15/12/2016 Thursday in Parliament


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!


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