

0:20:260:20:30

his commitment to Nato.

0:20:300:20:33

And can I further say to

my right honourable friend

0:20:330:20:36

that Nato is the backbone,

not the European Union,

0:20:360:20:38

of this nation's defence,

and he should be,

0:20:380:20:40

and I know that he is,

going out there to Washington,

0:20:400:20:45

speaking to his counterparts,

0:20:450:20:50

and can he talk about precisely

what he has achieved?

0:20:500:20:54

Sorry about that!

0:20:540:20:57

LAUGHTER.

0:20:570:21:01

I thought my honourable friend

was incredibly eloquent,

0:21:010:21:04

and let's be absolutely clear.

0:21:040:21:08

There is one reason that

we've had peace right

0:21:080:21:13

across the continent of Europe

since the Second World War,

0:21:130:21:16

and that is down to the North

Atlantic Treaty Organisation,

0:21:160:21:19

and the fact that it has acted

as a deterrent against those

0:21:190:21:27

who which to prosecute aggressive

campaigns against the West,

0:21:270:21:29

and I'm very proud of the work

that has been done and will be done

0:21:290:21:32

in the future with our allies.

0:21:320:21:34

The Defence Secretary.

0:21:340:21:35

Ministers have been urged

to introduce a licensing

0:21:350:21:37

regime for air weapons.

0:21:370:21:39

As the Home Office Minister

was questioned in the Lords,

0:21:390:21:41

peers heard that there had been

thousands of attacks

0:21:410:21:44

on pets involving airguns

in the last five years.

0:21:440:21:48

Is she aware that a growing number

of crimes involving air weapons

0:21:480:21:52

relate to senseless attacks

and domestic animals,

0:21:520:21:57

and particularly cats,

nearly half of whom die

0:21:570:21:59

as a result of often

horrific injuries?

0:21:590:22:00

The Cats Protection charity recorded

164 attacks on cats and kittens

0:22:000:22:03

with an airgun last year,

while the RSPCA received nearly

0:22:030:22:06

900 calls to their cruelty hotline,

reporting air weapon attacks

0:22:060:22:08

on animals, making 4500 attacks

in the last five years.

0:22:080:22:11

Is it not time to license

these weapons to ensure

0:22:110:22:19

that they're possessed only

for legitimate purposes

0:22:190:22:22

by responsible owners,

and not by those who would cruelly

0:22:220:22:25

inflict pain and suffering,

and often death

0:22:250:22:27

on defenceless domestic animals?

0:22:270:22:30

Well, as a cat lover

and a cat owner, I sympathise

0:22:300:22:33

with my noble friend's question,

0:22:330:22:36

and the Government does take

animal welfare very seriously.

0:22:360:22:40

My Lords, anyone who shoots

a domestic cat is liable

0:22:400:22:45

to be charged and prosecuted

under the Animal Welfare Act 2006

0:22:450:22:47

with causing unnecessary suffering.

0:22:480:22:52

We are increasing the maximum

penalty for this offence

0:22:520:22:54

from six months in prison

and/or an unlimited fine

0:22:540:22:59

to five years' imprisonment

and/or an unlimited fine.

0:22:590:23:02

The number of offences involving air

weapons in the year to March 2017

0:23:020:23:06

was similar to the previous year,

0:23:060:23:08

and there were 64% fewer air weapons

offences than the decade previously.

0:23:080:23:15

A review was launched following the

case of 13-year-old Ben Wragge,

0:23:150:23:18

who was shot and killed

by a home-made air rifle.

0:23:180:23:28

We do have some

of the strongest gun laws

0:23:280:23:31

in the world, but they're

still not strong enough.

0:23:310:23:33

In the hands of irresponsible

people, these weapons can kill,

0:23:330:23:35

as in the tragic case

of Benjamin Wragge.

0:23:350:23:37

My friend Karen Smith in the other

place had an 18-month-old child

0:23:370:23:40

in her constituency injured

by an air weapon recently.

0:23:400:23:42

We need a responsible licence

system, and can the noble lady agree

0:23:420:23:45

to look at the whole

question of storage?

0:23:450:23:47

The advice at the moment

as they need to be stored

0:23:470:23:50

in a locked cabinet,

I don't think that good at all.

0:23:500:23:52

Lady Williams said the Government

was keeping an open mind

0:23:520:23:55

around the regulation of airguns

in England and Wales.

0:23:550:23:57

The weapons are already subject

to licensing in Scotland

0:23:570:23:59

and Northern Ireland.

0:23:590:24:01

Finally, two MPs briefly

used sign language

0:24:010:24:03

during a debate

in Westminster Hall.

0:24:030:24:06

It had been triggered

by an e-petition

0:24:060:24:07

that's attracted

around 30,000 signatures.

0:24:070:24:10

The petition calls for

British Sign Language, or BSL,

0:24:100:24:14

to become part

of the National Curriculum.

0:24:140:24:16

The debate also featured

a live communication

0:24:160:24:18

of the speeches

by a sign language expert.

0:24:180:24:22

There's three things

that I want to tell,

0:24:220:24:27

the story about why

I learned sign language.

0:24:270:24:29

Secondly, how BSL should be

in the National Curriculum,

0:24:290:24:33

and why that is really important.

0:24:330:24:36

And third, I want to ask

the minister some questions.

0:24:360:24:41

And we need more access

to work, not less.

0:24:410:24:45

We need to invest in access

to work so that deaf people

0:24:450:24:48

can reach their full potential.

0:24:480:24:50

And we need to invest, and the way

to do that is to show commitment.

0:24:500:24:54

So I do hope, when the minister

gets to his feet,

0:24:540:24:58

that he will have some good news

for the deaf community

0:24:580:25:01

and BSL users.

0:25:010:25:04

And I am asking the Minister

to please make BSL a GCSE.

0:25:040:25:10

Thank you.

0:25:100:25:11

We do value BSL.

0:25:110:25:14

There will be a huge number of steps

to go through for the BSL

0:25:140:25:17

qualification to

be accredited as a GCSE.

0:25:170:25:19

And having been through the process,

it is not a simple process

0:25:190:25:24

of getting those qualifications

accredited.

0:25:240:25:26

Nick Gibb.

0:25:260:25:30

And that's it from us for now,

but do join us at the same time

0:25:300:25:34

tomorrow for another round-up

of the day at Westminster.

0:25:340:25:36

But for now, from me,

Lucy Grey, goodbye.

0:25:360:25:40

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