22/02/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


22/02/2017

Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 22 February presented by Kristiina Cooper.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament.

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The Labour leader says the Government has put

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England's NHS and social care in a state of emergency.

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We need a Government that puts the NHS first,

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But the Prime Minister says Labour policies would leave no money

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That doesn't help doctors and nurses, it doesn't help

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patients, it doesn't help the NHS, and it doesn't help ordinary,

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working families up and down this country.

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The Local Government Secretary says he understands only too well

:00:34.:00:38.

the pain caused by increases to business rates.

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Growing up above the family shop, I saw for myself the impact

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an increase in rates can have on small businesses.

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A rise in the costs lowered the mood of the whole family.

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Even as a child, I knew it wasn't good when I found a stack of bright

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red final reminders hidden away at the back of the drawer.

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A fortnight ago, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sprang a surprise

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on Theresa May at Prime Minister's Questions.

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He read out leaked text messages which, he said,

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indicated the Government had offered Surrey County Council a special deal

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His remarks were widely reported, and the Department

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for Local Government spent the day rejecting the assertions.

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At the latest session of PMQs, Mr Corbyn returned

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to the same territory, saying that the Government had put

:01:25.:01:27.

health and social care in a "state of emergency".

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Her friend, the Tory chair of the Local Government Association,

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Lord Porter, has said, and I quote:

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Extra council tax income will not bring in anywhere near enough money

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to alleviate the growing pressure on social care.

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Two weeks ago, we found out about the sweetheart

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When will the other 151 social services departments in England get

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The right honourable gentleman refers to the questions he asked me

:02:01.:02:09.

about Surrey County Council two weeks ago.

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Those claims were utterly destroyed the same afternoon.

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So rather than asking the same question, he should

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Mr Speaker, far from apologising, it's the Prime Minister who ought

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to be reading her correspondence and answering the letter

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from 62 council leaders, representing social services

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authorities, who want to know if they're going to get

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the same deal as Surrey, as they are grappling

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with the crisis which has left over a million people not getting

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Theresa May insisted it was her Conservative Government

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that was putting extra funding into the NHS.

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I remind the right honourable gentleman that we are spending

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1.3 billion more on the NHS this year than Labour planned to do if

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Let's just look at what's happening in the NHS.

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We have 1800 more midwives in the NHS than 2010.

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We have more people being seen in accident

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We have more operations taking place every week

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Our National Health Service staff are working hard,

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they're providing a quality of care for patients up

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What they don't need is a Labour Party policy that leads

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to a bankrupt economy, because Labour's policy is that

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you spend money on everything, which means you

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and have no money to spend on anything.

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That doesn't help doctors and nurses, it doesn't help

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patients, it doesn't help the NHS, and it doesn't help ordinary,

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working families up and down this country.

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Her Government has put the NHS and social care

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Nine out of ten NHS trusts are unsafe.

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18,000 patients a week are waiting...

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Mr Speaker, I repeat the figure - 18,000 patients a week are waiting

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We need a Government that puts the NHS first,

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First of all, I have to say to the right honourable gentleman,

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that he should consider correcting the record.

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Because 54% of hospital trusts are considered good or outstanding.

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Quite different from the figure he has shown.

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Secondly, I will take no lessons on the NHS...

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Oh, the deputy leader of the Labour Party says we should

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I won't take any lessons from the party that presided over

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Remember Labour used to talk about boom and bust?

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Now it's no longer boom and bust, it's borrow and bankrupt.

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Representatives of international children's charities have strongly

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criticised the decision to wind down the scheme to give sanctuary

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The Government says the arrangement is acting as an incentive

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for children in warzones to make dangerous sea crossings to Europe.

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The Home Affairs Committee is investigating the issue.

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When the Dubs scheme was first announced,

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it was very clearly about targeting the most vulnerable children,

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and we thought that was absolutely the right thing to do.

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It makes very little sense to us that the scheme

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would be cancelled now, when we know there are still 2500

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unaccompanied children in Greece, ten times as many in Italy and many

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We are very disappointed that the Dubs scheme has closed.

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We would like the Dubs scheme to remain open and remain as a safe

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and legal route for unaccompanied child refugees that are in Europe

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I think the impact we have seen of the closure,

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and some of the confusion around what has been going on

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To take a handful of local authorities, in Lewisham,

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they've offered 23 places for unaccompanied minors,

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only one of those has been filled since that offer was made.

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Also aware of the real disjuncture between the National Transfer Scheme

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and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales,

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and if the Dubs provision is conflated with the National

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Transfer Scheme, it denies those nations the opportunity

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to make a full contribution we believe they desire to.

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When a country that's as capable and relatively wealthy as the UK -

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the fifth-largest economy in the world, a country that has

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real expertise in child protection, that has real expertise in our staff

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at the Home Office - when a country like ours is seen

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to close the door in the face of child refugees and refuse

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to help, it is really noticed by other countries in the world.

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The Government has said that one of their reasons

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for closing the Dubs scheme is because they think

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it was increasing the pull factor, that it was increasing the risk

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of children becoming involved in trafficking.

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If there is ever some very strong evidence to suggest

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that this kind of scheme or any one like it was doing harm

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by encouraging children to make dangerous journeys,

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then we would have a problem with that too.

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For that reason, we accepted the need for a date cutoff

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point when we first had the scheme announced.

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I think there is very little evidence in this particular context

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that a scheme like Dubs would act as a pull factor.

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There is evidence that safe and legal routes protect children,

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and the question we should be asking ourselves is,

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what intervention is most likely to make children safe?

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And we have evidence that a route to safety

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is that intervention, so that's what we should pursue.

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You spoke earlier on - forgive me, I didn't make

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detailed enough notes - about what capacity you felt

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that there was within local authories, because, unfortunately it

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tends to contradict what we're told when local authorities tell us

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that they don't have the capacity, that they already have children

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in care that they need to find homes for.

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If Lewisham has 22 spaces going, and only 150 children are proposed

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to be resettled through the entire Dubs programme, in its entirety,

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that's a very significant proportion to go to just one London borough.

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Proportionally, actually, we're finding there are quite large

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I think a huge amount could be done through the LGA and other forums

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to help share learning and best practice at local authority level,

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to, number one, help channel the interest and goodwill

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that we know exists to try and support refugee

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children into foster care that is actually

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The committee then heard from local government representatives.

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It is almost chicken and egg about capacity.

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If they Dubs scheme continues, do you think local councils could offer

:09:22.:09:27.

more? We have been clear that support is

:09:28.:09:33.

contingent upon resourcing. We had been it clear that councils across

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the country are under pressure, and want to know that commitment to

:09:37.:09:41.

taking in a refugee child doesn't mean that they can't make a

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responsibility to another child in the area. That message has been very

:09:47.:09:48.

clear. The UK's former Ambassador

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to the European Union has warned MPs that the EU will want to play

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hardball with the UK over Brexit and could refuse to strike a free

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trade deal unless the UK contributes Sir Ivan Rogers -

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who quit in January - was making his second appearance

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this year before The budgetary issue now comes

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to the fore, and I think we can expect a number of them to think,

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well, if the British want a future trade deal,

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and they want some sort of transitional arrangements before

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a future trade deal - all big ifs - then this will come together at some

:10:15.:10:20.

gory European Council in the autumn of 2018,

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and will come together And there will be some

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who want to play hardball and say, well, absent British money over

:10:27.:10:31.

a transitional period, why the hell should we give

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them any trade deal? I'm not saying that's

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a majority view, I wouldn't be in a position

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from my discussions before Christmas to know exactly where people

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will come out on that. It was very early days

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there, pre-Christmas. All I was conscious

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of from the discussions I was having with opposite numbers

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was that there was a hell of a lot of work going on in the undergrowth

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to examine the implications Sir Ivan also said that the EU

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was unlikely to agree specific deals They will be very loath to have

:10:57.:11:01.

individual sectoral deals done legally and ratified,

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unless it's all agreed. The age-old Brussels mantra

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of nothing is agreed They will think, rightly or wrongly,

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that we'll care most passionately about financial services,

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maybe automotive, and therefore, unless and until they've got other

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things that they want, out of us on various other areas,

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which may include money, they ain't going to sign

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on the dotted line for any full-blown equivilancy agreement

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on financial services which gives us We have precisely the sort

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of problem that exists in every other international agreement,

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but that's the issue... Yes, but we have enormously valuable

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and competitive services sector, sector, with a huge surplus,

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where we risk being screwed This is a very serious problem

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unless we get a bespoke financial services deal with equivalence that

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really works for us. I agree with you, then that comes

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to the Government's arrangement. But this would be something

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that the EU 27 have not done It didn't do that for the States,

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it hasn't been prepared to do So we would have to say

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of our financial services, we're big, you need access to us,

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access to finance on good terms, there's a massive interest

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for you still having London But we need a totally different type

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of agreement with you than any that The Government has recently cut

:12:19.:12:23.

the funding for an Ethiopian girl band, saying there were more

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effective way" to invest UK aid. The International Development

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Secretary, Priti Patel, reviewed the funding after reports

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that the group had received Her decision was raised at

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Question Time in the House of Lords. Popular culture is used to tackle

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difficult issues because it works. For example, many in this House

:12:45.:12:48.

will be familiar with the Archers, the storyline of domestic abuse

:12:49.:12:51.

endured by Helen Archer resulted in a 20% increase in calls

:12:52.:12:57.

to the Domestic Abuse Helpline. The very popular Ethiopian

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girl group Yegna, dubbed the Ethiopian Spice Girls

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by the Daily Mail, reaches 8.5 million people and helps

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transform the lives of some of the hardest to reach and most

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disadvantaged girls in the world. So may I ask the Minister why,

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when faced by attacks from the Daily Mail,

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did the Secretary of State withdraw funding from this

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multi-A-rated project? The decision was taken,

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as mentioned earlier, because it was deemed

:13:35.:13:37.

there were other things that were more effective

:13:38.:13:39.

that the money could be spent on. There is another programme operating

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in Ethiopia aimed at child marriage, It focuses more on rural areas

:13:44.:13:48.

that the Girl Effect And it was deemed more effective

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because it worked directly Now, Girl Effect is going

:13:54.:13:58.

to continue, we're not going to continue to fund it,

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because we're going to send the money elsewhere,

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but we hope that it will continue and we acknowledge that it did some

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good work whilst it was there. My Lords, was that judgment made

:14:09.:14:12.

after the Daily Mail had The review which took

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place was actually begun We undertake an absolute review

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of how taxpayers' money is being spent to make sure it gets

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full value for money. And that is a very important thing,

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because if we don't do things like that, then announcements such

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as that which were made by the Secretary of State this

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morning, announcing ?200 million in urgent humanitarian aid,

:14:48.:14:51.

saving millions of lives, in Somalia and in South Sudan,

:14:52.:14:53.

would not be possible. You're watching Wednesday

:14:54.:15:00.

in Parliament with me, Back to PMQs, where Theresa May was

:15:01.:15:07.

tackled over increases in business New rates will come

:15:08.:15:10.

into force in April - following an assessment

:15:11.:15:17.

of the rateable value of business properties such

:15:18.:15:19.

as shops and offices. The Prime Minister hinted

:15:20.:15:21.

at the prospect of special arrangements for businesses facing

:15:22.:15:23.

large rises. The Government's business rates hike

:15:24.:15:24.

could devastate the local Brighton pier is facing a 17%

:15:25.:15:27.

increase, the World s End pub a 123% increase,

:15:28.:15:33.

and Blanch House hotel Does the Prime Minister recognise

:15:34.:15:36.

that Brighton will be Will she urgently set up

:15:37.:15:45.

a discretionary fund to support small and micro-businesses,

:15:46.:15:47.

and agree to a full review If we just stand back,

:15:48.:15:50.

we can see that business rates are based on the rental

:15:51.:15:57.

values of properties. Those values change over

:15:58.:16:11.

time, they can go up that business rates change

:16:12.:16:13.

to recognise that. That is the principle

:16:14.:16:16.

of fairness that underpins However, we also want to support

:16:17.:16:18.

businesses and we recognise that, for some, business rates will go up

:16:19.:16:21.

when the revaluations take place. That is why we have put

:16:22.:16:24.

significant funding in place I recognise that there has been

:16:25.:16:27.

particular concern that some small businesses will be adversely

:16:28.:16:30.

affected as the result of this revaluation,

:16:31.:16:32.

and that is why I have asked the Chancellor and the Communities

:16:33.:16:35.

Secretary to ensure that there is appropriate relief

:16:36.:16:37.

in those hardest cases. Cash for local councils in England

:16:38.:16:39.

was the main business in the Commons The Local Government Secretary Sajid

:16:40.:16:42.

Javid said he understood how it felt And he promised more support

:16:43.:16:47.

in next month's Budget. Growing up above the family shop,

:16:48.:16:53.

I saw the impact that an increase in rates can have

:16:54.:16:55.

on small businesses. A rise in the cost lowered the mood

:16:56.:17:02.

of the whole family. Even as a child, I knew

:17:03.:17:05.

that it was not good when I found a stack of bright red final

:17:06.:17:08.

reminders hidden away My dad was never shy about sharing

:17:09.:17:10.

what he thought of out-of-town retail parks and how they took

:17:11.:17:15.

customers away from his shop If he were alive today,

:17:16.:17:18.

I am sure that he would be the first to phone and lobby me

:17:19.:17:26.

about the business In particular, I can just

:17:27.:17:28.

imagine him telling me about how the treatment of large online

:17:29.:17:34.

retailers compares with that of more traditional shops

:17:35.:17:37.

on the high street. The amount that most businesses,

:17:38.:17:45.

three quarters of them, in fact, the amount they pay will go

:17:46.:17:56.

down or stay the same. As I have said, 600,000 small

:17:57.:17:59.

businesses are being lifted out of business

:18:00.:18:01.

rates altogether, permanently. Although those three

:18:02.:18:03.

quarters of businesses will benefit or see no change,

:18:04.:18:04.

I am also acutely aware of the impact on the quarter

:18:05.:18:07.

that will see increases. If someone s rates are going up,

:18:08.:18:09.

it is no consolation to hear that He said more needed to be done to

:18:10.:18:12.

make the system fairer. I am working closely

:18:13.:18:30.

with my right honourable friend, to determine how best

:18:31.:18:32.

to provide further support to businesses facing

:18:33.:18:35.

the steepest increases. We expect to be in a position

:18:36.:18:37.

to make an announcement in the Budget in just

:18:38.:18:39.

two weeks time. Labour said the Local Government

:18:40.:18:41.

Secretary had had a rough week. He was accused by the former

:18:42.:18:44.

Conservative party chairman of spinning the numbers,

:18:45.:18:46.

and I hear that there was concern among Conservative Members

:18:47.:18:49.

that the Secretary of State was being hung out to dry

:18:50.:18:51.

by colleagues, so it was good to hear the Prime Minister s

:18:52.:18:53.

spokesperson confirm that No 10 In truth, in just eight short

:18:54.:18:56.

months, the Secretary of State has been found asleep at the wheel

:18:57.:19:02.

twice, with a social care crisis entirely

:19:03.:19:05.

of the Government s own making, about which he was warned

:19:06.:19:07.

well in advance, and now a business rates crisis,

:19:08.:19:09.

which he must have known might create a problem

:19:10.:19:12.

for many businesses, given that his party delayed

:19:13.:19:16.

the revaluation by two years, yet the seriousness of which it has

:19:17.:19:18.

apparently taken him On Friday, MPs will be debating

:19:19.:19:21.

a Bill that would ratify an international convention

:19:22.:19:24.

requiring Governments to prevent The private member's bill

:19:25.:19:26.

is being sponsored by the SNP MP for Banff and Buchan,

:19:27.:19:30.

Eilidh Whiteford. But last time it was debated

:19:31.:19:32.

a Conservative Philip Davies appeared to try and block

:19:33.:19:36.

the legislation. At PMQs, the SNP leader

:19:37.:19:40.

hoped the Prime Minister Will she join me in encouraging

:19:41.:19:42.

Members to support the Bill and discourage any attempts

:19:43.:19:52.

to use parliamentary The Government have tabled some

:19:53.:19:53.

mutually agreed amendments, for which the Government

:19:54.:19:59.

will vote this Friday. friends who are present on Friday

:20:00.:20:07.

will support these measures. The Government have supported it,

:20:08.:20:10.

and I hope it will be supported Companies involved in the so-called

:20:11.:20:14.

gig economy have been Their workers get paid for each job

:20:15.:20:18.

they do rather than being fully The boss of the food delivery firm,

:20:19.:20:22.

Deliveroo, said this gave their workers flexibility -

:20:23.:20:27.

85% of them had another form of income on top of what they earned

:20:28.:20:31.

for their deliveries. And he said Deliveroo

:20:32.:20:34.

wanted to do more. The developments we would like to

:20:35.:20:46.

see, are greater support for our riders. Potentially some benefits

:20:47.:20:51.

that employees might have. That's not from us to determine, that is

:20:52.:20:55.

the Government to determine that legislation. We are supported of the

:20:56.:21:00.

idea that if you have certain riders who work longer hours, perhaps it

:21:01.:21:05.

should be entitled to benefits... Can I interrupt on that? I'm sitting

:21:06.:21:11.

on my hands here, but I'm sorry, no, if you are buying people approaching

:21:12.:21:15.

30 hours and your talking about National Living Wage, it is not

:21:16.:21:19.

National Living Wage, because these people are not getting sickness,

:21:20.:21:23.

maternity, holiday pay, anything. You have a handle on the number of

:21:24.:21:28.

hours your people typically work, can you tell me, never mind waiting

:21:29.:21:32.

for the Government, when a guy to start paying people properly when

:21:33.:21:35.

they're doing something a regular basis something that is approaching

:21:36.:21:36.

full-time? The way that it works, they provide

:21:37.:21:46.

to us their availability which we then matched cadaver is that they

:21:47.:21:50.

have available according to consumer demand. That can fluctuate. It is

:21:51.:21:55.

not about flexibility. We are asking about your duties. I understand but

:21:56.:21:59.

it is because of that flexibility that we are self-employed and within

:22:00.:22:04.

the... It is because of your business model. If they were

:22:05.:22:06.

self-employed, we could not offer them the same degree of Flex ability

:22:07.:22:11.

that we do, even working 30 or 40 hours a week. If we were to make

:22:12.:22:15.

them employees, would have to restrict that Flex ability which we

:22:16.:22:18.

know that they value. If we were not to make them employees, we are

:22:19.:22:22.

restricted from providing some of the benefits that we would as a

:22:23.:22:28.

business like to provide. That, as they go through the next few months,

:22:29.:22:31.

is hopefully something that the government will consider looking at.

:22:32.:22:35.

That is not my question. If you have employees, and you can all get

:22:36.:22:39.

underneath the information to understand where they're working for

:22:40.:22:42.

someone else or not. If they are predominantly working for you, in my

:22:43.:22:46.

view you need to look at their wages properly. They are now under

:22:47.:22:51.

self-employed. And pay National Insurance. I understand. I've said

:22:52.:22:58.

before, there is significant Flex ability, even those who were

:22:59.:23:02.

significant hours, and so we maintain a self-employed model for

:23:03.:23:07.

those individuals. There doesn't seem any Flex ability at all except

:23:08.:23:12.

on your side. You're not paying National Insurance, you're not

:23:13.:23:18.

covering other costs which taxpayers will have to pick up. It is a

:23:19.:23:21.

marvellous model as you can get away with it, is it not?

:23:22.:23:31.

We would like to protect them when they are out on the road. It is not

:23:32.:23:36.

for us disability what that looks like and with a self-employed model,

:23:37.:23:39.

we cannot offer those by the current letter of the war. Legislation would

:23:40.:23:43.

need to change. If the government wanted to ask other efforts are

:23:44.:23:47.

made, of course we welcome that. What I mentioned previously about

:23:48.:23:50.

the national Living Wage, particularly in light of such a high

:23:51.:23:55.

degree of using the feeble delivery scheme, is we cannot offer that

:23:56.:23:59.

amount of flexibility to those riders if we are forced to pay a

:24:00.:24:04.

given wage in a given average every single rider, you would have to

:24:05.:24:08.

restrict, as I said before, the number of riders who login. You

:24:09.:24:11.

would have to restrict their earning capacity during peak, which does not

:24:12.:24:17.

tie into the Flex ability we know that they want. So you are prevented

:24:18.:24:21.

because of people's wishes not to be employed by you. But also because

:24:22.:24:29.

they have freely opted for self-employed? They have really

:24:30.:24:32.

opted for self-employed and, usually because they are doing this

:24:33.:24:36.

alongside something else. 85% have an ancillary income stream, they

:24:37.:24:42.

have other commitments. Are ideal to build some extra money around those

:24:43.:24:44.

extra commitments. Finally - finger pointing,

:24:45.:24:47.

fist-shaking, thumping The Commons is a good place

:24:48.:24:49.

to witness expressive gestures. But the deputy Labour leader

:24:50.:24:52.

Tom Watson may be the first MP to perform what's known as a "dab"

:24:53.:24:55.

in the Chamber. He was sitting on the front bench,

:24:56.:24:57.

celebrating one of Jeremy Corbyn's contributions at Prime Minister's

:24:58.:25:00.

Questions. Invest in our NHS! Let's have

:25:01.:25:18.

another look at his technique. He says he has been practising with his

:25:19.:25:19.

children. Invest in our NHS! Think I'll need a bit of practice

:25:20.:25:23.

before I perform my dab move! Well that's it from

:25:24.:25:26.

Wednesday in Parliament. I'll be back at the

:25:27.:25:28.

same time tomorrow. Until then, from me,

:25:29.:25:30.

Kristiina Cooper, goodbye!

:25:31.:25:41.

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