Siobhain McDonagh: Thank you, Mr Hollobone; it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship. I reassure you that I will not talk for 10 minutes. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Liam Byrne) on securing this particularly important debate and on his mind-blowing speech. I welcome the final report of the Economic Justice Commission and, in particular, its...
Siobhain McDonagh: I congratulate my hon. Friend on her tenacity and determination in taking on this terrible scourge. Is she aware of the exploitation that people face when trying to bury a loved one, with local authorities doubling, tripling or quadrupling burial fees for someone who did not live in the borough at the time of death, even if they own the grave and lived in the borough almost their entire life?
Siobhain McDonagh: Order. I have been generous in my interpretation of what can be said during this debate, but it is about the introduction of universal credit in Liverpool, and I would like us to concentrate on Liverpool.
Siobhain McDonagh: Yours, not mine.
Siobhain McDonagh: Order. Before the hon. Gentleman continues his speech, I should tell him that we are hoping, very shortly, to get to the summing-up speeches.
Siobhain McDonagh: I would like to share with the House how I will be spending my recess. Today is 24 July, and what else would I be doing other than fighting yet another NHS-inspired campaign to close the A&E and the maternity unit at St Helier Hospital? The third week of July is always the time when my local NHS decides that it is a good idea to consult—to consult families who are on holiday,...
Siobhain McDonagh: If he will meet the National Trust to discuss the potential effect on levels of housing need in local authority areas of that trust's proposals to increase rents to market levels on all its housing stock; and if he will make a statement.
Siobhain McDonagh: My constituent, Maria Bentley-Dingwall, has lived in her rented National Trust property for the last 12 years. She pays rent of £850. This is now going to increase to £1,450 per calendar month, which will be considerably in excess of the local housing allowance. As she is a disabled person, when she is eventually evicted for rent arrears, she will become the responsibility of the...
Siobhain McDonagh: In tune with the comments by the Housing Minister during these questions that he thinks that the answer to the housing crisis is to build more homes, can he tell the House whether he will be accepting my amendment to the national planning policy framework to build on ungreen green-belt land within 10 minutes of a London train station?
Siobhain McDonagh: Will the Minister address the issue of pay between assignment contracts?
Siobhain McDonagh: I am completely unaware of what those measures are, because I assure the Minister that at the annual general meeting last week there was a bullish contribution from the chair of the board saying it had done nothing wrong and that it is equalising pay. My concern is that 9,000 of Sainsbury’s most long-standing members of staff will be getting a pay cut from 2020.
Siobhain McDonagh: I start by placing on the record the fact that as of last month I am the owner of a single share in Sainsbury’s. It was my golden ticket to attending its annual general meeting earlier this week—but more about that parallel universe experience later in my speech. First, I turn to fat cat Thursday. By lunchtime on Thursday 4 January, the top chief executives in the UK had earned...
Siobhain McDonagh: I completely agree. The downside of the living wage is that companies have often sought to recoup some of their funds by reducing the conditions of long-standing members of staff. Can the Minister explain how the Government intend to determine correctly the pay ratios of companies that outsource their low-paid roles to look more equal than they actually are, and what mechanisms the Government...
Siobhain McDonagh: Does the Minister agree with Mark Thomson, the director general of UK Visas and Immigration, who said at a recent MPs’ casework meeting that those who pay for premium services but do not get their visas on the same day should have their fees returned to them?
Siobhain McDonagh: Perseid School, in my constituency, is an outstanding special-needs school for those with severe learning difficulties, but it is hard for it to recruit special needs teachers because they were removed from the shortage occupation list in 2013. It has spent thousands trying to get a teacher from Canada. When will special needs teachers be returned to the list?
Siobhain McDonagh: Do any other Back-Bench Members wish to speak?
Siobhain McDonagh: No, Mr Efford, I think you will find you have spoken already. I call Sandy Martin.
Siobhain McDonagh: I call Hilary Benn.
Siobhain McDonagh: Order. Owing to the previous Chair’s great chairing and the great behaviour of all Members, I am unprecedentedly extending the length of speaking time. Members may now speak for five minutes, and if anybody wants to take interventions that will be okay as well. I call Clive Efford.
Siobhain McDonagh: My constituent James Bloodworth spent six months undercover working for some of the UK’s most notorious organisations for insecure work. His book, “Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain”, is an astonishing insight into the day-to-day reality of such workers. Amazon was the worst, James said. He had a zero-hours contract and he even faced a disciplinary for days...