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Consumer Rights Bill — Report (3rd Day) (26 November 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: The figures my noble friend gave us about the cost savings of doing it online in comparison with paper bills did not take into account the cost of installing broadband and buying computers to be capable of going online.

Consumer Rights Bill — Report (3rd Day) (26 November 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I support my noble friend’s amendment. I have heard what has been said about people who opt for paying their bills online, or whatever, and get a discount; that would be fine if everybody in the country had online access, knew how to work computers and knew exactly what they were doing. The reality is not like that. The most disadvantaged in our country do not have online...

Assisted Dying Bill [HL]: Committee (1st Day) (7 November 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I wish to raise a point for clarification. Amendment 12 states: “No registered medical practitioner, registered nurse or other health professional may suggest that a person consider seeking assistance to end his or her own life”. It does not mention whether they are terminally ill. That means that anybody could say to a person with a chronic hearing problem or even...

Women: Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Social Exclusion — Motion to Take Note (6 November 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I decided to take part in this debate because the subject interests me hugely. The debate is that this House takes note of women facing homelessness, domestic violence and social exclusion. However, the opening speech from the noble Baroness, Lady King, did not actually help me to consider this in a very positive manner. I will return to the speech that I have prepared, but I want...

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — Question (6 November 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, knows, the European Union Select Committee is currently doing a study on the situation as regards drones. Only yesterday and the day before we took evidence on this in Brussels from various people; and we have already taken evidence from the CAA and BALPA. The noble Lord is right to say that the situation is fast developing. I am sorry—I...

Money Laundering: UK Parliamentarians — Question (14 October 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords—

Youth Employment — Question (30 July 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, does my noble friend agree with me that it is about time those on the opposite side celebrated with us that there has been such an increase in youth employment in the last few months? Secondly, the way in which we are doing it is right. As my noble friend Lord Roberts said, the last thing we want is one EU policy. I want to know from my noble friend the Minister whether we are...

European Union Committee: Report on 2013-14 (EUC Report) — Motion to Take Note (24 July 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, follow that! What a thunderbolt—or at least it was one to me. I believe that it is a duty but first of all a pleasure to thank the chairman of the EU Select Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Boswell, for all his support, humour and encouragement during the year, as well as for introducing this debate on the work of the EU Select Committee and its sub-committees in the 2013-14...

Pensions Advice — Question (23 July 2014)

Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, is at all possible that any information on pensions that goes to the ordinary man or woman in the street, like me, could be passed by the Plain English Campaign because there is nothing worse than page after page of small print in stupid words?

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...

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