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Margaret Ritchie: Tourism is the main catalyst for economic development in South Down, which will have a land border with the EU. How will that burgeoning cross-border tourism trade be nurtured and financially protected in the face of the challenges from Brexit and given that the Republic of Ireland’s VAT rate on tourism is 9% whereas in my constituency it is 20%?
Margaret Ritchie: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that these international students add to the scholarly, research and investigative processes undertaken by universities in terms of academic freedom and the richness of our society?
Margaret Ritchie: The hon. Lady will be well aware that Northern Ireland, where both education and higher education are devolved, does not have any political authority at the moment due to the lack of political institutions being up and running. That is particularly damaging for us, with Brexit looming, because our universities rely on EU migrants both for their teaching and student populations. Does she agree...
Margaret Ritchie: My hon. Friend is making compelling points. In Northern Ireland there are two universities, Queen’s University, Belfast and the Ulster University. They both rely on Erasmus and European social funds to develop cross-border educational research programmes with higher education institutions in the Republic of Ireland. The impact of Brexit in the context of this debate is therefore...
Margaret Ritchie: The hon. Lady is making a compelling case. Does she agree that Trading Standards should also look at Whirlpool’s delay in dealing with repair requests? People should not have to wait an inordinate time suffering a great deal of worry and concern.
Margaret Ritchie: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that regulation is an issue? A series of recent product safety issues have brought into sharp focus the need for proper regulation and enforcement. Does he agree that the Government should focus their attention on that issue, too?
Margaret Ritchie: I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this very important debate on an issue that has had an impact on the lives of many people throughout Britain and also in Northern Ireland. Does he agree that Trading Standards must be forced to do a lot more in relation to this issue, and that currently there is a serious gap between faults that manufacturers and suppliers of electrical goods know...
Margaret Ritchie: The fishing industry in my constituency is an important part of the food-processing sector. As part of the discussions with EU ministerial counterparts, what efforts will be made to ensure that there is no border in the Irish sea, thereby permitting fishermen to fish in both parts, as they currently can?
Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions his Department has had with the Northern Ireland Department of Communities on the potential implications for training and recruitment of staff to assess exemption claims related to the Child Tax Credit (Amendment) Regulations 2017.
Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions have taken place with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine on the recruitment of medical consultants for hospitals in (a) England and (b) the devolved regions.
Margaret Ritchie: As someone who was born, reared and educated in Downpatrick, I can say clearly to the Minister that Downpatrick’s was one of the first councils—this was back in 1973—to introduce and participate in a power-sharing arrangement at local government level, and that became the pioneer arrangement for the rest of Northern Ireland. Having talked to those pupils in Down High, and having met the...
Margaret Ritchie: I well remember that morning of 9 April 1990. It was 7.30 in the morning at the office—at that stage, I worked for my predecessor, the late Eddie McGrady—when we got a phone call from the BBC about what had happened. Our shock, our revulsion and our opposition was made quite clear on that day and on those following. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, on a Sunday afternoon some two and a...
Margaret Ritchie: I thank the hon. Gentleman for very kindly giving way again. I say this ever so gently: would he and his colleagues agree that there is now a need for a resolution to the political talks process? One of the issues relates to legacy. I know that we perhaps come from different perspectives, but we all understand that many people lost their lives in very difficult and tragic circumstances. Does...
Margaret Ritchie: I congratulate the hon. Lady on securing this very important debate. Is she aware that in Northern Ireland, 40 members of staff in the Department for Communities who deal with child maintenance are apparently to be laid off? The Department will find itself without experienced staff when it should be ensuring that money goes from absent parents to the children who urgently require it.
Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what discussions his Department has had with landlords on the adequacy of smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations in the private rented sector.
Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to meet with the (a) National Landlords Association and (b) Scottish Association of Landlords to discuss the effectiveness of the carbon monoxide alarm regulation ahead of the planned review in October 2017.
Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making it compulsory for landlords to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in properties with any fuel burning appliance to improve safety for tenants.
Margaret Ritchie: With particular reference to that, does the Minister recognise the additional disadvantage faced by the tourism industry in Northern Ireland, particularly in border constituencies such as mine, given that the VAT rate on tourism in the Republic of Ireland sits at 9% and ours sits at 20%?
Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure better protection of third party sales of puppies; and if she will make a statement.
Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of regulating the use of static pulse, sonic and spray collars on dogs.