23/11/2016 Wednesday in Parliament


23/11/2016

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 23 November, presented by Keith Macdougall.


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Hello and welcome to Wednesday In Parliament,

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our look at the best of the day in the Commons and the Lords.

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The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, warns the British economy is set

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to grow more slowly, while Government borrowing is rising

:00:31.:00:33.

following Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

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This Autumn Statement responds to the challenge of building on that

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strength while also heeding the warnings in the OBR's figures

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as we begin writing this new chapter in our country's history.

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The Shadow Chancellor says it's an opportunity wasted.

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Today's statement places on record the abject failure

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This government's choice was to cut social care by ?4.6 billion

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It was just minutes before the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond,

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stood up to deliver his Autumn Statement

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that news came through from the Old Bailey

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that 53-year-old Thomas Mair had been found guilty

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The Yorkshire Labour MP was shot and stabbed to death in a village

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in her constituency of Batley and Spen on 16th June -

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Thomas Mair had shouted "Britain First" in the attack.

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But the Old Bailey judge said the true "patriot"

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There was reaction to the guilty verdict in the Commons.

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of a fierce advocate for social justice and a passionate campaigner.

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Her killing was an attack on democracy itself.

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Our thoughts are with her family this morning.

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I hope that the whole life sentence for Jo's murderer at least gives

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some comfort to her family at this incredibly difficult time,

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and will also enable us to remember Jo for the way that she lived

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rather than the way that she was murdered.

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I associate myself with the remarks that she has just made

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and I'm sure she's right, that the entirely sensible sentence

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that has been handed down will be a source of some comfort

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Well, half an hour before the Old Bailey

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the Chancellor had departed from Number 11 Downing Street

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and made the familiar, but short distance by shiny car

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It was Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement,

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it turned out to be the last Commons occasion to be so-named.

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After days of speculation, interest was considerable

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in what the Chancellor might be about to deliver.

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But before announcing any new measures, Mr Hammond started

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by saying he was proud to be reporting on an economy

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which the International Monetary Fund had predicted

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would be the fastest growing in the world this year.

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An economy which, through the hard work of the British people,

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has bounced back from the depths of Labour's recession.

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And an economy which has confounded commentators at home and abroad

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with its strength and resilience since the British people decided

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exactly five months ago today to leave the European Union and

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Mr Speaker, that decision will change the course

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It has thrown into sharp relief the fundamental strengths

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of the British economy that will ensure our future success.

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from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

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Today's OBR forecast is for growth to be 2.1% in 2016,

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In 2017, the OBR forecast growth to slow to 1.4%,

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which they attribute to low investment and weak consumer demand,

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given respectively by greater uncertainty and by high inflation,

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resulting from sterling appreciation.

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That is slower, of course, than we would wish.

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Mr Speaker, it is customary in the run-up to the Autumn

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Statement to hear representations from the Shadow Chancellor

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of the day, usually for untenable levels of spending and borrowing.

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We used to think on this side of the House that Ed Balls' demands

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were an extreme example but I have to say the current Shadow Chancellor

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has outperformed him in the fiscal incontinence

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What we don't know, of course, is whether he can also dance.

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Good. Good.

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The Chancellor said UK productivity had to be improved.

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I can announce that we are forming a new national productivity

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investment fund of ?23 billion, to be spent on innovation

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and infrastructure over the next five years.

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So we will focus government infrastructure investment

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With a new ?2.3 billion housing infrastructure fund to deliver

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infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand.

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And to provide affordable housing that supports a wide range of need,

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we will invest a further ?1.4 billion to deliver 40,000

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So today I can announce the national Living Wage

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will increase from ?7.20 to ?7.50 in April next year.

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That is a pay rise worth over ?500 a year

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I can also confirm today that, having consulted further,

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my right honourable friend the communities secretary will lower

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the transitional relief cap from 45% next year to 43%,

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That is complicated, but it is good news.

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Mr Speaker, our future transport, business and lifestyle needs

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will require world-class digital structure to underpin them.

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It says here, because I wrote it here.

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This is my first Autumn Statement as Chancellor.

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After careful consideration and detailed discussion

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with the Prime Minister, I have decided that it will also

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Mr Speaker, I am abolishing the Autumn Statement.

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No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice

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So the Spring Budget in a few months will be the final Spring Budget.

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Starting in autumn 2017, Britain will have an Autumn Budget,

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announcing tax changes well in advance of the

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From 2018, there will be a Spring Statement, responding to...

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We are a great nation, bold in our vision, confident

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in our strengths and determined in our ambition to

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build a country that works for everyone.

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I commend this statement to the House.

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Unlike the Budget, the Autumn Statement

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is replied to not by the Oppositon Leader,

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John McDonnell had caused some entertainment in the chamber

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a year ago when he brought to the despatch box

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a copy of Chairman Mao's "little red book"

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Mr McDonnell said the time since Labour left power in 2010

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Mr Speaker, today's statement places on record the abject failure

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And offers no hope for the future.

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The so-called long-term economic plan has failed.

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And as the Treasury's own leaked paper revealed,

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the Government knew it had failed before the referendum

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The greatest economic challenge of a generation,

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and we face it unprepared and ill-equipped.

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Today, we have seen the very people the Prime Minister promised

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The Chancellor has failed to break with the economic

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The country remains unprepared and ill-equipped to meet

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the challenges of Brexit and secure Britain's future as a

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After all the sacrifices, after all the sacrifices people have

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made over the last six years, I fear today's statement has laid

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the foundations for more wasted years.

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And then came the response from the SNP benches.

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The Chancellor did give us plenty of information today,

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but with no more than kind of a glib reference to being match

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fit at the beginning and a bit of deflection,

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very little actually on the elephant in the room, which is Brexit.

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It is not as if the Treasury don't know what the consequences will be.

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Their own assessment tells us that tax yield could be down 66 billion

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a year after 15 years, GDP down perhaps 9.5%,

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a figure confirmed by the LSE as a result of reduced trade,

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That amounts to some ?6,500 per year per household.

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And plenty of questions from backbench MPs

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May I congratulate the Chancellor on reverting to the extremely

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sensible practice of only having one Budget a year, which Gordon Brown

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abandoned in order to try to buy votes twice a year

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The OBR tells us on page 19, Mr Speaker, that ?58 billion

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of the worsening in the public finances is due to

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Isn't this a salutary warning to us about the decisions we take

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Isn't it a very strong argument for us remaining as close

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as possible to our largest trading area, the single market,

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and inside, not outside the customs union?

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The Chancellor's Autumn Statement suggests yet more public borrowing,

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with total public debt due to increase to ?1.6 trillion

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in the New Year and 1.9 trillion by 2020,

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Rather than a reflection of Brexit, is the accumulation of these

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unsustainable levels of public debt not due to the failures of his

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predecessor to match his words with deeds and get a grip

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Disappointingly, this Chancellor has joined his predecessor in failing

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to mention the words "climate change" even just once

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That is in the year that is the hottest on record,

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set to be the hottest on record, and when part of the country

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The elevation of the condition of working people has always been

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a priority of the Conservative party and, in that vein, I particularly

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welcome the fiscal changes in the Autumn Statement,

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particularly fuel duty, tax allowances and the national

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Living Wage, which I campaigned for for many years.

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There is actually not one single mention in the 72 page

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Autumn Statement document of the words NHS, social care,

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The Chancellor cannot ignore the fact that our health and social

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care services are in crisis, facing massive, massive deficits.

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The North of England is crying out for a plan for investment

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in rail, and people will be left asking today, where is it?

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But it is also crying out for investment in social care

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and, quite frankly, Mr Speaker, it is unbelievable

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that the Chancellor could find no mention for it today.

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An awful lot of R money, funding, is going to fund my constituency.

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The scientific businesses I have in South Cambridgeshire have been

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worried since Brexit, so thank you for that.

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East/West rail links and road links will help us

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But, overall, for the money in universal credit,

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It's not everything we wanted, but I very much welcome the money

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The last word in the Commons on the Autumn Statement.

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You're watching our round-up of the day at Westminster.

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The last word in the Commons on the Autumn Statement.

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You're watching our round-up of the day at Westminster.

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Could Sir Philip Green's yachts be sold to fill the black hole

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Normally, the centre-stage act in Parliament on Wednesdays

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This time, it had to take second billing.

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So, before the Autumn Statement got underway, the Labour leader decided

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to make social care for elderly and vulnerable people the key

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Jeremy Corbyn accused Theresa May of failing to fund adequately both

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the National Health Service and also social care budgets in England.

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The Prime Minister told him that Labour government's had failed

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to come up with a suitable plan to deal with the rapidly

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expanding demands placed on care services.

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Part of the reason for the strain on our National Health Service

:14:31.:14:35.

is that more than 1 million people are not receiving

:14:36.:14:37.

As a result of this, there's been an increase

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in emergency admissions for older patients.

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Margaret wrote to me this week, saying...

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She described how her 89-year-old mother suffered two falls,

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leading to a hospital admissions, due to the lack of nursing care.

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What action will the Prime Minister take

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to stop the neglect of older people, which ends up forcing them

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when they should be cared for at home, or in a care home?

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Well, we've introduced the Better Care Fund

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Let's just look at what Labour did

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They... They said they'd...

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They said they deal with social care in the '97 manifesto.

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Introduced a royal commission in 1999.

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Said they'd sort it in the CSR of 2007.

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Mr Speaker, as the Prime Minister well knows, health spending

:15:52.:16:06.

trebled under the last Labour government.

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And the levels of satisfaction with the National Health Service

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This government's choice was to cut social care by ?4.6 billion

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At the same time as they found the space,

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shall we say, to cut billions in corporate taxation bills.

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The whole house, I'm sure, would have been appalled

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by the revelations in the BBC Panorama programme this week,

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showing older people systematically mistreated.

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The Care Quality Commission's assessment that care homes

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run by the Morley Group require improvement.

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And they have issued a warning notices.

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The Commission goes on to say that the owner has allowed services

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to deteriorate further and has, and I quote...

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"Utterly neglected the duty of care to the residents of these homes".

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What action is her government going to take to protect

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What we do about it is ensure that we have the CQC,

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which is able to step in, which takes action, which has powers

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to make sure that nobody, nobody in the chain

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of responsibility is immune from legal accountability.

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But we know that there's more that can be done.

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That's why the CQC is looking into ways in which it can

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improve its processes, increase sufficiency.

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The Scottish National Party focused on disability benefits.

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It's widely trailed that the Prime Minister

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will make changes impacting on benefit recipients in work.

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Will the Prime Minister confirm that she has no intention

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of helping people with disabilities and medical conditions?

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Why should people who are unable to earn a living be punished

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for their disability or illness by losing ?30 a week?

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Does she have any intention of changing that?

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The overall funding and spending on disability benefits will be

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higher every year to 2020 than it was in 2010.

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But it is also important to recognise that,

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when we give support for people with disabilities,

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it isn't simply about the benefits system and how much

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For those workers who are able to get into work and on that part

:18:22.:18:27.

of the ESA we provide packages which are outside of the benefits.

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Because we recognise that people want the dignity

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That's what we are helping people with disabilities,

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Earlier this week, Boris Johnson was accused of being "provocative"

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and "arrogant" after apparently telling politicians in Turkey

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he supports their country's bid to join the EU.

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The leading German Member of the European Parliament,

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Manfred Weber, called the Foreign Secretary's comments

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"unbelievable", given his warnings about Turkish migrants

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during the referendum campaign in Britain.

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The German MEP said, "I cannot respect him anymore".

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on the words of the German politician.

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The Brexit Secretary and the Foreign Secretary

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are described by a senior German politician as...

:19:19.:19:20.

"having no idea what Brexit really means".

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The Times reports today that EU ambassadors think

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the Foreign Secretary's more colourful outbursts

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are damaging our relationship with member states.

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When is the Prime Minister going to get a grip on her ministers?

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And when she going to demonstrate the country,

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that she has a coherent, workable plan for Brexit?

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I've been very clear in this house on many occasions about the plan

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Crucially, we will be leaving the European Union.

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And we will be triggering Article 50 by the end of March next year.

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And that's when the formal negotiations will start.

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As millions of public sector workers face another year of suppressed pay,

:20:09.:20:13.

after another week of shambolic Brexit negotiations,

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and with a National Health Service facing the winter crisis,

:20:19.:20:21.

and crying out for cash, does the Prime Minister worry

:20:22.:20:27.

that her government is only just about managing?

:20:28.:20:30.

What the Right Honourable gentleman wants to do is to stop us

:20:31.:20:33.

from leaving the European Union by denying the people the decision

:20:34.:20:36.

and the deliverability of the vote that they took rightly on 23rd June.

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He wants to deny people what they want.

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Earlier this year, the Lib Dem MP and former Minister Norman Lamb

:20:43.:20:50.

put forward a proposal to ban the use

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when dealing with incidents in mental health units.

:20:53.:20:58.

On that occasion, the Commons voted down the proposal.

:20:59.:21:00.

But there's been a long-standing campaign from human rights activists

:21:01.:21:03.

sometimes called electro-shock weapons -

:21:04.:21:11.

on patients in psychiatric hospitals.

:21:12.:21:12.

When a Lib Dem peer raised the issue at Lords Question Time,

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this was the reply of a Home Office Minister.

:21:16.:21:22.

My Lords, there is ongoing work to ensure that any operational

:21:23.:21:23.

police decisions on the use of force in a mental health setting

:21:24.:21:27.

This includes development of a new protocol on police

:21:28.:21:42.

attendance, national collection from 2017 to 2018

:21:43.:21:43.

of police data on any force used.

:21:44.:21:45.

And a request to local areas to scrutinise the use of any Taser

:21:46.:21:48.

I thank the minister for that response.

:21:49.:21:56.

But she will know that a recent Independent Police Complaints

:21:57.:21:58.

Commission report has stated that people suffering from mental illness

:21:59.:22:01.

are four times more likely to die after police use of force

:22:02.:22:03.

Will the government look at the possibility that better

:22:04.:22:11.

training for police officers in how to deal with people suffering

:22:12.:22:13.

from mental health illness might alleviate the need for them

:22:14.:22:17.

Because they might understand better how to deal with the situation?

:22:18.:22:26.

It cannot be the position that the police officers

:22:27.:22:28.

are called in to mental health units, actually into the units,

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unless there has been a major failure of care

:22:32.:22:34.

This is blaming the people who are clearing up the mess,

:22:35.:22:37.

rather than dealing with the problem itself.

:22:38.:22:48.

I think that we agree on one level, because if somebody has got a mental

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health problem or is experiencing a mental health crisis, it is a health

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issue. However, if somebody experiences of behaviour that is

:23:06.:23:10.

both a danger to themselves or to others, including staff within these

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mental health settings, then there may be no other option. These

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situations are rare, but there may be no other option then for police

:23:21.:23:22.

restraint to be used. Seven months ago came news that

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British Home Stores had collapsed, with debts of more

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than ?1.25 billion. In October, MPs took the

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unusual step to vote for a removal of the knighthood

:23:31.:23:32.

given to the shop's former owner, Since then, there's been

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speculation that Sir Philip might have something else

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taken away, namely his yachts. Sir Philip's been pictured more

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than once apparently enjoying life on board in various

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Mediterranean locations. But could the yachts be used

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to fill the large deficit A question for the

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Work and Pensions Committee. First of all, I would like to assure

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that the NHS pension scheme members that we are pursuing the best

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possible outcome that we can secure for them. -- BHS. On the 2nd of

:24:14.:24:18.

November, we issued a warning notice, giving indication of our

:24:19.:24:22.

intention to attempt to use our powers against various targets. The

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committee will understand that I am reluctant to discuss the precise

:24:27.:24:30.

terms of settlement offers and so on. What I can say is that typically

:24:31.:24:38.

in these situations, it is not... If it was as simple as a check being

:24:39.:24:44.

written, then we'd all be happy that that would be a good outcome if it

:24:45.:24:53.

was a right to some. It could be though? Absolutely right. But if the

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offer takes a more complex form in some way, then we have to not just

:24:59.:25:01.

be satisfied that the monetary amounts are correct. But also to

:25:02.:25:05.

ensure a good outcome for the members that there is not any

:25:06.:25:11.

residual risk. My last question, partly because the public have been

:25:12.:25:22.

lobbying me over it. This ostentatious display of his boats.

:25:23.:25:28.

That might be for the courts to decide? That is correct.

:25:29.:25:30.

And that's where we tie up our boat for now.

:25:31.:25:32.

But do join me for our next daily round-up from Westminster.

:25:33.:25:35.

Until then, from me, Keith Macdougall, goodbye.

:25:36.:25:40.

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