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Cost of Living: Energy and Housing

Part of Bills Presented — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 5th June 2014.

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Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North 3:38 pm, 5th June 2014

Not quite towards Northampton, sadly. We will find out in due course how much Northampton will get. However, I am very pleased that the Government have taken that move.

Motoring groups have welcomed that fund to fix roads, although, as ever, they wanted more. I, too, would like to see more money invested in our roads because the amount of road traffic only ever increases. There is an increasing number of incidents that are caused by poor quality road surfaces. Frankly, there are very human reasons why we need to fix the roads. They are dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users. The poor quality of our roads is a danger to life, as well as to livelihoods. The cost of compensation, insurance and the like is going up. That affects local taxpayers as well as national taxpayers. There are therefore raw economic reasons why we need to do something about potholes.

That is why I am very pleased that, thanks to the careful measures that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken over the past four years and to the fact that he has stuck to the path, sometimes in the face of a tsunami of criticism from the Labour Benches, he has improved the state of the economy to such an extent that he has been able to allocate £200 million to fixing potholes. Northamptonshire has bid for some of that, and I hope to hear relatively soon—as, no doubt, do other areas—how much my area will receive.

I think it right that local authorities bid for funding. As the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will know, some local authority areas perform much better than others and have a better track record of getting it right. It is only right that they show why they can operate more efficiently and successfully, or perhaps more expeditiously than others, and why they should therefore be rewarded for their endeavours and competence.

One measure not in the Gracious Speech is the Medical Innovation Bill, which Lord Maurice Saatchi introduced today as a private Member’s Bill in another place. It is to be hoped that in due course it might find its way to this honourable House. It is a completely non-partisan and highly important measure that is designed to make it easier for doctors to treat those who are suffering from cancer and other life-threatening conditions more successfully.

If passed by Parliament, the Bill will allow doctors to take a step away from the well-worn path currently followed in the treatment of cancer. For some cancers, the treatment has not changed literally for decades, and doctors—oncologists in particular—know that they will follow that path with their patient, and that there will be the same result at the end of that path. They can even particularise to quite a fine degree how long a patient may have left to live. With proper safeguards—I emphasise that—and with the fully informed consent of the patient and the extra safeguard of a multidisciplinary panel that can oversee the patient’s authority and what the doctor wishes to do, it is right that doctors ought to be able to diverge slightly from that path to see whether something slightly different can work. Only through those methods will we allow doctors to continue their good work and eventually find a cure for cancer.