11/01/2017 Prime Minister's Questions


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


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


The Prime Minister. This morning I had meetings with ministerial


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


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


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


European referendum and embarrassingly, for the Prime


Minister, the Scottish Government is the only administration on the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to remind the honourable gentleman that when he talks about the


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


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


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


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


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


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


stations to guarantee jobs? I certainly agree with my honourable


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


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


carbon society. The industrial strategy that the government will be


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


supporting economic growth and ensuring the economy works for all.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


house will send condolences to family and friends of Katie Rough


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


honourable gentleman in sending condolences to the family of Lance


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


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


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


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


right honourable gentleman in expressing condolences to the family


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


than six years ago, was irresponsible and overblown. Mr


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


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


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


conditions in hospitals across the country are reaching a dangerous


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


degree of denial about this and will not listen to professional


organisations who have spent their whole lifetime doing their best for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that the NHS looks into issues where there are unacceptable incidents


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reality of the National Health Service. Jeremy Corbyn!


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


proposing through sustainability and transformation to cut one third of


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


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


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


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


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


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


child and adolescent mental health in 2015 should have been ring


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


has meant that the A locally has seen their numbers stabilising


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The right honourable gentleman has asked me these questions before


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


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


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


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


he talks about delayed discharge. There are some local authorities


working with their health service locally where there are virtually no


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


certainly have that. More people sharing hospital corridors on


trolleys! More people sharing waiting areas and A departments.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


was not only incompetent but would destroy our economy which would


devastate our NHS. Cyber bullying, sexting and revenge


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


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


the Prime Minister helping to tackle the pressures teenagers face in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


parties all the best in trying to resolve the serious political


difficulties there. Will the Prime Minister tell us what consequences


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Prime Minister postpone invoking Article 50? Will she postpone


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that actually ministers are in place and that obviously there are


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


Northern Irish people. Closed question, Michael fabricant. Thank


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Unemployment in my constituency, my beautiful Litchfield constituency,


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


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


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


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


the West Midlands combined authority to improve employment still more?


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


advantage, having visited his beautiful constituency. In relation


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Minister take this opportunity to apologise for threatening the union


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


government that is ambitious for the opportunities available to this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


within the fair funding formula, additional funding for such schools


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


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


make a representation is part of that consultation. Dewsbury hospital


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


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


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


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


referring to the plans being put forward at local level to








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


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


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


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


possible needs for local people, modernising care and facilities and


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


trust has an extensive improvement plan to ensure both hospitals within


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


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


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


250 local people sharing a passion for entrepreneurship and learning


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


my right honourable friend ensure that her forthcoming national


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


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


I can absolutely give that commitment. The industrial strategy


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


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


by entrepreneurs, small businesses and the very passion he speaks


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


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


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


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


Minister, I am sure, will understand, despite the


reassurances, that there are genuine and really serious concerns among


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I recognised the interest and attention the honourable gentleman


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


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


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


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


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


Justice After Acquittal, successfully campaigning for


voluntary national standards of support by the CPS and policed by


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


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


Minister join with me in paying tribute to determination and energy


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


introducing new measures to tackle modern slavery, strengthening BIP


CC, legislating in relation to police complaint and discipline


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


pleased to say that the Home Secretary is taking that same


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


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


their closure of local branches, with adverse effects on vulnerable


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


is closing down branches across Scotland, including Juniper Green in


my constituency. Local convenience stores are taking the strain,


processing bills and often facing exorbitant bank charges for the


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


discuss how we can realise a situation where banking across the


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


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


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


are now accessing bank services other than going physically into a


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


country that works for everyone means doing even more to tackle


economic and social deprivation that has come to afflict pockets of


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


honourable friend support a locally developed plan to invest in rail


infrastructure to help unlock the true potential of the north Wales


and Mersey economic region as an integral part of the northern


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


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


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


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


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


the Department for Transport will continue to work closely with the


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


accomplished. on the 2011 pensions act. He has


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


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


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


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


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


greater benefit choose -- beneficiaries of the new structure.


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


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


mental health support in South Warwickshire had to wait over 12


weeks before starting treatment. Can my right honourable friend outline


how the new proposals will improve our support network for such


vulnerable young people? My honourable friend raises important


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


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


It was the Conservative led government that introduced the


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


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


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


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


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


constituency is under review and further up the Cumbrian coast the


community could lose access to 24 hour Accident and Emergency and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in relation to the specific decisions they are being taken


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


he has raised previously, particularly about services at West


Cumberland Hospital. There will be considerable involvement in taking


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Lincolnshire. Will the Prime Minister join me in paying tribute


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


house Watmore the government can do to support our Ambulance Services


and improve response times in rural areas like Sleaford and North


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


bringing her personal experience as a medical professional in relation


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


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


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


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


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


have agreed changes in compensation to paramedics. We recognise the


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


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


afternoon. She knows our commitment to the institutions in Northern


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


attention to another burning injustice. One of my constituents


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


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


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


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


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


difficulties that she has set out that her constituent is experiencing


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


support for low income families and are designed to incentivise people


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


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


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


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


order. -- at the individual case it has set


out. Order.