25/11/2015 Wednesday in Parliament


Georgina Pattinson presents highlights of Wednesday 25 November in Parliament.

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Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament.


As the Chancellor presents his Autumn Statement,


he announces the planned cuts to tax credits are scrapped.


I have listened to the concdrns I hear and understand them and because


I have been unable -- been `ble to announce today an improvement in the


public finances, the simplest thing to do is not the phasing thdse


George Osborne also rules ott further reductions


The police protect us and wd are going to protect -- protect the


police. The Shadow Chancellor,


John McDonnell, Over the last five years thdre has


barely been a target the Ch`ncellor has said that he has not missed or


ignored. Well, the Chancellor certainly


pulled some rabbits from his hat George Osborne ditched


the planned cuts to tax credits and ruled out further reductions


in police budgets. The Chancellor said he could abandon


the 4.4 billion pound cuts to tax credits and still deliver


the promised ?12 billion in welfare cuts over the next five years,


thanks to higher tax receipts. I hear and understand them


and because I have been abld to announce today an improvement in the


public finances, the simplest thing to do is not to phase these changes


in, but to avoid them altogdther. Tax credits are being phased out


anyway as we introduce What that means is that


the tax credit taper rate I propose no further changes to the


Universal Credit taper or to the work allownaces beyond thosd passed


through Parliament last week. The Chancellor's announcement


on police funding started whth The minimum representations from the


Shadow Home Secretary is th`t the But now is not the time


for further police cuts. Now is the time to back


our police and give them I am today announcing that there


will be no cuts There will be real terms


protection of police funding. Mr Speaker,


the police protect us and wd are There were other announcements


in the statement, including increasing the state pension by


?3.35 a week to ?119.30 next year. A new social care


"precept" in Council Tax of up to 2% to allow local councils to raise ?2


billion for social care. And the cap on training places


for nurses scrapped, with the goal This delivers a doubling of the


housing budget, 400,000 new homes with extra support for London,


estates regenerated, right-to-buy rolled out, paid for by a t`x


on buy-to-lets and second homes delivered by a Conservative


government committed to helping working people who want to buy their


own home, for we are the buhlders. Many people have signed a pdtition


arguing that no VAT should be Now, we already charge


the lowest 5% rate allowabld under European law and we are comlitted to


getting the EU to change its rules. Until that happens,


I am going to use the ?15 mhllion a year raised from the Tampon Tax


to fund women's health charhties As a one nation government,


today we deliver the Spending Review The guardians of economic sdcurity,


the protecters of national security, This government,


the mainstream representatives It was the turn of the


Shadow Chancellor to respond. There is such a thing as thd Iron


Law of Chancellor's statements. The Iron Law of Chancellors


statements is that the louddr the cheers for the statement


on the day, the greater the disappointment by the wdekend


when the analysis goes in. But from what we have heard today,


we don't need until the weekend Over the last five years,


there has barely been a target the Chancellor has set that he has


not missed or ignored. Let's quote from Mao,


rarely done in this chamber We must learn to do economic work


from all who know how, We must esteem them as teachers


learning from them to respect conscientiously, but we must not to


pretend to know what we do not know. I thought it would come in handy


for him in his new relationship So, the Shadow Chancellor lhterally


stood at the Dispatch Box from Look,


it is his personal signed copy! The problem is,


half of his Shadow Cabinet would be I am intrigued that the Torx


backbenchers cheered the huliliating It seems like barely three or four


weeks ago that they were chdering on and voting for the implelentation


of the tax credit policy. But,


times move on and things ch`nge The ideaology


of the Chancellor has not changed. He is, in essence, still intending


to cut more than ?40 billion a year than he needs to to run


a current account budget imbalance And notwithstanding the humhliating


U-turn on tax credits, this is a government who added 37 bhllion


of cuts and tax rises in thd summer budget to the 121 billion of fiscal


or discretionary consolidathon This 18 billion announced


in the Green Book today, and the Chancellor was very clear


that the 12 billion of welf`re cuts Backbenchers also got a chance


to question the Chancellor. In the wisdom that is contahned in


the big Blue Book from the Office for Budget Responsibility, which, if


I can quote him from page shx, says that the cost of the tax crddits


reversal is more than offset by cuts to a variety of other benefhts,


but in later years. Can he confirm that, actually,


he has delayed the effectivd changes in tax credits,


he has not U-turned on them? Could I congratulate my


Right Honourable Friend on sticking unswervingly, despite all the recent


difficulties, to his commitlent to a balanced budget over the cycle and


answering the fears of some of us by sticking to the aim


of a modest surplus on the budget if Will he reinforce the argumdnt that


that is an absolutely essential precondition to our building


a modern sustainable economx in this country able to withst`nd such


shocks as the global economx will I welcome the Chancellor's decision


to cut tax credits cuts. Does the Chancellor intend


apologising to the people who were unnecessarily scared by his original


plans, and does he intend disciplining his peers in the House


of Lords who, had they supported the Liberal Democrat motion there,


would have saved him He was phasing out grants to local


government and then he said that there are different ways in


which local authorities could raise money for social care, or


for that matter for policing under Now, I believe in fair fundhng and I


am sure he realises that in more prosperous areas the take from that


sort of raising from funds hs higher for the needs of those commtnities,


but the sort of take from communities like Doncaster


and elsewhere may not meet the challenges that we have


on our doorstep? Does the Chancellor of the Dxchequer


realised that he is becoming a hero to those like me who have c`mpaigned


to deal with the perennial plight The fact of the matter is it is


an area of major concern to millions of constituents around the country


in constituencies all over the country and by establishing a


permanent pothole fund he is helping Usually,


the main event on a Wednesd`y - Prime Minister's Question Thme


was instead the warm-up act ahead There were no bumps in the road


for the Prime Minister eithdr. Unlike his official car,


which was scraped just before the parliamentary session as


it stood outside Number 10 Downing In the Commons, the Labour leader,


Jeremy Corbyn, focused This week, Mr Speaker,


55 Labour councils have madd a commitment for their areas to be run


entirely on green energy by 205 . With


the Paris climate talks just days away, will the Prime Ministdr join


me in commending those councils and would he call on all Conservative


councils to do the same? I certainly commend all councils for


wanting to promote green endrgy We have made that easier in


our country by having the fded-in tariffs and the other measures we


have had to help for partictlarly We will be taking part in the Paris


climate talks because it is absolutely vital to


get that global deal, but wd have to make sure that we take action


locally as well as globally. The gap between Britain's 2020


target and our current shard of renewable energy is


the biggest in the European Union. Some of his decisions he has made


recently, such as cutting stpport for solar panels on home


and industrial projects, scrapping the Green Deal, cutting support for


wind turbines, putting a new tax on renewable energy, increasing subsidy


for diesel generators - is ht any wonder that the Chief Scientist


of the United Nations Environment Programme has criticised Brhtain for


going backwards on renewabld energy? As I said, a trebling of wind power


in the last Parliament, And, also, he makes the point


about solar panels. Of course,


when the cost of manufacturhng solar panels plummets, as it has,


it is right to reduce the stbsidy. If we don't reduce the subshdy,


we ask people to pay higher energy bills, something I seem to remember


the Labour Party of the last I think if you look at the Secretary


of State for Climate Change's speech,


you can see the right balance between affordable energy and making


sure we meet our green targdts. After four questions on gredn


energy, Mr Corbyn moved on to ask about violence against women, saying


that domestic violence accotnts Can the Prime Minister please


explain why one third of those referred to women's refuges


in England are being turned away? The fact is, when it comes to rape


crisis centres, that we protected, or domestic violence centres


that we helped to fund, this government has got a good rdcord on


helping women and making sure that the crime of domestic violence is


properly investigated by thd police The SNP's Westminster leader,


Angus Robertson, used his qtestions The fatal dangers of unintended


consequences and escalation in Syria All serious observers agree that


an air campaign alone will not lead to the ultimate defeat of D`esh


on the ground and air ground forces to the ultimate defeat of D`esh


on the ground and that ground forces How many troops and from whhch


countries does the Prime Minister I am not arguing that action


from the air alone can solvd the very serious problem th`t we


have with Isil. Clearly,


we need a political settlemdnt in Syria and a government in Syria


that can act comprehensivelx with We should be acting now with allies


because it is about keeping our own He asked specifically


about ground troops. The fact is there are troops in


Syria - the Free Syrian Armx and the Kurdish forces - that would work


with us to help eliminate Isil, but of course the full range of ground


troops will only be available when there is a political settlelent in


Syria. The question is simple - can we afford to wait for that political


settlement before taking action to We spent 13 times more bombhng Libya


than investing in its reconstruction after the


overthrow of the Gaddafi regime Reconstructing Syria will bd


essential to secure stability How much does the Prime Minhster


estimate this will cost and how much Obviously,


we have one of the biggest budgets anywhere in the world, as the


support we have given you h`ve given to the Syrian refugees, which stands


at ?1.2 billion, demonstratds. Clearly part of our plan whhch I


will bring to the host tomorrow will focus on the reconstruction and


rebuilding of Syria alongside the political deal that is necessary. I


would far rather spend the loney reconstructing Syria than stpporting


people kept away from their homes and the country who dearly want to


return. You are watching Wednesday


in Parliament with me, Peers' fears over the banning


of an add on prayer. But, first,


dairy farmers have been continuing to protest at supermarkets


in parts of the UK over the price Over the summer,


cows were even paraded throtgh A group


of MPs have been investigathng the problem and have been t`king


evidence from two leading supermarkets, both of which defended


their milk purchasing policds. And two for? In driving down the


price too far? We are competing with everyone in the high Street, we are


still able to pay the leading price for our milk. We can serve lore


volume as a result. Our farlers have benefited from that. They h`ve had


more premium on more volume, so we have been able to sustain that in a


difficult market. What would Aldi say to that? Are you selling milk as


a loss leader? Is it cheaper than water in and Aldi store? Last retail


price might go up and down, there is no connection between Paul Tweed P


the supplier for our product. If you take the example of milk, it is a


category that is marginally profitable. In many ways, it is


completely separated from what we pay for a product. If the rdtail on


milk were to 50p or increasd to ?2, it would have no effect on our cost


price. In the summer, you agree to pay a minimum four plight of 28p to


suppliers. How did you come to that figure? We recognised it was


difficult for suppliers. Ond of the biggest problems we have he`rd of is


volatility. It is particularly difficult for dairy farmers. We felt


it was necessary to take sole action. By setting out a minimum


four place -- floor price, ht has helped. I understand the prhce you


came to was around 30p? I'm interested in how you came to that


figure and how that would bd adjusted up or down going forward.


Our approach is very much around collaboration and discussion. We


based our discussions on thd cost of production, the market and the


impact of volatility. Orangdy putting pressure on the farler and


the processor as well? -- rdnt you? We are discount supermarket. We will


not reduce our price on milk ahead of the market. We have reacted to


market pressures. We will follow when necessary.


Now, the Education Secretarx, Nicky Morgan, has outlined


It delivers a Conservative manifesto colmitment


to double free childcare hotrs from 15 to 30 hours for 38 weeks a year.


But Labour has warned the promised payments fell short of the `ctual


cost of childcare providers in some areas of the countrx.


The 30 hours will give hard,working parents a real choice to work if


they want to do so. As well as being the only party to commit to extend


to 30 hours at the general dlection, we were the only party to commit to


raising the funding rate for providers. The increase in funding


includes nearly ?300 million to the rate paid for two-year-old,


three-year-old and four-year-old entitlements. This will delhver a


new national funding rate. The rate will be ?4 88 for three and


four-year-olds. For two-year-olds, it will be ?5 39. We have sdt a


level of funding that providers need to deliver a high-quality of


childcare. We support this bill However, there are a number of


challenges with the governmdnt's plans. It is only right we


scrutinise them. High-quality, affordable childcare is not cheap.


Attempts by government to ctt corners will ultimately fail. At the


heart of this bill is a serhous funding gap. The announcements today


on the go some way to answer these. When ministers first announced this,


they said it would cost ?350 million. This figure was pioneer


skive. By their own recent admission, revising this to ?64


million. The Institute for policy research has identified a ?0 billion


funding gap in government plans even on the basis of revised


figures. The government unddrstands there is a funding shortfall.


However, we'll have to interrogate this further as the bill proceeds.


The rate still remains below the true cost of childcare.


The Government has been criticised for failing to ensure peopld


In 1995 the law was changed to equalise the pension age of men


But in 2011 state pension ages were raised at an even faster rate.


Many women complained they weren't given enough time to prepard


Paul Lewis from the Radio Four programme Money Box has told MPs


people had been let down by "poor communication".


First, the former Pensions Minister Steve Webb gave his view.


I am very much of the view that because everybody is differdnt,


personalised communication hs the key. We tried really hard to think


what general messages we cotld put across. Essentially the message was,


things are changing, find ott. There is no way you can have a general


message that works for a contracted in, contracted out, men, wolen,


different age groups and so on. The message was, you need to find out


where you stand on this is how to do it. People accept the pension age


had to rise. But they wanted more notice to prepare. Suddenly at the


age of 62, they find out thdy have another four years with no loney.


14% of households in Britain don't have access to a computer. The older


you are, that is probably more likely. Whenever people say over 65


is cannot use a computer, I feel upset. At people in rural areas


don't have good internet connections yet. The computer system will be


good for those who use it, but it won't work for everybody. I think


the department should look `t individual communication, pdrhaps


even face-to-face communication Explaining options to peopld. Would


you abandon some of the gendric messages and concentrate more on a


personalised approach? I wotld give age UK a big grand. Give thdm


advertising budget. Let thel do the telephone and face-to-face. I think


there are individual organisations who could do that better.


Advertising is a way of covdring the government's back. But you don't


take notice of adverts. Personalised individual approach is I thhnk what


people need. The refusal to screen


an advertisement featuring the Lord's Prayer in UK cinemas has been


raised in the House of Lords, with a Minister asking the agencx who


made the decision to think `gain. The Church of England had hoped the


60 second film, which features the Christian prayer being recited or


sung by a variety of people, would be screened UK-wide before Christmas


ahead of the new Star Wars film The government has made it clear


that it does not agree with that decision and has urged the cinema to


look again. We very much welcome the support from the Minister and indeed


from Number Ten other ministers and indeed from Richard doctrinds and


Stephen Fry. I wonder whethdr I might press the Minister to go


further. With the Minister `gree with me that advertisements are


about beliefs? ER about lifdstyles. Then they sell the product. And


therefore others should be free to also speak about ideas in the


marketplace of ideas. By banning this advertisement, they have


narrowed the opportunities for beliefs and values to be spoken


about in the public square. Is she saying that any religion or


political party should be committed to advertise in the way the Church


of England wants to do? Bec`use I think it is important we understand


about where our president is being set. I and the government bdlieves


in the freedom of expression. And the freedom to not believe `t all.


As well as to believe in a variety of different religions.


Well, that's all from me after a busy day in Westminster


Until tomorrow, at the same time, from me, Georgina Pattinson,


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