Stephen McPartland: What progress has been made on converting primary schools into academies.
Stephen McPartland: Herts for Learning is the only local authority-controlled multi-academy trust in the country. Records at Companies House demonstrate that the local authority has more than 25% of shares in it and is an organisation of significant control. It has been converting primary schools in my area since September. Will the Secretary of State clarify the Government’s position with regard to local...
Stephen McPartland: Is my hon. Friend aware that the total tax take from banks now is 6% higher than it was in the year before the financial crash?
Stephen McPartland: Does my hon. Friend remember the City Minister, Ed Balls, saying in 2006 that nothing could endanger the light-touch regulation of the banking system?
Stephen McPartland: I thank my right hon. Friend for the flexibility he has shown in the budget in terms of the changes to universal credit. Will he continue with the dialogue and the flexibility as the roll-out continues?
Stephen McPartland: What recent steps he has taken to increase the size of the mental health workforce.
Stephen McPartland: On World Mental Health Day, I congratulate the Secretary of State on the work he has done, especially for children. We have had 42% more children receiving care for eating disorders and over 21,000 more children have received access to mental health provision. What targets does the Secretary of State have to help to improve such provision?
Stephen McPartland: Whether he has plans to reduce the taper rate for universal credit claimants.
Stephen McPartland: A taper rate of 63p in the pound is, in effect, a tax rate of 63% on net income. Surely the Minister accepts that that is a punitive rate and a barrier to work.
Stephen McPartland: The higher rate of tax is 45% on gross income and the effective rate of tax on universal credit claimants is 63%. How can the Minister justify that?
Stephen McPartland: Will the Minister confirm whether the Government agree with local government-controlled multi-academy trusts?
Stephen McPartland: What steps he is taking to improve productivity.
Stephen McPartland: With the average worker spending 23% of their day on email, what assessment have the Government made of how the increasing reliance on email is stalling productivity?
Stephen McPartland: I do not always agree with the Government on welfare, but I do believe that the assessments have been improving. My concern is that the situation surrounding the 50-page application form, with which people are struggling, is not improving. People’s access to assessments—they can be put in taxis for up to an hour—is also a growing problem.
Stephen McPartland: I am chairman of the all-party group on literacy. Today, with the National Literacy Trust, we are announcing figures showing that 86% of all English constituencies have at least one ward with significant literacy problems. Does the Minister agree that people not being able to read and write is not just an economic issue, but one of social justice?
Stephen McPartland: I beg to move, That this House has considered car parking charges and Stevenage town centre. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Edward. I am grateful that the Minister is present to respond to this debate, which is important both for my constituents in Stevenage and nationally. It is clear that excessive parking charges have been a major factor in the destruction of many...
Stephen McPartland: That is an excellent intervention. I would be happy to support my hon. Friend’s private Member’s Bill. Will the Minister clarify whether a local authority’s revenue surplus from off-street car parking may be used for general purposes, or is it restricted in the same manner as an on-street parking revenue surplus? Will he agree to review off-street parking revenues in areas...
Stephen McPartland: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Crausby. I would like to put on the record my thanks to the Petitions Committee for kindly allowing this debate to take place, and to my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton South (David Mackintosh) for leading it and starting us off today. I also thank the “Finn’s Law” campaign team, who have helped to mobilise public...
Stephen McPartland: I agree with my hon. Friend. I understand that in 2015, France stopped treating animals as movable property and now refers to them as living beings. Perhaps that is something we can consider going forward. I understand that there is nervousness about providing police dogs and horses with the same rights as police officers, as the petition states. We need to be talking about simply treating...
Stephen McPartland: I agree with the hon. Lady, but as my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Gareth Johnson) said, a monetary value is placed on the damage. It has to be shown to be worth £5,000, so even with a police officer’s body camera, it would have to be demonstrated that the kicking and punching caused £5,000-worth of damage for the case to be eligible to go to Crown court to seek the...