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John Barrett: What his most recent assessment is of the state of the economy in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
John Barrett: The Minister and the Secretary of State will be aware that, in the past two years, 466 Scottish companies have been shut down by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for not paying their bills on time. Currently, many solvent companies in Scotland are being pushed towards liquidation because of HMRC's actions. Will they have a word with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to get him to take the heat...
John Barrett: One issue that is raised repeatedly by hon. Members on both sides of the House is the inability of parents who care for disabled children to find child care. That makes it difficult for parents to obtain employment, and flexibility from employers is needed. The parent could be able-bodied, but the problems of child care and flexible working arrangements can be a barrier to employment and...
John Barrett: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. Does he agree that it is not just a question of what the Government can do and about Government policy; it is also about what employers must do? Many major employers to whom I have spoken in my constituency would go that extra mile to help employees who develop a disability to continue at work, but they do not take that extra care or...
John Barrett: I thank the right hon. Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (Mr. Clarke) for securing the debate and making a detailed and thoughtful contribution. He listed several groups, organisations and individuals, including the current Minister and his predecessors, who have made a significant contribution-I will not name them all today, but they know who they are.
John Barrett: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. I will touch on another Scottish problem that he mentioned-the ring-fencing of funds-because he was disappointed, as was I, when money allocated to the Scottish Government to be spent on those living with disabilities was not spent on that intended purpose. Living with a disability is not only an issue for the individual concerned; it...
John Barrett: Thankfully, there is very low youth unemployment in my constituency, but I spoke to a large youth conference last weekend and I can tell the Secretary of State that very few young people have any idea of the work that her Department is doing. What will she do to ensure that some of the young people who may unfortunately become unemployed are aware of the work that is going on?
John Barrett: When I was a member of a council group, 50 per cent. of it was male and 50 per cent. female. However, almost none of the women wanted to stand for Parliament, for the reason that my hon. Friend gave.
John Barrett: I welcome the statement; the project will be good for jobs, for the economy and for the environment. Does the Minister agree, however, that high speed rail really comes into its own for longer journeys? Many people travel from central Scotland to London by air at the moment, with 60 per cent. of the flights from Edinburgh airport going to other UK mainland cities.
John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the MP's Parliamentary Business Unit of the Tax Credit Office expects to answer the hon. Member for Edinburgh West's faxed correspondence of 17 December 2009 on his constituent Mrs L A McKinnon.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Edinburgh West of 15 July, 17 September and 14 October 2009 on his constituent Mr. Neil McAlpine and the visa for Analia Hasson.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long on average her Department took to investigate alleged instances of benefit overpayment following the death of the claimant in the last 12 months.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions her Department has had with the Law Society on the number of personal estates that are prevented from winding up because of an ongoing investigation into alleged benefit overpayments by her Department.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department spent on investigating alleged benefit overpayments to claimants in the last 12 months in cases where the claimant had since deceased.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of alleged benefit overpayments her Department investigated on cases where the claimants had since died in each of the last five years.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much money her Department recovered from the estates of recently deceased benefit claimants who had received overpayment of benefit in the last 12 months.
John Barrett: As someone with an airport in the heart of my constituency, I welcome the announcements that the Prime Minister has made today. However, does he share my concern-and is he shocked to hear-that Edinburgh airport, which is very close to his constituency, announced this week that it plans to abolish the post of head of security? Will he contact BAA and the Civil Aviation Authority to find out...
John Barrett: What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the economic benefits to Scotland of proposed high-speed cross-border rail links. The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Jim Murphy): I met the Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the high-speed rail link on 5 November, when he visited Glasgow, North-East.
John Barrett: There is now growing agreement in all parties that the high-speed rail network must serve central Scotland. Does the Secretary of State agree that both Edinburgh and Glasgow must be on that network and that both those cities should work together to that end?
John Barrett: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the matter would be helped along if the DWP were to speak to the Department of Health on the matter? Considering the cost of claims to be a matter exclusively for the DWP would be to look at only part of the picture. Many who go abroad are not using GPs or health workers; they are not using NHS services, which has an impact on the Government's budgeting. The...