(10 months, 2 weeks ago)Read Full debate
I thank my hon. Friend for raising this issue, and for highlighting the fact that we are bidding to host COP26. The issue of incineration is crucial, particularly in certain local areas. We want to maximise the amount of waste that is sent to recycling rather than to incineration and landfill. Waste plants continue to play an important role in reducing the amount of rubbish that is sent to landfill, and we welcome the efforts to drive it down further. but if wider policies do not deliver our waste ambitions in the future—including those higher recycling rates—we will consider introducing a tax on the incineration of waste, which would operate in conjunction with the landfill tax and would take into account the possible impact on local authorities.
Let me say first that I am sure that the thoughts of the whole House are with Charlie and his family.
We recognise the significant concerns about access to this drug. On 11 March, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health held a meeting with the company Vertex, NHS England and NICE, and they discussed how best to reach a deal so that people with cystic fibrosis and their families could benefit as soon as possible. They met again later in March and they are continuing those discussions, but I will ensure that the case that the hon. Gentleman has raised, and the importance of the issue, are once again brought to the attention of the Department of Health.
(1 year, 1 month ago)Read Full debate
I hope I can reassure my hon. Friend by saying that, as I have said previously, our primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of Asia Bibi and her family. Obviously, the UK’s high commissioner in Islamabad is keeping me and the Government up to date with developments. We have been in contact with international partners about our shared desire to see a swift and positive resolution in this case, and a number of countries are in discussions about a possible alternative destination for Asia Bibi once the legal process is complete. I will not comment on the details of that, however, because we do not want to compromise Asia Bibi’s long-term safety.
On the timing, I think the Foreign Minister of Pakistan has confirmed that Asia Bibi will remain under the protection of the Pakistani Government until the legal process has concluded, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan has supported the Supreme Court and promised to uphold the rule of law. What matters is providing for the safety and wellbeing of Asia Bibi and her family.
I referred earlier to figures on the number of people in absolute poverty, which have reached record lows under this Government, but the hon. Gentleman talks about people who are in work. The Government have taken a number of steps to help those people: we have cut taxes for 32 million people, increased the national living wage and frozen fuel duty. Unfortunately, however, in the case of so many of those measures, which we took to give financial help to people who are just about managing—the sort of people he is talking about—the Labour party opposed them.
(1 year, 2 months ago)Read Full debate
I recognise the importance of the automotive industry in my right hon. Friend’s constituency and many others around the country. Indeed, the political declaration on the tariff issue expressly provides for no tariffs.
I can give the hon. Gentleman comfort on all the points that he makes. The point is that we are coming out of the European Union, so if it chooses to push down to a more federal Europe, we will not be part of that; we are not a member of the euro and we are coming out of the European Union, so we will certainly not be in the euro; and we will be making our laws.
(1 year, 3 months ago)Read Full debate
My right hon. Friend has campaigned on that issue with a passion because, as he says, the question of the maximum stake for FOBTs has an impact on vulnerable people as well as their families and loved ones. I recognise the strength of feeling on the issue. I know that gambling addiction can devastate lives, so our priority is making sure that this change delivers the results we all want to see. We are listening to concerns being raised by colleagues and, if he will have a little patience, I can tell him that the Culture Secretary will set out further details later today.
What we have seen under this Government is absolute poverty reducing to a record low. We have also seen, as I referenced earlier, a significant reduction in the number of children in workless households. When we look at the figures, we see that actually three quarters of children are taken out poverty when their household moves from being a workless household to a household with work, which is why the changes that we are making, to ensure that our benefit and welfare system encourages people into work and makes sure that work pays, are the right changes.
(1 year, 4 months ago)Read Full debate
I understand that the issue of business rates and the bids to which my hon. Friend has referred, from Somerset and others, are currently being assessed. A decision will be announced alongside the local government finance settlement later this year. I can tell my hon. Friend that I have already received representations from a Somerset Member of Parliament on the issue, but I am sure that Ministers in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will be willing to meet him and others to discuss it further. I am sure that they will be happy to sit down and discuss the details.
The hon. Gentleman has raised the issue of debt, and it is an important issue to raise. What the Government are doing is seeing that we will actually—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman does not need to ask me the question if he has the figure already. What the Government are doing is ensuring that debt is going to fall, and, crucially, we have seen a reduction in our deficit of three quarters under this Conservative Government. The hon. Gentleman should not look quite so pleased with himself when he starts to think about what a Labour Government would do to our debt in the future, which is take us back.
(2 years, 2 months ago)Read Full debate
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Of course, the work on negotiating those trade deals—on looking to see what is possible—has already been started within the Department for International Trade by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Ministers there. Only earlier last week, I was discussing with the President of Mexico that country’s desire to have a trade deal negotiated with us. It is one of the first countries to say that it wanted that. The point of the trade deals is exactly as my hon. Friend says: it is about bringing jobs, bringing prosperity and improving people’s lives.
I am very clear about what we want to achieve in our negotiations. We will be working with our European friends and allies to ensure that the result of that negotiation is indeed a good deal for the United Kingdom. [Interruption.] Well, I think they will, because a good deal for the UK is a good deal for the EU as well.
(2 years, 3 months ago)Read Full debate