Ann McKechin: I welcome the comments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Blyth Valley (Mr Campbell), who recommended a precautionary approach to the proposed changes to pensions. They are huge changes with many unanswered questions. At the weekend, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury was quoted in the papers as saying that intuitively he did not foresee undue harm to the public purse. Rather than his...
Ann McKechin: I welcome the fact that we will have a proper consultation. The depth of it, and the analysis that will be required before people can provide their opinion, will also be vital. I also expect draft legislation to be put before the Work and Pensions Committee to be considered line by line in close detail. While the Budget focused on pensions, many significant challenges were either ignored...
Ann McKechin: Will the Minister explain what assessment has been made of Government procurement contracts in relation to zero-hours contracts and how we can encourage best practice?
Ann McKechin: If his Department will make an assessment of the main causes of insecurity in the workplace.
Ann McKechin: The Minister will be aware that research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows that approximately 1 million people in this country are currently employed on zero-hours contracts. We know that many of these are exploitative, so will the Minister confirm whether the Government will use the opportunity of the forthcoming Queen’s Speech to legislate to end the misery...
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how his Department is helping small and medium-sized enterprises increase the number of countries to which they export.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the creation of industry councils based on the model of the Automotive Council for each of the industrial strategy sectors identified by his Department.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff in his Department have been part of an (a) inward and (b) outward secondment to businesses or other industry groups in each of the last three years.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps he has taken to increase exports in the construction sector.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many meetings he has had with UK construction industry executives in each of the last three years.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to increase innovation in the construction sector.
Ann McKechin: What steps she is taking to engage with local political leaders on reaching agreement to enable the National Crime Agency to operate in Northern Ireland.
Ann McKechin: I thank the Secretary of State for her reply, but she will be aware of the concerns about the issue of human trafficking, which is a problem across the United Kingdom, including trafficking from Northern Ireland into Scotland. Can she confirm that despite the fact that the National Crime Agency is not yet operating in Northern Ireland, the PSNI does have the full resources to enable it to...
Ann McKechin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the value of the UK construction industry was in each of the last three years.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate his Department has made of the value of ISA financial products held by people living in (a) Scotland and (b) the rest of the UK; (2) what estimate his Department has made of the value of ISA products issued by UK companies registered in (a) Scotland and (b) other parts of the UK in each of the last 10 years.
Ann McKechin: My hon. Friend will be aware that the Scottish Government said that universities in Scotland will be better off under separation, but the EU education commissioner has confirmed today that their proposed policy on tuition fees for students in the rest of the United Kingdom is illegal. Does my hon. Friend believe that yet again they have been proven unsuccessful?
Ann McKechin: I congratulate my hon. Friend on the debate. He will be aware that the Deputy First Minister has indicated in the broadcast media today that the Scottish Government are now minded to default on their debt in the event of a yes vote. Can my hon. Friend give any indication of what he thinks the interest rates would be on our residents’ mortgages or on debts and savings if such a scenario occurred?
Ann McKechin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the total value of deposits held by financial institutions registered in Scotland which are covered by the current Financial Services Compensation Scheme; (2) what estimate he has made of the total value of deposits held by UK residents which are covered financially by the current Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Ann McKechin: Does my hon. Friend share my surprise that a Government who have the power to introduce further provisions for child care should decide that they will deal with that only if and when they get the right result in the referendum?
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the number of people in Scotland currently employed on zero-hours contracts.