Kelvin Hopkins: Many professionals in the nuclear industry and outside academics are seriously concerned about the ongoing problem of what to do with nuclear waste from the civil programmes. Will the new arrangements simply parallel exactly what Euratom is doing or will they be stronger? Is the Minister not concerned that we still have to deal with the serious problem of long-term storage of civil nuclear waste?
Kelvin Hopkins: I would remind the hon. Lady that we are substantial net importers of motor products from the EU and especially of high-value-added components in the supply chain. Now that we are leaving the EU, will the Minister and the Government look to using state aid and public procurement programmes to benefit British motor manufacturing and Vauxhall in particular?
Kelvin Hopkins: The national health service is under immense pressure from under-resourcing, but also from the heavy and continuing burdens arising from alcohol abuse. May we have a full debate in Government time on how the Government propose to address this serious problem?
Kelvin Hopkins: Following the referendum and the subsequent depreciation of sterling, a number of car manufacturers in Britain have announced plans for further investment and an expansion of production. Nissan, in particular, says that it will expand production by 20% and invest more in the supply chain in Britain. Does that not augur well for Britain’s exports, and should we not start to look towards...
Kelvin Hopkins: What assessment she has made of the adequacy of police resources to support victims of domestic violence.
Kelvin Hopkins: According to the crime survey for England and Wales, an estimated 2 million adults aged 16 to 59, mostly women, say that they were victims of domestic abuse in the past year. Do not the Government accept that the massive cuts in police resources that they have inflicted will inevitably mean that there will be fewer arrests and fewer prosecutions for domestic violence, leaving more women in danger?
Kelvin Hopkins: Can Ministers say what more can be done to eliminate the cruel and barbaric practice of female genital mutilation?
Kelvin Hopkins: My hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham West and Penge (Ellie Reeves) made the point that the tax-free amount has not been indexed for many years. Had it been indexed properly, it would now be £71,000, not £30,000. Would not that be a way of avoiding any of these difficulties, as the lump sum would be so much bigger?
Kelvin Hopkins: My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. The reality is that many Government Members have close associations with the City and with big money. I do not want to accuse anyone individually, but that is the reality. Many have been in hedge funds and wherever. The biggest scandal of all took place within Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. A few years ago, Dave Hartnett, who was the boss...
Kelvin Hopkins: Just on that point about small businesses, I agree with the hon. Lady that they are immensely valuable to the economy and we must support them. However, would the Government not do better to stop banks such as RBS squeezing the life out of small businesses by very, very unfair financial practices, which has certainly happened to businesses in my constituency?
Kelvin Hopkins: I will speak only very briefly in support of the Labour amendments as most of what I would say has been said by my hon. Friends. The reality is that, in this country, we have a revenue problem, not an expenditure problem. The Government are constantly imposing austerity measures on ordinary people and on public services, and we see the result of that in the health service, local government...
Kelvin Hopkins: The hon. Lady may remember that the tax expert Richard Murphy calculated at one point that the genuine tax gap—not the one that the Government give us—was £119 billion a year. That has no doubt come down slightly, but there is a long way to go before we collect that tax. That figure overwhelms the amount of money that the Government will squeeze out of workers who are losing...
Kelvin Hopkins: The right hon. Gentleman suggests that Governments effectively have no role in creating jobs. The reality is that macroeconomic policies have an enormous effect on the creation of jobs. Those countries that have chosen foolishly to join the euro and now have a massively overvalued currency, in effect, have lost millions of jobs in some cases. We have fortunately not been part of the euro, and...
Kelvin Hopkins: I agree with everything my hon. Friend says, of course. Does he agree that a lump sum on termination of employment could be considered as potential income over a period of years, and should not be considered just as a lump sum to be taxed within one year?
Kelvin Hopkins: Is it not the case that the Government are squeezing money out of people who cannot escape from taxation—namely, less well-off people who lose their jobs—rather than chasing the big money people who evade and avoid taxes?
Kelvin Hopkins: As the MP for Luton North, I represent many of those who have lost their jobs, and I have to say that, had the company been in public ownership—with proper transparency and accountability to Parliament—I suspect that this would not have happened. [Interruption.]
Kelvin Hopkins: My concern is that, when the company collapsed, the assets had almost all disappeared, so there was very little financial value in the assets of the company. Was this to benefit shareholders and owners, and how much money has the state effectively paid out that the owners and shareholders should have been accountable for?