Steve McCabe: How would the Prime Minister feel if someone pinched her car and it then cost her £200 to get it back? That is what is happening to hundreds of people. Why does she not allow the police to use proceeds of crime returns to recover legitimate costs and put an end to this state-sponsored secondary mugging of innocent victims?
Steve McCabe: The review does not touch on the excessive salaries and pension pots that many vice-chancellors claim. Does the Secretary of State think that that is an insignificant factor in the current culture?
Steve McCabe: Order.
Steve McCabe: I said 5.43 pm.
Steve McCabe: I am very sorry, but the clock has beaten you on this occasion. Motion lapsed, and sitting adjourned without Question put ( Standing Order No. 10(14)).
Steve McCabe: Order. There is a Division in the main Chamber, so we will have to suspend the sitting and you will all have to come back to conclude. We will suspend for 15 minutes. Sitting suspended for a Division in the House. On resuming—
Steve McCabe: I should say at the outset that I might have to leave before the end of the debate as I have to take the Chair in Westminster Hall. As the Minister would not do so, let me begin by acknowledging that the cash freeze in this settlement is, when we take inflation into account, actually a real-terms cut for West Midlands police. That is what the Government are doing to policing in the west...
Steve McCabe: Does my hon. Friend agree that, contrary to what the Minister has alleged, what Labour Members are doing today is standing up for their constituents and voting against cuts that are unsafe and putting our constituents at risk?
Steve McCabe: Will the Secretary of State give an assurance that any accountable care organisations that he establishes will not be able to use commercial confidentiality excuses to evade scrutiny under freedom of information legislation?
Steve McCabe: I recognise that that is the Minister’s genuine view, but how much should consumers pay for the privilege, and at what point will he feel that they are not getting the benefits they have been promised?
Steve McCabe: Both the Government’s and Ofgem’s justification for the smart meter programme is that it is meant to save customers money. If we reach the stage where it is actually costing customers rather than saving them money, will the hon. Gentleman regard that as a failure of the programme?
Steve McCabe: rose—
Steve McCabe: As they say, Mr Deputy Speaker, I will try that again. Amendments 2 and 3 would give the Secretary of State the power to license and regulate meter asset providers—or MAPs, as they are more commonly known. They are independent companies that secure funding and provide asset management and meter disposal on behalf of the energy companies. They are the middlemen who have come to play a...
Steve McCabe: As I recall, that figure of 250 was given to the Committee by the DCC’s chief executive. My hon. Friend will be aware that the Department initially announced last week that it did not know the figure, but then admitted that it was 80, and that most of those meters actually belonged to company officers, not members of the public. Does that not suggest that this programme is woefully off...
Steve McCabe: How many staff in the Department for Work and Pensions will be directly deployed on the rectification process? I ask because the evidence is that the number of staff in the DWP used to complete any kind of task involving a complaint or a rectification is directly relevant to how long it takes them to complete the process.
Steve McCabe: rose—
Steve McCabe: I am very grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. As she seems to be acknowledging, the evidence suggests that too many people do not have sufficient knowledge to make the best choices about their pensions. On that basis, does she agree that it is important that the new body concentrates on trying to provide as much face-to-face active support and guidance as possible, and does not...
Steve McCabe: As well as helping rural areas, what is the Minister going to do for places such as Birmingham? How will he respond to the council’s request for additional assistance with the provision of new homes, essential maintenance on existing properties and the discharge of statutory obligations, such as health and safety and annual gas inspections?