10 Navendu Mishra debates involving HM Treasury

Budget Resolutions

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Tuesday 12th March 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

I will start by talking about housing, because it is the issue that I receive the largest amount of correspondence on. In 2019, the Conservative Government committed to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. We are now well into 2024 and the Government do not look anywhere near reaching the target, nor does the Budget contain measures to improve progress in that regard. In Stockport borough, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors voted against participation in the Greater Manchester spatial framework in 2020, depriving Stockport council of funds and co-ordinated support to build more houses. Now, a Liberal Democrat-controlled council is building far fewer homes than are needed, and progress towards a local plan for housing has been painfully slow.

In January this year, the waiting list for social housing in Stockport borough was 5,995 households. Sadly, as of this week, the figure stands at a staggering 6,400 households. In Stockport, 2,300 households filed applications for homelessness assistance in 2022-23: a 22% rise on the previous year. In November last year, 137 households were in temporary accommodation, with 29 families in hotels. The council’s forecasted spend on temporary housing is due to top £500,000 this financial year.

I am also concerned by the increase in buy-to-rent developments in Stockport, which are where a wealthy institutional investor will buy the entire property—often an apartment block—with the properties only available to rent rather than to buy. I have tabled a number of written parliamentary questions on the matter due to the impact that such developments have on increasing average rental rates in the area and the negative impact they sometimes have on our community fabric. I will continue to press on that, because I do not think that the Government have a grip on the housing situation. As I said, I continue to receive large amounts of correspondence from constituents struggling with housing issues on a daily basis. The harsh reality is that the Conservative Government have failed the people of Stockport and those across England when it comes to comes to housing.

I also want to talk about cuts to local schools in my constituency. Data released recently by the National Education Union showed that the Government’s funding decisions have resulted in 70% of maintained schools in England facing real-terms cuts since 2010. That includes 66% of maintained primary schools and 88% of maintained secondary schools. In my constituency, 84% of schools have less funding in real terms than they did in 2010 due to Government cuts. That equates to a loss in per-pupil funding of £392 and a total change in school spending power of £3.2 million for all the children in my constituency. The worst affected primary in my constituency, Bridge Hall Primary School, has suffered a loss in real-terms per pupil funding of £1,752 and a loss in overall spending power of almost £340,000. The worst impacted secondary school, Stockport Academy, has seen a loss in real-terms per pupil funding of £1,528 and a change in its overall spending power of almost £1.5 million. After 14 years of cuts, an extra £12.2 billion is needed to restore school spending power to 2010 levels, repair crumbling school buildings and tackle the SEND crisis that our children are facing.

I also want to mention the rise in prescription charges and the impact that has, often on low-income people and deprived communities. The prescription charge exemption list is outdated and unfair and does not reflect the reality of many people living with long-term medical conditions. The Prescription Charges Coalition is calling on the UK Government to review that outdated exemption list, with support from the Health and Social Care Committee to achieve that change. While the extension of the household support fund is welcome, 80% of those surveyed by Parkinson’s UK in 2023 did not even know it existed. What steps are the Government taking to inform those who need it most and to ensure that people with such conditions have that support?

Finally, may I mention the good work of the Campaign for Real Ale in supporting local pubs? I have a fantastic range of pubs, hospitality businesses and brewing institutions in my constituency, but sadly we have lost 25% of the pubs in my constituency since 2010. As I am sure you are aware, Mr Deputy Speaker, our pubs make up a big part of our community fabric, and when a pub closes the implications are much wider than just the range of establishments available. The Government have sadly failed to deliver the long-term change needed to the business rates system that unfairly penalises bricks-and-mortar businesses such as pubs.

I have tabled a number of written and oral questions on this issue since my election in 2019, but sadly I do not see any change in Government policy. We have an award-winning distillery in my constituency: Stockport Gin. I recommend you try it, Mr Deputy Speaker; it will soon be stocked in the Strangers Bar. Robinsons of Stockport, an iconic brewery business going back to the 1940s, and others have been campaigning for reform to the business rates system. I hope that the Government will pay attention, because losing valuable institutions like our long-standing pubs is a loss to the community and the nation. I will end it there. Thank you for calling me to speak, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I look forward to you buying me a pint—of anything, quite frankly.

Economic Growth

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Tuesday 14th November 2023

(6 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

I congratulate my hon. Friend, the new Member for Mid Bedfordshire (Alistair Strathern), on an excellent and important maiden speech. I hope he will continue to serve the people of Mid Bedfordshire for many years to come.

I want to talk first about housing, because that is the issue on which I receive the most casework in my constituency inbox. In recent years we have seen an escalation of section 21 notices, extortionate increases in private rents and a general increase in household costs. It is vital that the Conservative Government end the freeze on local housing allowance.

I am also extremely concerned about the level of homelessness, the demands on social housing providers in Stockport, and the financial demand on my local authority of meeting emergency and temporary housing costs. Stockport has seen a significant increase in homelessness: more than 2,300 households sought assistance from the council in 2022-23—an increase of 22% on the previous year—and, sadly, I see that trend becoming worse.

Stockport is the best place to live in England, but private rents have shot up in recent years. The housing emergency is now a full-blown crisis; it is placing those on low incomes in a very difficult place, and the Conservative Government are failing them. A constituent contacted me recently because her rent had shot up from £600 to £900 per month, causing her immense financial hardship. That rent increase seems entirely unreasonable. She now faces an eviction via section 21 notice from a home she has lived in for 15 years, at a time of her life when she should feel secure and comfortable in her own home.

The current housing emergency cannot be fixed overnight, but ending the freeze on the local housing allowance would have an immediate impact on those in need ahead of another difficult winter for the nation. People deserve the security and opportunity to get on in life, but under the Conservatives the foundations of a good life are crumbling. Homeowners face eye-watering mortgage rates, young people are struggling to get on the housing ladder and the dream of home ownership has been snatched away from so many people who are stuck paying unaffordable private rents. Labour’s plan for secure homes will put an end to the Tories’ housing emergency, and we support fundamental reform of the private rented sector.

I also want to cover NHS waiting lists. I recently spoke to a constituent regarding her mother, who is in a care home. In Stockport, unfortunately, the wait for an assessment by NHS continence services is 31 weeks, which is far too long. My constituent, whose mother is 90, contacted me in distress regarding the very long period of time her mother had to wait to get an assessment. I am told that the assessment should take no longer than 12 weeks, but in this case it took 31. That is a very serious matter and I will write to the Department of Health and Social Care about it.

There are almost 8 million people on NHS waiting lists in England. The Prime Minister promised to cut those waiting lists, yet last month they rose to a record high of 7.7 million people, meaning that one in seven people are currently waiting for NHS treatment. That is simply unacceptable.

I recently wrote to all NHS-registered dental practices in my constituency, asking them whether they had any availability for registration for NHS treatment. In my local hospital, Stepping Hill, 365 patients had to visit A&E over the past year to get emergency treatment for tooth decay. We are in a crisis. I thank the British Dental Association for the work it is doing on this issue, but the Government have forgotten about NHS dentistry and it needs fundamental reform. From the letters and emails I have had from dentists in my constituency, I know the service is underfunded and people who cannot afford dental treatment simply do not get it; they have to do DIY dentistry at home, which is very dangerous.

On local government funding, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council—my local authority— has delivered over £140 million in savings since 2010. It is also facing further savings of £44 million by 2027-28. The current cost of living crisis, caused by the Conservative party, is having a severe impact on my constituents and on people across the borough of Stockport. The council needs much greater funding certainty from central Government, and the national local government funding settlement falls short. I call on the Treasury to address that urgently.

I will finish with a comment about Respect for Shopworkers Week, which is this week. We have seen a significant rise in physical and verbal attacks and threats against shop workers. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers—my trade union, as a former retail worker—is campaigning on that issue, and the Government need to bring in legislation to address it.

We need a general election now so that we can replace this tired Government.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

This will be the last Back-Bench contribution before the wind-ups.

Alcohol Duty

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Monday 19th December 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
James Cartlidge Portrait James Cartlidge
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am extremely grateful to my right hon. Friend for his comments. He has become the chairman of the all-party beer group, but we should remember the work of the former chairman, my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley South (Mike Wood). He cannot speak as he is a Whip, but he put in place all those sessions lobbying MPs and Ministers and making the case for beer. Much as we enjoy that, it is a major employer in this country. My right hon. Friend makes an important point about differential duty. To put that in context, the 5% cut to cider duty will be the biggest cut to cider duty since 1923, so it is significant. Of course I cannot from the Dispatch Box make decisions for the Budget next year, but it is not too far away and I am sure there will be plenty of chances for colleagues to engage up to then.

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

Stockport has several wonderful producers, including Robinsons Brewery and Stockport Gin, and they have been through a lot over the past few years. When will the Government finally end the U-turns and delays, and agree a long-term solution and support package for the alcohol sector?

James Cartlidge Portrait James Cartlidge
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for mentioning the producers in his constituency: Robinsons Brewery and Stockport Gin. I am grateful to them for all they are doing in these challenging times to provide employment in his constituency and support consumers with the products they offer. That is what this is all about—supporting those companies and vital sectors in our constituencies. The hon. Gentleman asks about a long-term commitment. This is the biggest reform to alcohol duty for 140 years. It is a significant reform, getting the balance between competitive rates of duty and consideration of public health, which is incredibly important. It is an opportunity we should all seize and welcome.

Cost of Living Increases

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Monday 24th January 2022

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Jerome Mayhew Portrait Jerome Mayhew
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

There is a trade-off between earnings and taxation: what people get to take home. I do not have the data, and I confess I do not know the full tax rates in Nordic countries, but I can say that the hourly rate in this country has risen consistently under this Government because of the national living wage—a Conservative Government development. The most recent rise of 6.6%, to £9.50, well above the forecast average inflation rate of 4% for the rest of this year, is the latest in a long line of above-inflation hourly rate rises under the national living wage.

From my local experience, I see the localised wage pressures to attract new staff in my constituency. Numerous businesses I have spoken to have told me they are raising their hourly rates above minimum wage to attract good new staff. There is a whole swathe of businesses, like the one I had the honour previously to lead, where, although the hourly rate is not the national living wage, it is in some ways pegged to it. The national living wage has a positive effect on hourly rates right across the economy.

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

The Living Wage Foundation has classified a living wage as an hourly rate of £11.05 in London and £9.90 outside London. That is significantly higher than the minimum wage set by the Government—it was George Osborne as Chancellor in a former Conservative Government who changed the branding from national minimum wage to national living wage. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Government should support the Living Wage Foundation and the rates it independently sets?

--- Later in debate ---
James Daly Portrait James Daly (Bury North) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

In opening the debate, the hon. Member for Glasgow East (David Linden) rightly pointed out that it is a UK-wide debate on an issue that affects constituents throughout the country, but in some parts of the country, pressures on the cost of living come from different sources and are very onerous. Wanting, as ever, to help, I have come to the Chamber today to highlight something that all politicians across Greater Manchester can do to prevent those pressures from being increased, namely ensure that the Greater Manchester clean air zone—created by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, supported by all the local authorities, and emanating from Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester—is scrapped. It is a ludicrous proposal that will place burdens on those such as the taxi drivers who today have rightly staged a go-slow throughout Bury town centre. To go to work, if they are in a non-compliant vehicle, they will have to pay £10 a day, which will be devastating, while lorry drivers will have to pay £60 a day. That affects businesses of all kinds. It affects employment, and all the other things that we have been discussing. The Greater Manchester clean air zone will put people out of business and out of work, and will increase already onerous costs.

I visited a haulage yard in my constituency and talked to Mark Hinchliffe, who set out very clearly the costs faced by his business and others like it. There is a transport café in Walmersley Road, and lorries travel along the motorway two minutes away from it. Any lorry driver who wants to have his or her breakfast in that café will have to pay a £60 congestion charge, which is ludicrous. The business that comes from everyone who goes to that small café, which has been open for decade upon decade, will be obliterated by a charge and a process that emanate from a plan delivered by Greater Manchester Combined Authority to central Government on 1 March 2019. This is a plan that has been championed continuously by the Mayor of Greater Manchester. The charge on my constituents was put to a vote at Bury Council on 28 July 2021, and all the Labour members present voted for that tax to be imposed on them.

In discussing the cost of living today, we have heard SNP Members quite rightly talk at great length about matters involving the Scottish Parliament. We have also heard the hon. Member for Ceredigion (Ben Lake) talk about the Welsh Assembly. However, we, too, have devolved government in Greater Manchester. It is a disaster, but it is devolved government all the same. When required to be there for the constituents of Bury and every other part of Greater Manchester during this difficult period, the best thing that the Mayor of Greater Manchester, the leader of Bury Council and all the other local authorities could do was to impose onerous taxation on businesses and individuals that will destroy their ability to earn a living. It is ridiculous.

I understand that the Mayor of Greater Manchester is coming to Westminster this week, as he should, to speak to Ministers. He has been thinking for years and years and years that this is the greatest plan in the world. On his visit here, I encourage him and all politicians—

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra
- View Speech - Hansard - -

Does the hon. Gentleman agree, that, since 2019, the market for vehicles has changed dramatically in the UK? That has a lot to do with covid, but also with the global semi-conductor shortage. Does he not think that the onus is on the Secretary of State to support the local authorities in Greater Manchester to make sure that they can make a just transition so that the population of Greater Manchester can breathe much cleaner air?

James Daly Portrait James Daly
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point. We have a complete difference of opinion. Both he and his Labour colleagues do not wish to scrap the scheme. They wish to go back to Government for further funding—for a hardship fund. That hardship fund has not been defined, but estimates of the funding required are in the region of £2.2 billion to £2.5 billion of income. I would be interested to hear where he proposes that income should come from. I hope that, instead of that and to support his constituents in Stockport, he will join me in telling the Mayor of Greater Manchester to say to the Secretary of State, “I got this wrong. We got this scheme wrong.” The consequences of it for my constituents and for the constituents of the hon. Gentleman are too severe.

Surely no politician, whether in Greater Manchester, Scotland, Wales or England, would simply go ahead with the plan of the Mayor of Greater Manchester, of the GMCA and of Transport for Greater Manchester to put people out of business. Why would anybody do that? It is incumbent on the Mayor of Greater Manchester to come to London this week and say, “This plan is wrong. I got it badly wrong.” He needs to ask the Government to look at it in that context and not dance around the edges. He should not say that we need extra money—a bit here and a bit there. He must say that the plan is a disaster in terms of the cost of living of my constituents and the constituents of the hon. Member for Stockport (Navendu Mishra). Every single politician who believes in supporting their constituents with the cost of living, which has been talked about today, should completely and utterly oppose the Greater Manchester clean air zone.

--- Later in debate ---
Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

A survey last year by 38 Degrees found that 36% of people asked in my constituency of Stockport had seen their energy bills rise. Since then we have heard from the Office for National Statistics that two thirds of adults in the UK have seen their cost of living increase. Meanwhile, half of Britons say that they could not afford an additional £50 a month or £12 a week on their cost of living.

What are the Government doing about it? While the Prime Minister jostles to protect his own future, he seems to have forgotten the job that he is in No. 10 to do. Wages have fallen in the face of inflation at a 10-year high, while rents have risen at their fastest pace in 13 years. All the while, the safety net of the furlough scheme and the £20 universal credit uplift have been swept from under people’s feet. In 2019, the public were promised a national living wage by the Conservative party, ahead of the general election, but even back then it was a wage that most could not live on. Now, while people struggle to make ends meet, the Government are in a crisis of their own making.

I believe it was the hon. Member for Broadland (Jerome Mayhew) who made a point about the minimum wage. What we need is an end to poverty wages. I am a supporter of the Living Wage Foundation, which sets the rate of pay per hour independently in London and outside. Surely what we should push for is better jobs—unionised, well-paid jobs—in communities such as mine.

If the meetings we hear about were truly work meetings, the Government and the Minister will have done enough work to explain to the people of Stockport how they will make tenancies more affordable or how their petrol and fuel bills will go down. In my constituency, the average rent for a two-bedroom property is an unaffordable £800 a month. Despite a recent review of the local housing allowance and a subsequent rise, the calculated rate is only £650 a month, so many people fall short. If people on low incomes have to find an extra £150 a month for a home, how can they be expected to cover the cost of the basics when prices are rising?

The Government do not seem to have a plan in place to boost skills and jobs for workers. As a result, we face a labour shortage, gaps on the shelves and rising prices. If the Government had a proper industrial strategy, we could deliver the green, well-paid jobs of the future but, sadly, we are missing that.

I shall keep my contribution brief and end with this point: as families face a calamitous drop in their standard of living, the Government need to get their house in order and sort out their act. My constituents, like many others across the country, need to know how they are going to pay those bills.

Access to Cash

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Wednesday 20th October 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Westminster Hall
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts

Westminster Hall is an alternative Chamber for MPs to hold debates, named after the adjoining Westminster Hall.

Each debate is chaired by an MP from the Panel of Chairs, rather than the Speaker or Deputy Speaker. A Government Minister will give the final speech, and no votes may be called on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mrs Miller. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Alex Davies-Jones) on securing this important debate at a time when access to cash is becoming increasingly limited. I thank many organisations who have campaigned on the issue, including Disability Stockport, the GMB union and Cardtronics for their informative briefings. The hon. Member for Motherwell and Wishaw (Marion Fellows) tabled an early-day motion in July this year on this matter and I was pleased to add my name to it.

We are experiencing a long-term decline in cash usage in our country. While those with the right technology see many benefits, vulnerable consumers such as older adults, those on low incomes and the digitally excluded often depend on cash to help with budgeting, and they are experiencing an access-to-cash crisis. In the past three years my constituency of Stockport has seen a 24% drop in free-to-use ATMs as a result of a reduction in the fees that banks pay to ATM providers, making an increasing number of machines unviable. That has led to many of my constituents facing an acute cash problem, including those with physical impairments.

That is why the chief executive of Disability Stockport, Mr McMahon, wrote to me recently to set out how the issue has an impact on so many people. He informed me that, although disabled people readily recognise the need to introduce new ideas and embrace the benefits that modern technology may bring, they are also understandably wary as previous changes have resulted in greater exclusion from services, with many describing them as

“inaccessible or just plain impossible”.

For example, Disability Stockport cites an example from earlier this month of a couple in their 80s who asked the charity for help with downloading ID and other information just to apply to the council for their path to be altered. The charity also notes the challenge caused by the speed of change, which often happens at a pace faster than elderly or disabled people’s ability to adjust. That inevitably results in a situation whereby, when alternative options are unavailable, a large number of people end up being disenfranchised. I urge the Minister to consider all those with physical impairments or limited access before introducing any changes. In addition, considerations must be made of vulnerable individuals whose specific disability may make them more susceptible to fraud or financial abuse.

Simply put, the systems that dispense cash should be retained for as long as people require them—however small a minority they become. I urge the Government to protect access to cash and review forthcoming legislation, which is likely to focus on protecting a bare minimum level of access as opposed to maintaining standards at a level that all consumers want.

Covid-19: Ethnic Minority Disparities

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Monday 1st March 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts

Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I agree with my hon. Friend, and add my congratulations to Keighley Muslim Association on its success, and particularly to Mohammed Nazam. Working with religious leaders and others to promote vaccine uptake among ethnic minorities, including housing vaccination centres in mosques and other places of worship, is important to ensure that we achieve good vaccine coverage within these groups. The NHS has now opened 47 vaccination sites in places of worship and community centres, as this boosts perceptions of vaccine safety and improves access. High-profile visits to these sites have a huge impact on the faith community being visited.

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab) [V]
- Hansard - -

Polling by HOPE not hate found that black people were more likely than any other group to blame a previous bad experience with the health system as justification for not wanting the vaccine. What steps will the Minister take to build trust in black communities who have experienced structural racism in the health system?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Government are doing everything they can to improve vaccine confidence and reduce vaccine hesitancy. Vaccines are the best way to protect people from coronavirus and save thousands of lives, and we want every eligible person to benefit from the offer of a free vaccine, no matter their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS are working closely with black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to support those receiving a vaccine. As part of that, we are working with faith and community leaders to give them advice and information about the universal benefits of vaccination and how their communities can get a vaccine. That has incorporated many activities. Most recently, as the hon. Gentleman will probably be aware, the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment requested a cross-party video for black MPs, so that we can show that we as parliamentarians believe that this is important, and I have promoted that in my role as Minister for Equalities.

Financial Reward for Government Workers and Key Workers

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Monday 14th December 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Westminster Hall
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts

Westminster Hall is an alternative Chamber for MPs to hold debates, named after the adjoining Westminster Hall.

Each debate is chaired by an MP from the Panel of Chairs, rather than the Speaker or Deputy Speaker. A Government Minister will give the final speech, and no votes may be called on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mr Stringer. I thank my good friend, my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Tonia Antoniazzi), for securing this important debate at a time when key workers have done so much on the frontline of the covid crisis to keep us all safe and our country moving. I draw attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, in particular my trade union membership.

As a former retail worker on the shop floor for six years, it is important for me to mention shop workers. Shop workers are key workers. If there is one thing that the pandemic has demonstrated, it is that the shop workers, cleaners and transport workers who are working at the coalface of this crisis are key workers who deserve not only our respect but fair pay, terms and conditions.

We must therefore look again at what support we give them. Recent research by the Trades Union Congress suggests that 3.7 million key workers—that is 38% of all key workers—earn less than £10 per hour. That is not reflective of the service they provide and it is why we must raise the minimum wage to £10 per hour at the very least, as well as put an end to unfair youth rates.

Moving on to the civil service, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) made the point that the current system of having over 200 sets of pay talks is hugely inefficient. When will the civil service address that poor practice by implementing a coherent pay system that covers all its workers through one set of centralised negotiations? Research by the Public and Commercial Services Union, which has done so much to bring this issue to the fore and whose petition has now received more than 100,000 signatures, revealed that in the past decade, since the Conservatives entered Government in 2010, civil service pay has fallen in value by up to 20%, with the average civil servant now worse off by more than £2,100 every single year.

Not only is that unacceptable, it is a completely unsustainable position for those who are earning less, year on year. Instead of rewarding Government workers and local government staff for continuing to deliver council services during the most challenging circumstances this year, there was a deep sense of injustice that the Chancellor instead used his spending review to announce a public sector pay freeze. The Fire Brigades Union, which represents firefighters who put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis, subsequently criticised the Government for divide and rule tactics, which is understandable, given that the wealthiest corporations have been allowed to cash in on the pandemic without shouldering any of the burden.

There must also be a new deal for retail, distribution and home delivery workers, based around a real living wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation—not the version this Government have appropriated—and guaranteed hours. As we have seen time and time again during this pandemic, it is imperative that we have meaningful statutory sick pay. The current provision is not fit for purpose and offers little support for those who are sick, having to self-isolate or look after loved ones.

A good route for the Treasury to raise revenue is by ensuring that businesses pay their fair share of tax, by tackling tax avoidance and the use of offshore havens once and for all. For example, over the past 20 years, Amazon paid just £61.7 million in corporation tax, despite its UK sales surging more than 26% to almost £14 billion in the past year alone. We cannot continue down a path on which businesses can afford to pay out millions to shareholders but plead poverty when it comes to paying decent wages to the staff members who create their profits and support our communities. As the Government stall on their support for workers, I urge all workers to join a trade union for the protection and dignity that they deserve.

Spending Review 2020 and OBR Forecast

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Wednesday 25th November 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my hon. Friend for his comment, as he is absolutely right, and from his own business experience he knows this well. He will know that one thing we do to incentive entrepreneurship through the tax system is our world-leading enterprise investment scheme and seed enterprise investment scheme programme, which provides significant support to private investors to help fund new businesses. We have expanded that scheme over time. I know he has thoughts on it, and I look forward to hearing them.

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

I refer the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

The taxpayer support for British businesses and jobs during this pandemic has been a lifeline for many, but today we hear that Rolls-Royce, which has benefited handsomely from the public purse while moving highly skilled jobs abroad, intends to shut down its historic Barnoldswick site until after Christmas and offshore the work to Japan, Singapore and Spain, in a clear attempt to break the current industrial action there. Does the Chancellor agree that these kinds of bully-boy, strike-busting tactics are utterly unacceptable and that all the financial support must be immediately withdrawn until Rolls-Royce comes to its senses, ends its lockout and gets back to the table with Unite the union to resolve this dispute?

Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I know that the aerospace industry has been suffering a particularly difficult time over the past few months, and that has impacted businesses such as Rolls-Royce and others up and down the supply chain. We have put some measures in place to help airports and get people flying again, and we enjoy conversations with specific companies all the time. I urge all companies to work constructively with their workforces through what is a difficult period and, we hope, find resolution. Collectively, we are all trying to protect jobs, but of course this is a very challenging set of circumstances.

Covid-19: Economy Update

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Thursday 22nd October 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am very grateful for my hon. Friend’s kind—I think—compliments; he knows that he is a large part of the reason why I am in this House, so he can take as much of the credit or blame for that as is required. I can give him the reassurance that he seeks. I have been delighted to visit his local businesses with him, and I know that he is an enormous champion for his local community, high streets and businesses. He works very hard on their behalf, and I know that the measures that we have announced today will make a difference to him and make sure that his community continues to be a thriving place.

Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

Alan Gent runs the Petersgate Tap in my constituency. He employs five members of staff and the impact of the pandemic was already choking his business. He is not currently paying business rates, but his private landlord has rejected his request for a rent holiday, and now that Stockport is in tier 3, he cannot stay open. The support currently offered is woefully inadequate. Will the Chancellor now commit to addressing the real hardship of those who work in Stockport’s pubs, bars and hospitality sector?

Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I have every sympathy with the hon. Gentleman’s constituent—I know what a difficult time it must be for him and his team and for those in similar industries—but actually I think that the support provided already will help him. The pub will be eligible for a business rate cash grant of up to £3,000 per month that he remains closed under tier 3 restrictions; across the UK, it will vary by place, but that should largely cover the vast majority of small and medium-sized pubs’ rental bills for that time. Of course, the five team members that the hon. Gentleman mentions could be put on the expanded job support scheme at essentially no cost to the employer. Those employees’ wages will be protected and covered by the Government.

Black History Month

Navendu Mishra Excerpts
Tuesday 20th October 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Navendu Mishra Portrait Navendu Mishra (Stockport) (Lab)
- Hansard - -

I thank my good friend the hon. Member for Erith and Thamesmead (Abena Oppong-Asare) for securing this really important debate. We have heard many powerful speeches today from Members on both sides of this House about their own proud history of being black but also, sadly, their all too familiar experience of racism.

What is clear is that while we have made strides in recent years to educate, inform and raise awareness of black history—not least since the start of Black History Month more than 30 years ago—it continues to be an ongoing struggle to highlight the oppression, racism, bias and bigotry that black people face on a daily basis in our country. Greater Manchester, where my Stockport constituency is based, has its own rich history of incredible individuals whose sacrifice and struggle led to the incremental steps in the long journey to the UK becoming a more equal society and inspired so many people to lead that same fight for this generation.

Too often, black history is little more than an afterthought in our education system, despite it being an integral part of our country’s legacy. Indeed, just last month, the education charity Teach First found that pupils could complete their GCSEs and leave secondary school without having studied a single word by a non-white author and black history being widely absent from the school curriculum. This Government must act now to right this wrong and ensure that young people learn about black British history and colonialism as well as the uncomfortable lessons of Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. Schools should be at the forefront of this learning. Issues such as migration, empire and belonging are relevant not only to young people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds but to students from all backgrounds, to enable them to gain a full understanding of the varied and wide-ranging cultural inputs that have contributed to the making of Britain.

The campaigns and keystone moments that have been at the forefront of change in our country must also be taught. For example, the Bristol bus boycott of 1963 arose from the refusal of the Bristol Omnibus Company to employ black or Asian bus crews in the city. While this was in common with other cities, as there was widespread racial discrimination in housing and employment at the time, in Bristol the youth worker Paul Stephenson, among many others, alongside the West Indian Development Council, led the boycott of the company’s buses, which lasted for four months until the company backed down and overturned the colour bar. The Bristol bus boycott was considered by some to have been influential in the passing of the Race Relations Act 1965, which made racial discrimination unlawful in public spaces, and the Race Relations Act 1968, which extended the provisions to employment and housing.

It is vital that we learn from those who have led the struggle before us. For example, Greater Manchester has its own long and proud black history, notably the boxer Len Johnson, who, having been denied the opportunity to fight for championships in Great Britain because of the colour bar that existed in his sport at the time, took on his greatest battle of all—campaigning to lift the colour bar in Manchester. He died in relative anonymity in Britain but was mourned internationally as a pioneer for equality in sports. He is also remembered as a stalwart in the local Labour movement who worked to improve race relations among the city’s working class.

One individual who helped to inspire me and shape my own views was Mrs Jayaben Desai. Of Indian heritage, she famously led the Grunwick dispute of mostly women workers—a landmark strike in the fight for fairness and equality in Britain, including better pay and conditions, and dignity for all workers. Mrs Desai and the Grunwick strikers shattered the stereotype of the subservient south Asian woman and brought thousands of people together to stand up for migrant workers. In a now famous speech, she said:

“We have shown that workers like us, new to these shores, will never accept being treated without dignity or respect.”

Another is the former NBA legend John Amaechi, who has been a Stockport resident and a stalwart in the battle for racial equality, speaking out regularly about the difficult experiences of growing up as a black man. Yet, as he recently pointed out, despite the progress that has been made to date, without meaningful action we are a long way from the equal society we all strive for. He summed up the challenge as follows: “I’m 50 years old. I am going to die with racism rampant. How ludicrous is that?”

Racism is a systemic problem that will require systemic solutions. Education is not enough to address racial inequalities, as we saw as recently as 2016 in a Trades Union Congress report revealing that black workers with degrees earn almost a quarter less than their counterparts. There must be interventions that directly challenge racial inequalities in the workplace. That is why this Government need a race equality strategy that sets out the vision for a thriving multicultural Britain, puts in place the concrete measures to reduce the structural inequalities faced by black people in Britain, and fundamentally changes the system and institutions where racial disparities exist.

That needs to happen urgently, but I am sure that my colleagues on this side of the House will not hold their breath while this Government are led by a Prime Minister who thinks it is perfectly acceptable to label black people “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” and confesses that they make him “turn a hair”. That is a barrier to any form of progress. It is exactly the sort of racist mindset that must be stamped out if we are to truly progress as a nation, accept all those who live in our country, acknowledge their hard work and sacrifice, which has helped to give our country its prominent standing on the world stage, and stop the cycle of history repeating itself.