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Public Services

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 2:04 pm on 16th October 2019.

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Photo of Bob Seely Bob Seely Conservative, Isle of Wight 2:04 pm, 16th October 2019

It is a privilege to follow Dame Louise Ellman, who makes a very passionate case for the public services in her constituency. I hope to do the same. Public services go to the heart of this debate and to the heart of my speech. Like the hon. Lady, I will focus very much on my constituency, which is the Isle of Wight.

It has long been argued that the Island needs an island deal that recognises the additional cost of providing public services on an island. Throughout the UK, in order to support islands and isolated communities, the Government have generally provided either a bridge, as in the case of the Isle of Skye, or increased levels of funding, as in the case of the Scottish islands needs allowance. The Isle of Wight has to all intents and purposes been treated as part of the mainland United Kingdom, because we have never had additional support despite the additional costs. In various conversations I have had with the Prime Minister, he has been generous enough to agree the need for an island settlement. He has done so on visits to the Island in June this year, on record in the House on 25 September and in private conversations with me. I therefore hope that this is a discussion on content and not principle, but I am very happy to make either argument to the Secretary of State. I am delighted to see him on the Treasury Bench today.