13/01/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday, presented by Keith Macdougall.

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Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament, our look at the best


of the day in the Commons and the Lords.


Is sending in the bulldozers a good idea?


Jeremy Corbyn criticises David Cameron's plans to demolish


We'll be Prime Minister guarantee that all existing tenants of the


council estates earmarked for redevelopment will be be housed in


new council housing in their current communities? The House of Lords


discusses the House of lords. Should their powers be curbed? Use your


Use your vote prudently, yes, use it sparingly, yes.


And if God Save the Queen has to go, what should become


I want to say which area it was says the most reasonable choice was


Could housing be one of the main political issues during the time


At the weekend David Cameron unveiled his ?140 million plan


to tackle poverty by bulldozing so-called 'sink' estates to make way


The Prime Minister pledged to demolish 'brutal high-rise'


towers and bleak housing in an effort to tackle drug abuse


So was this an attempt by the Conservative leader to march


across Labour's traditional territory?


The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged David Cameron


This week the Prime Minister rather belatedly acknowledged


there is a housing crisis in Britain.


He announced a ?140 million fund to transform 100 housing estates


around the country, which amounts to ?1.4 million per housing estate


It is not even going to pay for the bulldozers, is it?


What we have done is double the housing budget. We're going to be


investing ?8 billion in housing. That comes after having built


700,000 homes since becoming Prime Minister. We have over a quarter of


a million more affordable homes. Every estate he announces you wishes


to build those will include tenants and people who have bought their


homes under Right to Buy. Will those people, the leaseholders, will be be


guaranteed homes on those be built estates that he has proposing to


build? Of course I accept this is not as carefully thought through as


his reshuffle. I gather is still going on. It has not actually


finished yet. What we want to do is to go to human tears where there are


a sink estates and housing estates that have helped people back and


agree with those local councils, those local people and make sure


tenants get good homes, make sure home owners get rehoused in new


houses. That is what we want. I noticed the Prime Minister did not


give any guaranteed to leaseholders on states. So there is another


larger groups on those as states that have two I have a question to


ask him. Daryl says, will be Prime Minister guarantee that all existing


tenants of the housing estates earmarked for a reader redevelopment


will be rehoused in council housing in their current amenities with the


same conditions that we have now? Isn't it interesting, Mr Speaker,


who here is the small see conservative who is saying to people


stay in your sink estates, have nothing better than what Labour


agave after the war. We are saying if you are a tenant, have the Right


to Buy. If you are in a sink estate, we will help you out. That is the


fact of politics today. A party on the side of the House that once to


give people life chances and a Labour opposition that wants them to


stay stuck in poverty. Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister doesn't seem to


understand. He doesn't understand the very serious concerns that


council tenants have when they feel they are going to be forced away


from the community where they live, where their children go to school


and their community is so strong. But there is another area where the


Prime Minister might be able to help us today. His party's manifesto


said, everyone who works hard should be able to own a home of their own.


So we'll families earning his so-called national living wage be


able to afford one of his discount starter homes? I very much hope they


will. As well as starter homes, we are having shared ownership homes.


We are saying to the 1.3 million tenants of Housing associations, we


are on your side. You can buy your own home, why does he still oppose


that? Well, Mr Speaker, I hope this what hope goes a long way. Research


by shelter found that families on his so-called living wage will be


unable to afford the average Tartar home in 98% of local authority


areas. He didn't answer the question about the 1.3 million housing


association tenants. I want what is best for everybody. He owns his


home, I own my home, why weren't we let those 1.3 million own their


homes? Why not? The Prime Minister gave no assurances to tenants, no


assurances to leaseholders, no assurances to low-paid people who


want to get somewhere decent to live. He quoted the words of Linda,


a council tenant for the last 25 years. The council bill being put


through Parliament, we will have two signed a new agreement, if we say we


will have to pay the bedroom tax and debt. If we downsize, we lose our


secure home. It is a real problem that Linda and others are facing. If


she was in the advice you grow, what advice would you give her? It has


not paid by pensioners, but that's another point I would make to Linda


and all those who are in council housing or other two Council


Association homes. We are giving you the chance to buy your own home. It


is interesting what this exchange has shown. We now have a Labour


Party with a housing policy that does not support home ownership.


They have a defence policy that does not believe in defence. We have a


Labour Party that does not believe in work and a Labour leader who does


not believe in Britain. David Cameron.


The SNP Westminster's leader Angus Robertson opted


He supported the idea of a post-study work visa that


would allow university students from overseas to stay


He said the Commission led by the economist Lord Smith had


recommended the creation of schemes to allow overseas graduates


to remain in Scotland and work for a period of time once


Why did the UK Government this week ruled out a return of a post study


work Visa without discussions and before parliamentary reports? There


is no limit on the number of people who can stay after they have


graduated, as long as they have a graduate level job. That is a clear


message. The return of post study abusers is supported by all of


Scotland's publicly funded colleges, College Scotland, universities


Scotland, the representative body for higher institutions. All


parties, including the Scottish Conservative Party. Why does the


Prime Minister think they are all wrong and he is right? I think the


disadvantage of inventing a new post-work-study route, we are


effectively saying to people coming to our universities, it is OK to


stay with a less than graduate job. There are lots of people in our own


country desperate for a those jobs. We do not need the world's brightest


and best to come here and study and then to do a menial and Labour job.


That is not what our immigration system is for. What we want is a


system that we can advertise to the world, com study and work here. Onto


gambling and the potential dangers of fixed odds betting terminals.


Some of the Government's backbenchers would agree with me,


despite my background would be menial, in calling to a reduction to


fixed betting terminals. They seem reluctant to review this ?1.6


million industry and refuses to bring it under scrutiny. Can the


Prime Minister ensure that the Government will undertake a review


of this dangerous and addictive problem? We keep this important


situation under review. A former oil trader raised


the falling global price of oil: 30 billion I'll is good for... It is


bad in other respects. If it goes on like this, we risk seeing regimes


under pressure, enormous financial transfers out of our markets to pay


for other country's deficit, a possible collapse in share prices


and dividends for pensions and a liquidity problem in our banking


sector. May I invite the Prime Minister initiate a review across


Whitehall to assess the effects of low oil prices on our economy and


beyond? It has a effect on our our constituents who are able to fill up


their cars were less than ?1 per litre. That is a very big increase


in people's disposable income. A low oil price is good for the British


economy as an economy that is a production economy. There are other


consequences and union to many of them. We need to look carefully at


how we can help our industry. Now, cast your mind back to the end


of October and there was something of a constitutional


crisis at Westminster. The House of Lords had blocked


the Government's planned cuts to tax credits and this despite the Lords


supposedly having little or no say Conservative Ministers


were not best pleased. A review was ordered into the powers


of the Lords. It concluded that peers should


lose their veto over what's known Peers would instead be allowed


to send these laws back to the Commons, forcing MPs to vote


again, but would only be able The person in charge of the review


led a debate on his proposals. My Lords, by having the ability to


do what the House of lords traditionally does so well, ask the


House of commons to think again, we are doing what we have always done.


To limit it to a ping without a pong, we are giving the House of


lords writes that they do not have at the moment. In other words we


have a conversation between the two houses that they have the final say.


Speaking as someone who has served the Government for 30 years, it is


no bad thing that the House of lords does have the opportunity to revise


legislation, to seek no matter how inconveniently or uncomfortably to


the Government of the day, go back and think about this again.


Particularly in relation to tax credits. I sometimes reflect that


members of the Government party in the other house might be grateful of


being speared several months of being quite rightly have ranked by


their constituents, who would have lost sums of money. The House


sometimes sells itself sought. -- sells itself short. In that context


of the constitutional democracy, to deal with legislation on issues as


sensitive as the level income of people who are hard-pressed because


of the economic crisis,... Why is this change being proposed?


Part of a wider concern by the government, no government likes it


when they are defeated but join the club. I know what it is like to be


defeated. In the five and three quarters years of this government,


it suffered 123 defeats and any five and three quarters years between


2002 and 2008, which I am particularly familiar with, the


government suffered 325 defeats. I urge the size not to abandon its


right to say no. Use it prudently, yes, sparingly, yes, but retain this


we must. The application of the proposals in the report is that we


have gone beyond the point where the present self-regulatory framework


can be allowed to continue and something that is more laid down in


statute might be required in place of the current convention.


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


An MP bids to replace God Save the Queen with an anthem


The British economy risks once again becoming dependent on consumption


by households and not led by export performance.


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


The British economy risks once again becoming dependent on consumption


by households and not led by export performance.


That was the claim of the Scottish Nationalists


during a Commons debate they'd called, focusing on the UK's current


Opening the debate, the SNP's finance spokesman noted that in 2012


the Chancellor George Osborne had declared he wanted to double


Mr Speaker, total export sales in 2013 were ?521 billion,


which was a reasonable start, but that fell to ?513


The numbers are moving in the wrong direction,


yet the Chancellor and this Government still expect us


to believe that exports could, in effect, double over this


The OBR s most recent forecast suggests that they will miss that


target by about ?350 billion, so the target set


I have to say that I really struggle to take lessons on the economy


It is a party that built its whole idea of independence,


which mercifully the good people of Scotland rejected,


on the idea that oil was going to be the lubricant,


the foundation of their independent economy.


Oil is now $35 a barrel and it is accepted that if the SNP


had been successful, the cost would have been somewhere


in the region of ?5,000 for every single household.


Scotland would have been in the most atrocious economic place if it had


The Chancellor s latest wheeze is to open the door to Chinese cash.


China has no track record of building nuclear power plants,


yet the Chancellor has offered massive subsidies over the next 20


years in the hope of encouraging Chinese state companies to invest


So much for encouraging British manufacturing!


I believe that the Chancellor s cunning plan has little to do


with energy security and everything to do with getting China to cover


Britain s disastrous current account deficit.


With Chinese money coming in, foreign currency will stay


The head of the Tax Office, Dame Lin Homer, has announced


that she will be leaving her post in April.


Until then, though, it's business as usual,


so MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have been


questioning her with their usual robustness.


She was challenged over whether enough is being done


A Conservative, Stephen Phillips, suggested that wealthy people


in particular had been "getting away" with tax evasion.


A claim that led to tetchy exchanges with Lin Homer.


You are prosecuting 35 a year at the moment.


By 2020 you are going to be prosecuting 100.


That means that each and every year at the moment there are about,


let's say, no, in fact, 65 is an underestimate because even


in 2020 you will not be prosecuting everyone.


But there are a lot of wealthy individuals who are evading


their taxes and who are not prosecuted.


You can agree with that and it will reflect credit on you.


I said a few minutes ago, you probably didn't hear


so I will say again, that across the whole spectrum


we do not prosecute everybody in every category.


So there will always be individuals who we don't prosecute.


Wealthy, less wealthy, not so wealthy.


It has never been our intention to prosecute everybody.


You assess the risk in terms of evasion yourself at 40%


in relation to individuals evading personal taxation.


A message which goes out loud and clear, doesn't it?


It is "evade your taxes and you are not going


No, I don't think it is, Mr Phillips, and I am not


But I think the message is that we will use a range


of approaches to dissuade people from evading their taxes.


And the assertion that we have ignored rich people...


Well, the problem with that is that on your own figures,


you have asked the Treasury for more money so that you can prosecute more


wealthy tax evaders and another 65 a year by 2020.


I want more money to do volume crime, which is what led


I don't understand why you are so defensive.


I don't want the message to get out there that there are certain people


that we will not go after and I think...


I reject words being placed in my mouth, I'm afraid.


I honestly don't quite understand why you are being so defensive


about this because it does seem to me that if you have gone


from looking at the numbers of prosecutions of wealthy


individuals, 35 was mentioned, and you have got some additional


funding to increase prosecutions to 100 a year.


I sort of feel, that says to me that maybe there are some people,


maybe not all of the 65 added on, some people who might,


through other things, because maybe that became part


of the way that HMRC worked, maybe some of those 65,


and obviously not the same individuals, who are going to be


prosecuted in the future and maybe in the past they came


in for a conversation and something would be sorted out.


And, yes, they might have to sort out their affairs and pay


a backdated cheque or something like this.


But ultimately, there will not be a prosecution.


Because it seems to me, we have seen too many of those


conversations happening rather than prosecutions and quite rightly,


public concern at that has led to more funding coming in,


which maybe more of those cases or types of those cases should end


with prosecutions, so, honestly, I don't think this is a trap.


It is just saying, don't be defensive.


Public pressure and unhappiness in this particular area


is going to lead to more prosecutions and that will mean that


maybe some individuals in the way they carried out their affairs


in the past will not be acceptable in the future


Please don't be defensive about that.


I am not, and can I just say, that is our approach


across the piece and has been since 2010 so we have gradually been


expanding prosecutions, not maybe as fast as we could have done.


But we do believe that we need to signal clearly that for anyone


who evades tax, there is a risk of prosecution.


Now, have we had enough of God Save The Queen?


The UK national anthem always gets an airing when the England football


team or England rugby team is about to play


But shouldn't England be represented by something more English?


Land of Hope and Glory is one of the songs now being put forward


as an alternative to God Save the Queen.


Introducing his own Bill in Parliament, a Labour MP believed


an English national anthem was an idea whose time


It has often seemed incongruous to me that when England play


against other home nations on the football or rugby field,


while the Welsh and Scots sing an anthem that reflects the identity


of their nations, England sings about Britain.


That reflects a sense that we see Britain and England as synonymous,


and this not only denies us English an opportunity to celebrate


the nation that is being represented, but it is a cause


of resentment among other countries within the British Isles,


who feel that England has requisitioned the British song.


I spoke to radio stations in all corners of England this


morning, such was the interest in the debate about what our


There were voxpops on the streets of towns far and wide,


and each area reflected the specific differences


I will not say which area thought that the most appropriate choice


for an English national anthem would be Heaven Knows I m Miserable Now


` that will remain a secret between me and the listeners


But that reflects the fact that each local area has its own sense


He said there had been suggestions for an English anthem


The three options were God Save the Queen, Jerusalem and Land


of Hope and Glory, and Jerusalem was the clear winner,


Land of Hope and Glory received 32% and God Save the Queen just 12%.


Just as Jerusalem was the favoured choice of those who voted


in the Commonwealth Games poll, so it seems to be an early favourite


among members of the public who have engaged with me.


The campaign group England in my Heart is specifically


campaigning for Jerusalem to be played before England rugby matches.


One MP believed a separate English anthem was wrong.


What greater pleasure can there be for a true-born English man


or true-born English woman than to listen to our own national


anthem ` a national anthem for our whole country,


for our whole United Kingdom, of which England is but a part,


but an important part, and to listen to those words that


link us to our Sovereign, who is part of that chain that takes


Despite that opposition, Toby Perkins was allowed to bring


How far it progresses remains to be seen.


Do join me for our next daily round-up.


Until then, from me, Keith Macdougall, goodbye.


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