Lee Anderson debates with Department of Health and Social Care

There have been 9 exchanges between Lee Anderson and Department of Health and Social Care

Mon 20th July 2020 Coronavirus Response 3 interactions (70 words)
Tue 14th July 2020 Coronavirus Update 3 interactions (119 words)
Tue 23rd June 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 5 interactions (102 words)
Wed 17th June 2020 Coronavirus 3 interactions (138 words)
Mon 18th May 2020 Covid-19 Response 3 interactions (85 words)
Tue 5th May 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 7 interactions (122 words)
Tue 10th March 2020 Oral Answers to Questions 3 interactions (85 words)
Wed 4th March 2020 Health Inequalities 5 interactions (791 words)
Mon 27th January 2020 NHS Funding Bill 5 interactions (1,277 words)

Coronavirus Response

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Monday 20th July 2020

(2 weeks, 1 day ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard

I will not be held back by bureaucracy. We made three data protection impact assessments, which cover all the necessary. I saw the report saying that we should have done one to cover all three, but we did the three and I think that will do the trick.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Hansard

At the start of the pandemic, I raised the issue of care homes potentially losing revenue due to covid and running the risk of closing down. My right hon. Friend advised me at the time that no care home in Ashfield would close. Will he please update the House on the extra support given to care homes and advise whether any have closed due to financial constraints caused by covid?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard

We have worked very hard to support the social care sector, and, exactly as the hon. Member for Twickenham (Munira Wilson) asked, making sure that we get that financial support in is important. Of course, in the first instance, the local authority is responsible for ensuring that there are available care homes to put people in. I am very happy to look into the specific details of Ashfield and to write to my hon. Friend to make sure he gets a proper answer to his question.

Coronavirus Update

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Tuesday 14th July 2020

(3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jul 2020, 2:44 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman makes a really important point and it is a shame that he uses such adversarial language. The test and trace system is getting better and better, and masks in shops are important, but the underlying point that he makes is absolutely right. The long-term impact of this on some people can be very significant; there is growing evidence of that. I have put in almost £10 million of research funding to try to understand that better, and the NHS has built an NHS service for people in those circumstances. He is quite right to say that the long-term impacts can affect anyone, no matter how mild the initial illness. Thankfully, I do not appear to have any long-term effects that I know about. So far as I can tell, I am fine, but I am grateful for his interest. What I would like to do is work alongside him to try to understand this as well as possible. We are absolutely listening to the evidence from right around the world on this vital question.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

In a short space of time, King’s Mill Hospital in Ashfield has gone from an inadequate rating to an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission. During the pandemic, the hospital has been fantastic in providing brilliant care in Ashfield and in supplying PPE to care homes, funeral directors, chemists and anyone else who needed it.

Would my right hon. Friend please say a big thank you to all staff, including the chief executive, Richard Mitchell, hospital cleaner Paula Whetton, porters Michael Thorpe and Colin Ford, Scott Cairns in mattress decontamination and critical care nurse Tracy Hague, who represent the very best of Ashfield, and will he please come to visit the hospital the next time he is in Nottinghamshire?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Parliament Live - Hansard

I would love to visit Ashfield Hospital in person and to be able to thank every single person who is there and has worked so hard during this pandemic, from the chief executive to the porters and the nurses: all those who have played their part as part of the team. The hospital in Ashfield does not regard itself as separate from the rest of the community. It is deeply embedded in the community and works across primary care, the community trust and with the mental health trust, too. It is part of a system. That is the future of the NHS: people working together, rather than in the silos of the past.

Oral Answers to Questions

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Tuesday 23rd June 2020

(1 month, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard

My hon. Friend is absolutely right on this. I applaud the work of the First 1001 Days Movement. It is incredibly important. I strongly support the work that it has done to highlight the importance of the early days of life and the time before the birth of children. I have seen that report. I have discussed it with the Minister and we are working very hard to put that into effect.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Hansard

What steps his Department is taking to support the social care sector during the covid-19 outbreak. [903686]

Helen Whately Portrait The Minister for Care (Helen Whately) - Hansard

Social care is at the frontline of this cruel global pandemic here in the UK and around the world. We have brought together support across Government, the NHS, Public Health England, local health protection teams, the Care Quality Commission and local authorities, and done our utmost to help care homes and home care services to look after those in their care. The majority of care providers have been covid-free. Our support includes access to testing, PPE, guidance based on evidence from around the world, improved oversight and funding.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson - Hansard

I have received many emails from constituents who are desperate to see and visit their family members in care homes, after months of not seeing them. Will my hon. Friend assure me and care workers in Ashfield and Eastwood that the Government will do everything they can to ensure that care homes have the right support and guidance, so that they are prepared to deal with an influx of friends and family visitors as they begin to open their doors in a safe way?

Helen Whately Portrait Helen Whately - Hansard

My hon. Friend makes an important point. I know that the current restriction on visiting is hard for residents in care homes and their families, and has a real impact on health and wellbeing. We are updating our visitor guidance and intend to publish it soon.

Coronavirus

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Wednesday 17th June 2020

(1 month, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard
17 Jun 2020, 1:19 p.m.

Yes. I am very happy to write to the hon. Gentleman about what we can do in those two areas, on which I know he has campaigned very hard. The one thing I would say on the positive side is that over the past few months the early signs are that the likelihood of dying as a 5 to 14-year-old has probably been at its lowest ever. It has been much safer in lockdown because, for instance, there are far fewer road traffic accidents and because the likelihood of dying from coronavirus as a child is very, very low. Overall, it has been a safe time if measured by that ultimate measure of how many children have died. It is much lower than usual, which is a good thing, but he is right to raise the points he does.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Hansard
17 Jun 2020, 1:19 p.m.

Over 10,000 people in the UK, including my wife, suffer from cystic fibrosis. Coronavirus adds a significant risk to CF patients, who already have a limited life expectancy. CF sufferers and their families were offered a significant lifeline when the Secretary of State agreed to fund the lifesaving drug Orkambi last year, but there is a new drug called Trikafta that has been granted a licence in the US. This is a wonder drug that will extend the lives of CF patients. The father of Sarah Jayne Lilliman, from Eastwood in my constituency, who sadly passed away a few years ago, has asked if the Secretary of State can assure the CF community in the UK that he will do all he can to make sure this drug is available and extend the lives of thousands of people.

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard
17 Jun 2020, 1:19 p.m.

Yes, I will do absolutely everything I can. I did not know that my hon. Friend’s wife suffered from cystic fibrosis. I am absolutely determined to make this happen. I worked really hard with the CF community to land Orkambi and I was very proud when we managed to do that. Thank goodness we did that before coronavirus struck, because for many who caught coronavirus it was literally a lifeline. Trikafta has great promise: it promises to be able to treat almost all CF sufferers, as opposed to the approximately half that Orkambi successfully treats. I have been working on that even during the crisis and I really, really hope we can make some progress.

Covid-19 Response

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Monday 18th May 2020

(2 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard

As I have said, in care homes we put in place infection control procedures as much as was possible at the start of this crisis, and there was not an increase in the number of people going back to care homes. But my heart goes out to the family of the hon. Lady’s constituent, who died working in social care, joining, I am afraid to say, many others who gave service during this crisis and died as a result of it. I am very happy to look specifically into her constituent’s case. We do look into the death of any health or social care worker and make sure we get to the bottom of all the lessons that can be learned, and I am very happy personally to do that in the case of the constituent that the hon. Lady has rightly raised.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) [V] - Hansard

Care homes in Ashfield such as Wren Hall, with an outstanding rating, and Sutton Manor, which is in the top 20 care homes in the east midlands, face a difficult future. With empty beds due to covid-19 comes a dramatic loss of income, which has a significant impact on their business. Could my right hon. Friend advise me what safeguards are in place to ensure that our care homes are supported to keep their doors open and continue to provide this exceptional level of care?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard

I want to congratulate Wren Hall, because getting an outstanding rating is not easy, and it has done that. I congratulate every single member of staff, and I thank my hon. Friend for being a champion for them and bringing to my attention Wren Hall’s outstanding rating when it was received. The funding, of course, is a critical part of this. We put in £600 million extra on Friday, and as I said, that will all go direct to care homes—it is not to go into local authority budgets for onward consideration of passing to care homes; it is to get to the care homes. That will help with infection control, but we also have to ensure that funding is sustainable for the future.

Oral Answers to Questions

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Tuesday 5th May 2020

(3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Brendan Clarke-Smith Portrait Brendan Clarke-Smith (Bassetlaw) (Con) - Hansard

What steps he is taking to support children and young people to continue learning at home while nurseries, schools and colleges are partially closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak. [902241]

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Hansard

What steps he is taking to support children and young people to continue learning at home while nurseries, schools and colleges are partially closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak. [902242]

Mrs Flick Drummond Portrait Mrs Flick Drummond (Meon Valley) (Con) - Hansard

What steps he is taking to support children and young people to continue learning at home while nurseries, schools and colleges are partially closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak. [902249]

Break in Debate

Gavin Williamson Portrait Gavin Williamson - Hansard

My hon. Friend is right in his analysis. It is not just about helping children during this crisis; it is about helping and supporting children for many months and years to come, ensuring that schools continue to have that resource and helping many children through that resource over a long period. We recognise that a lot of work needs to be done to support children as they catch up on what they have missed, because there is no substitute for a child being in a classroom, learning directly from a teacher.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson [V] - Hansard

School closures will, of course, affect children of all ages and backgrounds in different ways. Children from more disadvantaged backgrounds are much less likely to have access to the internet via a mobile or tablet. Will the Secretary of State confirm that devices with internet access are being sent to disadvantaged children, so that they can learn online more easily? That would certainly help to ensure that the disadvantaged children in my constituency of Ashfield and Eastwood, which the Minister visited recently, are not further disadvantaged by this crisis.

Gavin Williamson Portrait Gavin Williamson - Hansard

I had the great privilege of joining my hon. Friend on a visit to Leamington primary school in his constituency, to see the amazing work being done there. We have made substantial investment in not just laptops but 4G routers, to ensure that families have better access to the internet and that children can benefit from the brilliant resources, many of which have been made available for free by people, companies and organisations, to allow children to continue to learn.

Oral Answers to Questions

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Tuesday 10th March 2020

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock - Hansard

No, the hon. Gentleman is wrong to raise this issue in this way. It was addressed in the House yesterday actually—the Prime Minister was explaining that that is not Government policy.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Hansard

T7. Loneliness will affect most of us during our lifetime. It can define our lives and have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing, as well as increasing pressure and costs on our health services. There are some brilliant voluntary health support services to combat loneliness, so can the Secretary of State advise me on what plans he has to join up the NHS, health and social care and our voluntary support sector to provide the best possible care for victims of loneliness? [901450]

Helen Whately Portrait The Minister for Care (Helen Whately) - Hansard

My hon. Friend is right about both how widespread loneliness is and the costs. The cross-Government loneliness strategy does indeed join up the voluntary sector and many parts of Government, led by the brilliant Baroness Barran in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. For our part, in this Department we are particularly supporting the growth of social prescribing, which enables GPs to direct their patient to a host of activities, many of which help people to overcome loneliness.

Health Inequalities

Lee Anderson Excerpts
Wednesday 4th March 2020

(5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Taiwo Owatemi Portrait Taiwo Owatemi (Coventry North West) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Mar 2020, 5:31 p.m.

Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my maiden speech in this important debate about health inequalities in our country. My constituents gave me the privilege to serve Coventry North West, and it is an immense honour to be here. I owe my amazing team of activists—and, most importantly, my constituents —a great deal.

I follow in the footsteps of a much loved member of this House, Geoffrey Robinson, who has been a fixture of the city and this Chamber for 43 years—long before I was even born. Geoffrey’s unwavering support for our local motoring industry was nationally applauded. During his final term, he was instrumental in changing the law on organ donations, which is something that I will continue to champion. I thank him for his service to our constituency, and wish him and his family the very best.

Coventry is a proud English city of culture, and my part of the city boasts incredible diversity. Our vibrant Irish and Sikh communities helped to grow Coventry’s booming industries after the second world war. Coventry was a major site for the UK’s car manufacturing. We hosted the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Peugeot and the General Electric Company—for hon. Members whose memories can stretch that far. Indeed, we were a city that produced things, but that industrial base was almost wiped out overnight by Thatcher and her Government. The city has seen a lot of changes since the closure of these companies, but Coventry has always been an inclusive city—from university lecturers to students; from public sector workers to manual labourers. Even today, so many have made my part of Coventry their home.

My constituency is also diverse in the lay of its land—from the sprawling green country fields of Bablake approaching the villages of Keresley and Allesley to the west, to the cityscape further to the east—but at its heart is its community spirit. Across our six wards, residents are supported by numerous community centres and voluntary organisations with a common goal: to enrich and empower the community. As the first female MP for Coventry North West, I hope to follow in the footsteps of Lady Godiva and champion fairness. I am also the first MP of Nigerian heritage—specifically Yoruba —to represent a west midlands seat, and that is an honour that I carry with immense pride.

Many people would not have guessed this, but I am actually a twin. As a piece of trivia for hon. and right hon. Members, I can tell the House that in the Yoruba culture, every twin is named Taiwo or Kehinde, with Taiwo being the name of the first-born twin. My brother, mum and uncle are watching from the Gallery this afternoon, and I like to imagine that my dad and older brother Ayobola are looking down proudly from even higher up, in heaven, right now, too. I thank my family for all their unwavering support and encouragement.

My two fellow Coventry Labour MPs and I reflect the diversity, tenacity and strong values of Coventry. I look forward to working with them to advance Coventry’s cause during this Parliament, and to welcome the world as we celebrate becoming city of culture in 2021.

I am a churchgoing Christian, and my values—of community, family, inclusion, and never walking by when we see hardship—are grounded in my faith. I know that those values are shared by the people of Coventry, as Coventry is the city of peace and reconciliation. Those values are also Labour values. Indeed, I believe that everyone should have the opportunities they need to live a long, healthy and happy life.

The topic of this debate—health provision—is very close to my heart. Having lost my father when I was aged just seven, I became passionate about healthcare, and about supporting the dedicated professionals who sacrifice so much for us for so little thanks. But as a senior cancer pharmacist, every day I have seen our health service and adult social care system fail under continuous strain, without the resources they need. I was astounded to find out that the poorest in Coventry can live 18 years less than the richest in Westminster. We in Coventry deserve a better standard of care across the board, and I will be working with my colleagues in Coventry to fight for an urgent care centre so that we can have that better standard—I will always fight for that. Now that we have left the European Union, the Government can finally put their money where their bus is and properly fund the national health service, giving places such as Coventry the funding they need to provide good-quality healthcare.

Homelessness is becoming an increasing concern in our community, and Coventry has the largest food bank in the country. Although that reflects the good will of the people of Coventry, it also highlights the Government’s failures to help to cover the cost of living, and to invest properly in local emergency support for vulnerable people in crisis. Our housing is in crisis, too. At the core of every housing project should be genuinely affordable social housing, and legislation should require proper social infrastructure to be built alongside these projects. And, yes, we must also protect our green spaces.

Social mobility is a passion of mine. I believe that education provides a path to success. It astounds me that since 2013, pupils in my constituency have faced an 8.7% real-terms cut in funding. We are well below England’s average for educational attainment, and pupils with special educational needs and disabilities are often left behind, with inadequate provision to meet their needs. For too many young people growing up in my constituency, violence at home or on the streets is a reality, while West Midlands police and community services have faced severe cuts. This, too, can hold young people back. How can this Government claim to be the party of aspiration and opportunity when they stunt the growth and true potential of my constituents?

Coventry deserves the chance to thrive. It is in the nation’s interest that Coventry forms a central part of the midlands engine. Our history of technological and industrial innovation has created a natural home for world-class industrialists, researchers and academics—which, as I am sure the Government will agree, makes Coventry the obvious location for the environmentally sustainable Gigafactory. The midlands engine cannot run without the motor of a place like Coventry, and I will make sure that my city is never left behind.

As the MP for Coventry North West, I will ensure that every decision I make in this place is relevant to the lives of the people who put me here. I do not want to be known for extraordinary words in Hansard, but rather for the tangible difference my words make. I will be the MP who listens to her constituents about their concerns and aspirations. I will be the MP who protects our jobs and our beautiful green spaces, who stands up for good-quality homes and high-quality education, who sticks up for our NHS and protects the most vulnerable, and who fights for more police on our streets and opportunities for the next generation. I will spend my time in this House standing up for my constituents, for my patients and for the public services on which we all depend. My community in Coventry expects no less, and that is how I will serve it.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Mar 2020, 5:36 p.m.

It is an honour to follow the hon. Member for Coventry North West (Taiwo Owatemi).

It should not matter where one lives in the UK in terms of leading a healthy lifestyle, but we must accept that sometimes there is poor health and the possibility of poor health. I am pleased to see that this Government are not shying away from the challenge, with record amounts of investment in our NHS, now enshrined in law—the largest and longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. But we all need to start having an honest conversation with ourselves about closing the gap on health inequality, because it is one of the biggest challenges we face in this country. We need to start to admit to ourselves that we must make different lifestyle choices. We must think about the smoking and drinking we are all doing and the lack of exercise.

Loneliness is a big one for me. Loneliness is a killer. Far too many people in this country face life alone, whether that be due to their age, their disability, or just their own personal circumstance. In my community, we have the brilliant Huthwaite Hub, which is a charity I helped to set up four years ago with two brilliant ex-schoolteachers, Dai James and Geoff Jago-Lee. The idea was simple: get a big room, fill it full of woodwork machines, tools and materials, and then invite people who are socially isolated to come along and learn new skills. The community and local business really came together and donated everything we needed, and a lottery grant was the final piece of the jigsaw. The brilliant Huthwaite Hub has now seen hundreds of people come through its doors who otherwise would have been sat at home depressed and surviving on antidepressants. That facility is better than any tablet and has transformed the lives of many people in my area. I invite anybody in this House, and especially the Minister, to come and visit the brilliant Huthwaite Hub.

I sometimes get a little bit fed up with the Labour party using the subject of health as a political football. At the last four general elections Labour has put health at the top of its campaign agenda and has been rejected at the ballot box every single time. Just a few months ago, it suffered its biggest defeat since 1935, which, roughly translated, means, “The public just do not trust it.” Something very noticeable in areas like Ashfield and Eastwood, and in other similar constituencies throughout the country that have always been the victims of health inequality, is that they have always had a Labour MP and Labour-run councils—that is, until the election last year. As somebody once said, “Things can only get better”. There is a Budget coming shortly, which will see record amounts of investment in infrastructure all over the country, especially in places like Ashfield and Eastwood.

Tom Hunt Portrait Tom Hunt (Ipswich) (Con) - Hansard
4 Mar 2020, 4:24 p.m.

Does my hon. Friend agree that, to strengthen the resilience of local communities in combating health inequalities, it might be a good idea for the Government to set up a community wealth fund to be funnelled into some of the most deprived wards, such as Bridge ward in Ipswich, where the healthy life expectancy is around five years lower than the national average?

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson - Hansard
4 Mar 2020, 4:24 p.m.

I completely agree.

As I was saying, the Budget will see record amounts of investment in places like Ashfield in Eastbourne. That will, in turn, create highly-skilled jobs and better employment opportunities, which will turn the clock back on decades of decline. With this levelling up of wealth in places like Ashfield, I am positive that we will see a levelling up of health. If we are going to make the argument that poor places have poor health, the solution is simple: let us make the poorer places better off by providing better jobs, better education, better training and better opportunities in life, which will only come from a Conservative Government. Already in Ashfield, we have up to £75 million of town centre and future high streets funding coming. We are also looking at opening up old train lines, to increase connectivity. That sort of positive action in Ashfield will increase prosperity in health and wealth.

My wife is currently in Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, after having her third operation in three years. She has had a double lung transplant, an operation to remove 2 metres of intestine and a good old bout of sepsis, and yesterday she had her gall bladder removed. When I told her that I was going to have this week off to look after her, she said, “No, you go down there to Parliament and tell them people in that Chamber that this is a brilliant NHS”—it keeps her alive every single day.

As I said, it is a shame that the Opposition are once again playing politics with a very emotive subject. I want to assure them that in places like Ashfield and other usually solid Labour areas across the midlands and north, we now have hard-working Tory MPs in place who will not only level up wealth but will also level up health.

Colleen Fletcher Portrait Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Mar 2020, 4:24 p.m.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Ashfield (Lee Anderson), whose area I know extremely well, and the fabulous maiden speeches on the Labour Benches, including from my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry North West (Taiwo Owatemi), who spoke most warmly about my city and about her predecessor; I concur with her comments.

Since 2010, the Government have chosen to implement unfair, regressive economic and social policies that have widened the gap between rich and poor, holding individuals back and leaving entire communities behind. Those policy choices have ensured that the last decade has been marked by widening health inequalities and deteriorating health. In Coventry, where poverty and deprivation are entrenched in some communities, the progress made in the years up to 2010 in terms of improving people’s life chances, quality of life and life expectancy have been derailed by this Government.

Over the last decade, people in our most deprived communities have experienced rising levels of in-work poverty, food insecurity and food bank reliance. They have found it more difficult to access good-quality housing and secure, well-paid employment, while their incomes and living standards have declined significantly. Public services and welfare spending, which would once have alleviated some of those pressures, have been slashed, removing a crucial safety net. That has an impact on not only people’s health but their ability to make positive healthy choices, which ultimately increases their chances of premature mortality and morbidity.

The evidence shows that there is now a life expectancy gap of 11 years between men living in the most deprived areas of Coventry and men in the least deprived areas, and the gap is 10 years for women. That gap has increased by nearly one and a half years over a five-year period. Those living in the most deprived areas not only die much earlier than those in more affluent areas; they also live much longer in poor health. Data shows that poorer men in the city will experience 17 years fewer in good health than their more affluent counterparts, while poorer women can expect 18 fewer years in good health.

Sadly, that is not altogether surprising when we consider the fact that some of the most deprived areas in the city experience higher rates of economic inactivity, fuel poverty and air pollution, while having fewer green spaces, all of which impact people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Moreover, Coventry’s statistics on smoking, drinking and obesity show that 33% of adults who smoke live in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods; hospital admissions for alcohol-related illnesses and deaths are much higher than national rates; and overweight and obesity rates for children are higher than average.

We all know that tackling health inequalities is not a job that belongs exclusively to the NHS or to public health. To make a tangible difference, we have to improve our health and our health services, but we also have to look at our society as a whole and the conditions that determine our health. This is happening in Coventry, and we have had some notable successes, despite the poor hand we have been dealt by Government. For example, we have seen an increase in the proportion of children with good development by the end of reception year, and a reduction in the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training. We have also achieved great results through employability support programmes, such as the Job Shop or Ambition Coventry, which work with people to help them secure employment.

However, if we hope to build on these successes, we need the support of Government. I hope the Minister will commit to funding public health, the NHS, local authorities and others properly, so that we can tackle the deep and entrenched health inequalities that exist in our communities and reduce the huge life expectancy gap between the richest and the poorest.

NHS Funding Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
(2nd reading: House of Commons)
Lee Anderson Excerpts
Monday 27th January 2020

(6 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Dame Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton) - Hansard
27 Jan 2020, 7:05 p.m.

It is a pleasure to call Lee Anderson to make his maiden speech.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson (Ashfield) (Con) - Hansard
27 Jan 2020, 7:06 p.m.

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to make my maiden speech; as we would say in Ashfield, “Thank you, mi duck.”

I am bursting with pride as I stand here as the newly elected Member of Parliament for Ashfield, but I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Gloria De Piero, who was the MP for Ashfield for nine years. I am sure everybody in the Chamber will agree that she was well respected on both sides of the House. I also want to pay respect to my seven colleagues in Nottinghamshire, who were all elected on the same day as me last month. They did a fantastic job and I make special mention of my good friend, my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Brendan Clarke-Smith), who overturned a 5,000 deficit and won a 14,000 majority, and saw the largest swing in the country. He is a modest man—

Eddie Hughes Portrait Eddie Hughes - Hansard
27 Jan 2020, 7:07 p.m.

He hasn’t mentioned it at all.

Lee Anderson Portrait Lee Anderson - Hansard
27 Jan 2020, 7:07 p.m.

This is my speech; thank you, Eddie.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw has only mentioned his 14,000 majority on one occasion to me—sorry, once a night as we go home across Westminster bridge. He tells me every single night, but I pay him great respect—he certainly has raised the bar.

Ashfield was once voted the best place in the world to live—by me and my mates one Sunday afternoon in the local Wetherspoons. It really is the best place. Ashfield is a typical mining constituency. To the south of the constituency we have Eastwood, birthplace of D.H. Lawrence, to the north we have Nuncargate, birthplace of our most famous cricketer, Harold Larwood, and further north we have Teversal, which is where D.H. Lawrence wrote probably his most famous novel, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”—a book I have read several times. We have many other great towns and villages in Ashfield, such as Sutton, Kirkby, Annesley, Selston, Jacksdale, Westwood, Bagthorpe and Stanton Hill, but the place that is closest to my heart in Ashfield is the place where I grew up, a mining village called Huthwaite.

Like with many villages, when I was growing up in the 1970s most of the men in Huthwaite worked down the pits. I went to a school called John Davies Primary School, and I was always told at school in the ’70s, as many of us were, “Work hard, lad, do well, take the 11-plus, go to grammar school and you’ll not have to go down the pit like your dad and your granddad and your uncles.” Unfortunately, a couple of years before we were due to take our 11-plus, the Labour Government at the time withdrew it from our curriculum, so I was unable to go to grammar school, and none of our school went as a consequence of that. Just a few years later I was down the pit with my dad—working at the pit where my granddad and my uncles had worked. I did that for many years and I am sure my dad, who is watching this right now—a decent, hard-working, working-class bloke—did not want me down the pit. He wanted better for me, but that was taken away. I cannot help but think that, had children in my day had the chance to go to grammar school, they would have had more opportunities and probably a better life. Because I am telling you now, when I worked down those pits in Nottinghamshire, I worked with doctors, with brain surgeons, with airline pilots, with astronauts—with all these brilliant people who never a chance. The Prime Minister is quite right when he says that talent is spread evenly across this country but opportunity is not, and my constituency is living proof of that.

People of Ashfield are a straight-talking bunch—a bit dry, a wicked sense of humour, a bit sarcastic sometimes—but that is borne out of our tough industrial past. You have to remember that we were the people who dug the coal to fuel the nation. We were the people who sent our young people—our young men and women—to war to die for this country. We were the people who made the clothes that clothed the nation. And we were the people who brewed the beer that got us all persistently drunk every single weekend.

In 1993, under a Conservative Government, we reopened the Robin Hood line in Ashfield, and all through the county of Nottinghamshire, which created endless opportunities for passengers to travel for work, for play and for jobs. Standing here as a Conservative MP in 2020, I am proud to say that this Government are once again looking at extending our Robin Hood line to cover the rest of the county. They are also looking at reopening the Maid Marion line, which will again carry passengers to the most isolated and rural areas of our country. It is all well and good having good education and good training, but transport means just as much to the people in my community.

My friends, family and constituents have asked me every single day what it is like to be down here in Westminster. I say, “It’s brilliant—amazing. We’ve got great staff—the doorkeepers.” Every single person who works here has been absolutely brilliant to me. It is an amazing place. I have met all these famous people—I have met MPs, Lords and Ministers—but the best moment for me was last Wednesday night, when I got invited to Downing Street, to No. 10, for the first time ever in my life. I walked through that door and there he was, the man himself—Larry the Cat. [Laughter.] Told you we were funny.

I was born at the brilliant King’s Mill Hospital in Ashfield. King’s Mill was built by the American army during world war two to look after its injured service personnel. After the war, the American Government gave King’s Mill Hospital—the buildings and equipment—to the people of Ashfield as a thank-you gift. What a wonderful gift that is from our American cousins—absolutely stunning. I cannot praise the current staff and management at King’s Mill highly enough. They have really turned things around. Just 20-odd years after the American Government gave King’s Mill Hospital to the people of Ashford, I was born there, and later my children were born there.

It is not just our hospital in Ashfield that means a lot to me; it is the fact that it has saved my wife’s life for many, many years now. My wife was born with a condition called cystic fibrosis. She was not diagnosed until she was 18, and for anybody, to be told that they have cystic fibrosis is like getting an early death sentence. But undeterred, my wife—my beautiful wife—went to work for a year. She then went to university, she studied, she became a teacher and she taught for 10 years, until she got to her early 30s, when she could not really carry on any more and gave up work. All that time, our brilliant NHS staff looked after her and kept her alive—I cannot thank them enough—but things got really bad in her mid-30s and she had to go on the list for a double lung transplant. She was on that list for two years, and we had five false alarms before we finally got the call on 19 December 2016. The operation was 14 hours and she spent three days in critical care. I thank my lucky stars for our brilliant NHS. They looked after her, they have kept her alive, and last year she was elected as a Conservative councillor in our home town.

I am incredibly proud, and when people say that this party is a party of privilege, I say to them, “I’m privileged to be in this party.”

Dame Rosie Winterton Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton) - Hansard

It is a pleasure to call Neale Hanvey to make his maiden speech.