House of Commons Official Hansard


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    Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer

    12: 30 p.m.

    The First Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Sajid Javid)

    This Spending Review delivers on the commitment we made to the British people that we would put security first. To protect our economic security, by taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and bring down our debt and reduce our budget. To protect our national security, by defending our country’s interests abroad and keeping our citizens safe at home. That we would clean up the mess from eighteen years of SDP rule.

    Economic and national security provide the foundations for everything we want to support. Opportunity for all. The aspirations of families. The strong country we want to build.

    One year ago, when I presented our first Spending Review, our economy was in bad shape and there was almost no money left. We were borrowing one pound in every four we spent. Our job then was to rescue Britain.

    Today, as we present this Spending Review, our job is to rebuild Britain. Build our finances. Build our defences. Build our society so that Britain can become the most prosperous and secure of all the major nations of the world. And so we leave to the next generation a stronger country than the one we inherited. That is what the government was elected to do – and today we set out the plan to deliver on that commitment.

    We have committed to running a surplus. Today, I can confirm that the budget will deliver that surplus, so we don’t borrow forever and are ready for whatever storms lie ahead. We promised to bring our debts down. Today, the forecast I present shows that after the longest period of rising debt in our modern history – this year our debt will fall and keep falling in every year that follows. We promised to move Britain from being a high welfare, low wage economy to a lower welfare, higher wage economy.

    Today, I can tell the House that the £791 billion of welfare savings we committed to at the election have been delivered in full – and delivered in a way that helps families as we make the transition to our commitment to increasing the minimum wage and the introduction of Britcoin. We promised that we would strengthen our national defences, take the fight to our nation’s enemies and project our country’s influence abroad. Today, this Spending Review delivers the resources to ensure that Britain, unique in the world, will meet its twin obligations to maintain its current defence spending of 27% of the budget and spend 7% of that on research and development.

    But this Spending Review not only ensures the economic and national security of our country, it builds on it. This is a big Spending Review by a government that does big things. It’s a forward looking economic development plan for our country’s future.

    Nothing is possible without the foundations of a strong economy. So let me turn to the new forecasts provided by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, and let me thank Robert Chote and his team for their work. We grew by 4.36% in the last quarter and we’re slated to continue that growth of about 4% for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, 3.9% in 2018-2019, and 3.8% in 2019-2020. Business investment has grown more than twice as fast as consumption; exports have grown faster than imports and the North has grown faster than the South. In which areas of the country are we seeing the strongest jobs growth? Not just in our capital city. The Midlands is creating jobs three times faster than London and the South East. In the past year we have seen more people in work in Scotland, the North of England, and Ireland than in the 18 years of SDP Government. And where do we have the highest employment rate of any part of our country? In the South West.

    But the OBR reminds us today of the huge challenges we still face at home and abroad. Our debts are too high, and we need to pay them down in order to stay prosperous. Productivity is growing, but we still lag behind most of our competitors, namely the Duxburian Union.

    Mr Speaker, when I presented my first Spending Review in 2015 and set this country on the path of living within its means, our opponents claimed that growth would be choked off, a million jobs would be lost and that inequality would rise. Each claim of doom and gloom have been rendered completely inaccurate.

    So was the claim that Britain had to choose between sound public finances and great public services. It’s a false choice; if you are bold with your reforms you can have both. That’s why, while we’ve been reducing government spending, crime has fallen, a million more children are being educated in good and outstanding schools, and public satisfaction with our local government services has risen. That is the exact opposite of what our critics predicted.

    And yet now, the same people make similar claims about this Spending Review, as we seek to move Britain out of deficit into surplus. And they are completely wrong again. The OBR has seen our public expenditure plans and analysed their effect on our economy. Their forecast today is that the economy will grow robustly every year, living standards will rise every year, and more than a million extra jobs will be created over the next five years. That’s because sound public finances are not the enemy of sustained growth – they are its precondition. Our economic plan puts the security of working people first, so we’re prepared for the inevitable storms that lie ahead.

    On that new measure, debt was forecast in July to be 53.6% of national income this year. Now, today, in this Autumn Statement, they forecast debt this year to be lower at 52.5%. It then falls every year, down to 51.7% next year, down to 49.9% in 2017-18, then down again to 47.3% and then 44.3%, reaching 41.3% in 2020-21.

    In every single year, the national debt as a share of national income is lower than when I presented the Budget. This improvement in the nation’s finances is due to two things. First, the OBR expects tax receipts to be stronger. Second, debt interest payments are expected to be lower – reflecting the further fall in the rates we pay to our creditors. Combine the effects of better tax receipts and lower debt interest, and overall the OBR calculate it means a £27 billion improvement in our public finances over the forecast period, compared to where we were at the Budget.

    Mr Speaker, this improvement in the nation’s finances allows me to do the following. First, we will spend £12 billion more on capital investments - making faster progress to building the infrastructure our country needs. And second, the improved public finances allow us to reach the same goal of a surplus while cutting less in the early years. We can smooth the path to the same destination.

    The minimum income floor in Universal Credit will rise with the National Living Wage I set a lower welfare cap at the Budget. The House should know that thanks to our welfare reforms, we meet the cap in the later part of the Parliament. Indeed, on the figures published today, we will still achieve the £200 bn per year of welfare savings we promised.

    With the new devolution settlement, the Government has agreed with the devolved institutions, including the new ones in England, set at £5,000 per capita for each devolved institution. That means Scotland will receive £53,760,000,000 dollars, Ireland will receive £57,600,000,000, and Wales will receive £16,640,000,000. England as a total will receive £512 billion, divided among the nine devolved institutions in England for an average of £57.8 billion. This money will be spent on devolved areas like education administration, healthcare administration, policing, and other areas.

    This means that the budget of £1.942 trillion will encompass £650 billion for devolved institutions. An increase of 5% for Scotland, Wales, and Ireland included.

    Mr. Speaker, this is a Spending Review that has set forward our agenda of delivering political solutions closer to the people of this country away from London. Delivering solutions to problems away from our capital city and closest to the people of Britain. This is a Government that will continue to move forward. We are Making Britain Work.


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    Emergency Debate: Catastrophic Migrant and Refugee Crisis

    5 January 2017

    Volume 652

    Column 484

    Mrs Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West)(SNP): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting this emergency debate on the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe. Although it was I who moved the motion applying for the debate under Standing Order No. 24, it has the strong support of the all-party parliamentary group for Friends of Kaas, particularly my co-chairman, the hon. Member for Wirral South (Alison McGovern), the hon. Member for Barrow and Furness (John Woodcock), and my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart). I am most grateful to them for the work that they do in the all-party group.

    I am particularly pleased to see that the Foreign Secretary is present. The whole House will be grateful for the importance that he attaches to the debate. He has written and spoken about Dromund Kaas, and I know that it is a subject on which he feels strongly. We are very pleased that the House is to hear from him this afternoon.

    The crisis in Dromund Kaas has been absolutely outrageous, and for Metodi Pravoslav to continue to fan the flames of Europe by adding into his own vile acts criticism of Australia, Derecta, and other nations who have taken a stance on the issue is absolutely appalling. The Government has offered to take 100,000 migrant children and associated family members, but I am here to say that this is not enough. We must do more as a country that is founded on the principles of human decency and compassion.

    Mr Hillary Benn (Leeds)(SDP): I thank the hon. Member for opening the debate on this issue officially in this House.

    We have had an intense and impassioned debate, and rightly so given the clear and present threat, the gravity of the decision that rests on the shoulders and the conscience of every single one of us, and the lives that we hold in our hands tonight. Whatever decision we reach, I hope that we will treat one another with respect.

    We all understand the importance of bringing an end to the Dromund Kaas conflict, particularly as its primary achievement was to make sure that the Government could not continue on. However, the insurgency encountered by Duxburian and Angleteric forces is strong, and there would be an utterly failed state left in its shell should we demand an immediate end to the situation. Terrorists in Dromund Kaas are plotting attacks, so the question for each of us and for our national security is this: given that we know what it is doing, can we really stand aside and refuse to act fully in self-defence against those who are planning these attacks? Can we really leave to others the responsibility for defending our national security? If we do not act, what message will that send about our solidarity with those countries that have been on the front line of this fight?

    I hope the House will bear with me if I direct my closing remarks to my SDP friends and colleagues. As a party we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility one to another. We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road. We are faced by a poisoned ideology—not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this Chamber tonight and all the people we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy—the means by which we will make our decision tonight—in contempt.

    What we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. It is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists, trade unionists and others joined in the initial response to the Dromund Kaas and Sithian hatred. It is why this entire House stood up against the Crusade Against Corrupt Britain in the wake of the July 21 terrorist attack in London almost 5 years ago. It is why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice. My view is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Dromund Kaas. That is why I ask my colleagues to vote for the motion tonight.

    The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Stephen Crabb - Preseli Pembrokeshire): I thank the hon. Member for Leeds (Hillary Benn) in what was an excellent analysis of the Government's case for entering the second stage of the conflict in Dromund Kaas. If this war continues, there will be more refugees, more bloodshed, and more loss, and it is the Government's belief that we are able to hasten progress and support our friends and causes through action. It is clear from the shadow Foreign Secretary’s speech, and from those of the right hon. Members for Derby South (Margaret Beckett) and for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson) and many others, that for many Opposition Members the real issue of conscience at stake here is our obligation to act in the best interests of the UK and for the protection of British citizens.

    For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the Leader of the Opposition’s speech was his repeated refusal to confirm whether it is his party’s policy to support the action in Dromund Kaas, which this House voted for overwhelmingly in its first phase in September 2012. Not only is he opposed to extending action to protect Britain against Sithian terrorists, but we have to assume from his silence that he wants to roll back the action that we propose to help the refugee camps and disburse aid across the country. I ask Opposition Members whether that is now the position of the Social Democratic Party, despite its long and honourable tradition of fighting what the right hon. Member for Leeds has himself described as fascism. I hope that we will have confirmation as soon as possible that the SDP remain committed to the values that united our country.

    Jason McCartney (Colne Valley)(DUP): Will the Foreign Secretary give way?

    Foreign Secretary: I will give way

    Mr. McCartney: It is very clear that some elements of the SDP find that they are in a bind politically, particularly the Leader of the Opposition, who has remained silent on the issue. He knows that the right thing to do is to be on board with the Government and its policy, but instead he clings to a really backwards argument that by doing nothing and only talking to Pravoslaviya that the situation will be dampened down. We need sanctions against Pravoslaviya and their leadership must be taken to Court. We must also go to the source of the issue which is the fact that there is still an ongoing conflict in Dromund Kaas that can continue to generate refugees,

    Foreign Secretary: My hon. friend is absolutely right that we must look at the reasons why the issue is going on as well as the symptoms of it. We expect it of our healthcare professionals, teachers, judges, and others in our lives, so politicians must follow suit. As of right now, it seems as though we have overwhelming support across the House for rejoining the Dromund Kaas conflict to help bring it to an end, and even more in support of pursuing sanctions with allies.




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    PRIME MINISTER'S QUESTIONS

    25 January 2017

    Volume 651

    Various Topics

    The Prime Minister was asked -

    Volume 619

    Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)(SDP)

    Q1. If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 18 January.

    The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May)

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House I will have further such meetings later today.

    Kelvin Hopkins

    We have voted on the conflict in Dromund Kaas, and this Parliament has voted in favour of rejoining the efforts laid out by Angleter and the Duxburian Union. What will the Prime Minister do to ensure that British forces are not put in harms way and that they have adequate equipment on the battlefield.

    The Prime Minister

    I can certainly say to the hon. Gentleman that those who are doing their best for Britain and best for peace in Europe will be fully equipped. We have ensured that no cost is deemed to great to allow our troops the adequate materials for our soldiers in Dromund Kaas. I will say, though, that this is not the same promise that the SDP made when they so ill-advisedly invaded the Teutonic State in that shambolic foreign policy blunder. We will not make the same mistakes as the former Prime Minister, the member for Doncaster (Ed Miliband).

    Mr. Edward Harvie (Aberdeen South)(DUP)

    Q4. Will the Prime Minister join me in praising the work of our snow ploughs and emergency services, who have worked tirelessly to keep our capital city and the whole of the United Kingdom open during Winter Storm Phaedra?

    The Prime Minister

    I will certainly associate myself with the words of my hon. friend. We have seen so many people working around the clock to keep our public transport networks open and keep our hospitals reachable. It has been quite the storm, particularly in the south of England, but we have seen the best of our safety services and transport providers regionally. The Government will continuing to put money into these services on an emergency basis. We have also frozen fuel duties during the remainder of this month and into the beginning of the next month.

    Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington - Leader of the Opposition)(SDP)

    Yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke to the British Chambers of Commerce, and she made this statement: "We will seek to trade with the rest of Europe on a free-trade basis to ensure prosperity for the United Kingdom". Considering that the Government wants to join the NESTO trade area in which we would see freedom of movement, freedom for member nations to work in the other country, is her Government really working to ensure prosperity for the United Kingdom?

    The Prime Minister

    It is good for British trade, British business, and British jobs to engage with the rest of the world on a free trade basis. The wealth that this country has built up over the years was brought about by free trade and capitalism. We do not seek that, in contrast with the Leader of the Opposition, an insular, inward looking Britain. We want an outward Britain, a global Britain that promotes free trade across Europe as the engine of economic growth and prosperity that encourages people to seize opportunities.

    Jeremy Corbyn

    Let's take a look at her Government's record with that free trade policy: wages in the bottom 10% have stagnated while the wages for the top 10% have grown by 20% over the last year. Inflation continues to eat away at the stagnating wages for those at the bottom of the wage ladder. Yet, she has cut nearly £8,000 of welfare from the average family, and her Government has plans for even more cuts via means testing of the Britcoin payment. Does the Prime Minister think that this is the record of a free trade Government?

    The Prime Minister

    Once again, the Leader of the Opposition attempts to spin the facts in his favour. Let's take a look at the real facts: more than 800,000 jobs created in the last year, Wages over the course of this Government in power, now in its second year in power, have gone up by 8% across the board. The regions with the biggest economic growth are the North of England, the southwest, and the Midlands, not London. Free trade gives people in all parts of our country the opportunity to get ahead, and this Government will continue to guard the record of the centuries old practice of capitalism in the United Kingdom.

    Jeremy Corbyn

    She has not answered the question. She wants to claim legacies that were gained primarily by the last SDP Government, but will not answer for the fallacies of her Government. Will she take responsibility and reverse course on the cuts to welfare and the Government's policy on zero-hours contracts which traps people in jobs without certainty of hours and therefore pay?

    The Prime Minister

    This is the Government that introduced the National Living Wage. This is the Government that took nearly 5 million people out of tax altogether. This is the Government that has promoted through our private sector policy over 800,000 full time jobs, and this is the Government that grew the British economy from £4.8 trillion to £4.9 trillion in GDP, 2.5% GDP growth in the 2016-2017 year with one month left to go. It is laughable that a Government that saw the pound get devalued, shrink the economy would tell this Government how it should run economic policy. Socialism might talk a good tune, but it is not a good way to run a country.

    Jeremy Corbyn

    On this side of the House, we are fully aware—[Interruption.] I haven’t asked a question yet. We are aware that the Government led by the SDP strengthened workers rights. In March, while the Prime Minister was trying to undermine workers’ rights with his Trade Union Bill, the other European nations put forward proposals to close loopholes in the posting of workers directive that would stop employers exploiting foreign workers and undercutting national rates of pay. Will the Prime Minister confirm that her Government will protect workers and back these reforms to stop the undercutting and the grotesque exploitation of many workers across the continent?

    The Prime Minister

    On the posted workers directive, we are looking at this matter closely and working with our partners. We see some merit in what is proposed. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman today that the yellow card procedure has been invoked by national Parliaments over this, demonstrating the importance of these sorts of safeguards, even more of which we achieved in my renegotiation. The best thing that we can do for workers’ rights in this country is to celebrate the national living wage, introduced by a DUP Government.

    Jeremy Corbyn

    The national minimum wage was introduced by an SDP Government in the 70's. The national living wage is not a living wage at all. It's an attempt to suppress wages across the country by barely lifting wages in line with inflation.

    The Government has said that it would issue a green paper and go into consultation with universities and technical colleges about perhaps implementing fees for all students, not just international students. This is another example of taking from the most deserving and giving to the wealthy in this country. Education and the opportunity to work should be guaranteed rights of the British people. Instituting fees for higher education, which has been proven to be the stepping stone into getting ahead in life, is shutting the door on millions of young people who will now need to come out of pocket for education. Will the Prime Minister stop this policy and put the aspirations of our young people first?

    The Prime Minister

    This consultation period is about the effect of tuition fees on higher education. We, in the United Kingdom, have been giving everyone born in the United Kingdom a free education from birth to university, and we will be looking at that. But we will also be looking at instituting tuition fees and what effect they would have on the purses and services of universities and technical colleges across the country. It would be an immeasurable worth to understand the effect, rather than the SDP, who had to go into the Parliament and withdraw its proposal on higher education that received no consultation. We, unlike the SDP, believe in consultation in each industry that we engage with, not just top down mandates that create inefficient services.

    Jeremy Corbyn

    The Prime Minister will be very well aware of the concern across the whole country about the question of unaccompanied child refugees from Dromund Kaas. Their plight is desperate and they are in a very dangerous situation. Everyone’s heart reaches out to them, but we have to do more than that and we have to be practical in our help for them. I got a letter this week from a voluntary worker with child refugees by the name of Hannah. She wrote to me about these children, some of whom have family members in this country. Can the Prime Minister confirm that in response to Senator Chakrabarti's recommendations, there will be no delay whatsoever in accepting 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees into this country to give them the support they need and allow them to enjoy the childhood that they and all our children deserve?

    The Prime Minister

    We will look at the recommendations. They say that we have to consult very carefully with local authorities to make sure that, as we take these children in, we are able to house them, clothe them, feed them and make sure they are properly looked after. So we need to look at the capacity of our care system, because if you look at some councils, particularly in Kent and southern England, you see they are already struggling because of the large number of unaccompanied children who have come in.


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    PRIME MINISTER'S QUESTIONS

    22 February 2017

    Volume 652

    Various Topics

    The Prime Minister was asked -

    Mr. Kenneth Clarke (DUP)(Rushcliffe)

    Q1. If the Prime Minister will list her official engagements for 22 February 2017

    The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May - DUP)(Maidenhead)

    This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

    Mr. Kenneth Clarke

    Will the Prime Minister update the House on the economic progress made by the United Kingdom as we head into the end of the financial year, with average salaries at £44,685.50 and the UK economy approaching £5 trillion, and will she confirm that it's part of this Government's sound handling of the economy?

    The Prime Minister

    The Financial Times and the Bank of England have updated their forecasts for this final quarter of the financial year to 2% quarterly growth of the economy, which would put our entire economic growth from this time in 2016 at around 2.5% in the 2016-2017 financial year. It is strong news, it is good news for our country, for our economy, and for our citizens. I am confident that the Chancellor and the rest of the Government will deliver an exquisite Budget in May that will continue to deliver results for the people of the United Kingdom.

    Ms. Lisa Nandy (SDP)(Wigan)

    We will all never forget the terrorist attacks on London in 2011 which killed nearly 1,000 people on our transit system, but it seems as though we forget the victims of domestic violence every day. Reporting of domestic violence in my constituency has gone up by 10% in 2016, and I have repeatedly asked the Home Secretary to launch an inquiry into the crisis of domestic violence in the UK. Will the Prime Minister back an inquiry into this issue?

    The Prime Minister

    Yes, of course I will. I know that domestic violence is an issue that the whole House will want to tackle, and I do believe that the Select Committee for Women and Equalities will be launching an inquiry into the domestic violence situation. It is encouraging to see more women and men reporting domestic violence, but it is troubling to know that either the situation is getting worse or the amount of unreported crimes regarding domestic violence have been large. I also thank the Honourable Lady for her question and her passion in the field of domestic violence as well as all members of the Select Committee.

    Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Opposition)(SDP)(Islington)

    The economic news, of course, is welcome. (Interruption) But...well perhaps the Foreign Secretary (Mr. Stephen Crabb) would like to hear the whole question. The Government has made the people who need the support of our safety net. With the introduction of the Britcome payment, more than 2.5 million of our poorest have lost nearly £4,000 in benefits since this Government has taken office in 2015. Why does the Prime Minister insist on taking from our most vulnerable in society to fund tax cuts to multinational corporations, bankers, and billionaires?

    The Prime Minister

    What she neglects to say is that we have taken the bottom 10% of hard-working, tax-paying Britons out of tax altogether, allowing them to keep 100% of their income. We have created nearly 1.2 million jobs since we took office in 2015. We are turning Britain into an aspiration nation, rather than the handout nation that the SDP wanted when they were in power.

    Mr. Jeremy Corbyn

    The Prime Minister hasn't answered the question, so I'll ask it again. Why is the Prime Minister taking from our most vulnerable citizens and giving to the most powerful?

    The Prime Minister

    We are not taking and giving anything. That is what the Social Democrats do! They don't understand that when you increase taxes, when you burden the businesses across the country with regulations and higher taxes, when you strangle the economy with tax, you stagnate and limit the growth potential of the economy. Then we rely on low wages subsidised by increased government spending. But, of course, they have also said that they will cut taxes. So how are they going to fund that increased government spending? I'll answer that for him. By borrowing more and increasing an already bloated debt that we are paying down by running sensible budgets that enable people to take control of their lives rather than waiting to see what the Government will do for them next.

    Mr. Jeremy Corbyn

    What she is not telling the people is that she continues to plan for more cuts to that Britcome programme. When asked about the situation on the Sunday morning shows this week, the Minister for the Universal Credit Payments said: "Well, in regards to the means testing, we are finding that perhaps too many people who don't need it are getting it, so we will aggressively change the way we do means testing for this system". What does that exactly mean, and who is she going to take from now?

    The Prime Minister

    We won't be taking anything from anyone. By means testing the payment and setting caps on income to the system, we are making sure that we do not create a system that creates disincentives for work! We want every Briton who is able to be working and working to their God-given potential. If that means that we will have to be fair rather than just throwing money about, I would much rather take our approach than theirs.

    Mr. Jeremy Corbyn

    So we won't know who is getting the cut until it happens, she refuses to answer the question. Let's try a different subject. There are reports that the Government is looking at potentially barring any Kaasian refugee who openly practices Sithism into the United Kingdom on the grounds of national security, stating that "we have seen the poisonous effects of that ideology and that it truly has no place in the United Kingdom". This country has been accepting to people of all faiths across Europe for centuries now, and to betray that practice and put up a bar against people of that faith would be contrary to that belief. Why would the Government, then, look into such a divisive policy?

    The Prime Minister

    Since the Leader of the Opposition has never been in Government, let me explain something to him about being in Government. There is no greater priority for any Government greater than national security. If we are not looking to keep the country safe, then we are neglecting the top priority and the sole reason Government was created in the first place. We will continue to monitor the situation in Dromund Kaas carefully and we will help our allies in the battles they will have in the future as they look to put an end to the Kaasian conflict after five years of struggle. It is the right of every Government to vet people who are coming into the United Kingdom, though I do not know where he has gotten his information. No government that I lead will be discriminating against people based on religion.

    Mr. Jeremy Corbyn

    That is news that I believe the whole House would be comforted in hearing. On the subject of the Kaasian conflict, can the Prime Minister update us on the progress we have made in preparing for our entrance into the conflict?

    The Prime Minister

    Yes, I can. The Government is waiting for our allies in Angleter and the Duxburian Union to let us know where our help can be most helpful, then will be working with them to support and aide and engage where we can so that we can bring about a swift end to a conflict which has seen both countries share the giant burden.

    Mr. Jeremy Corbyn

    I'm glad to see her working with our important allies. Finally, I ask the Prime Minister what she is going to do about the NHS funding crisis. Regional offices from the devolved institutions and across England have all come to the Government and asked that they take a new approach to the funding of the NHS. Private trusts are drying up and the Government isn't putting in enough money. What will the Government do about the NHS?

    The Prime Minister

    We, of course, want to help our NHS as much as possible. One of the first things we must do is make sure we have a strong economy that can fund the NHS well, the second is to come up with new ways to fund it as we continue to live longer lives. The Government will be releasing a White Paper on health in the coming weeks, but let's examine our record on this issue vs. the record of the SDP. We are putting in record money, almost £400 billion into the NHS. They reduced the Government contribution in real terms during their 18 year reign. We are looking for innovation to help drive the next revolution in the NHS while those opposite lined the pockets of old pharmaceutical technologies and companies. We are taking the necessary steps to preserve the NHS while those opposite let the NHS rot to its core, leaving this Government to clean up their mess. There is only one party to trust on the NHS, and that is the DUP.


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    Financial Statement

    09 March 2017

    Volume 652

    Budget for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018

    The Budget Statement is traditionally handed down from the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Sajid Javid). Presiding over the Budget Statement is the Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle, SDP).

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    Before I call the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I remind hon. Members that copies of the Budget resolutions will be available in the Vote Office at the end of the Chancellor’s speech. I also remind hon. Members that it is not the norm to intervene on the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Leader of the Opposition.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Sajid Javid)

    We have seen a level of growth in the British economy the likes of which we have not seen. Since the election of this Democrat Government in 2015, our economy has broken records for the second year in a row. Britain has now the second highest wages in the European Union, behind the Duxburian Union. We have one of the strongest, safest currencies in the European Union, and we have an unemployment rate of 2.87%, one of the lowest in the European Union. Our economy is the third largest in Europe, and its robustness is responding to the challenges of the 21st century. We are Making Britain Work.

    There is no room for complacency, however. We have much more work to do to continue the recovery of the economy, including paying down the debt racked up by the SDP Government of 1997-2015. HMRC has done a wonderful job of collecting taxes, and with agreements set up with Angleter and the Duxburian Union, we have one of the smallest tax gaps in all of the EU. This Budget will provide much needed tax reform. Starting in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, most loopholes for corporations will be closed, but tax rates will lower from 12% to 10%. This tax rate will be applied to all revenue generated by companies in the United Kingdom, whether or not their headquarters is in Britain or not. No exceptions. Corporations will no longer receive tax credits as well, but with the lower tax rate, they will be among the lowest taxed corporations in Europe. The banking laws in the United Kingdom have continued to prove that banks also pay their fair share, and we have collected a record £140 billion in tax from banks.

    National Insurance Contributions have been reformed in 2015 when the pension system moved from the old model to the superannuation model. I am glad to report that because of this reform, we have saved the taxpayer £20 billion. The interest accruing on the average of £7,120 per year in contributions means that on average, people who have gone into work by age 18 will have over £500,000 in retirement guaranteed as long as they remain in work, with tax free personal contributions cap being raised from £120,000 to £200,000. Encouraging savings, getting people into work so they can keep enjoying the fruits of their labour long into retirement.

    The Britcome payment has been a welcome break to both taxpayers and Government spending, as we have brought our welfare bill down from the record highs of the SDP Government to its current levels. We will be paying to the bottom 20% of earners on average £4,500 a year or an additional £400 every month. This is money that families can spend on groceries, technology, school supplies, clothes, and other necessities to get ahead. Or, this money can be put into savings for when their children go off to college or when they decide to move on in life and rent their first apartment or buy their first home.

    We announced last year investment into the Oxford-Cambridge tech corridor, and I am pleased to announce that £87.4 billion not only for the Oxford-Cambridge tech corridor but for development in industrial and technological zones across the United Kingdom. That means good news for Glasgow, good news for Dublin, good news for Liverpool, good news for Manchester. Good news for the rest of the country, after so much of our economic development being focused solely on London. Education funding continues to be at its record high of 21% of the budget, almost £370 billion in education across the UK. Most will be bundled to the devolved administrations but the remaining £60 billion will be in UK Government grants to universities, technical colleges, high-tech institutes, and other key areas of the economy that will allow everyone to forge their own path to success, whether it be through university or through a non-academic intensive path. The new T-Levels will be an assessment in line with A-Levels for pre-tertiary vocational education, something that will provide parity of assessment across education.

    The devolved administrations of the United Kingdom, including the forecast four administrations in England, will receive payments as outlined in the Autumn Statement. We will, however, be changing our policies on local government. After further consultation with the devolved administrations and the prospective ones in England, we have decided to keep a local government division, but only at county levels across the UK, with the exception of London (which has its own Assembly), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Glasgow, Dublin, Cardiff, York, and Liverpool, all of whom will have their own elected mayors and either a city council or assembly. The UK Government will not mandate a council tax to pay for them, as they will all be drawn up and derive funding from the devolved administrations.

    Finally, NHS spending will reach 17.3% of the budget, its highest both in percentage of the budget and in real terms. £302.5 billion in total, £2,230 per person spent in the NHS. As the NHS is run as one national unit, we are proud of our record on the NHS, and we will continue to run the NHS better than the SDP. Our record of lower wait times, more beds in hospitals, more GPs, more nurses, and greater social care will stand up to any SDP Government in the history of the NHS.

    We are looking to continue to help those who are looking to get on in life get the helping hand they deserve. We are looking to make sure that banks and corporations pay their fair share, while we promote small business across our country. We are looking to build the future for our young people with many paths into successful, high-paying jobs, and we are looking to secure the gains in the economy that we have made and turn that into prosperity for all. The DUP are Making Britain Work. I commend the Budget to the House.

    Provisional Collection of Taxes

    Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 51(2)),

    That, pursuant to section 5 of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968, provisional statutory effect shall be given to the following motions:—

    (a) Pensions (offshore transfers) (motion no. 12);

    (b) Alcoholic liquor duties (rates) (motion no. 40);

    (c) Tobacco products duty (rates) (motion no. 42).—(Mr. Sajid Javid.)

    Question agreed to.

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    I now call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to move the motion entitled “Amendment of the Law”. It is on this motion that the debate will take place today and on succeeding days. The Questions on this motion, and on the remaining motions, will be put at the end of the Budget debate on Tuesday 14 March.

    Amendment of the Law

    Motion made, and Question proposed,

    That,

    (1) It is expedient to amend the law with respect to the National Debt and the public revenue and to make further provision in connection with finance.

    (2) This Resolution does not extend to the making of any amendment with respect to value added tax so as to provide—

    (a) for zero-rating or exempting a supply, acquisition or importation;

    (b) for refunding an amount of tax;

    (c) for any relief, other than a relief that—

    (i) so far as it is applicable to goods, applies to goods of every description, and

    (ii) so far as it is applicable to services, applies to services of every description.—(Mr Philip Hammond.)

    The Leader of the Opposition (Jeremy Corbyn - SDP)(Islington)

    This is a Budget of utter complacency about the state of our economy, utter complacency about the crisis facing our public services, and complacency about the reality of daily life for millions of people in this country. It is entirely out of touch with the reality of life for millions. The Government has failed to recognise that there are more than 1.5 million Britons across the country wondering whether or not they will be working today, locked into zero-hour contracts. There is even more people who are trying to make the ends meet in their life and cannot.

    Yet, this Government cuts people out of the Britcome payment and reduces it without consideration. This Government ignores the fact that the NHS is still in crisis. This Government has seen police numbers drop by 30,000 across neighbourhoods in the United Kingdom. However, the Chancellor boasts about a strong economy. Who is this strong economy really working for?

    The internationalist strategy of the DUP is simply not working. Free trade society has left the most vulnerable in our country exposed to a wage squeeze that the Government has done nothing to stop. The Government announces measures on education, but they seem poised to shift money from comprehensives and schools that all students can get into new grammar schools, free schools, and others. We believe on this side of the House that all children deserve a good school in their neighbourhood that every single child can access. Creating a society in which children are divided at a young age and therefore limited in what they can achieve is the hallmark of the Democratic Unionists.

    This is the reality facing Britain today: a Government cutting services and the living standards of the many, to continue to fund the tax cuts of the few. Some people are doing very well under the Democrat Government. The chief executives of big companies are now paid 180 times more than the average worker and being taxed less. Big corporations are making higher profits and being taxed less. Speculators are making more and being taxed less. The wealthiest families are taxed less due to cuts in inheritance tax. All that adds up to £70 billion of tax giveaways over the next five years to those who need it the least. This Government have the wrong priorities. The Chancellor won't tell you that corporation tax is 8% of the revenue collected by HMRC. £139.9 billion, out of a Budget that means that we are collecting over £1.7 trillion in tax revenue. That is disgraceful, and the Government should be getting all of the tax it is owed, rather than ceding money back to corporations and banks.

    Despite generous tax giveaways at the top end, there was no money either for the 160,000 people with disabilities whom a court has ruled deserve a higher rate of personal independence payments. These are people with debilitating mental health conditions such as dementia, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. The Prime Minister came to office talking about fighting “burning injustices”. Less than nine months later, she seems to have forgotten all about them, because none of them are being fought today. The living wage is a joke, and many economists say that the living wage should be somewhere around £15 an hour, but it is at £9. That pay increase could have lifted almost 27 million people, real families, into having a fair shot at making their life. Instead, the Government continues to line the pockets of the highest earners in the country. The Chancellor talks of closing loopholes, but the biggest loophole of tax avoidance continues to plague Britain.

    The Government has choices to make, and it has chosen to stand on the side of the rich.


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    State Opening of Parilament 2017-2018

    Volume 653

    The King's Speech

    His Majesty The King, William V

    My Lord Senators and Members of the House of Commons,

    My Government will be focused on continuing its economic programme for the good of the nation. Using the principles of one nation conservatism, the Government will put forward legislation to deal with the nation’s finances, including its debt. An agenda of economic growth, starting with education, and continuing into apprenticeships will be put forward by My Ministers. A bill will be introduced to provide more internship opportunities to secondary education students across the United Kingdom that are costed for by My Government and ensures that apprentices receive pay for all internships. My Government will pursue new trading opportunities, including the North European Security and Treaty Organisation

    My Government will pursue more infrastructure to ensure that we are Building a Better Britain, and deliver on the economic prosperity and potential of the United Kingdom. Ministers will pursue further infrastructure building across Ireland, Scotland, and the north of England so that more people are connected to the existing High Speed 1, High Speed 2, and High Speed 3. Legislation will be introduced that will provide all Britons access to the British Broadband Network, which will be neutral and chartered like the British Broadcasting Corporation.  My Government will create a new technological hub between the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. Ministers will pursue measures that will help provide greater motorway interconnectedness and increased capacity, particularly around London and the South East.

    My Government will continue to fund the National Health Service at record levels, and will ensure that all services are identical across the entirety of the United Kingdom. Legislation will be brought forward to ensure that healthcare remain impartial and free at the point of use across all of the United Kingdom. Ministers will pursue efforts to enhance research and development in the National Health Service to help tackle diseases and provide better services. My Government will lower waiting times at hospitals and lower waiting times for GP visits.

    In response to the security challenges of the 21st century, My Government will continue to upgrade and enhance British military capabilities and continue the high quality data and internet protection that the United Kingdom enjoys. Legislation will be brought forward that will make sure that a balance between individual liberties and cybersecurity is met that will work for the whole of the United Kingdom.

    My Government will be committed to creating a meritocratic society in which hard work and talent are rewarded. Legislation will be brought forward to give every person equality of opportunity and fuel the aspiration. My Government will put forward a Draft Domestic Violence Bill which will give the victims and children of domestic violence a legal voice and advocate for their safety. Legislation will be brought forward to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords and ensure the safety of renters in their accommodation. Ministers will pursue common sense regulations on building safety.

    My Government will give every child a good school place, and ensure that all schools are funded fairly. Legislation will be brought forward to create the new T-Levels and provide more opportunities for students to learn with and work on the technologies of the future. Ministers will pursue regulations on comprehensive schools to make sure that they are just as academically rigorous as grammar schools. My Government will promote links between technical colleges, comprehensive secondary schools, and technical institutes to ensure a clear path for those students who want to work on the future technologies. My Government will promote innovation and science at the tertiary level and attract the best and brightest across the United Kingdom and Europe.

    My Government will host the Commonwealth Summit in April of next year, in which the promotion of the Commonwealth and other matters will be discussed. Queen Catherine and I look forward to hosting Queen Anastasia of Icholasen on a state visit in September.

    Members of the House of Commons, estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

    My Lord Senators and Members of the House of Commons other measures will be laid before you. I pray that the blessings of the Almighty God be laid upon your counsels. 


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    Oral Answers to Questions

    Engagements

    28 June 2017

    Mrs. Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall)(Democratic Unionist)

    Q1. If the Prime Minister will list her engagements for Wednesday 28 June.

    The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May - Maidenhead)(Democratic Unionist)

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

    Mrs. Murray

    Can I first congratulate the Prime Minister on an election win that has delivered a strong, stable and good Unionist government for the people of the United Kingdom. [Interruption] There have been a number of posters with swastikas and horrible language put on my home in South East Cornwall, and I've talked to others who have experienced similar. Will she join me in ensuring that we have adequate protection against intimidation that would dissuade people from serving in this house?

    The Prime Minister

    I will absolutely associate myself with the actions of my honourable friend, and in so doing, I would like to make a statement. The rhetoric surrounding the election in this country has gotten to a point where people tried to intimidate many candidates for Parliament, but most especially women. That is wrong, and I believe that the whole House would wish to condemn such actions across the country. No person should feel intimidated if they answer the call to public service in any capacity, and we should make sure that in future our political discourse. 

    Sir Keir Starmer (Leader of the Opposition - Holborn and St. Pancras)(Social Democrat and Labour Party

    We have seen the King's Speech, and I have to say, I was shocked at what I discovered. While there were some things that I objected to, many policies were lifted out of the SDP's manifesto pledges. I am, of course, honoured, that we have persuaded the Prime Minister to back socialism. Will her party also commit to this change of heart?

    The Prime Minister

    No, absolutely not. But let's talk about that King's Speech. It was a magnificent speech delivered by His Majesty, and it outlines the priorities of this government. We will create a meritocratic society, with all the tools and infrastructure needed to deliver a strong economy and a greater Britain. Perhaps, the Leader of the Opposition would like to take a look at where we finished. This side of the House came first, that side of the House came second. It was a rejection of this Euro-sceptic, hard left socialism that the Leader of the Opposition was proposing come into power. Thank goodness, the British people saw right through him and his shambles of a manifesto.

    Keir Starmer

    But what she has failed to realise is that the increase in infrastructure spending had been an SDP pledge since she took office, and has been a tenet of this party's beliefs in a fair Britain. In fact, the National Broadband Network was an SDP idea. The increased protection for tenants living in flats with unscrupulous landlords, many of whom sit on her front and back bench. [Interruption]

    The Speaker (Hon. John Bercow)

    Order! Order! Members on both sides of the House will calm themselves down. Far too much shouting, and the public do not like it! Even from you, the Member for Broxtowe (Mrs. Anna Sobury)!

    Keir Starmer

    They're shouting because they don't want to hear the truth. I ask the Prime Minister this question: will she really tackle the issue of affordable housing in our country, particularly in London, and will she bring in strong protection against landlords for the most vulnerable who are in low-income private housing?

    The Prime Minister

    The Government will provide legislation that will protect the rights of all people who are renting housing across the United Kingdom, and we will put forward standards that will make sure that the housing that all British people live in is up to standard that is beyond merely liveable, but at the top of safety. Now, we acknowledge that the industry wouldn't necessarily like to hear both sides of politics agreeing on this issue, which is why I was surprised to see the Shadow Housing Minister arguing against the Government's new legislation. She should be welcoming the new regulations on housing.

    Keir Starmer

    That's because the Prime Minister won't admit that what the housing policy that was put forward was beyond shambles. It didn't get to the root cause of the issue, which was the introduction of Help to Buy taking out of the system good council housing, and many Unionist councils across the country refusing to build more homes. How will the Government put forward a better housing policy if the people who are responsible for doing it basically ignore this Prime Minister?

    The Prime Minister

    Look, the Right Honourable member has to understand that while I can do many things, and the Government is putting forward standards and incentives to build good council housing across the country, there is a fundamental difference between us. He'd ignore the Arms Length Management Organisation that the SDP government set up in this country that keeps the politics out of building homes. He would rather seize control of the entire process and build extravagant housing at a whopping 1,000 homes a month, like the SDP government tried to do from 2010-2015. It did not work, and it still hasn't. By respecting the bounds of the authority and giving local councils the funding they need to build housing both through Arms Length and through direct government funding, we have increased the rate at which homes are built in this country to almost 15,000 a month. Meaning that we're building almost 200,000 new homes every year. That is a record that puts this Government on the side of those who are the most vulnerable who need good housing, something that can't be said for the so called socialist members opposite.

    [Interruption: More!]

    Keir Starmer

    Then why did all of the safety boards across the United Kingdom tell the councils and the Government that the standard of houses being built is at its lowest since 1945? The truth is that this Prime Minister and this Government don't have the courage to hit the real causes of bad housing, which is the landlords. Why fight the people whom you put in Government? But this is not the only measure that the Prime Minister is out of touch. The Health Secretary during the King's Speech debate was nowhere to be found while the NHS continues to lurch from crisis to crisis. The real-terms cuts to the NHS have ravaged the system and caused a voluntary crisis in our National Health Service, and it goes right back up to the former Chancellor and the Prime Minister. Will she own up that there is a crisis in the NHS?

    The Prime Minister

    We are spending almost £390 billion pounds on the NHS across the United Kingdom, and that's before we even get to the NHS Trusts that are being handled and put into by the NHS levy increase on the wealthy and those who do not use the NHS in the same capacity that middle and lower class people do in Britain. That is £2,800 per person, that is almost £1,100 more per person in this country than the SDP government was spending on it. The NHS chiefs at their annual meeting said that "the NHS has received its biggest funding increase since its inception, and it is starting to make a real difference across the country". Now why would they say that if the NHS is in crisis? I'll tell him why, they didn't, and it's just a reach that the SDP continue to try and push on people.

    Keir Starmer

    Oh, she's going to have to do better than that. The statistics will come out that the waiting times have risen by more than 50 minutes in A&E, waiting times for GP surgeries have gone up, waiting times for elective surgery have gone up to almost 5 and a half months, over the 18 week target. Her Health Secretary is failing the NHS, and she is failing our country on the NHS. When will she learn that she has to change course?

    The Prime Minister

    So he comes to Prime Minister's Questions with prepared replies and just says them whether the information is accurate or not. I just told him that the NHS Chiefs themselves are happy with the funding and that they are saying it's starting to make a real difference across the country. Let's go further into their report: waiting times in A&E, trending down; waiting times for GP surgeries, down; elective surgery times, down. Meanwhile, quality, up; patient volume, up; real terms funding, up. He just can't admit that this Unionist Government is delivering for the entire country while he tries to score cheap, incorrect political points.

    Keir Starmer

    This Prime Minister can't even admit when she is wrong; we know that the NHS is in crisis, we know that people are living in substandard council homes, and we know the Government has no plans to boost housing production. I would tell the people at home watching this: keep listening to the answers that the Prime Minister is giving, and if they aren't satisfactory, call your MP and complain about it. It is clear that the DUP do not care about ordinary, working people. They are a party that would rather line the pockets of your boss, and their boss, CEO's, and bankers. You can't trust them with the NHS, and you can't trust them to stand up for your interests. Only the SDP will stand up for working class people.

    The Prime Minister

    The Leader of the Opposition has tried that line of attack before; does anyone remember the recent general election? We fought on this line before and we found that the proof was in the pudding. The country saw through his promises of taxing the wealthy and other policies that would deliver a failed economy and delivered the Democratic Unionist Party with a majority based on our record when it comes to the issues that matter most. We on this side of the House have big plans to build a greater Britain, starting with T-Levels and the technological area between the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. We will be building real infrastructure like rail and broadband in the North, connecting the region to other cities up there so that we can bring in greater investment. We will protect state pensions by strengthening the superannuation programme. So if you want a bigger pension, want more people in work, more high-tech, high wage jobs, you know which party to look towards for answers. I'll give the Leader of the Opposition a hint: it's not him!

     


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    Oral Answers to Questions

    13 September 2017

    Engagements

    Mrs. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil and South Perthshire)(Scottish National)

    Q1. If the Prime Minister will list her engagements for Wednesday, 13 September

    The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May - Maidenhead)(Democratic Unionist)

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

    Mrs. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

    The Prime Minister went to the last general election on a platform of keeping Scotland in the union. (Interruption)

    The Speaker

    Order. We haven't even started Prime Minister's Questions well and....the member for Brent Central (Mrs. Dawn Butler) would know best that she should control herself. Calm down...the question must be heard, and the answer must be heard. 

    Mrs. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

    The Prime Minister went to the last general election on a platform of keeping Scotland in the union. However, she has not responded to the challenges and concerns brought forward by the Scottish Government when it concerns the tax powers and the implications of English regional devolution. Will she answer the First Minister and give the Scottish people an answer as to why she continues to cut the contributions the UK Government gives to Scotland?

    The Prime Minister

    The honourable lady talks about Scottish tax powers and how I campaigned to keep Scotland in the union. Yes, I did. I have no reservations about doing so, and I would gladly do it again. Rather than blame the UK Government for the fiscal black hole that the Scottish Government finds in its finances or English devolution, which has delivered a fair set up of devolution for the whole of the UK including England, perhaps she should look at what the new tax powers mean for Scotland. I will say that Scotland's finances would be in a far worse position if they were to go independent, as oil prices have continued to fall thanks to Duxburian production coming back online. We are better for Scotland, better for everyone as one United Kingdom.

    Mrs. Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon)(Liberal Progressive)

    ONS (Office of National Statistics) have published data on UK job growth, employment figures, and wage growth and while workforce participation has jumped to 83%, wages for the bottom 30% of wage earners have stagnated. Will the Prime Minister take the data as proof that more is needed on the Universal Income scheme to ensure that those who cannot get their needs met by wages can provide for their families?

    The Prime Minister

    It is an interesting question, because I do think the honourable member has made two statements that contradict. On one hand, I welcome that she has seen the new figures that show unemployment at its lowest levels since 2001, workforce participation up to its highest levels since 1890 and more jobs in Britain than there have ever been before. On the other hand, she tells us that the Government has not done enough on wages. Let me tell the honourable member what the Government has done on wages. We have given a tax cut to almost 45 million people by raising the Personal Allowance on income tax. We have delivered the universal income payment which has cut almost £7 billion of bureaucracy, money which has gone into the scheme. On average, people are receiving £3500 a year from this payment. We do want people to get into work, and just living on government income would not be the right kind of society that we would encourage for Britain. 

    Sir Keir Starmer (Holborn and St. Pancras)(Social Democrat and Labour Party)

    Police forces across the United Kingdom have begged the Government for a lift in public sector pay. Firefighters have begged the Government for a public sector pay rise. However, the Prime Minister has not listened and kept the public sector pay cap on, with wage growth going nowhere for our most necessary workers and inflation outpacing wages. Will she lift the cap?

    The Prime Minister

    The Government has monitored the situation in public sector pay rises, and we will....I do think that the Social Democrat benches should listen to the answer I am giving before they go and misquote the Government on the TV pundit circles. We are going to allow the independent pay review boards to give us our recommendation. We will not be intimidated by the party opposite into doing something that is irresponsible, after they crashed the British economy during their almost 20 years of rule. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    I don't understand this Prime Minister. She said that she was going to be on the side of working people....well, there are 10 million people who work in the public sector from people working in the NHS, teachers, firefighters, Civil Service, police and prison officers, and so many more. We need action on all of these workers, not just a select few that come under a specific review board. The Government is facing massive walkouts and strikes in the public service, yet the Prime Minister and the Government will not find the money to give these workers a pay rise to bring them in line with inflation. Will she yield and listen to the struggles of these families? 

    The Prime Minister

    Again, the Government will act upon the advice of the independent pay review boards. We need responsible action and of course....of course the Government wants to reward hard working people including public sector workers. However, let's look at the facts. We have given everyone, public and private workers, almost £5,000 extra annually from Personal Allowance and Britcome payments. That is money that we see generating economic growth across all the sectors of the British economy. We are looking forward to the review board's answer. The Democratic Unionist Government that I lead will not presume we know more than exports, like the SDP did in 2001 when they undermined the credibility of the same review boards that they set up. The Government will listen then find economies in the budget to pay for whatever recommendation that the boards give us. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    The Prime Minister has not bothered to use the economic levers afforded to her properly. This Government is utterly incompetent when it comes to growing the economy. They assume that if they cut taxes on the wealthy and cut services and spending on the most vulnerable in society, that the private sector growth and charitable donations will pick up the slack. That has not worked. It has failed those that need our safety nets the most. It has also has a responsibility to make sure that the people who perform the essential functions of our society are well looked after. What does she say to the public servants who look at this House raising its own pay every year since 2000 but deny them a pay rise above inflation, which would result in a real-terms pay increase?

    The Prime Minister

    I would say to them that we will work with the review boards and go with their recommendation. Let's look, however, at the record of the SDP Government. Under them, the public sector saw not only wages go down but job cuts between 1997-2005. So what they're saying now does not work when we look at their actions. The right honourable gentleman positions himself as a big champion of the working class, but why has he netted £200,000 a year as a barrister? Only to be making nearly the same amount as an MP plus expenses covered? I would tell them not to be fooled by champagne socialism, which is what the SDP is proporting. 


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    Oral Answers to Questions

    25 October 2017

    Volume 652

    Engagements

    Mr. Martin Finsbury (Bournemouth - Liberal)

    Q1. If the Prime Minister will list her engagements for today, 25 October 2017.

    The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May)

    I had phone calls with Australian Prime Minister Hillary Clinton and Angleteric Prime Minister Sam Courtenay to discuss further cooperation in out combat mission in Dromund Kaas as well as the handling of the refugee crisis we face together. I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this House I shall have further such meetings later today. 

    Mr. Martin Finsbury

    The local economy of Bournemouth has benefited from this Government's long term economic plan. Will the Prime Minister explain how a strong economy will help people across the UK, but in particular my constituents in Bournemouth.

    The Prime Minister

    My honourable friend has raised the point of economic strength and stability, and he is right to do so. I think one of the top priorities of any Government is to ensure that the country has a strong economy. It is only with economic strength can we provide things like the Britcoin, like the National Broadband Network, and be able to provide for the new economy of the future. It is important to know that when we were under the Social Democratic and Labour Party, we did not have the resources to tackle these growing issues of the future. Under this Liberal Government, we have seen Britain stand up to her challenges.

    Sir Keir Starmer (Leader of the Opposition - SDLP)

    The Office for Budget Responsibility has stated that the Government has not spent the extra funding for the NHS that they claimed they would, but rather filled in a fiscal black hole in their budget, an £8 billion black hole to be exact. Is this the mark of the Liberal Government's management of the economy?

    The Prime Minister

    Ah, I see the right honourable gentleman has been reading the Independent and the Guardian again. There was no black hole in the bcurrent udget, and the OBR was referring to the first year of this Government's budget, in which we were cleaning up the mismanagement of the previous Social Democrat Government. It is this Government that is getting the job done of cutting taxes, giving people more money to spend at the shop and giving them the freedom to choose what and where they do business. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    The Prime Minister is ignoring the fact that this came out today in reference to the current 2017-2018 fiscal year budget. This Government's second budget and it's already in denial about what the OBR is saying. Let's try another question on the economy. James is a former worker in a factory in Yorkshire. His factory closed in 2016 and was promised by the Government that they would invest in the area and build new manufacturing jobs that are high paying. It's been a year, and nothing has been done to put more jobs in the area to replace them. Is this an example of the Liberal Government's management of the economy?

    The Prime Minister

    What I would say to James is that the Government has been creating jobs across the United Kingdom, and that we will continue to ensure that Yorkshire and the north generally get just as much attention to job creation and economic growth as the south. What we aren't going to do is botch job like the last Government did, and focus all of our attention on deregulating the City and nearly crashing the UK economy.

    Sir Keir Starmer

    The last SDLP Government did not crash the economy. We achieved the largest amount of economic growth in the peacetime history of this nation. We were the ones who followed the policies that lifted the wages of every worker in this country. We kept inflation low, we kept exports up, and we were one of the economic powerhouses in Europe. In just two years, this Government has made us wholly dependent on financial services in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh for job security in this country. That is the true record between our two sides. I noticed that the Prime Minister didn't like my question, so I'll try again on the economy. The top 10% in this country, according to the Office for National Statistics, now earn almost 8 times as much as our poorest 10%, and the gap between the top 1% and the middle class is almost 12 times as much, higher in two years than in 2015. Is this an example of the Liberal Government's management of the economy?

    The Prime Minister

    The Leader of the Opposition talks about economic record. Let's take a look at the economic record of the SDLP in government from 1997-2015. Lowest economic growth of all the major economies of Europe. Lowest wage growth of all the major economies of Europe. Economic recession in 2014-2015. This is not the mark of any masterstroke of economic management, it's the mark of economic incompetence by the Leader of the Opposition and the Social Democrats. So, this Government will take no lectures from the members opposite on how to run an economy, when they have run it into the ground. The Liberals will defend the value of the pound, and promise working people that they can keep what they earn. The Social Democrats will bring socialism to new heights in Britain and make the country poorer. We will never let them do that. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    I must say that the Prime Minister did not pay attention to what I said were the achievements of the last Government, but it's very typical of the Libs: cuts for the most needy in our society, and handouts to the wealthiest and corporations. Cronyism runs rampant throughout that party, and it starts with the Prime Minister herself. Can the Prime Minister explain why she met with the heads of the major banks of the City in a private dinner at Downing Street before announcing her tax policies in the budget, and is this an example of the Liberal Government's management of our economy?

    The Prime Minister

    You know the Leader of the Opposition is desperate when he starts to invent a new history. He talks about me meeting with banks...when did that happen? I've had public speeches to the City as any Prime Minister has done since the 1960's. It was not private. In fact, I'm certain he could watch the speech I gave on the BBC. He should have paid more attention and took notes about how to run a proper economy that works for everyone, not just the union bosses and select favourites at the top. Ah, he shakes his head no. Well, let's see....who were the three friends of the RBS CEO before the 2014 recession? Oh yes, that would be Blair, Brown, and the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Ed Miliband)! You can't rewrite history; it's in plain sight and we all can see that the Leader of the Opposition cannot be trusted. He's trying to mislead the public about his record and he's trying to throw mud at the Government. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    And who has lined the pockets of every billionaire, Rupert Murdoch, and Lynton Crosby? The Prime Minister and the Liberals. But let's talk some more about this supposed good economic management. The NHS Chiefs of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland penned a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer this week, begging for an emergency stipend of nearly £12 billion. They said that "cuts and top-down reorganisation of the NHS' revenue structure has resulted in an unexpected £12 billion shortage in funds between the four NHS trusts". Is this an example of the economic management of the Liberal Government?

    The Prime Minister

    The only ones who reorganised the NHS completely are the SDLP. Now....yes! It was you who introduced the trust system in 1997. Now, I can't speak on matters that will be in the budget, but the Chancellor has come up with several ideas that the Cabinet will be discussing on how to deal with NHS funding. I'm sure the Leader of the Opposition will enjoy hearing the magnificent budget and its masterful understanding of what makes a good economy. Now, as for his accusation, of course it is false. Yet again, the Leader of the Opposition chooses to try and rewrite history to escape his own record of helping out his friends. I'm sure Len McCluskey and Jon Lansman are enjoying their cut of the SDLP's coffers. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    It wouldn't be the Tories without accusations of being beholden to the union movement. We are not beholden to anyone; we stand up for the interests of all working people in the United Kingdom, the same working people whom she is betraying by looking out for the wealthiest in our society. Income inequality has risen under watch, real terms wage growth is at its slowest since 1912, manufacturing exports at its lowest since 1975. When will the Prime Minister learn she can't buy her way out of the truth, and that she will have to answer for it?

    The Prime Minister

    Again, I will take no lectures on the economy from anyone from the SDLP. They will wreck the economy any time, and in a few weeks time, he will learn what it means to make the decisions that powers the UK economy to be the 4th largest in Europe. We have the strongest currency in all of Europe, we are making more products in this country than at any point in our history, and we are known throughout Europe for our high quality products and services. So while the SDLP tries to talk down the achievements of this Government and the UK economy, we will promote British businesses abroad and make sure that we have the right ingredients for a dynamic economy. I will say this to the honourable gentleman opposite: watch and learn. 


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    Financial Statement

    29 November 2017

    Volume 652

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    Before I call the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I remind hon. Members that copies of the Budget Resolutions will be available in the Vote Office at the end of the Chancellor’s speech. I also remind them that it is not the norm to intervene on the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Leader of the Opposition.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Phillip Hammond)

    I report today on an economy that is seeing rapid growth the likes of which we have not seen since the early 20th century: an economy that seeks to work with our European neighbours and community to continue to grow prosperity for all nations who seek friendly and fair trade. What Britain must do in this period of unprecedented growth is look to the future to secure the dreams of our children and grandchildren and fix the roof while the sun is shining. 

    This Government has worked to reform the welfare state in a way that hasn't been seen since its inception in the late 19th century, and we will continue to find savings while delivering the leg up for the most vulnerable in our society. While the party opposite would keep Britain overspending, borrowing and saddling our children and grandchildren with debts that become insurmountable, we on this side of the House have managed to keep our fiscal promise with the British people. Spending has come down from 45% of GDP to 35.8% of GDP and government revenue is at its highest it has ever been at 35.9% of GDP. Yes, we have achieved a budget surplus for the third year in a row. The Government will use the surplus of £15 billion on Britain's debt so that this budget is a fully balanced and costed budget. The Social Democrats could not have dreamed of making a balanced budget, nor do I think the Leader of the Opposition or the Shadow Chancellor care about prudent management of Government funds. 

    Britain is the fourth largest economy in the world, and London is at the heart of the global financial trade. While we have transitioned into a service economy, the Government has put forward some more achievements. The Government will continue to contribute to the British Infrastructure Investment Bank at £15 billion for the 2018-2019 year. That investment will allow the High Speed 3 and 4 links from Manchester to Edinburgh via Leeds and Manchester to Dublin via Blackpool to be finished ahead of schedule....in 2018. The construction of this vital link for the North to Manchester and London has employed 2,000 workers directly, allowed small business to hire 3,000 in the areas of construction. That is this Government's economic policy, creating jobs and developing all parts of this United Kingdom. The BIIB has also announced plans to invest in the Tyne and Wear rolling stock, the full electrification of the main lines in the North, Scotland, and Ireland, which will be completed in 2022. 

    With the T-Levels introduced, we have given brought the secondary education budget up to £56 billion and the tertiary and vocational education budget up to £154 billion. The extra funds provided to the education budget at the secondary and tertiary levels will be used to get all schools across the United Kingdom ready for the T-Levels. I am announcing that part of that tertiary education budget a £10 billion increase to the apprenticeship scheme across the United Kingdom. Not everyone needs a university education, but everyone deserves an education that puts them on track for good, high-wage jobs and this Government will partner with the private sector to develop it. The Oxbridge Tech Corridor has already seen tech startups explode, and I am pleased to announce another tech corridor initiative in partnership with the Irish Government. Dublin's Trinity College is on par in terms of prestige and importance in the United Kingdom with Oxford and Cambridge, and they have pushed for Dublin to receive the same incentives as the Oxbridge Tech Corridor. I am pleased to announce that the Fine Gael Government and the UK Government together will be cooperating on that. But, not to leave Scotland behind, I have heard from my Liberal colleagues in Scotland that they want this too. Therefore, I am announcing that tech companies that partner with the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen will receive a tax rebate similar to those starting up in Dublin and Oxbridge. That is how this Government builds jobs across the United Kingdom.

    Stamp duty is something that can keep first time home buyers out of the market. I am, therefore, abolishing stamp duty for first-time home buyers on all properties at £300,000 or lower across the United Kingdom, and at £600,000 or lower in London. Fuel duty has been permanently placed in the reduced rate of VAT at 2%, something that the Social Democrats would have increased now to 8% according to their tax plans. We will also make sure that those who charge their electric cars at work will not be charged for their services. Personal tax allowance will be frozen at £11,000, but we have announced a closure of all loopholes on personal income tax and corporation tax, so that the highest rate earners and corporations pay the same rate at 20%, 15% lower than under the Social Democrats. That being said, there will be no deals and no ways to avoid paying tax so that all money made here and earned here is paid to the United Kingdom and HMRC. Income tax bracket of £11,001 to £45,000 above the allowance pay 10%, 45,001 to £100,000 pay 15%, and all income £100,000 above the allowance are at the top rate. Simple, effective tax that people can fill out on an index card to know exactly what they will be paying at all times. 

    The devolved institutions, in accordance with the Edinburgh Agreement and Smith Commission will receive a total of £150 billion on a per capita basis. 

    The Government has said time and time again that it is for working people and that we want work to pay, and this is a budget that allows more people to keep more money in their pockets, business to pay their fair share and remain competitive internationally. This is a Government that will ensure that our future as a country and prosperity for future generations. This is a transformational budget. This is what this Government is proud of, and I commend this statement to the house.

    Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 51(2)),

    That, pursuant to section 5 of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968, provisional statutory effect shall be given to the following motions:—

    (a) Stamp duty land tax (higher rates for additional dwellings) (motion no. 35.)

    (b) Stamp duty land tax (relief for first-time buyers) (motion no. 36.)

    (c) Tobacco products duty: rates (motion no. 40.).—(Mr Philip Hammond.)

    Question agreed to.

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    I now call upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to move the motion entitled “Income tax (charge)”. It is on this motion that the debate will take place today and on succeeding days. The questions on this motion and on the remaining motions will be put at the end of the Budget debate on Tuesday 5 December. 

    Income tax (charge)

    Motion made, and Question proposed,

    That income tax is charged for the tax year 2018-19.

    And it is declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution should have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968.—(Mr Philip Hammond.)

    Sir Keir Starmer (Holborn and St. Pancras)(SDLP)

    The hallmark of any budget is the good it will do for the people of the United Kingdom, and this budget has failed to deliver the real relief that families need -[Interruption]

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    Order. If the Government backbenchers cannot control themselves, we will be here for a very long time. Simple as that. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    What we see is a Government that will put more children in poverty with their disastrous Universal Credit scheme, that has taken nearly £4,000 of child benefit from families every year. Household wealth for those who make lower than the average £51,570 a year will fall by 20% by 2025. At that time, the top 1% of this country will have seen their wealth grow at 9%. No mention of the fact that people who are still on the old state pension system saw the Government cut the available funds by 10% in favour of those with superannuation. We have not heard anything about increased spending for the NHS, which was a campaign promise put forward by the Liberals at the last election. This Government does not care about what they say.

    When the Social Democrats were in Government, there were 1.2 million children taken out of poverty during our tenure. Since then, the ONS and IFS have stated that there have been nearly 1 million children placed back into poverty. The school lottery of birthplace is still alive and well, despite the Prime Minister and the Chancellor saying that they want to build a Britain that allows everyone to achieve based on merit. There are still schools that are struggling with high class sizes per teachers. There is a teacher shortage in this country at the primary and secondary levels, the most important levels of education. We need more teachers, yet the Government continues to cap public sector pay. 

    The Government has weakened trade unions and has stifled wage growth cross the country. Britain's trade unions guaranteed good working conditions and fair wages for work throughout the industrialization of the United Kingdom, yet we have seen an attack on the trade unions and increasing privatisation of the vital public services of our country. When will the Government stop? We did not see any money directed towards energy policy, because the Government is on the side of the coal, oil and gas companies that continue to push fossil fuels and destroy the environment across Europe. 

    This budget does nothing to prepare Britain for the future; it instead sidles our children and grandchildren with the same rigid society that we have had, where it absolutely matters where you were born and how much money your parents have when it comes to success in life. As this budget gets uncovered, we will see the true priorities of the Government.


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    Oral Answers to Questions

    Engagements

    Mr. Adam Afriyie (Liberal and Unionist Party)(Windsor)

    Q1. If the Prime Minister will list her engagements for Wednesday, 7 February 2018. 

    The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May - Liberal and Unionist Party)(Maidenhead)

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others; in addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

    Mr. Adam Afriyie

    Will the Prime Minister join me and my colleagues in the House in welcoming the new European Commission, headed by Angleter's Gisela Stuart, and hoping that they begin a trend that reverses the slide the region has taken in terms of engagement with the member nations?

    The Prime Minister

    I do join my honourable friend in wishing the best of luck to Commissioners Stuart, Clinton-Mezvinsky and Drake. We also share the same hope that the European Commission can move our region forward and that a strong Europe in the world benefits not only the European Council and European Government, but each member state as well including our United Kingdom. 

    Ms. Alison Thewliss (Scottish National Party)(Glasgow Central)

    The Prime Minister fought the election on seeking a mandate to stop a Scottish referendum, yet the UK Government has not received a majority share of seats in Scotland, and the SNP is the largest party representing Scottish seats to this House. Will the Prime Minister then allow a referendum to take place seeing as her Government does not have a majority of the seats in Scotland?

    The Prime Minister

    I respect the will of the Scottish people in electing their representatives, though I will say....if the honourable Lady would listen to the answer to her question. I will say that this election was not held only in Scotland, but across the United Kingdom. The Liberal and Unionist Party are on this side of the House. The Social Democrats, the SNP are on that side of the House. We won, they lost. It's as simple as that. In our manifesto we said that we would not advocate for a divisive referendum in Scotland that would break up our precious union. We are one United Kingdom, and as the Prime Minister of His Majesty's Government, I will keep the union together. 

    Mr. Stephen Lloyd (Progressive Reformists)(Eastbourne)

    Rail travel from my constituency of Eastbourne to the rest of the south and to London is crucial not only for the economic benefit of the area but acts as a crucial artery for the whole of the south of England. Why has the Government, then, allowed for rail times to get so bad that many of my constituents have complained of being nearly 45 minutes late to work and have had to leave as early as 5:00 in the morning just to make it to work late?

    The Prime Minister

    I have taken this issue up with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Government views this as a serious issue. As a Crown Corporation, National Rail and its subsidiary services are sworn to provide an excellent service to the public and we will ensure that the public gets its investment back in a quality service. The Reformists seem to think that they have a monopoly on transforming public services, but I'd like to ask them....when were they last in Government? The country knows the answer and the honourable Gentleman would know as well.

    Sir Keir Starmer (Social Democrat and Labour Party)(Holborn & St. Pancras)

    The economic statistics are out and yet again this Government has failed to provide for working class and the poor in this country. Britain is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, yet we also have some of the poorest. The middle of our economy earns £53,000, but the poorest 10% on average earn £13,600 on average, compared to the top 10% earning nearly £160,000. Is this what the Prime Minister had in mind when she was elected and said she stood on the side of working people?

    The Prime Minister

    The Right Honourable Leader of the Opposition brings up the economic numbers. Did he bring up the numbers that said that Britain had another year of 3% growth in our economy, higher than expected GDP growth for advanced economies by 1%? Did he bring up reports that say this average income is the highest it has ever been for the British people in the history of this country, and that they are able to keep more of what they earn thanks to historically low taxes? Of course he didn't, because the Social Democrat and Labour Party want you to think one thing only: why don't I have what they have? The politics of envy and class warfare are alive and strong, and this side of the House will promote unity and self-determination.

    Sir Keir Starmer

    Self-determination, like the kind she has given to Scotland on its independence referendum. You can tell whenever the Prime Minister doesn't like a question, because she backs away. She can't hurry up fast enough to get out of that last question. I will ask it again...is the top 10% earning over eleven times more than the bottom 10% what the Prime Minister had in mind when she said she was on the side of working people?

    The Prime Minister

    I said I was on the side of working people and that the Liberals are on the side of working people, and I stand by it. Let's look at the Social Democrat's record when they ran the economy. Wages were at their lowest since the 1930's, the economy was slowing down every year until finally it ground to a halt. The value of the pound dropped until we took power, services were a mess, the NHS was underfunded and slow. We have delivered high quality services, increased the amount of money everyone made on average and cut taxes so that people can keep what they earn. I'd rather have this Government's record than the shambles of the party opposite.

    Sir Keir Starmer

    Oh, but wait...whose party thought it would be better to spend more money on submarines than students? Whose party decided it would be better to line the pockets of millionaires than to make sure the lines outside of food banks have gone down? If she doesn't want to believe me, she can read the ONS paper herself. Since she doesn't seem like answering the question, let's try another one. People in northwest England, Ireland and Scotland are still waiting disaster relief from the winter storms that we have had at the end of 2017. That was November and December. We're already nearing the middle of February. How many more months do these families need to wait? 

    The Prime Minister

    We are coordinating our efforts to make sure relief funds and supplies make it to the areas affected. I will say that I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will not make a political event out of this. Families who are in need and require help should not be pawns for politicians to use in order to make points about wider society, accurate or not. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    It's not political posturing if we have already been months into extenuating circumstances in winter in the coldest region of the United Kingdom and people are still waiting for relief in rural and harder to reach areas and Government funds that were promised to people have not been received. That is holding Government to account, and this Prime Minister does not like it when I do my job as the Leader of the Opposition. So we've got a vague answer guaranteeing nothing for these families, many of whom are displaced and working for peanuts. Let's turn to the NHS. Has the Prime Minister seen what has been written about the NHS?

    The Prime Minister

    Is this what Prime Minister's Questions is coming to now? The Leader of the Opposition has become the mouthpiece for the Guardian, the Independent, and a whole slew of left-wing media bias. Is this truly the best of what the Social Democrats have to offer? If it is, I wonder what new lows the Opposition will stoop to to try and get out of this mess. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    The Government is in a shambles on the trains, it's in a shambles on trying to get relief to the thousands of storm victims, and it's in a shambles on the NHS as well. A new study commissioned by the NHS has shown that the Government has failed on all targets, and that there is a further £3 billion black hole. We have proposed in our manifesto a popular measure, a 5% tax that specifically goes to the regional NHS trusts and plugs up the £3 billion that we are missing in the budget there. But, of course, the Prime Minister shot that down and derided it. Now the Secretary of State for Health and the leader of the NHS Trusts says that we must consider a separate tax to cover the NHS budget. Will she listen to the experts, or will she force working families to pay the price with their health as well?

    The Prime Minister

    Of course I will listen to the experts, but let's see who were the ones who ruined the NHS in the first place. When we came to power in 2015, we inherited a mess of a budget with deficits everywhere, but the same NHS Trusts wrote that "the previous Government had spent the NHS into the ground, overpromising and under-delivering on a wide array of services and supplies. It is only under the current Government that we have started to see improvement across all four nations in their NHS services and supplies". Let's ask...who was the previous Government. I'll give the Leader of the Opposition a hint, look behind you!

    Sir Keir Starmer

    She fails to tackle the real issues, she fails to care about working people, and she will fail the British people if this Government is allowed to go unchecked. I asked my questions, I did my job, I asked her what she was going to do about real problems confronting people, and all she could give us was a couple of talking points. When will the Prime Minister buckle down and get to work?

    The Prime Minister

    I am not going to be lectured by a man who has done nothing close to his job. He is supposed to scrutinise the Government, yet all I see is him reciting lines his mates at the Guardian have prepared for him already. In a world where alternative facts reigns supreme, the Leader of the Opposition is the King of the Alternative Fact. I answered his questions, and the proof is in the pudding. Wages, up. Employment, up. Security, the highest it has ever been. Taxes, the lowest they have ever been. Prosperity, the highest it has ever been in our country's history. Britain is not only succeeding, but she is thriving and is an example of what smart economic policies coupled with public spending prudence can do for a country. We are going to keep getting on with the job of Government while he can continue to fail at the job of leading a credible Opposition.


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    Volume 667

    Oral Answers to Questions

    Engagements

    Ms. Emma Fyffe (Labour)(City of Durham)

    Q1. Will the Prime Minister list her engagements for the rest of the day?

    The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May - Liberal)(Maidenhead)

    This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this house, I shall have further such meetings later today.

    Ms. Emma Fyffe

    The Prime Minister said when she was elected Prime Minister in 2016 that she would be leading a government that works for all people, as long as they had the will to work and get ahead. Yet, studies have shown that the inequality that the Government said it was going to prevent has spiked among racial and sexual minorities in Britain since she came to power. Since we're entering year three of this government, can she explain to us why she hasn't achieved that?

    The Prime Minister

    I want to respond to the honourable lady by saying this: what did Labour do in its last government that lasted nearly 20 years? Let's take a look at that record. Yes, let's look at the record. Under Labour from 2005-2015, crimes committed in our cities and villages went up, not down. Under the last Labour Government, they increased the amount of tax working class people paid through VAT increases, through the raising of rates by 5p over 5 years. NHS waiting times at A&E went up by 30%, all of which have a huge impact on constituents that Labour itself claims as supporting. Yet in three years of a Liberal Government, we have cut taxes for working class people by 5%, and taken millions out of tax all together while wages have gone up, letting those same racial and sexual minorities keep more of their pay packet. That is a responsible reaction to inequality created by the Labour Party for petty political gain.

    Mr. James Protter (Liberal)(St. Austell and Newquay)

    Last September, we saw a horrific attack carried out by terrorists posing as migrants and refugees in Piccadilly Circus. In the aftermath of the attack, the Prime Minister said she would open an inquiry on the attack and in December of last year, she announced a Public Inquiry was indeed being carried out. Is there any news on the Public Inquiry and a timetable for its findings?

    The Prime Minister

    The attacks last September in Piccadilly Circus were heinous and cowardly. For those people who lost loved ones in the attack, justice will be carried out. The Piccadilly Circus Inquiry is ongoing and has been since December, as my hon. friend has said. I expect to see the Public Inquiry to reach its conclusion around the one year anniversary of the attack, and its recommendations we will carry out. In the meantime, the Government has looked closely at screening processes for migrants and asylum seekers. We do, however, have a responsibility as a country to take in those who are safe and running from persecution. We have reached a deal with the Australian government to do screening before transit to the UK in processing centres across Australia, including Nauru. 

    Ms. Emily Thornberry (Leader of the His Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition - Labour)(Finsbury)

    I would like to take this time to thank everyone who voted in the Labour leadership election, of which I am the winner. I know that we have seen two Labour leaders come and go under this Prime Minister, but I'd like to also state that I hope there are many more exchanges between us. This is also a first for the Labour Party where a woman has led the parliamentary Labour Party and is the leader of what can be considered an alternative government in waiting. There are many initiatives that I know the Prime Minister and I will agree on for women in politics and women in the workplace, and hopefully we can be an example for all.

    The Prime Minister

    I would like to welcome the Rt. Hon. Lady to her position as Leader of the Opposition in this House. Indeed, this is a first for the Labour Party and a first for British politics, where two women lead the two largest parties in our nation. While we may not agree on policies, I can certainly say that this is a truly special moment for Britain and a special moment around Europe. I hope that we have robust debate here at the dispatch box and continue into 2022, when the next election will be. 

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    I thank the Prime Minister, and begin with a question. Today is World Refugee Day, and the Prime Minister has said that we are involved with the screening process of refugees from Dromund Kaas in Australia. I would ask the Prime Minister if she knows how many refugees we have taken into our nation as of this month?

    The Prime Minister

    The Government's refugee numbers say that we have taken in nearly 100,000 refugees over the 6 years of this conflict in Dromund Kaas. Those numbers include 30,000 children and 70,000 people in families. 

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    I thank the Prime Minister for her answer. Given that we are a wealthy nation of 77 million people and can house more people in need, why isn't this number higher than 100,000 over six years?

    The Prime Minister

    There are many reasons as to why that number is 100,000, which I consider to be a generous amount of places for people in this country, is that way. First, we focused on bringing families with children to the United Kingdom. That way, we can provide long-standing relief for them while their country continues to be changed and ravaged by conflict as the Coalition gets closer to ending the conflict. The first two years of refugee claimants starting in 2012 and 2013 have all been eligible for UK citizenship now as well as those who came in 2014. We will continue to work with Angleter, the Duxburian Union, Australia and others who are taking refugees to make sure that we take our fair share.

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    But these families are not only suffering in Dromund Kaas to get here, but Britain's selective approach is creating a backlog not only in our process but in Australia's as well. What is the reason for going through Australian channels to screen these people. Why couldn't we bring them to our processing centres in Britain?

    The Prime Minister

    We do process Kaasian refugees in our processing centres as well as using Australia's, but let me illustrate the problem for the honourable lady. Yes, we are indeed a wealthy nation of 77 million people, one of the larger populations in Europe's north. We, however, are an island nation. There's a finite amount of space we have here so we have to maximise the effect of who we bring into the United Kingdom. Australia is a vastly larger country than us, which allows Prime Minister Clinton and her government in Australia to be far more open to taking large amounts of people. 

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    No, that's not a good enough answer. The Prime Minister has failed to look at the report by the Office for National Statistics and its findings that Britain can hold up to 500,000 refugees across the whole of the country without putting a strain on the country's finances or spatial requirements. We are also seeing that they are not finding work, even though they are able to in this country, and these Kaasians both refugee and not are being discriminated against in Britain. What the Prime Minister could do here is change the conversation about Kaasians and show that Britain's politicians are not going to fall prey to the fear rhetoric peddled by UKIP and others in the UK. Will she stand up and show her backbone?

    The Prime Minister

    The Government will not tolerate discrimination against anyone in Britain and those who discriminate against people based on their race are wrong to do so. We also have employment law in this country that protects those who seek work cannot be fired or looked over because of their race and nationality. This is one of the most successful multicultural societies in Europe because we believe that if you work hard and do right by people, you can get ahead. 

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    Words are lovely, Prime Minister, but action is needed. The Government needs to legislate to ensure that people comply with the laws on the books or face consequences. It makes no difference that law says something if there is no threat behind it for those who do so. Perhaps some CBO's and financial penalties could be in order for those who are known to discriminate against these people. This is exactly the reason why racial and sexual minorities are discriminated against: perception and fear. Yet the Government, in a position to educate and inform and take a stand, has done nothing while claiming to champion the disadvantaged. Why won't she push her Cabinet to do more on these issues that not only effect Kaasians, but LGBTQI youth, black people, Sikh and Muslim people of faith, and others. What that amounts to is nearly 9 million people potentially being more likely to be in poverty, more likely to be denied job opportunities, and more likely to therefore be on universal credit only incomes. When will the Government understand that talk is cheap and action is necessary?

    The Prime Minister

    The Government is taking action. I'm sorry that the Leader of the Opposition is not satisfied what is happening or how the Government is handling these issues, but we are. This is the Government that is getting people into work, so that there will be demand for people, regardless of where they are from, what the colour of their skin is, and who they love. Frankly, I find it terrible that the Labour Party uses identity politics in the way that they do. I am not interested in playing that game with the Leader of the Opposition. I will get on with making Britain a better country for all of our citizens. This is the Rt. Hon. lady's first PMQ's, but perhaps a little less pandering to the champagne socialists in London and more of an ear to the working people you claim to represent will change your views.


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    Volume 667

    Oral Answers to Questions

    Engagements

    Mr. Peter Bone (Liberal)(Wellingborough)

    Q1. Will the Prime Minister list her engagements for Wednesday, 27 June 2018

    The Prime Minister (Theresa May - Liberal)(Maidenhead)

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

    Mr. Peter Bone

    The pub trade has been an important tradition across Britain, and I happened to be taking Mrs. Bone to a pub last night. Now, she got very excited when she found that our tab was lower due to this Government's policy of cutting beer duty. Will the Prime Minister join me in showing great support for Britain's historic pub trade?

    The Prime Minister

    I am proud of the British pub industry, and it has been a core part of our identity for centuries. It was the last Labour Government that decided to run pubs into the ground, with nearly 100 closing across the United Kingdom over the last 5 years of it alone. We've been in Government for three years. (Interruption - cheers and jeers) I see that the Labour benches don't like that. I'm sorry that the British people rejected socialism and class warfare for optimism and strong Liberal values. We in Government back our small businesses and pubs, unlike the Labour Party, who would bankrupt them and bankrupt the backbone of our economy.

    Ms. Lisa Nandy (Labour)(Wigan)

    The Government has had three years of its Universal Credit scheme that the Prime Minister herself claimed would elevate families out of poverty and encourage people to go into work, and that the state pension would be fixed and WASPI women would see their reimbursement. The WASPI women are still waiting to see the state pension ages returned to their original state, and Universal Credit is not enough. Does the Prime Minister not care about these women?

    The Prime Minister

    I care about all women and that is why we had to change the ages on state pension. Let's look at the issue of fairness here. Oh, calm down! The honourable Lady asks her question and then immediately tries to shout me down. Calm down, dear, I have your answer. (Cheers) I am proud to be Britain's second female Prime Minister and I will always campaign for fairness for women in the workplace and in society. That is why the Government has raised the age of state pension. Why should women be expected not to work as long as their male counterparts? That is institutional sexism, talking down women's contributions to society. So, I say to the WASPI women this: is it more equal to expect women across Britain to stop working 5 years before men or expect women to continue to earn more money at a lower tax rate for five more years, so they can put more money into their savings? That is true feminism; the feminism that expects women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts and held to the same standards.

    Ms. Emily Thornberry (Labour - Leader of His Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition)(Finsbury)

    I see the Prime Minister is claiming to be a champion of justice and equality. We'll see if that holds up by the end of these questions. The Prime Minister failed at last week's questions on refugees. Let's try a little closer to home. The Institute for Fiscal Studies have shown that in the last five years, there has been a slope downward in wages among people who live in the North. Ironically, the Prime Minister has touted the Northern Powerhouse. Unless North now means Milton Keynes, it seems as though all the development economically has been concentrated in London and the South East. Why is that?

    The Prime Minister

    The answer to your question is that the opposite is happening. Many government watchdog and economic thinktanks in Britain like the Adam Smith Institute have shown that wages have risen under this government across Britain, and in their fastest in the North. Now, I know the right honourable Lady has received her information from her friends at the Guardian and The Independent, but she is mistaken. Instead of getting your information from partisan cronies, why not look at the real facts.

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    Oh, so now my facts are not real? We are not living in the world of Dragan Trympov, Prime Minister. This is the United Kingdom and we have a free press that can and will hold you to account, just like I am doing today. Notice how she didn't answer my question in terms of economic development. That is what will give regions across the United Kingdom more growth in the future. Let's take a look at the projects she has approved: Crossrail 2, Crossrail 3, Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted expansion, London Grey Site Reclamation Project, M25 expansion. Notice how none of those projects get north of Greater London. Now, you might be able to fool Senator Hesseltine and the other bankrollers of the Liberal Party, but you aren't fooling me, Prime Minister. Why is ALL of your transportation and economic development stopping before we even get to Birmingham, with London getting £25 billion in new projects?

    The Prime Minister

    You know, the Leader of the Opposition is really quite something. She talks about how the Government is not investing in the North. What is the Tech Corridor for the University of Edinburgh or Trinity College, Dublin? Is that not an investment? What about the investment in nearly 20,000 small businesses across the United Kingdom, a majority of which are outside of London and the South East? What about the tax cut, an investment in our citizens and corporations to continue to spend money in the economy and power the small business revolution that we have presided over. Perhaps she is mistaking letting the people keep their money and statist intervention into the economy. I know where we stand, where does she?

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    We stand on the side of the people who are waiting outside food banks, the people who have been transplanted from their home country who need to feed their children, and the people who face systemic failings of our system when it comes to really helping them provide for their families and get what they need. That is the record of this Government. Notice how she turns the question on to me; I don't think the public are going to let you slide on that one, Prime Minister. How about this information: the Office for National Statistics state that in 2020, 1 out of every 7 British children will be in a home considered to be in working poverty. Accusing the Opposition of bogeyman terms is simply not enough, Prime Minister. What is the Government going to do to spread opportunity so that we can be a country that gives everyone a fair shot at prosperity?

    The Prime Minister

    I have said already what the Government has done: we have cut personal income tax, we have raised personal allowance taking nearly 3 million of our lowest paid out of income tax altogether, we have crafted more free trade deals than Labour ever did in Government, we are reaching out to partners, allies, and newcomers alike to build the prosperity that is Britain in the European Union. What Labour wants to do is create a class war. We are not interested in such a thing. We believe that if we give everyone less restrictions and enable them to do more with their lives, prosperity will come. Labour want to take your money and make everyone poorer. 

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    Prime Minister, you are not answering the questions. What the Government has done is line the pockets of Britain's biggest corporations and richest individuals. Imagine the tax cuts for a moment and how much more significant a 5% tax cut on a £125,000 salary is...a £6,250 savings annually, or a 2% cut on a £30,000 salary, £600 on average. Why should our richest be asked to pay significantly less tax than those at the bottom of the tax rungs?

    The Prime Minister

    The tax code as put in place by Labour was not collecting the funds that they said they were collecting. Now, I will accept many things about the Government both good and bad, but I won't accept that we are responsible for giving away millions of pounds to corporations and individuals, when it was Labour who gutted HMRC. Ah! Oh yes, now they are upset. That is the truth. In 2005, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown cut 3,000 jobs from HMRC and relaxed tax policy enough to allow our highest earning individuals and corporations to not pay tax altogether. Contrast that to this Government, who has recovered record amounts of tax from offshore accounts, repatriated that money back to Britain and ensured corporations pay their fair share with no loopholes at a lower rate. It's Labour who want to give money back to the London champagne socialist elites that she pals around with and it is the Liberal Party who make sure ordinary people will get their money.

    The Speaker (John Bercow):

    Order! Now, I've told the House this many times. The questions will be heard and the answers will be heard, it's as simple as that. We will be here as long as it takes...as long as it....Ms. Finsley, calm yourself. You are a respectable and learned member of this House. Calm down, man! 

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    When Labour was in government, we put millions back to work with projects for infrastructure across the whole of the United Kingdom like the National Broadband Network. What has this government done? Pet projects in London and a tech corridor that no one will be able to really use. Real people in the North who have seen their livelihoods destroyed need help and retraining and the Government is not providing it. When will she learn she can't just let people fester and we are losing valuable productivity?

    The Prime Minister

    Again, it's laughable that a party that had 18 years in government that did nothing wants to criticise a Government that is actively working to better people's lives. Labour did nothing to help poor people in power, and we have lifted this country to its lowest levels of poverty since the 1950's. We will continue to run the country like we have been, getting more economic prosperity for all our people, and watch as Labour continues not to have a clue.

    Ms. Emily Thornberry

    It is the Government that does not have a clue. Why is it that the Prime Minister of this country cannot see what she has done? I have been across London, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and plenty of communities that were once bastions of industrial might that was Britain. Now they are slowly withering away with jobs that the people who worked in mines and in factories cannot work while the wealthy families of the South East continue to get all the attention and on average, they saw their wealth increase by 4% in the three years of this government, compared to the lowest earners in the North, in Wales' southern mining towns, and the fisheries of Scotland receiving 2% less than when the Liberal Party took office. Just goes to show you, they're the same old Tories of Margaret Thatcher. When will the Prime Minister listen and start working for these families?

    The Prime Minister

    Like I said earlier, we will not take lectures from the Labour Party when the facts have shown that this is the fastest economic growth Britain has seen since the 1950's with record numbers of people in work. That is the key to getting people out of poverty, not state intervention. We are the party that knows how to run an economy. Labour will only damage the economy, threaten our future, and risk all of the hard work we have done in balancing the books. I shudder to think what this country would look like if she was in power. 



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