05/07/2017 Wednesday in Parliament


Highlights of proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday 5 July, 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.


The party leaders clash over public sector pay.


The Lope epidemic is a threat to our economic stability. It isn't fair to


bankrupt economy because it means for people losing their homes and


losing their jobs. Claims that some young people voted


twice in the General Election. This is straight out of the Donald


Trump file, because again they are trying to suppress voter


participation. to tears as he speaks


about the Grenfell The families I have met have been


through unimaginable pain. This is a tragedy that should never have


happened. With the current increasing focus


on whether the Government's cap on public sector pay should be


lifted, the issue was a near certainty to be raised at the weekly


round of Prime Minister's Questions. The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson


was said in recent days to have come round to the view that the 1


per cent pay cap could now be lifted The new Environment Secretary


Michael Gove also suggested While the Chancellor Philip Hammond


went public to defend the cap. In the Commons, the Labour leader


Jeremy Corbyn said the cap on public sector pay


was causing real hardship. I had a letter last week from a


teacher called David. It is all right, here's a teacher, all right?


And he said, and I quote, I have been teaching for ten years. I see


my workload increase, I have seen more people leave the profession


than start, and no form of pay increase in seven years. The only


thing holding the education system together is the dedication to


struggle on for the students and staff, and he said this dedication


is starting to run out, so what we are doing with this pick-up is we


are saying to the Prime Minister is recklessly exploiting the goodwill


of public servants like David. They need a pay rise. Let me remind the


right Honourable gentleman why it has been necessary to exercise


restraint. It is because we inherited the biggest deficit in


history. The Prime Minister phoned ?1 billion to keep her own job, why


can't she find the same amount of money to keep nurses and teachers in


their job who after all serve all of us? Contrary to all of what he said,


we have more nurses working in the NHS today compared to 2010. Let me


remind the right honourable gentleman of what happens when you


don't deal with the deficit. It's not a theoretical issue. Let's look


at those countries who failed to deal with it. In Greece, where they


haven't dealt with the deficit... What did we see with failure to deal


with the deficit? Spending on the health service cut by 36%. It


doesn't help nurses are patients. I hope the Prime Minister is proud of


her record of controlling public sector pay to the extent that


hard-working nurses have two axis that banks in order to survive. And


we frozen wages of teaching assistants, paramedics and council


workers, but it is not just in public sector but across the economy


wages are rising by 2.1% while inflation is nearly 3%. 6 million


workers already earn less than a living wage. What does the Prime


Minister think that tells us about seven years of a Conservative


government and what it has done to the living standards of those people


on whom we all relied to get our public services and health services


delivered to us? Let me just say what isn't free. It isn't fear to


refuse to take tough decisions and to load bets on our children and


grandchildren for the future. It isn't fair to bankrupt economy bit


cause that means for people losing their jobs and losing their homes.


Mr Speaker, let me spell it out, this is the only country in which


wages have not recovered since the global financial crash. More people


are using food banks. 4 million children living in poverty. Record


in work poverty, young people who see no prospect of owning the


long-haul, and 6 million earning less than a living wage. The Lope


academic is a threat to our economic stability. Can she take some tough


choices and instead of offering platitudes, offer some real help and


support for those in work, young people who deserve better and


deserve to be given more optimism rather than greater inequality. We


actually now see that the proportion of people in absolute poverty is at


a record low. I know the right honourable gentleman has taken to


calling himself a government in waiting. We all know what that


means. Waiting to put up taxes, waiting to destroy jobs, waiting to


bankrupt country. We will never let it happen. The UK Government has not


announced any measures to address rising inflation and slowing wage


growth which the IFS has described as dreadful. As workers face more


than a decade of lost wage growth and endure the worst period for paid


in 70 years, does the Prime Minister think she is looking out for the


just about managing? What is important is that we ensure we have


an economy which is increasing the number of jobs because the best


route out of poverty is for people to be in work. That is what we are


doing and we have seen nearly 3 million more jobs being created over


recent years and that is important for people. We also help people, for


example, by cutting taxes. That is what we have done for the low paid,


introducing the national living wage. That is giving people real


help. Theresa May. Straight after PMQs,


the Conservative Kenneth Clarke warned that any removal


of the public sector pay cap The former Chancellor said


Ministers had to maintain what he called their 'sensible


policy' of keeping His remarks followed the tabling


of an urgent question If she were to give way to this week


was by lobbying on this subject it would be a political disaster


because the government would be accused of Utah and surrender and


would set off a wave of pay claims across the entire public sector what


the opposition are obvious and looking forward to taking part in.


It would also possibly be an economic disaster and not in the


interests of the many people in the public and private sector having


economic difficulties in these times, and want to move forward to a


much more prosperous future as they get our economy back into health


again. In many services workers have received additional paid to the 1%


national increase. Teacher attacked another rich pay rise of 3.3% in


2015-16. More than half of nurses and other NHS staff had an average


increase of over 3% in 2016. Government pay policy is designed to


be fair to public sector workers who work so hard to deliver the strong


public services. The Shadow Chancellor talked about tensions


between ten and 11 Downing St. For the Prime Minister that must be


tough living next to a disruptive neighbour you can't stand, you try


to get rid of bad you can't get on with. We then receive in the press,


Mr Speaker, the wisdom of are tolerable member for Oxbridge who


according to spokesperson supports the idea public sector workers


getting a better pay deal. This was followed up by his campaign


manager,... His campaign manager turned political assassin, the new


Environment Secretary, who actually supports the putsch against the


Chancellor. It descends into farce when we have David Cameron earning


300,000 a speech telling us that those want more than 1% are selfish.


As the Shadow Chancellor knows well the former Prime Minister didn't say


it was selfish for dedicated public sector workers to ask for a pay


rise. He argued that is selfish and immoral for politicians to offer


benefits to the voters of today paid for by the borders of tomorrow, so


would my right honourable friend agree that for her children in mind


it is important to balance the treatment of the public sector with


handing money strong country not saddled by excess debt. In the


exceedingly fine city of Norwich we have three NHS trusts, two local


authorities, a teaching hospital, thousands of public sector workers


to contribute to our economy and who at present are struggling to make


ends meet. Surely this government must understand that austerity is


dying on its feet. Invest in these people and left the public sector


cake up and invest in the Norwich economy. We know that since 2010,


there have been 30,000 more nurses employed in the NHS but I am worried


that the party opposite's unfunded proposals can actually lead to a cut


in the number of nurses. A ?68 billion black hole in their


manifesto. Mr Speaker, right now 130 workers at the DUP office have been


told their place of work will be closed and jobs relocated up to an


hour's drive away. Haven't these public sector workers suffered


enough from the pay cap? The last thing they now need to be told as


you have to find more money to pay via travel to and from work. That is


a fundamental difference in the economic conditions when the 1% pay


cap was introduced, with the fear of large-scale unemployment and


inflation, from the present Dave when the chronic labour shortages


throughout the public sector and salaries have been eroded by rising


inflation. Will she not left the pay cap to reflect basic economic


reality? It is not fair to say it is solely the 1%. Public sector workers


are awarded on a number of ways. There've been claims that


when the nation went to the polls one month ago,


at the June 8th General Election, some young people may have


deliberately voted twice - both in the place where they're


a student and in their home town. The claims of double voting led


to some robust exchanges in the Commons on the extent


of electoral fraud in the UK. Is the Minister aware


that there is now clear evidence that many students boasted on social


media of voting twice - once at university, and once


by post at home? Surely this is straightforward


electoral fraud. Indeed, it is nothing less


than an abuse of our democracy. I am meeting Sir John Holmes,


the chair of the Electoral Commission, this afternoon,


and I intend to raise this Let all of us in this House be


clear: this is a crime. If anyone has any evidence


of people voting twice, they should report it to their local


returning officer and the police, Are we not supposed to have


policy driven by evidence, and is it not significant


that the Minister gave not one shred Quite frankly, in every election


there are one or two cases of people being convicted of fraud,


out of tens of millions of voters. This is straight out


of the Donald Trump disinformation playbook, because Ministers


are again trying to suppress The Minister cannot come up


with any evidence - if anyone has such evidence,


they should take it to the police - and he should


be ashamed of himself. The last Electoral Commission report


on the subject shows that 38% of people felt that electoral fraud


was an issue. Since 2010, 2,394 alleged cases


of electoral fraud have been reported to the Electoral


Commission. In Eddisbury there was clear


evidence of double registrations, Does the Minister agree


that we should have a central system that flags up people


who are double-registered, But surely the time


has come for automatic How can it possibly be fair that,


according to the Office for National Statistics,


in my inner-city Nottingham constituency, less than three


quarters of adults are on the electoral register,


but in the Minister s constituency, Is not the real electoral fraud


those policies that stand in the way of citizens


exercising their democratic rights? It has been highlighted that


all someone needs when they go In theory, someone could get


hold of a telephone directory and vote all day


in different polling stations. Does the Minister agree


that it is time to use photo identification to prevent


electoral fraud? People deserve to have confidence


in the security of our democratic Voter ID has been in place


in Northern Ireland for decades, and the use of photographic ID


was introduced in 2003 under The Electoral Commission has


consistently called for use of ID in polling stations to protect


the integrity of the polls. The Government will conduct voter ID


pilots in the local elections in May 2018 to enable us to learn


what works best, and to ensure that we develop a system


in which there is You're watching our round-up of the


day in the Commons and the Lords. Still to come: MPs declare


"something must be done" It's three weeks since


the Grenfell Tower fire - Theresa May promised that all those


who had lost their homes in the tragedy would be offered


temporary housing by this date. The Government has announced that


a taskforce will be sent in to take over parts of Kensington


and Chelsea Council. The Council has been


heavily criticised for its Updating MPs, the Housing Minister


said 158 families had been identified as needing temporary


housing - where, he said, they could live, rent-free,


while permanent accomodation I can confirm that every family


that is ready to talk to the housing team has been offered a temporary


home, and that 139 families have However, 19 families have not yet


been ready to engage in the process, Some are still in hospital


as a result of their injuries. In some cases, the people


on the ground offering those families support have made clear


that it would be inappropriate at this time to ask them to make


a decision about where They have been through


unimaginable trauma, and we need to go at the pace


at which they want to go. What matters above all else is


what the families individually want. As he came to the end


of his statement, the Minister My visits to the Westway,


hearing the harrowing accounts of survivors,


have been the most humbling The families I have met have been


through unimaginable pain. This is a tragedy that should


never have happened, and we are determined to do


all that we can to make sure something like this


never happens again. I welcome the Minister


to the Dispatch Box for his first oral statement in this job


and thank him for making a copy John Healey said it had


been a testing first few weeks for the Minister -


but he had to say that After the fire, the


Prime Minister said: "I have fixed a deadline of three


weeks for everybody affected to be The three weeks are up,


yet whole families, who have lost everything,


are still in hotels and hostels. We have learned today that three -


just three - of the 158 families from Grenfell Tower have moved


into a fresh home, and these are only temporary, which was not


what the Prime Minister first said. Is the Minister aware that,


despite the press narrative of survivors refusing ?1 million


luxury flats, some are being offered One man in particular,


whom I think the Minister has met, runs his own business and cares


for his elderly disabled mother. He was offered a home in a poorly


maintained, rat-infested estate What kind of peace and stability


could that traumatised family, who escaped with their lives


while rescuing their neighbours, possibly find in that


frankly shameful offer? I would really like to know


who considered that kind We do not want any family to be


placed in accommodation Lady to join me and the shadow


Minister - let us go and visit some of these properties and make sure


that she is happy with the quality I want to share the words


of my constituent, Jess. She says: "I am a firefighter


and went into Grenfell Tower, rescuing an unconscious girl


from the 12th floor. Myself and my fellow firefighters


will never forget the horrors of that night and the fact


we couldn t rescue everyone. But we are not to blame for these


deaths, the shocking and tragic fire I have never seen a building go up


in flames so quickly, it took minutes for the fire to hop


from floor to floor. This tragedy has shown that the laws


on fire safety in buildings say to my constituent,


and what support has been put In reply, Mr Sharma paid tribute


to the "incredible work" that the firefighters did, and do,


every day of the year. He said trauma


counselling was vital. He said a public inquiry had been


set up to get to the bottom There was discussion also


in the House of Lords on the Government's latest moves


in the aftermath In the Prime Minister s Statement


on 22 June, she first outlined that the accommodation will be


on the same terms as the original accommodation, and we have seen


a definition of that today. Unfortunately, I understood "same


terms" to be in the personal injury lawyer sense,


which is to put the person back into the position they would have


been in had none of this happened. People who have been placed


in accommodation with more bedrooms should be in the same position -


having the same money still in their pocket -


as if they were in the house This tragedy should


never have happened. Everything must be done to make sure


it never happens again, to do right by the victims


and their families, to treat them with care and respect,


and to give them the support they deserve and the


answers they need. There is a real risk that


something will happen - It is quite clear that


the organisation in London of individual boroughs is not


properly equipped to handle There is no wonder that


Manchester City Council did a better job than Kensington and Chelsea:


the resources available The Minister talked


about a task force. There needs to be a permanent


organisation so that if tragedy strikes in one of these ways,


it can go straight I very much hope that that will be


the outcome of this. What steps is the Minister taking


to ensure that there are no other local authorities that are equally


weak in disaster Although this was a terrible


tragedy, in terms of managing the disaster,


it was not particularly difficult. It was very concentrated


geographically. What would have happened


if a wide-bodied jet had landed My noble friend said that this


case was easy to handle It might have been geographically


concentrated, but the nature of this tragedy was such that it was,


and still is, very I have no particular knowledge


of detailed plans for the type of disaster he talked about,


but the suggestion by my noble friend Lord King


and the Prime Minister of some sort of civil action disaster task force


is an appropriate one to deal with such awful occasions,


which do happen over time - we can think of transport


disasters or Hillsborough. Such situations would be helped


by having an appropriate body with legacy ideas passed on from one


awful disaster to another. It is an idea that is worth pursuing


on a non-partisan basis. Councils in England are to be given


access to a multibillion-pound fund It could mean new by-passes


and relief roads for country towns Under the scheme, to be


implemented in 2020, road improvement projects will be


judged on how they contribute to creating a more


geographically balanced economy, It was originally thought the money,


held in the national roads, fund would be spent


on motorways and A-roads. MPs in Westminster Hall have been


staging a general debate on problems Can I perhaps be the first


honourable member in this house to make an oral application to


the Roads Minister for bypasses for Little Common off the A259


and Hurst Green off the A21. I'm sure I will not be


the last applicant today. I would like to talk about the A27


that runs through my constituency. It was envisaged as a


coastal highway, but anybody who has travelled


along the road will know it is


too often a If you ask many drivers and what


their priorities are, they will say it is fixing


damage local roads, not Potholes don't just


impair the quality of driving, extended journey times


and damage vehicles, they are a real safety risk for


drivers and cyclists. Everyone is a road user,


and tackling the poor condition of our roads should be


a national priority. the Russian published Rhoda


mentalist survey found almost one fifth of roads were improved


condition while local authorities said one in six roads crossing


England and Wales Mac are in such bad state they must be repaired


within the next five years. The bypass has been waiting for 20


or 30 years and we are progressing but this kind of fund is exactly


what we need to get it over the line. The other three decade Rd in


waiting is one that also affects the Tower Lane.


And that's the end of the road for me for this programme.


Do join me for our next daily round-up.


Until then, from me, Keith Macdougall, goodbye.


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