Oral Answers to Questions Debate

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Department: Home Office

Oral Answers to Questions

John Bercow Excerpts
Monday 28th October 2019

(11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Home Office
Alex Chalk Portrait Alex Chalk - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 2:59 p.m.

I am delighted that the settlement scheme is progressing at pace, with 2 million or so people signing up. However, some individuals in my constituency really benefit from face-to-face contact, so what steps are being taken, through pop-up shops or whatever, to ensure that they can get the vital hands-on support they need?

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 3 p.m.

Stone followed by Chalk seems apposite.

Brandon Lewis Portrait Brandon Lewis - Hansard

The Home Office is undertaking a programme of work through voluntary organisations, and the £3.75 million scheme includes working with people at pop-up events. I visited one in Great Yarmouth that is doing excellent work with communities so that people can see how simple the system is and are able to apply, and we encourage more people to do so. We have now reached 2.2 million applications, and I look forward to that number growing quickly.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 3 p.m.

From Stone to Chalk to Cherry—I call Joanna Cherry.

Joanna Cherry Portrait Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP) - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 2:54 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Introducing digital-only proof of status will cause many problems for EU citizens, and low digital users in particular. The Home Office’s own assessment of creating a digital-only “prove your right to work” service said that there was

“very strong evidence that this would cause low digital users a lot of issues”,

so does the Minister agree that the same will apply to the EU settlement scheme? Will he reconsider the provision of physical documents?

Break in Debate

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse - Hansard

My hon. Friend has been a persistent champion for those in the retail trade who are subject to crime. I will be more than happy to look at the point that he raises—not least because if the data shows that there is a problem, we have to do something about it.

I would just say to my hon. Friend that when Westfield shopping centre opened in west London, there was a concern about crime. I recommended that all employers there gave time off to some of their shop staff so that they could become special constables, on the basis that there would then always be a police officer on duty.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 3:19 p.m.

I am sure the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr Robertson) is greatly gratified to know that he is not merely a champion, but a persistent one at that.

Chris Bryant Portrait Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab) - Hansard

It feels, unfortunately, as though the police and the Crown Prosecution Service still think that an assault on an emergency worker is a low-level crime and that, frankly, magistrates often say, “Well, a little bit of violence is just in the way of doing your job.” Surely, we must reverse this trend. When there is an assault on an emergency worker, it is an assault on us all.

Break in Debate

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse - Hansard

I am sorry to hear that that pump is going, but presumably that was an operational decision by the local fire chief and fire board. We did get a 2.3% settlement, which in the great scheme of things was good for the fire service, but more investment can always be looked at. One area of investment that I have talked to the fire service about and that is of interest to me is technology—the question of what more we can invest in to make the fire service more efficient and its ability to fight fires better, and to ensure that all forces are wetter; Mr Speaker, did you know that there is a chemical that can be added to water to make it wetter and therefore more effective in putting out fires?

Mr Speaker Hansard

What an extraordinarily helpful nugget of information the Minister has vouchsafed to me and other Members of the House; he really is an encyclopedia of arguably useful information.

Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con) - Hansard

T8. Can the Minister confirm that she is working closely with the Lord Chancellor to ensure that the Domestic Abuse Bill goes hand in hand with root-and-branch reform of family courts to make them more accessible and less intimidating places? [900190]

Break in Debate

Kit Malthouse Portrait Kit Malthouse - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, midnight

The exact disposition of the number of firefighters on each appliance is an operational decision. [Interruption.] It is. It is not my job to sit in Whitehall and decide how each fire service should run its operation. We have instituted the first inspection regime of fire and rescue services for some time, which specifically looks at a service’s effectiveness, efficiency and ability to perform its function. Lessons will be learned from the first round of inspections, which I hope and believe will improve the service.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Oct 2019, midnight

Having called the hon. Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti), to avoid marital disharmony, I must call the hon. Member for Morley and Outwood (Andrea Jenkyns).

Andrea Jenkyns Portrait Andrea Jenkyns (Morley and Outwood) (Con) - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, 2:54 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

A few weeks ago, a young girl got stabbed in my constituency. The family are quite rightly frustrated, as the suspect is walking free while awaiting charges, and their young daughter has had to be put in foster care for her own safety. Will my right hon. Friend meet me to discuss how we can reunite that family?

Break in Debate

Brandon Lewis Portrait Brandon Lewis - Hansard
28 Oct 2019, midnight

We have an ambitious programme of work for our future security arrangements. Other countries, such as the United States, have a relationship with Europol —in fact, I think the United States has the biggest attendance there at the moment. Europol is still an important part of our future as part of our future negotiations.

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Oct 2019, midnight

Order. We must move on from questions to the Home Secretary to the statement by the Home Secretary.