Nigel Mills: I thank the Chancellor for his statement. Does he agree that our financial system should also be the cleanest in the world and free from dirty criminal and corrupt money? Would he look further at the failure to prevent economic crime across our financial sector?
Nigel Mills: The Leader of the House may have seen the sad news this morning that hundreds of Argos stores will close, including the one in Alfreton in my constituency, which is a terrible blow for the employees and for the high street. Could he find time for a debate on how we can reinvigorate our high streets once this covid crisis is over?
Nigel Mills: It is a pleasure to speak in the debate on this excellent Bill, and I think that I echo most of the remarks we have heard so far by saying that there is nothing in the Bill really to oppose. It leaves most of us looking for things we would like to add to the Bill, rather than being upset with anything that is already in it. Much as the Opposition spokesman said, there are some key challenges...
Nigel Mills: I am grateful to the Minister—perhaps he will submit my views to those consultations. This is about a behaviour change. It is not enough for us to just put rules in place; we need such behaviours to become the norm for large pension schemes that are investing huge amounts. That needs to be part of the behaviour; otherwise, we will have yet another report that gathers dust and that nobody...
Nigel Mills: Does the Minister agree that the responsibility for pension scheme trustees goes further than just reporting having a strategy? Once they have invested, they need to engage and to monitor their investments to ensure they actually comply with their obligations to try to drive through that performance change.
Nigel Mills: May I return to the sectors that are effectively closed by the lockdown rules? Will my right hon. Friend ensure that when the Chancellor is looking at what support he can give, he thinks about companies in the supply chains to those sectors, which have lost all their orders but so far have not had the benefit of some of the help, such as the business rate reliefs?
Nigel Mills: The residents of Amber Valley were relieved yesterday when a proposal for a 1,000-strong festival was finally withdrawn, because it had become clear that the council did not have the power to resist it despite the ongoing public health crisis. Will the Prime Minister ensure that, while covid restrictions remain in place, councils can resist such festivals in the interest of public health?
Nigel Mills: What steps his Department is taking to close the attainment gap between students from disadvantaged and affluent areas.
Nigel Mills: Does the Secretary of State agree that the key to tackling this issue is to start early? Will he commend the role of nursery schools in that provision, and can he find a way to give them a long-term sustainable funding settlement so that they can plan for the future?
Nigel Mills: Does the Secretary of State agree that achieving the biggest ever flu vaccine programme will need local GPs and pharmacies to work together, not compete for revenue, so can he find a way of incentivising such working together, not fighting for every jab?
Nigel Mills: Many of my constituents are a little confused about where they will have to wear masks in public places from next week. Could the Secretary of State just confirm once and for all: if they go to fetch a takeaway, will they have to wear a mask?
Nigel Mills: My constituents are starting to get a little impatient that some key public services are not reopening and there is no set date for them to do so—for example, for interviews for new passports. Could the Leader of the House find time for a statement before the recess so we can have a road map of when everything will reopen, as long as the virus stays under control?
Nigel Mills: Is there more that we can do to help dental practices that are struggling with the need to see fewer patients and with increased costs to provide all the PPE? Many local dental practices are telling me that they will struggle to survive until they get back to normal volumes if they cannot get some help with the increased costs.
Nigel Mills: Is there any merit in having another look at the timing of assessment periods, such as having them generally fixed to the end of the month to remove some of the issues that seem to keep arising?
Nigel Mills: Will the Leader of the House find time for a debate on procurement practices across the public sector, so that we can ensure that the businesses across the country that stepped up and provided the personal protective equipment we needed have a fair chance to bid for longer-term contracts?
Nigel Mills: The last round of talks finished with Michel Barnier waving around the declaration from last year. Does the Minister agree that he should wave it towards EU leaders and ask them to refine his mandate so that he has more chance of making a deal on state aid and fishing?
Nigel Mills: Does the Prime Minister agree that one of the areas of his missionary zeal for this Department should be tackling corruption? If we could make progress there, it would help the stability of regimes around the world.
Nigel Mills: I thank the Chancellor for his announcement today, which is exactly what Amber Valley businesses have been asking for. Is there any way he can allow them to bring back some employees part-time, earlier than his extension, so that they can perhaps reopen their businesses next month rather than having to wait until a later date?
Nigel Mills: What steps he is taking to repatriate British nationals stranded overseas as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
Nigel Mills: I commend my right hon. Friend’s Department for the efforts made to get people home, but can he update the House on progress in getting passengers and crew stranded on cruise ships home?