Wayne David: Will the Government consider negotiating our continued participation in the Erasmus 2 programme after we have left the European Union?
Wayne David: As my hon. Friend has said, the surplus gets to the heart of the issue. Does he accept that the surplus the Government have received is far in excess of their own expectations for what could have happened?
Wayne David: But the very fact that there is no timetable surely gives weight to the argument that what we are seeing here is a crude power grab.
Wayne David: Sharon Jones is a constituent who had a malignant brain tumour removed some 20 years ago, leaving her with excruciating headaches and severe pain in her neck and shoulders. Sharon has been in receipt of employment and support allowance, and the Department for Work and Pensions accepts that Sharon is not fit for work. However, she has now been placed in the work-related activity group and her...
Wayne David: Does the Foreign Secretary not recognise that there is a £20 billion to £30 billion black hole in the Ministry of Defence budget? What is the Budget doing about that?
Wayne David: On the day that the Government are launching their industrial strategy, this country is in danger of losing its sovereign defence industrial capability, not least in aerospace. Will the Minister therefore be specific in telling us what efforts she is making to promote additional orders across the world?
Wayne David: What are you doing?
Wayne David: Will the Minister give way?
Wayne David: I thank the Minister for giving way. She has talked about speculation, but will she confirm or deny the press reports that the new Secretary of State for Defence has asked the Treasury for more money?
Wayne David: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Gray. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent North (Ruth Smeeth) on securing this important debate and on her first-rate speech. This is one of the few Westminster Hall debates I can recall in which there has been unanimity—well, virtual unanimity—among contributing Members, a point made well by my hon....
Wayne David: My hon. Friend makes his point well; I agree absolutely. Let us also bear in mind that the marines have recently lost 400 personnel, and it is rumoured that the newly refitted HMS Ocean will be sold to Brazil for a very modest £80 million. That brings us to where we are today. We learned from the press last week that the new Secretary of State for Defence did not believe that the cuts to...
Wayne David: I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent North (Ruth Smeeth) on her opening speech. The debate has been important because of the significance of the defence aerospace industry to this country and to our nation’s defence. I wish to make two points. The second is about the need for a well-thought-out industrial strategy for the sector. First, though, I wish to address...
Wayne David: I very much support what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but does he agree that there is also the issue of adequate resources being allocated to both the Border and Immigration Agency and local authorities to ensure that regulations are properly enforced? That is an issue that we cannot get away from.
Wayne David: Will the Minister give way?
Wayne David: rose—
Wayne David: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker.
Wayne David: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The Minister is being economical with the truth. But what is absolutely outrageous is that the subject under consideration is pay rises for the armed forces, but Ministers have hardly referred to it.
Wayne David: We have had a very good debate today. Members of the House have made excellent contributions, but I do not have time to refer to them—I apologise. It is true to say that our armed forces face enormous problems. They have a huge problem with recruitment and retention and face the scandalous inadequacy of the levels of remuneration for the men and women who are prepared to put their lives...
Wayne David: I am sorry, but time is short. Another huge problem is the levels of pay in the armed forces. As the most recent pay review body report indicates, members of the armed forces “feel their pay is being unfairly constrained in a period when costs are rising, private sector earnings are starting to recover, and the high tempo demands on the Armed Forces have not diminished.”
Wayne David: Time is limited, as the Minister knows. I respectfully ask him to sit down. The Government say that they are introducing flexibility in the future pay regime, but let us be clear. The Armed Forces Pay Review Body stated in its 2017 report that the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury sent it a letter to say that the Government’s policy of pay restraint remained in place. The letter...