09/03/2017 Thursday in Parliament


09/03/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Thursday 9 March, presented by Keith Macdougall.


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Hello and Welcome to Thursday in Parliament, our look at the best

:00:17.:00:20.

of the day in the Commons and the Lords.

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Labour call on Tory MPs to rebel against the Chancellor's

:00:24.:00:32.

decision to increase National Insurance Contributions

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And no-one will ever believe a Tory election promise ever again.

:00:34.:00:41.

Opposition peers have advice for a Work and Pensions Minister

:00:42.:00:43.

to make the introduction of Universal Credit fairer.

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It will transform their opportunity to get the

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money that that will help them back into the labour market as we all

:00:53.:01:00.

want, and not instead have a lifetime of debt

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And SNP MPs appeal for people to come to Scotland.

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Scotland's population has been getting a raw deal.

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Scotland needs to get out from under that and create a

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welcoming, entrepreneurial environment.

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But first, a key issue on the second day

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has been Philip Hammond's controversial changes

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to National Insurance for those who're self-employed.

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The change, announced on Wednesday, would mean 1.5 million

:01:27.:01:28.

self-employed people paying ?240 more on average every year

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The Chancellor has faced claims that increase amounts to a breaking

:01:33.:01:38.

of a Conservative election manifesto promise.

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And, yes, it is a manifesto betrayal.

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There was a promise in the manifesto and it read like this, it said this,

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this means that we can commit to no increases in VAT,

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income tax or national insurance, taxes on working people.

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This would harm our economy, reduce living standards and cost jobs.

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Not me, not Labour MPs, Tory manifesto.

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We're levelling the playing field between employees

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and the self-employed and 60% of the

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self employed, that is the lowest earners,

:02:23.:02:24.

We are continuing to reduce corporation tax on all profitable

:02:25.:02:27.

companies, large and small, so that hardworking entrepreneurs

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keep most of the fruits of their labours,

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and we are taking a number of steps to make business rates fairer.

:02:37.:02:47.

headlines have not gone the way the Chancellor would have planned. White

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Van man gets battered by budget, that is just to name a view. It is a

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good example of when you do things in a hurry, you get things wrong.

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The Chancellor got things wrong yesterday and aesthetics anything

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away from the last 24 hours is that he made the wrong choice at the

:03:13.:03:16.

wrong time in the wrong way. -- takes anything away. We will be

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opposing the increase in national insurance for the self-employed.

:03:23.:03:30.

City of London and how the labour markets operate there.

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I was thinking about my friend in Skye or some of my friends

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in the Highlands and knowing their reliance

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and the type who are self-employed there

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They cannot choose to work for other corporations that might not exist.

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They are what might be called necessity entrepreneurs.

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They do not work in one sector either, they

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have to job around and they have long travelling

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I do think we need to look at this very,

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very carefully because there was a a solemn promise

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in the manifesto not to increase national insurance.

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The reality is that I worry that the accusation could be made

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that it is a bit like signing a contract but

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failing to look at the fine print, the small print, that exists.

:04:23.:04:26.

I do think we need to raise the issue of

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the lack of parity between the way employed and self-employed

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There are advantages and disadvantages to

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right to make sure we have the right equitable treatment for both.

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I happen to say for myself, I do not want to see

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us penalising the entrepreneurial people in our society.

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At the same time, I want to make sure we have a system that is

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fair and we need to be extremly mindful that we do not just satisfy

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the letter of our manifesto commitments but also the spirit.

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The tax lock was torn up by the Chancellor and he can dance

:04:55.:05:00.

on the head of a pin, he can claim that their lock did not

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apply to class four national insurance contributions

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But, Madam Deputy Speaker, that was not

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No-one will ever believe a Tory election promise

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People will think they cannot trust the Government on

:05:17.:05:24.

anything in terms of their future economic security.

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I think the honourable lady is making a typical lucid

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points in her speech but is it not incumbent on her, given that

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there is consensus that we need to fund social care better, that extra

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2 billion that the Chancellor announced, that it is incumbent on

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her party to identify where that money would come from and if she

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does not want it to be raised by national insurance contributions,

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That leads me very nicely to my next point, which is that the

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Chancellor would claim that the Government has no choice

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but to raise national insurance contributions, but he somehow has

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managed to find ?70 billion in tax cuts for the rich

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and corporations, including ?1 billion for the Government's pet

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I have always believed in low taxes as a

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When a Government inherits a deficit of

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?100 billion, the greatest priority must be to return to sound finances

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I believe that it is right that those

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benefit from public services make an appropriate contribution

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That is what this budget's changes to national insurance will do.

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The latest day of debate on the Chancellor's budget.

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It's been a record breaking week in the House of Lords: on Tuesday

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evening the largest number of peers ever to take part in a division

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in the Upper House took part in a vote on the so-called Brexit Bill.

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It resulted in a defeat for the Government.

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Peers voted for Parliament having a meaningful vote on the final EU

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Exit deal and for that measure to be clearly written into the Bill.

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It was a proposal led by the crossbench peer Lord Pannick

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and it was the government's second defeat on the Brexit Bill.

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In the Commons, the Leader of the House set out

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Monday 13th of March - consideration of Lord's amendments

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withdrawal Bill, followed by a continuation of the Budget debate.

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Tuesday 14th March, if necessary, consideration of Lord's amendments.

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Mr Speaker, I note on the business paper there are three days set aside

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for consideration of Lord's amendments if necessary, as this

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Government attempts to ping that pong that is coming from those

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heroes who are continuing to stand up to the Government.

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I note that this only goes on until Wednesday.

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What happens if we still have these paddles out

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Is the Government going to enforce the Parliament act?

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How does this impact on the Article 50

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process and will he clarify what is going to go on?

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But can we encourage the people's aristocrats to battle

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It's perfectly routine for the Government to

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announce provisional buisness in case there is a need

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The House of Lords has a perfectly proper role as a revising

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chamber, but it also knows that it is an unelected

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house and I hope the

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House of Lords will want to give very careful consideration to

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whatever views this House takes on its amendments next week and to

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accept that ultimately the view not just of the elected

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House, but the view of the British people

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expressed in a referendum, should prevail.

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Mr Speaker, I note that the EU Bill will be

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coming back to the Commons on Monday and once this Bill goes through it

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will truly be the end of the Thatcher legacy

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because the former Prime Minister signed up to, in 1981

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EU enlargement Accession with Greece, 1983 Declaration

:09:09.:09:10.

1986 EU enlargement accession of Spain and Portugal,

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1987 Single European Act to create the single internal market

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say, no, she could renegotiate the EU budget in 1984, say no to the

:09:19.:09:27.

1985 Schengen agreement, say no to the 1999 social charter,

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So we have Margaret Thatcher who was a Remainer and a

:09:31.:09:34.

reformer, but you cannot say the same for this Government.

:09:35.:09:37.

Well, earlier, the potential confrontation between MPs

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and the Lords over alterations to the Brexit Bill surfaced

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during question time to David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting

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Labour wanted to know why the government was determined

:09:55.:09:57.

The Prime Minister has said the approval of

:09:58.:10:00.

parliament would be required for the final terms of our

:10:01.:10:03.

The Prime Minister has also promised this will occur

:10:04.:10:07.

before the withdrawal agreement is sent to the European

:10:08.:10:10.

The House of Lords has now voted by a

:10:11.:10:13.

large majority to amend the Article 50 Bill to reflect these

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If the Prime Minister intends to keep her

:10:16.:10:20.

commitments, why would the Government support this amendment

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when it returns to this house on Monday?

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Clearly, the Government wants to trigger Article 50 next

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It will then have to set out its proposal in

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For months it has hidden behind the bland phrases of frictionless

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This is the last opportunity before triggering to spell out what this

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I would have thought the honourable gentleman is a very

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I would have thought he would have known what

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frictionless meant, it means trade with the minimum of possible

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barriers, the minimum possible impediment.

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That is what we will seek to achieve.

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From recent discussions with senior members of

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the German parliament, it is very clear we are not going to get

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barrier free access to the single market if we no longer operate free

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Do Ministers yet recognise that reality?

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That is not the response I'm getting from the

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Ministers I've spoken to around Europe.

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What they have come back with is that they want to see a

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The only way to a constructive outcome is a free

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Is not the case that at the end of the day when the

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United Kingdom leaves the European union, we will be

:11:41.:11:43.

Does he not agree with my favourite politician at the

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moment Wolfgang Schaeuble, The Finance Minister of Germany, who

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says that if we, the German and all the European union were to cause any

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damage to the United Kingdom it would be increased tenfold for the

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I'm sure the financial minister in question will

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be uncontrollably excited to discover that the honourable

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My honourable friend, Mr Speaker, makes

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an extremely good point and that is that this market,

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the UK market, will be the biggest export market

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for the continuing European Union after we leave.

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That is recognised not just by Herr Schaeuble but by the Belgian

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chamber of commerce, with whom I spoke earlier this week.

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The Prime Minister has said Britain will not

:12:35.:12:36.

remain a full member of the custom union

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but the Chancellor said it is

:12:39.:12:39.

clear we cannot stay in the custom union.

:12:40.:12:42.

It is clear that if we are to seek free

:12:43.:12:47.

world, we will not be able to remain in the customs union as it currently

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Having said that, what we do seek, that will be able to construct

:12:53.:12:59.

customs arrangements that are as frictionless

:13:00.:13:02.

as possible for the benefit of both the EU and the UK.

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You're watching our round-up of the day in the Commons and the Lords.

:13:10.:13:14.

Peers have been told by a Welfare Minister that

:13:15.:13:22.

Universal Credit has been "deliberately" rolled out "slowly"

:13:23.:13:25.

to make sure there's time to eliminate problems.

:13:26.:13:30.

Universal Credit, or UC, will wrap together in a single

:13:31.:13:32.

monthly payment the different benefits people have

:13:33.:13:34.

In the Lords, Lord Henley responded to criticism about the way

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First, a Labour peer spoke about one of the problems

:13:39.:13:43.

In 2013 the Government introduced a rule that when you first claim

:13:44.:13:48.

benefit you're not entitled to any money for the first seven days.

:13:49.:13:52.

The problem is when universal credit came in because it is paid monthly

:13:53.:13:56.

in arrears it means you get no money at all for six weeks.

:13:57.:13:59.

And although that doesn't sound very long, the

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typical family in social housing has only got ?200 in savings and some

:14:02.:14:04.

Social landlords are now saying tenants are getting

:14:05.:14:08.

big arrears, they're seeing people turning

:14:09.:14:09.

to payday lenders, and even

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to loan sharks, even the noble lord, Lord Freud, recently told the work

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and pensions select committee that the seven-day waiting

:14:16.:14:17.

There are safeguards in place and we introduced the universal

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Claimants can apply for an advance immediately if they are in need and

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can received up to 50% of their ward soon afterwards.

:14:29.:14:34.

I go back to the original point, the important point

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is to make sure we are mirroring the world of work, where 75% of

:14:38.:14:41.

My Lords, in the last three months I've visited a large number of food

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banks across the dioceses of Oxford, exceedingly affluent communities,

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building on my experience of food banks in the dioceses of

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And all I've had underlined to me is the most common

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reason people interact with food banks is delay in accessing welfare

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It is clear from the Government's own figures that too

:15:10.:15:12.

few people are aware of or receiving the emergency payments intended for

:15:13.:15:15.

It's not just the architecture of universal credit that is creating

:15:16.:15:19.

problems, but the administration of universal credit, as the select

:15:20.:15:22.

committee in the other place determined.

:15:23.:15:25.

I understand that when asked about the sometimes fractious

:15:26.:15:29.

relationship between the DWP and Treasury

:15:30.:15:33.

noble lord's predecessor said there were times

:15:34.:15:37.

when one's views of the

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Can I ask, does the current Minister have any such inhibitions?

:15:39.:15:59.

LAUGHTER My Lords, we have all on occasion

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had moments where we have doubts about what goes on in the Treasury.

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Most of us, I'm sure all of us in this

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house, want universal credit to work.

:16:08.:16:09.

Lady Hollis said three things needed to happen.

:16:10.:16:12.

The first is to get rid of the seven-day waiting period.

:16:13.:16:14.

The second is to pay people for likely as well

:16:15.:16:17.

of a monthly in advance if they so wish.

:16:18.:16:19.

And thirdly is to pay housing benefit if tenants so wish direct to

:16:20.:16:22.

All of those three things together would transform the

:16:23.:16:29.

ability of people who are not particularly sophisticated about the

:16:30.:16:32.

It would transform their opportunity to get the money that would help

:16:33.:16:37.

them back into the labour market as we all want

:16:38.:16:40.

and not instead have a

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I am very grateful that the noble Baroness offers support for

:16:43.:16:50.

universal credit and, like her, we wish to see

:16:51.:16:53.

That is why, as my noble friend, Lord Freud, always made

:16:54.:17:06.

clear we want to see a very slow roll out of universal credit.

:17:07.:17:09.

And the noble Baroness will be aware just how slow that roll out has been

:17:10.:17:13.

Deliberately so, before the noble Baroness giggles too much.

:17:14.:17:16.

Deliberately so, so that we can learn as this goes along.

:17:17.:17:23.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said NHS hospitals in England must

:17:24.:17:26.

get back to meeting the target for seeing patients swiftly

:17:27.:17:30.

85% of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged

:17:31.:17:36.

within four hours in January, compared to a target of 95%.

:17:37.:17:43.

This week the Chancellor announced an extra 2billion pounds for social

:17:44.:17:55.

This week the Chancellor announced an extra ?2 billion for social

:17:56.:17:57.

care and 100 million pounds to place more GPs in A E departments.

:17:58.:18:01.

The head of the NHS in England said the money would be used

:18:02.:18:04.

to "kick-start a turnaround", so that the NHS went into next

:18:05.:18:07.

In order to do that, we've got to help at

:18:08.:18:10.

and E departments and we've got to help at the back end, in terms of

:18:11.:18:15.

delayed discharges for frail, older patients.

:18:16.:18:17.

And this money's for the front end, is it?

:18:18.:18:19.

The Chancellor's announced that it is both.

:18:20.:18:20.

Obviously the ?100 million capital is to help

:18:21.:18:22.

ensure that A departments can make the space available to put in place

:18:23.:18:26.

GP streaming on the model that has been successfully adopted in places

:18:27.:18:28.

like Luton and Dunstable Hospital, one of our top performing A

:18:29.:18:31.

departments in the country, and have those in place by next Christmas.

:18:32.:18:35.

And then on the back end, obviously, the extra one billion pounds for

:18:36.:18:39.

adult social care, as the Chancellor said yesterday, will be very

:18:40.:18:42.

I was really asking about the, I was asking about the capital

:18:43.:18:48.

funding particularly because the social care

:18:49.:18:50.

bit, we won't want to get into that whole debate today.

:18:51.:18:55.

We'll see what the announcement says.

:18:56.:18:57.

On this A end of it, how many hospitals are going to get

:18:58.:19:04.

money to put in effectively a walk-in triage approach at their

:19:05.:19:09.

We want all hospitals to have comprehensive front door streaming

:19:10.:19:15.

And have you costed what that would cost?

:19:16.:19:20.

This is going to be probably 50 to 100

:19:21.:19:24.

hospitals that need a bit of remedial work or extra capacity

:19:25.:19:27.

So this money will be for 50 to 100 of the hospitals that need it.

:19:28.:19:34.

So how much in total will it cost to deliver what you've

:19:35.:19:37.

outlined, and what percentage of that has been contributed in the

:19:38.:19:40.

We are setting a requirement that all hospitals have

:19:41.:19:44.

GP streaming in place by this coming Christmas,

:19:45.:19:49.

incremental capital required to do that is consistent with the funding

:19:50.:19:54.

we've got from the Chancellor yesterday.

:19:55.:19:58.

Simon Stevens was speaking to the Commons Public

:19:59.:20:01.

Accounts Committee - which is investigating

:20:02.:20:03.

access to GPs - an inquiry which raises a number of issues.

:20:04.:20:06.

We've got about 300 million consultations

:20:07.:20:08.

a year in GP's surgeries and we've got a differentiated group

:20:09.:20:13.

of reasons why patients are consulting with their GP.

:20:14.:20:17.

And it's tended to be seen as a one-size

:20:18.:20:20.

approach when looked at nationally, whereas we've got to differentiate

:20:21.:20:24.

the person with multiple chronic conditions who might require more

:20:25.:20:49.

First is the same-day appointments needed. The reason it is so

:20:50.:20:56.

important that the GP system is functioning well is not just for the

:20:57.:21:02.

long-term condition management but also because of the availability of

:21:03.:21:05.

same-day urgent care because if you think about 23 million any

:21:06.:21:14.

attendances versus 85 million same-day GAAP appointments is

:21:15.:21:19.

obvious that if you under source primary care and spills into other

:21:20.:21:25.

parts of the NHS. The fast fantastic efficiency that primary care

:21:26.:21:29.

represents 90% of patient contact

:21:30.:21:31.

it's worth reminding us of that a year's worth of GP care costs

:21:32.:21:35.

Simon Stevens, with an interesting fact there

:21:36.:21:38.

Now, Scotland is a different place from England.

:21:39.:21:42.

Nothing like a statement of the obvious.

:21:43.:21:43.

But how different is the profile of the population between Scotland

:21:44.:21:47.

SNP MPs have used a debate in Westminster Hall to highlight how

:21:48.:21:52.

Scotland has an older population than the rest of the UK and is keen

:21:53.:21:57.

to attract young people from Europe and elsewhere to live and work north

:21:58.:22:02.

And they're asking for the Scottish Parliament to have

:22:03.:22:06.

We'll always be fighting a losing battle, if we cannot grow our

:22:07.:22:17.

And this report calls for the Government to consider, give

:22:18.:22:21.

us a chance, give us a break, consider devolving some immigration

:22:22.:22:23.

powers to Scotland, to let us grow our population.

:22:24.:22:25.

If the minister doesn't and the UK Government

:22:26.:22:30.

doesn't it is holding Scotland's hand behind

:22:31.:22:31.

its back, cause we know that

:22:32.:22:33.

population gap between us and the rest of the United Kingdom will have

:22:34.:22:36.

massive implications for our economy and our ability to provide proper

:22:37.:22:38.

The UK Government's immigration policy in no way recognises

:22:39.:22:42.

Scotland's needs or serves our economic and societal interests.

:22:43.:22:46.

They continue to exist resist pragmatic change which would not

:22:47.:22:49.

only support the impact of Scotland's ageing demographic but

:22:50.:22:53.

also help Scotland attract international students.

:22:54.:22:56.

What would really benefit Scotland is the full

:22:57.:22:57.

So we can ensure Scotland's prosperous future.

:22:58.:23:04.

If the UK Government is unable to tailor its immigration needs to

:23:05.:23:10.

Scotland then Scotland's independence will be the only

:23:11.:23:12.

So Scotland's whole population, as my honourable friend alluded to,

:23:13.:23:15.

has almost one fifth over retirement age

:23:16.:23:18.

and we need the supply of young, energetic workers from the EU that

:23:19.:23:22.

is now under threat from a Brexit which might

:23:23.:23:24.

only mean Brexit to the

:23:25.:23:25.

Prime Minister but means potentially a major economic threat to Scotland.

:23:26.:23:35.

From the clearances, through Margaret Thatcher to Brexit,

:23:36.:23:37.

Scotland's population has been getting a raw deal.

:23:38.:23:39.

Scotland needs to get out from under that and

:23:40.:23:41.

create a welcoming, entrepreneurial environment

:23:42.:23:46.

to grow our economy and

:23:47.:23:47.

We need, as my honourable friend said, and open

:23:48.:23:52.

door for immigrants, and immigration policies

:23:53.:23:54.

unlike the policies touted in this place by this Government.

:23:55.:23:59.

We can't be left subject to this frankly

:24:00.:24:02.

xenophobic regime if we are to build the population and the economy that

:24:03.:24:06.

There's one thing that striving this Government in terms of immigration,

:24:07.:24:11.

and that is to get the numbers down, to get the numbers down below an

:24:12.:24:14.

Something they have failed to do, miserably, and still they are

:24:15.:24:20.

We've got to accept the reality - the different nations,

:24:21.:24:32.

different regions, different countries and cities of the United

:24:33.:24:34.

Kingdom have different immigration needs.

:24:35.:24:36.

The needs of northern Scotland are different than the

:24:37.:24:38.

People will migrate to Scotland if the

:24:39.:24:42.

conditions are right and there are a good job opportunities.

:24:43.:24:44.

significant policy levers to shape and secure its economy.

:24:45.:24:48.

It has the power to make Scotland the most

:24:49.:24:50.

competitive part of the UK, to encourage and support more people

:24:51.:24:53.

to move to Scotland from other parts of the UK or the EU or indeed

:24:54.:24:56.

They have levers over economic development and support for

:24:57.:25:03.

enterprise, education and workforce training,

:25:04.:25:06.

health and social care, digital connectivity and transport.

:25:07.:25:10.

In addition, the Scottish Parliament has recently taken on new

:25:11.:25:13.

tax-raising powers which have the potential to be used to make

:25:14.:25:16.

Scotland more competitive and a more attractive place to live, or

:25:17.:25:20.

Do join me for the Week in Parliament , when we not only

:25:21.:25:29.

look back at the last few days in the Commons and the Lords

:25:30.:25:32.

but also assess how the current clash between the two Houses over

:25:33.:25:38.

Until then, from me, Keith Macdougall, goodbye.

:25:39.:25:45.

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