Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 15 December, presented by Kristiina Cooper.
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Hello and welcome to Thursday in Parliament.
Council tax bills are to go up in order to boost
Opposition MPs say the measure will penalise disadvantaged areas.
This is an unfair way to raise additional money which will increase
inequalities between rich and poor areas.
The former Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson weighs
into the arguments about Brexit - warning of a severe deterioration
It will be a gradual, inexorable worsening
of the conditions for business in the UK.
And hats off to Peter Bone for getting round the rules
With the minister be able to say how those charities
I've indulged the honourable gentleman for the duration of this
question, but I'm glad that he's now taken that hat off.
But first, the Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid has announced
measures to boost social care funding in England by ?900 million
It follows weeks of pressure on ministers over
There's a pot of cash - funded from savings elsewhere -
But the main change is that local authorities will now be allowed
to increase council tax by up to 6% over two years - instead of three.
I am sure that all Members on both sides of this House agree
on the need for action to meet the growing cost of caring for some
Every year councils spend more than ?14 billion
It is by far the biggest cost pressure facing local government.
The spending review put in place up to ?3.5 billion of additional
funding for adult social care by 2019-20, allowing local
government to increase its spending on this service in real terms
by the end of this Parliament, but more needs to be done.
Over recent months we have listened to, heard and understood calls
from across the board saying that funding is needed sooner in order
Today I can confirm that savings from reforms to the new homes bonus
will be retained in full by local government to contribute
I can tell the House that we will use these funds
to provide a new dedicated ?240 million adult social care
support grant in 2017-18, to be distributed fairly according
Last year the Government announced that councils would fund social care
via a new social care precept of 2% a year.
In recognition of the immediate challenges faced in the care market,
we will now allow local councils to raise this funding
Councils will be granted the flexibility to raise the precept
by up to 3% next year and the year after.
This will provide a further ?208 million to spend on adult
social care in 2017-18 and ?444 million in 2018-19.
These measures, together with the changes we have made
to the new homes bonus, will make almost ?900 million
of additional funding for adult social care available over
Labour said there was a postcode lottery for social care.
In the most deprived areas of the country,
social care spending fell by ?65 per person, but it rose by ?28 per
Will he not accept that the rising social care precept will only
I gently ask of him, is this really the best time to be
choosing to cut corporation tax on Amazon, Sports Direct
Since the Prime Minister came to office, there has been much talk
of help for those who are only just about managing their finances.
That seems to have gone out of the window today.
This is, surely, a truly feeble response to a national crisis.
The LGA would be entitled to reject the proposal and put the ball firmly
back in the Government s court, for them to think again.
This is an unfair way to raise additional money -
it will increase inequalities between rich and poor areas.
When will the Government come forward with plans to work
There have been two suggestions about that already in this
question-and-answer session, but the Secretary of State has not
When will he work with others to come up with a genuine
solution to what is now a real national crisis?
As the right honourable gentleman will know,
any funding provided to a local authority is raised through taxes,
either locally or, when that funding is in the form
He used the word unfair about this funding, but he should be aware -
I know he has experience in this area - that when we allocate
billions of funding from the better care fund, we take into account
the council tax raising power of each area.
That is the basis used, and it is the fairest way to do it.
In his constituency of Bromsgrove, the older adult weekly rate
in social care homes is ?100 less than in the constituency
of the Secretary of State for Health in Surrey.
Will the Secretary of State stand here in front of me
and tell me that it is okay that his constituents already get
?100 a week less than those of his frontBench colleagues
In rightly referring to her constituency in Birmingham,
the honourable lady mentioned my constituency of Bromsgrove,
I think that she was somehow trying to demonstrate that Bromsgrove gets
I am comparing Bromsgrove with Birmingham and it gets
on average a lot less per head than Birmingham.
I assure the honourable lady that that is noticed locally.
Now, the former Labour Cabinet Minister Lord Mandelson has told MPs
that Brexit represents the same danger to the British
economy as the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
Lord Mandelson, who campaigned for Remain during the referendum,
was giving evidence to the Business Committee
about the Government's industrial strategy.
You are risking a very severe deterioration of the UK
Now, this deterioration is not going to happen straightaway.
That was the mistaken impression, in my view, given the referendum.
It would be a gradual, inexorable worsening
of the conditions for business in the UK and that's why those
who say, it all seems to be going OK so far are completely
Could I suggest to you that you might feel that your
project would be complete when the Government learns to love
and understand a modern and industrial strategy?
Good adaptation of the well-known quote.
My view, as I said at the beginning, is that Britain is facing a massive
It has had a result and now we have to get on with it and making sure
that it has the least negative impact on the UK economy.
You will be well aware I am sure that Sir Ivan Rogers,
the British ambassador to the EU, in a leaked memo today been revealed
as saying that a trade deal would take ten years
Lord Mandelson said that sort of timetable was "realistic"
if the Government wanted a bespoke trade deal with the EU.
While an agreement on the exit terms will come earlier, because this
is because the negotiation will come first and can be approved
by a majority of the EU's member states, the separate,
quite separate negotiation on what trade arrangement
replaces our membership of the EU will be harder, it will be longer
and it will require the approval of all member states
and their parliaments, not just a majority of them.
If we get Brexit wrong, industrial strategy will not be big
enough and strong enough to correct its consequences.
I have absolutely no doubt at all about that.
But, please, I do underline that it is possible to get,
It has been an aspiration of successive governments
and successive ministers to try and get a joined up
And if this industrial strategy is going to succeed,
what needs to happen in terms of cooperation and collaboration
Heads of departments, secretaries of state
become very possessive, very protective of their policies
and their resources, and often if they have to share them
they think either that they are going to be less well executed
or that they as individuals are going to get less credit.
Now, welcome to the world of Westminster.
What is the timescale to evaluate the success of an appropriate
How will we know that Theresa May has carried that off
and in the meantime, what are the things that we can be
looking at, the metrics to see whether that's coming off
We can judge it by, in a sense, the story it tells now
and the narrative that offers, whether it makes sense.
We can judge it too by the policy instrument and levers that
are being harnessed to it, and the sorts of decisions
and judgments that are being taken in use of policy instruments.
How will we be able to judge eventually what is being done now?
The same length of time, coincidentally, as I suspect it
will take to negotiate an alternative trade
agreement between Britain and the European Union
to replace our existing membership of the EU.
We heard Lord Mandelson being asked there about remarks
made by Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's ambassador to the EU.
He's reported as saying that the European consensus is that
a Brexit deal might not be reached until the early-to-mid-2020s.
Sir Ivan's remarks were also raised with ministers.
we are told it could take up to ten years to reach a trade agreement
with the EU after we leave. While research suggests that a drop in
trade of fudge to 16% of we are outside the customs union. Foreign
investors are vital to the British economy so will he give those
investors some of the certainty database pretty need and that we
also need as well? Will he tell them whether he wants Britain to be
inside the customs union and whether he wants to free access to the
single market will not? It has been very clear that the Government is
not giving running commentary and I would also stress that the comments
of Ivan Rogers are the opinions from taking... It is not necessarily
defined how long will take. It's worth looking in mind that while
looking at some trade deals around the world, it's worth bearing in
mind that the US Jordan trade deal took four months so it is difficult
to establish how long it will take. Shouldn't we be thanking our
ambassador to the European Union but the reality check he has given about
the decade-long period of time it will take to extricate ourselves
from this particular process? Shouldn't we be doing, not rushing
so headlong into this timetable? Yes there are a number of bureaucratic
challenges that we face but the people that we should be thinking of
the British people are forgiving as such clear instructions to leave the
European Union. Questioning then turned
to the controversial subject of British arms sales to Saudi
Arabia. Although the tie being worn
by the Labour spokesman appeared Love the time. It is to arms sales
particularly to the Middle East. In July the Committee on arms export
control heard evidence there was an imbalance between promotion of arms
sales at the expense of the regulation of arms sales. I quote,
such that in UK practice these things are at odds. Does the
Secretary of State recognised that imbalance? If he does what does he
propose to do about it and if he does not, what representations has
he made to the White House to chastise them for their remarks this
week that, I quote, the systemic endemic problems in Saudi Arabia's
targeting true the US decision to hold a future weapons sale which is
that the Secretary of State and British policy in this area looking
so callous and so threadbare? I first of country has one of the
strictest arms sales restrictions in the world and it is thought that
with great scrutiny and they simply don't accept the picture he paints
of the UK's attitude. I believe that the honourable gentleman's tie is
absolutely beautiful. It is tasteful and interesting, not the boring like
all too many. By insulting my wife's taste and ties the Secretary of
State must await have reprimand but she must wait in line because there
are others who wish to reprimand him. The Secretary of State was told
off going to Brussels and agreeing the comprehensive economic trade
agreement between the EU and Canada without first bringing it to the UK
Parliament for scrutiny. He undertook to the scrutiny committee
he would bring it forward for debate by the end of November, a deadline
which he missed. The European scrutiny committee actually city
more generous deadline but that deadline expired two days ago on the
13th of this month. Can he tell us, does he actually believe in taking
back sovereignty from Brussels or doesn't he? If he does, repeatedly
denying the UK Parliament the rights to properly scrutinise such an
important trade agreement is a very odd way of going about it. Will he
now committed to bringing a debate and they bought to the floor of this
house before the European Parliament finally votes on second February?
The member, who I hold in high esteem, in due course his Ph.D.
Thesis will be published. I am grateful to the honourable
forgiving way before Christmas. We forgiving way before Christmas. We
did not go against procedure due to parliamentary timetable constraints
and we could not offer a debate in the House before signalling protocol
agreement on 18th October. We have continued to commit to holding a
full parliamentary debate as soon as possible and were working with
The European Parliament has changed The European Parliament has changed
the date of the expected vote on the agreement to second February 2017
and we hope to have a debate well within that timetable.
You're watching Thursday in Parliament with me,
Ministers have been discussing the child sex abuse scandal
in football with the police, sports bodies and the NSPCC.
The Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told MPs it was crucial to give
the police time to investigate all the allegations fully.
The government takes these matters seriously. Yesterday I chaired the
meeting with my right honourable friend with sports bodies, law
enforcement and the NSPCC to ensure sports are able to deal effectively
with allegations of non-recent abuse and that they have the most robust
in place today. Does the Secretary in place today. Does the Secretary
of State believe that wealth the allegations currently under
investigation, which involve over 100 clubs, are truly shocking, but
she agreed that the vast majority of coaches and volunteers play a
crucial role in our constituencies? And also agree that it is vital that
we do not put off or discourage we do not put off or discourage
potential volunteers who would never dream of betraying the trust placed
upon them. I agree, we want to make sure that parents and young people
have the confidence to participate in sport. We need to know what
happened and need to make sure the victims, come former band the police
have time to carry out investigations, and that they is
confidence in the system. The round table I chaired yesterday was
incredibly helpful in flushing out where we can do more, because we can
always do more, but also to give the assurance that so much is being
done. I am sure we are all appalled by the allegations of horrific abuse
that have come out, that have this much the game that many of us love
so much, in recent weeks. We are aware that the helpline that is
available for people to phone up and relate what has happened to them,
has the Secretary of State had conversations with football
authorities about what more can be done proactively to identify those
involved with the abuse of the past and have had contact, and assist
them in every way to come forward and assist them with a very
difficult position. I can confirm I have had those discussions with the
FA, the Premier League and the PFA to ensure we add identifying those
who do not yet have the confidence who do not yet have the confidence
to come forward. The Secretary of State is right, there has to be
reflection on what went wrong and how we can maximise safeguarding.
Can she detailed the House what individual sporting body she has met
with recently to have these discussions? Not wishing to the
Tenby house, perhaps it would be helpful if I were to write to the
honourable gentleman with the full list of the bodies both myself and
my honourable friend have spoken to. Dennis Skinner. Isn't it remarkable
that the people making statements or those that went to football clubs
are amongst the major two teams in the football leagues of Britain.
However, most people like me, used to be coached at the miners welfare.
Nobody has been brought forward that was helping that the miners welfares
all over Britain, and there were 700 of them. The truth is, it is about
the money as well, and so when you are digging into this, remember
there is a class argument about it. It is about the people making money,
and the Tories know a lot about that. I am sorry, Mr Speaker, I
don't think trying to bring party politics into this matter is at all
appropriate. It is a matter of vulnerable young people who
been abused by predatory individuals been abused by predatory individuals
and all walks of life and I think it belittles this house to suggest
various party politics involved. Now, the Government has toughened up
the penalties for using a mobile Under new rules expected
to come in next year, drivers will get six points
on their licence Ministers are also looking
at introducing life sentences for drivers convicted of causing
death through dangerous Labour's Lord Campbell-Savours has
been conducting his own investigations into drivers
using mobile phones. But there was some
opposition to new offences. Recently, I was standing on a corner
waiting for the lights to change near Maidenhead. In the phasing of
the lighting, discounting 12 of the first vehicles that went through,
out of 37 vehicles that passed me, 11 rural using mobile phones. I
believe what I saw is an indicator of a national problem. The estimates
are grossly underestimated. There is clear support for the proposed
change in the law, to increase the fixed penalty notice from 100 to
?200, and to double the points added to a license from three to six. This
means that novice drivers would automatically have their licenses
revoked, which should hopefully act as a strong deterrent. I also
welcome new laws that would see drivers who kill other road users,
because of mobile phone distraction be given life sentences. Penalties,
bands, prison sentences, all well and good, but to my mind that this
is too late. We need to stop these incidents happening in the
place. But there was some opposition place. But there was some opposition
to the new offences. You don't want to create specific offences of a
different sort. The existing offences are totally adequate for
the purpose of dealing with those who drive dangerously. I would say
the penalties that are below in those fences are sufficient to act
as a deterrent. And finally, from colourful
ties to crazy hats. There's definitely an end of term
mood in the House of Commons. The Conservative Pete Bone donned
a hat in honour of a breast cancer Tomorrow is local charities day and
we also have very good local charities and constituencies. One of
mine is crazy hats and it is run by a group of dedicated volunteers.
They have raised over ?2 million, by people wearing crazy hats. They
spent that money on breast cancer in Northamptonshire, and with the
minister be able to say how those charities could be further
supported? I have indulged the honourable gentleman for the
duration of his question but I am glad he has taken it off and I
sincerely hope you once put it on again, preferably at any time but
certainly not in the chamber. I thought one moment that my
honourable friend was auditioning for a real role in some remake of
the film Elf. Festive season or not,
the Speaker was reminding everyone that wearing hats in the Commons
is out of order! That's it from me for now,
but do join me on Friday night at 11pm for a round-up of the week
here in Westminster. But for now from me,
Kristina Cooper - goodbye!