Desmond Swayne: The Government take the constitution seriously, so I put it to the Leader of the House that although we are about to have the opportunity to question the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) about his report, a debate in Government time would be helpful because of some aspects of the report. For example, the potential extension of the jurisdiction of an official into what happens in the...
Desmond Swayne: We are about to have another pingdemic as we approach Christmas, to the huge disadvantage of enterprises across the country. It fundamentally undermines the other main effort of the Government, which is to increase vaccinations. One of the advantages of being vaccinated is not having to self-isolate if in the company of someone who is infected. If that is taken away, one of the...
Desmond Swayne: Will the Minister deprecate those public appointees who, notwithstanding the clear proportionate advice of the chief scientific adviser, have been on the airwaves telling people that they should not socialise, to the huge detriment of people’s wellbeing and of an industry struggling to recover from earlier lockdowns?
Desmond Swayne: The case for an amendment—I thank the Minister for his guidance in that respect—on the retirement sector is that it was clearly given an exemption and was assured throughout last year that that exemption would hold, but that exemption was suddenly withdrawn in January this year. Given the time that it takes to change the model and to sell such properties, this is crying out for amendment.
Desmond Swayne: I have had the nub of my argument with my right hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Robert Jenrick), but it comes down to this: the retirement living industry’s business model funds the capital requirement for the communal areas through a flow of future ground rents from the outset. The Minister said that he has given the industry time to change its business model. My answer to that is: if...
Desmond Swayne: Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Desmond Swayne: As I do! It would be quite unlawful for the capital cost of the communal areas in a retirement living community to be paid for through an administration charge, so we come back to the question whether it is in the interests of the purchaser to pay a ground rent or to pay the up-front cost in the purchase price. For a category of elderly people, it may well be in their interests to pay the former.
Desmond Swayne: Does this not give rise to an extraordinary question about the legal advice provided by solicitors to those who made such purchases?
Desmond Swayne: I lobbied for an exemption for the retirement living industry, which was granted and then withdrawn in January this year. Why was that?
Desmond Swayne: That prompts the question of what proposals the Minister may have to enable leaseholders to enforce the purchase of freeholds from such companies. Does he have plans for that?
Desmond Swayne: Never!
Desmond Swayne: Over the last few months there has been a useful control experiment on face coverings, given the different policies pursued in Scotland and England. What estimate has the Secretary of State made of the result? It is mumbo-jumbo, isn’t it?
Desmond Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what targets are in place for the Marine Management Organisation to determine applications from marine enterprises for major investment projects.
Desmond Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what metrics his Department uses to measure the efficiency of the Marine Management Organisation; and what recent assessment he has made of the MMO's performance against those metrics.
Desmond Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) staff were working from home in response to the outbreak of covid-19 as at 24 November 2021; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the level of home working on the effectiveness of the MMO.
Desmond Swayne: When Geoff Hoon announced an exponential increase in the roles for females in the armed forces, I welcomed it from the Opposition Benches, but praying in aid St Bernard of Clairvaux, I pointed out that there would be an administrative overhead to be paid. For that I was rewarded with an early-day motion concerning the disgraceful behaviour of the Member for New Forest West, but given the way...
Desmond Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will update the NHS Covid-19 App with a QR code to enable children between the ages of 12 and 15 to provide evidence of their recent recovery from covid-19 so that they can travel overseas.
Desmond Swayne: Is there a danger that we raise expectations with the Nationality and Borders Bill unless there is an iron will on the part of Ministers to use the powers once they get them? And can my right hon. Friend not just tell the right hon. Member for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds) to make his own way to Calais?
Desmond Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will amend the school system for the recording of pupil absences to distinguish between pupils who are absent due to illness and those pupils who are absent because of a requirement to self-isolate.
Desmond Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the mandatory covid-19 vaccination of frontline NHS staff, which clinician will decide whether a member of staff may receive an authorised exemption from that requirement on the basis of individual medical history.