22/02/2017 Prime Minister's Questions

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Coverage of questions in the House of Commons to Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday 22 February.

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We work of all our partners to ensure a and the protection of the


people is taking place. Questions to the Prime Minister.


Mr Speaker, last year the campaign group Fighting Cuts at the hospital


were due to deliver a strong petition to Downing Street, but they


were turned away at the gates and told, today is not a good day.


Comeback after Thursday. How can the Prime Minister justify this


disgraceful dismissal of the people of Corb Lund? -- Copeland. The


petition was indeed delivered and accepted by Downing Street yesterday


so I suggest to the honourable lady she considers what she said in her


question, but I am aware of the issues raised around West Cumberland


Hospital, and I am aware of those because the very good Conservative


candidate in Copeland, Trudy Harrison, has indeed raise those


issues with me, and made very clear she wants to see no downgrading of


services at West Cumberland Hospital, she has made that clear to


me and the health ministers. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have constituents


concerned about the new funding formula. Can I be assured that when


deciding on funding for our schools we will look at costs such as the


apprenticeship levy and things like that to ensure they have the money


they need to educate our children? I thank my honourable friend for


raising this. The question of schools funding and the system we


have is important. I think the current system is unfair, not


transparent and out of date and that has been the general view for some


time now. The problem is it cannot support the aspiration of all our


children to get a great education and we do indeed want to see


children being able to get the education they deserve that ensures


they can go as far as their talent and hard work take them. The Labour


Government did nothing to address the funding system and we are


looking at that funding system. It is... It is a consultation and I am


sure the comments my honourable friend has raised will be noted by


the Secretary of State for Education. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


When hospitals are struggling to provide essential care, why is the


Prime Minister's Government cutting the number of beds in our National


Health Service? Thanks to the medical advances, the use of


technology, the quality of care, what we see in hospital stays is


actually the average length of time for staying in hospital has


virtually halved since the year 2000. Let's actually look at


Labour's record on this issue. In the last six years of the last


Labour Government, 25,000 hospital beds were cut, but we don't even


need to go as far back as that. Let's just look at what was Labour's


policy before the last election. Because before the last election,


the Right Honourable member, a former Shadow Health Secretary,


said, what I would cut our hospital beds. Labour policy to cut hospital


beds. Mr Speaker, back in 2010 there was the highest ever level of


satisfaction with the health service delivered by a Labour Government.


The BMA tells us, Mr Speaker, that is doctors, that 15,000 beds have


been cut in the last six years, the equivalent of 24 hospitals, and as a


result we have longer waiting times in A, record charges and more


people on waiting lists. The Prime Minister claims the NHS is getting


the money it needs, so why is it one in six of A units in England are


set for closure or downgrading? I will tell the honourable gentleman


what is happening and what has been happening since 2010 in A 1500


more emergency care doctors, which includes more Andrew Neil


consultants, 2400 more paramedics, -- more emergency consultants. What


the NHS... He speaks about what the NHS needs and what it needs is more


doctors and we are giving it more doctors. What it needs is more


funding and we are giving it more funding. What it does not need is a


bankrupt economy, which is exactly what Labour would give it. Mr


Speaker, I asked the Prime Minister by one in six A units are


currently set for closure or downgrading. She did not answer. One


of the problems, and she well knows this, is that ?4.6 billion cut the


social care which has a knock-on effect, and her friend, the Tory


chair of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter, has said,


and I quote, "Extra council tax income will not bring in anywhere


near enough money to alleviate the growing pressure on social care. Two


weeks ago -- social care." Two weeks ago we found out about the


sweetheart deal with Tory Surrey. When will the other 151 social


department in England get the same as the Surrey deal? The right


honourable gentleman refers to the questions he asks me about Surrey


County Council two weeks ago. Those claims were utterly destroyed the


same afternoon. So rather than asking the same question, he should


stand up and apologise. Mr Speaker, far from apologising it is the Prime


Minister who ought to be reading her correspondence and answering the


letter from 62 council leaders representing social services


authorities who want to know if they are going to get the same deal as


Surrey, as they are grappling with a crisis that has left over 1 million


people not getting the social care they need. Mr Speaker, we opposed


the Tory cuts in the NHS which involved scrapping of nurses'


bursaries because we believed it would dissuade people from entering


training. We were told it would create an extra 10,000 training


places in this Parliament. Has this target be met? There are 10,000 more


training places available for nurses in the NHS, but the right honourable


gentleman talks about the amount of money being spent on the NHS. It is


this Conservative Government that is putting the extra funding into the


NHS, and I remind the right honourable gentleman, I remind the


right honourable gentleman that we are spending ?1.3 billion more on


the NHS this year than Labour planned to do if they had won the


election. Mr Speaker, my questions were about the social services


funding to pay for social care. No answer. My questions were about the


number of nurse training places being brought in. No answer. In


reality, 10,000 fewer places have been filled because there are fewer


applications. There is a problem in building up for the future. In


addition, the Royal College of Midwives estimate is shortage of


3500 midwives in England, and the Royal College of Nursing warned the


nursing workforce is in crisis. If fewer nurses graduate in 2020 it


will exacerbate what is already an unsustainable situation. Will the


Prime Minister at least commit herself to reinstating the nurses'


bursary? He asked me a question about nurses' training places which


I answered. I have to say to him, if he doesn't like the answer he gets,


he cannot just carry on asking the same question. If I have answered it


previously. He is talking about all these issues in relation to what is


happening in the NHS. Let's just look at what is happening in the


NHS. We have 1800 more midwives in the NHS since 2010. We have more


people being seen in A since 2010. We have more operations every week


in the NHS. Our NHS staff are working hard, providing a quality of


care for patients up and down the country. What they do not need is a


Labour Party policy that leads to a bankrupt economy, because Labour's


policy, you spend money on everything which means you bankrupt


the economy, and have no money to spend on anything. That does not


help doctors and nurses, it does not help patients, it does not help the


NHS and it does not help ordinary working families up and down this


country. Mr Speaker, yes, let's look at the National Health Service.


Let's thank all those that work so hard in our National Health Service,


but recognise the pressures they are under. Today the married to


re-foundation trust finds nurses are so overstretched they cannot provide


the high care needed for patients at the very end of their lives -- the


Marie Curie Foundation. It prevents patients from having the dignity of


dying at home. There is a nursing shortage and something should be


done about it such as reinstating the nurses' bursary. Mr Speaker, her


Government has put the NHS and social care in the state of


emergency. Nine out of ten NHS trusts are unsafe. 18,000 patients


per week are waiting. Mr Speaker, I repeat the figure. 18,000 patients a


week are waiting on trolleys in hospital corridors. 1.2 million of


them very dependent... Mr Speaker, it seems to me that some members do


not want to be concerned about the fact there are 1.2 million elderly


people not getting the care that they need. The legacy of her


Government will be blighting our NHS for decades. There are hospitals,


fewer A departments, fewer nurses and fewer people getting the care


they need. We need a Government that puts the NHS first, and will invest


in our NHS. First of all I have to say to the right honourable


gentleman that he should consider correcting the record, because 54%


of hospital trusts are considered good or outstanding. Quite different


from the figure he has shown. Secondly, I will take no lessons on


the NHS from the party... Oh, the deputy leader of the Labour Party


says we should take lessons on the NHS. I will not take any lessons


from the party that presided over met staff's hospital, and what


happened at that hospital. -- Midstaff. They say we should learn


lessons. I tell you who should learn lessons. The Labour Party, who still


fail to recognise that if you are going to fund the NHS, and we are


putting more money in - there are more doctors, more operations, more


hospitals. If you're going to fund the NHS you need a strong economy.


Now we know that Labour have a different sort of phrase for their


approach to these things. Remember they used to speak about boom and


bust. Now it is borrow and bankrupt. We must get through backbenchers'


questions and the answers to them. Brendan Cox will meet with the


Duchess of Cornwall to launch plans to bring communities together over


the weekend of the 17th and 18th of June to mark the first anniversary


of our colleague's death. It is for more than 10 million people across


the country to come together as communities and neighbours for


events such as student parties and picnics and bake off. Will the Prime


Minister join me and agree that such event is a moment of national


reflection but also celebration in our communities and it will be a


fitting tribute to Jo? And as she herself said it will remind us that


we have far more common with ourselves than things that divide


us. I am happy to agree with him that what is becoming known as the


great get-together is a fitting and important tribute to our late


colleague Jo Cox and I would like to commend her husband Brendan and I am


sure everybody would like to do so, for the work he has done. It is


important we remember there is more that brings us together than divides


us. This opportunity at this point of national reflection and


celebration of the strength of our communities is important as we face


the future together. We stand at momentous times for this country and


it is important we remember that being united makes us strong, we


should recognise the things that unite us as a country and as the


people, the bonds that we shared together, and this is a very fitting


tribute to our late colleague. In recent days the Prime Minister has


said that it is a key personal commitment to transform the way that


domestic violence is tackled. It is hugely welcome that she has called


for ideas about how the treatment of victims can be improved and more


convictions secured against abusers. Combating violence against women and


preventing domestic violence is the aim of the Istanbul convention which


the UK has yet to ratify. Does she agree with members across this house


that the convention should be ratified as a priority? He has


raised a particularly important subject. It is one that I take


particularly seriously. I worked very hard on it as Home Secretary


and I continue to do so as Prime Minister. Over 400,000 victims of


sexual violence in the last year. We signed up to the Istanbul convention


and are committed to ratifying it and that is why we supported the


members bill in principal at second reading and that committee stage.


The measures we have in place in many ways go further than the


convention but I am very clear that we need to maintain this momentum


and that is why I am setting up a ministerial working group to look at


the legislation and how we can provide good support for victims and


to look at the possibility of a domestic violence act in the future.


This Friday the Commons will consider a bill on the Istanbul


convention and government ministers have been working very hard with my


colleague who has cross-party support for her bell. Given the


importance of this issue and the Prime Minister's personal commitment


she has outlined again today will she encourage members to support the


bill and discourage any attempts to use Parliamentary tactics to stop


it? I am very happy to join him in that. The minister for vulnerability


has had a number of constructive discussions with the member for


Banff and Buchan and tabled mutually agreed amendments which the


government will be voting for this Friday and I hope that all born


Friday will be supporting those measures. It is an important bill


which the government has been supporting and I hope it will they


support across all parts of this house. Residents in the village of


highly in my constituency are concerned by the 4000 homes proposed


under the Greater Manchester spatial framework more than doubling the


size of that village. What assurances can she give to my


constituents that the green belt is safe with this government? I am


happy to give that commitment. The government is very clear that the


green belt must be protected. Very clear that boundary should only be


altered when local authorities have fully examined all other reasonable


options and if they go down that route they should compensate by


improving the quality or accessibility of the remaining green


belt land so that can be enjoyed. I know the particular issue he has


raised and I believe the framework led to quite a number of responses.


There was a lot of interest in the consultation. I am sure all those


views will be taken into account. Last week the all-party group for


children of alcoholics launched a manifesto for change. 2.5 million


children are growing up in the home of a problem drinker. I did as well.


These children are twice as likely to have problems at school, three


times as likely to commit suicide, four times more likely to become an


alcoholic yet 138 local authorities have no plan to support these


children. All the Prime Minister work with the all-party group to


establish the first ever government strategy to tackle both hidden


problem that blight the lives of millions? She has raised an


important issue and I know she recently spoke very movingly about


her experience and I am sure members recognise the devastating impact


that addiction can have on individuals and their families. This


is an important issue for her to raise. It is unacceptable that


children bear the brunt of their parents' condition. It is important


than the government is committed to working with MPs and health


professionals and those affected to reduce the harm of addiction and


give people the support they need and we will be looking carefully at


the proposal she has raised. Question nine. It is absolutely


appalling when people tried to make a business out of dragging our brave


troops through the courts. In the case of Northern Ireland 90% of


deaths were caused by terrorists and it is essential the justice system


reflects this. It would be wrong to treat terrorists more favourably


than soldiers or police officers and that is why as part of her work to


bring forward the Stormont House bill we will make sure that


investigate of bodies are fair, balanced and proportionate soul


veterans are not unfairly treated or disproportionately investigated. It


does not go as far as I and others would like. There is no prospect of


new credible evidence coming forward against our veterans of the troubles


up to 40 years after the event and yet people are starting to use the


same techniques in Northern Ireland against them as were used against


veterans of Iraq. Surely the answer has to be a statute of limitations


preventing the prosecution of veterans to do with matters that


concerned prior to the date of the Belfast Agreement. As he knows this


is an issue that we are looking at as part of the Stormont House


agreement. We are ensuring that the investigative bodies responsible for


looking at depths during the troubles will operate in a fair


balanced and proportionate manner. We want cases to be considered in


chronological order. We are going to be consulting fully on these


proposals because we want to make sure we get this right. The new


local housing allowance cap for social tenants when introduced in


2019 will hit people on low income in my constituency really hard. In


Maidenhead the allowance will often exceed the average rent but in


Merthyr Tydfil not so. This will mean that tenants including many


older be bought will be expected to find almost ?500 a year towards the


rent. Will she acts to introduce clear guidance to at the very least


exempt older people from these cuts and ensure that the local housing


allowances in line with local rents? Yes. I believe local authorities are


in a position, they have a fun they can exercise discretion in relation


to this matter. There will be incidences across the country and


there were some steps taken to ensure that particularly vulnerable


people were not affected as you suggest. The lack of large-scale


vaccine manufacturing has been described for our country as a


national security issue. Which will take many years to build up. Will


she look into what more the government can do to address this


highly critical health and defence concerned? She is right to raise


this in the context she has. The government takes it very seriously.


Being able to ensure we can scale up vaccine production in the event of a


pandemic is very important to national security. The precise


details are confidential but I can assure her we have provisions in


place to make sure that urgently needed vaccines are available in the


UK at short notice including in the event of pandemic. As a contingency


we are funding a ?10 million competition to establish a world


leading centre on vaccine manufacturing but it is only part of


the picture because we have one of the most successful vaccination


programmes in the world backed up by ?300 million. Last night Bristol


council said its budget very difficult decisions very difficult


because of the abject failure of the previous murmur to get a grip on the


finances. It has taken a Labour mayor to face up to the challenge


but government cuts are making his job almost impossible and it is


doing more with less. We did our bit, will the Prime Minister meet


with the mayor of Bristol to discuss the funding deal that the people of


Bristol deserve? I understand the Communities Secretary has had such a


meeting to discuss the issues she raised. 17 years ago my constituent


received a phone call that no parent should ever have to take. The collar


told them that their daughter Kirsty, who was backpacking in


Thailand, had been brutally murdered. The tie as warranties are


due to close the investigation into her murder but as yet her case


remains unsolved, her killer remains free and her parents have not


justice or closure. Can I ask her to push the Thai authorities to use DNA


techniques to bring the killer to justice, to endeavour to provide


more support to families who have lost loved ones abroad and finally


to ensure that Kirsty's personal effects are at last returned home to


her parents from Thailand? I am sure the whole house would offer


condolences to the family and recognising the trauma they have


been through as a result of the killing of their daughter. It is


obviously not for the British government to interfere with police


investigations that take place in another country but I understand the


Foreign Office has been providing support and our embassy in Bangkok


will continue to raise these issues as it has been with the Thai


government and I am sure the Foreign Office will keep him updated. In the


Lancaster house speech she said of a future trade agreement with the EU


that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain. In the


spirit of consistency will that appeal to any future trade goals she


Asians with the US? By Mike President Trump has said that


America comes first -- negotations. We will be ensuring when we


negotiate trade deals they will be good deals for the UK. In the same


sex marriage act we took the power subject to consultation to give


humanists in England and Wales the opportunity to celebrate marriages


as they do in Scotland. We have had the consultation with 90% approval


and there has been referenced in the Law Commission which has concluded.


And she gave her attention to laying there is order and giving humanists


same rights in England as they enjoy in Scotland? This is an issue he has


been following closely over recent years. He recognises this is an


important area of law and complex and we want to make sure the


proposals are considered properly which is why the Ministry of Justice


is examining the differences in treatment that exist within marriage


law so that the differences can be minimised and I am sure he will


agree it is right and fair to approach it that way. My


constituent's chances of survival from buying the Attic cancer were no


better than his mother's who died 40 years earlier. A disease soon to


become the fourth biggest cancer killer in the UK -- pancreatic. Will


she championed a significant increase in spending on pancreatic


cancer researcher, which lags behind that of other cancers? He has raised


a very important point which obviously is of particular relevance


in the case of the constituent referred to. It is the case that


pancreatic cancer is one that is very difficult to deal with and to


treat and there has been a lot of attention over the years on certain


cancers, like breast cancer, bowel cancer, prostate cancer, but I am


sure it is important the appropriate attention is given to cancers which


are more difficult to deal with like pancreatic. In February 2008 the


brother of one of my constituents was unlawfully killed in the


Ukraine. His Ukrainian wife is clearly implicated in his death.


Earlier this year a coroner in Devon ruled that he was tricked into


standing on a carriageway before being run down by a car with stolen


license plates and death was immediate. Every time an


investigating officer makes progress with this case and the Ukraine they


are replaced. This has happened ten times and the case has stalled. And


I implore her to raise this case with the Ukrainian Prime Minister so


we can get justice and closure for Barry's mother, brother and the


family? I am sure that the whole house will join me in offering


condolences to the family following his death in 2008. I understand he


has discussed this case with the Foreign Secretary. It is not for the


British government to interfere in the legal processes of another


country but the Foreign Office has been regularly raising this case


with the Ukrainian authorities and will continue to do so and I


understand UK police have assisted the investigation on a number of


occasions and all information from the UK coroner will be passed on and


I am sure the Foreign Office will keep him updated. Tens of thousands


of disabled people on the portability scheme have had their


cars removed by this government. In November a minister said they were


looking at payments to keep their car pending appeal. Next week my


constituents will lose her car. Can the Prime Minister of the house on


the progress of this review to help Margaret and thousands like her? He


raises an issue about the way these assessments are made and the


implications of decisions being taken. He referred to a review in


relation to payments and the moat ability elements of that and I will


write to him with further details. It was a gear this week sends a


hospital was closed due to fire safety concerns. There are no


community gets locally within St Ives, Penzance or Saints just or


rural areas in between. Campaigners agree that there is valued Community


Hospital needs to be opened a urgent priority. Will she apply some


pressure to NHS property services and Cornwall NHS managers to get the


building work done and open these community beds? This is obviously a


concern for his constituents and he is right to raise it. He will


recognise the first priority must be to ensure patients are being treated


in a safe environment and I understand the local CCG and the NHS


have been working to ensure that community hospitals are fit to


deliver that expectation in Cornwall. A review has been


undertaken into the repairs needed to bring the Community Hospital up


to a safe standard and the CCG will be looking at the entrance at


facilities and needs once the local plan has been agreed and then Health


Secretary has heard his representations. The government


business rate hike could devastate the local economy in migrating


constituency. Brighton Pier is facing a 17% increase, the world end


pub, a hotel a 400% increase. Does she recognise Brighton will be


disproportionately affected and will she set up a discretionary fund to


support small businesses and agreed to a full review of the whole


system? Business rates are based on the rental values of properties and


the rental values of properties change over time going up and down


and it is right that rates changed to recognise that. That is the


principal of furnace that underpins the business rates system. We want


to support businesses and recognise that for some business rates will go


up when these revaluations take place which is why we have put


significant funding in place for transitional relief but I recognise


there has been particular concern there will be some small businesses


that are particularly adversely affected by the result of this


evaluation and that is why I have asked the Chancellor and the


Communities Secretary to make sure there is appropriate relief for


those cases hardest-hit. She gave a sympathetic answer to the honourable


friend for the new Forest. Can I put it to her that for many of us there


is something profoundly wrong with a criminal justice system which can


pursue veterans will risk their lives for this country, 40 years on


after any possibility of new evidence, while at the same time is


capable of paying out ?1 million to a terror suspect. In relation to


this issue in Northern Ireland, we are... The issue with the legacy


bodies was part of the Stormont House agreement and we are working


to deliver on that agreement. As I said, the overwhelming majority of


our armed forces serving in Northern Ireland served with great


distinction and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. The situation at


the moment is there a case is being pursued against officers who served


in Northern Ireland. We want to see developing a legacy body, a


proportionate fair and balanced approach. We recognise the majority


of individuals were the result... Were at the result of the hands of


terrorists. The Prime Minister pledged to end the burning injustice


of so few working-class boys going to university. Can she tell me how


cutting every single secondary school in Rochdale, Trafford and


Manchester through the new schools funding formula is going to do


anything other than make that injustice even worse? We want to


ensure through the education system that we have a good school place for


every child. And the Conservatives in government we have seen 1.8


million more children in good or outstanding schools. We are looking


at the funding formula for schools. We are listening to the comments


made. Everybody across this house will recognise that for some time it


has been said the existing funding formula is not transparent and is


fair. But I can assure that our education policy is about ensuring


every child has the opportunity to go as far as their talents and


hard-working Ed Balls them to do. -- enables. You saw what a cut run


means for a town and club like Sutton. With Wimbledon out of the


picture wonder if she will join me in teen graduating Sutton for such a


spirited performance on Monday and in wishing Lincoln well to keep the


non-league spirit alive in the next round. He must be heard. Finally


come gradually to and thanking arsenal for their generosity and


allowing Sutton to keep a little bit of an extra slice of the FA Cup pie.


Any reference to pie. I am happy to congratulate Sutton on the extremely


good run that they had in the FA Cup. It is important and makes a


huge difference to local areas when their football club is able to


progress to that extent and is able to be up there with the big boys and


do as well as they did and I am happy to congratulate Lincoln city


on the success may have shown and we wish them well for the future.


Finally, Michelle Thomson. The green investment bank is currently being


sold. Some reports suggest that the contract could soon be concluded.


This despite the U:K.'s dated focus on research and development and the


fact that no realistic guarantees have yet been given as to the


continuation of the proper headquarters and board based in


Edinburgh. Will she commits to looking again as to why a sale at


this time is not in the best interest of Edinburgh or the green


agenda or the UK taxpayer? Before I respond I also am apologies. I am


sorry to the member for Stroud and mixing him up with the member for


Lincoln. I was obviously getting carried away with the football


fever. In relation to the green investment bank, I will write to her


with response to the questions she has raised. The Prime Minister has


applied a very straight bat. We will leave it there.