Kevan Jones: Because of their unitary status, those councils have been able to save money. The fact of the matter is that the budget has been cut by 40%. The reason for the reserves is that the next round of rationalisation will involve redundancies, which have to be paid for. The idea that there is a magic pot of money lying in County Hall in Durham to pay for future services is complete nonsense.
Kevan Jones: Will the Minister give way?
Kevan Jones: The Minister has to recognise the fact that he is part of a Government who have reduced the budget of Durham County Council by 40%. The council has to make redundancies. How will it pay for them without those reserves?
Kevan Jones: Does the Minister share my concern that the chair of the north-east LEP has been appointed as the director of another member of the LEP’s company? Even if there is nothing wrong with that in terms of transparency, concerns would be expressed if a local councillor was doing that.
Kevan Jones: On Nissan, will the Minister also pay tribute to the Labour-run council in Sunderland, which plays a key part in working with other agencies to deliver investment? On the most recent development in relation to Hitachi, Durham County Council, a Labour authority, has played a key role in attracting Hitachi to Newton Aycliffe.
Kevan Jones: I have asked this question before, in Committee, so I do not expect to get an answer. I accept the point that the Minister is making about areas being different and needing different solutions. However, the north-east was told quite clearly that it could have devolution, but a Mayor was not part of the model. There was no devolution settlement on the table.
Kevan Jones: Is the Minister aware that the Conservative members on Durham County Council support the approach agreed by the county council at its last meeting, which was that we should actually ask people by putting the matter to the ballot?
Kevan Jones: Will the post-16 budget be protected when it is devolved?
Kevan Jones: The other thing that is being centrally imposed is the rent cap of 1%. In my own constituency, that has led to two housing associations not only having to cut back their existing programme but having to question deals that they have already entered into for the building of new housing.
Kevan Jones: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Percy. The Government started in 2010 from completely the opposite position to where they are now. It was very much an anti-regional agenda. In response to anything that had “region” before it, the right hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Sir Eric Pickles) would say that the Government did not actually believe in regions. As...
Kevan Jones: Does my right hon. Friend share the concerns of Mick Henry, the leader of Gateshead Council, about the fact that the chair of the North East LEP has been appointed to the board of a company run by a senior Conservative in the region? There does not seem be any transparency of the sort that would be expected for normal appointments.
Kevan Jones: One of the many things briefed officially to The Times and The Daily Telegraph this morning was that the MOD will only purchase five fewer frigates than planned. Does the Minister share my concern about needing enough frigates to protect our carriers on operations, with any reduction to this fleet meaning that the capability to operate the carriers will be impaired?
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when his Department expects to know how much of the Joint Security Fund announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in July 2015 will be allocated to his Department.
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent progress has been made on integrating the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft with (a) Storm Shadow missiles, (b) Meteor missiles, (c) the DASS radar system and (d) other avionics.
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft have been exported in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the announcement by BAE Systems on jobs, related to production of the Eurofighter Typhoon on 12 November 2015, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be lost which are related to the production of that aircraft.
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the announcement by BAE Systems on jobs, related to production of the Eurofighter Typhoon on 12 November 2015, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs in each production location that will be lost which are related to the production of that aircraft.
Kevan Jones: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I congratulate the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr Hollobone) on securing the debate. I start by paying tribute to the contribution of both our regular forces and our reserve forces. As a former Defence Minister, I have seen at first hand the contribution of both, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, the contribution that reservists made,...
Kevan Jones: I welcome the Minister’s statement today, but he must realise that the buck stops with him and not with his officials. I find it remarkable that it took 24 hours for him to find out about the problem, and that his officials did not tell him sooner. Does he not realise that the Home Office has now lost all credibility among the police and the police and crime commissioners—the...
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made under what working assumptions of the cost and the salary and other elements of the remuneration package for the potential future position of regional mayor of the North East of England.