Kevan Jones: I welcome the Bill, which is also warmly welcomed in my constituency, certainly among the poorest members of the community. It builds on the work done since 1997 and underlines the key themes of our Government: to support families, to make work pay and get people into work and, vitally for communities such as mine, to tackle the scourge of child poverty. The Bill builds on measures that have...
Kevan Jones: I accept my hon. Friend's point, but the two approaches should go side by side. We need to get people out of a spiral. In some villages in my constituency, people's hope has gone and, even if high-tech jobs came to the area, they would not be ready for them. They do not have the skills and they have lost the culture of work. The important point about the Bill is that it will get people back...
Kevan Jones: The Conservatives may be abstaining tonight because the measures in the Bill are popular with the public and they do not want to admit that a Labour Government have brought in policies that are popular with the public. Those policies are why the Labour Government were returned in June.
Kevan Jones: The hon. Gentleman has now been on his feet for 23 minutes, outlining what is wrong with the Bill. When will he give the House his alternatives to the Bill's proposals?
Kevan Jones: If he will make a statement on the impact of the new deal for lone parents in the north-east.
Kevan Jones: My hon. Friend's answer will be very welcome in the north-east, but is he aware of the concern felt by organisations such as the Derwentside citizens advice bureau in Stanley, in my constituency? The CAB has complained that the scheme is not well advertised, and that therefore people are failing to take it up locally. Will my hon. Friend assure me that it will be better advertised locally, so...
Kevan Jones: The process was clearly inefficient in my region, because even though I was elected in June the commission wrote to my predecessor, Giles Radice. I had to point out that I was now the Member of Parliament. Clearly, the commission does not keep on top of who are the Members of Parliament in the northern region.
Kevan Jones: That is not included in the procedures that have been laid down, and it is new to me. Mr. Earley has not been offered that option.
Kevan Jones: I accept my hon. Friend's point. However, if we are looking for new people to come into the NHS and into the appointments system, which is what the commission was set up to do, and if we are limiting such people to those who know Dr. Marshall and others who move in certain social circles, we shall not get new blood, which is what the process was set up to achieve.
Kevan Jones: I am pleased to have an opportunity to raise my concerns about the procedure followed by the NHS Appointments Commission in appointing the chair of the North Durham Health Care NHS trust. I do not intend in this debate to raise concerns about the operation of the hospital, nor to criticise personally the new chair of the trust, Ms Angela Ballatti. I intend to concentrate on the clear faults...
Kevan Jones: Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that he is a member of a political party that has taken the major steps over the past 30 years to get to where we are today? Does he now suggest that his party has been wrong for the past 30 years and is he calling for withdrawal from Europe?
Kevan Jones: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Kevan Jones: What assistance is being given to local sports clubs in the north-east.
Kevan Jones: I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply which, I know, will be welcomed in the north-east. However, I wish to raise the plight of the Hermitage school in Chester-le-Street in my constituency. A month ago, its community sports facilities were ravaged by fire, and it is in the process of making a sports lottery bid. However, it has been told by Sport England that it cannot use £0.5...
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what changes in board membership there have been in each of the regional development agencies in the last 12 months.
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons Mr. Hugh Morgan Williams has been removed from the board of One North East; and if a representative of the North East CBI is to be appointed in his place.
Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to change the departmental expenditure limits for 2001–02.
Kevan Jones: We are proud of it.
Kevan Jones: Which regulations does the hon. Gentleman consider appropriate, and which does he consider inappropriate?
Kevan Jones: I declare an interest as a member of the GMB trade union and also as one of its senior officers for 12 years. I, too, welcome the Bill. It builds on some of the basic rights at work that were introduced post-1997, many of which were opposed by the Conservative party. Those rights have been popular with the public since their introduction. The contributions of Conservative Members show their...