18/01/2017 Prime Minister's Questions


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This morning I had meetings. In addition, we'll have further such


meetings later today. Alcohol is a primary factor. Does


the Prime Minister recognise the problems and will she instruct her


Government to now address these problems effectively and a a matter


of urgency? Alcohol is a primary factor in


domestic violence attacks on women. Does the primers to recognise


the seriousness of the country's alcohol problems and the billions


of pounds of cost to the public purse and will she instructor


government to address these problems effectively and as


a matter of urgency? I can certainly say that I recognise


the problem is that alcohol causes. That's why when I was Home Secretary


we produced an alcohol strategy, we worked on the issue


and the government continues to recognise the importance of this


issue and to work on it. Will the Prime Minister join me


in paying tribute to the NHS staff who provide us with such magnificent


treatment day in, day out? Will she also agree with me that


people who miss NHS appointments without cancelling them cost the NHS


a great deal of money and also take up slots which would otherwise be


used by other patients? Will she consider how she might


let those people know of the inconvenience


they are causing? My honourable friend makes


two important points. I'm pleased to join with him


in paying tribute to the dedication and hard work of all those who work


in our NHS. Secondly, he is right to point out


that if somebody misses an appointment it is a cost


on the NHS. There are a number of ways


in which this is being dealt with, including in some hospitals sending


out text messages reminding people of appointments and telling


them how much it costs Mr Speaker, yesterday


the Prime Minister snubbed Parliament, and snubbed the Brexit


committee's recommendations to bring forward a white paper,


while at the same time describing the referendum as a vote to restore


our Parliamentary democracy. This is about our jobs, living


standards and future prosperity. Why will it not be


scrutinised by this House? I say to the right honourable


gentleman that what I did yesterday was set out a plan for a global


Britain. I set out a plan that


will put the divisions of last year behind us,


that will show a vision... That shows a vision for a stronger,


fairer, more united, more outward looking,


prosperous, tolerant and It was a vision which will


shape a stronger future Restoring democracy whilst


sidelining Parliament. It's not so much the Iron Lady


as the irony lady! Yesterday, Mr Speaker,


the Prime Minister finally Can I urge her to stop her threat


of a bargain basement Brexit, a low pay tax haven


on the shores of Europe. It won't necessarily damage the EU,


but it would certainly Businesses, jobs


and public services. She demeans herself and her office,


and her country's standing, What I set out yesterday was a plan


for a global Britain bringing prosperity to this country,


and jobs to people, and spreading But actually yesterday,


we'll so learned more of the right honourable gentleman's thinking


on this issue. "She Has said will leave the single


market but at the same time says she wants to have access


to the single market. I'm not sure how that's


going to go down in Europe. I think we have to have a deal


that ensures we have I've got a plan, he


doesn't have a clue! She was the one he made the threat


about slashing corporation tax. If you reduce corporation tax


to the lowest common denominator, this country loses ?120


billion in revenue. How, then, do you fund public


services as a result of that? Last year, the Prime Minister said


leaving the single market would make And, while we could certainly


negotiate our own trade agreements, there would be no guarantee


that they would be on terms as good But yesterday, the Prime Minister


only offered as vague guarantees. Can I ask her, does she now


disagree with herself? The right honourable


gentleman might also have noticed that when I spoke


in the Remain Campaign, I said if we voted to leave


the European Union, the sky Look at what has happened, actually,


to our economic situation, I say he talks about the future


of this economy, I want us to be an outward looking nation,


trading around the world, bringing The one thing that would be


bad for the economy is the answer is that the right


honourable gentleman has. He wants a cap on wages,


no control on immigration, That wouldn't lead to prosperity,


that would lead to no jobs, The Chancellor said


after the referendum that to lose single market access


would be catastrophic. A few days later the Health


Secretary said, the first part of the plan must be clarity


that we will remain The Prime Minister said something


about frictionless access to the single market and a bespoke


customs union deal. Could the Prime Minister give us


a little bit of certainty Has she ruled out paying any kind


of access to what she describes Has she ruled out paying any kind


of access fee to what she describes I can say to the right honourable


gentleman that access to the single market is exactly what I was talking


about yesterday in my speech. One of the key principles,


key objectives, is that we negotiate a free trade agreement


with the European Union that gives us the widest possible access


for trading with and operating And he talks about frictionless


access, actually this was a separate point,


which is about frictionless borders A very important issue


in relation to our relationship between Northern Ireland


and the Republic of Ireland. The Taoiseach and I and all parties


are absolutely on a single page on this, we want to ensure


we have the best possible arrangement that doesn't lead


to a Borders of the past in Northern The question was, would


we have to pay for access The Prime Minister hasn't


given an answer on that. Yesterday she set out


a wish list on immigration referring to skills shortages


and high skilled migration. Does she now disagree


with the Secretary of State rural affairs, who told an employer 's


conference, don't worry, you can still have cheap EU labour


after we leave the European Union? The Right honourable


gentleman talks about access. Yes, the whole point


is that we will negotiate a free trade agreement


with the European Union, but it's about the best possible


access for British business to operate in the European Union


member states and for European businesses to operate


here in the United Kingdom. It's about sitting down


and negotiating the best possible That's what I'm committed


to and that's what this government My question was about how much


we are going to have to pay to have Yesterday she talked


about the pressure put on public Can I just remind her,


as one of her honourable friends did earlier,


but at the moment there are 55,000 EU citizens working in our NHS,


helping to treat all of the people There are 80,000 care


workers helping our, There are 5000 teachers,


educating our children. The real pressure on public services


comes from a government that slashed billions from the social care


budget, that is cutting the schools budget, that is closing A


departments and walk-in centres Instead of threatening to turn


Britain into an offshore tax haven, let's welcome those who contribute


to our public services and fund our public services properly,


so that we do have the fully functioning NHS that we


all need and deserve! I made clear yesterday,


we value those who have come to the UK and contribute


to our economy and our society, and there will still be


people coming to the UK from the European Union,


when we leave the EU. The crucial issue is that it is this


government that will be making decisions about our immigration


system for people from But yet again, I say


to the right honourable gentleman, there is indeed


a difference between us. It's very simple, when I look


at the issue of Brexit, or indeed at any other issue


like the National Health Service or social care, I consider


the issue, I set out my plan, It's called leadership,


he should try it sometime! Yesterday was a day for being bold


and ambitious and I'm sure that she noted Lincoln


city football club... Qualify to the fourth


round of the FA Cup. I noted her recent comments


about white working-class In ten years half a million


fewer males have gone Exam results are


lower at all levels. I ask my right honourable friend,


when can we expect to see practical action on closing


the gender education gap? Can I join my honourable friend


in congratulating Lincoln city on their victory last night and say


I think it was a fitting tribute to Graham Taylor


that they won that match. I have highlighted the issue


particularly of white working-class boys who are the group in society


least likely to go to university. We are committed to making sure that


every child gets the opportunity to fulfil their potential,


that is about ensuring apprenticeships are as accessible


as possible and I'm pleased to say that the number of apprenticeships


started by males have increased Also, universities expect to spend


?800 million this year in improving access and success


for disadvantaged students. We want everybody to


achieve their potential, whatever their background


and whatever their gender. Shortly after the Prime Minister


confirmed she wants to take the UK out of the single European market,


the Scottish Parliament voted by a large cross-party majority


to remain in the single European market, just as a large majority


of people in Scotland voted The Prime Minister has said that


Scotland is an equal partner Does she still believe this is true,


or is she just stringing the people I might refer the right honourable


gentleman to my speech yesterday where I reiterated my commitment to


be working with the devolved administrations to ensure their


voice is heard of, their interests are taken into account as we proceed


along this path negotiating our exit I specifically references


the Scotland plan. I understand the Welsh Government


will produce a plan for Wales That Scotland plan will be


considered by the JMC on European negotiations tomorrow,


I believe. We'll look at it seriously,


working with the Scottish Government Scotland's leading


economic forecaster says, Tories jeering and cheering


when the forecast for people's income is as likely to drop


by ?2,000 and that 80,000, Mr Speaker, that 80,000 people may


lose their jobs in Scotland as a result of the hard Tory Brexit


plan of the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister believe


that this is a price worth paying We'll work to ensure we get the best


possible deal in terms of access to the single market and continuing


to cooperate in part are inship to the single market and continuing


to cooperate in partnership with the 28 remaining member states


of the European Union. The right honourable gentleman once


again talks about the possibility of a negative impact on Scotland


if Scotland were not part His party is dedicated to taking


Scotland out of the single market Mr Speaker, this week directors


of our larger companies have been told by investors to rein in senior


executive pay which is too often distorted by long-term incentive


plans which are too complex to manage and too excessive


in their rewards. Will my right honourable friend look


the such schemes as part I'm pleased to say this Government's


taken action on executive pay already giving shareholders


the power to veto pay policies and force companies


to Disclose their board's pay. We've pubbish Hirsched a Green Paper


on how to strengthen shareholders' influence over executive pay


and have greater transparency. Will a commitment be made today that


no part of Great Repel Bill will be subject to English votes


for English laws? The honourable lady might recognise


the Great Repel Bill will have a number of complex issues


it will be dealing with. It will be ensuring at its heart


will be the European One of the issues we'll need to look


at looking at that bill and negotiating our way out


of the European Union is the issue of reserve matters


and devolved matters. Members of the Scottish National


Party led by the right honourable gentleman on the front bench who's


supposed to be a statesman-like figure should demonstrate some calm


and reserve while being answered by the the Prime Minister


who was questioned. The honourable lady will know full


well that any legislation brought before this House,


if any part of it only applies to England then it will be subject


to the English votes May I congratulate the Prime


Minister on her delivery yesterday of an historic,


definitive, pragmatic, outward looking speech which saw


the pound rise to its highest level Would she agree with me


a strong and prosperous UK as she has planned,


would be a nightmare for the Leader of the Opposition


and the EU ruling class? I agree with my honourable friend,


a strong and prosperous Britain is what we want to build as we leave


the European Union. It is only a pitty it seems


the Labour Party aren't interested in doing that and want to do


the opposite and bring Quite an answer as to


whether she'll visit the Rhondda. I'm happy


to accommodate her. More importantly, I could


take her to see the best brass band in the world -


the Cory Band. Or I could take her to the local


food bank which is based in the closed down Conservative


Club. What's happening at the moment


is since 2010, the Government's closed the local courts,


it's closed the local tax office, the DWP office


and the driving centre. Now the Government's intending


to close all the tax offices in Wales and centralise


them in Cardiff. We feel in the valleys as if we're


just ignored by the Government. Can I just beg her to change


direction and start putting Government offices in the small


towns, villages, and Can I say to the right


honourable gentleman, the last time I looked,


Cardiff was actually in Wales. He says we're going to take offices


away from Wales but we'll I think he might find the whole


point about what the HMRC is doing moving from outdated offices


to large, modern, regional centres. That will make it possible for them


to modernise their ways of working, it will make tax collection more


efficient and improve I welcome my right honourable


friend's speech setting out a plan It shows this side of the House


is listening to the British people. Would my right honourable friend


commend this approach to the council leaders


considering the Greater Manchester framework consultation responses


as they need to listen to the people, give us


better infrastructure I thank my honourable


friend for his comments The consultation closed


earlier this week. There has been a huge amount


of interest from local people. I echo his comment saying


local leaders should take In the UK, we have 14


regional markets for Highlanders and Islanders


are facing higher prices Electricity distribution charges


for the north of Scotland are an eye watering 84% higher


than distribution The Prime Minister


talks about fairness. Will she introduce a universal


market for electricity pricing and stop penalising


Highlanders and Islanders? Those of us who live in the coldest


windiest places are discriminated against by her Government


and it must end. The honourable gentleman draws


attention to the fact that of course geography has an impact


on these matters. He talks about living


in the coldest and windiest place. One of the issues that's interesting


to look at in relation to Scotland is the whole question of renewables


and the opportunities for renewables I can tell him we are


looking at the impact... We are looking at making sure that


energy markets in the UK I'm very pleased the Prime Minister


has said she will take the necessary action on air quality to deal


with the 40,000 premature deaths it causes across our


country every year. As I know she believes in her


Government leading by example, will she make sure that all diesel


cars are removed from the Government My honourable friend is right,


improving air quality is a priority We are determined to


cut harmful emissions. We've committed money since 2011


to supporting the take-up The Government car service


is working to remove diesel It has replaced a quarter


of its vehicles with petrol hybrid cars and this work continues


to remove diesel vehicles. Is the Prime Minister aware


that I totally agree We in this House have a real


responsibility for our children and grandchildren


to have a bright future. But is she aware there are dark


clouds looming on the horizon in terms of intolerance,


racism across Europe and the foundering and flux


of many of our great institutions that have kept peace and prosperity


since the last world war? I speak here of the UN,


Nato and indeed the European Union. Are we fit for purpose


in keeping this country safe, I recognise the important issue


that the right honourable gentleman It is precisely as we move out


of the European Union, We want to ensure we continue


play our part in the United Nations, that the United Nations itself


is able to do the job that Nato has been the most


important bulwark in terms of maintaining safety and security


across the European continent. That's why we're continuing


to support Nato. British forces in Poland,


Romania, continuing to show The thrust of my speech yesterday


was we want a strong, strategic partnership


with the European Union. We want access to the single market,


that free trade agreement but to continue to work with them


on justice and security matters. Now is not a time to cooperate less,


it's a time to cooperate more. Some of us were delighted


about the third round replay where But the pressing issue is to be


able to get into work Does the Prime Minister welcome


the talks between Aslef and Southern to finding a solution


for hard-pressed commuters? As a former Wimbledon councillor,


I am not sure I share the enthusiasm But on the point he raised


about train strikes, yes, I do. I hope those sitting around


the table will enensure we see an agreement reached which enables


passengers to get on with their lives, their jobs and not


suffer the misery brought about by the strike


in the first place. Can I agree with the Prime Minister


and disagree with the last member about the reference to last night's


meeting and AFC's results. If the Prime Minister really


believes that GP surgeries should be open seven days a week,


12 hours a day, would she be my guest at a resident's meeting


against Department of Health diktat which will close a 6,000 strong


Mitcham Wilson surgery. Even better, could she just


tell her Government to stop cuts to GP services which force thousands


to attend hard-pressed A's like St George's and St Helier


or is she happy to see the possible I might remind the honourable lady,


she and I sat on a council together where we tried to keep Wimbledon


playing in Wimbledon or at least GPs are part of the solution


in terms of the NHS for the future. We've seen more GPs


coming into the NHS. There are something like 5,000


more GPs being trained But what we do want to ensure


is that GPs are open and providing the services at times


when the patients Mr Speaker, it was quite clear


from the Prime Minister's speech yesterday that she seeks to build


a Brexit consensus and to bring our To that end, and indeed


to strengthen the Prime Minister's negotiating hand, before Article 50


is triggered, would she please consider at least publishing


all those 12 objectives in a White Paper so that we can


debate them here in this place I absolutely understand the point


she raised about Parliament's desire to be able to debate those


objectives which I set out very One of the objectives,


one of the principles I set It continues to be the Government's


intention that we will provide clarity whenever it is possible


and we will ensure that at appropriate times both the public


and Parliament are kept informed and are able to consider and


properly scrutinise these issues. While dedicated and talented staff


at the Royal Liverpool Hospital's A department struggle to find beds


for sick people, around 135 patients are unable to be discharged solely


because of Government cuts When will the Government


recognise its responsibilities and not try to blame GPs


for a problem of the I have accepted that


and recognised that in this House. That's why the Government's


recognised it and put improved funding through the Better Care Fund


and Social Care Precept. Liverpool raced ?8 million


and they'll receive ?48 million from It is ensuring we have a sustainable


social care system for the future. That's what the


Government's working on. Could I commend my right honourable


friend for her remarks yesterday, not least the constructive terms


to the future of the EU in marked difference


from others over the years. Would she confirm that constructive


tone will remain as the best base for getting an agreement


between ourselves and the EU for mutual interest and the default


position of no deal will remain a default position and not


the Government's preferred position? We want to get that good deal


and expect to be able It is right that it is through


goodwill and a positive approach on both sides of these negotiations


we will achieve that. I'm clear the UK wants to see


a continuing strong European Union We want to have a strong,


strategic partnership with that Europon and continue to work


bilaterally with individual states. I made this point to a number


of European leaders yesterday when I spoke to them after my speech


that we do want to approach this in I believe a deal that is good


for the UK, will be a deal This week, the National Auditor


revealed the abject failures in the Concentrix fiasco


which resulted in thousands of people wrongly denied


their tax credits. This was not one rogue contractor


but a system designed by Government to pursue and chase down


claimants for profit. So, does the Prime Minister agree


with the Chief Executive of HMRC that payment by result has no place


in our welfare system? Will she review this model


or will she wait for the next I recognise many people


received a poor service. It is not the first time this has


been highlighted in this chamber, I apologise for the worry


and stress caused for people. We have been clear about that


service operated by Concentrix. HMRC will learn the lessons


from that contract. And they remain committed


to providing a high quality service. And it will not use a private sector


service to undertakes tax Further to the question


from my honourable friend, the Prime Minister did yesterday


confirm her commitment Therefore, I assume she accepts


the long-standing convention that the executive,


the Government, is continuously accountable to this


House for the policies Could she clarify whether or not


she intends to make any further statements of policy intentions


to this House and whether she anticipates this House having


an opportunity to vote its approval for those policies earlier than two


years away when the whole My right honourable friend


raises a matter that not only our honourable friend


the member for Broxtowe has Yesterday, my right honourable,


the Secretary of State for exiting the European Union came


here and answered There is a further general debate


on exiting the European Union There have been a number of these


debates already looking at the issues which are part


of the objectives we have set. We will have to consider


the result of the decision of the Supreme Court which may,


if it goes against the Government, require legislation to be


brought before this House. There will be an opportunity


in the Great Repeal Bill to look at issues around the exiting


the exit of the EU. We can't vote on the deal


until we know what the deal is. Parliament will have a vote


when we know what that deal is. The Prime Minister's passing


reference to the interests of Spanish fishermen in her speech


yesterday let the cat out of the bag that our fishing opportunities


are already on the table as a bargaining tool before


the Brexit negotiations What does the Prime Minister


want to offer the Spanish fishermen? I made a very simple point yesterday


which is that this negotiation There will be others


in the European Union who will be looking for ensuring the deal


we get is good for the UK I have to say to the honourable


lady, if she thinks that continued membership of the Common Fisheries


Policy is not the case and one The people of Staffordshire


and Stoke-on-Trent are being confronted


with the possible loss of emergency services in Stafford or Burton


when our acute hospitals Would the Prime Minister agree


with me and others that closing A is no way to deal with increased,


real, not imagined, need? I would say to my honourable friend,


the important issue is the level of service available for people


in a local area. That's why the sustainability


and transformation plans that are being published are taken


into account and are being considered at a local level


for local clinicians and local people to agree what is best


in their particular area. Mr Speaker, last Friday I went


to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where the number of people waiting


12 hours or more in A Trust managers said the biggest


factor is discharging people. Government cuts eroded


support for them. Will she stop waffling


about her shared society, listen to her own budget watchdog


saying we'll need ?30 billion from older people in the next ten


years and put that money into local Well, just looking at the figures


for what has happened in health in his particular area,


there are more doctors and significantly more nurses


in his NHS Foundation Trust. I know what the honourable


gentleman is talking about But the honourable lady


who is shouting from a sedentary position might have recognised


that he started talking about the NHS which is what I'm


also commenting on. I'm not having an exchange


across the dispatch box. The Prime Minister


was asked a question. I require no help from


the honourable gentleman The Prime Minister will answer


and she will be heard with courtesy, including


by the honourable gentleman. The honourable


gentleman asked me about pressures We are seeing more doctors


and nurses in his hospitals Foundation Trust and health


funding in the honourable gentleman's area will be ?3 billion


this year rising with a further In terms of the issue


of social care, as I said in this House before,


we are putting extra money into social care,


we're giving local authorities the opportunity to raise more money


and spend it on social care. It's about ensuring best practise


is spread throughout the country. About a long-term solution


to sustainable social An issue ducked by Governments,


including a Labour On Friday, the east coast of England


faced threat of a tidal surge that endangered tens of thousands of


homes and thousands of lives. A simple change in the weather meant


flooding was averted. Will the Prime Minister join me


in praising the response of the emergency services planning


ahead, involving the army coastguard, the Fire Service


and the ambulance and police to make sure the best possible plans


were made and will she further join with me in making sure the public


know these warnings, in future, My honourable friend


raises an important point. I'm happy to commend


the action of all those in the emergency service,


Armed Forces, and local authorities who worked so hard


to make sure this problem, a change in weather took place,


but it is absolutely crucial that when these warnings are given,


people recognise they are given for a very good reason,


because there is a concern about the danger that


could take place. The efforts put in protected tens


of thousands of properties. I'm pleased to see the work we have


learned from previous flooding incidents, the work


between emergency services, local services and the Armed Forces


was much better coordinated We've been able to learn


from flooding in the past. Mr Speaker, in response to


the honourable member for Broxtowe the Prime Minister talked


about her desire to give clarity Many of my constituency


yentas are paying taxes. What assurances can she give


them about their future. Particularly if they change


their employer or are freelancers? What I said yesterday


is about the guaranteeing of rights for EU citizens living


here in the UK. I want to see the rights of UK


citizens living in the 27 member states being given


guarantees as well. I encourage others across Europe


to agree this is an issue we should look at at an early stage


and as early a stage as possible in order to give people


the confidence and reassurance Supporting my right honourable


gentlemen in social care and the Health Service,


can she endorse the confidence in our hospitals in market


towns across the country. They provide a vital piece


of the jigsaw in our NHS such as the Westminster memorial


in stats brie? I'm sure as my honourable friend


says, the Westminster memorial in Shaftesbury is providing good


services for local people. What the structure of the local


services should be is a matter It is crucial local clinicians agree


and others agree we have a safe and secure service


for people and that they are provided within the NHS


services they need at I accept very often we think only


of major District General Hospitals and acute hospitals but the NHS


is made up of different parts. Patients need to be treated


at the most appropriate How can abandoning membership


of the customs union that thaws 68% of Wales' exports,


crucially 90% of our food and drink exports and supports 200,000


jobs cause any other What we will be doing is negotiating


a free trade agreement with the European Union to get


the best possible access for trade. We also want to be able to negotiate


trade agreements with other A number of countries have already


expressed interest in doing that. We want to open up, see new export


markets being delivered for businesses here in the UK,


including for the sort of trade that In the customs aspect


with the European Union, we want to have an arrangement


with them to have as frictionless


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