Nigel Mills: It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson). I also give credit to her husband’s work at Transparency International. I think he came up with the phrase that, as we leave the European Union, we should be “a beacon, not a buccaneer”. That is the spirit in which I approach the Bill: we should look to set the highest standards for transparency and...
Nigel Mills: Where assets have been frozen—for example, in the case of Libya and its support for the IRA—does the Secretary of State see any scope for a licence to allow that money to be used to help the victims of such outrageous crimes?
Nigel Mills: Will the Secretary of State set out what role, if any, the smaller parties played in the talks last week?
Nigel Mills: Can the Minister confirm the Government’s plan in relation to employers’ national insurance contributions, to ensure that the tax system is not incentivising unscrupulous businesses to pretend that their employees are self-employed?
Nigel Mills: What steps her Department is taking to facilitate the restoration of devolved government.
Nigel Mills: Will the Secretary of State set a deadline for the talks so that the people of Northern Ireland know when they will have some government back, either in Northern Ireland or via direct rule from here?
Nigel Mills: Would it be helpful to create a specific phone number that affected claimants or their advisers could contact to suggest that they think they ought to have a change of decision, rather than requiring them to wait while the Department searches through 1.6 million records to try and find them?
Nigel Mills: What progress he has made on reducing the level of corporate tax evasion and the tax gap.
Nigel Mills: Does the Minister agree that an international approach is needed to really tackle tax evasion by big multinational companies? Will he therefore say whether the interesting ideas on which he has consulted since the Budget have found favour in his discussions with the OECD and may be adopted on a more international basis?
Nigel Mills: What steps the Government are taking to ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises can access opportunities to secure Government contracts.
Nigel Mills: I thank the Minister for that answer and welcome him to his position. He will know that many small businesses are put off trying to get contracts by the amount of information they need to supply and the bureaucracy they have to go through. What more can the Government do to reduce that bureaucracy and amount of information?
Nigel Mills: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Nigel Mills: I was just trying to help my hon. Friend. The answer is in clause 32(10), which states that the Order in Council cannot happen unless this House has approved the order first.
Nigel Mills: It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Gareth Snell). I concur with many of his remarks on the ceramics industry, although I am the MP for Denby Pottery, so we may have a slight disagreement on the premier manufacturer of such products. Perhaps we should move swiftly on. I welcome this important Bill. It is absolutely right that the Government have brought it...
Nigel Mills: My right hon. Friend said that the Treasury might be inclined to be generous to businesses that had their cashflow disadvantaged by this change. Would he perhaps be less generous to large businesses that wholly disadvantage their small UK suppliers by forcing them to accept 120-day payment terms, thus effectively putting many out of business? It would be rather generous to let such businesses...
Nigel Mills: I welcome the progress made last week. Will the Prime Minister confirm that an ongoing role for the ECJ for eight years does not mean that EU nationals in the UK will have greater rights than UK nationals?
Nigel Mills: What comparative assessment he has made of the operating costs of the National Audit Office and auditing bodies in other countries.
Nigel Mills: I am grateful for that answer. I have no doubt about the great work that the NAO does as our spending watchdog, but what more can my hon. Friend do to be assured that it is cost-effective itself?
Nigel Mills: What progress he has made on devolving decision making to local communities in (a) Derbyshire and (b) the east midlands.
Nigel Mills: After the failure of the earlier devolution proposals, can the Minister confirm that the Government are still interested in further proposals coming from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, perhaps along the lines of the Derby and Nottingham metro proposal published a couple of weeks ago? Can he also confirm that there is now no requirement for an elected mayor?