08/03/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament from Wednesday 8 March, with 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.


The Budget addresses the crisis in social care in England.


The Chancellor has help for stretched local councils.


I am committing additional grant funding of ?2 billion to social care


in England over the next three years.


But the Labour leader accuses Philip Hammond of producing


Who is reaping the rewards of this economy?


For millions, it is simply not working.


Away from the Budget and back to Brexit, and predictions of long


delays in the processing of residency applications


It would take the Home Office more than 50 years...


50 years to deal with 3.2 million European nationals in the UK.


It was Phlip Hammond's first Budget and, curiously, it was


Or at least his last to be presented in March.


From now on, the annual Budget will take place in the Autumn.


The Chancellor called it a 'fair' package of measures:


there was ?2 billion for social care, relief


for those hit by changes to business rates, and higher


National Insurance Contributions facing


In the late morning, outside 11 Downing Street,


the Chancellor paraded the familiar red box,


complete with its detailed contents - some unveiled in advance,


The Chancellor posed for the photographers...


And then made his way the relatively short distance from Downing Streeet


As he started his speech shortly after half past 12, Mr Hammond said


employment was at a record high, unemployment at a record


low, but it was crucial to avoid complacency.


As we prepare for our future outside the EU, we cannot rest on


We must focus relentlessly on keeping Britain at


the cutting-edge of the global economy.


The deficit is down but debt is still too high.


Employment is up but productivity remains


Too many of our young people are leaving formal


education without the skills they need for


today's labour market, and


too many families are still feeling the squeeze almost a decade after


A word about the size of the national debt...


Britain has a debt of nearly ?1.7 trillion.


Almost ?62,000 for every household in the country.


Each year, we are spending ?50 billion on debt


interest, more than we spend on defence and policing combined.


And borrowing over the forecast period


is still set to be ?100 billion higher than predicted at


My ambition is for the UK to be the best place in the world to


Under the last Labour Government, corporation tax was 28%...


By the way, they do not call it the last Labour


On to his important announcement on the rising cost of caring


Today, Mr Deputy Speaker, I am committing


additional grant funding of ?2 billion to social care in England


Mr Deputy Speaker, that is ?2 billion over the


This will allow local authorities to act now to commission nuclear


Today I can announce funding for a further 110 new free


schools on top of the current commitment to 500.


This will include new specialist maths schools, to


build on the clear success of Exeter Maths School and Kings College


London Maths School, which my right honourable friend the Prime


We are committed to this programme because we understand


that choice is the key to excellence in education.


There would be action against tax avoiders...


From July, we will introduce a tough new financial penalty for


professionals who enable a tax avoidance arrangement that is later


Taken together, these measures will raise ?820


And money for the new technologies...


?270 million to keep the UK at the forefront


of disruptive technologies, like biotech, robotic systems and


driverless vehicles, a technology I believe the party


As the Chancellor's nickname to Westminster commentators


is Spreadsheet Phil, why not live up to the name...?


I turn now, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the OBR forecast.


This is the spreadsheet bit but bear with me because I have a reputation


The OBR forecast for the level of GDP in 2021 is to be broadly


He justified changes to National Insurance contributions...


Employed and self-employed alike, use our


public services in the same way, but


they are not paying for them in the same way.


The lower national insurance paid by the self-employed


is forecast to cost our public finances over ?5 billion this


This is not fair to the 85% of workers who are employees.


He said he'd listened to concerns about the new levels


I will provide local authorities with a


?300 million fund to deliver discretionary relief to target


individual hard cases in their local areas.


The Chancellor ended with a triumphant tone...


Today we reaffirm our commitment to invest in Britain's


future and we embark on this next chapter


our strengths and clear in our determination


to build a stronger, fairer, better Britain.


Well, the Chancellor was on his feet for near enough exactly an hour.


The custom and tradition is for the Budget speech


to be replied to, not by the Shadow Chancellor


Jeremy Corbyn accused Philip Hammond of boasting


He said for millions the economy was simply not working...


This was a budget of utter complacency


Utter complacency about the crisis facing our public services and


complacent about the reality of daily life for millions


Yesterday, Mr Deputy Speaker, over 3000 people in this


country will have queued up at food banks to feed themselves and their


Last night, Mr Deputy Speaker, over 4000 people will have


slept rough on the streets of this country.


The Chancellor made his boast about a strong economy, but


who is reaping the rewards of this economy?


For millions, it is simply not working.


The budget didn't provide the funding necessary now for the


crisis in our NHS, which the BMA reckons needs an extra ?10 billion.


It did not provide the funding necessary to end


in social care now, which needs ?2 billion


a year just to plug the gaps, according to the King's Fund.


That is not met by ?2 billion over three years,


This is a budget that lacks ambition for this country


It demonstrates again the appalling priorities of this


Another year, tax breaks for the few and public


When she took office the Prime Ministers said, if you are


one of those families who are just managing,


I want to address you directly.


This budget has done nothing to tackle low pay,


nothing to solve the state of emergency that persists for so many


people demanding and needing health and social care now.


It does nothing to make a fair economy that truly works


The SNP's finance spokesman said in many ways Philip Hammond


We had the self-effacing jokes about the spreadsheets, we had


the spun lines about being stronger together and then it went downhill


and barely a mention of Brexit, the most


momentous challenge facing the UK - barely a mention of Brexit.


We've seen a scandalous attack on aspiration,


Taxing them more, changes, 4.2 billion or so from people.


The party of aspiration taxing those low self


employed, putting an active, real, hard disincentives


to starting businesses, to employing people,


I think that is a decision that will come back to haunt this Chancellor.


In fact, the Commons debate on the Chancellor's measures goes


As soon the front-benchers are finished, it is up to backbench


Some backbenchers were clearly worried by Philip Hammond's decision


to increase the National Insurance contributions paid by


The self-employed, who are working longer, despite earning


less, typically twice the proportion working 50 hours each


week than in employment, they are going to be paying


If they are on ?27,000 of profits, they will be hit


by an extra ?30 a month now because of this decision.


I do have some small concerns around national insurance.


I find myself in agreement with the concerns expressed


by the honourable member for Nottingham East and


the honourable lady, the member for Leeds West.


It is very important to ensure we do not disadvantage


This party on this side always has been, and I hope always will be,


the party that supports white van man - and on this particular


You are watching our round-up of the day


in the Commons and the Lords. Still to come,


could the NHS be transformed by genomic medicine?


Jeremy Corbyn has again put Theresa May on the spot


over the recent decision of Surrey County Council to drop


plans for a local referendum and a 15% rise in council tax to pay


In previous exchanges, the Labour leader had wanted to know if


the county council had been given favourable treatment,


in the form of a sweetheart deal, by ministers, in order


He returned to the subject during the latest session of


Could the Prime Minister explain the difference between a sweetheart deal


and a gentleman 's agreement? I assume he is referring to Surrey


County Council. He is making it as if it was a particular deal


available to Surrey County Council or not to others. That is not the


case. The ability to raise the social care precept is available for


other councils. The Labour leader believed he had


done unearthed some new evidence. Evidence has emerged that the leader


of the Surrey County Council that it was a gentleman 's agreement between


the council and the government. The question is, what deal was done with


Surrey County Council? He is asking me if there was a special deal


available to them that was not available to other councils, the


answer is no. If he is working for a conspiracy, I suggest you looks


behind him. The Prime Minister says there was no deal. She seems rather


run clear. Does she know what arrangement was made with Surrey


County Council? There is another area of deep concern. Could the


Prime Minister tellers in a new school places will be needed by


2020? The Prime Minister should listen to the answer is that I give


before he asks the next question. I have answered the question if the


claims about Surrey County Council. There was no deal with them that was


not available to other county councils. The Prime Minister was


also asked a question about the number of new school places needed


by 2020. Could she explain why we have the crisis? Class sizes are


soaring thanks to her government. A flagship scheme has meant schools


being built in the wrong places. Millions of guidance been given to


three schools will funding is falling in real terms. Is it not


time this colossal waste of money was addressed? It is doing nothing


for children, doing nothing to solve the crisis at schools and the sizes


of commerce. That is what the people want. Not vanity projects from the


government. It is not a vanity project. We will ensure that every


child has a good school place. The majority of free schools have been


opened in an area for other was a need for school places. They are


also in areas of disadvantage. They are in the places where we want


people who are disadvantaged to get on in life.


It could take 50 years for the Home Office to process UK


residency applications from European Union nationals


according to Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster.


At PMQs, he said his estimate followed on from reductions


Since 2010, the Home Office has seen its full-time


At the current rate of processing applications for residency, it would


take the Home Office more than 50 years - 50 years -


to deal with over 2.3 million European nationals in the UK.


This is clearly totally unacceptable, so


will the Prime Minister tell us how quickly she hopes to be able


to guarantee all European nationals permanent residency?


I would say to the honourable gentleman, he simply cannot just


stand up and say, because the Home Office


is getting more efficient, it is going to be longer for answers to


Yes, the Home Office is getting more efficient in the way it


He maybe has not heard of technology.


But people apply online and are dealt with online.


Meanwhile, the Liberal Democratic leader brought up the forthcoming


service in London to dedicate the unveiling


in London of the new Iraq- Afghanistan Memorial.


Yesterday, we heard that hundreds of families of soldiers who


died in Iraq and Afghanistan have been denied seating at tomorrow's


unveiling of the memorial to our fallen troops.


Inviting a relative of each of those killed in Iraq and


Afghanistan would have taken up fewer than one-third


Will she now apologise to those families for what, I assume,


is a careless oversight, and rectify the mistake immediately,


so that bereaved families can come and pay their respects


Over half of those attending tomorrow are either current or


No-one from the bereaved community has been turned away.


Everyone of those who had applied for a ticket has been successful.


But I have been reassured that, if there are any


bereaved families who wish to attend, then the Ministry


of Defence will make every effort to ensure that they


We were hearing earlier about the change of heart


from Surrey County Council on its plan to introduce a


15% rise in council tax to pay for social care.


At PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn asked if a sweetheart deal,


or gentlemen's agreement between Surrey County Council


and ministers in Whitehall had been made, while other councils had not


In the House of Lords, one peer said the calims and counter-claims


were eroding trust between central and local government.


Does my noble lord, the minister, agree that


subterfuge of this sort undermines the pre-requisite of trust and


confidence that has to exist between local government and central


government and would he ensure that te Secretary of State the


comes clean on this gentleman's agreement and


reveals all the other secret deals done with Conservative-run councils?


Let me restate, and I think this was confirmed yesterday


by the council yesterday, there was no deal.


There was never any question of a special arrangement for Surrey.


They are subject to the same rules as every other local authority.


In the north-east, there is not a single place where those eligible


for social care, as opposed to 1% in Surrey. In the north-east, the tax


amount is much lower because of the lower property base, the property


values, to be raised in council tax. What caused this? I have no idea.


That is a question for Surrey County Council. We do have freedom of


information. I believe we are very keen to respond to that and all the


relevant documents I am sure will be disclosed. The leader of Surrey


County Council said there was a gentleman 's agreement. Who is


telling the truth? I will restate the government position. There was


no agreement. The leader of Surrey County Council is not telling the


truth? That is a matter for them to deal with. I cannot take questions


which are properly for Surrey County Council. The question does have is


to be asked, either the leader of Surrey County Council was not


telling the truth or he completely misunderstood his conversations with


the secretary of state. It was one or the other. Could he tellers


categorically whether anyone in Downing Street was involved in the


discussions? The discussions where conducted quite openly by Department


officials. The National Health Service is going


to be transformed through the use of Genomics is the study of how sets


of genes and DNA work together and why that interaction sometimes


leads to disease. Two experts told the Science


and Technology Committee that this cutting-edge science was leading


to the development of new drugs. We are already seeing


the fruits of cancer genomes, in terms of our knowledge of cancer


genomes and their So, by sequencing cancer genomes


and finding the mutations, the so-called somatic


mutations, that have occurred during the lifetime of an individual


and that are responsible for converting a normal


cell into a cancer cell, we find key genes that,


when they are mutated, are And these genes, or the proteins


that they encode, become targets And there is the potential to detect


cancer very early on. Cancers are leaky.


They leak DNA. And they leak DNA that then


circulates around the body. Although that only accounts


for a small amount of the DNA in the blood, you can


tell that that is cancer DNA. And, therefore, in the next few


years, as a result of research which Are we at the risk of being able


to diagnose an individual, then not have the capacity


within the NHS to be able to treat the individual?


Is there a danger of that? One of the things we


will find is that, when you do genome sequencing,


you will find mutations Either that we are seeing patients


who have mutations where there is not a trial open with a targeted


therapy or that there is a need - and I think Cancer Research UK


are working on this - for a national database,


so that, for example, if you have breast cancer,


but you have a B mutation, which Mike was talking


about earlier, and there is no trial in your area,


that you could find somewhere Because obviously, patients


will travel a long way The Department of Health


has set up a project, known as Genomics England,


to sequence 100,000 genomes from people with cancer


and rare diseases. The reason the project


exists is to show that this can be done


and can be done on a scale. One of the aims of the project,


apart from the benefit to current patients, is to try


to transform the NHS into a service which can


offer the benefits of That aspect of the work


has taken time. But there are concerns about keeping


data out of the hands of some private organisations,


such as insurance firms. The genome has a wealth


of information. It contains very senstive


information such as, in some cases, a pre-disposition


to sensitive mental illness. If this kind of information


is readily available, this could be extremely


harmful to people. So, I think we have to be very clear


about what constitutes an acceptable I am not supportive of general


profiling, of people having But in the end, that is only so much


they can tellers. I am not supportive of general


profiling, of people having whole genome profiles


to determine their risk of disease at this stage,


because it has been shown in research that each of us carry


genes which we may think should be fatal and,


yet, we are clearly alive. We are at a very early stage


of knowledge with this, so it would be premature to do


that sort of thing. Do join me for our


next daily round-up. Until then, from me


Keith Macdougall, good bye.


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