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Assisted Dying Bill [HL]: Second Reading (18 July 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I believe that a great strength of this House whenever we look at a Bill—we have looked at a lot of them—is that we seem to have a mental checklist of things that we should always take into consideration; an impact statement, in effect. One of the things we always take into consideration is the effect of the Bill, whatever its subject or object, on the population as a...

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Late Payments — Question (19 June 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, surely my noble friend the Minister must be aware that the best way to tackle this matter is by ensuring that every single government department pays and that no government department delays payments; otherwise, how can we tell anyone else that they had better not delay payments?

EU: Youth Unemployment (EUC Report): Motion to Take Note (17 June 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I thank everybody who has taken part in the debate. I particularly thank my noble friend the Minister. I gave him a slightly hard time—only slightly. I can be much more ferocious than that. His response was very good but, in listening to it, I reflected how confusing this whole issue is. We have so many different ways of looking at it. If I were 17 years of age with not much...

EU: Youth Unemployment (EUC Report): Motion to Take Note (17 June 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: I am sorry. That is the second time “sorry” has been mentioned in this House tonight. It is nice to be able to say sorry. The situation is actually depressing throughout the EU but there are shafts of light coming in. One of the great things about the report is that it is not political. We did not mention parties and tried to work for the good of the youth of the whole European...

EU: Youth Unemployment (EUC Report): Motion to Take Note (17 June 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I am truly delighted to have the opportunity to move the Motion for debate so promptly after the publication of our report on 10 April this year. The report, Youth Unemployment in the EU: A Scarred Generation?, is the product of an eight-month inquiry focused on the youth unemployment situation from an EU perspective. The members of the committee have been passionate about the...

Female Genital Mutilation — Question (20 March 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I ask the Minister whether these girls have any access to confidential information. For example, we have ChildLine, Rape Crisis, services for battered wives, and all those areas where people can, if they are in positions like this, phone up and get some help and assistance. I have never heard of one for this bestial practice. Is there any charity that we could approach and ask?

Assisted Suicide — Question for Short Debate (5 March 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, the DPP guidelines published in 2010 were hailed as a victory by the assisted dying lobby. These guidelines made it clear that encouraging or assisting the suicide of another is a criminal offence. Since then that lobby has subjected the policy to all kinds of criticisms. While trying to look at the criticisms dispassionately, I fear that I have come to the conclusion that those in...

Schools: Careers Guidance — Question (25 February 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, can my noble friend tell the careers advice people that we must make sure that we get the right jobs for the right people? The mismatch at the moment is horrendous, particularly with ICT jobs. It is estimated that by the end of next year there will be something like 400,000 to 700,000 mismatched jobs. The competition in the BRIC and MINT countries is making hay when it comes to...

NHS Property Services Ltd — Question (30 January 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I ask my noble friend: when people are appointing chairmen to such organisations, could they look at their skill sets in advance rather than getting rid of them because of their lack of skill sets?

Small Businesses: Late Payments — Question (18 December 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: Can my noble friend give a copper-bottomed guarantee that no government department goes beyond the pay days to pay its debts? If he cannot, can he make it very clear to his lords and masters that that is what is demanded of them and that in future we will need that guarantee?

Benefits: Sanctions — Question (16 December 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, will my noble friend give us some indication of the sort of training given to those who deal with some of the rather disturbed people who go to jobseekers’ offices? I have seen several instances where the people in this very difficult situation get a bit disturbed about it and need a bit more sensitivity. I have mentioned this to the Minister before. I wonder whether the...

Schools Careers Service: Apprenticeships — Question (11 December 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, is my noble friend aware of the huge amount of work going on in the area of apprenticeships? Sub-Committee B of the European Union Committee is taking evidence on youth unemployment at the moment, and the great finding is that many large companies are actively getting involved in apprenticeships for the first time in many years. We have heard about some outstanding examples of this,...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Government Departments: Procurement (8 October 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 19 July (HL1389), when the new procurement policy was introduced; whether it was published by way of a press notice; and whether they have made sure that each person responsible for procurement in every Government Department is aware of the policy.

European Union Committee: 2012-13 (EUC Report) — Motion to Take Note (30 July 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I am grateful that the occasion of this debate on the European Union Committee’s 2012-13 report gives me two opportunities. The first opportunity is to pay tribute to the work of the European Union Committee chairman, the noble Lord, Lord Boswell, for the important work of scrutiny of EU legislation. The fact that so much of our legislation is directed from the European...

Littering from Vehicles Bill [HL] — Second Reading (19 July 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: He is shaking his head.

Written Answers — House of Lords: Taxation: Avoidance (18 July 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider re-examining their procurement policy to avoid doing business with companies that pay minimal amounts of United Kingdom tax.

Extension of Franchise (House of Lords) Bill [HL] — Second Reading (5 July 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: Surely the point the noble Lord made earlier about this not being the beginning of the slippery slope is counteracted by his other statement that it should be incremental, bit by bit. So is it a slippery slope or is it incremental?

Food: Food Banks — Question (2 July 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that there is a lot of mythology about food banks? This movement was started by the Christian churches—people reaching out to people who are not necessarily long-term unemployed but who have found themselves in a position through no fault of their own. There are abused women who have been given local flats by housing associations but who still do not...

Genetically Modified Crops — Question (26 June 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, in all this euphoria about GM crops—and I think it is wonderful that at last we have some positive news—let us not forget that there are areas in the world that are going to be badly affected by this because the plants do not produce seeds on the same basis as current crops. I suggest that in all discussions that go on about this, particularly with the European Union,...

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Funding — Question (25 June 2013)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Sharkey is absolutely right: knowledge of the funding available does not seem to be percolating through. That is a real shame, because SMEs account for some 98% of all businesses in the UK and internal market. They also account for so much activity, and there could be a huge opportunity for growth and for employment, because if every SME in the UK, and where...

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