Stephen Hammond: It is a great pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Morecambe and Lunesdale (David Morris), who is the chairman of the parliamentary space committee. When I listened to the opening remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), who said that my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford) had tiptoed into the debate, I realised that I was...
Stephen Hammond: The ability to communicate is clearly key to our national, economic and security interests. Will the Minister say exactly what plans he has to protect those on the basis of the new threat posed by Russia to undersea communications and internet cables?
Stephen Hammond: As a London MP, may I start by paying tribute to the officers who do an extraordinary job of keeping us safe in London? The Minister will know that, since 2015, the Met has received £2.5 billion of direct funding. There is more funding for London in today’s settlement, there is the opportunity to raise £43 million and there is an extra £50 million going into...
Stephen Hammond: As a London MP, I know that other hospitals that have faced challenging situations have put in place improvement plans and met the targets set by NHSI. If the regulator had not acted yesterday, would it not have been letting down other London hospitals and my constituents?
Stephen Hammond: What steps he is taking to support growth in the small business sector.
Stephen Hammond: My hon. Friend the Minister will know that many local authorities have reliefs, including small business relief, which they could use. Unfortunately, not all local authorities are using them. Will my hon. Friend say what the Government could do to encourage local authorities to use those reliefs so that all small businesses benefit?
Stephen Hammond: My right hon. Friend will of course know that the UK has a large surplus in services with the EU. Does he agree that, for the continued success of legal, professional and financial services post Brexit, not only mutual recognition, but UK-wide regulatory alignment with the EU will be necessary?
Stephen Hammond: Local authorities have a key role in combating extremism. Can the Home Secretary say exactly what the Government plan to do further to support local authorities to ensure that they can undertake this role?
Stephen Hammond: I particularly welcome the document that came out yesterday and the point it makes about regional rail partnerships, which many experts agree are the answer for driving passenger satisfaction and value for money. They should be the first stage towards vertically integrated companies. Will the Minister confirm that that might be the final destination for those partnerships?
Stephen Hammond: Along with many other Londoners, my constituents are concerned about the number of promises the Mayor appears to be breaking on transport infrastructure. Will my right hon. Friend confirm exactly what the Mayor now needs to do to progress Crossrail 2 so it does not become another one of his broken promises?
Stephen Hammond: It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Harrow West (Gareth Thomas). I certainly agree with his remarks about the role of co-operatives in financial services and other parts of our economy. In fact, he and I have spoken about that previously. The Chancellor said that this was a Budget “fit for the future”. In many ways, all Budgets are fit for the future because it is the...
Stephen Hammond: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. That is an infrastructure problem, however, and I hope he will have noted a number of announcements on infrastructure today, including the fact that the roll-out of broadband is being accelerated. I absolutely agree that there is a massive problem, and I am very pleased that those on the Government Front Bench are doing something about it. At...
Stephen Hammond: Does my right hon. Friend agree that the right revised offer to the EU, far from throwing money away, will be worthwhile to secure the UK’s future trade relationship with our European neighbours?
Stephen Hammond: What recent steps she has taken to reduce the level of knife crime.
Stephen Hammond: On behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends, I congratulate the Minister on her appointment. I thank her for her answer; she responded to the pressure well. Does she agree that it is a concern that, under the current Mayor, knife crime in London has risen in the past year? Does she also agree that the decision to close Wimbledon police station is clearly wrong-headed in that regard?
Stephen Hammond: Like my hon. Friend, I am keen to see that one of our major industries is preserved. Is not the overwhelming merit of his amendments 357 and 358 that they would preserve the Government’s ability to modify the regulations but give certainty on day one because they would deliver a functioning set of rules that could be on the statute book and would therefore take into account some of the...
Stephen Hammond: Is not the overwhelming advantage of this rule not that it would put any legal constraints on an authority but that it would allow flexibility to co-operate, making it more likely that we would achieve an equivalent regulatory solution more quickly?
Stephen Hammond: The Government have helpfully published a number of sectoral post-Brexit plans. May I ask the Leader of the House to ask the Department for Exiting the European Union to publish a plan on financial services—our largest export sector and a big tax earner that employs many people in my constituency?