11/01/2017 Prime Minister's Questions


11/01/2017

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the prime minister Theresa May.


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focus in targeted spending on public schemes such as health and education

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programmes within the region. Order. Questions to the Prime Minister.

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The Prime Minister. This morning I had meetings with ministerial

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colleagues and others in addition to my duties in this house, I will have

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further meetings today. Happy New Year to you, Mr Speaker, let me

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extend it to everyone in this house. It has been over six months since

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European referendum and embarrassingly, for the Prime

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Minister, the Scottish Government is the only administration on the

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islands which have published a plan on what to do next. LAUGHTER

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Has the Prime Minister read it yet? And, when will she be publishing her

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own plan? Can I join the honourable gentleman in wishing everyone in the

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house, not only members but the staff of the house a happy New Year.

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Can I say that as I said to the liaison committee when I appeared in

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front of them before Christmas, I will, in a matter of weeks, be

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setting out more details of our proposals on the issue. I would like

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to remind the honourable gentleman that when he talks about the

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Scottish Government's plan, it is his party, the Scottish Nationalists

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party, that wants to leave the UK and therefore the U. -- the EU. In

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my constituency they employ over 1200 people in high skilled jobs,

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Manufacturing nuclear fuel which generates 15% of the UK's

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electricity. Do you agree that this industry is of crucial importance to

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the Northwest economy and will you support the new generation of power

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stations to guarantee jobs? I certainly agree with my honourable

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friend that new nuclear has a crucial role to play in securing our

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future energy needs, especially as we are looking to move to a low

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carbon society. The industrial strategy that the government will be

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setting out will have a strong emphasis on the role of regions in

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supporting economic growth and ensuring the economy works for all.

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Like my honourable friend I welcome the proposals from Toshiba to open a

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new power station in Cumbria and they continue to work closely with

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developers as they bring proposals forward. Jeremy Corbyn... Thank you,

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Mr Speaker, it is nice to have such a warm welcome and may I wish all

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members a happy New Year, as well as all members of staff in the house. I

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hope the whole house will join me, I'm sure that they will, in playing

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tribute to 22-year-old Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington who died

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in a non-combat incident in Iraq last Monday, I'm sure that the whole

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house will send condolences to family and friends of Katie Rough

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who died in York this week, it is right to send condolences. Last

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week, 485 people in England spent more than 12 hours on trolleys in

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hospital corridors. The Red Cross described this as "A humanitarian

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crisis". I call on the Prime Minister to come to Parliament on

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Monday. She did not. She sent the Health Secretary, but she agree that

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the best way of solving the crisis of the four-hour wait is fiddling

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the figures so that people are not seem to be waiting so long on

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trolleys in NHS hospitals? Well firstly, may I join the right

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honourable gentleman in sending condolences to the family of Lance

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Corporal Hetherington who died in a non-combat incident in Iraq, from

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everything I have seen and read, he was a very fine young man. We were

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delighted -- he was delighted to be in the Armed Forces and we are proud

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that such a fine young man was in the Armed Forces. I also join the

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right honourable gentleman in expressing condolences to the family

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and friends of little Katie, who died so tragically. Now, he talks

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about pressures on the NHS, and we acknowledge that there are pressures

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on the national Health Service. There are always extra pressures on

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the NHS over the winter, but of course we have at the moment added

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pressures of the ageing population, and the growing complex needs of the

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population. He refers to the British Red Cross term of a "Humanitarian

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crisis" but I must say that we have all seen humanitarian crisis around

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the world. And, to use that description of a national health

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service... Which, last year, saw 2.5 million more people treated in A

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than six years ago, was irresponsible and overblown. Mr

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Speaker, 1.8 million people had to wait longer than four hours last

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year in A departments. The Prime Minister may not like what the Red

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Cross said, that on the same day, the British Medical Association said

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conditions in hospitals across the country are reaching a dangerous

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level. The Royal College of Nursing has said NHS conditions are the

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worst ever. The Royal College of Physicians told the Prime Minister

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that the NHS is underfunded, not enough doctors, and overstretched.

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If she will not listen to the Red Cross, who will she listened to?

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I've said to the right honourable gentleman that I have acknowledged

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that there are pressures on the NHS, the government has put in extra

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funding and the fact that we are seeing more people being treated in

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our NHS, 2500 more people are treated within four hours every day

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in the NHS because of the government adding extra funding and the hard

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work of medical professionals in our NHS. But I also say to him it is not

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just a question of targets in relation to the health service. We

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continue to have a commitment, as the Health Secretary made clear, to

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the four hour target. It is a question of making sure people are

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provided with appropriate care for them and the best possible care in

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their circumstances. Jeremy Corbyn! Mr Speaker, she seems to be in a

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degree of denial about this and will not listen to professional

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organisations who have spent their whole lifetime doing their best for

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the NHS. But, can I ask if she will listen to Sian, who works for the

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NHS. She has a 22-month-old nephew who went into hospital, there was no

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bed and he was treated on two plastic chairs pushed together with

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a blanket. She says one of the nurses told her sister that it is

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always like this nowadays. She asks the question to all of us. Surely,

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we should strive to do better than this? Does the Prime Minister and

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Health Secretary think that this is an acceptable way of treating a

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22-month-old child needing help? Shameful! I accept there have been a

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small number of incidents... Where, an acceptable practices have taken

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place. But, what matters, we do not want those things to happen, but

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what matters is how you deal with them. That is why it is so important

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that the NHS looks into issues where there are unacceptable incidents

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which have taken place and learned lessons from them. But I come back

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to the point I was making earlier. He talks of the hard-working health

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care professionals, like Sian, in the NHS. And indeed, we should be

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grateful for the work that all of those working in the NHS do, over

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Christmas, we saw the busiest day ever in the NHS and over the few

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weeks around Christmas, we saw the day where more people were treated

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in A within four hours than had ever happened before. This is the

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reality of the National Health Service. Jeremy Corbyn!

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We all thanked NHS staff and praise them, but her government is

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proposing through sustainability and transformation to cut one third of

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beds in all of our hospitals in the very near future. On Monday, she

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spoke about mental health, and doing more to help people, particularly

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the young, with those conditions. I welcome that, except last night

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the BBC revealed that over five years, there had been an 89%

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increase in young people with mental health issues, having to go to A

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departments. So, doesn't she agree that the 1.25 billion committed to

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child and adolescent mental health in 2015 should have been ring

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fenced? Rather than used as a resource to be raided to plug other

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holes in other budgets within the NHS? If we look at what is happening

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in relation to mental health treatment on the NHS we see 1400

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more people every day accessing mental health services. When I spoke

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about this issue on Monday, I said that there is, of course, more for

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us to do. It is not a problem that will be

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resolved overnight. I have set out ways in which we will see an

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improvement in the services we see in relation to mental health but it

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is about appropriate care for any individual and, as I mentioned

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earlier, it is not just about A When I was in Aldershot on Monday, I

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spoke to service users with mental health problems, who said that they

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did not want to go to A, the provision of alternative services

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has meant that the A locally has seen their numbers stabilising

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rather than going up. It is about the appropriate care for the

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individual, and we want to see good practice spread across the whole

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country. Jeremy Corbyn! Mr Speaker, nobody wants people with mental

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health conditions to go to A departments, A departments do not

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want them to go there but under the government, there are 6000 nurses

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fewer working in mental health, 400 fewer doctors working in mental

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health, it is obviously they will go somewhere to get help when they are

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in a desperate situation. Mr Speaker, our NHS is under a huge

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pressure, and much of it is caused by cuts to social care. The Royal

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College of Physicians has said that it is pushing more people into our

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hospitals and trapping them there for longer. We'll be Prime Minister

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do what my friend, the member for Leicester South has called for, and

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bring forward the extra 700 million allocated in 2019 now into social

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care so that we did not have this problem of people staying too long

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in hospital when they should be cared for by a social care system?

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The right honourable gentleman has asked me these questions before

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Christmas in the last PMQs... He may find it difficult to believe that

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somebody will say the same thing that they said a few weeks ago...

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But... We have put extra money into social care. In the medium term, we

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are ensuring that best practice is spread across the country, because

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he talks about delayed discharge. There are some local authorities

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working with their health service locally where there are virtually no

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delayed discharges. 50%, half of the delayed discharges, are in only 24

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local authority areas. What does that tell us? That it is not just

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about funding but best practice. If the right honourable gentleman comes

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back to me and talks about funding again, he should think on this. We

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can only fun social care and the NHS if we have a strong economy with the

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Conservatives! Mr Speaker, I'm sorry to have to bring the Prime Minister

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back to the subject of social care which I raised before Christmas, the

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reason I did so and will continue to do so is because she has not

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addressed the problem! The government has cut ?4.6 billion from

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social care budgets. The Kings fund says there is a social care funding

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gap of ?2 billion almost this year. Earlier this week, the Prime

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Minister said that she wanted to create a "Shared society". We

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certainly have that. More people sharing hospital corridors on

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trolleys! More people sharing waiting areas and A departments.

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More people sharing an anxiety created by this government. Our NHS,

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Mr Speaker, is in crisis but the Prime Minister is in denial. Can I

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suggest to her, on the economic question, cancelled the corporate

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tax cuts! Spend the money where it is needed, and people in desperate

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need in social care, or in our hospitals! The right honourable

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gentleman talks about crisis, I suggest that he listens to the

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honourable member for Don Valley, a former Labour health minister, who

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said the following. With Labour, it is always about crisis. The NHS is

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on its knees, we had to be a bit more grown-up about this. And come

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he talks to be about corporation tax. -- and he talks to me about

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corporation tax and cuts, the Labour Party has already spent that money

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eight times! The last thing the NHS needs is a check from Labour which

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bounces, the only way we can ensure we have funding for the NHS is a

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strong economy. Yesterday, the right honourable gentleman proved that he

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was not only incompetent but would destroy our economy which would

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devastate our NHS. Cyber bullying, sexting and revenge

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pornography are part of British teenage life today, and so is a

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rapid increase in mental health problems among our teenagers. How is

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the Prime Minister helping to tackle the pressures teenagers face in

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Britain today? My right honourable friend raises an important point,

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and one of the things I spoke about when I spoke about mental health on

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Monday was trying to ensure we can provide better training for staff

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and teachers in schools to identify the early stages of mental health

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problems for young people, so that those problems can be addressed. I

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think it is something like half of all mental health problems start

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before age 14, so it's a real issue we need to address. We are going to

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look at how we can provide that training, and we will be looking at

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a number of other ways and reviewing the mental health services provided

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for young people to ensure we can identify what is working and make

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sure that good practice is spread across the country. May I begin with

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a tribute to father George Thompson, who died shortly before Christmas.

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He led a remarkable life as a teacher, priest and SNP member for

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Galloway. We extend our sympathies to his family. All of us in this

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house and across these islands care about the peace process and the

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democratic institutions in Northern Ireland, so may I wish the premise

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done well, the Taoiseach, the Northern Secretary, the political

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parties all the best in trying to resolve the serious political

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difficulties there. Will the Prime Minister tell us what consequences

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will be if no agreement be found? I join the honourable gentleman in

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offering condolences to the family and friends of George Thompson, the

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member for Galloway between 1974 and 1979. On the issue he has raised

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about the situation in Northern Ireland, we are treating this with

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the utmost seriousness, and as he will know the Northern Ireland

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Secretary made a statement in this house earlier this week on this

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issue. He has spoken to the First Minister and the former Deputy First

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Minister and he is urging all parties to work together to find a

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way forward. I have also spoken to the Taoiseach about this issue, so

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we are putting every effort into this. The legislation is that, if,

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within seven days, we don't have a nomination for a Deputy First

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Minister, the matter would go to an election. The Prime Minister has

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indicated that she wants to date the views of the elected representatives

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and the devolved institutions on Brexit seriously. So it stands to

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reason then that, if there is no Northern Ireland Assembly and there

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is no Northern Ireland Executive for much of the time before the March

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timetable she has set before invoking Article 50, that she will

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be unable to properly consult, to fully discuss and find agreement on

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the complex issues during this time period. In these circumstances, will

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the Prime Minister postpone invoking Article 50? Will she postpone

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Article 50, or will she just plough on regardless? It's about ensuring,

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as he says, we all want to ensure that we do hear the views from all

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parts of the UK. That is why we have established the GMC, European

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committee, specifically to take the views and the GMC plenary, which is

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also meeting more frequently than previously. First, we want to ensure

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that, within this period of seven days, we can find a resolution to

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the political situation in Northern Ireland so we can continue to seek

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the assembly government continuing, but I am also clear that, in the

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discussions we have, it will be possible and it is still the case

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that actually ministers are in place and that obviously there are

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executives in place, and we are still able to take the views of the

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Northern Irish people. Closed question, Michael fabricant. Thank

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you, Mr Speaker. Apologies. The fundamentals of the UK economy are

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strong, including in Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Employment in

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Staffordshire has risen by over 20,000 since 2010. We have protected

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schools and police budgets and we have seen more doctors and nurses in

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the Burton hospitals trust. We are going further than this in the West

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Midlands by giving new powers to the region with the devolution deal and

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the election of a directly elected mayor, and I think Andy Street, with

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his business and local experience, would be a very good mayor for the

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West Midlands. I think the Prime Minister for that answer.

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Unemployment in my constituency, my beautiful Litchfield constituency,

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is around 0.7%, which is fantastic, but I want it even lower. I have

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found out that 24% of my constituents work in the area of the

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West Midlands combined authority. So can I press my right honourable

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friend just a little bit further about what she thinks is needed in

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the West Midlands combined authority to improve employment still more?

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Well, I think my honourable friend, and of course I have had the

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advantage, having visited his beautiful constituency. In relation

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to the Midlands, we have very strong ambitions to make the Midlands and

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engine for growth in the UK. That is why we have plans for a Midlands

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engine that demonstrates that, when we say we are going to build an

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economy that works for everyone, we actually mean it. In the Autumn

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Statement, ?5 million was confirmed for a Birmingham rail hub, 250

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million Midlands engine investment funds, and we will shortly publish a

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strategy for the Midlands engine, but I repeat that I think, for the

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West Midlands, having the devolution deal, the mayor and the right person

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elected as mayor, who I think we'll be Andy Street, is important. Sur

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Ivan Rogers, in his resignation letter, said people may have to

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deliver messages to the government that they may find disagreeable, so

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here is one. Her lack of priority for the single market is putting

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jobs in Scotland and the economy at risk. That means that government is

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as big a threat to the union as the SNP. Her government is not worthy of

:21:39.:21:43.

the trust Scots, let alone their blind trust, so will the Prime

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Minister take this opportunity to apologise for threatening the union

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and give a solemn promise to every single person in this country that

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they will not be a penny worse off after a Tory Brexit? The honourable

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gentleman will be well aware that I want to see the best possible trade

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deal for the UK with the EU, the best possible deal for trading with

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an operating in the single European market. When we enter the

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negotiations, obviously that is one of the issues I have said I want to

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see, and we will be out there and delivering on it. Unlike the

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downplaying he does about the approach we are taking, it is

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government that is ambitious for the opportunities available to this

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country once we leave the EU. Cheshire schools in areas of reality

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and high deprivation will receive some of the lowest per-pupil funding

:22:41.:22:44.

rate in the country under the new proposed funding formula. -- in

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rural areas. Does the Prime Minister agreed that these discrepancies must

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be addressed to ensure that pupils in my area receive the best possible

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start in life? I think everybody recognises that the way schools have

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been funded in the past has been unfair and many pupils have missed

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out, and that is why it is right for us to look at bringing forward a new

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fair funding formula, making sure funding is attached to children's

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needs. We recognise the issues of rural areas in this, which is why,

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within the fair funding formula, additional funding for such schools

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has been included, but of course the Department for Education as this out

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for consultation at the moment and I would urge my honourable friend to

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make a representation is part of that consultation. Dewsbury hospital

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A is set for downgrade this year. Over Christmas, I had constituents

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waiting over 20 hours for a bed, in a facility that might not even exist

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next year. Would the Prime Minister now please face reality and act now

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to stop this vital A service from disappearing? The honourable ladies

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referring to the plans being put forward at local level to

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consider... shouting. IF THE HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR DEWSBURY, IF

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SHE WERE BEHAVING LIKE THAT IN ANOTHER AREA, WOULD PROBABLY BE

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SUBJECT TO AN ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ORDER. I returned to the point,

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decisions about services in the local area are rightly taken by the

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local National Guard service, because we believe that it is local

:24:37.:24:40.

clinicians and local patients and leaders who know what is less for

:24:41.:24:45.

their area, so it is about trying to tailor services to provide the best

:24:46.:24:48.

possible needs for local people, modernising care and facilities and

:24:49.:24:53.

making sure the services are appropriate to the local area. This

:24:54.:24:57.

trust has an extensive improvement plan to ensure both hospitals within

:24:58.:25:02.

it can care for patients attending A within as timely a way as

:25:03.:25:09.

possible. Next Thursday evening, I will host the first session of the

:25:10.:25:13.

Bedford community business school, free of charge, open to all, with

:25:14.:25:17.

250 local people sharing a passion for entrepreneurship and learning

:25:18.:25:22.

tips about business from national and local business leaders, so will

:25:23.:25:25.

my right honourable friend ensure that her forthcoming national

:25:26.:25:29.

strategy is that it's part be passionate interests of Britain's

:25:30.:25:32.

small business leaders and entrepreneurs? -- has at its heart.

:25:33.:25:40.

I can absolutely give that commitment. The industrial strategy

:25:41.:25:43.

will look to the economy of the future, what is the sort of economy

:25:44.:25:46.

we want in this country, and crucial to that will be the growth generated

:25:47.:25:50.

by entrepreneurs, small businesses and the very passion he speaks

:25:51.:25:54.

about. We want to see an environment in which those who can grow can

:25:55.:25:59.

emerge and develop and provide future jobs for people, so they can

:26:00.:26:03.

contribute to the strength of the economy. That is what the industrial

:26:04.:26:06.

strategy is about and I agree with my honourable friend. The Prime

:26:07.:26:12.

Minister, I am sure, will understand, despite the

:26:13.:26:16.

reassurances, that there are genuine and really serious concerns among

:26:17.:26:22.

staff across the NHS and the care system and patients and their

:26:23.:26:25.

families about the pressures they are under. It is for that reason

:26:26.:26:30.

that MPs from her own party, from the Labour Party and my own have

:26:31.:26:34.

come together to call for the government to establish an NHS and

:26:35.:26:38.

care convention to engage with the public, so we can come up with a

:26:39.:26:43.

long-term settlement for the NHS and care. Would the Prime Minister be

:26:44.:26:47.

prepared to meet with us just to discuss it so she can hear our case?

:26:48.:26:53.

I recognised the interest and attention the honourable gentleman

:26:54.:26:57.

has given to these issues, and he is a former health minister himself and

:26:58.:27:00.

I will be happy to meet with him and others as he suggests. There can be

:27:01.:27:08.

nothing as distressing for a parent as the death of their child,

:27:09.:27:13.

particularly where that child has been murdered. That is what happened

:27:14.:27:20.

to the two ladies, one of them a constituent of mine, who set up

:27:21.:27:26.

Justice After Acquittal, successfully campaigning for

:27:27.:27:28.

voluntary national standards of support by the CPS and policed by

:27:29.:27:34.

the families of murder victims following an acquittal. They are due

:27:35.:27:39.

to be launched next Tuesday. -- for the families. Would the Prime

:27:40.:27:43.

Minister join with me in paying tribute to determination and energy

:27:44.:27:46.

with which they have campaigned, and will she continue to ensure that the

:27:47.:27:50.

voices of the victims of crime and their families are always listened

:27:51.:27:55.

to? My honourable friend raises an important point and I am happy to

:27:56.:27:59.

join with him in paying tribute to these campaigners. I am sure the

:28:00.:28:02.

whole house would want to pay tribute to the work they are doing.

:28:03.:28:07.

I remain committed to ensuring that the voices of victims are heard.

:28:08.:28:13.

That is what I did as Home Secretary, looking at issues such as

:28:14.:28:18.

introducing new measures to tackle modern slavery, strengthening BIP

:28:19.:28:21.

CC, legislating in relation to police complaint and discipline

:28:22.:28:25.

systems to strengthen public confidence in policing, and I'm

:28:26.:28:30.

pleased to say that the Home Secretary is taking that same

:28:31.:28:35.

passion to ensure the voices of victims of crime are heard. --

:28:36.:28:42.

strengthening the IPC C. Across the UK, many banks are accelerating

:28:43.:28:46.

their closure of local branches, with adverse effects on vulnerable

:28:47.:28:50.

and older people and the high street. The Royal Bank of Scotland

:28:51.:28:53.

is closing down branches across Scotland, including Juniper Green in

:28:54.:29:01.

my constituency. Local convenience stores are taking the strain,

:29:02.:29:04.

processing bills and often facing exorbitant bank charges for the

:29:05.:29:09.

privilege of doing that. Will the Prime Minister meet with me to

:29:10.:29:13.

discuss how we can realise a situation where banking across the

:29:14.:29:16.

UK services customers and the real economy? The issue of bank branches

:29:17.:29:24.

and accessibility of bank services is one which is for individual banks

:29:25.:29:29.

themselves to take and consider, and there are many ways in which people

:29:30.:29:34.

are now accessing bank services other than going physically into a

:29:35.:29:37.

branch, but I will certainly look at the issue she has raised. Building a

:29:38.:29:43.

country that works for everyone means doing even more to tackle

:29:44.:29:48.

economic and social deprivation that has come to afflict pockets of

:29:49.:29:57.

seaside towns such as Rhyl in my constituency. Would the right

:29:58.:30:03.

honourable friend support a locally developed plan to invest in rail

:30:04.:30:07.

infrastructure to help unlock the true potential of the north Wales

:30:08.:30:12.

and Mersey economic region as an integral part of the northern

:30:13.:30:15.

powerhouse, connected to the rest of the country by the proposed a Harb

:30:16.:30:20.

at Crewe? I welcome the establishment of the north Wales and

:30:21.:30:26.

Mersey rail task force and the work they are doing. The plan he mentions

:30:27.:30:31.

sets out an ambitious programme of improvements for the area. I am sure

:30:32.:30:35.

they will prioritise the most promising option, but I can say that

:30:36.:30:39.

the Department for Transport will continue to work closely with the

:30:40.:30:42.

top force and the Welsh government to consider what can be jointly

:30:43.:30:43.

accomplished. on the 2011 pensions act. He has

:30:44.:31:11.

been deemed someone who can accept a knighthood. Action has been taken in

:31:12.:31:22.

relation to pensions. The number of people affected for the period they

:31:23.:31:25.

were affected was resumes. Money was put in to show that was possible,

:31:26.:31:30.

but I also said to the honourable gentleman that if you look at the

:31:31.:31:34.

new structure that has been put in place, women will be some of the

:31:35.:31:40.

greater benefit choose -- beneficiaries of the new structure.

:31:41.:31:44.

I welcome the Prime Minister raising the awareness of child mental health

:31:45.:31:49.

this week. Not least because last year 65% of young people requiring

:31:50.:31:54.

mental health support in South Warwickshire had to wait over 12

:31:55.:31:58.

weeks before starting treatment. Can my right honourable friend outline

:31:59.:32:02.

how the new proposals will improve our support network for such

:32:03.:32:08.

vulnerable young people? My honourable friend raises important

:32:09.:32:12.

issue that was alluded to earlier in this session of PMQs. We are

:32:13.:32:18.

investing more in mental health. We are spending ?11.4 billion a year.

:32:19.:32:23.

It was the Conservative led government that introduced the

:32:24.:32:27.

parity of esteem between mental and physical health. There is still more

:32:28.:32:31.

for us to do to ensure we see the appropriate care available for

:32:32.:32:35.

people and I cited an example earlier of where I saw excellent

:32:36.:32:37.

work being done to provide care and support for people which relieve

:32:38.:32:55.

pressure on Accident and Emergency. Strain Accident and Emergency in my

:32:56.:32:58.

constituency is under review and further up the Cumbrian coast the

:32:59.:33:05.

community could lose access to 24 hour Accident and Emergency and

:33:06.:33:13.

maternity led services. No decisions will be made locally, but can she at

:33:14.:33:18.

least say that she can understand the anxiety of expense and mums who

:33:19.:33:25.

face a 40 mile journey on difficult roads that are often blocked. --

:33:26.:33:32.

expectant mums. I think the problem that are facing the health service

:33:33.:33:35.

in Cumbria are widely recognised and I understand the concerns of local

:33:36.:33:41.

people in terms of the services available to them. We have put

:33:42.:33:47.

robust national support in place. We are developing a lasting plan to

:33:48.:33:52.

deliver high-quality sustainable services. He is writing saying that

:33:53.:33:55.

in relation to the specific decisions they are being taken

:33:56.:34:00.

locally. No final decisions have been taken. I recognise the concern

:34:01.:34:05.

he has raised previously, particularly about services at West

:34:06.:34:08.

Cumberland Hospital. There will be considerable involvement in taking

:34:09.:34:15.

those decisions and we do recognise the concerns regarding long-term

:34:16.:34:19.

health provision in Cumbria. Doctor Caroline Johnson. Thank you, Mr

:34:20.:34:27.

Speaker. I never my career in medicine that the men and women of

:34:28.:34:32.

our East Midlands ambulance do a brave and sterling job for the

:34:33.:34:36.

people of the and North Hykeham and others, saving people's lives every

:34:37.:34:42.

day. East Midlands Ambulance Service responded to 11,662 999 calls over

:34:43.:34:48.

the Christmas and bank holiday weekend alone. 2500 of which were in

:34:49.:34:53.

Lincolnshire. Will the Prime Minister join me in paying tribute

:34:54.:34:59.

to the dedication, particularly over the busy winter period and tell the

:35:00.:35:04.

house Watmore the government can do to support our Ambulance Services

:35:05.:35:08.

and improve response times in rural areas like Sleaford and North

:35:09.:35:17.

Hykeham? I thank my honourable friend for her question and for

:35:18.:35:20.

bringing her personal experience as a medical professional in relation

:35:21.:35:26.

to this issue. I'm happy to pay tribute to the men and women of the

:35:27.:35:29.

Ambulance Service and the dedication and commitment they show. She asked

:35:30.:35:35.

what the government has been doing. We recognise the Ambulance Service

:35:36.:35:40.

is busy and that is why we have 2000 more paramedics compared to 2010.

:35:41.:35:49.

Also at the Department of Health, NHS, employers and ambulance unions

:35:50.:35:59.

have agreed changes in compensation to paramedics. We recognise the

:36:00.:36:03.

excellent work they do. Can I commend the Prime Minister for her

:36:04.:36:07.

considered statement last night and indeed the words she has given this

:36:08.:36:11.

afternoon. She knows our commitment to the institutions in Northern

:36:12.:36:15.

Ireland, but would she agreed that nothing can be or should be gained

:36:16.:36:20.

from threatening the peace process, the progress that we have made or

:36:21.:36:26.

the institutions that we have fought so hard to sustain in Northern

:36:27.:36:31.

Ireland? Well, the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland has

:36:32.:36:36.

been hard-won. We must all recognise that we don't want to put that

:36:37.:36:40.

progress in jeopardy. That is why it is so important for the government

:36:41.:36:44.

and for all parties to work as hard as we can to see a resolution to

:36:45.:36:50.

this issue so we can see a return to the power-sharing institutions and

:36:51.:36:54.

ensure, as we say, that the progress that has been hard-won can be

:36:55.:37:00.

continued. Can I warmly welcome what my right honourable friend said

:37:01.:37:03.

about children's mental health earlier this week, but can I draw

:37:04.:37:08.

attention to another burning injustice. One of my constituents

:37:09.:37:13.

have been battling cancer. She has taken 20 weeks off of work and she

:37:14.:37:18.

is on half pay, yet her working tax credits have been stopped which

:37:19.:37:21.

means she is worrying about how she makes ends meet instead of

:37:22.:37:27.

concentrating on recovery. Could the Treasury look at this perhaps in the

:37:28.:37:36.

course of budget preparations? I'm sorry to hear of these particular

:37:37.:37:41.

difficulties that she has set out that her constituent is experiencing

:37:42.:37:45.

and the distress this has caused her. Working tax credits provide

:37:46.:37:51.

support for low income families and are designed to incentivise people

:37:52.:37:54.

to increase their working hours. With the new universal credit system

:37:55.:38:00.

we will have single stream I'm payments that encourage work, but in

:38:01.:38:05.

the individual case that has been raised, I'm sure the financial

:38:06.:38:08.

Secretary to the Treasury will be happy to look at the individual case

:38:09.:38:11.

order. -- at the individual case it has set

:38:12.:38:27.

out. Order.

:38:28.:38:35.