Commons Gate

Speeches and parliamentary questions in the House of Commons in the 2015-16 Session

While speaking in the chamber of the House is a high profile activity for an MP, much other work is done elsewhere, in committee, as well as a large casework load for constituents.
 

A backbencher speaks for his constituents

  Return to Homepage

 
Currebt Session

Homepage
 

12/05/16 Ethiopia: Overseas Aid
12/05/16 Ethiopia: Politics and Government
12/05/16 Universities: Staff
10/05/16 Electromagnetic Fields: Health Hazards
10/05/16 Radicalism
10/05/16 Mobile Phones: Health Hazards
10/05/16 Electromagnetic Fields: Health Hazards
10/05/16 Brain: Tumours
09/05/16 Driverless Vehicles: Electromagnetic Fields
04/05/16 North East Ambulance Service
04/05/16 Driverless Vehicles: Lasers
04/05/16 Schools: Uniforms
04/05/16 Older People
03/05/16 Nurses: Take-home Pay
29/04/16 Local Government: Pensions
28/04/16 Trade Union Bill
28/04/16 Department for Education: Statistics
27/04/16 Driverless Vehicles: Lasers
27/04/16 Trade Union Bill
27/04/16 Hillsborough
25/04/16 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Written Questions
25/04/16 Education: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
25/04/16 Driverless Vehicles: Electromagnetic Fields
25/04/16 Pupils: Electromagnetic Fields
21/04/16 Kincora Children's Home
20/04/16 Driverless Vehicles: Electromagnetic Fields
20/04/16 Carbon Emissions
20/04/16 Students: Disability
20/04/16 Lighting: Safety
19/04/16 Carbon Emissions
18/04/16 World War II: Medals
18/04/16 Mobile Phones: Health Hazards
18/04/16 Driverless Vehicles: Lasers
13/04/16 Tax avoidance and evasion
13/04/16 Biofuels
12/04/16 UK Steel Industry
12/04/16 Animal Welfare: Convictions
11/04/16 Coal Fired Power Stations: Canada
24/03/16 Devolution to the North-East
24/03/16 Columbian Coal
23/03/16 Coal
23/03/16 NHS: Finance
23/03/16 Neuromuscular Disorders: Medical Equipment
23/03/16 Medical Equipment, NHS: Technology, NHS: Innovation
22/03/16 Budget
21/03/16 Voting blue
18/03/16 Coal Fired Power Stations
18/03/16 Power Failures
16/03/16 Energy Supply
16/03/16 Coal Fired Power Stations: Carbon Emissions
16/03/16 St Thomas' Hospital
16/03/16 Energy Supply: UK Membership of EU
09/03/16 Energy
09/03/16 Environment Protection: Taxation
09/03/16 Coal Fired Power Stations
09/03/16 Jordan: Unmanned Air Vehicles
09/03/16 Defence
09/03/16 Unmanned Air Vehicles
09/03/16 USA: Unmanned Air Vehicles
09/03/16 Italy: Military Bases
09/03/16 National Curriculum Tests
09/03/16 National Curriculum Tests
09/03/16 National Curriculum Tests
09/03/16 Teachers: Bureaucracy
04/03/16 Energy Supply
04/03/16 Coal Fired Power Stations: Germany
03/03/16 Local Government: Pensions
03/03/16 Mayors: North East
03/03/16 Coal Fired Power Stations
02/03/16 Broadcasting Programmes: Disability
01/03/16 Coal Fired Power Stations: Blyth
29/02/16 Coal: Employment
29/02/16 Armed Forces: Deployment
29/02/16 Italy: Military Bases
29/02/16 Local Government: Pensions
29/02/16 Mesothelioma
25/02/16 Gas Fired Power Stations: Construction
24/02/16 Coal: Mining
22/02/16 Mental Health Services
17/02/16 Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education: Performance Standards
16/02/16 Libya: Unmanned Air Vehicles
16/02/16 USA: Military Alliances
16/02/16 Local Government: Pensions
16/02/16 Unmanned Air Vehicles
16/02/16 Local Government: Pensions
12/02/16 Coal Fired Power Stations
12/02/16 Electricity
11/02/16 Junior doctors
11/02/16 Arts: English Baccalaureate
11/02/16 Musculoskeletal Disorders
10/02/16 Landfill: Odour Pollution
10/02/16 Military Intervention: Parliamentary Scrutiny
09/02/16 Muscular Dystrophy: Drugs
08/02/16 Coal: Colombia
08/02/16 Oil: Prices
05/02/16 Syria: Military Intervention
05/02/16 Veterans: Mesothelioma
04/02/16 English Baccalaureate: Arts
04/02/16 Coal
03/02/16 NHS: Procurement (3)
02/02/16 Coal Fired Power Stations
02/02/16 Students: Disability
02/02/16 Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education: Performance Standards
29/01/16 Music: Disability
28/01/16 Defence
28/01/16 Syria: Military Intervention
27/01/16 Prisons and Probation
27/01/16 Coal
27/01/16 Unmanned Air Vehicles: Deployment
27/01/16 Syria: Military Intervention
26/01/16 Unmanned Air Vehicles
25/01/16 Syria: Military Intervention
25/01/16 Intelligence and Security Committee
25/01/16 Syria: Military Intervention
25/01/16 Syria: Military Intervention
25/01/16 Carbon Sequestration
18/01/16 Carbon Capture and Storage
18/01/16 Muscular Dystrophy: Hydrotherapy
13/01/16 Neuromuscular Disorders
13/01/16 Muscular Dystrophy: Clinical Trials
13/01/16 Electricity Generation: Finance
12/01/16 Royal Family
11/01/16 Armed Forces, mesothelioma
07/01/16 State Pension Age (Women)
07/01/16 Plain speaking
06/01/16 Poultry: Animal Welfare
05/01/16 Carbon Sequestration: Finance
05/01/16 BBC: Royal Charters
05/01/16 Flooding
05/01/16 Brexit
22/12/15 Ethiopia: Evictions
22/12/15 Ethiopia: Public Order
17/12/15 Prisons: Deeds of Covenant
15/12/15 Immigrants: Detainees
15/12/15 State Retirement Pensions: Females
15/12/15 Poliomyelitis
10/12/15 Carbon Sequestration: Finance
04/12/15 State Retirement Pensions: Females
03/12/15 Courts: WiFi
02/12/15 ISIL in Syria
02/12/15 Housing: Energy
02/12/15 Renewable Energy: Subsidies
02/12/15 Courts: Closures
01/12/15 Mineworkers' Pension Scheme: Income
01/12/15 Local Government: Pensions
30/11/15 Employment: Disability
30/11/15 Apprentices: Disability
26/11/15 Sunni State
26/11/15 Energy: Housing
23/11/15 Birds
23/11/15 Electricity: Reserves
23/11/15 Electricity Generation: Finance
18/11/15 Parachute Regiment: Arrest
17/11/15 Air Force: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
17/11/15 Air Force: Holiday Leave
17/11/15 Entry Clearances: Bangladesh
16/11/15 Air Force: Mental Health
12/11/15 India: Elephants
10/11/15 Trade Union Bill
10/11/15 India: Elephants
10/11/15 Wind Power: Redundancy
09/11/15 Wind Power: Subsidies
09/11/15 Scotland Bill
04/11/15 Prisoners' Release
04/11/15 Asbestos: Royal Navy
03/11/15 Police and Fire Shared Services
30/10/15 A1 upgrade
29/10/15 Tax Credits
27/10/15 Welfare Reform and Work Bill; Tax Credits
19/10/15 Autism: Blaydon
19/10/15 Prostate Cancer: Screening
19/10/15 Junior Doctors: Conditions of Employment
14/10/15 Autism
12/10/15 Pregnant Women: Conditions of Employment
12/10/15 Stormont
23/09/15 Personal Income
21/09/15 Family Proceedings
18/09/15 Ethiopia: Ethnic Groups
18/09/15 Courts: Closures
16/09/15 Family Courts: Databases
16/09/15 Iraq: Politics and Government
15/09/15 Tax Credits
15/09/15 Northern Ireland
14/09/15 India: Castes
14/09/15 Trade Union Bill
08/09/15 Paramilitaries
21/07/15 DWP Data
20/07/15 Unmanned Air Vehicles
20/07/15 Virtual Reality Headsets
17/07/15 Virtual Reality Headsets
16/07/15 Children: Poverty
16/07/15 Welfare Tax Credits
14/07/15 Budget debate
14/07/15 Unmanned Air Vehicles
13/07/15 Public Appointments
07/07/15 Pre-school Education
06/07/15 National pay rates (Scotland Bill)
03/07/15 Prime Minister: Public Appointments
03/07/15 Livestock: Antibiotics
02/07/15 Further Education
02/07/15 Prisons
01/07/15 Department for Work and Pensions: Complaints
01/07/15 Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
30/06/15 Antibiotics: Livestock
30/06/15 Welfare Reform (People with Disabilities)
29/06/15 Tunisia attack
25/09/15 Academies
25/06/15 Basic Skills: Further Education
24/06/15 Seals: Conservation
24/06/15 Asthma: Death
24/06/15 Sport and the 2012 Olympics Legacy
23/06/15 Police: Pensions
23/06/15 Vocational Guidance
22/06/15 Prisoners: Females
22/06/15 Prison Service: Durham
22/06/15 Education Bill
18/06/15 Voluntary Work: Young People
18/06/15 Fuels: Excise Duties
18/06/15 Public sector workers
17/06/15 Child Benefit
17/06/15 Health and Care Professions Council: Fees and Charges
17/06/15 Child Benefit: Lone Parents
17/06/15 Radicalism
16/06/16 Professional Organisations: Fees and Charges
16/06/16 Health and Care Professions Council: Fees and Charges
16/06/16 Health and Care Professions Council: Costs
16/06/15 Drugs: Ultra-rare Diseases
15/06/15 Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care: Finance
12/06/15 Child Benefit: Lone Parents
11/06/15 Voluntary Work: Young People
10/06/15 Broadcasting: Disability
10/06/15 Radicalism
10/06/15 Trade Unions
09/06/15 Child Benefit
09/06/15 Home Office: Pensions
08/06/15 Scotland Bill
08/06/15 Northumberland Prison
04/05/15 Radicalism
04/05/15 Translarna
04/06/15 NHS Success Regime
03/06/15 Department of Energy and Climate Change: Pensions
03/06/15 House of Commons: Postal Services
03/06/15 Mohammed Morsi
03/06/15 Voluntary Work: Young People


 

Commons Hansard
12 May 2016

Ethiopia: Overseas Aid

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, in what ways Government aid to Ethiopia assisted in improving democracy and human rights in that country in 2015-16; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development): A stable, secure and prosperous Ethiopia is critical to millions of poor Ethiopians and the UK's national interest. UK support to Ethiopia, since 2010, has, for example, helped reduce poverty and child mortality by a quarter. Despite Ethiopia's remarkable progress against the Millennium Development Goals, we have concerns about their progress on civil and political rights. The UK's aid relationship with any government is based on an assessment of commitment to our partnership principles, including to human rights and international obligations.

DFID has supported Ethiopian civil society organisations to respond to the development priorities of poor people and to hold Government to account. In 2015-16 we have developed the capacity of institutions central to upholding accountability including; the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority, the Office of the Federal Auditor General and the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 May 2015

Ethiopia: Politics and Government

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the implications for his policies are of the 19 January 2016 Motion for a Resolution of the European Parliament on the situation in Ethiopia and the report by UN special rapporteurs of 21 January 2016 on Ethiopia's use of force against Oromo protesters; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the implications for his policies are of the position of the US State Department on Ethiopia's use of anti-terror legislation to detain politicians and protesters, set out in its press release of 29 April 2016; and if he will make a statement.

James Duddridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The UK Government is aware of both the European parliament's Motion for a Resolution on the situation in Ethiopia and the UN special rapporteurs' report on Ethiopia's alleged use of force against protesters in Oromia. We remain deeply concerned about the handling of demonstrations in Oromia and the reported deaths of a number of protesters, and have repeatedly made representations to the Ethiopian Government over the ongoing situation in that region. Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for International Development, raised our concerns with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on 21 January, as did I, with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Dr Tedros, at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 27 January. Our Ambassador also raised the issue with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on 26 April. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise our concerns with the Ethiopian government, including on the use of force.

We will continue to work with our partners, including the US, in urging the Ethiopian government to use restraint in their handling of the protests in Oromia.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 May 2016

Universities: Staff

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what discussions he has had with higher education institutions about the potential effect of changes in the level of university teaching staff on casual employment contracts on the quality of teaching.

Joseph Johnson, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Universities and Science): We have had no such direct discussions with higher education institutions.

In the 2016 Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Grant letter we asked HEFCE to look into the two issues of (a) the contractual status of academic staff and (b) teaching intensity/weighted contact hours across different subjects.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how many staff were employed on (a) fixed-term and (b) atypical contracts at UK universities in each of the last five years.

Joseph Johnson, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Universities and Science): The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes statistics on academic staff employed at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The numbers of staff employed on fixed-term and atypical contracts in each of the last five years are presented in the table:

Academic Staff on Fixed-Term and Atypical Contracts
UK Higher Education Institutions
Academic Years 2010/11 to 2014/15
Academic YearFixed-term Contracts Atypical Contracts
2014/15 70,035 75,560
2013/14 69,415 75,040
2012/13 65,990 74,075
2011/12 65,710 82,045
2010/11 60,320 78,340
Source: HESA Staff Record Note: Figures in the table have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 5.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 May 2016

Electromagnetic Fields: Health Hazards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government has taken to implement the health and safety requirements set out in EU Directive 2013/35/EU on the exposure of workers to risks arising from electromagnetic fields.

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): The Government has been working for the last three years to transpose the requirements in EU Directive 2013/35/EU by 1 July 2016. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has worked closely with industry, trade associations, unions and other affected parties in developing an implementation approach which ensures workers are properly protected and employers are not subject to unnecessary burdens.

Formal public consultation gave strong support for transposing the Directive's requirements into standalone regulations, the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016, which are tightly focused on areas not covered by existing legislation.

In conjunction with stakeholders, HSE has developed practical and clear guidance for employers on complying with the new regulations and managing risks from electromagnetic radiation. This will be published to coincide with the introduction of the Regulations on 1 July 2016.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 May 2015

Radicalism

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to the Government's Counter-Extremism Strategy, published in October 2015, whether in his official capacity he has shared a speaking platform with people who have expressed vocal or active opposition to the UK's fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs, or who have called for the deaths of members of the armed forces.

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Islington North (Mr Corbyn) on 4 May 2016, Official Report, column 163.

As set out in the Counter-Extremism Strategy, internationally we are building a more robust response to counter extremist ideology and propaganda, and continue to focus on strengthening international bodies and our partners. As Prime Minister I regularly have discussions on how we can promote British values of peace and tolerance and how to counter extremist ideology.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 May 2016

Mobile Phones: Health Hazards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government took in response to the report of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, chaired by Sir William Stewart, published in 2000; what steps the Government has taken in response to that report's recommendations on limiting children's use of mobile phones; what research the Government has commissioned or undertaken since that report on that issue; and whether any such research supported or contradicted the findings of that report.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Government published a detailed response to the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) report's recommendations and set in place a range of measures to address concerns about mobile phones and health. International guidelines for limiting exposures to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields were adopted, and precautionary advice to mobile phone users was published. The Mobile Telecommunications Health Research Programme ran for 11 years after the IEGMP report and government continues to support research on this topic.

IEGMP concluded the balance of evidence at the time of its report did not suggest mobile phone technologies put the health of the population at risk; that remains the case after a considerable volume of more recent national and international research.

Precautionary advice to mobile phone users has been maintained and is available here:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mobile-phone-safety/Pages/Introduction.aspx

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 May 2016

Electromagnetic Fields: Health Hazards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government has taken in response to Resolution 1815 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on measures to reduce exposure, particularly of children, to electromagnetic fields, agreed on 27 May 2011.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): Pre-existing precautionary advice remains available to the United Kingdom public and internationally recommended (ICNIRP) guidelines on limiting exposures to electromagnetic fields are in place. The Government has not responded specifically to this Resolution.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 May 2016

Brain: Tumours

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many children under 16 have been diagnosed with brain tumours in each of the last ten years; and how many such children died from those tumours in each such year.

Rob Wilson, Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office): The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Excel Spreadsheet for Member - Brain Tumours (Excel spreadsheet, 38 KB)

UKSA Letter to Member - Brain Tumours (PDF Document, 67.79 KB)

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 May 2016

Driverless Vehicles: Electromagnetic Fields

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 April 2016 to Question 34235, whether the UN Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 10 specifically covers the potential health risks of electromagnetic emissions by multiple driverless vehicles as well as those from single vehicles.

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport): United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 10 seeks to limit the maximum emission of electromagnetic radiation from vehicles. Recognising the rapid changes in technology in new vehicles, the relevant UN-ECE technical committee has established a task force to consider the implications of new technologies such as those used by driverless vehicles.

The Department is participating in the work of the task force.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 May 2016

Driverless Vehicles: Lasers

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 27 April 2016 to Question 34542, whether his Department has made an assessment of risks from lasers; and how he plans to use the General Product Safety Regulations to ensure the safe use of lasers in driverless cars.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): The Government, via Public Health England, has made an assessment of the health risks posed by different classes of lasers, and as a result my Department has advised Trading Standards to use their powers under the General Product Safety Regulations to remove laser pointers higher than Class 2 from sale.

However, we are also aware that there is a second risk from the intentional directing of a laser at aviation (and other modes of transport) so as to dazzle or distract the pilot (or driver).

This is a cross-Whitehall issue and we are working with other departments to address it, including looking at legislative options. However, the practical implementation of the General Product Safety Regulations is a matter for Local Authority Trading Standards.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 May 2016

Schools: Uniforms

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the affordability to parents who need to purchase new school uniforms as schools change their status and introduce a different uniform.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support is available to parents who are struggling to pay for school uniforms.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): It is for the governing body to determine a school's uniform policy, but the Department has issued best practice guidance for all schools on the need to give high priority to the consideration of cost for parents. The guidance is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-uniform.

The guidance emphasises the importance of ensuring that uniform is widely available and affordable for parents. It sets out that governing bodies should be able to demonstrate that they have obtained the best value for money from suppliers, and that any savings negotiated with suppliers should be passed on to parents wherever possible. It also makes clear that compulsory branded items should be kept to a minimum; and that schools should avoid frequent changes to the uniform.

Local authorities and academies have discretion within their budgets to provide school clothing grants or offer other help with the cost of school clothing in cases of financial hardship.

In November 2014 the Chancellor and the Business Secretary launched 'A better deal: Boosting competition to bring down bills for families and firms' which set out concrete steps the Government is taking to secure rising living standards and create competitive business conditions for firms. This included tackling the cost of school uniforms. The Government wants to ensure that effective competition is used to drive better value for money and will therefore put existing best practice guidance for school uniform supply in England on a statutory footing. This will ensure that schools deliver the best value for parents by avoiding exclusivity arrangements unless regular competitions for suppliers are run.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 May 2016

Older People

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will consult on setting up a Commissioner for Older People.

Oliver Letwin, Minister for Government Policy and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: There is no current plan for Government to consult on setting up a Commissioner for Older Persons.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 May 2016

Nurses: Take-home Pay

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make an assessment of the combined effect of the (a) increase in national insurance contributions and (b) one per cent 2015-16 pay increase for NHS staff which both took effect from 1 April 2016 on the take-home pay of NHS nurses.

Alistair Burt, Minister of State (Department of Health): The impact on take-home pay for National Health Service nurses, of the combined effect of these measures will depend on individual circumstances, in particular how much they are paid, whether they are members of the NHS Pension Scheme, whether they also received an annual increment and their personal tax allowance.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Apr 2016

Local Government: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how he has assessed that EU Directive 41/2003 has been properly implemented in respect of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, with reference to Article 18 of EU Directive 41/2003, what steps he has taken to ensure that separation of the pension institution from the administration authorities has been achieved in Local Government Pension Schemes.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, with reference to Article 18 of EU Directive 41/2003, what steps he has taken to ensure that the assets of Local Government Pension Scheme funds are invested in the best interests of the scheme members.

Marcus Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government): We are satisfied that the national legislative framework governing occupational pension schemes, including the local government pension scheme in England and Wales, is consistent with EU Directive 41/2003. I will place a copy of the Government's transposition table for the Directive in the House Library.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
28 Apr 2016

Trade Union Bill

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I declare an interest as someone who has paid the political fund levy since 1969, and is a former president of Unison and a member of the TUC general council. I assure the House that the trade unions are quite clear that they do not want the Bill at all. When the Government were pushing this Bill they were reminded that even Winston Churchill spoke against what they are trying to do. I will also say very clearly that, whatever gossip people are hearing, there is no doubt that the trade unions would have funded the Labour party's remain campaign, because they realise that the people who the Prime Minister of this country described as swivel-eyed loonies and the other right-wing reactionaries who would deregulate this nation will be worse for working people. Whatever the outcome of the Bill, and even if it had not been changed at all, I am convinced that the trade unions would have been in that position on behalf of their members, putting their money where their mouth is.

Nick Boles, Minister of State (Department for Education) (Jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills): The hon. Gentleman's words speak for themselves and are very powerful.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
28 Apr 2016

Department for Education: Statistics

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people her Department employs as statisticians.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): As of 31st March 2016, the Department employs 129 people as statisticians.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): >To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many staff in her Department hold qualifications at A-level or above in statistics.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): The Department does not hold information requested.

For staff joining the Department specifically as statisticians there are minimum requirements.

For those joining at Fast Stream level, the requirements are:

We also welcome applications from candidates who do not have a degree but can demonstrate significant experience in a statistics related field, plus continuing professional development in a relevant area that leads to qualifications (for example the RSS Higher Certificate)

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
27 Apr 2016

Driverless Vehicles: Lasers

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 18 April 2016 to Question 33237, what assessment his Department has made of the potential health risks of the use of lasers by driverless vehicles.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills believes that the General Product Safety Regulations should ensure that lasers used by driverless cars do not present an unacceptable health risk.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
27 Apr 2016

Hillsborough

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I thank the Home Secretary for the work she has done, but I wish to raise with her a point I raised in 2012 when she made the same statement: that the rest of the country fell for this story. The rest of the country did not fall for this story. Those of us who went to football matches expected to be treated like second-class citizens and expected the police to get their retaliation in first, even when people had done nothing wrong.

I also want to pick up on the point raised by my right hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary about Orgreave, as I was there in June 1984. Seven years after that, South Yorkshire police paid £425,000 in compensation to silence 39 miners who were suing them for assault, yet not one of those police officers was even disciplined for what they had done. The police used public money to bury bad news on that day.

I come back to where we are now. The hon. Member for Leeds North West (Greg Mulholland) made the point that so desperate were the police to cover up that they actually tested young children who were dead, and that shows how seriously they took this. But the real responsibility for what happened from then onwards cannot just be left at the doors of South Yorkshire police. I ask the Home Secretary to do what the Prime Minister did not do today in response to a question from the leader of my party and say what specific action will be taken to expose everybody - at every level in this country, elected official and appointed official, of previous Conservative Governments and of my party's Governments - who played any role in this cover-up, either by omission or commission.

Those individuals are as guilty of making the people suffer for 27 years; many people went to their graves vilified when they would have been vindicated had this been sorted out at least a quarter of a century ago. We need to know that this will not just be laid at the door - rightly - of Duckenfield; other people must be called to account. Even if they did not commit criminal acts, they have done things that delayed the course of justice and they should be called to account for that.

Mrs May: Importantly, the independent panel's report showed the truth of what had happened on that occasion. That work required a number of organisations that had previously been silent about what had happened to be prepared to come forward to give their evidence to the panel.

On the criminal investigations and the potential criminal prosecutions, obviously I have answered that point. I say to the hon. Gentleman that there has been a collective recognition across this House today, from all parts of it, that there were verdicts on what happened on that day ?in 1989 but that subsequently the procedures and processes that should have sought out and found the truth failed. We have to ask ourselves how that happened and what we can do to make sure it does not happen again.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Apr 2016

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Written Questions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2016 to Question 6502, what the reasons are for the time taken to answer that question.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): The hon. Member's question was approved on time, but an administrative error with submitting the answer through the Question and Answer system meant that the reply was not sent. Procedures have been put in place to ensure that this issue does not reoccur.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Apr 2016

Education: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, whether education will be exempt from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement; and if he will make a statement.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): We have protected public services, including education, in all of our trade agreements and will continue to do so in the EU-US free trade agreement, also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This is non-negotiable.

The Government remains committed to providing the best quality education for all children and young people. TTIP will not change this. The government of the day, not our trade partners, will always set the rules governing how the education system is run.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Apr 2016

Driverless Vehicles: Electromagnetic Fields

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has conducted research on the potential effect on levels of exposure to electromagnetic emissions of multiple autonomous vehicles operating in the same area.

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport): All new vehicles are required to comply with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) Regulation 10, which governs the level of electromagnetic emissions from individual vehicles.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Apr 2016

Pupils: Electromagnetic Fields

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether any monitoring by (a) her Department or (b) other bodies is carried out in schools to ensure that children are not overly exposed to electromagnetic fields.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department advises schools on the steps they should take to ensure that children are not over exposed to electromagnetic fields in schools.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State (Department for Education): The Department does not specifically monitor exposure to electromagnetic fields in schools.

We provide advice to schools on health and safety matters. Schools must take reasonable steps to ensure that staff and pupils are not exposed to risks to their health and safety by conducting a risk assessment and, if necessary, putting measures in place to minimise any known risk.

Schools should be aware that where concerns are raised that they can access the appropriate advice; Public Health England provides advice via GOV.UK[1] on exposure to electromagnetic fields in the everyday environment.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/electromagnetic-fields

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
21 Apr 2016

Kincora Children's Home

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what progress has been made on the inquiry into alleged child abuse at the Kincora boys' home.

Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: This is a matter for the independent Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. I can confirm that there will be the fullest possible degree of co-operation by the UK Government and its agencies.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Apr 2016

Driverless Vehicles: Electromagnetic Fields

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has undertaken research on the potential effects of electromagnetic emissions on children who are passengers in autonomous vehicles.

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport): All new vehicles are required to comply with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) Regulation 10, which governs the level of electromagnetic emissions from vehicles.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Apr 2016

Carbon Emissions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether her Department has made a detailed assessment of the effect of the Government's energy policy carbon dioxide emissions in the UK in each year since 2010; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Provisional statistics for 2015 indicate that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 38% since 1990 and 17% since 2010.

Units: MtCO2e2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015(p)
Emissions reduction since 1990 -24% -31% -28% -30% -35% -38%

Source: DECC (2016) Provisional UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics 2015

A significant proportion of this reduction is being driven by policies. For those policies where we have been able to estimate the emissions impacts, annual estimates are detailed in Annex D of our Energy and Emissions Projections, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/updated-energy-and-emissions-projections-2015.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Apr 2016

Students: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what (a) statutory and (b) other guidance is available to higher education institutions on their duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards disabled students.

Joseph Johnson, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Universities and Science): Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have clear legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to support their students, including those with disabilities.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has produced a range of guidance for institutions on their obligations under the Equality Act 2010, including technical guidance setting out the detail of the law.

Guidance is also produced by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), a higher education sector body that supports equality and diversity for staff and students across the UK, including for disabled staff and students on managing "reasonable adjustments". The ECU also published a report on the implications for institutions of the key issues contained in the Equality Act 2010.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Apr 2016

Lighting: Safety

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all users of electromagnetic radiation emitting devices comply fully with IEC/EN62471 regarding Photobiological Safety of Lamps and Lamp Systems.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): Electrical equipment, including electromagnetic radiation emitting devices, sold in the UK must be safe to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. European harmonised standards, including EN62471:2008, are not mandatory, but offer one route to meeting the requirements of the legislation.

Enforcement of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations is undertaken by Local Authority Trading Standards for consumer products, and the Health and Safety Executive for commercial and industrial products.

Where use of electro-magnetic radiation within the optical region of the spectrum could present a hazard in the workplace, employers must comply with the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation Regulations, which are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
19 Apr 2016

Carbon Emissions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will estimate the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that have been saved in each year since on-shore wind farms have been commercially deployed in the UK; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The table attached shows the amount of carbon dioxide emissions estimated to have been saved in each year since onshore wind farms have been commercially deployed in the UK. This is calculated as the amount of generation from onshore wind multiplied by the carbon dioxide emissions factor for the fossil fuel mix for the corresponding year.

NB. Data for 1990 to 1995 are not available, so the 1996 emissions factor has been used; data for 2015 are not yet available, so 2014 has been used.

Sources:

Onshore wind generation, 1990-2014:

Digest of UK Energy Statistics, table DUKES 6.1.1, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

Onshore wind generation, 2015: Energy Trends table ET 6.1, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables

Carbon Dioxide emissions factors (all fossil fuels): DUKES 2015 Chapter 5, Table 5D, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-chapter-5-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

Carbon emissions table (Word Document, 15.88 KB)

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Apr 2016

World War II: Medals

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many medals have been issued to men conscripted into UK coal mines under the Bevin Boys Veterans Badge scheme.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Since 25th March 2008, when the first Bevin Boys Veterans Badge was issued, to the end of March 2016 the Department has issued just over 5,100 Badges to former Bevin Boys and their widows, where their husbands passed away after the Badge was announced on 20 June 2007.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Apr 2016

Mobile Phones: Health Hazards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of what constitutes a safe level of exposure of electromagnetic fields from mobile telephone use for (a) the population as a whole and (b) young people.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): Government policy is that exposures to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones should comply with the guidelines on limiting exposures from the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Public Health England keeps the evidence relevant to this policy under review and published a comprehensive review of the evidence prepared by its independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation in 2012. Acute and long-term effects of high frequency exposure from the use of mobile phones have been studied extensively without showing any conclusive evidence of adverse health effects. The ICNIRP website can be found at:

http://www.icnirp.org

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Apr 2016

Driverless Vehicles: Lasers

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential health risks of the use of lasers by driverless vehicles.

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport): The General Product Safety Regulations prohibit a product from being placed on the market, or otherwise supplied, unless it is safe. The lead department for these regulations is the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
13 Apr 2016

Biofuels

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether her Department holds data on the amount of heat a tonne of biomass gives off when burned compared to a tonne of coal; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Department annually publishes the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES). Appendix A of DUKES contains data on the calorific value of fuels:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447648/ DUKES_2015_Annex_A.pdf.

The gross calorific value of dry biomass fuels, (the DUKES values have been corrected for moisture content), vary between 10 gigajoules per tonne (GJ/t) for poultry litter and 24 GJ/t for meat and bone meal. A typical dry wood based fuel has an energy content close to 19 GJ/t. Treatments such as torrefaction or charcoal production increase the energy density of biomass derived materials. However these manufactured biomass fuels are not commonly used for heating in the UK.

A tonne of coal can also vary in heat content, depending on the rank of the coal, but lies between 24 GJ/t for bituminous coal as used in the pulp, paper and printing industries and 34 GJ/t of fuel for anthracite used in households. Typical bituminous house coal has a gross heat content of 30 GJ/t.

These values represent the maximum heat available from a fuel in a laboratory test. The useful heat provided by combustion of that fuel to the business or home will depend on the efficiency of the combustor in which it is burnt and the design of the energy distribution system. The combustor efficiency can range from an open fire which may provide 20% of the energy in the fuel as useful heat, to modern condensing wood pellet boilers with gross efficiencies around 90%.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Apr 2016

UK Steel Industry

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): As someone with a Tata presence in my constituency, I wonder whether the shadow Secretary of State shares my concern that although we knew about this on 29 March - people going to Mumbai knew it was going to happen - we have not discussed it formally until today, and yet three years ago, the Prime Minister reconvened the Chamber within two days, during an Easter recess, to talk about the death of Margaret Thatcher. What does that say about the Government's priorities?

Ms Eagle: It is regrettable that there was not a recall of Parliament, but we are where we are, and we have this debate now, thanks to you, Mr Speaker.

It is imperative to underline the fundamental importance of this industry for our economy and our country. Steel is a foundation industry. While it might make up just 1% of total manufacturing output, that output is crucial. I believe that our world-leading automotive, aerospace and defence industries and our rail and construction sector all depend on a strong and sustainable domestic steel industry.

+++

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Secretary of State said that we must not forget. I assure him that there are people in this House who do not forget. I am one of the people whom his Government did this to some 30 years ago, when they closed the coal mines. They looked at the economics, and they did not care about the social cost, which destroyed areas like mine. The Secretary of State needs to bear that in mind during this debate.

Sajid Javid: I am sure the hon. Gentleman agrees with me that when there are job losses and the Government can help, of course they must do so.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Apr 2016

Animal Welfare: Convictions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to prevent any person convicted of animal abuse from owning an animal.

George Eustice, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): The Animal Welfare Act 2006 already allows courts to make a disqualification order in respect of someone who has been found guilty of causing any unnecessary suffering to an animal. It is for the courts to decide whether to make such an order and, if so, for how long based on the individual circumstances of the case. If a court decides not to impose such an order, it must give its reasons in open court. I consider, therefore, that the courts have the necessary powers to impose appropriate penalties in relation to acts of animal cruelty

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
11 Apr 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations: Canada

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will ask her Canadian counterpart for (a) emissions data and (b) the cost of the boundary dam power station in Saskatchewan, Canada; and if she will place that information in the Library.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): DECC officials are in regular contact with their counterparts in other Governments, including Canada, to exchange information on carbon capture and storage. Canadian counterparts will attend the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum in June which the UK is hosting. The exchanges include the progress of projects; however some of the specific information on the projects (such as Boundary Dam) is commercially sensitive and would not be disclosed. For the same reason we do not expect to publish any information in the House library.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Mar 2016

Devolution to the North-East

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Before I ask my question, I ask the House to send its sympathies regarding Adrian Ismay, the prison officer from Northern Ireland who died last week as a result of an attack from dissidents, and to say clearly to dissidents that we are never going to let them win, no matter what they do.

As we meet today, the leaders of councils in the North-East of England are discussing whether to sign up to a devolution deal that will give them a paltry £900 million over 30 years to spend between Berwick and Barnard Castle. That is happening on the same day that we have learned that Waterloo station will get £800 million to redevelop within three years. May we have a debate in Government time about the inequality and unfairness of how resources in this country are shared out?

Dr Coffey, Deputy Leader of the House: The hon. Gentleman raises the issue of the prison officer, and I believe that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition appropriately paid tribute yesterday.

Devolution is an opportunity for different parts of the country to grab the powers, not just the cash, that can make a real difference to local communities. I am not aware of the situation with the devolution deal that the hon. Gentleman describes, but I assure him that the Government have continued to invest around the country, not just in London. I am sure that he will welcome the announcements that have been made about enhancing the A1 and all the contributions made by the Government, alongside the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Phil Wilson), to bring Hitachi to the region.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Mar 2016

Columbian Coal

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Last Christmas saw the end of deep-mined coal in this country, and during the past year 32% of the coal imported came from Colombia. Is the Secretary of State happy that, when coalfield communities are still struggling, her Government's long-term economic plan is being fuelled on the back of child and slave labour?

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman takes that approach. He will be aware that domestic coalmining has been in decline for the past 60 years, that imports are a great deal cheaper, and that it is for private companies to decide to choose the cheapest options. The Government have done all we can to reduce the impacts of the most recent closures, by injecting up to £20 million to help the directors of Hatfield to manage the closure of the business and £17 million to help UK Coal deliver its two-year closure plan for Kellingley and Thoresby, and by agreeing to meet UK Coal's concessionary fuel allowances.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Mar 2016

Coal

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, reference to her speech of 18 November 2015, if she will take evidence from the CoalImP and the World Coal Association in her Department's forthcoming review of coal; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in her speech that the department will be launching a consultation on proposals to close unabated coal generation by 2025. Coallmp, the World Coal Association and any other interested parties are encouraged to engage and respond.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Mar 2016

NHS: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the Prime Minister's policy is on moving to an insurance or user-funded NHS; and if he will make a statement.

Alistair Burt. Minister of State (Department of Health): The pressures faced by the National Health Service are common to most developed health systems, regardless of how the system is funded. The Government believes that the answer to these challenges lies in changing the way services are delivered and keeping people well and independent for longer, not in altering the fundamental principles that underpin the NHS.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Mar 2016

Neuromuscular Disorders: Medical Equipment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that individuals with muscle-wasting conditions who require a cough assist machine have access to one commissioned in the community by their clinical commissioning group.

Ben Gummer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): NHS England has been working with Muscular Dystrophy UK through the Bridging the Gap project to address areas of concern raised by patients and their representatives, one of which is the provision of cough assist machines for people with neuromuscular conditions.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning and funding cough assist machines, where appropriate. A number of CGGs have now developed commissioning policies for these devices based on one developed by Walsall CCG, which has been shared nationally as an example of good practice by Muscular Dystrophy UK.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Mar 2016

Medical Equipment, NHS: Technology, NHS: Innovation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps NHS England is taking to ensure that patients have accelerated access to healthcare technologies.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon):To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he plans to take to increase the availability and uptake of innovative technology available to patients on the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon):To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to introduce new initiatives to increase the uptake of new technologies on the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

George Freeman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills): The Government is actively supporting a number of initiatives to accelerate access to innovative treatments. These include the Early Access to Medicines Schemes which supports access in the United Kingdom to unlicensed or off-label medicines and represents a significant advance in treatment in areas of unmet medical need and the Accelerated Access Review, which aims to speed up access to innovative drugs, devices, diagnostics and digital products for National Health Service patients, and to make the UK the best place to develop these innovations.

NHS England supports the invention and adoption of transformative healthcare technologies. This includes existing technologies, where the benefits are already proven but wider adoption is critical to benefit all patients, and new technologies, which require larger scale trials to test out their impact individually and in combination. Current initiatives include the sponsorship of 15 Academic Health Science Networks (£48 million core funding in 2015-16), the Small Business Research Initiative (£20 million in 2015-16), and the Test Bed programme which is providing funding for front-line health and care workers to evaluate the use of novel combinations of interconnected devices such as wearable monitors, data analysis and new ways of working.

NHS England has been tasked under section 7.1 of the NHS Mandate to "Implement the agreed recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review including developing ambition and trajectory on NHS uptake of affordable and cost-effective new innovations".

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
21 Mar 2016

Voting blue

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): In the Chancellor's speech last week, he referred to £20 million being given to build houses in the south-west of England, and said that that was

"proof that when the south-west votes blue, their voice is heard loud here in Westminster."
- [Official Report, 16 March 2016; Vol. 607, c. 961.]

Does that not prove that this was not in the national interest; it is all about the political and personal interest of the Government and the Chancellor?

Mr Gauke: I remind the hon. Gentleman that there have been a number of city deals done with authorities in the North-East of England, and a number of deals done with Labour authorities around the country. The employment record in the North-East of England is extremely strong.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Mar 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what information her Department holds on the number of ultra-super critical coal-fired power stations in other countries that are (a) generating electricity and (b) under construction.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Department does not hold this information.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Mar 2016

Power Failures

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment her Department has made of which fuel source is the most efficient for national electricity grid re-starts following power cuts; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): DECC officials routinely work with National Grid to assess the resilience of response processes, including the failure of the National Electricity Transmission System.

This work includes assessment of how different fuel sources can deliver this 'Black Start' capability.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Mar 2016

Energy Supply

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2016 to Question 29325, how much of the 0.6GW diesel generating capacity is (a) privately owned and (b) owned by the Government; and which companies are involved in providing that capacity.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): I am not aware of any HM Government Departments or agencies which provide Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) services to National Grid. Short Term Operating Reserve is procured by National Grid, and is subject to commercial confidentiality. DECC does not hold figures on contracts entered into by other Government departments or agencies.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Mar 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations: Carbon Emissions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will ask her German counterpart to supply the Government with emissions data from new ultra super-critical coal-fired power stations in that country; and if she will place that data in the Library.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): I have no plans to ask for emissions data from new ultra super-critical coal-fired power stations in Germany.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Mar 2016

St Thomas' Hospital

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the effect on cost and on bed capacity of delayed hospital discharge at the Lane Fox Respiratory Unit at St Thomas' Hospital, London; and if he will make a statement.

Alistair Burt, Minister of State (Department of Health): The information is not collected centrally and no estimate has been made.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Mar 2016

Energy Supply: UK Membership of EU

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether her Department has commissioned research on the potential effect on the purchase of energy through the interconnectors in the event of a majority leave vote in the EU referendum.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): At the February European Council, the Government negotiated a new settlement, giving the United Kingdom a special status in a reformed European Union. The Government's position, as set out by the Prime Minister to the House on 22 February, is that the UK will be stronger, safer and better off remaining in a reformed EU.

We currently expect our electricity interconnector capacity with the EU to double by the early 2020s with studies showing they could deliver benefits to British consumers of almost £12 billion over 25 years. As the White Paper that the Government recently published on the process for withdrawing from the European Union makes clear, a vote to leave the EU would lead to a prolonged period of uncertainty, including on the nature of our access to the EU's single energy market.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will place a summary of how the UK's energy interconnectors are funded in the Library.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Yes, I will be placing a copy in the Libraries of the House.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

Environment Protection: Taxation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect of absorbing the EU emissions trading system tax on fossil fuels into the UK's carbon price support tax for fossil fuels.

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change: At the February European Council, the Government negotiated a new settlement, giving the United Kingdom a special status in a reformed European Union. The Government's position, as set out by the Prime Minister to the House on 22 February, is that the UK will be stronger, safer and better off remaining in a reformed EU.

The UK supports the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) as the best means of achieving the EU's emissions reduction targets to 2030 and beyond at least cost for business and consumers, through a market-based approach. Emissions trading works better at the European level, creating a larger and more liquid market and a level playing field between Member States. The UK has been a consistent champion of the EU ETS and first piloted a national cap-and-trade scheme in 2002 before its launch. The UK has been at the forefront in securing recent measures to reform and strengthen the EU ETS, including securing EU agreement in September 2014 to a Market Stability Reserve to address the surplus of allowances in the system.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 3016

Coal Fired Power Stations

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will commission independent research on the (a) economic, (b) environmental and (c) technical viability of building ultra-supercritical coal fired power stations in the UK.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Coal is the most carbon intensive form of electricity generation. I have no plans to commission independent research on the viability of building ultra-supercritical coal fired power stations in the UK.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

Jordan: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with his Jordanian counterpart on the launch, recovery or other control of Reaper drones from that country or any other element of Reaper control.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): We routinely discuss counter-Daesh air operations with Coalition partners but it would not be appropriate to give details about these discussions as to do so could affect the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

Defence

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2016 to Question 27212, on what data work commenced on Joint Services Policy (JSP) 900 UK Targeting Policy - Edition 2.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): Work to create JSP 900 UK Targeting Policy Edition 2 began in January 2014 and the document was in the process of being finalised in September 2014. However, further work was required to ensure the Ministry of Defence's Full Spectrum Targeting (FSpecT) policy was coherent with the evolving National Full Spectrum Effects (FSE) approach.

In September 2015 Defence Instructions and Notices (DIN) 2015DIN03-024 "Full Spectrum Effects For Defence Operations" was released. The DIN set the framework for FSpecT policy within FSE; JSP 900 Edition 2 was released shortly afterwards. A review of JSP 900 Edition 2 is under way and it is expected that a new edition will be required to incorporate lessons identified from operations in Iraq and Syria.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 16 February 2016 to Question 26409, what squadrons or elements other than Reaper Squadrons 39 and 13 make up the Reaper force as a whole.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): No other squadrons or elements make up the Reaper Force. However, individuals in Reaper Force posts who are to be embedded with other countries' armed forces are usually allocated to 54(Reserve) Squadron, for administrative reasons.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

USA: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 16 February 2016 to Question 26409, what the role and location is of each of the six Reaper Force personnel embedded with the US Armed Forces; and with which units they are embedded.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): The six embedded personnel are undertaking various training, test and evaluation duties at Holloman Air Force Base and Creech Air Force Base.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

Italy: Military Bases

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 29 February 2016 to Question 27211, whether the remit of permission granted to use the Sigonella air station extends to UK (a) Reaper launch and recovery operations and (b) combat missions.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): We have had a long-standing presence at Naval Air Station Sigonella, and have made frequent use of it. However, it is not normal practice to comment on the details of arrangements with host nations.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

National Curriculum Tests

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has conducted a workload impact assessment in respect of the introduction of the new Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 assessments.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): The removal of unnecessary workload is a priority and is considered carefully when introducing any significant change for schools. Our primary assessment reforms have been designed to put arrangements for the majority of classroom assessment back into the hands of the school and to reduce the tracking burdens that national curriculum levels encouraged. We believe schools are best placed to decide how to assess pupils in line with their curriculum and that over time this should lead to a reduction in workload for teachers so that their efforts can focus on teaching.

Following the introduction of the new national curriculum and the removal of levels, we have developed new forms of statutory assessment at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2. The duty to report assessment at these points remains unchanged from previous years. We do recognise, however, that in this first year the new forms of assessment are used pupils and teachers will be adapting their approach. Significant reforms take time to embed and the best way to prepare pupils remains to focus on teaching the new national curriculum, which schools have been doing since September 2014.

Throughout the introduction of our important reforms to primary assessment, we have worked closely with teachers and head teachers and continue to listen to the concerns of the profession as the details of the new arrangements are finalised. We are working constructively with the teaching profession and their representatives to find solutions to some of the remaining issues.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

National Curriculum Tests

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what evidence her Department holds that increasing the national expectations in writing from 4b to 5c will improve the outcomes in writing for children at the end of Key Stage 2.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): The Government has set a more a challenging expected standard for assessment at the end of Key Stage 2 (KS2) to reflect the high expectations set by the new national curriculum. The curriculum standards align with the highest performing jurisdictions internationally and have been raised because too many children who met the old expected standard at the end of primary school did not go on to achieve at least five good GCSEs.

The new expected standard is not, however, equivalent to the old level 5c for KS2 English writing or any other subject. While there will be no need to make comparison to the old national curriculum levels once the new system is established, we have been clear that the new expected standard is broadly equivalent to 4b.

The Standards and Testing Agency published exemplification materials for KS2 writing in early February to support teachers in making their teacher assessment judgements. These were developed in consultation with a number of teacher panels and are real examples of work by pupils currently in year 6. The materials show two examples of pupils assessed as working at the expected standard: one shows work that has met the expected standard and is broadly equivalent to the old 4b, while another shows work at the higher end of the expected standard. We have published these two different examples to show the breadth of competence covered by 'meeting the expected standard'. I have asked the Standards and Testing Agency to issue further guidance to schools shortly to clarify the assessment arrangements and eliminate any misunderstandings.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

National Curriculum Tests

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has consulted teachers' unions on implementation of the new assessments at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): Throughout the introduction of our important reforms to primary assessment, we have worked closely with teachers, head teachers and their union representatives.

In addition to regular discussion between teacher unions and officials, we launched two public consultations ahead of the changes: one on primary assessment and accountability from July to October 2013 and another on teacher assessment arrangements from October to December 2014. We received a large volume of diverse feedback, including from teachers unions, and this was given proper consideration in developing the new arrangements.

We continue to listen to the concerns of the profession as the details of the new arrangements are finalised. On 9 February, I met Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, to discuss teacher assessment arrangements. I subsequently wrote to Mr Hobby to summarise our discussion and address some of his concerns; that letter was published on 19 February and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-assessments-letter-from-nick-gibb-to-the-naht. I am also due to meet representatives from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Union of Teachers in the coming weeks.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2016

Teachers: Bureaucracy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans her Department has to reduce teacher workload during this Parliament.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): Removing unnecessary workload for teachers is a priority for this government.

In October 2014, we launched the 'Workload Challenge' asking teachers for views on how to tackle unnecessary workload. On 6 February 2015, we published our response to the Workload Challenge Survey which included a comprehensive programme of action. Additionally, we have set up three review groups to address the three biggest issues emerging from the Workload Challenge - ineffective marking, use of planning and resources, and data management. The groups will report to the Secretary of State shortly with principles for teaching practice and recommendations on how to eliminate unnecessary workload. The response to the survey can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/415874/Government_Response_to_the_Workload_Challenge.pdf

It is clear that the issues are complex and change will take time. We will continue to work with the teaching profession to make sure they have the ongoing support they need. We are currently taking forward the first biennial Teacher Workload Survey, a commitment from the Workload Challenge. This commitment will allow us to track teacher workload over the coming years so that action can be taken if needed.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Mar 2016

Energy Supply

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many of gigawatts of diesel generating capacity the National Grid has on standby for demand spikes; whether her Department is planning for more diesel generation to be so available; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): National Grid currently has approximately 0.6GW of diesel generation contracted in Short Term Operating Reserve - STOR - the key balancing service used to manage fluctuations in demand.

STOR is procured by National Grid and Government is not involved in this process. However, Government is aware of concerns regarding the growth of diesel generators, and with this in mind Defra will consult later this year on options which will include legislation that would set binding emission limit values on relevant air pollutants from diesel engines.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Mar 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations: Germany

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what information her Department holds on the number of coal-fired powered stations which have been built in Germany since 2010; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Department commissioned an independent study[1] published in April 2013 looking at new coal-fired power stations in Germany. This study found 10 coal plants (a total of 8GW) were under construction at the time and would be ready to be commissioned by 2015.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/194335/Poyry_Report_-_Coal_fired_power_generation_in_Germany.pdf

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Mar 2016

Local Government: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential risk of legal proceedings against his Department as a result of non-implementation of EU Directive 41/2003 on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision.

Marcus Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government): I am satisfied that the potential risk of successful legal proceedings against the Department in relation to implementation of EU Directive 41/2003 is low, because it has been properly implemented in respect of the local government pension scheme.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Mar 2016

Mayors: North East

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what his assessment is of the latest date on which the process of organising an election in May 2017 for a Regional Mayor in the north east of England can begin.

James Wharton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Northern Powerhouse): For local elections the last date by which the notice of election must be published is the 25th working day before the day of election.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what his Department's timetable is for the legislative process for election of a Regional Mayor in the north east of England.

James Wharton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Northern Powerhouse): Our intention is that secondary legislation to enable the election of a mayor for the North East Combined Authority in May 2017 will be made by November 2016.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Mar 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of supporting the deployment of ultra-super critical coal fired power stations similar to those planned by China and Germany; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): I have made no such assessment. Any new coal plant must demonstrate carbon capture and storage on at least 300 MW of its proposed generating capacity and comply with the Emissions Performance Standard.

Coal fired power stations without abatement are not consistent with meeting our decarbonisation objectives. This is why the Government has committed to consulting on phasing out unabated coal by 2025 and to restricting the amount of coal generation in 2023.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Mar 2016

Broadcasting Programmes: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the extent to which the policies of broadcasters recruiting members of the public for quiz or game shows or similar programmes discriminate against people with disabilities.

Edward Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills): Broadcasters are subject to the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 which legally protects disabled people from discrimination in the delivery of services and in wider society. This government is actively encouraging the industry to be proactive in increasing diversity on and off screen - including by increasing the representation of disabled people. Ed Vaizey hosted a conference in January that raised the w

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
1 Mar 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations: Blyth

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will assess the suitability of the hinterland of the Port of Blyth as a location for an ultra-super critical coal fired power station; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): With the exception of proposals for nuclear generating stations, the choice of location for any energy generation project is a matter for the developer concerned, and the location's suitability will be considered as part of the consent application process. Any new coal plant must demonstrate carbon capture and storage on at least 300 MW of its proposed generating capacity and comply with the Emissions Performance Standard.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Feb 2016

Coal: Employment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will place in the Library any information her Department holds on the number of jobs imported coal supports in each of its source countries; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The number of jobs imported coal supports in each of its source countries is not information that the Department of Energy and Climate Change holds.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Feb 2016

Armed Forces: Deployment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his Written Statement of 17 December 2015, HCWS 431, to which deployed coalitions the UK is party.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence: The personnel embedded in coalition Headquarters are supporting Operation Shader and wider Middle East security operations.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Feb 2016

Italy: Military Bases

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Government has sought from or been given permission by the Italian government for use of the Sigonella air station in Sicily.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): The UK Government has permission to operate from Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella. We make frequent use of it, for example in 2015, three Merlin helicopters were based there as a part of Operation WEALD, which provided search and rescue capability in the Mediterranean.

We are currently operating from NAS Sigonella as part of a NATO anti-submarine warfare exercise, Exercise DYNAMIC MANTA.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Feb 2016

Local Government: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will place in the Library all correspondence between the Government and EU Commission on the application of EU Directive 41/2003 Institutional Retirement Provision to the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Marcus Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government): We have checked records back to 2007 and there has been no correspondence with the EU Commission by the Government on the application of this directive to the Local Government Pension Scheme.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Feb 2016

Mesothelioma

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mark Lancaster): When I announced to the House on 16 December that veterans diagnosed on or after that date with diffuse mesothelioma as a result of their service would have the option of receiving a lump sum of £140,000, I also committed to looking at whether it could be extended to veterans diagnosed before that date. We have kept our word and I am delighted to confirm that the option of a lump sum payment will be extended to veterans in receipt of a war pension for mesothelioma diagnosed before 16 December 2015.

+++

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am delighted to welcome today's announcement to the House, but I would just like to add a little word of caution. We must make sure that when people are given the option - specifically, widows who may survive by many years servicemen who die from this deadly disease - there are no unintended consequences? We must make sure that if widows choose the option of a lump sum, it will not have the impact of their losing benefits over the years.

Mark Lancaster: I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman, who has been one of the campaigners ensuring that this change has come forward. He is absolutely right to make that point. I emphasise to the House that this is very much an option and I will ensure that when recipients are notified they are fully informed about what the options actually mean.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Feb 2016

Gas Fired Power Stations: Construction

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many gas fired power stations have been built in the UK since July 1998

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Since July 1998, 35 gas fired power stations (i.e. electricity generating installations with a capacity of 50 MW+) have opened in the UK.

Source: Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES), Table 5.10

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Feb 2016

Coal: Mining

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2016 to Question 25444, whether she has made an estimate of the proportion of coal that may have been mined by children.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The majority of power station operators in the UK are members of BetterCoal, an industry-led initiative which is taking action to promote responsible coal mining and has established a set of ethical, social, and environmental principles with which companies in the supply chain are expected to align. This includes conformity with a number of International Labour Organization conventions and recommendations which aim to eradicate child labour.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Feb 2016

Mental Health Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will take steps to ensure that all clinical commissioning groups take account of the findings of the Commission on Acute Psychiatric Care's review led by Lord Crisp before they take steps to alter in-patient provision.

Alistair Burt, Minister of State (Department of Health): Clinical commissioning groups have responsibility for ensuring that they are meeting the needs of those requiring acute psychiatric care. They are supported, and held to account for improving patient outcomes, by NHS England.

Both the Department and NHS England are considering the Commission's recommendations. In the meantime, we have been clear that local areas should be making immediate improvements and phasing out 'out of area' treatments.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Feb 2016

Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education: Performance Standards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what sanctions can be taken against the Office of the Independent Adjudicator if it misses the 90-day target in issuing complaint outcomes set by the European Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what additional resources his Department plans to make available to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator to ensure it meets the 90-day target in issuing complaint outcomes set by the European Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Joseph Johnson, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Universities and Science): Should an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution provider, such as the Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA),be found to be continually failing to comply with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations 2015, the Government has set out a process that enables an appointed body (the Chartered Trading Standards Institute) to monitor compliance, recommend improvements and, ultimately, remove a body from the approved list.

The OIA is independent of Government and funded by compulsory subscriptions from higher education providers. All higher education providers in receipt of student support funding are required, through legislation, to join the OIA and pay subscription fees. The OIA makes an assessment each year of the level of funding it requires to ensure that its costs can be met.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Feb 2016

Libya: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, within what timeframe his Department is able to deploy Reaper drones to Libya.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): I am withholding the information on the deployment timelines of Reaper Remotely Piloted Air Systems as its disclosure would or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Feb 2016

USA: Military Alliances

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether any personnel from Reaper Squadrons 39 or 13 are currently embedded with US forces.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): No personnel directly from 39 Squadron or 13 Squadron are currently embedded with the US armed forces. However, from the Reaper force as a whole, there are currently six Royal Air Force personnel embedded with the United States Air Force.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Feb 2016

Local Government: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to ensure the powers of intervention over Local Government Pension Scheme funds' non-financial investment policies do not conflict with (a) Article 18 of EU Directive 41/2003 and (b) Occupational Pension Scheme Investment Regulations 2005.

Marcus Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government): The Department is currently consulting on proposals to amend the scheme's investment regulations to allow the Secretary of State to make a proportionate intervention in the investment function of an administering authority if it has not had regard to best practice, guidance or regulations. The consultation was published on the basis that the scheme is consistent with the way in which Directive 41/2003 on the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision Directive was transposed into national law, including the Occupational Pension Scheme (Investment) Regulations 2005. The consultation closes on 19 February.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Feb 2016

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether there are Reaper Ground Control Stations available for use by UK Reaper Squadrons 13 and 39 in North Africa.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): The Government has a long standing policy not to comment on intelligence matters.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Feb 2016

Local Government: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will apply EU Directive 41/2003 on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision to the Local Government Pension Scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Marcus Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government): We are satisfied that the Scheme is consistent with the way in which Directive 41/2003 on the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision Directive was transposed into national law. It is not therefore necessary to take any further legislative steps to ensure compliance.

In March 2014 the European Commission published proposals for new Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provisions Directive. The implications for the scheme will be fully considered if these proposals are taken forward.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Feb 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what proportion of the coal burnt in UK coal-fired power stations originated in the USA in the first nine months of 2015.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what proportion of the coal burnt in UK coal-fired power stations originated in Russia in the first nine months of 2015.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): DECC does not hold figures on the proportion of coal burnt in UK coal-fired power stations, by country of origin. However, from January to September 2015, 16,784 thousand tonnes of steam coal (mainly used by coal-fired power stations) were imported into the UK, while coal used for electricity generation was 22,512 thousand tonnes during the same period.

The USA provided 3,231 thousand tonnes of steam coal imports, 19% of all steam coal imports, while Russia provided 7,237 thousand tonnes (43%)

Source:

Energy Trends tables 2.1 and 2.4, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solid-fuels-and-derived-gases-section-2-energy-trends

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Feb 2016

Electricity

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the spare capacity is in each of the national electricity grid systems from which the UK buys electricity through interconnectors.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The security of supply contribution that interconnectors to other countries can make is assessed annually, based on detailed market modelling to determine anticipated electricity flows from connected markets at times of GB system stress. An overview of the 2015 assessment can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/439232/150629_SoS_NG_Confirmation_of_Capacity_Auction_Parameters.pdf

In addition, there are arrangements in place for interconnectors to provide emergency response services to the System Operator outside of usual market operation. This includes reducing any exports to zero in the unlikely event of coincident stress with connected markets.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
11 Feb 2016

Junior doctors

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I know the Secretary of State does not usually listen to people with a bit of experience, but, as somebody who has spent 40 years dealing with trade disputes and their aftermath, may I ask him how he expects industrial relations to improve when he has imposed a contract, accused the negotiators of lying, and effectively said that the members were fooled by their own negotiators? He has now told us today that he will build into the contract a differential between the antisocial payments paid to these professionals and those paid to other professionals working next to them. That is a recipe for disaster. Will he put in the Library a full list of what he believes are the so-called lies that were told by the leaders of the BMA? Will he explain how he expects to get things back on an even keel, something that was asked for by the Chair of the Health Committee?

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt):: As someone who I fully concede may have more experience of industrial relation disputes than me, let me just say this: it is very clear that we are able to progress when there is give and take from both sides; when both sides are prepared to negotiate and come to a deal that is in the interests of the service and in the interests of the people working in the service. That was not possible. It is not me who is saying that; that is was what Sir David Dalton, a highly respected independent chief executive, said in the letter he wrote to me last night.

Some of the things that the BMA put out about the offer - for example, it put up on its website a pay calculator saying that junior doctors were going to have their pay cut by 30% to 50% - caused a huge amount of upset, anger and dismay, and were completely wrong. I do not think it would be very constructive for me to put in the House of Commons Library a list of all those things, when what I want to try to do is build trust and confidence. The differential between doctors and other workers in hospitals is what the BMA was seeking to protect. It still exists, but we have reduced it from what it was before because we think it is fairer that way and better for junior doctors.

Watch this

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
11 Feb 2016

Arts: English Baccalaureate

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2016 to Question 24570, if she will make it her policy that creative subjects must be included in the new EBacc.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): I refer the Honourable Member to my response to PQ 24570, submitted to Parliament on Thursday 4 February 2016, in which I explained that EBacc subjects are part of a broad and balanced curriculum and that there is space in the wider school curriculum to teach other subjects alongside the EBacc subjects.

On 3 November 2015 the Secretary of State for Education launched a public consultation seeking views on the government's proposals for the implementation of the English Baccalaureate. The consultation closed on 29 January 2016 and the government response will be published in the spring.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
11 Feb 2016

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress he is making on improved access to specialist psychology support for people with muscle-wasting conditions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress he is making on improved access to specialist psychology support for people with muscle-wasting conditions.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): NHS England commissions specialised neurological services at a national level, including those with muscle-wasting conditions. The relevant service specification sets out what designated specialised providers must have in place to offer evidence based safe and effective care. Patients should have access to a multidisciplinary team (MDT) to assess, diagnose and provide support. The MDT will include neuromuscular consultants, neuromuscular physiotherapists, psychologists, specialist nurses, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and other health professionals.

The specification also sets out that neuromuscular clinics need to identify those at risk of respiratory problems and refer for specialist respiratory assessment and monitoring.

The specification can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/d04-neurosci-spec-neuro.pdf

A separate specification covers services for children:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/e09-paedi-neurology.pdf

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Feb 2016

Landfill: Odour Pollution

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support her Department offers to people affected by overpowering odour escapes from landfill sites.

Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): The permits issued to landfill operators by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 regulations include conditions covering the management of odour. Operators of landfill sites are required to take appropriate measures to prevent odour pollution or minimise it when prevention is not practicable.

In addition, as landfill sites are likely to give rise to odour problems operators are often required to submit an Odour Management Plan (OMP) for approval to the Environment Agency. The provisions in a site's OMP, once it is approved, are treated as part of the permit and must be complied with.

The Environment Agency undertakes routine monitoring to verify compliance with permit conditions and will respond to and investigate public complaints about odour. The Environment Agency will consider enforcement action to ensure compliance with permit conditions in accordance with its published guidance on enforcement and sanctions.

Environmental permitting will usually provide sufficient protection against overpowering odour from landfill sites. If not, Local Authorities also have powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to take action against smell from industry, trade or business premises if found to be a statutory nuisance.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Feb 2016

Military Intervention: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2016 to Question 23290, what his Department's policy is on (a) the application of the convention on giving Parliament the opportunity to debate military intervention abroad to armed drones and (b) informing the House of any exceptional operation on the grounds of self-defence of the UK.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence: The Government is committed to the convention that, before UK troops are committed to conflict, Parliament should have an opportunity to debate the matter except when there is an emergency. It is fitting to keep Parliament informed of major new developments and to answer questions on them.

The Government will inform the House of any exceptional operation where there has not been prior debate in Parliament as the Prime Minister did on 7 September 2015 in relation to the precision airstrike that took place on 21 August 2015.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Feb 2016

Muscular Dystrophy: Drugs

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to make translarna available to boys who could benefit from it.

George Freeman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills): The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body that provides guidance for the National Health Service on whether to fund selected drugs and treatments. NICE is currently evaluating Translarna (ataluren) for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy through its highly specialised technology programme. The publication date for NICE's final guidance is to be confirmed.

The NHS in England is legally required to fund drugs and treatments recommended in NICE highly specialised technology guidance within three months of its final guidance being issued. In the absence of guidance from NICE, it is for commissioners to make decisions on whether to fund medicines based on an assessment of the available evidence.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
8 Feb 2016

Coal: Colombia

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what proportion of coal burnt in UK coal-fired power stations came from Colombia in 2015.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Full year figures for 2015 are not currently available. In the first 9 months of 2015 (January to September) 1, 32% of imported steam coal, which is predominately used by power stations, came from Columbia.

[1] Coal Imports ET2.4: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/487870/ET_Dec_15.pdf

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
8 Feb 2016

Oil: Prices

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what financial assistance is available to UK businesses in the oil industry supply chain who face financial difficulties resulting from the reduction in the price of oil.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): The Government has taken steps to help reinvigorate the supply chain by stimulating more investment opportunities in the UK Continental Shelf through a £1.3bn package of tax cutting measures and £20m of new funding for a second round of seismic surveys, announced at the end of January 2016.

The government has taken forward the rapid implementation of the Wood Review and the Oil and Gas Fiscal Review, establishing the Oil and Gas Authority, and in recognition of the current economic pressures hitting the industry, has established a cross-government, Ministerial oil support group. This will look at issues such as how to support the supply chain and workers through this difficult period.

UKTI also continue to work with supply chain companies to access overseas opportunities in countries including Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Mexico.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Feb 2016

Syria: Military Intervention

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 25 January 2016 to Question 23435, whether it is his Department's position that the UK was a party to the armed conflict occurring in Syria at the time of the air strike on 21 August 2015.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence; An armed conflict was occurring in Syria at the time of the air strike on 21 August 2015. The UK's military strike was governed by international humanitarian law.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Feb 2016

Veterans: Mesothelioma

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if the Prime Minister will take steps to speed up the legal process for cases involving ex-service personnel who have contracted mesothelioma; and if he will consider awarding equal compensation to the relatives of service personnel who have died while the process is ongoing.

Mark Lancaster, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence): The Government has continuously made compensation available under the War Pensions Scheme for injuries, illness or disease caused by service before 6 April 2005, including mesothelioma. On 11 January 2016 (Official Report, column 612-613) I informed the House that 11 April 2016 would be the earliest date from which we could provide the option of a lump sum payment to Service veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after 16 December 2015. If an accepted claim is concluded before 11 April 2016 and the individual has opted for a lump sum, payment of a War Disablement Pension and any supplementary allowances will begin in the normal way until the lump sum can be paid. The lump sum will be reduced to reflect the amounts paid until that point. If a claimant who has signed an option form to receive the lump sum dies before 11 April 2016 the lump sum will be paid to the veteran's designated recipient.

20160111 - Hansard extract on Armed Forces Bill (Word Document, 16.04 KB)

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Feb 2016

English Baccalaureate: Arts

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will ensure that creative subjects are included in the new Ebac; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): This Government's aim is to have at least 90% of pupils taking GCSEs from the English Baccalaureate subjects of English, maths, science, humanities and languages.

These subjects are part of a broad and balanced curriculum. There is space in the wider school curriculum to teach other subjects alongside these subjects.

On 3 November 2015 the Secretary of State for Education launched a public consultation seeking views on the government's proposals for the implementation of the English Baccalaureate[1]. The consultation closed on 29 January 2016 and the government will publish its response in the spring.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/implementing-the-english-baccalaureate

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Feb 2016

Coal

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2016 to Question 23662, if she will make an assessment of the risk of coal sourced by owners of power stations in the UK coming from countries where safety and labour standards in mining are poor.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Decisions on where to source coal are a commercial matter for the owners of coal-fired power stations. Contracts for the purchase of coal are awarded to individual mining companies, not countries. The majority operators of power stations in the UK are members of BetterCoal, an industry-led initiative which is taking action to promote responsible coal mining and has established a set of ethical, social, and environmental principles which companies in the supply chain are expected to align with.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Feb 2016

NHS: Procurement

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, on what grounds Experts by Experience was not considered under TUPE arrangements when Remploy took over its contracts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what representations he has received about the importance of Experts by Experience in the NHS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what representations he has received on the level of payments by Remploy to Experts by Experience; and if he will make a statement.

Ben Gummer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has advised that it has taken into account the application of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 in the new contracts with Choice Support and Remploy Ltd.

The CQC issued a press release on 28 January 2016 on this matter. It advised that the CQC's contractual discussions with Remploy Ltd and Choice Support are still ongoing. The CQC understand that Remploy has now written to Experts by Experience confirming they will pay an hourly rate of £15 for the first six months of the contract - commencing 1 February 2016.

Departmental Ministers have not received any representations about the importance of Experts by Experience in the National Health Service or the level of payments by Remploy to Experts by Experience.

The Department has not received any direct correspondence about the importance of Experts by Experience in the NHS or the level of payments by Remploy to Experts by Experience. We are, however, aware of one email on this subject that the Department has been copied into that was sent to the CQC.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Feb 2016

Coal Fired Power Stations

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what proportion of electricity in the UK was generated by UK coal-fired power stations in 2015.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): DECC will publish finalised energy market statistics including figures for electricity generation in 2015 later this year. However, provisional figures [1] show that coal accounted for 22% of UK electricity supplied over Q1 - Q3 in 2015 compared to 28% in the same period in 2014.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/487838/Electricity.pdf

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Feb 2016

Students: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason statutory guidance Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2015) does not apply to higher education institutions.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State (Department for Education): Higher education institutions are not covered by the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years for good reason.

The new system of Education Health and Care (EHC) plans has a strong focus on the outcomes sought for children and young people with SEND. The Code of Practice defines the attainment of a place in higher education as a successful outcome.

Local authorities are not responsible for the education of young people in higher education. The sector has its own support system in the form of the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). It would not be sensible for these systems to overlap. For example, it would not be reasonable to hold a local authority to account for securing special educational provision for a young people in an independent higher education institution.

In the academic year 2013/14, the last year for which full figures are available, DSA totalling £152.7m was provided to 68,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Government also currently provides annual funding to publicly funded institutions, through the Disability element of the Student Opportunity Funding of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) grant, to help them recruit and support disabled students. This funding rose to £20 million for 2015/16, an increase of £5 million on the previous year.

The Code of Practice provides guidance on the transition to higher education. It says that good transition planning should include:

In addition we are working with those conducting DSA assessments to ensure that they understand EHC plans and how they can assist and inform assessments.

As independent and autonomous bodies, higher education institutions are entirely responsible for addressing any issues of discrimination that might come to their attention. The Government provides a legal framework for individuals, which protects their right not to be discriminated against - primarily through the Equality Act 2010. Through the Equality Act, higher education institutions are prohibited by law from discriminating against students with protected characteristics, such as disability.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Feb 2016

Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education: Performance Standards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, how long on average the Office of the Independent Adjudicator took to close a case in 2015.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Office of the Independent Adjudicator is able to send the complaint outcome to the complainant and member higher education provider within 90 days of the reviewer's determination that the file is complete.

Joseph Johnson, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Universities and Science): The Office of the Independent Adjudicator's Annual Report (2014), which contains the latest published figures available, states that it took an average of 207 days to close a complaint from the time the student first submitted a complaint form. Provisional figures indicate that improvements have been made since then and the 2015 Annual Report is likely to show a significant reduction in this figure.

The European Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution, which came into force on 9 July 2015, now requires dispute resolution bodies such as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) to issue complaint outcomes within 90 days of receiving the full complaint file, unless the case is highly complex. The OIA and other alternative dispute resolution bodies are required to report to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, which is monitoring compliance with the Directive.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Jan 2016

Music: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance his Department gives on the number and type of wheelchair spaces which should be available for disabled people in music venues across the UK

Edward Vaizey, Minister of State (Culture Media and Sport) (Digital Industries): The huge variation in size, type and location of music venues across the UK makes it impractical to require venue operators to make a specific number of spaces available for disabled people. However, we believe that everyone should have equal access to arts and culture. We are working with venues and organisations representing disabled people to identify barriers to access along with examples of best practice and how these can be shared and; to consider what more cultural venues need to do to be accessible to people with disabilities.

We are supportive of the work of Attitude is Everything, which aims to improve disabled people's access to live events, working in partnership with audiences, artists, and the music industry. My ministerial colleague Ed Vaizey also recently held a roundtable meeting with Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People to look at access to cultural venues and events for disabled people.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
28 Jan 2016

Defence

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what working definition of imminence his Department uses in the application of article 51 of the UN Charter.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): It has long been the position of successive UK Governments that "the inherent right of self-defence", as recognised in Article 51 of the UN Charter, does not require a State to wait until an armed attack is actually under way before it can lawfully use force to alleviate the threat. A State may use force in anticipation of an armed attack where such an attack is imminent, provided that such force is both necessary and proportionate to averting the threat. The assessments would depend on the facts of each case, with consideration likely to include issues such as the nature and immediacy of the threat, the probability of an attack, its scale and effects and whether it can be prevented without force.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
28 Jan 2016

Syria: Military Intervention

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will disclose a summary of his Department's legal advice to the (a) Joint Committee on Human Rights and (b) Intelligence and Security Committee relevant to the drone strike that killed Reyaad Khan on 21 August 2015.

Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): I refer the hon. Member to the answer on this subject given to him by the Prime Minister on 25 January 2016, UIN 23433.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
27 Jan 2016

Prisons and Probation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I have done work in my local area of Tyneside with a veterans group, many of whom are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. One thing we have done is develop work in the United States, which has a veterans' treatment course. The course in Buffalo is the best example; it was the first to be set up and, out of 300 cases, not one reoffended. Will the Secretary of State meet the people involved in this work to try to see if we can make this work, in everybody's interests?

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Michael Gove): The hon. Gentleman makes a very good point. We already take seriously the position of veterans in the criminal justice system. At the behest of my predecessor, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Stephen Phillips) has produced a report on the care of those offenders, and the Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), is carrying forward that work. In particular, he is working with Care after Combat, a charity that supports offenders who have been in the military.

The hon. Gentleman's point about problem-solving courts is also powerful. When I had the opportunity to visit the United States of America, I saw how veterans courts, drugs courts and problem-solving courts can make a real difference in keeping people out of jail and helping them to put their lives back together, so I would be more than happy to ensure that the Minister talks to the hon. Gentleman.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
27 Jan 2016

Coal

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will ensure that her Department's coal consultation, announced in her speech of 18 November 2015, examines how the UK electricity generation market can use as high a proportion as possible of UK-produced coal; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): On 18 November 2015, my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced an intention to consult on proposals to close all unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025 and restrict the use of unabated coal power from 2023. The proportion of UK-produced coal used in power stations is determined by the commercial decisions of the owners of power stations about where to source coal cost-competitively.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
27 Jan 2016

Unmanned Air Vehicles: Deployment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make it his policy that the House be given an opportunity to debate in advance any decision to deploy UK Reaper aircraft outside Syria and Iraq.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence: No.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
27 Jan 2016

Syria: Military Intervention

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether any person or body has sought disclosure of documents relevant to the decision to target Reyaad Khan by drone strike in Syria on 21 August 2015 for purposes related to the Inquiry by the Intelligence and Security Committee into that matter.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence: The Prime Minister discussed the scope of the Intelligence and Security Committee's (ISC) Inquiry with its Chairman. They reached agreement on the disclosure of material to the ISC that will enable the Committee to conduct a review of the threat posed by Reyaad Khan. The ISC have received contemporaneous intelligence assessments of Khan and will take further evidence in the coming weeks.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
26 Jan 2016

Unmanned Air Vehicles; Libya, Africa

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, in how many countries UK Reapers are currently operational.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether UK Reapers have been deployed to Libya.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether any personnel from UK Reaper Squadrons have been deployed to (a) Libya, (b) Kenya and (c) Somalia in the last three years.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): UK Reapers are currently operational in Iraq and Syria. No UK Reapers have been deployed to Libya, and no personnel from UK Reaper Squadrons have been deployed to Libya, Kenya or Somalia in the last three years.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Jan 2016

Syria: Military Intervention

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister, if he will disclose a summary of the government advice on the legality of the drone strike that killed Reyaad Khan in the manner set out in Part 6 of the Cabinet Manual.

Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Ms West) on 21 January 2016, UIN 22720.

By long-standing convention under successive Governments the Law Officers' advice is not published. The legal basis for the airstrike against Reyaad Khan is set out in the Government's Memorandum to the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The Government's legal position in relation to UK airstrikes against Daesh in Syria is reflected in my response to the Foreign Affairs Committee Report on the extension of offensive British military operations to Syria.

The current Memorandum of Understanding together with the Justice and Security Act 2013 provides the necessary scope for the ISC to conduct robust oversight of those matters that are within its statutory remit.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Jan 2016

Intelligence and Security Committee

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister, whether he plans to issue a new Memorandum of Understanding under section 2(2) of the Justice and Security Act on the remit of the Intelligence and Security Committee in the current Parliament.

Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Ms West) on 21 January 2016, UIN 22720.

By long-standing convention under successive Governments the Law Officers' advice is not published. The legal basis for the airstrike against Reyaad Khan is set out in the Government's Memorandum to the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The Government's legal position in relation to UK airstrikes against Daesh in Syria is reflected in my response to the Foreign Affairs Committee Report on the extension of offensive British military operations to Syria.

The current Memorandum of Understanding together with the Justice and Security Act 2013 provides the necessary scope for the ISC to conduct robust oversight of those matters that are within its statutory remit.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Jan 2016

Syria: Military Intervention

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister, whether any person or body has sought disclosure of his Department's legal advice on the drone strike that killed Reyaad Khan for purposes related to the Inquiry by the Intelligence and Security Committee into that matter.

Mr Cameron, Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Ms West) on 21 January 2016, UIN 22720.

By long-standing convention under successive Governments the Law Officers' advice is not published. The legal basis for the airstrike against Reyaad Khan is set out in the Government's Memorandum to the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The Government's legal position in relation to UK airstrikes against Daesh in Syria is reflected in my response to the Foreign Affairs Committee Report on the extension of offensive British military operations to Syria.

The current Memorandum of Understanding together with the Justice and Security Act 2013 provides the necessary scope for the ISC to conduct robust oversight of those matters that are within its statutory remit.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Jan 2016

Syria: Military Intervention

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference his oral evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights of 16 December 2015, Question 20, HC 574, whether his Department's position was that the UK was in an armed conflict (a) before, (b) on the date of or (c) as a result of the drone strike that killed Reyaad Khan of 21 August 2015.

Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence: An armed conflict was occurring in Syria at the time of the air strike on 21 August 2015.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Jan 2016

Carbon Sequestration

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps she is taking to ensure that Carbon Capture and Storage is rolled out in the UK energy generation market.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Government continues to view Carbon Capture and Storage as having a potential role in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK's power and industrial sectors.

The Government has invested over £130 million in CCS Research & Development between 2011 and 2016. We announced in October 2015 £1.7 million support for three innovative CCS technologies through our Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, and our £2.5 million project through the Energy Technologies Institute to begin appraisal of five potential CO2 stores which is due to conclude by March 2016. We are also supporting, jointly with the Scottish Government, the CCS developer Summit Power with £4.2 million funding to undertake industrial research and development at their proposed CCS Caledonia Clean Energy Project in Grangemouth.

The Government continues to engage closely with the CCS industry on the future of Carbon Capture and Storage in the UK. I co-chaired a special session of the joint Government-industry CCS Development Forum in December 2015.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Jan 2016

Carbon Capture and Storage

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does my hon. Friend agree that the debate about CCS should not be happening today because it should have been concluded at least half a decade or even a decade ago? We led the world in clean-coal technology for decades, but that is no longer the case because of the actions of the Conservative party. We should be doing it now, not talking about it.

Lisa Nandy: I agree with my hon. Friend. I am not one who is keen to cast back into history to appoint blame, but what I will say to him and to the Secretary of State is that a 10-year promise was made not just to industries and companies, but to the communities that stood to benefit and to gain a huge amount from CCS. Given that the Government have announced £250 million of investment in a competition for nuclear small modular reactors, we seem to be creating a complete lack of confidence that any of the other schemes will proceed. Such decisions and the way in which they are taken damage our energy security, not just in the short term but in the long term. We have to give a signal that Britain is open for business, but the Chancellor's decision has done precisely the opposite.

+++

Nigel Adams: I really need to move on, but I will give way to the hon. Gentleman because he is a grand fellow.

Mr Anderson: You're absolutely right I'm a grand fellow!

If we are to put public subsidies into trying to keep the lights on, why not subsidise the coal industry? As the hon. Gentleman said, we will continue burning coal, but it is not dirty British coal, it is from places such as China, Ukraine and Colombia where hundreds or thousands of men are dying every month or year. It is morally wrong to burn that coal and put British miners on the dole. That is completely wrong.

Nigel Adams: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right, and if he was here at the back end of last year when we debated the closure of Kellingley colliery, he will have heard me very much echo his sentiments.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Jan 2016

Muscular Dystrophy: Hydrotherapy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will meet representatives of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Muscular Dystrophy and Muscular Dystrophy UK to discuss the provision of hydrotherapy for people with muscle-wasting conditions.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The provision of National Health Service hydrotherapy services is a local matter. NHS England's neurosciences services specification sets out what providers must have in place to offer evidence-based, safe and effective services, including for patients with muscular dystrophy. Specialised neuromuscular care may include referral to local physiotherapy, hydrotherapy or rehabilitation if appropriate, however the commissioning of hydrotherapy services is a matter for clinical commissioning groups.

The specification can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/d04-neurosci-spec-neuro.pdf.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
13 Jan 2013

Neuromuscular Disorders

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress is being made in establishing NHS funded neuromuscular networks in each region of England.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health); NHS England is responsible for commissioning specialised neurological services, including some services for patients with neuromuscular disorders. NHS England has published a service specification for neurological care that includes an exemplar service specification for neuromuscular conditions that sets out what providers must have in place to offer evidence-based, safe and effective services. The specification can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/d04-neurosci-spec-neuro.pdf.

National Health Service providers, working with local area teams, may establish neuromuscular networks if they consider it would benefit service provision. However, such decisions are a local matter.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
13 Jan 2016

Muscular Dystrophy: Clinical Trials

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of demand for clinical trial capacity at UK muscle centres; and if he will make a statement.

George Freeman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health); The United Kingdom is a world-leader in neuromuscular research, bringing a combination of excellent translational science, well-defined patient cohorts and a sophisticated and successful clinical research system. These attributes make the UK an outstanding location for the global life sciences industry to undertake clinical trials and collaborate with leading clinical scientists.

The National Health Service and the Department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are working collaboratively to support the increasing number of clinical trials in neuromuscular disease.

The current pipeline of neuromuscular studies for 2016 includes four phase I studies, six phase II studies, three phase III studies and one phase IV study.

Currently, the most intensive trials are supported in Great Ormond Street Hospital, London and in the John Walton Neuromuscular Centre in Newcastle, where NIHR supports dedicated clinical research facilities alongside the Medical Research Council funded muscle research centres. These centres supported colleagues at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, to collaborate in a recent study supported by the NIHR Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility.

Building on these successes, the NIHR is using its Clinical Research Network and Biomedical Research Centres to increase capacity and expertise at existing sites and prepare other muscle centres to be able to support the pipeline of studies. Additionally, NIHR leaders have engaged with patient organisations for neuromuscular disease and presented innovative models to enable charities to partner the NHS in developing more capacity in existing and new sites.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
13 Jan 2016

Electricity Generation: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, when she will announce details of the amount to be made available in the next round of Contracts for Difference auctions in the UK energy market; and if she will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, when she will announce the results of the next round of Contracts for Difference auctions in the UK energy market; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Government will hold three Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions in this Parliament with the next auction for less established technologies expected to take place by the end of 2016. We are currently working with HM Treasury to finalise the budget for future auctions and will set out more information in due course.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Jan 2016

Royal Family

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, who in the Government takes decisions on what information is shared with which members of the Royal Family.

John Penrose, Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office): The decision to share Government information lies with individual Ministers and their departments as stated in Chapter 11 of the Cabinet Manual. Government information is managed in accordance with the Lord Chancellor's Code of Practice on the Management of Records issued under section 46 of the Freedom of information Act 2000.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
7 Jan 2016

Plain speaking

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am sure, Mr Speaker, that you and the rest of the House were as delighted as me to hear the news that my hon. Friend the Member for Blyth Valley (Mr Campbell) has won the Plain English award for speaking in this House. In line with that, may we have a debate in Government time on the use of language in this House so that we can find out what the Prime Minister means when he says he is going to look into something and what Ministers mean when they constantly say they are reviewing something. We could also discuss what is meant when someone asks a question to which they want an answer but gets something completely unrelated to it?

Chris Grayling, Leader of the House of Commons: Nobody could accuse Labour Members of a lack of plain speaking this week. Member after Member has lined up to say that their leader is hopeless. The question is whether they are actually going to do anything about it.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
6 Jan 2016

Poultry: Animal Welfare

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the inspection regime is for ensuring that hens are housed in conditions compliant with relevant EU directives.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the dependency that hen welfare has on the frequency of human attention regardless of the position of the cages in which they are kept.

George Eustice, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) enforces the relevant welfare legislation and carries out welfare inspections on farms to check that the UK legislation, which implements European law, is being followed. This includes spot checks and planned risk based inspections.

In addition, a programme of inspections is carried out under EU cross compliance legislation to farmers that claim cross-compliance subsidies. The APHA also enforce the requirement for owners or other responsible persons to inspect their hens at least once a day.

Our expert advisory committee, the Farm Animal Welfare Committee, has concluded that stockmanship, and the correct application of husbandry standards, whatever the system of production, is key to ensuring good welfare for farmed animals. This view is relevant to all livestock, whether in intensive or extensive production systems. The EU Commission's Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare recognised that there is a wide variety of enriched cage designs for laying hens, and that the layout of some cages can affect bird inspection. Both the EU Commission in its 2008 report on the welfare of laying hens in various systems and the Farm Animal Welfare Committee recognise the welfare benefits of enriched cages and have given their support to this system of production.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Jan 2016

Carbon Sequestration: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, when she expects to be able to announce how carbon capture and storage research and deployment will be funded in future; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Decisions on which technologies to support with research, development and demonstration funding will be made in due course, in the context of our agreed policy objectives, with a clear focus on targeting investment in areas of demonstrable market failure. A generating station connected to a complete CCS system is an eligible technology for Contracts for Difference under the Contract for Difference Regulations. Contracts for Difference for CCS are awarded on direction of my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Whether or not the Secretary of State would consider awarding a CfDs to a specific project would be subject to the circumstances at the time, including factors such as the value for money and affordability of a project and competing demands on available budgets.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Jan 2016

BBC: Royal Charters

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when he expects to publish the results of his consultation on the BBC Charter Review.

Edward Vaizey, Minister of State (Culture Media and Sport): The Government's BBC Charter Review Public Consultation closed in October. Over 190,000 people responded to the consultation - the second largest response to any Government consultation. We are in the process of reading and analysing all the responses, and will publish the results once this exercise is completed.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Jan 2016

Flooding

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Following the floods in 2007, the Government commissioned the "Land Use Futures" report, which laid out exactly what has happened this week. The people who produced that report said at the weekend that the Government ignored the report. They should go back, read the report and listen to the evidence. Will the Secretary of State do that and respond properly to the request made earlier by a colleague to look at the Pitt review, which said that the fire and rescue service should have a statutory duty to be the first response? Will she please answer those questions properly?

Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: We did respond to all the recommendations of the Pitt review, apart from those relating to bodies that no longer existed. The reality is that we saw a fantastic response on the ground from the fire service. The issue is: how do we protect our communities, given that we are seeing more extreme weather? That is the issue we are dealing with here.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Jan 2016

Brexit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): At the recent meeting of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, huge concern was expressed by parliamentary colleagues from right across the British Isles about this country's possible exit from the European Union. What, if any, work is being done to look at the specific impacts on Northern Ireland and on the Republic - our closest and oldest neighbour - if the referendum is lost?

The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point. One of the strongest voices of support for the British renegotiation was the Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who made a brilliant speech at the European Council, for which I will for ever be very grateful. The Republic of Ireland wants Britain to stay in the European Union, because all sorts of difficult issues would arise in respect of the border and other things if we were outside it. Of course, the Republic of Ireland sees Britain as a strong voice in Europe for many of the things it believes in. Look, we have to get this deal right, and then we need to bring all the arguments to bear on both sides of the case. I think that what is said by those in the Republic and in Northern Ireland will make a big difference.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Dec 2015

Ethiopia: Evictions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will instruct HM Ambassador to Ethiopia to investigate allegations that paramilitary and security forces have killed more than 60 people in the Oromia region of that country following protests about enforced evictions of indigenous people; and if he will make a statement.

James Duddridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The UK Government takes these allegations extremely seriously. We have raised concerns with the Ethiopian government about the use of force and urged the authorities to exercise restraint. The Department for International Development Parliamentary Under Secretary of State raised this issue with the Ethiopian Deputy Prime minister on 11 December, as did our Chargé d'Affaires with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs on 15 December. Our Embassy in Ethiopia is monitoring closely the situation. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Government of Ethiopia, including on the use of force.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Dec 2015

Ethiopia: Public Order

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will call on his Ethiopian counterpart to allow peaceful protest in the Oromia region and withdraw paramilitary forces.

James Duddridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The UK Government is deeply concerned about the current situation in Oromia and in particular about the reported deaths of a number of students. The Department for International Development Parliamentary Under Secretary of State raised our concerns with the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister on 11 December and urged the authorities to exercise restraint. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Government of Ethiopia, including on the use of force.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Dec 2015

Prisons: Deeds of Covenant

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what account the prison estates review took of the existence of restrictive covenants prior to the Government's announcement of the programme of prison closures and new prison construction.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department knew of any restrictive covenant on the use and disposal of HMP Holloway, the land upon which it is situated or its buildings before publication of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what restrictive covenants exist on the use and disposal of each prison establishment in England and Wales.

Andrew Selous, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): We will consider what impact the existence of any restrictive covenant would have on any future closures and new prison sites. Providing a list of restrictive covenants on the use and disposal of each prison in England and Wales could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
15 Dec 2015

Immigrants: Detainees

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many immigration detainees were held in each prison establishment in each of the last 12 months.

James Brokenshire, Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration): The information requested is not routinely collected and could be provided only by examining individual case records, which would result in disproportionate cost.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
15 Dec 2015

State Retirement Pensions: Females

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 December 2015 to Question 17647, if he will carry out a survey of women's attitudes to state pension equalisation.

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): The Department has no plans to carry out a survey of women's attitudes to State Pension age equalisation. It has been Government policy since 1995 that the inequality between men and women's State Pensions Ages must be removed.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
15 Dec 2015

Poliomyelitis

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to eradicate polio worldwide.

Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development): The UK Government is fully committed to global polio eradication. With a cumulative investment of more than $1.2 billion, the UK is the third largest donor to the eradication effort, and is providing £300 million for 2013 to 2019. UK funding has contributed to a greater than 99% decrease in polio cases since 1988, with no cases reported in Africa for over a year. Only two countries - Pakistan and Afghanistan - are reporting cases of wild polio in 2015, meaning we are now closer than ever to global eradication.

The UK also plays a key role in sustaining global political commitment and in making sure that every penny we, or others, invest in polio is spent well. The UK actively participates on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's Polio Oversight Board and the Finance and Accountability Committee, ensuring a strong focus on results and delivering value for money. During the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the UK re-affirmed our unwavering commitment to fighting polio encouraging others to join us in the final push towards global polio eradication.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Dec 2015

Carbon Sequestration: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how she plans to account for the £1 billion of carbon capture and storage support reallocated at the Spending Review 2015 within her Departmental budget; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Government set out its capital budget and priorities for this Spending Review period on 25 November 2015

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Dec 2015

State Retirement Pensions: Females

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the contribution of the Minister of State for Work and Pensions of 23 November 2015, Official Report, column 467HL, what the evidential basis is for her statement that most of the women affected by state pension equalisation have accepted this.

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): My noble friend, the Minister for Pensions, engages regularly with older workers, employers and other stakeholders. The Minister for Pensions was summarising from her frequent discussions with these groups.

All women affected by faster equalisation will reach State Pension age after the introduction of the new State Pension. Around 650,000 women reaching State Pension age in the first ten years will receive an average of £8 per week (in 2014/15 earnings terms) more due to the new State Pension valuation of their National Insurance record.

Equalisation of the State Pension age was necessary under EU law to eliminate gender inequalities in welfare provision.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Dec 2015

Courts: WiFi

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of courts and tribunal buildings in England and Wales have WiFi access.

Shailesh Vara, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): One of the main projects within the Criminal Justice Efficiency Programme was to introduce Wi-Fi throughout the criminal courts, allowing professional court users access to their home systems and the internet, improving their productivity and efficiency of flow of cases in court. With 158 courthouses already connected, the Programme is on track to deliver to all criminal courts well before summer 2016. Further courts may come into scope depending on the outcome of the consultation on the court estate which is currently underway. In addition to the WiFi provided for professional court users many courts have commercially provided BT WiFi solutions to allow court users to access the internet. These have been installed locally and no central record is held on the exact number of courts where this is available.

We have secured over £700m of funding to invest in our courts and tribunals. We have worked closely with the senior judiciary to develop a plan for investing this in reforming the courts and tribunals so they can deliver swifter, fairer justice at a lower cost. This will include digitisation and modernisation of our IT infrastructure. This will mean court users can attend hearings remotely, and not be inconvenienced by having to take a day off work to come to court. It will also mean victims of crime can give evidence from somewhere they feel safe.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Dec 2015

ISIL in Syria

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Is not the different between Iraq and Syria the fact that we have on the ground in Iraq a long-established ally, the Kurdish peshmerga, who want to work with us? We do not have that in Syria; we have there what the Prime Minister is now describing as a patchwork.

Alan Johnson: My hon. Friend, as always, makes an important point. I have just re-read the Hansard report of our debate in September 2014, and this point was not raised by anyone.

MPs debated the following motion:

"That this House notes that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United Kingdom; welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249 which determines that ISIL constitutes an 'unprecedented threat to international peace and security' and calls on states to take 'all necessary measures' to prevent terrorist acts by ISIL and to 'eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria'; further notes the clear legal basis to defend the UK and our allies in accordance with the UN Charter; notes that military action against ISIL is only one component of a broader strategy to bring peace and stability to Syria; welcomes the renewed impetus behind the Vienna talks on a ceasefire and political settlement; welcomes the Government's continuing commitment to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees; underlines the importance of planning for post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction in Syria; welcomes the Government's continued determination to cut ISIL's sources of finance, fighters and weapons; notes the requests from France, the US and regional allies for UK military assistance; acknowledges the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties, using the UK's particular capabilities; notes the Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; welcomes the Government's commitment to provide quarterly progress reports to the House; and accordingly supports Her Majesty's Government in taking military action, specifically airstrikes, exclusively against ISIL in Syria; and offers its wholehearted support to Her Majesty's Armed Forces ."

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Dec 2015

Housing: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will take steps to develop and fund a new home energy efficiency programme.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): A reformed domestic supplier obligation (ECO) from April 2017 will upgrade the energy efficiency of well over 200,000 homes per year. This will help to tackle the root cause of fuel poverty and continue to deliver on our commitment to help 1 million more homes this Parliament.

We are providing support for households to improve their energy efficiency through the new supplier obligation, which will run for 5 years.

Our extension of the Warm Home Discount to 2020/21 at current levels of £320m pa will also help households who are at most risk of fuel poverty with their energy bills.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Dec 2015

Renewable Energy: Subsidies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how her Department took into account the planned Chinese government involvement in the construction of new nuclear energy facilities in its impact assessment on removal of market support mechanisms for wind and solar energy.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Chinese investment in new nuclear power stations was not a factor in our assessment of the impact of changes to government support for renewables.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Dec 2015

Courts: Closures

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effects of court closures between 2010 and 2015 on access to justice.

Shailesh Vara, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Effective access to justice has been maintained between 2010 and 2015. Access to justice is not just about proximity to a court.

We have secured over £700m of funding to invest in our courts and tribunals. We have worked closely with the senior judiciary to develop a plan for investing this in reforming the courts and tribunals so they can deliver swifter, fairer justice at a lower cost. This will include digitisation and modernisation of our IT infrastructure. This will mean court users can attend hearings remotely, and not be inconvenienced by having to take a day off work to come to court. It will also mean victims of crime can give evidence from somewhere they feel safe.

We are committed to providing alternative ways for users to access our services, including the use of other civic buildings and extending video conferencing facilities.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect of proposed courts and tribunal closures on (a) staff with caring responsibilities, (b) disabled staff, (c) black and minority ethnic staff and (d) court users.

Shailesh Vara, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The staff impact of these proposals will be managed using the department's Managing Organisational Change Framework which has been endorsed by the Departmental Trade Unions. This will make sure that the transition to new arrangements proceeds in a fair and transparent manner for all staff.

In an increasingly digital age, court users will not always need to attend hearings in person in order to access the justice system and whilst we have already established alternative ways users can interact with our services, we are looking to expand these provisions to provide more choice than is currently available.

In order to achieve these aims, we have secured over £700m of funding to invest in our courts and tribunals. We have worked closely with the senior judiciary to develop a plan for investing this in reforming the courts and tribunals so they can deliver swifter, fairer justice at a lower cost. This will include digitisation and modernisation of our IT infrastructure. This will mean court users can attend hearings remotely, and not be inconvenienced by having to take a day off work to come to court. It will also mean victims of crime can give evidence from somewhere they feel safe.

A full impact assessment will be published alongside the consultation response.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
1 Dec 2015

Mineworkers' Pension Scheme: Income

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how much has been paid into the Exchequer from surpluses accrued by the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme since privatisation of the coal industry.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): I refer the hon. Member to House of Commons Library Briefing Paper Number SN01189 dated 25 November 2015 which contains at page 17 a table showing the total gross payments made to the Guarantor from the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme since privatisation:

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN01189/SN01189.pdf

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
1 Dec 2015

Local Government: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will amend the Local Government Pension Scheme to permit boycott, divestment and sanctions policies; and if he will make a statement.

Marcus Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government): We will issue guidance to local government pension scheme administering authorities in the spring on how their policies on environmental, social and corporate governance matters should reflect foreign policy and related issues. This will make clear that their predominant concern should be the pursuit of their financial return on investments and that they should not pursue boycott, divestment and sanctions policies unless they are consistent with UK foreign policy.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
30 Nov 2015

Employment: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how his Department plans to monitor the Government's progress on halving the disability employment gap; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the economy of halving the disability employment gap; and if he will make a statement.

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): Progress against the disability employment gap is a key factor in progress towards full employment. This is consistent with the Government's manifesto commitment which said 'as part of our objective to achieve full employment, we will aim to halve the disability employment gap'. The annual report on progress towards full employment will include an update on the Government's progress towards halving the disability employment gap.

Bringing disabled people out of inactivity and into employment increases the productive capacity of the economy. While it is not possible to quantify exactly the economic impact of halving the disability employment gap, it would directly benefit both the individuals affected, through higher employment allowing more people to support themselves and their families, and also the wider economy, by supporting economic growth and the public finances.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
30 Nov 2015

Apprentices: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure that disabled people are supported to participate in apprenticeship schemes.

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): Apprenticeships are paid jobs with substantial training. Whilst we would not want to interfere in employers' recruitment decisions, we believe that there is more that can be done to ensure that people from a diverse range of backgrounds are in the best possible place to apply for and secure an apprenticeship.

The Apprenticeships Equality and Diversity Advisory Group helps the Government to understand and address any apprenticeship equality and diversity issues in order to reduce barriers and make apprenticeships as inclusive as possible.

Apprentices with a learning difficulty or disability can apply for Access to Work funding for reasonable adjustments in the workplace, and individuals whose circumstances mean they were not able to undertake an apprenticeship before their 19th birthday may qualify for enhanced funding as long as they start an apprenticeship before their 24th birthday.

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has also produced an employer toolkit including resources and links to help employers of disabled apprentices.

In 2012 Government published the findings from Peter Little OBE's detailed review of the inclusiveness of apprenticeships for people with learning difficulties or disabilities. The National Apprenticeship Service is working with the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Department for Education (DfE) to meet the recommendations made by this report, which can be viewed here:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20141006151154/http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/~/media/documents/AU-CreatingAnInclusiveApprenticeshipOffer-Report-May2012.ashx

Apprenticeships are accessible - in 2013/14, 38,170 people who declared a disability or learning difficulty started an apprenticeship.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
26 Nov 2015

Sunni State

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does the Prime Minister agree with his former Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and with John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, that ultimately the world will have to redraw the map and create a Sunni state in northern Iraq and northern Syria? If so, does he think that makes a resolution of the situation easier or harder?

The Prime Minister: I hope that that will not be necessary. I think we should try to respect the territorial integrity of those countries. There are many countries around the world that manage to hold together despite having ethnic and religious differences within them. It would be a slight counsel of despair to believe that we have to end up with a Sunnistan, a Shi'astan and a Kurdistan. We should try to do what those countries want, which is to help to bring them together.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
26 Nov 2015

Energy: Housing

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2015 to Question 3036, whether the estimated reduction in household bills in 2030 indicated in that Answer has changed to take into account the deal on nuclear new build with the Chinese government.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): We currently estimate that a new nuclear programme could reduce average household bills by up to around £30 (real 2012 prices) in 2030. This is calculated by comparing the costs for consumers in a modelled scenario for the future electricity mix with Hinkley Point C and a further roll out of the new nuclear programme with the cost for consumers in a scenario where there are no new nuclear power stations by 2030. Savings could be higher or lower depending on changes in the cost of alternative generation technologies and what mix of technologies would ultimately be used. Earlier analysis had identified a higher saving, but other low carbon energy technologies have become far more cost competitive which has brought down the cost.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Nov 2015

Birds

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce in the rest of the UK the General Licence Restriction Order for the protection of birds in use in Scotland; and if she will make a statement.

Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): The introduction of a new regulatory measure requires evidence that it will be effective.

We will monitor the situation in Scotland to consider whether this measure is necessary and proportionate to assist in tackling wildlife crime in England.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Nov 2015

Electricity: Reserves

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many times the National Grid has used the demand side balancing reserve in each of the last 10 years.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) was introduced by National Grid ahead of winter 14/15 to help manage electricity margins ahead of the introduction of the Capacity Market in 2018/19. Since its introduction, the DSBR has only been despatched on one occasion.

Both last year and this year, National Grid will have instructed units within the DSBR as part of testing their capability to ensure they are able to achieve the level and speed of turn-down for which they are contracted.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Nov 2015

Electricity Generation: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of developing zero subsidy Contracts for Difference auctions for the electricity supply market; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): Stakeholders have suggested the concept of a market stabilising Contracts for Difference (CfD) and we are listening to ideas from industry about how this can be achieved and how we can best ensure a level playing field between renewable and other generation technologies. We are still working up ideas and would welcome continued input from stakeholders.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Nov 2015

Parachute Regiment: Arrest

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I congratulate the Minister on his professional response to upholding the rule of law, which, given his background, must be very hard for him. His response is exactly what we expect from our service people, and we do expect more from them. That is why it is right and proper, if the rule of law is being followed, that the people concerned get the chance to clear their name if that is possible. We have to remember that 13 people were left dead on the streets of Derry 43 years ago, and that must be sorted out. If people did not act properly, it is right and proper that they are brought to book.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr Ben Wallace): I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind comments. I reiterate that what sets us apart is the rule of law and soldiers who show restraint and professionalism. That is how we get public and community support. If we are trying to deal with a terrorist threat and counter-terrorism, we need the population on our side. I know more than anyone that when populations felt that we were above the law or that we did not treat them as if they were part of society, the soldiers' job was harder and more dangerous because no one helped us or gave us information, and our lives were put at greater risk.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Nov 2015

Air Force: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many referrals for treatment for post traumatic stress disorder from 13 and 39 Squadron service personnel there have been over the last two years.

James Brokenshire, Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration): During Financial Years 2013-14 and 2014-15, there were no Regular Royal Air Force personnel from 13 Squadron or 39 Squadron who were seen for an initial assessment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at Ministry of Defence Specialist Mental Health Services.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Nov 2015

Air Force: Holiday Leave

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many service personnel from 13 and 39 Squadron have not taken their full entitlement to annual leave over the last two years.

Mark Lancaster, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence); The number of Service personnel from 13 and 39 Squadrons who have not taken their full annual leave entitlement of 38 days over the last two years is given below:

2013-14Number of personnel2014-15Number of personnel
39 Squadron5639 Squadron47
13 Squadron6713 Squadron69

Up to a maximum of 15 of the 38 days can be carried forward to the next leave year.

More than 90% of Service personnel from 13 and 39 Squadrons have taken 28 or more days leave during the last two years.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Nov 2015

Entry Clearances: Bangladesh

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what impact assessment she has made of the proposed closure of the Visa and Entry Clearance Office in Dhaka; and if she will make a statement.

James Brokenshire, Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration): Decision making on UK visa applications lodged in Bangladesh was moved from Dhaka to New Delhi in September 2014. An internal assessment of the potential impact was completed in early 2014 which covered various aspects including decision quality and customer service. UKVI retains a small team in the British High Commission, Dhaka to carry out the remote printing of visas and local checks.

There has been, and will be, no change to the process for customers in Bangladesh. Customers are still able to apply in the same Visa Application Centres with applications being processed under the same global customer service standards of 15 working days.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Nov 2015

Air Force: Mental Health

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of (a) the indicators of mental disorders including stress, depression, fatigue and post traumatic stress disorder and (b) the provision of support by service providers or others to personnel in 13 and 39 Squadrons.

Mark Lancaster, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence); The Government is committed to improving the mental health of our Armed Forces and has long recognised that Service life can cause stress. Support to personnel has improved in a number of ways, including providing pre and post-operational stress management training, a wide range of psychiatric and psychological treatments and initiatives such as Decompression and Trauma Risk Incident Management (TRiM) and Post Operational Stress Management.

Measures are in place to increase awareness at all levels of the risk of Mental Health disorders and indicators to help identify these. Trained TRiM providers are embedded within both Squadrons to offer peer group mentoring and support, whilst also educating non-medical Service personnel on how to identify indicators of mental health problems.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Nov 2015

India: Elephants

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will raise with the Prime Minister of India during his forthcoming visit the welfare of elephants being trained to work in the tourism industry in that country.

Hugo Swire, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): We are aware of reports that elephants in use in the tourist industry in India have been captured as calves and then beaten and mistreated. This practice is illegal in India. UK officials have had discussions on this issue with Save The Asian Elephant (STAE).

The UK is committed to conserving Asian elephants and recognises the growing threats to their populations, including from the cross-border, illegal trade in live animals to feed the demand by the tourist and entertainment industries. The UK has been working internationally through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in discussion with elephant range states, including India, to increase protection for Asian elephants. We secured agreement in 2014 for elephant range states to put in place measures to prevent illegal trade in live elephants.

We are very much looking forward to Indian Prime Minister Modi's visit, which gives us an opportunity to discuss a range of issues. We will continue to work together with the Indian authorities, as well as STAE and other non-governmental organisation, on protecting elephants.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Nov 2015

India: Elephants

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will raise with the Prime Minister of India during his forthcoming visit the welfare of elephants being trained to work in the tourism industry in that country; and if he will make a statement.

Hugo Swire, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): We are very much looking forward to Indian Prime Minister Modi's visit, which gives us an opportunity to discuss a range of issues. We will continue to work together with the Indian authorities, as well as STAE and other non-governmental organisations, on protecting elephants.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Nov 2015

Wind Power: Redundancy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what meetings she has had with Jobcentre Plus to discuss measures to help redundant onshore wind workers back into employment; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Government was elected with a commitment to end subsidies for new onshore wind projects. We are taking the steps necessary to deliver this commitment, which includes closing the Renewables Obligation (RO) early to new onshore wind projects.

An Impact Assessment (IA) considering the potential effects of the Government's proposals to close the RO early was published on 8 September, with an update published on 8 October. The IA suggests, under the central scenario, that ending RO support early could have a small impact on employment in this sector compared with the do nothing option.

Under the Government's proposals onshore wind is expected to deploy 11.6GW of capacity under the RO and an additional 0.75GW under Contracts for Difference by 2020. Taken together, this is sufficient to meet onshore wind's expected contribution towards our renewables target as set out in the Electricity Market Reform Delivery Plan whilst minimising the impact of potential over deployment on consumer bills. This strong pipeline of projects will support jobs in this sector, including construction, maintenance and management opportunities out to 2020.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Nov 2015

Wind Power: Subsidies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether she has made an estimate of what the change in electricity bills will be as a result of the withdrawal of market support mechanisms for onshore wind; and if she will make a statement.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The Government will reintroduce measures for the early closure of the Renewables Obligation (RO) for new onshore wind in Great Britain, when the Energy Bill is in the Commons. The measures will close the RO from 1 April 2016 - a year earlier than originally planned.

As set out in the impact assessment, it is estimated that the proposed early closure of the RO to onshore wind will reduce household electricity bills.

The impact assessment is available here:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA15-007F.pdf

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Nov 2015

Scotland Bill

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): May I just gently remind colleagues from Scotland that they were elected to this United Kingdom Parliament and that this is a United Kingdom Bill which will have an impact on my constituents as well as theirs? I would be delighted if my hon. Friend's new clause would somehow enable measures similar to those in the Bill to be put into an English Bill, so that my council could help me to protect my constituents in the same way as Scottish MPs want to protect theirs. I welcome the fact that he has tabled his new clauses and the fact that they are not critical of the Bill.

Mr Allen: That is why, knowing many of my parliamentary colleagues from Scotland, I rely on their generosity of spirit to help those of us who are trying to get a devolved settlement in other parts of the Union, not to pull up the drawbridge and say, "We've got what we want. Now we have a load of people in Parliament, we are no longer going to talk about proportional representation. On the back of 50% of the votes in our nation we have 95% of the seats and that's now all okay. Now we are in control of the Scottish Parliament we are not going to use the powers, but we are going to suck up power from local government."

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Nov 2015

Prisoners' Release

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will request that the Parole Board publish the basis on which it took the decision to release Harry Roberts from prison in October 2014.

Andrew Selous, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The decision to release Roberts was made by the independent Parole Board based on the risk presented by him. It is not appropriate for Ministers to interfere with decisions of the Parole Board to release an offender, or to seek disclosure of the Board's reasoning.

Since Roberts' release, the Government has changed the law so that the sentencing starting point is a whole life order for anyone who is over age 21 and convicted of the murder of a police or prison officer.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Nov 2015

Asbestos: Royal Navy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): May I associate myself with the Prime Minister's comments about what will happen this weekend and also with the comments made by the leader of the Scottish National party, the right hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson)? Thousands of people who served our nation in the Royal Navy before 1987 are not entitled to full compensation. That means that people who have been exposed to asbestosis and have contracted the cancer disease mesothelioma stand to lose out massively when compared with people in civilian life. Someone who has been exposed to asbestosis in industry could get £150,000 in compensation, while it is probable that a service person will get only £31,000.

Will the Prime Minister look into that and report back to this House, as it is clearly a moral outrage as well as a clear breach of the military covenant?

The Prime Minister: I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this issue. I understand that the Defence Secretary is looking at the matter. As I have said, since putting the military covenant into law, we have tried every year to make progress, whether it is on the issue of widows or of other groups that have been disadvantaged in some way. I am happy to go away and look at the point that he makes.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Nov 2015

Police and Fire Shared Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The hon. Lady said that the fire authority was appointed; I suggest that the fire authority are people elected in their own constituencies and boroughs. If we take that analogy to its conclusion, surely we would have to elect the Minister. He was appointed by people elected to this House and the people from my constituency and hers cannot get rid of him. If that should apply to a police commissioner it should also apply to the Minister, although he is doing a good job - [Interruption.]

Amanda Milling: I am sure the Minister would be pleased to hear that. My point is that in local government all local taxation ultimately sits under the responsibility of elected representatives, whether it be councillors or police and crime commissioners.

+++

Mr Anderson: I concur that my hon. Friend is a dinosaur, because he has a big heart. Is there not a pattern here? The Government just do not want to talk to ordinary people. For example, they insist on places such as the North-East having regional mayors without any consultation with local people. They insist on police and crime commissioners, even though there is no demand for them. They are now suggesting that we combine the roles of police and crime commissioners and fire commissioners, which would do away with another job done by local, elected people. Is this not really about the diminution of democracy?

Ian Lavery: That is a fair comment. There is a lot I could say about the failure of the democratic process nationally, regionally and locally.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
30 Oct 2015

A1 upgrade

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to respond to the letter from the Leader of Gateshead Council of 25 June 2015 on upgrading the A1 between the Birtley and Coal House interchanges.

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport): A reply was sent on 22 July 2015.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Oct 2015

Tax Credits

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Is there not a problem for employers in the public sector? A number of them, including my local council, Gateshead Council, are committed to paying the living wage, but clearly they do not know whether extra funding will be made available to them so that they can do so.

Frank Field: There is clearly, as my hon. Friend says, a question about resources. We are arguing that Ministers should produce an analysis of the impact of the national living wage, but many local authorities are paying above that level now, so those workers already have that money in their wage packet. The ability of local authorities to increase wages will be limited in the years we are considering, so many public sector workers on the lowest pay will not be beneficiaries of the living wage; their pay increases will be limited by the requirement the Government have laid down. Perhaps that is a factor the Government will use in the analysis for which we are asking.

+++

Mr Anderson: There are some children in this country who will benefit from the Government's changes: the children of dead millionaires. They will get an extra £1 million tax free. Does my hon. Friend think that that is a fair transfer from the poorest to the richest in this country?

Jenny Chapman: No, I do not. That is a pertinent point. I know that we will be challenged to find the money that is needed to reverse the change. We could find it through changes to pension tax relief or, very quickly, by reversing the changes to inheritance tax that we opposed and to which we remain opposed.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
19 Oct 2015

Autism: Blaydon

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps (a) his Department and (b) NHS England are taking to ensure that autism diagnosis waiting times for (i) children and (ii) adults in Blaydon meet NICE guidance.

Alistair Burt, Minister of State (Department of Health): The Department has discussed with NHS England the difficulties that people on the autistic spectrum can have in getting an appropriate diagnosis in a timely manner. With support from the Department, NHS England and the Association of Directors of Social Services will undertake a series of visits to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to gather information that can be shared between areas that have arrangements in place to meet National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard 51 Autism: support for commissioning and those that do not, with the aim of supporting more consistent provision. These NICE guidelines already recommend that there should be a maximum of three months between a referral and a first appointment for a diagnostic assessment for autism. We expect the National Health Service to be working towards meeting the recommendations.

NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG is working with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust to refine their autism pathway, from diagnosis through to therapy and support if appropriate, to be in line with the NICE recommendations. In October 2013, Sheffield CCG commissioned a service to be NICE compliant. However, the service has received a higher volume of referrals than had been anticipated, and is currently the s

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
19 Oct 2015

Prostate Cancer: Screening

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress has been made on implementation of a national screening programme for prostate cancer.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises Ministers and the National Health Service in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy.

The UK NSC re-affirmed in March 2012 that a national screening programme for prostate cancer should not be offered. This is because:

The UK NSC is currently reviewing its recommendation on whether a national screening programme for prostate cancer should be offered. Ministers expect to receive a recommendation shortly.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
19 Oct 2015

Junior Doctors: Conditions of Employment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the number of junior doctors likely to lose income as a result of proposed contractual changes.

Alistair Burt, Minister of State (Department of Health): The proposed contractual changes will be cost-neutral and average pay for junior doctors will not reduce. This is not a cost-cutting exercise and we are not seeking to save any money from the junior doctors' pay bill. My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State has given the British Medical Association a public, categorical assurance on this and made clear that the details of the new contract should be developed to ensure that the great majority of junior doctors are at least as well paid as they would be now.

The proposed new contract for doctors and dentists in training will: ensure that pay relates more fairly to actual work done; increase basic pay, recognising the professional nature of the role in a seven day National Health Service and pay a higher rate for work at the most unsocial times.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
14 Oct 2015

Autism

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he plans to take to increase the awareness of autism among the public and encourage patients to request a referral for diagnosis from their GP.

Alistair Burt, Minister of State (Department of Health): The Department has discussed with NHS England the difficulties that people on the autistic spectrum can have in getting an appropriate diagnosis in a timely manner. With support from the Department, NHS England and the Association of Directors of Social Services will undertake a series of visits to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to gather information that can be shared between areas that have arrangements in place to meet National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard 51 Autism: support for commissioning, and those that do not, with the aim of supporting more consistent provision. These NICE guidelines already recommend that there should be a maximum of three months between a referral and a first appointment for a diagnostic assessment for autism. We expect the National Health Service to be working towards meeting the recommendations.

NHS England has also been working with the Health and Social Care Information Centre to develop the Mental Health Minimum Data Set. This will include provision for the diagnosis of autism to be recorded. This mandatory data set will, for the first time, provide data about diagnosis rates. The data will be published and available for everyone to use to support and develop services. NHS England has a commitment, over the next five years, to improve waiting times and this data will be invaluable for this. Information on average waiting times for autistic diagnosis in each clinical commissioning group area is not collected centrally.

The Department issued new statutory guidance in March this year for local authorities and NHS organisations to support the continued implementation of the 2010 Autism Strategy, as refreshed by its 2014 Think Autism update. This guidance sets out what people seeking an autism diagnosis can expect from local authorities and NHS bodies including general practitioners.

We are due to consult on how we set the mandate to NHS England prior to publication of the mandate itself. The mandate will be published following the Government's Spending Review which is due to complete on 25 November.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2015

Pregnant Women: Conditions of Employment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what support the Government provides to pregnant women and new mothers to ensure that they are aware of their rights at work.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will promote a campaign to increase employers' understanding of their legal obligations to employees who are either pregnant or new mothers.

Caroline Dinenage, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The government funds the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) to help employers and individuals understand their rights and responsibilities at work.

The government also funds the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which has a wide range of information and support specifically aimed at pregnant women, new mothers and their employers, available on their website.

The government commissioned new research from the EHRC into the attitudes of employers on pregnancy and maternity leave, as well as the prevalence and causes of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. It is the largest ever study of pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination in Great Britain, interviewing 3000 employers and 3000 mothers. The final report will be published later this year and will inform any further action the government takes to ensure both employers and employees are fully aware of their legal obligations and rights.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps to increase Government funding for specialist information and advice services for women at work.

Caroline Dinenage, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The government funds the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to provide a wide range of information and support aimed at women at work, particularly pregnant women and new mothers, which is available on their website.

The government also funds the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) to provide women at work with information and guidance.

The findings of the largest ever study of pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination in Great Britain will be published by the EHRC later this year and will inform any further action that the government takes to ensure women can access the information and support they need.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Sep 2015

Personal Income

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the maximum number of people whose income will fall as a result of changes to taxes and benefits introduced by the Summer Budget 2015; and if he will estimate the average fall in annual income for those people.

Damian Hinds, Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury): The reforms announced at the Summer Budget will ensure that support will be focused more on those on the very lowest incomes and the system will be fairer upon those who pay for it, as well as those who benefit from it. Taking the welfare changes in the Budget together with the record increases in the income tax personal allowance and the introduction of the new National Living Wage, 8 out of 10 working households will be better off in 2017-18.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
21 Sep 2015

Family Proceedings

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of litigants in person in the family justice system in each of the last three years.

Shailesh Vara, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The Ministry of Justice does not collect information centrally on Litigants in Person in family court cases. It publishes quarterly figures on the number of disposals and the average time taken for their disposal by case type and by the legal representation of the parties.

The latest figures up to quarter 1 (January to March) 2015 can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-court-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2015.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Sep 2015

Ethiopia: Ethnic Groups

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent reports he has received on oppression of the Amahara people in Ethiopia.

Grant Shapps, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): We have not received any recent reports with regards to possible oppression of the Amhara people in Ethiopia. The UK Government takes seriously all allegations of human rights abuses. Whenever credible allegations of human rights infringements are brought to our attention we raise them with the relevant authorities.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Sep 2015

Courts: Closures

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of proposed court closures on access to justice for low income families.

Shailesh Vara, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): No decision has been taken to close any court.

We will consider all identified impacts once the current consultation closes and all responses have been fully analysed.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Sep 2015

Family Courts: Databases

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, who is responsible for the collection of data on families, their cases and the time in which they are within the justice system.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the recording of data within the family justice system.

Caroline Dinenage, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) administers the Family Court and is responsible for recording and monitoring data of family cases on the main case management system. HMCTS use a system of standard operating procedures and data quality checks to ensure the effectiveness of recording data across HMCTS. Data is then extracted each month into a management information system (MIS).

The Ministry of Justice use the data to produce the Family Court Statistics Quarterly bulletin which publishes workload and timeliness statistics for the Family Court.

Data on timeliness in care proceedings are also published on the Open Justice website at Designated Family Judge level.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Sep 2015

Iraq: Politics and Government

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what information her Department holds on (a) financial and (b) other support provided by the federal government of Iraq to internally displaced people in the Kurdistan region of that country; and if she will make a statement.

Desmond Swayne, Minister of State (Department for International Development): The Government of Iraq's (GoI) Ministry of Migration and Displacement, the department responsible for addressing humanitarian needs, has a budget for 2015 of $850 million. To date, they have received and allocated $300 million of their budget from the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Displacement and Migration estimate that 40% of the budget received to date is reaching those in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI).

Since summer 2014, DFID has provided £59.5 million to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. This includes essential humanitarian supplies, such as food, water and shelter. In order to improve the effectiveness of the humanitarian response, including between KRI and GOI, we are also funding KRI and GOI co-ordination mechanisms as part of this support.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
15 Sep 2015

Tax Credits

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. For clarification, will the Minister please explain that the wages of public sector workers are going up not by 2.8% this year, but by only 1%?

Mr Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
15 Sep 2015

Northern Ireland

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): If I have learned anything from Northern Ireland in 30 years it is, first, do not leave a vacuum, and secondly, choose your words very carefully. The Secretary of State has come to the House today and has quite clearly not chosen her words very carefully in relation to tackling the history of some of my leaders. In the interests of moving things forward, what will her leader do now? I am not asking what my leaders did in the past, but what her leader will do now. Will he engage in a better way than he has during recent impasses in Northern Ireland, when his not being there has been very unhelpful?

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mrs Theresa Villiers): I assure the hon. Gentleman that the Prime Minister remains constantly engaged in these matters. He is updated all the time, and he has played a hugely positive role in delivering many things in Northern Ireland recently, not least the legislation on devolving corporation tax, which he championed for many months. We should bear in mind that it is important to scrutinise the new leadership of the Opposition. The track record of the attitude of the right hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) and the shadow Chancellor on IRA violence is very worrying, and I make no apologies for challenging them in the House on such matters.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
14 Sep 2015

India: Castes

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will work with Amnesty International to make representations to the Indian government to prevent the punishment of the Kumari sisters.

Hugo Swire, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The UK has demonstrated its strong commitment to tackling violence against women and girls around the world. We are aware of the serious concerns around violence against women and girls in India and are committed to working with the Indian government and international partners on this. We understand that this particular case is being investigated by the local Indian police.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
8 Sep 2015

Paramilitaries

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Secretary of State has taken a two-strand approach. She clearly has a view on the welfare reform: if all else fails, she will have the nuclear option of legislating in this House. Has she a similar view on the issue of paramilitaries? How exactly does she see things moving forward in dealing with that? Does she have the resources in the Northern Ireland Office to help her to do the job that we all want her to do? By that I mean not just numbers, but the people with the capability, capacity and understanding to make it work.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mrs Theresa Villiers): I thank the hon. Gentleman for his questions, which raise what will be one of the most urgent issues to address when the talks are held over the coming days: how we deal with this situation in relation to paramilitaries. We have heard one suggestion about whether we need a revival of the Independent Monitoring Commission - some form of re-verification and assessment so that people can have a clearer understanding of the facts around the continued existence and activities of the paramilitary organisations which persist in Northern Ireland. We also need to consider how we can work together as a society to do more to reach a place where these organisations disband once and for all.

I have the NIO resources I need. I have good people working with me in the NIO, but of course of crucial importance will be the determination, the resources put in and the efforts made by Northern Ireland's political leaders. On matters where they are responsible, we will be working with the Irish Government, too.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2015

DWP Data

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Given that autumn lasts from the September equinox until the December solstice, will the Minister spell out exactly what work her civil servants will be doing? She must have some idea of what is needed, because otherwise she would not have specified that timescale. What will those civil servants be doing during the intervening weeks and, possibly, months?

The Minister for Employment (Priti Patel): We will be doing all that is relevant. This is complex statistical information, so it is important that we get it right, and that is precisely what my officials are doing.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2015

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has established an Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Communications team.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): The Directorate of Defence Communications (DDC) is responsible for the Ministry of Defence's corporate communications; including on the subject of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The DDC is supported by policy leads and subject matter experts from across the Department.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2015

Virtual Reality Headsets

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, whether his Department made an estimate of the number of virtual reality headsets that have been sold in the UK.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): The Department has not made an estimate of the number of virtual reality headsets sold in the UK.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what information his Department holds on the tests and risk assessments that are used to ensure that users of virtual reality headsets will not suffer eye damage.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): All consumer products including virtual reality headsets are covered by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 which implements the EU's General Product Safety Directive. The regulations impose requirements concerning the safety of products ensuring that only safe products are placed on the market.

It is the obligation of the producer to hold appropriate documentation such as test results and risk assessments to show that their products are safe. The Department does not hold this information.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Jul 2015

Virtual Reality Headsets

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if his Department will take steps to ensure that children under 13 are aware of producers' of virtual reality headsets recommendations that such children do not use these headsets.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if his Department will take steps to ensure that users of virtual reality headsets are aware of the producers' recommendations that some users should see a doctor before using such a headset.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if his Department will take steps to ensure that users of virtual reality headsets are aware of producers' recommendations on the length of use of such headsets and the length of breaks before their re-use.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): All consumer products including virtual reality headsets are covered by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005. The regulations impose requirements concerning the safety of products ensuring that only safe products are placed on the market.

With respect to virtual reality headsets we would therefore expect the manual accompanying the product to give clear advice and carry appropriate warnings, including age appropriateness of the user etc. (and we believe this is generally the case).

I therefore do not feel the need to take extra steps to raise awareness but will keep the situation under review.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Jul 2015

Children: Poverty

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect of measures announced in the Summer Budget 2015 on the level of child poverty among families who are (a) in and (b) out of work.

Priti Patel, Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Cabinet): This Government is committed to working to eliminate child poverty and improving life chances for children.

We know that work is the best route out of poverty, which is why we are focused on ensuring people have the skills and the opportunities to move into employment.

The Government has carefully considered the impact of the tax and benefit reforms introduced in the Summer Budget. The intended impact of these reforms is to incentivise work, ensure work always pays, and then allow people to keep more of what they earn.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Jul 2015

Welfare Tax Credits

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take to monitor the effects of changes to tax credits on families with very low incomes who are (a) in and (b) out of work.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effects of reductions in tax credits on families on very low incomes.

Damian Hinds, Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury): The Government is making changes to Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit which will help put welfare spending on a more sustainable path. The Government wants to move from a low wage, high tax, high welfare society to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society. That means more emphasis on support to hardworking families on low incomes by reducing income tax through increases in the personal allowance and increasing wages, than on topping up low wages through tax credits.

Families with someone working currently on the minimum wage will benefit from the introduction of the National Living Wage from April 2016 which will be set at £7.20 per hour. The Government's ambition is for the National Living Wage to reach over £9 by 2020. This would equate to a cash rise of £5,200 a year by 2020 for those who are currently working full time on the National Minimum Wage.

These changes will ensure that work will always pay more than a life on benefits, support will be focused more on those on the very lowest incomes and the system will be fairer upon those who pay for it, as well as those who benefit from it. Taking the welfare changes in the Budget together with the record increases in the income tax personal allowance and the introduction of the new National Living Wage, 8 out of 10 working households will be better off by 2017/18.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2015

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what psychological (a) assessment and (b) support his Department offers to the operators of UK Reaper Squadrons 39 and 13.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): The Ministry of Defence takes seriously the psychological and physical health of all Armed Forces personnel. The RAF Reaper remotely piloted air systems force, alongside other front-line forces, has robust trauma risk management strategies in place to ensure this is continually monitored. Should psychological or physical care be required, the RAF medical services are fully engaged to provide the required level of support to the individual.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department plans to produce a new joint doctrinal note or joint concept note on the UK approach to unmanned vehicles.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): The Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s Joint Doctrine Note (JDN) 2/11 "The UK Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems" was published on 30 March 2011. The principles contained within the note apply to systems and vehicles operating at sea and on land.

It is MOD policy that Joint Doctrine Notes remain valid for a limited period to inform future doctrine and concept publications. Work is under way to reflect and update the ideas contained within JDN 2/11 within new concepts and doctrine publications that are currently in production; at which point the note will be withdrawn. We expect this to be in the summer of 2016.

There are currently no plans to produce a new Joint Doctrine or Concept Note specifically on the UK approach to unmanned vehicles; however, the MOD reserves the right to do so in the future should the need arise.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has undertaken or commissioned any assessment of the psychological effect of using unmanned air vehicles.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces): The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes seriously the mental health of all members of the Armed Forces. The RAF Stress Management and Resilience Training Team has delivered stress awareness briefs to units operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to give personnel awareness of the subject and make them aware of the wide range of assistance and treatment that is available.

While the particular stressors of their work are recognised, an assessment of the referral figures for MOD Departments of Community Mental Health from 2009-13 indicated that UAV pilots were no more likely to present with any form of mental health condition than the general Armed Forces population.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
13 Jul 2015

Public Appointments

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2015 to Question 4411, whether political, trade and other envoys appointed under the previous Government are still in post.

Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 3 July 2015, UIN 4411.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2015

Pre-school Education

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on maintaining at current levels per capita funding for early years education.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps to ensure that early years education is adequately funded on a per capita basis for the lifetime of the Parliament.

Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education): The government recognises that it is important that funding for the early education entitlement is fair and sustainable for providers. The government has therefore launched a review of the cost of providing childcare. The objective of this review is to inform decisions on the level of funding that providers require in order to deliver quality childcare provision at good value to the taxpayer and consistent with the government's fiscal plans.

A call for evidence to inform the review was launched on 15 June and will close on 10 August. This is part of the process of gathering the necessary evidence to inform the review which will report in the autumn. The call for evidence is available on-line here: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cost-of-providing-childcare-review-call-for-evidence

The Department for Education regularly speaks to Her Majesty's Treasury about all aspects of funding for early years.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
6 Jul 2015

National pay rates (Scotland Bill)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): As one of the first people to give evidence to the Low Pay Commission in 1998, I think I have some knowledge about this issue. The unions up and down these islands have always said, "Do not vary the rate on a regional or sub-national basis." There has to be one complete and utter rate across the whole of the United Kingdom, because if there is not, it will open the door for those who want to undermine it, including the people sitting on the Government Benches opposite.

Ian Murray: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There is no bigger champion of workers' rights, the national minimum wage and union rights in this place.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jul 2015

Prime Minister: Public Appointments

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister, if he will publish a list of all of his appointed (a) political, (b) trade and (c) other envoys; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: A list will be published in due course.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jul 2015

Livestock: Antibiotics

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to address the effect of the overuse of antibiotics in farms animals.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): Tackling the inappropriate use of antibiotics in both humans and animals is a key part of the UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-18, which was developed by the Department of Health jointly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

Oversight of the implementation of the UK Strategy is the responsibility of the High Level Steering Group which is chaired by a senior Department of Health official and includes representatives from both Defra and VMD. The Steering Group produced an annual report and implementation plan in December 2014. This plan includes steps to reduce antibiotic usage in livestock production in real terms over the next four years. The document is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/progress-report-on-the-uk-five-year-amr-strategy-2014

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Jul 2015

Further Education

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what his plans are for funding further education institutions.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the funding requirements of the further education sector.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he plans to take to ensure the viability of existing further education colleges.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the relationship between his Department's funding of further education colleges and (a) staff numbers and (b) courses offered at those colleges.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the relationship between his Department's funding of further education colleges and how the skills needs of people using those colleges are met; and if he will make a statement.

Nick Boles, Minister of State (Department for Education): The Department plans to continue to provide funding for further education for adults. Across all our grant, loan and capital support for adult further education, we are making available over £3bn in 2015-16.

For apprenticeships, Government and employers will continue to jointly invest in the training, reflecting the economic benefits that apprenticeships bring. For older learners studying at advanced level (age 24 and upwards studying at level 3) our policy is to provide HE-style loans to fund tuition fees to colleges. We have made £498m of provision available in 2015-16. For adult further education, our policy is to pay grant to providers based on the numbers of learners they teach and characteristics of those learners. There are also specialist funds to support joint projects with employers to grow skills in strategic areas of the economy; to support prisoner education; and for community learning. We also make capital funding available to colleges. In 2015-16 £410m of capital funding is available, of which £330m is distributed according to the requirements of Local Enterprise Partnerships. Finally, our policy is to provide funding to support the learner to access the system and get the most from it.

Apprenticeships are our priority for skills and colleges have been encouraged to expand their apprenticeship offer. As government funding has reduced, colleges have responded well by looking at generating other income streams and creating sustainable business models for the future. This entrepreneurial approach will help ensure sustainable future business models with less reliance on government funding.

The financial health of further education colleges is under constant review by the Skills Funding Agency based on self-assessment information from colleges and the publication of college accounts. Colleges with inadequate financial health are subject to intervention led by the FE Commissioner.

Our funding mechanism is designed to allow providers the freedoms and flexibilities to decide how best to use their allocation to respond to local learner and employer demand. As autonomous organisations it is up to colleges to manage their own budgets including staffing numbers and what provision to offer.

Colleges are becoming increasingly responsive to employer and learner need and employers are now taking the lead in apprenticeship design so that apprenticeship training, be that in the workplace or at college, equips apprentices with the skills that employers need. We believe that our funding for adult skills through apprenticeship and further education provision can have a positive impact on learners, employers and the UK economy.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
2 Jul 2015

Prisons

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average daily out-of-cell time was for prisoners in each prison in each of the last 10 years.

Andrew Selous, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Time out of cell for prisoners varies across the prison estate and the information requested is not held centrally.

The amount of time prisoners are allowed to spend outside their cells to engage in activities (other than work, education, treatment interventions, recovery focused services or religious services), or to associate together, will vary from one establishment to another, depending on the availability of constructive activities and supervisory staff. All prisons are required to have systems in place to monitor regimes and ensure that they are safe, decent, secure, resilient and sustainable.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many out-of-cell hours offenders are provided with at each prison establishment that operates planned restricted regimes.

Andrew Selous, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Time out of cell for prisoners varies across the prison estate and the information requested is not held centrally.

The amount of time prisoners are allowed to spend outside their cells to engage in activities (other than work, education, treatment interventions, recovery focused services or religious services), or to associate together, will vary from one establishment to another, depending on the availability of constructive activities and supervisory staff. All prisons are required to have systems in place to monitor regimes and ensure that they are safe, decent, secure, resilient and sustainable.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how long each prison governor at each prison has been in post.

Andrew Selous, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The length of time for which the governing governor of each public sector prison establishment had been in their current post on 31 March 2015 is set out below.

Governor Tenure as at 31 March 2015
Establishment NameYears
Askham Grange2.3
Aylesbury5.0
Bedford3.2
Belmarsh0.6
Blantyre House0.4
Brinsford1.2
Bristol3.2
Brixton0.2
Buckley Hall1.4
Bullingdon0.1
Bure4.4
Cardiff1.4
Channings Wood0.7
Chelmsford1.0
Coldingley1.8
Cookham Wood1.4
Dartmoor0.3
Deerbolt3.2
Dover0.9
Downview1.4
Drake Hall0.4
Durham3.7
East Sutton Park0.4
Eastwood Park3.1
Elmley1.8
Erlestoke0.3
Exeter4.0
Featherstone0.1
Feltham2.0
Ford1.0
Foston Hall1.5
Frankland0.5
Full Sutton0.5
Garth2.1
Gartree0.2
Glen Parva2.5
Grendon3.3
Guys Marsh0.3
Haslar0.3
Hatfield1.4
Haverigg2.2
Hewell0.8
High Down2.2
Highpoint1.5
Hindley0.4
Hollesley Bay7.0
Holloway4.5
Holme House3.2
Hull0.2
Humber0.2
Huntercombe0.4
Isis3.5
Isle of Wight2.2
Kennet2.2
Kirkham2.2
Kirklevington Grange3.2
Lancaster Farms2.1
Leeds1.5
Leicester1.2
Lewes0.3
Leyhill2.0
Lincoln2.5
Lindholme0.1
Littlehey3.3
Liverpool0.5
Long Lartin1.2
Low Newton5.4
Maidstone1.8
Manchester0.5
Moorland0.1
Morton Hall3.2
New Hall2.9
North Sea Camp1.2
Norwich4.3
Nottingham0.2
Onley0.9
Pentonville1.4
Portland1.0
Preston2.6
Ranby1.4
Risley3.2
Rochester3.3
Send0.2
Stafford0.2
Standford Hill1.6
Stocken2.6
Stoke Heath5.6
Styal3.2
Sudbury0.9
Swaleside1.8
Swansea1.7
Swinfen Hall3.1
The Mount3.2
The Verne1.0
Thorn Cross1.3
Usk/Prescoed1.1
Wakefield1.1
Wandsworth3.2
Warren Hill4.2
Wayland2.8
Wealstun3.4
Werrington0.3
Wetherby0.1
Whatton6.8
Whitemoor1.6
Winchester2.5
Woodhill1.0
Wormwood Scrubs1.4
Wymott0.5
National Average1.9

This information is based on individuals' career records as recorded on NOMS' workforce data systems. Those career records have not been verified.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
1 Jul 2015

Department for Work and Pensions: Complaints

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department plans to publish as a result of the consultation on its draft complaints procedure; and (a) when and (b) where his Department plans to publish that information.

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): The Department has not undertaken consultation about its complaints procedures and has no plans to revise these procedures: details of which can be seen on Gov.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure). However, it has taken on board comments from an external stakeholder group about making the complaints information on Gov.UK more accessible and user-friendly and will be updating the complaints pages shortly.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when his Department plans to implement the new complaints procedure in response to its consultation on the draft complaints procedure.

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): The Department has not undertaken consultation about its complaints procedures and has no plans to revise these procedures: details of which can be seen on Gov.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure). However, it has taken on board comments from an external stakeholder group about making the complaints information on Gov.UK more accessible and user-friendly and will be updating the complaints pages shortly.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
1 Jul 2015

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will implement the recommendations of the Fifth Report of the Education Committee of Session 2014-15, on Life Lessons: PHSE and SRE in schools, HC 145, on the teaching of age appropriate sex and relationship education in all primary and secondary schools; and if she will make a statement.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State (Department for Education): The Government wants all young people to leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. We agree with the Committee that high-quality physical, social, health and economic education (PSHE) and sex and relationships education (SRE) has a vital role to play in this. We are carefully considering the Committee's recommendations and how best to address this.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to implement the recommendation of the Fifth Report of the Education Select Committee, Life lessons: PHSE and SRE in schools, published on 17 February 2015, on the teaching of personal, social, health and economic education in all primary and secondary schools; and if she will make a statement.

Edward Timpson, Minister of State (Department for Education): The Government wants all young people to leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. We agree with the Committee that high-quality physical, social, health and economic education (PSHE) and sex and relationships education (SRE) has a vital role to play in this. We are carefully considering the Committee's recommendations and how best to address this.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
30 Jun 2015

Antibiotics: Livestock

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to tackle the overuse of antibiotics in farms; and if she will make a statement.

George Eustice, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): The Government published its annual progress report and implementation plan for the UK five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy in December 2014. This includes the further measures on animal health to be taken over the next four years to respond to the risk of antibiotic resistance and to promote the responsible use of antibiotics.

The Government continues to work with a number of industry bodies to encourage the development of prescribing guidelines to optimise prescribing practices and foster good stewardship of antibiotics.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
30 Jun 2015

Welfare Reform (People with Disabilities)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, "When you go to work in the morning and see the curtains of your neighbours pulled tight, you know there is somebody lying in there who can't be bothered to get out of bed and go to work." Somebody might actually be lying in there because they cannot get of bed owing to an incurable disease. Is it any wonder that some people tar everyone with the same brush? Was that not a deliberate ploy by the Chancellor?

Debbie Abrahams: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I cannot remember whether it was during the Budget or the autumn statement, but it is absolutely shocking that the Chancellor used that language. Incapacity benefit and ESA are recognised as good population health indicators, so what is implied by words such as "shirkers" and "scroungers" is not supported by the evidence.

+++

Mr Anderson: Will the Minister give way?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Justin Tomlinson): I have only four minutes in which to respond, so that is what I have to do.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
29 Jun 2015

Tunisia attack

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): One of the victims of this appalling act was my constituent Mrs Lisa Burbidge, a grandmother of four. She lived in the town of Whickham and, sadly, it is only six years since one of our own from the same town, Sapper David Watson, was killed in action in Afghanistan. I hope that today we can mourn both of them, Mr Speaker. I urge that Lisa's family's wishes are kept to and they are left to grieve in privacy.

Will the Prime Minister ensure that MPs and their staff are given as much help as is possible and practical, so that we can play our part in helping families get over this? I also urge him to go the extra mile and ensure that all Government agencies act with the utmost compassion, sensitivity and understanding in the coming weeks. I am thinking in particular about the Department for Work and Pensions, education and the health service, where these people might need that little bit extra help which is not always there when dealing with massive bureaucracies. That will help the families to come to terms with this situation as quickly as possible.

The Prime Minister: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question and for paying tribute to Lisa Burbidge. We will certainly give as much help to Members of Parliament as we can. If people want to know what more information is made public, they can speak to the Foreign Office help desk and team. He is right about showing compassion and sensitivity, and indeed common sense, in how we deal with these things. Sadly, there are lots of difficulties in informing relatives, not least that the next of kin should be first - the person named in the passport - and sometimes family structures and relationships can be quite complicated. That can be another reason for delays sometimes. I know that the staff at the Foreign Office and the family liaison officers are doing everything they can to cut through bureaucracy and to make the right decisions.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Jun 2015

Academies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what evidence her Department holds to support the proposition that academies are better performers than local authority schools; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): Sponsored academies have played a significant role over several years in bringing about the improvement of many failing and struggling schools in some of our most disadvantaged areas.

By 2014, the proportion of pupils that achieved five good GCSEs, including English and Mathematics, in sponsored secondary academies open for four years had risen by an average of 6.4 percentage points compared to the schools that they replaced (a rise from 36.8 per cent in 2010 to 43.2 per cent in 2014). Over the same period, results in local authority schools rose by an average of 1.3 percentage points (a rise from 54.4 per cent to 55.7 per cent).

The first sponsored primary academies had been open for two years by the time of the 2014 results. The proportion of pupils that achieved the expected level in reading, writing and mathematics increased by an average of 9 percentage points (from 58 per cent to 67 per cent) in that time, compared to an average 4 percentage point rise (from 75 per cent to 79 per cent) in local authority schools.

We want more schools to achieve these rates of improvement.

Statistics for the attainment of local authority schools and academies can be found on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education/about/statistics

Since 2010, many successful schools have become converter academies and are sharing their educational expertise with other schools. Over half of approved sponsors are converter academies. In 2014, attainment in converter academies continued to remain above that in local authority schools.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Jun 2015

Basic Skills: Further Education

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what financial resources the Government plans to allocate for the provision of basic English and mathematics in further education.

Nick Boles, Minister of State (Department for Education): Improving English and maths is a top priority for Government.

40% of pupils do not get GCSE grades A* to C in English and maths by age 16. Worse still, 90% of those who don't reach this basic standard by 16, don't achieve it by age 19.

The Government is determined to ensure that all students who do not attain A*-C in English and maths GCSEs in KS4 are supported to continue to work towards these vital qualifications.

From August 2014 students who did not achieve A*-C in English and/or maths GCSE by age 16 must continue to work towards achieving these qualifications or an approved interim qualification as a 'stepping stone' towards GCSE as a condition of student places being funded.

With effect from August 2015, we will amend the funding condition, so full-time 16 to 19 students with prior attainment of grade D in English and/or maths will take GCSE, rather than any other qualification in these subjects.

For adults without a A*-C GCSE or a level 2 qualification in English and/or maths, the Government will fully fund English and maths provision up to and including level 2. English and maths are also embedded in our training programmes, such as apprenticeships and traineeships, for those who do not have a GCSE A*-C (Level 2 qualification). The skills funding letter for 2015-2016 emphasised the priority we attach to English and maths and spend has been protected through our allocations methodology.

To address the increase in post-16 students continuing their English and maths study, the Government is investing over £30m over two years (financial years 13/14 and 14/15) in a range of measures to improve the quantity of teachers and quality of teaching and learning practice. To date this investment has supported the recruitment of 680 new graduate teachers and the training of 3,250 existing maths and English teachers.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Jun 2015

Seals: Conservation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will bring forward proposals to implement a ban on the killing of seals; and if she will make a statement.

Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the Rt Hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East on 15 June 2015, PQ 1799.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Jun 2015

Asthma: Death

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the national review of asthma deaths; and if he will make a statement.

Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): We have welcomed the report of the United Kingdom's National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) Confidential Inquiry which provides a wealth of information about the causes of mortality from asthma.

The NHS mandate for 2015-16 says that every patient with a long-term condition, including asthma and other respiratory conditions, should be offered a personalised care action plan. They and their families or carers should know the right medications to use at the right times and how to use them, and to understand the importance of monitoring their condition and how to do this.

NHS England is also working with strategic clinical networks on a programme specifically designed to tackle the issues raised in the NRAD recommendations on paediatric asthma. In addition to this NHS England has commissioned a number of key programmes of work to support improvement in asthma care:

From 1 October this year it will become illegal to smoke in a car with a child present, which will reduce the number of children exposed to tobacco smoke.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Jun 2015

Sport and the 2012 Olympics Legacy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Huw Merriman) says that things have improved in his part of the world, but that proves another point. The Government have slanted funds away from some parts of the country to other parts. In Gateshead, a bowling centre that is a lifeline for hundreds of elderly people will have to close simply because my council has lost 48% of its budget over the last five years.

Chris Bryant: I think that all Members understand the basis of local authority funding, which is that 80% of it comes from Westminster and 20% from council tax and other sources. The problem is that - particularly in deprived areas where many people rely on council services for the elderly, for the protection of children and for their livelihoods and living standards - local authorities are under the cosh, and are finding it very difficult to maintain supposedly non-statutory services such as leisure and libraries. That is undoubtedly having an effect.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Jun 2015

Police: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent representations she has received on disparities between the level of pensions paid to the widows of police officers in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK; and if she will make a statement.

Mike Penning, Minister of State (Home Office): The Home Secretary received representations under the last Government setting out a compelling case on behalf of widows and widowers of police officers about their pension entitlement. In the Budget on 18 March, the Chancellor announced that widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of police officers who have died on duty in England and Wales will no longer lose their survivors' benefits in future if they remarry, form a civil partnership or cohabit. The Home Office will consult the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales (PABEW) shortly on proposals to implement this change. As policing is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the Northern Ireland Executive and Scottish Government respectively are responsible for the design and funding of police pensions in those parts of the United Kingdom.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Jun 2015

Vocational Guidance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to improve the performance of careers services.

Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education): It is essential that all young people leave school fully prepared for life in modern Britain. All schools should have a clear strategy for careers guidance which inspires pupils about a range of ambitious careers. We have set this expectation through revised statutory guidance, which underpins schools' duty to secure independent careers guidance. In addition, a new employer-led Careers and Enterprise Company will encourage greater collaboration between schools and colleges and employers, helping young people to access the best advice and inspiration.

The National Careers Service provides over 1 million people annually with impartial and professional careers information advice and guidance to help them enter work, learning or progress in life. Last year the National Careers Service went through a complete reconfiguration with all its contracts procured through a comprehensive open and competitive tendering process. The new contracts awarded in October 2014 are on a payment by results basis. 94% of face-to-face and telephone customers agreed that the overall quality of the service was good.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2015

Prisoners: Females

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many resettlement units for female offenders have been opened in each prison since October 2013; and what the capacity is of each such unit.

Caroline Dinenage, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): All women's prisons now have embedded resettlement services. These are provided under contract by the Community Rehabilitation Companies which are required to make sure that their services are tailored to women's specific needs.

Two 25-bed open units were opened at HMP/ YOIs Styal and Drake Hall earlier this year. The units are situated outside of the perimeter fence and only thoroughly risk-assessed women offenders will be eligible to be located there, focusing on helping them into jobs and preparing them for release.

Additionally a 34 bed unit has been opened within the perimeter of HMP/YOI Foston Hall and two units totalling 78 places are shortly to open within HMP/YOI Eastwood Park. These additional places will mean that future women offenders can be held closer to home and are intended to contribute to their successful resettlement.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many female offenders are currently housed in each resettlement unit in each prison.

Caroline Dinenage, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): All of the current 3,901 women offenders are held in resettlement prisons which have embedded resettlement services. These are provided under contract by Community Rehabilitation Companies which are required to make sure that their services are tailored to women's specific needs.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many female offenders from each resettlement unit are currently doing community work on resettlement day release.

Caroline Dinenage, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The table below shows the number of women offenders participating in community work on resettlement day release at each women's prison as of 17 June 2015.

HMP/ YOI Askham Grange25
HMP/ YOI Bronzefield5
HMP/ YOI Drake Hall16
HMP/ YOI East Sutton Park9
HMP/ YOI Holloway9
HMP/ YOI Low Newton2
HMP/ YOI Peterborough3
HMP Send14
HMP/ YOI Styal6

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many female offenders from each resettlement unit are in paid work while on resettlement day release and are paying 40 per cent of that wage to Victim Support.

Caroline Dinenage, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): All female offenders are held in resettlement prisons. The Prisoners' Earnings Act 1996 was brought into force on 26 September 2011. It enables prison governors to impose a levy of up to 40% on the wages of low-risk prisoners who work outside prison on temporary licence, in order to prepare for their eventual release.

The table below sets out the numbers of female offenders who are in paid work while on resettlement day release and are paying 40% of their wage to Victim Support for each women's prison as of 17 June 2015

HMP/ YOI Askham Grange16
HMP/ YOI Drake Hall5
HMP/ YOI East Sutton Park8
HMP/ YOI Eastwood Park1
HMP/ YOI Holloway9
HMP Send3

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2015

Prison Service: Durham

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department will investigate the reasons for a delay of over two weeks in distributing paynotes and P60 forms to prison officers in Durham.

Andrew Selous, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Payslips and P60s are delivered by secure courier to NOMS Establishments for internal distribution to staff.

Our investigations have shown that there was no delay in the distribution of the annual P60 payslips for HMP Durham, but there was a delay in the distribution of payslips at the end of May for which my apologies are offered.

The majority of the delay was due to the pay slips initially being delivered to the wrong establishment. The payslips were redelivered on the 8th June.

The contract management team for Shared Services have investigated the issue and are putting in place changes to mitigate against these events occurring in the future.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2015

Education Bill

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Is my hon. Friend also aware that we face a recruitment crisis, because teachers are overworked and underpaid? If we carry on treating people with disrespect, they will not want to work in the profession.

Tristram Hunt: My hon. Friend makes a very valuable point. My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Louise Haigh) made a very powerful intervention in the debate on this subject last week. As the labour market tightens and workloads grow, we will see more teacher shortages and recruitment crises.

+++

Mr Anderson: Work has already been done in the House. The Education Committee published a report in January, and the Department for Education published a statistical working paper just before the general election, in which it said that it was currently impossible to carry out any reliable statistical evaluation when it came to whether academies were better than traditional schools. What we have here is an attempt to ignore the facts and push through an ideologically driven agenda, which is typical of the Tory party.

Tristram Hunt: My hon. Friend has made an extremely valuable point about the excellent report produced by the cross-party Select Committee. I shall say more about it later.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Jun 2015

Voluntary Work: Young People

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answers of 3 June 2015 to Question 321 and of 11 June 2015 to Question 1056, what roles are performed by personnel involved in delivering the residential phase of the National Citizens Service programme; and what qualifications are required to fulfil each such role.

Rob Wilson, Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office): NCS is delivered by a supply chain of over 200 organisations. Each organisation can tailor their offer based on their own expertise and resources to maximise the positive impact of the programme. As such, a wide range of roles and activities are performed by delivery personnel all of whom must be appropriately skilled and possess such qualifications as required to fulfil their roles.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Jun 2015

Fuels: Excise Duties

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his policy is on the level of fuel duties.

Damian Hinds, Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury): At Budget 2015 the government cancelled the fuel duty increase that was planned for 1 September 2015, thereby freezing fuel duty until the end of 2015-16. Like all taxes, fuel duties are kept under review in the context of the wider public finances, with tax policy changes announced at fiscal events.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Jun 2015

Public sector workers

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): For seven years, public sector workers have borne the brunt of the austerity agenda imposed on them by the Conservatives - 800,000 people have lost their jobs, and others have had cuts in pay and pensions and attacks on terms and conditions. May we have a debate in Government time on when we will start respecting and rewarding our public sector workers, and in particular how we will recruit nurses, firefighters and care workers in the future? If we keep treating them with disrespect, no one will want to do the job.

Chris Grayling, Leader of the House of Commons: We have some magnificent people in our public sector who do a fine job for this country, but that fact does not remove the need for us to balance the budget or the need for this country to live within its means. That was the big division and argument between us at the general election, and the reality is that we won.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Jun 2015

Child Benefit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2015 to Question 1239, on child benefit, what estimate he has made of the potential costs of obtaining the requested information.

David Gauke, Financial Secretary (HM Treasury): The cost considered by the Treasury to be disproportionate is £850.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are unable to provide an answer to question 1239 within proportionate costs as information stored on the Child Benefit system does not contain details of i) income of claimants and ii) whether claimants are in a single or joint claim.

This means to obtain the information, additional data (such as Self-Assessment) would have to be matched to claimant's details to obtain their income. Further matching to further datasets would then be required to determine whether the claimant is a single or couple claimant.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Jun 2015

Health and Care Professions Council: Fees and Charges

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will ask the House's Health Committee, when constituted, to undertake an inquiry into the proposed fee increase by the Health and Care Professionals Council; and if he will make a statement.

Ben Gummer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Health Select Committee is established by the House of Commons to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department and its associated bodies, which includes the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In the last Parliament, the Committee reported on the HCPC in 2014.

It is for the Committee to choose its own subjects of inquiry.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Jun 2015

Child Benefit: Lone Parents

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the effect is on the income of a single parent with two children of choosing not to claim child benefit because they are subject to the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge.

Damian Hinds, Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury): There is no effect on the single parent's income. However, as the single parent is choosing not to claim Child Benefit, it means that they do not receive Child Benefit at a rate of £34.40 per week (£20.70 for the eldest child, and £13.70 for the additional child).

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Jun 2015

Radicalism

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether under proposed legislation on tackling extremism and terrorism, if a person is found guilty of extremism for expressing certain views, all other people who have expressed those views will be prosecuted.

Karen Bradley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office): We are not intending to create a new criminal offence of extremism in the Bill so the issue of being found guilty will not arise. The Counter-Extremism Bill will introduce new civil powers to tackle extremism. These include Banning Orders to outlaw extremist groups, Extremism Disruption Orders to restrict the harmful activities of individual extremists and Closure Orders to close down premises used to promote extremism.

The proposed powers will be applied on a case by case basis taking into account the specific circumstances and actions involved. The legislation will be subject to safeguards to ensure our new powers are used where they are needed to stop extremism and protect the public, including judicial oversight.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Jun 2015

Professional Organisations: Fees and Charges

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will take steps to prohibit fee increases for health professional registrants which exceed those registrants' annual pay awards.

Ben Gummer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Health and Care Proffessions Council (HCPC) is a self-financing, independent regulator that is accountable to Parliament through the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) who assesses the HCPC's performance, conducts audits, scrutinises their decisions and reports to Parliament through the Privy Council. Costs are monitored by the regulator's Council, and the HCPC's fees remain the lowest of all the professional regulators.

The professional regulators are funded by registrant fees and as independent bodies it is for them to set their fees at a level which ensures they can fulfil their statutory role of protecting, promoting and maintaining the health and safety of the public. We understand that the HCPC decided to raise their registrant fees for a number of reasons: to fund the periodic fee it is required to pay the PSA; to enable the HCPC to operate more flexibly and efficiently; and to ensure the HCPC's financial viability in the medium to long term.

We have received correspondence from registrants objecting to the proposed fee increase.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Jun 2015

Health and Care Professions Council: Fees and Charges

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what representations he has received on the proposed increase in fees charged by the Health and Care Professions Council; and if he will make a statement.

Ben Gummer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Health and Care Proffessions Council (HCPC) is a self-financing, independent regulator that is accountable to Parliament through the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) who assesses the HCPC's performance, conducts audits, scrutinises their decisions and reports to Parliament through the Privy Council. Costs are monitored by the regulator's Council, and the HCPC's fees remain the lowest of all the professional regulators.

The professional regulators are funded by registrant fees and as independent bodies it is for them to set their fees at a level which ensures they can fulfil their statutory role of protecting, promoting and maintaining the health and safety of the public. We understand that the HCPC decided to raise their registrant fees for a number of reasons: to fund the periodic fee it is required to pay the PSA; to enable the HCPC to operate more flexibly and efficiently; and to ensure the HCPC's financial viability in the medium to long term.

We have received correspondence from registrants objecting to the proposed fee increase.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Jun 2015

Health and Care Professions Council: Costs

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will instruct the Health and Care Professions Council to reduce costs related to unwarranted investigations and hearings.

Ben Gummer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Health and Care Proffessions Council (HCPC) is a self-financing, independent regulator that is accountable to Parliament through the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) who assesses the HCPC's performance, conducts audits, scrutinises their decisions and reports to Parliament through the Privy Council. Costs are monitored by the regulator's Council, and the HCPC's fees remain the lowest of all the professional regulators.

The professional regulators are funded by registrant fees and as independent bodies it is for them to set their fees at a level which ensures they can fulfil their statutory role of protecting, promoting and maintaining the health and safety of the public. We understand that the HCPC decided to raise their registrant fees for a number of reasons: to fund the periodic fee it is required to pay the PSA; to enable the HCPC to operate more flexibly and efficiently; and to ensure the HCPC's financial viability in the medium to long term.

We have received correspondence from registrants objecting to the proposed fee increase.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
15 Jun 2015

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will resume central funding of the Professional Standards Authority.

Ben Gummer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Government's review of arm's-length bodies in 2010 found no compelling reason for the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to continue to be funded by the Government and so through the Health and Social Care Act 2012 it was determined that the PSA would be funded by a compulsory fee paid by the regulators it oversees. This is in line with the principle that regulators should be operationally independent of both the Government and those they regulate, and will allow the Authority to promote the health and well-being of people who use services free from the uncertainties of public finance and political or professional interest.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Jun 2015

Child Benefit: Lone Parents

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many single-parent families have stopped claiming child benefit since the introduction of the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge.

Damian Hinds, Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury): This information is unavailable.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
11 Jun 2015

Voluntary Work: Young People

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 3 June 2015 to Question 321, what qualifications and at what level are required by non-National Citizens Service personnel in charge of children taking part in residential training weeks under the National Citizen Service scheme.

Rob Wilson, Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) : The quality of all staff involved in NCS is vital to its ongoing success. All personnel involved in delivering the residential phase of the programme must hold a DBS certificate, be recruited in line with safer recruiting best practices and possess such qualifications as required to fulfil their roles.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2015

Broadcasting: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Minister of State (Culture Media and Sport) (Digital Industries): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will bring forward proposals to require broadcasters to provide subtitles and audio description for on-demand programmes for the benefit of people with sensory loss; and if he will make a statement.

Mr Edward Vaizey, Minister of State (Culture Media and Sport) (Digital Industries), The Government remains committed to seeing an improvement in the provision of access services for video-on-demand (VoD) services and will continue to monitor progress. If the 2015 ATVOD's annual survey of VOD Services indicates that significant progress has not been made, then as stated in the Connectivity, Content and Consumers Paper (July 2013) we will consider legislation in 2016.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2015

Radicalism

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the planned legislative proposals on tackling extremism and terrorism, what the Government's definition is of extremism.

Karen Bradley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office): The Government's definition of extremism, published in the Extremism Task Force report, Tackling Extremism in the UK (2013), is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. It includes calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2015

Trade Unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): What recent discussions he has had with trade unions in Scotland on the Government's proposed legislation on trade unions. [900153]

The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry): We are in the process of bringing forward new legislation in relation to trade unions to make sure that we carry out our manifesto commitment. I have not yet met any of the trade unions in Scotland. I look forward to that so that we can make progress with the Bill.

Mr Anderson: From what the Minister has just said, it is quite clear that she has regular discussions with business, but no discussions with trade unions. It is clear that trade union association is a matter of human rights, and that the right to strike makes the difference between people being workers and being slaves. Will she assure the House that she will listen to the voice of the trade unions, and will she confirm that these rules will not breach International Labour Organisation conventions?

Anna Soubry: May I make it very clear to the hon. Gentleman that as a former trade unionist and shop steward I am more than willing to listen to trade unions. Equally, however, it is really important to understand that in the modern world it cannot be right that a minority vote to strike has the most profound effect on travellers and on carers and children. It is in everybody's interests for us to make sure that our trade unions are democratic and work for everyone.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Jun 2015

Child Benefit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many two parent families with a combined income above £50,000 claim child benefit.

Damian Hinds, Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury): The information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Jun 2015

Home Office: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the implications for her Department's policies are of the decision of the Pension Ombudsman in the case of Mr Milne on 15 May 2015; and if she will make a statement on that ruling.

Mike Penning, Minister of State (Home Office): The Government accepts the Ombudsman's determination in full and recognises that there are other individuals, including retired police officers, who are affected by the principles set out in this determination. The Government is working with pension administrators to identify affected individuals and ensure that the appropriate payments are made as quickly as possible.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2015

Northumberland Prison

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 18 March 2015 to Question 227319, for what reasons Sodexo has increased the number of mainstream prisoners housed with sex offenders in a one-house block.

Andrew Selous, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Sex offenders at HM Prison Northumberland are accommodated separately from mainstream prisoners. On occasion, following a risk assessment, a vulnerable prisoner who is not a sex offender may be removed from the mainstream accommodation for his own protection and placed in the sex offender accommodation.

Work is in progress to reduce the number of other vulnerable prisoners co-located with sex offenders.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Jun 2015

Radicalism

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to include provisions in the planned legislative proposals on tackling extremism and terrorism to ensure that statements which are based on fact or evidence will not be classed as extremist.

Karen Bradley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office): The legislation will clearly set out the circumstances in which the new counter-extremism powers may be used, including any safeguards that are appropriate.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Jun 2015

Translarna

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): May we have an urgent statement from the Secretary of State for Health on when young boys in this country who are suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy can expect to have access to the drug Translarna? The drug is readily available across Europe, but its approval has been delayed in this country because of bureaucratic arguments within NHS England that are a direct result of the health service reforms. The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health in the previous Government guaranteed to me and the parents that this matter would be speeded up, but it is still being held up today.

Chris Grayling, Leader of the House of Commons: I know that this issue has already been raised with Ministers this week, and that they take Members' views on it seriously. I will ensure that the hon. Gentleman's concerns are once again passed on to my colleagues in the Department of Health today.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Jun 2015

NHS Success Regime

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Minister is right that patients are key to this, but so are the people who deliver hands-on services. He has mentioned the role of clinicians a number of times, but what about the voice of care workers, nurses and other people on the front line? Will they be listened to, and will their representative bodies, such as trade unions and colleges, be listened to, or will they be completely and utterly ignored, as was the case with the Health and Social Care Bill?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Ben Gummer): I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has made that point. The success regime will not work unless every single part of the local health economy contributes to it, including the vital component of local care workers.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2015

Department of Energy and Climate Change: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the implications for her Department's policies are of the decision of the Pension Ombudsman in the case of Mr Milne on 15 May 2015; and if she will make a statement on that ruling.

Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): There are no direct implications for civil servants employed in DECC as staff are members of the Principal Civil Service Pensions Scheme or for the pension arrangements for staff employed in DECC's Arm's Length Bodies.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2015

House of Commons: Postal Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the hon. Member for Mole Valley representing the House of Commons Commission, when and how it was decided to stop using Royal Mail to deliver parliamentary mail to hon. Members.

Sir Paul Beresford; The House of Commons spends approximately £500k per annum on the mail forwarding service for Members, and, in compliance with UK Procurement Regulations, is required to seek competition for the service, and to award the contract to the supplier that represents the best overall value for money, taking service, quality and cost factors into account.

In accordance with the Regulations, and the House's procurement rules, the mail forwarding contract was tendered using a framework set up by the Crown Commercial Service. Invitation to Tender was in September 2014 with an award of contract made in December 2014. Royal Mail submitted a bid, but were not the best overall value for money supplier; that was DX (Group), who met all the service requirements and will realise savings of between 15% to 20% on the previous arrangements.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2015

Mohammed Morsi

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Egyptian government to reconsider the death sentence imposed on former President Morsi.

Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): I raised our concerns over the sentencing to death of former President Morsi with the Egyptian Ambassador in London on 17 May. I also issued a statement on 17 May, setting out the Government's deep concern at the sentencing to death of former President Morsi and over 100 others.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have also discussed this case with representatives of the Egyptian government.

We have been clear that the Egyptian authorities must apply the rule of law consistently in line with international standards, and protect the political and legal rights of all Egyptians as the basis for the country's future stability. It is the long-standing policy of the Government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We note that there are further stages in the legal process, and will continue to follow this case closely.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2015

Voluntary Work: Young People

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what qualifications and at what level are required of the personnel in charge who have responsibility for children taking part in residential training weeks under the National Citizen Service scheme.

Rob Wilson, Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office): All National Citizen Service (NCS) delivery staff must hold a DBS check and possess the relevant qualifications required to fulfil their roles. The NCS Trust has worked with the Institute for Outdoor Learning to develop specific quality standards.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage



Currebt Session

Homepage

Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO