Stephen Hepburn: I acknowledge Ministers’ work to retain knowledge and skill in the ranks of our defence forces; it is just a pity that they do not apply the same effort to our defence industry, instead of giving a billion-pound taxpayers’ order to improve skills and jobs in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
Stephen Hepburn: What recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of collisions on the A19 in the North East.
Stephen Hepburn: Happy 70th anniversary to the NHS—an institution that was opposed every step of the way by the Tories when the Labour party brought it in. Can I bring the Minister’s attention to the “Safe A19” campaign run by my local newspapers, the Shields Gazette and the Sunderland Echo, and supported by myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Grahame Morris)? It is of...
Stephen Hepburn: What recent representations she has received from people affected by the pension transition arrangements for women born in the 1950s.
Stephen Hepburn: The Government have seen fit to award the richest personal earners and the top five wealthiest corporations in the country tens of billions of pounds in tax cuts. Do the Government think that the Tories are being fair when they steal the pensions of women to stuff their friends’ pockets?
Stephen Hepburn: If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Stephen Hepburn: As Carillion showed, the outsourcing of Government contracts is nothing but a gamble with jobs and public money. When will the Tories put the public interest first instead of their friends, spivs and speculators?
Stephen Hepburn: What assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government funding for local authorities in the north-east since 2010.
Stephen Hepburn: The Minister will be aware that north-east councils have had a 50% cut in Government grant since 2010. At the same time, the richest individuals in this country have had a £10 billion tax cut. Does he think it is right that these needless tax cuts are paid for by local government jobs, pay cuts and the loss of local government services?
Stephen Hepburn: Is not it right that we have a customs union that protects workers’ rights, with the right to allow state aid, the right to allow public ownership, and the right to be able to ban outsourcing and competitive tendering should the Government wish to do so?
Stephen Hepburn: I congratulate my hon. Friend on introducing today’s debate. Does it not just show the mess the country is in that the Labour party has had to call a major parliamentary debate on potholes? Does it not also show what a false economy the Government’s seven years of austerity have been? They have made £200 million available to local councils to sort out potholes, when in the...
Stephen Hepburn: What assessment he has made of trends in the level of personal independence payment appeals that have been successful at tribunal.
Stephen Hepburn: Does not the fact that two out of three appeals in the north-east are successful prove that the privateers that the Government employ to carry out PIP assessments in the first place are not fit for practice by callously letting down disabled people and ripping off the taxpayer?
Stephen Hepburn: Since the Tories came to power, the number of police in the Northumbria policing area has been cut by 27%. During the same time, violent crime has gone up 177%. Is it just the general public who notice the link between those figures, or has the Secretary of State noticed it, too?
Stephen Hepburn: The Secretary of State mentioned the Welsh railways, but the motion is not about the Welsh railways; it is about the east coast main line, which has gone bust three times in less than 10 years. The Government are still obsessed with financing the private sector through taxpayers and railway users, whose fares have gone up by more than 32%.
Stephen Hepburn: I start by thanking the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr Robertson) for securing this important and timely debate. He has campaigned on this issue for years, as we know, and I pay tribute to him for bringing the motion to the Floor of the House. I have been a member of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee since 2004, so I know all too well the seriousness of the issue that is the subject of...
Stephen Hepburn: I agree with my hon. Friend, and I will cover some of that later. I wholeheartedly endorse supporting victims, whatever their community, whatever their background, and that includes adequate compensation so that their lives might be improved and we do not add poverty to the physical and mental burdens that so many bear with determination and great fortitude. To be forced to sell your house to...
Stephen Hepburn: It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Evans. I thank hon. Members on both sides of the House who are here to push this great case forward. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley North (Ian Austin), who organised a very constructive roundtable meeting where we learned a hell of a lot. I also pay tribute to all the campaigners, some of whom are represented today. They...
Stephen Hepburn: I agree entirely and am pleased my hon. Friend has repeated my earlier plea to the Minister. It has been said that Orkambi is recognised in a lot of countries—I do not want to go through the list, because there are many. We are getting left behind. Imagine what it is like to be a sufferer and to be told, “There is something out there that will improve your life and your...
Stephen Hepburn: I am dealing with the sad case of a young man in my constituency who was injured out of the Army, but did not get the treatment he needed. Apparently he slipped through the net because of his junior rank. Will the Minister review his systems to make sure that this does not happen in future?