Mr Philip Hammond debates with HM Treasury

There have been 16 exchanges between Mr Philip Hammond and HM Treasury

Tue 2nd July 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 61 interactions (1,873 words)
Tue 21st May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 71 interactions (1,996 words)
Tue 9th April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 71 interactions (1,781 words)
Tue 5th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 77 interactions (2,324 words)
Tue 29th January 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 103 interactions (2,630 words)
Tue 11th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 93 interactions (2,186 words)
Tue 6th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 89 interactions (2,155 words)
Tue 11th September 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 69 interactions (1,996 words)
Tue 3rd July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 82 interactions (2,138 words)
Tue 22nd May 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 80 interactions (2,091 words)
Tue 17th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 89 interactions (2,897 words)
Tue 27th February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 78 interactions (2,070 words)
Tue 16th January 2018 Oral Answers to Questions 77 interactions (1,872 words)
Tue 28th November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 87 interactions (2,333 words)
Tue 24th October 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 87 interactions (2,300 words)
Tue 18th July 2017 Oral Answers to Questions 64 interactions (1,988 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

Mr Philip Hammond Excerpts
Tuesday 2nd July 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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HM Treasury
Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP) - Hansard

2. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the economic effect on Scotland of the UK leaving the EU. [911675]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 11:40 a.m.

I regularly discuss EU exit with the Secretary of State for Scotland and other members of the Cabinet. The Government remain committed to securing a deal that works for the entire United Kingdom.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 11:41 a.m.

There might be two people competing to be Prime Minister, but I think there are at least five who think they will be the next Chancellor, so perhaps right hon. Gentleman should just get to stay in post and then they will all be equally disappointed. He seems to be concerned that they are somehow going to ruin his deal dividend, but is it not the truth that there is no real dividend from any Brexit, that the best possible deal for Scotland and the rest of the UK is the one we already have, which is membership, and that that is the case that he and other sensible Government Members should have the courage to be making?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 11:42 a.m.

I have consistently made the case and explained to this House that there is fiscal headroom within the current fiscal rules. If we have a smooth exit from the European Union through a transition that will remove the economic uncertainty that is hanging over our economy, it will then be safe to release that headroom and make it available for additional public spending or, at the choice of the next Government, to reduce taxation. Either way, we have the headroom available once we have removed the Brexit uncertainty.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Nicky Morgan (Loughborough) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 11:42 a.m.

Is it not the case that Scotland, like everybody else, will know the plans for future public spending, for fiscal headroom and for the economic effects overall if the comprehensive spending review were to be started sooner rather than later? Is the Chancellor able to tell the people of Scotland, the people in this House and the people beyond when the comprehensive spending review will be starting?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 11:42 a.m.

I announced at the spring statement that it is the Government’s intention to conduct a three-year spending review concluding this autumn, subject to a deal with the EU being completed. Departments are already commissioned to carry out the work necessary for such a spending review, but it will be for the new Government to decide whether the circumstances make it appropriate to conduct a full three-year spending review or a single-year exercise.

Gavin Newlands Portrait Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard

22. Mark Carney has warned that Brexit has already cost households up to £900, with the Fraser of Allander Institute suggesting that it could cost Scotland 100,000 jobs by 2030. Given that the Chancellor was a remainer himself, will he, as a Back Bencher—I wish him well in that, incidentally—vote against any deal removing us from the single market and customs union? [911696]

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 11:43 a.m.

As I have consistently said in this House, I do not believe that a no-deal exit would be in the interests of this country, and I will do everything I can to ensure that we avoid it, but an exit based on a negotiated deal that allows us to continue a close trading relationship with the European Union can work for Britain, and that is what I will be arguing for.

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp (Croydon South) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 11:43 a.m.

Is the Chancellor aware that only 18% of Scottish exports go to the rest of the European Union but 61% go to the rest of the United Kingdom? Is not the Union that really matters to Scotland the Union of the United Kingdom?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

Yes, my hon. Friend is exactly right. The Scottish economy would be far more adversely affected by a breach of trading relationships with the rest of the United Kingdom than it will by a breach in trading relationships with the European Union.

Preet Kaur Gill Portrait Preet Kaur Gill (Birmingham, Edgbaston) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard

3. What progress the Government have made on establishing a shared prosperity fund. [911676]

Break in Debate

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD) Parliament Live - Hansard

12. Whether he plans to launch a three-year spending review before the summer recess; and if he will make a statement. [911686]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:12 p.m.

As the right hon. Gentleman would have heard me say if he had been in his place earlier, I announced in the spring statement that it is the Government’s intention to conduct a three-year spending review, concluding this autumn, subject to a deal with the EU being completed. He asks whether I plan to launch the spending review before the summer recess: I can tell him that Departments have already been commissioned to carry out the work necessary for such a review. It must be for the new Government to decide, in the circumstances, whether it is appropriate to conduct a full three-year spending review or a one-year exercise.

Tom Brake Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:12 p.m.

I can assure the Chancellor that I saw him give that response on television earlier. What would be the impact on the comprehensive spending review of either the proposal of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt) for a £13 billion cut in corporation tax and a £12 billion increase in defence spending, or the proposal of the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) for a £9 billion higher rate income tax threshold cut, £11 billion national insurance contributions cut and showing the public sector “some love”? Would those unfunded bribes be paid for by tax increases, cuts in services or both?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

I fear that the right hon. Gentleman is manifestly asking the wrong person that question. I literally cannot answer it. The purpose of a spending review is that such matters can be looked at in the round, and the responsible way to do a spending review is first to set the envelope of what is affordable, and then to look at the different bids, which will—I can confidently predict—greatly exceed the available spending power, and prioritise. That is the difficult business of government, and that is why I am not in favour of ad hoc spending commitments or tax cut commitments being made.

Mr Speaker Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The Chancellor is a clever chap, but his capacities do not include the capacity to penetrate the minds of colleagues, especially those in competitive vote-seeking mode.

Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) (Con) Parliament Live - Hansard

Homes England indicates a current pipeline of some 15,000 community- led homes in England. That shows the significant positive impact of the community housing fund. Will my right hon. Friend confirm the continuance of the fund so that those much-needed homes can be built?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:14 p.m.

As my hon. Friend knows, we have signed off the Truro funding decision, and I am sure she is happy about that. The Prime Minister has made very clear that dealing with the challenges in the housing market is a priority for the Government, and in the spending review we will continue to prioritise funds to support both the housing market and the provision of social and affordable housing.

Chuka Umunna (Streatham) (LD) Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:15 p.m.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and the Chancellor is still in his post, does he envisage there being enough fiscal headroom following the spending review to give the top 10% of earners a tax cut worth more than £9 billion? Surely that is wholly unjustified.

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:40 p.m.

I think the hon. Gentleman has sketched a highly unlikely scenario, but I can answer his question. We have built up about £26 billion or £27 billion of fiscal headroom, and the purpose of that headroom is precisely to protect the UK economy from the immediate effects of a possible no-deal exit. I have no doubt whatsoever that in the event of a no-deal exit we will need all that money and more to respond to the immediate impacts of the consequent disruption, which will mean that no money will be available for longer-term tax cuts or spending increases.

Let me go further: the Government’s analysis suggests that in the event of a disruptive no-deal exit there would be a hit to the Exchequer of about £90 billion, and that will also have to be factored into future spending and tax decisions.

Kevin Hollinrake Portrait Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Con) - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:16 p.m.

I certainly agree with my right hon. Friend that we need to be careful with our spending pledges, but I think that investment spending is different, particularly when the investment is in the north. Has my right hon. Friend had time to consider our letter of 29 April—signed by 80 parliamentarians—which calls for £120 billion of investment spending over 30 years and a bringing forward of the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

We are committed to investment in infrastructure. One of the things that I have done in my three years as Chancellor is move the balance of spending towards investment in economic infrastructure, and we now have the highest level of public capital investment for 40 years. We have a National Infrastructure Commission to set long-term guidance for the Government on how to invest in infrastructure investment, and that will be considered in the zero-based capital spending review that sits alongside the main spending review. However, I assure my hon. Friend that this Government are committed to investing in the productive capacity of the UK economy, because it is the only way to raise real wages and living standards, and that is what government is all about.

Alan Brown Portrait Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP) - Hansard

13. What recent assessment he has made of the effect of his fiscal policy on living standards. [911687]

Break in Debate

Mary Glindon Portrait Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) (Lab) - Hansard

T1. If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities. [911699]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:21 p.m.

My principal focus is to ensure the continued resilience of the UK economy and public finances at this time of uncertainty. Thanks to the hard work of the British people, our national debt is now falling sustainably for the first time in a generation, but it is still too high and it is vital that the Government continue to get debt down to ensure that the economy is resilient against future shocks, to prevent the wasting of billions of pounds more on debt interest payments, and to avoid burdening the next generation.

Mary Glindon Portrait Mary Glindon - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:22 p.m.

Since 2013 this Government have given tax handouts worth £4.1 billion to the big alcohol corporations at a time when the NHS is short of 40,000 nurses. Would it not be a sensible choice to invest in the nurses, doctors and police officers who have to deal with the problems caused by cheap alcohol?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:23 p.m.

We have done so: by 2023-24 we will be spending an extra £34 billion a year on the national health service. That is a record cash injection to our national health service, which represents this Government’s commitment to it.

James Cartlidge Portrait James Cartlidge (South Suffolk) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T5. Will my right hon. Friend the Chancellor confirm that he is absolutely committed to maintaining the independence of the Bank of England? [911703]

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:22 p.m.

Yes, it is a vital cornerstone of our institutional structure that the Bank of England remains independent, and those who have suggested that they would seek to politicise appointments to the Bank of England would be doing a great disservice to this country and our economy.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

The Chancellor, like most of us, has been watching the accumulation of spending promises by the Tory leadership candidates. They amount now—[Interruption.] They amount now to nearly £100 billion, and one of the Chancellor’s colleagues commented yesterday that they make me look like a fiscal moderate. May I ask the Chancellor what impact this level of unfunded commitments would have on his economic strategy, or can he tell us how they could possibly be funded?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:24 p.m.

There are many people who could comment on spending commitments that have been made by candidates in the Tory leadership competition, but the right hon. Gentleman is not one of them.

John McDonnell - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:24 p.m.

Let me try this one. Both Tory leadership candidates are threatening no deal. This morning, the Chancellor has eloquently set out the consequences of no deal. Bearing in mind what he said, may I ask him very straightforwardly whether he will join us and commit himself to doing everything he possibly can to oppose the prorogation of Parliament to try to sneak no deal through, and also to voting against no deal?

With your permission, Mr Speaker, if I may: this might be the Chancellor’s last Treasury questions and I just want to thank him for the civility with which he has always maintained our relationship. I also admit that there have been times when we have enjoyed his dry sense of humour. I gave his predecessor a little red book as a present. We have another red book today, but this is a guide to London’s rebel walks and we hope that he will enjoy it in his leisure periods.

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:24 p.m.

That is very kind of the right hon. Gentleman; I much prefer this little red book to the one he gave my predecessor, although I have to say that I have not read this one and I have read the other one.

On the broader question, I have been consistently clear that I believe that a no-deal exit would be bad for the UK, bad for the British economy and bad for the British people. We cannot rule out that happening, because it is not entirely in our hands, but I agree with him that it would be wrong for a British Government to seek to pursue no deal as a policy. I believe that it will be for the House of Commons, of which I will continue proudly to be a Member, to ensure that that does not happen.

Break in Debate

Mr Barry Sheerman Portrait Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T2. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has much good advice given to him, but is he picking up the nightmare scenarios that I am getting from senior business people in the north of England who fear that we are heading for a new global economic meltdown? They believe that that, combined with our crashing out of the European Union, would be a disaster for their businesses and for the country. [911700]

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:22 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is right to point to storm clouds over the global economy. We tend to focus on Brexit-related issues and the domestic agenda, but I have just come back from the G20 in Osaka, and looking more widely, we can see that global growth is slowing and that global trade growth is slowing even more dramatically. A great deal hinges on finding a solution to the disputes between China and the United States. It is hugely in our interests that that dispute is resolved and that normal trading relations are resumed between the world’s two economic superpowers. As a middle-sized open economy, we are bound to be adversely affected if global trade slows down.

Colin Clark (Gordon) (Con) Hansard

T7. Dean’s short- bread, based in Gordon, has been encouraged by the annual investment allowance to invest in new facilities. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this policy is stimulating business to release pent-up investment and that it demonstrates the confidence of UK companies? [911705]

Break in Debate

Mrs Pauline Latham Portrait Mrs Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T8. I congratulate my right hon. Friend and this Government on the net zero emissions climate change commitment. What are his plans to achieve that goal? [911706]

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

We made an announcement this morning about our plans for green finance. Over the coming months and years, it will be essential to demonstrate how we are able to mobilise our capital markets and the instruments of a market economy to deliver on this huge enterprise. If we do not demonstrate how the market economy can provide solutions to decarbonising our economy, there are others with alternative solutions to present.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T4. During the Department for International Development estimates debate yesterday, there was a clear consensus across the House that the 0.7% of GDP aid commitment should remain and, for that matter, that DFID should remain an independent Department. Will the Chancellor restate that that remains the whole of Government policy, and does he believe that it should continue to be Government policy after 24 or 25 July? [911702]

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:22 p.m.

As I think the hon. Gentleman knows, that position is enshrined in statute, and only this House of Commons could change it.

Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:31 p.m.

More of my Southampton constituents are in work than ever before, but many of their jobs are low-paid, with few career prospects, if any. What are the Government doing to improve employment opportunities for my constituents?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

We have worked hard to build a stronger, fairer economy, dealing with the deficit that we inherited, helping people into work and cutting taxes for people, families and businesses, and the result is that the economy has grown continuously for the past nine years. Employment is currently at record high levels, unemployment is currently at the joint lowest rate since 1975, and real wages are rising again. We have created 3.5 million new jobs, but the next stage must be about increasing real wages by raising productivity, because that is the only sustainable way to raise the living standards of working people in this country.

Marsha De Cordova Portrait Marsha De Cordova (Battersea) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T10. Last month, the Wandsworth food bank published its yearly report. It showed that 5,770 emergency food parcels were handed out in a year—a 76% increase over five years; that nearly half of referrals were due to problems with social security, specifically the five-week wait for universal credit; and that nearly two thirds of those supported by a food bank adviser were disabled or had a long-term health condition. The consequence of Tory austerity is that record numbers of people are relying on charity to eat. Since this is probably the Chancellor’s final oral questions in post, may I ask whether he is proud of that legacy? [911708]

Break in Debate

Rushanara Ali Portrait Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:36 p.m.

I welcome the Chancellor’s remarks about a no-deal Brexit and the disaster it would be for our country, costing jobs and livelihoods. Does he agree that both Conservative leadership candidates, who support a no-deal Brexit, should stop selling out the country to serve their own political ambitions? Will he commit to joining us in voting against a no deal when and if he returns to the Back Benches, and to voting with us on a no-confidence motion, if it comes to that, to stop a no deal?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:22 p.m.

At this stage of my career, I will not speculate on my future actions. What I will say is that the Government’s analysis shows that a no-deal exit would mean that all the regions, nations and sectors of the UK economy have lower economic output compared with today’s arrangements and compared with the White Paper scenario that the Government set out. It is important we all understand that preparing for a no deal, which is a perfectly sensible thing to do because it might happen to us without our volition, is not the same as avoiding the effects of a no deal.

Martin Vickers Portrait Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:37 p.m.

Net zero emissions by 2050 is a desirable but very costly policy. Does the Chancellor agree that we must do everything to protect low-income families in my Cleethorpes constituency and elsewhere from bearing an unfair burden?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

Yes. This is a huge commitment, but it is the right commitment to make. The Committee on Climate Change recommended that the Treasury should undertake a review of the funding and financing mechanisms to ensure that this huge undertaking can be funded, and that it will be funded in a way that is fair to families, households and businesses across the UK, which is exactly what we will do.

Alison Thewliss Portrait Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard

The “All Kids Count” report, on the impact of the two-child limit after two years, was published last week by the Church of England, the Child Poverty Action Group, Women’s Aid, Turn2us and the Refugee Council. The report illustrates the devastating impact of the two-child policy, particularly on working families who are unable to compensate for the £2,780 a year cut by working longer hours. Before the Chancellor leaves office, will he scrap the two-child policy and its devastating impact on families?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con) Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:39 p.m.

The decision by the European Union to suspend the equivalence agreement with Switzerland seems to be very damaging. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor has done a fantastic job over the past few years. Will he confirm whether the United Kingdom was consulted on whether the decision should go ahead?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:39 p.m.

We have been closely involved in this issue, discussing it both in the EU and with the Swiss. I can tell the House that although on the face of it the withdrawal of equivalence had a very significant effect on the ability of UK shareholders to trade Swiss shares on the Swiss stock exchange, the measures that the European Securities and Markets Authority announced on Friday significantly mitigate the impact. So we very much hope that the European Union and Switzerland will be able to reach agreement, and of course there is a very direct relevance to the UK’s own negotiations with the European Union.

Ruth George (High Peak) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:40 p.m.

Will the Chancellor commit to enabling the 120,000 families on very low incomes who find out about a tax credit overpayment when they claim universal credit to have a fair chance to appeal against those deductions averaging £1,500 being made and to giving them a chance to raise themselves out of poverty?

Break in Debate

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp (Croydon South) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:40 p.m.

Does the Chancellor share my concern about the way some local councils are misusing Public Works Loan Board loans to speculate on commercial property, including many in Surrey?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

My hon. Friend knows that I do share his concerns on this matter. The Public Works Loan Board is there to support local authorities’ capital spending. Some of the development activities of local authorities are perfectly legitimate: for example, the regeneration of urban areas. What is not legitimate is local authorities arbitraging the low interest rates of the PWLB to buy commercial property for yield, in order to develop income-yielding property portfolios. The Treasury is looking at how we can manage that situation.

Mr Speaker Hansard
2 Jul 2019, 12:39 p.m.

Order. We have now had 20 topical questions. Whether this is the Chancellor’s last appearance at the Dispatch Box as Chancellor remains to be seen, but whether it is or not, he will always be able to tell his children that demand for him exceeded supply of him. He can say to them proudly, “I always left them wanting more of me.”

Oral Answers to Questions

Mr Philip Hammond Excerpts
Tuesday 21st May 2019

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
HM Treasury
David Linden Portrait David Linden (Glasgow East) (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard

6. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the NHS pension scheme tapered annual allowance. [911006]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:50 a.m.

The NHS pension scheme and other public service schemes are among the most generous pension schemes available in this country today. The tapered annual allowance is focused on the highest-earning pension savers to ensure that the tax relief that they receive is not disproportionate to that of other savers. However, I do accept that there is some evidence that the annual allowance charge is having an impact on the retention of high-earning clinicians in the NHS. I am in discussion with my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary about how to provide additional pension flexibility for NHS doctors affected by the annual allowance tax charge, and he will make an announcement as soon as possible.

Paul Masterton Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:50 a.m.

I am grateful to the Chancellor for that answer, and particularly to the Government for accepting that the taper contributes to capacity gaps and retention issues in the NHS. Given that the costs of increased waiting times, delayed diagnosis and knowledge gaps far outweigh the tax revenue generated, would not the sensible and fiscally responsible thing be just to scrap the taper altogether?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:51 a.m.

I understand my hon. Friend’s point. However, the overall reforms to pensions allowances that were made in the previous two Parliaments and include the tapered annual allowance are necessary to deliver a fair system and to protect the public finances. These measures affect only the highest-earning pension savers and are expected to raise £6 billion a year. But, as I said, we are monitoring the response of high earners in the NHS, and I expect that my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary will be able to make an announcement soon.

Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:52 a.m.

A number of hospital consultants who live in my constituency have written to me to express their concern at the implications of the tapered annual allowance. With GP numbers continuing to fall, ongoing shortages across consultant specialties and armed forces doctors currently experiencing a 23% workforce shortfall, how is the Chancellor going to help doctors and patients by resolving the unintended consequences caused by the annual tapered allowance and lifetime annual allowance that are leading to doctors who would otherwise be happily continuing to work having to leave the profession to avoid disproportionate and unfair tax bills?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:52 a.m.

I think I have answered that question, but it is good to hear Labour MPs focusing on the disincentive effect of high taxation, particularly on professionals in our public services. Someone has to be earning £150,000 a year before the tapered annual allowance affects them. I would suggest that perhaps Labour Members who do understand the detrimental effect of very high marginal tax rates on professionals in our public services make those representations to their right hon. Friend the shadow Chancellor, who is intending to raise tax for everybody earning more than £80,000 a year.

David Linden Portrait David Linden - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:52 a.m.

One of the constituents I have in Barrachnie is a consultant who has told me that there are concerns about recruitment and retention. Given that a recent survey shows that 40% of doctors have retired early as a result of pension tax changes, I would urge the Chancellor to look again at this and make as strong a case as possible to the Health Secretary so that he can make sure that we have the staff in the NHS to serve our communities.

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:53 a.m.

As I have already said, both the Treasury and the Health Department wish to address this problem. We have to find a mechanism that does it in a way that is fair and appropriate. The right way to do it is through increasing flexibilities within the NHS and, potentially, other public sector schemes. My right hon. Friend the Health Secretary will make an announcement as soon as possible.

Eddie Hughes Portrait Eddie Hughes (Walsall North) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:53 a.m.

Yesterday I met representatives of Alliance Health Group who were making representations because a number of very experienced surgeons are leaving the NHS due to the problems with the pension. I just wondered how representations would have been made to the Treasury on behalf of consultant groups.

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:53 a.m.

The British Medical Association has been vocal, I think is probably the right word, in making the case around the disincentive effect of annual allowance charges, in particular, but also lifetime allowance charges. The Health Secretary and I have been discussing this for some time, and I think we are close to reaching a conclusion.

Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) (Change UK) Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 11:54 a.m.

The workforce shortfall is the greatest challenge facing the NHS. What discussions has the Chancellor had with the Health Secretary about the combined impact of these changes together with the disastrous consequences for the NHS workforce that would follow a no-deal or WTO Brexit?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

As the hon. Lady says, recruitment and retention is one of the big challenges facing the NHS. Clearly, anything that were to impede the NHS’s access to overseas workers coming into the UK to serve in our health service would have an impact on that. But I have also recognised and acknowledged today that the operation of the pension annual allowance charge does have a significant effect—particularly, it seems, on partners in GP practices.

Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck Portrait Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

7. What fiscal steps he is taking to tackle child poverty. [911007]

Break in Debate

Philip Dunne Portrait Mr Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

8. What fiscal steps he is taking to support the high street. [911009]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:01 p.m.

High streets are at the heart of our communities, and they serve a social as well as an economic purpose. To support them, at Budget 2018 I cut business rates for small and medium-sized retail premises operated by independent retailers by a third for two years from April 2019, saving businesses over £1 billion. We have also set up a £675 million future high streets fund.

Philip Dunne Portrait Mr Dunne - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:01 p.m.

I very much welcome those measures in last year’s Budget, but for this coming comprehensive spending review, will my right hon. Friend consider offering occupiers of listed premises in town centres with freehold or full repairing lease obligations a VAT exemption on repairs and maintenance of those premises, which is a cost they have to bear but their online competitors and other retailers outside high streets do not?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:02 p.m.

I have to say to my right hon. Friend that, under EU law, we cannot introduce a reduced rate of VAT that is limited to repairs, maintenance and renovation of listed buildings. In any case, VAT incurred on their properties by VAT-registered businesses may be recoverable from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, subject to the normal VAT recovery rules. However, the good news is that we remain committed to supporting our high streets, and on Saturday we announced a £62 million fund to breathe new life into historic buildings on heritage high streets, which I hope will go some way to helping.

Sir George Howarth Portrait Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:02 p.m.

Does the Chancellor agree with me that companies such as St Modwen that buy up town centres such as Kirkby in my constituency do nothing with them—in fact, they leave them to rot—and then simply sell them on to a pension fund? Is that the way we want to run the future of our town centres, and has he not got anything more imaginative that can be done about it?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:03 p.m.

The £675 million fund that I mentioned is specifically intended to allow local authorities to develop plans for responding to the transformation of the high street that is coming. Retailing is changing, and high streets have to change to reflect that. We cannot hold that tide back, but we can help to support the transition.

Mr Philip Hollobone Portrait Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:03 p.m.

Boots the Chemist, one of the most popular high street stores, says that just 22 of its 2,400 stores qualify for the Chancellor’s excellent business rates reduction scheme—not because of anything the Chancellor has done, but because of EU state aid rules. What can the Chancellor do to assist and to get around those rules?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

I am a little mystified by this story about Boots, which I too read in the newspapers. When I announced the policy, I said that it was designed to help small independent retailers, and Boots, with 22,000 providers, does not fall within my definition of a small independent retailer. We always understood that this policy initiative was designed to support small independent retailers as they transition to the high street of the future.

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:03 p.m.

I call Anneliese Dodds. [Interruption.] No? I had the distinct impression that the hon. Lady wished to come in on this question, but it is not obligatory.

Break in Debate

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:04 p.m.

Last Friday, I met members of the Chamber of Trade at Newtownards. Of three small shops in the town of Ards, one started off employing 10 and now employs 60, one started off employing six and now employs 30, and one started off employing 20 and now employs almost 100. Would the Chancellor consider rates reduction for those high street shops that increase employment?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

As far as I am aware, rates is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland; it is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive, which I very much hope will be back in operation very soon.

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD) Parliament Live - Hansard

9. What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of Government funding to mitigate climate change. [911010]

Break in Debate

Daniel Kawczynski Portrait Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

14. What progress he has made on reducing income tax. [911015]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard

The Government are proud of their record of reducing income taxes to enable people to keep more of what they earn. We have increased the personal allowance by over 90% in less than a decade. We have given 32 million people an income tax cut compared with 2015-16, and thanks to the changes that I made at the last Budget, a typical basic rate taxpayer will pay £130 less income tax this year than last year.

Daniel Kawczynski Portrait Daniel Kawczynski - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:14 p.m.

I thank the Chancellor for that answer, and I thank him and his team for getting to grips with the extraordinary annual structural deficit inherited from the Labour party. Bearing that in mind, and given that we are now on a course towards a balanced budget, will he focus with laser-like precision on continuing to reduce income tax for hard-working families, putting clear blue water between us and the socialists in the run-up to the next election?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:14 p.m.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to focus on the much improved state of the public finances and the direct link between that and our ability to consider further tax cuts. What I said at the spring statement remains the case: for the first time in a decade, this country now has choices—we have headroom because of the improved state of the public finances. We can choose to use that to support additional spending on public services, or we can choose to reduce the deficit more quickly. We can choose to invest in Britain’s future, or we can choose to cut taxes on ordinary working families. The luxury of choice is something that this country has not seen for a decade.

Alison McGovern Portrait Alison McGovern (Wirral South) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:14 p.m.

I think there must be an election coming up, because the right hon. Member for Esher and Walton (Dominic Raab) is on the front page of The Daily Telegraph today saying that we should “Cut income tax for a ‘fairer’ Britain”. We do need a fairer Britain, because we have the highest level of inequality in Europe. The so-called living wage does not solve inequality, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the House of Commons Library briefing of yesterday, so when it comes to the choices that the Chancellor is going to make, what is his choice in tackling inequality in Britain?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:19 p.m.

I am afraid I do not agree with the hon. Lady about the national living wage. We have set out an ambition for it to reach 60% of median earnings by next year, which we will achieve. As I said in the spring statement, we now need to give a new mandate to the Low Pay Commission for the future trajectory of the national living wage, and I want us to be ambitious in doing that, but I do not want us to price low-skilled people out of work. That is why I have started a series of roundtables, the first of which was the week before last, with representatives from industry and the trade unions to decide what our strategy will be to increase the national living wage in this country.

Mike Wood Portrait Mike Wood (Dudley South) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

How many people in the west midlands are benefitting from recent increases to the personal allowance and the higher-rate threshold?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

The answer is lots. Had I known my hon. Friend was going to ask me that, I would have been able to give him a precise answer. I will write to him.

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:20 p.m.

Put a copy of the answer in the Library of the House—we will all find it most informative.

Mr Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry) (DUP) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:21 p.m.

My party has advocated the raising of the personal allowance, and I am glad that the Chancellor has done that over the past few years, but does he agree that part of the problem now is that part-time and full-time employees on low pay, just below the threshold of £12,500, pay national insurance contributions? Will he consider eliminating that to the same level as the allowance?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:21 p.m.

We always have to find the most cost-effective way to deliver the effect we are looking for. We have chosen so far to do that by raising the personal allowance thresholds, but the hon. Gentleman makes a perfectly legitimate argument for a different approach in the future. As I have said, we will have choices as a result of the much improved state of the public finances.

Sarah Champion Portrait Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T1. If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities. [911026]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:22 p.m.

My principal focus is to ensure the continued resilience of the UK economy at a time of domestic and international economic uncertainty. By maintaining our balanced approach to the public finances and continuing to focus on investment and cutting taxes for working families, we have ensured that public debt is now falling sustainably, employment is at a record high, wages are rising and Britain’s economy is forecast to grow more than three times as fast as Germany’s this year.

Sarah Champion Portrait Sarah Champion - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:22 p.m.

The report by the all-party group on adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse demonstrated the economic impact of not supporting victims: 72% said it had had a negative impact on their career; 65% on their education; and 46% on their financial situation. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said about survivors that

“it should be government’s responsibility to prioritise support for these people”.

Will the Chancellor prioritise support for these services in the spending review?

Break in Debate

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:24 p.m.

The Chancellor’s speech to the CBI this evening has been much trailed. I welcome his clear warnings to his Conservative colleagues about the hit the economy would face from a no-deal Brexit, especially those who have said there is nothing to fear from a no deal. For the benefit of Members in the Chamber, will he explain what he sees as the impact of a no-deal Brexit and his clear view that with

“all the preparation in the world”

a no-deal Brexit will still damage our economy?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:24 p.m.

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman: I may not have to take the trouble to go and deliver the speech this evening.

The right hon. Gentleman has raised a serious point. There are two separate effects of a no-deal Brexit that concern me. First, there will clearly be short-term disruption, which will have an unpredictable and potentially significant effect on our economy. Secondly, and probably more importantly, all the analysis that the Government and external commentators have published shows that there will be a longer-term effect, meaning that our economy will be smaller than it would otherwise have been. I did not come into politics to make our economy smaller; I came into politics to make our economy bigger, and to make our people better off.

John McDonnell - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:25 p.m.

I shall be happy to deliver the Chancellor’s speech this evening. Any time!

The reality is that for many the Brexit vote was, and may well be again, a kick at the establishment: an establishment that has inflicted nine years of harsh austerity on them, and which many feel has ignored them. As has been revealed this week, that austerity programme has meant children going to school hungry, without warm clothes or dry shoes, and single mothers with no food in their cupboards skipping meals so that their children can eat. Does the Chancellor even acknowledge the role that his austerity politics have played in delivering the Brexit vote?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:26 p.m.

I think the reasons behind the Brexit vote are complex, and it would be trite to stand here and try to identify them simplistically. Let me also remind the right hon. Gentleman of the contribution that his party’s Government made to the situation that we inherited, which caused us to have to make the tough decisions to which he has implicitly referred.

Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:27 p.m.

Ten days ago, I met heads and chairs of governors from across my constituency at Corfe Hill School. Will the Chief Secretary to the Treasury meet me to discuss their specific concerns about schools funding, and the need for additional funding for our schools in Poole and in Dorset as a whole?

Break in Debate

Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:28 p.m.

Will my right hon. Friend the Chancellor consider changing the method of assessing a property’s rateable value, so that all shops on the high street pay business rates that reflect their profitability and trading potential, putting them on a level playing field with their out-of-town and online competitors?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

I understand my hon. Friend’s wish to ensure the vibrancy of the high street, which is going through a very difficult period. Owing to the way in which the business rate system works, relieving the burden on any part of the system means imposing it somewhere else, so we would have to look carefully at that, but I will take my hon. Friend’s representation as a serious proposal and consider it.

Mary Glindon Portrait Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T4. Out- sourced low-paid workers in both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are on strike because their employers, Interserve, ISS and Aramark, are refusing to pay the London living wage, and in some cases have not paid staff wages for weeks. Will the Chancellor stand up for those employees, and do whatever he can to help Departments bring outsourced contracts back in-house? [911029]

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

That is a matter for the Departments concerned. As the hon. Lady knows, there is a legal obligation to pay the national living wage, and we have put additional resources into ensuring that that obligation is enforced. We encourage employers to pay higher rates than the national living wage when they are able to, and we will continue to do so.

Kevin Hollinrake Portrait Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:29 p.m.

When Sally Masterton discovered a £1 billion fraud at Lloyds Bank the bank discredited her, constructively dismissed her and prevented her from working with the police investigation. Five years later Lloyds apologised for her mistreatment but nobody at the bank has been formally investigated or sanctioned for this mistreatment. Will the Minister use his powers to instruct the Financial Conduct Authority to carry out that investigation?

Break in Debate

Emma Dent Coad (Kensington) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard

T5. According to the Sunday Times rich list the 10 wealthiest people in the country have a combined wealth of £143 billion; half of them live in my constituency. Meanwhile, according to the Child Poverty Action Group, across Kensington and Chelsea 8,500 children—37%—live in poverty, and in one ward nearly half do. Inequality in my constituency is getting worse. When will the Chancellor reverse this trickle-up economy by chasing tax-dodging plutocrats who are stealing food from the mouths of our children, many of them from working poor families? [911030]

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:31 p.m.

We are chasing tax dodgers everywhere. [Interruption.] Yes, we are. We have raised £200 billion of additional revenue since 2010 by clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion. Yet what did I hear when I came into the Chamber today? I heard Labour Member after Labour Member challenging my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury about the loan charge, a clear attempt to deal with a piece of egregious tax avoidance which Opposition Members seem to have a totally different view about.

Vicky Ford Portrait Vicky Ford (Chelmsford) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

If we want more renewables and more electric cars we need a more resilient electricity grid, and that needs more investment. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the last thing we need for a cleaner, greener Britain is for the Labour party to wipe billions of pounds off our National Grid’s investment capacity?

Break in Debate

Dr Caroline Johnson Portrait Dr Caroline Johnson (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:33 p.m.

What estimate has my right hon. Friend made of the effect on national debt of nationalising the National Grid and the effect it would have on the taxes paid by ordinary working people and the public services they receive in my constituency?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:33 p.m.

We know that the cumulative burden of the commitments made by the Opposition Front Bench would reach almost £1 trillion over a Parliament, and I have heard—[Interruption.] If the shadow Chancellor has a number, no doubt we will hear about it in a moment; I have heard him say that it does not matter because these companies are profitable, so the profits will pay the additional interest costs. But let me tell my hon. Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Dr Johnson) something: I remember the last time we had widespread nationalisation in this country and—do you know what?—none of the companies the Government owned were profitable. Funny that, isn’t it?

Anna Turley (Redcar) (Lab/Co-op) Parliament Live - Hansard

T7. I have listened in astonishment to the answers from the Financial Secretary and the Chancellor about the loan charges. Given that the Financial Secretary admitted that the Government were pursuing six companies on a legal basis over this—they are admitting they are the companies responsible—why do they pursue constituents like mine, many of whom were obliged to undertake these tax changes in order to get work? [911032]

Break in Debate

Lord McLoughlin Portrait Sir Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire Dales) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:34 p.m.

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer acknowledge the important role that the national lottery has played in this country? When he looks at the national lottery, will he ensure that any future lottery that is run on a national basis is taxed at the same rate?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:34 p.m.

My right hon. Friend raises an interesting question, and I will look carefully at the taxation of the national lottery and any future lotteries.

Wera Hobhouse Portrait Wera Hobhouse (Bath) (LD) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:34 p.m.

Anti-idling rules are a good start in reducing air pollution, but local authorities need the legal powers and resources to enforce them. Would the Treasury consider making new money available to local authorities to stop cars idling?

Break in Debate

Justine Greening (Putney) (Con) Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:34 p.m.

As the questions today have demonstrated, the Treasury needs to take a much longer-term view of investing in people and their human capital, just as it does in relation to physical capital. When is the Office for National Statistics’ human capital review finally going to report? It was announced in March 2018, but I cannot even find out whether its consultation has been published yet.

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, 12:34 p.m.

I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend, because it was at her prompting that I originally asked the Office for National Statistics to look at how we measure and value human capital to ensure that there is no systematic bias against human capital in favour of physical capital. The ONS has in fact delivered its draft report, and the question of how we measure and value human capital will be at the centre of the spending review process.

Dame Diana Johnson Portrait Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, midnight

Has the time not come for the Chancellor to heed the call from the Westminster leaders of seven Opposition parties to fund proper compensation for those infected and affected by the NHS blood scandal across the whole United Kingdom?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
21 May 2019, midnight

That is an issue for the Department of Health and Social Care. I understand the hon. Lady’s concerns, and I will pass them on to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Oral Answers to Questions

Mr Philip Hammond Excerpts
Tuesday 9th April 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
HM Treasury
Maggie Throup Portrait Maggie Throup (Erewash) (Con) - Hansard

1. What estimate he has made of the average annual savings to hauliers from freezing the level of fuel duty since 2010. [910295]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:34 a.m.

Fuel duty has been frozen for nine consecutive years, saving money for all those who regularly use our roads. I can confirm that the average road haulier has saved £23,300 per vehicle on fuel since 2010 compared with the pre-2010 escalator plan. However, the benefits to hauliers and motorists of freezing fuel duty must be balanced against the cost to the Exchequer in the context of our need to fund our public services, so we continue to keep it under review.

Maggie Throup Portrait Maggie Throup - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:34 a.m.

Hauliers have definitely been a major beneficiary of the duty freeze, but will my right hon. Friend consider helping the industry further by investing in a new motorway junction between junctions 25 and 26 of the M1 to help improve connectivity throughout the east midlands?

Mr Hammond Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:35 a.m.

From 2020, all English road tax will be spent on our roads via a dedicated national roads fund—that will be £28.8 billion between 2020 and 2025, including £25.3 billion for strategic roads. We have spent £120 million on the recently opened smart motorway between junctions 23a and 25 of the M1, which will reduce congestion, but we will, of course, continue to take into account the need for connectivity in planning future roads investment in the east midlands.

Daniel Zeichner Portrait Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:35 a.m.

The Chancellor says this needs to be balanced against the needs of the Exchequer, but what about the needs of the environment? What effects have we seen during the period of the freeze, with the failure to tackle emissions and with the road transport sector in particular failing compared with others?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:36 a.m.

We have an extremely good track record on decarbonising our economy. We have set extremely ambitious targets, and we are ahead of all our significant competitors in delivering them.

Priti Patel Portrait Priti Patel (Witham) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:36 a.m.

The freeze in fuel duty has helped hauliers across Essex, but of course there is another measure that could help our hauliers and businesses even more, which would be to dual the A120. Will my right hon. Friend have a word with the Department for Transport to see how we can use the taxes raised to get this road dualled?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:36 a.m.

Never a Treasury questions goes by without my right hon. Friend raising the dualling of the A120. Of course we have a very large fund available, with £25.3 billion for strategic roads, and I am sure my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport is well aware of the compelling arguments in favour of dualling the A120.

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:37 a.m.

What tax breaks is the Chancellor putting in place so that hauliers are able to continue through the uncertainty on contracts during the transition period as we leave Europe?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

As I have already mentioned, hauliers have benefited very significantly from the freeze in fuel duty, but the hon. Gentleman asks a wider question. If we were to find ourselves leaving the European Union without a deal—a situation that I sincerely hope will not arise—we have a full range of tools available to us, including all the usual tools of fiscal policy. I have headroom within the fiscal rules of just under £27 billion, as I set out at the spring statement, and the Government will work closely with the Bank of England in those circumstances to ensure that fiscal and monetary policy are used to support the UK economy.

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:38 a.m.

As vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on fair fuel for UK motorists and UK hauliers, the voice of Kirstene Hair must be heard.

Kirstene Hair (Angus) (Con) Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:38 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Of course, hauliers and motorists warmly welcome the fuel duty freeze, but they are concerned about the disparity in fuel costs across the country and the impact of the cost of oil—they are not seeing that at the pumps. Will the Chancellor, or a member of his ministerial team, meet me to discuss an independent fuel price regulator and to see whether we can sort out these issues?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

We have a marketplace in fuel in this country, but I understand my hon. Friend’s point. I am sure the Exchequer Secretary would be very happy to meet her to discuss it.

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:38 a.m.

When she is not busy vice-chairing the all-party group.

Mr Barry Sheerman Portrait Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op) - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:39 a.m.

I chair Labour’s Back-Bench environment, food and rural affairs committee.

The Chancellor always impresses me. He is thoughtful, and I like him a lot. He is thoughtful on Europe and on the environment, but can I take him back to what my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Daniel Zeichner) said? Is it not about time we had a modern taxation system that encourages sustainable transport? We are killing kids and poisoning pregnant women. We know that air pollution is of the utmost importance. I appeal to the Chancellor’s radical instinct: let us have a new form of sustainable taxation.

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:38 a.m.

I am bemused by the disappearance of Mr Angry, who I am quite used to dealing with at the Dispatch Box. As I said earlier, we have a good track record on decarbonisation and addressing air quality challenges. We provide substantial support for ultra low emission vehicles, we have a highly differentiated vehicle excise duty and company car tax regime, which encourages the purchase of the cleanest and most efficient vehicles, and we will go on seeking to change behaviour through a carefully constructed tax system.

Chi Onwurah Portrait Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

2. What recent assessment the Government have made of trends in the level of manufacturing output. [910296]

Break in Debate

Alex Chalk Portrait Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

5. What steps he is taking to increase take-home pay for low-paid workers. [910300]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:55 a.m.

The Government are committed to making work pay and ensuring that people keep more of the money they earn in their pockets. Last week, we saw another above-inflation increase in the national living wage, meaning that a full-time worker on the national living wage would be earning £690 more over the coming year. This week, the personal allowance has increased to £12,500. A single person on the national minimum wage, working 35 hours a week, would have taken home £9,200 in 2010; this year, they will take home £13,700.

Alex Chalk Portrait Alex Chalk - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:55 a.m.

One way of increasing take-home pay is to create more high-paying jobs in the first place. Does my right hon. Friend agree that Cheltenham’s Government-backed cyber innovation centre, which sees the country’s finest cyber-security minds from GCHQ nurturing small businesses, is an excellent example of how the state and the private sector can combine to boost the economy and generate great jobs to boot?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:55 a.m.

I agree that the public and private sectors can work together to support digital businesses, including in the vital area of cyber, and that is why we have established the Cheltenham innovation centre as part of our £1.9 billion commitment to cyber-security.

Lilian Greenwood Portrait Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

18. Last month, Nottingham Trent University released a report mapping Nottingham’s employment trends. It found that, in the 10 years from 2008 to 2018, earnings in our city rose by just 11.6%, compared with 19.9% nationally. Too many of my constituents are working hard, but are still in poverty and are reliant on benefits just to make ends meet. What specific action is the Chancellor taking to tackle low pay and economic insecurity in order to ensure that people in Nottingham do not just have work but have good work? [910313]

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:55 a.m.

There are two parts to our approach. The first is a laser-like focus on raising productivity—investing in the infrastructure and skills that we need to raise productivity—because that is the only way to raise wages sustainably. We have also introduced the national living wage, and have increased it way ahead of inflation. We will have to set a new target for the national living wage from next year. I announced in the Budget that I have asked Professor Arindrajit Dube to conduct a survey of the literature on minimum wages and employment opportunities for people on low pay, so that we can address this issue and seek to raise the pay of the lowest paid as fast as we can without destroying their employment opportunities.

Stephen Crabb Portrait Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:55 a.m.

Further increases in the national living wage are vital to tackling the low pay culture, but does the Chancellor agree that as the rates increase, so does the risk of non-compliance? Does he therefore think that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is adequately resourced to be able to go after rogue employers who do not pay a fair wage?

Mr Hammond Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:55 a.m.

Yes, my right hon. Friend is right. We have provided HMRC with additional resources, and wherever HMRC get reports, it pursues them. It also proactively looks for employers who are not meeting their legal obligation.

Anneliese Dodds Portrait Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 11:55 a.m.

A recent survey by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies showed that a third of workers struggle with the cost of living and two thirds of workers expect to get poorer this year, yet FTSE 100 CEOs have been seeing their wages rise six times as fast as those of the average worker. To me, that sounds like a laser-like focus on increasing inequality.

Mr Hammond Hansard

The Government are responsible for the productivity agenda and the setting of targets for the national living wage. As I have already set out, working in those two tracks is the way to deal with the challenge of low pay. I can tell the hon. Lady what will not help workers on low pay: having their personal allowance taken away from them.

Stephen McPartland Portrait Stephen McPartland (Stevenage) (Con) - Hansard

6. What progress he has made on reducing the total amount of tax that people pay. [910301]

Break in Debate

Sir Desmond Swayne Portrait Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

12. What steps he is taking to improve the performance of the financial services sector. [910307]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:13 p.m.

UK financial services are globally competitive, and this Government are focused on maintaining that competitiveness. Leaving the EU with a deal will ensure that financial services businesses can continue to operate across borders into the EU. Through our global financial partnerships initiative, we will also build a new framework for rest-of-the-world cross-border financial services.

Sir Desmond Swayne Portrait Sir Desmond Swayne - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:13 p.m.

How will we ensure that those businesses do not end up being regulated from overseas?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

We have always been clear that the UK must maintain control of the regulations governing one of its most important sectors and, crucially, a sector that the UK taxpayer stands behind. Those regulations have to be made in the UK. The agreement we have negotiated with the EU in the political declaration means that each side would make its own choices on regulation through its own legislative processes, and if any of these lead to our respective regulatory regimes no longer being equivalent, either side would have the right to withdraw market access.

Mary Creagh (Wakefield) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The financial services sector is not above the law. If I can take the Chancellor back to the loan charge, what steps is he taking against accounting firms that told my constituents, who are working in the IT sector with a Government Department, that these schemes were perfectly legal? My constituents now find themselves laden with debt from HMRC and paying these things back. What is he doing about those corrupt accountants?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:14 p.m.

The hon. Lady is absolutely right. As well as pursuing tax avoiders themselves, we have to pursue those who promote tax avoidance. My right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary has just told me that there are over 100 promoters of avoidance schemes who are currently under active investigation by HMRC.

Bim Afolami Portrait Bim Afolami (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con) - Hansard

14. What steps his Department is taking to encourage people to save for their pensions. [910309]

Break in Debate

Emma Hardy Portrait Emma Hardy (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T1. If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities. [910320]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:19 p.m.

My principal responsibility is to ensure economic stability and the continued prosperity of this country. I will do that through: supporting our vital public services, such as the NHS; investing in Britain’s future; keeping taxes low; and continuing to reduce the nation’s debt. Securing an orderly departure from the EU will allow our mutual trade to flourish and encourage businesses to invest more in Britain’s productive capacity.

Emma Hardy Portrait Emma Hardy - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:19 p.m.

Shoplifting crime is increasing, antisocial behaviour crime is increasing, violent crime is increasing. The Prime Minister said that austerity is over, so when can we expect to see the Treasury give the Home Office the funding needed to replace the 20,000 police officers lost since 2010?

Break in Debate

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:24 p.m.

With the Brexit dialogue ongoing it is best to leave exchanges on that topic to the negotiations, although I hope we can all count on the Chancellor, if not everyone on his own side, to continue to insist that no deal is not an option.

Turning to Google, when will the Chancellor tackle the scandal of Google’s tax avoidance? Google has an estimated taxable profit of £8.3 billion in the UK, so it should have a tax bill, according to the Tax Justice Network, of £1.5 billion. That would pay for 60,000 nurses, 50,000 teachers, seven new hospitals, 75 new schools. It pays £67 million. Why is the Chancellor, year on year, letting Google the tax avoider off the hook?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:28 p.m.

As the right hon. Gentleman probably knows very well, the issue is a good deal more complex than he suggested in his question. We have announced the introduction of a digital services tax to begin to address the challenge of shaping our tax system to respond to the digital age, but the problem is that we have a set of international tax rules that we are obliged to follow, which were invented in the age when international trade was all about goods. Nowadays it is mostly about services, and much of it is about digital services. The international tax system is simply not fit for purpose and the UK is leading the charge in international forums—including the G20, which will be meeting later this week in Washington—in looking for a new way to allocate profits appropriately between jurisdictions where digital platform businesses are involved.

John McDonnell - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:28 p.m.

After nine years in government, that smacks of an excuse, and let me say to the Chancellor that the Government’s digital services tax has been roundly criticised as being too narrow and having artificial carve-outs. Let me move on from one scandal to another: the scandal of London Capital & Finance. LCF collapsed in January, leaving 11,000 investors in the lurch. They had £286 million invested in the company and most of them were not wealthy people. The Financial Conduct Authority was repeatedly warned of LCF’s dubious structure and operations and failed to respond to those warnings. A decade on from the financial crash and our regulatory system is still not fit for purpose. What action is the Chancellor taking to secure justice for the LCF investors and to reform our regulatory system?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:28 p.m.

We take very seriously the failure of London Capital & Finance. Last week, my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary directed the FCA to launch an investigation into the company. We will carry that investigation out and look carefully at the findings.

Chris Heaton-Harris Portrait Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:26 p.m.

In Question 2 the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah) told us how warehousing across the country was full to bursting point as businesses prepared for a no-deal Brexit. In a leaked letter last week, the Cabinet Secretary implied that business was not ready for a no-deal Brexit. Which is correct?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:28 p.m.

We know that manufacturing companies have been building precautionary buffer stocks of imported components to give them resilience against any disruption at our ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit—this tends to be larger companies. However, it is also the case, as my hon. Friend knows very well from his work as a Minister, that despite the Government’s attempts to engage with business, there are still far too many businesses who have adopted the famous approach of the ostrich in the sand in relation to this eventuality and are not taking precautionary actions to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal exit.

Imran Hussain (Bradford East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T2. In keeping with the non-angry Yorkshire approach, as set out by my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman), if, indeed, this Chancellor is thoughtful, he will know that, according to research by the Centre For Towns, Yorkshire’s growing digital sector is being stifled by patchy broadband connectivity across the region, which is costing us money and jobs. Roles continue to flow down south and into London. With the roll-out of the next generation of 5G internet technology, will the Chancellor, in his thoughtfulness, commit to making funding available for the accelerated adoption of this in the Yorkshire region? [910321]

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:28 p.m.

Rolling out full fibre is essential to Britain’s digital future. That will be done largely by the private sector. The public sector’s role will be to provide the appropriate support in areas where full fibre roll-out is not commercially viable, but supporting the urban centres in all our conurbations, including in Yorkshire, will be an early priority for the broadband roll-out programme. I should say to the hon. Gentleman—I hope this will cheer him up—that I recently met an Italian digital entrepreneur who has relocated his business from silicon valley to Sheffield and he said it was the best decision that he ever made.

Mr Philip Hollobone Portrait Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:29 p.m.

Given that the people have already decided, presumably the Chancellor does not want a second referendum.

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

Contrary to some reports, I have never advocated a second referendum. I simply observed that it is a coherent proposition along with many others that have been discussed in this House.

Bambos Charalambous Portrait Bambos Charalambous (Enfield, Southgate) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T3. My borough of Enfield has seven times more households living in temporary accommodation than the national average, with 18% of people in Enfield classed as being low paid. I have no doubt that the two figures are related so how can the Chancellor defend the Government’s record on in-work poverty, insecure work and zero-hours contracts, which have caused so much hardship for so many? [910322]

Break in Debate

Rachel Maclean Portrait Rachel Maclean (Redditch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:33 p.m.

Does the Chancellor agree that the announcement that small shops will save up to £8,000 in business rates is a fantastic boost for our high streets? Will he please commit to supporting the bid from Redditch for the future high streets fund?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

Of course, the rates relief that we have offered over a two-year period to smaller independent retailers will help the high street, but retailers have to use that breathing space to adapt to the changing environment that they face. We cannot freeze the high street in aspic and we must face the reality of the digitisation of our economy. So let us work together to transform our high streets so that they are sustainable for the future.

Ruth George (High Peak) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard

T6. The Chief Secretary said in response to the right hon. Member for Derbyshire Dales (Sir Patrick McLoughlin), who is no longer in his place, that schools would be funded for the additional costs of the teacher pension scheme, yet the Minister for School Standards wrote to me yesterday saying that he was still in the process of reviewing evidence. Schools have not been informed. They have not been given those costs within their budgets and they are having to decide whether to make redundancies because they do not have the information. Please will the Chief Secretary provide clarification? [910325]

Break in Debate

Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove (Corby) (Con) - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:34 p.m.

Will the Chancellor explain why the customs union is the wrong policy choice for the future strength of the UK economy?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:35 p.m.

The Prime Minister negotiated a deal with the European Union which gave us many of the benefits of being in a customs union, while preserving our ability to conduct an independent trade policy. We put that deal to the House effectively three times and it was defeated three times, so we have to pursue other options.

Mary Glindon Portrait Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) (Lab) - Hansard

T7. Cuts in alcohol duty have cost the Treasury £4 billion over the last five years. What assessment has the Chancellor made of the impact of those cuts on public health and alcohol-related deaths? [910326]

Break in Debate

David Linden Portrait David  Linden  (Glasgow East)  (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T8.   Housing associations in Parkhead, Tollcross and Shettleston have high levels of tenement stock, and the cost of maintaining it is prohibitive. Will the Chancellor agree to meet me to discuss the case for a modest reduction in VAT to preserve tenement housing, which is a key part of our architectural heritage in Glasgow? [910327]

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:36 p.m.

That is not an issue with which I am familiar, but I should be happy to hear more about it from the hon. Gentleman. Perhaps he would like to write to me in the first instance, setting out the details of his argument.

Vicky Ford Portrait Vicky Ford (Chelmsford) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:37 p.m.

In Chelmsford we love our high street. Does my right hon. Friend agree that giving nine out of 10 of our shops a business rates reduction of up to £8,000 a year will help to create a more level playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar shops?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:37 p.m.

Yes. As I said earlier, it is essential for the high street to evolve to respond to the digital age, but there is no doubt that smaller shops need a breathing space in which to do so, and reducing their business rates this year and next will help them in that regard.

Dr Rupa Huq Portrait Dr Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T9. May I appeal to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to show some humanity to loan charge victims? They have been coming to me in tears, and we know that, nationally, some have committed suicide. Children are suffering because of tax arrangements made years ago. Will the Government please pause these punitive retrospective charges, and go after the providers with the same vigour with which they are going after the little people? [910328]

Break in Debate

Kevin Hollinrake Portrait Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:39 p.m.

Will we continue to invest in the northern powerhouse, and, in particular, will we fully fund the Transport for the North plan for a TransPennine rail upgrade?

Mr Philip Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Apr 2019, 12:39 p.m.

As I said in my recent spring statement, the Government remain committed to the northern powerhouse and to Northern Powerhouse Rail, and I am working on the TransPennine rail upgrade with my right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary.

Mr Toby Perkins Portrait Toby  Perkins  (Chesterfield) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

T10.     I welcome what the Chancellor said to my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) a few minutes ago about investigations into the promoters of some of the disguised remuneration schemes, but that will not do many of the victims much good. A business in Chesterfield is facing bankruptcy because of the charge. How might his review actually help the people who have wrongly taken advantage of this advice? [910329]

Oral Answers to Questions

Mr Philip Hammond Excerpts
Tuesday 5th March 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
HM Treasury
Vicky Ford Portrait Vicky Ford (Chelmsford) (Con) - Hansard

15. What fiscal steps he is taking to establish the UK as a world leader in new technologies. [909586]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:42 a.m.

The Government are determined to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of the development of new technologies. Since 2016, I have committed £7 billion more—a 20% uplift —for research and development, thus demonstrating clear progress towards the Government’s ambition to raise investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. Among other things, those funds are supporting a £305 million national quantum technology programme and a £950 million artificial intelligence sector deal, and there is £250 million for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Trudy Harrison Portrait Trudy Harrison - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:42 a.m.

Small modular reactors could bring a wealth of economic, environmental and social benefits. Will the Chancellor confirm that he supports their merits, and that there will be financial and policy support to ensure that they succeed?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:43 a.m.

The Government do indeed recognise the potential for the UK to become a leader in the development of the next generation of nuclear technologies, provided that there is demonstrable value for money for consumers and taxpayers. To that end, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is considering an industrial strategy challenge fund proposal for small modular reactors, and whether it would provide value for money.

Eddie Hughes Portrait Eddie Hughes - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:43 a.m.

I do not know whether you are aware, Mr Speaker, that up to 50 different metals may be used in a smartphone. What fiscal support could be given to the excellent work done by Birmingham University in addressing the rareness of those materials, as well as the recycling and reuse of batteries?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:44 a.m.

My hon. Friend is right. Rare earths and other critical elements are at the centre of the electronics industry which now defines our modern life. Some of the materials are very scarce, and recycling the large amounts that are already in use in batteries is crucial. In the 2017 spring Budget I announced the £246 million Faraday battery challenge, to be funded from the national productivity investment fund. Supported by the fund, the University of Birmingham, together with industry partners, is leading the way in developing new methods of recycling the lithium batteries which power so many of the objects that we use in our everyday lives.

Vicky Ford Portrait Vicky Ford - Parliament Live - Hansard

Quantum technology is one of the most mission-critical technologies being developed today, and so far much of the work has been done at research level. How do the Government intend to help leading British companies such as Teledyne e2v in Chelmsford to commercialise this activity, to ensure that quantum technology remains based in the UK?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:45 a.m.

I knew Chelmsford was going to get in there somewhere.

The additional £7 billion I mentioned earlier is focused on applied research and industry innovation and the commercialisation of the UK’s world-leading science base. Quantum technologies have the potential to be transformative, and the UK is a global leader, so last autumn I committed £315 million for a second phase of the UK’s landmark national quantum technology programme. This investment includes a £70 million industrial strategy challenge fund, which will help leading UK firms such as Teledyne accelerate getting their products to the market.

Mr Barry Sheerman Portrait Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:45 a.m.

The Chancellor knows very well that Huddersfield in the Leeds city region is a hotspot for new technology and innovation and a tech centre, but many people in Huddersfield and Leeds are demoralised by the future and leaving the European Union. What can the Chancellor do to give them some hope that there is a future for their businesses and universities?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:46 a.m.

I am well aware that Huddersfield, like Chelmsford, is a leading centre of industry and technology development. Many of our towns and cities that have traditionally been centres of manufacturing are changing very fast in response to the changing nature of manufacturing industry. What I can say to the hon. Gentleman is that I will be making a spring statement to the House next week in the context of some very important decisions that the House will be making about our exit from the EU, and I will be setting out my vision for Britain’s future.

Melanie Onn (Great Grimsby) (Lab) Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:46 a.m.

Renewables is a key future technology sector. Can the Chancellor assure the House that the growth of the offshore sector will not be limited by Government airspace protection rules, or, if it will, will the Government look to invest instead in onshore wind?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:47 a.m.

I think the hon. Lady is talking about radar interference problems with wind turbines, something I remember from my Ministry of Defence days. The Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will always argue robustly for protecting the economic potential of these technologies, but of course we have to look at our national security interests as well and get the balance right.

Mr Chris Leslie (Nottingham East) (Ind) Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:47 a.m.

How on earth do people think that we are going to be improving the UK’s new technology position when we are on the brink in this House of committing to a disastrous Brexit that will undermine our research funding, stifle our skilled migration, hobble in some ways some of the developments in our pharmaceuticals and biotech sector, and wave goodbye to the European Medicines Agency? Isn’t the truth that actually our task is going to be to prevent a deterioration in our prospects as a country if we go down that route?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:48 a.m.

I understand the hon. Gentleman’s point and I know he speaks sincerely and from the heart on these matters, but my view is that we have a huge amount of pent-up investment that has not gone ahead over the last two and a half years because of uncertainty. Once we can provide clarity to British business about our future, which we do by supporting the deal that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be bringing forward next week, we will unleash that investment, allowing Britain to achieve its rightful potential as one of the world’s leading technology powers.

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam) (Con) - Hansard

18. New technologies enabling us to work from anywhere and at any time are bringing an end to the traditional, rapidly declining nine-to-five. In order to make the most of this we need to harness such advantages to work smarter rather than just harder. How is the Treasury investing in enabling people to become more productive and to work more flexibly? [909589]

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:49 a.m.

I started work in 1977 and I am not sure I ever remember that traditional nine-to-five, but the Government are helping people to be more productive and work flexibly by committing over £1 billion of public money to next-generation digital infrastructure, including full fibre broadband and 5G. Obviously the primary investment will come from the private sector, but the public investment ensures that those parts of the country that would not otherwise be served because they are not commercial can share in this important technology. We are also supporting workplace productivity in other ways, including by investing £56 million to help small businesses to develop leadership and management skills in partnership with “be the business” programme.

Clive Lewis Portrait Clive Lewis (Norwich South) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:49 a.m.

I am sorry, but when it comes to funding the new technologies that really matter, this Government, and especially the Treasury, have been abysmal. The climate crisis is upon us now, but this Government’s reaction has been to axe carbon capture and storage funding; to cancel the Swansea lagoon, despite the fact that we were poised to be a world leader in tidal technology; and to slap innovative emerging storage technologies with business rates. At the same time, they are throwing billions into new tax breaks for oil and gas. Does the Chancellor agree that this Government are not facing the climate emergency but creating it?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:49 a.m.

No, we are committing additional funding to innovation and to research and development—the Faraday battery challenge is a good example—and lots of that money is going into the technologies that will underpin the decarbonisation of our economy. However, we have to get the balance right. Consumers of energy in this country do not want to see their bills rising because we have made imprudent decisions. We have to do this in a way that takes public opinion with us as we decarbonise our energy sector, our homes and our industry in a sustainable way.

Chris Green Portrait Chris Green (Bolton West) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

20. What is my right hon. Friend doing to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses in the north-west of England are at the forefront of our ongoing technological revolution? [909591]

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:49 a.m.

I recently visited the north-west of England and saw at first hand the enterprising and enthusiastic spirit of SMEs in the region. I am happy to confirm that, in the 2018 Budget, I backed locally led innovation by doubling the strength in places fund to £235 million. I also committed an additional £5 million to encourage proposals for new university enterprise zones, following a successful pilot scheme that invested £15 million in Liverpool. The made smarter pilot in the north-west is helping manufacturers to adopt digital technologies, and together these measures will ensure that businesses in the north-west can take the lead in the fourth industrial revolution.

David Linden Portrait David Linden (Glasgow East) (SNP) - Parliament Live - Hansard

4. Whether his Department has undertaken an economic impact assessment of extending the national living wage to people under the age of 25. [909575]

Break in Debate

Gordon Henderson Portrait Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Con) - Hansard

6. What steps he is taking to increase the level of funding for road infrastructure. [909577]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Philip Hammond) Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:58 a.m.

At the Budget, I announced an extra £420 million for road maintenance, including potholes, and £150 million to ease congestion on local roads. I also announced that, from 2020, all road tax will be invested back into our road network via a national roads fund, which will involve £28.8 billion between 2020 and 2025, including a record £25.3 billion for our strategic roads. That is part of our plan to upgrade our infrastructure so that it is fit for the future and another element of our overall public investment, which is set to reach the highest sustained level for 40 years.

Gordon Henderson Portrait Gordon Henderson - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:59 a.m.

I am grateful for that answer and for the continued investment in our roads, but does my right hon. Friend understand the frustration felt by my constituents, who have seen their area transformed by massive housing developments, but have not seen improvements to the local road infrastructure, particularly the A249 and the M2, to serve the new homes?

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard

We are making good progress on improving junction 5 of the M2 and the A249 Stockbury roundabout, reducing journey times, making journeys safer and supporting future housing and employment growth. All that is in addition to recent investments from the local growth fund in Sittingbourne and Sheppey, including the opening of a new roundabout on the A2500 in December 2018 following a £1.26 million investment and £2.5 million for the regeneration of Sittingbourne town centre.

Dan Jarvis Portrait Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, 11:59 a.m.

Funding for road infrastructure is very important, but I wonder whether the Chancellor thinks it should sit alongside investment in more active travel—walking and cycling.

Mr Hammond Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Mar 2019, noon

Both. Of course we want to encourage active travel—cycling and walking—particularly in cities where that is the most appropriate response to dealing with the twin challenges of congestion and air quality. Sheffield has benefited from funding that will allow it to enhance the offer to walkers and cyclists.

Priti Patel Portrait Priti Patel (Witham) (Con) - Parliament Live -