Mark Spencer: I congratulate the Minister on all that she has done to encourage competition, which helps consumers to get a price that is better for them. That is in stark contrast to Opposition Members who often scaremonger about capacity markets driving prices up and scare my constituents into worrying about whether they can pay their bills.
Mark Spencer: Will the Secretary of State update the House on what she is doing to bring economic empowerment to women, especially in the world’s poorest countries?
Mark Spencer: Will the Department update the House on the progress being made in increasing the number of cadet units in state schools so that more young people can benefit from the skills and experiences of those cadet units?
Mark Spencer: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Mark Spencer: I am grateful to the shadow Secretary of State for giving way. He talks about how strong the feelings are on the Government Benches and how much compassion there is around the issue of trying to get disabled people into work, but it is worth noting that the number of Government Members here to discuss the matter is more than double the number of Opposition Members. The number of Back Benchers...
Mark Spencer: If my constituents in the coalfields of Nottinghamshire are to share in the economic success driven by this Government, they need access to employment via good-quality public services. Can the Prime Minister give me any assistance in my campaign to open up the Robin Hood line by extending it to the villages of Ollerton and Edwinstowe, so that we can get people on a train and to a job?
Mark Spencer: I know that the Secretary of State and the Business Minister will do all they can to secure as many jobs as possible and to make sure that the pension scheme pays out to as many as possible, but will he assure us that whatever deal is done, it will be sustainable and we will not be back here in two years’ time facing the same challenges in the steel industry?
Mark Spencer: Will the Secretary of State give way?
Mark Spencer: I am grateful to the Secretary of State. Does he recognise that one of the barriers to gaining employment is sometimes the infrastructure needed to get from where one lives to where one wants to work? In that vein, does he recall standing on the platform at the former Edwinstowe railway station, and will he bring forward plans to fund the extension of the Robin Hood line in the very near future?
Mark Spencer: I congratulate the Secretary of State on putting patients first, but does he recognise that there are still people out there whose operations were cancelled due to industrial action? Will he look to the future and consider whether front-line medical staff should have the right to strike and so put people’s health on the backburner or postpone their medical care?
Mark Spencer: What assistance and education can the Minister give parents who are deciding whether to take their children out of school? It seems that a minority of parents are making the wrong decision, so can he supply them with any more information on the impact of removing those children from school at the time they choose?
Mark Spencer: On the frontline of the security of this nation are our armed police officers, who are often put in very dangerous circumstances and have to make a decision in a split second. If they are forced to make that decision, they then face months of scrutiny over whether that decision, taken in a split second, was right or wrong. Can we have a debate on the process of analysing those decisions and...
Mark Spencer: Will the Prime Minister give way?
Mark Spencer: Can the Prime Minister assure that House that, whatever someone’s background and wherever they were born, if they have aspirations they will be given not only the inspiration to succeed but the education to allow them to get to where they want to be?
Mark Spencer: rose—
Mark Spencer: Whether the Church Commissioners have made an assessment of the effect of the apprenticeship levy on the Church of England.
Mark Spencer: May I push my right hon. Friend to expand a little more on that unusual position? Clearly, those office holders are not employees. How does that affect their situation?
Mark Spencer: Welcome to the Chair, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am glad that your first act has been to call me to speak. It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Scunthorpe (Nic Dakin), for whom I have a great deal of respect. He always speaks with credibility and from experience. I am more than happy to acknowledge that there are many colleagues in the House with more experience than I have of working in...
Mark Spencer: Does this not demonstrate the Minister’s point? We have a choice: we either inspire people to aspire and give them the opportunity to enter the NHS by talking it up, or we take the opposite view, talk the NHS down by being negative, and put people off.
Mark Spencer: I trust the Minister recognises that it is the administrator who is in charge of this whole situation. Will she encourage the administrator to look forward, not back, and will she ensure that the administrator understands that the best way in which to protect people’s pensions and jobs—and the creditors—is to find a credible buyer for the group?