John Barrett: When my right hon. Friend was making his opening speech, I was scoring out paragraphs in mine because he was pre-empting them, and he has just done that again, but I will read it anyway. Many of the poorest people in the world are no longer reliant on good or bad crop yields, but they are now dependent on the market to access food. If someone in this country does not have access to food, we...
John Barrett: The Secretary of State will be aware of the millions of pounds that the scrap metal industry has invested to recycle scrapped cars efficiently, but that industry's certificate of destruction is not acceptable under the Government's new scrappage scheme, so it cannot play its part in increasing the number of cars recycled. Will he or his Ministers meet representatives of the industry to see...
John Barrett: With unemployment at over 2 million, does the Prime Minister agree that one way to create many more jobs and stimulate the economy would be to push forward with the high-speed rail network?
John Barrett: rose—
John Barrett: Does my hon. Friend also agree that if the means-tested assessment of compensation entitlement comes through, the most prudent people will suffer a double whammy because those who have made further provisions will be hit hardest and receive the least?
John Barrett: Does the right hon. Gentleman understand the anger of many of my constituents who have lost so much with Equitable Life about the fact that the Government have gone the extra mile for those who have lost money in the Icelandic banks or the nationalised banks, but they have not given the same treatment to those who have lost often greater amounts through Equitable Life?
John Barrett: May we have a debate on how to ensure that the people elected to this House more accurately reflect the make-up of our society, especially people with disabilities?
John Barrett: There is enthusiasm in all parts of the House for a high-speed rail link, but does the Secretary of State agree that a UK-wide high-speed rail system needs a United Kingdom, and that a separate Scotland would be a hindrance to any future proposals?
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on proposals for a high-speed rail link between London and Scotland.
John Barrett: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the representation of minorities in Parliament; and if she will make a statement.
John Barrett: Many benefit claimants are going to experience real hardship when their payments are moved from weekly to fortnightly in arrears, and they have been told that the answer is to take out a loan to repay the weekly amount. How will this change benefit recipients, rather than just the bureaucrats?
John Barrett: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
John Barrett: The hon. Gentleman clarified the point I was about to make: a reduced staffing level, when the budget is increasing, produces a unique problem, because without outsourcing DFID's functions, it will not be as effective as it would otherwise be.
John Barrett: It is often the individual stories that stick in our memories. Although we speak about millions of children suffering, detailed accounts, such as that given by the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Ms Keeble), are the ones that last, and I thank her for her excellent speech. At a time when swine flu is dominating our television, radio and press news headlines it would be easy to forget the...
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for Women and Equality on equal pay between men and women in Scotland.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been removed from incapacity benefit because they do not have enough points to continue to qualify in the last 12 month period for which figures are available.
John Barrett: Will my hon. Friend give way?
John Barrett: Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the worst abuses has not been covered today, and that is the use of grace and favour homes? Expenses are there to cover additional costs. There are no additional costs for those living in Downing street and they should not be claiming for constituency homes.
John Barrett: Would that mean that, following a general election, it would be the House's responsibility to redeploy those members of staff whose former employers had lost their seats?
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people previously in receipt of incapacity benefit have been transferred to contributions-based jobseeker's allowance in the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available.