Alex Chalk: Does my hon. Friend agree that drugs companies need to behave ethically in pricing their vital medicines? While profit itself is not a dirty word, when it comes to cystic fibrosis treatment, profiteering is.
Alex Chalk: I thank the Prime Minister for her calibrated, proportionate and robust response. Will she join me in paying tribute to the brave British intelligence agents who serve our country? In the light of the increasingly violent and erratic approach of the Russian state, does she agree that if there needs to be a reassessment of their personal security here in the UK, that should take place without...
Alex Chalk: Economies move in cycles. Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a moral case for ensuring that our public finances are in a state to help the poorest in society, some of whom live in my constituency, when the next slowdown comes? Does he also agree that the Labour party manifestly failed to take that approach?
Alex Chalk: What steps he has taken to support and engage with businesses affected by the liquidation of Carillion.
Alex Chalk: The Carillion collapse has exposed what can only be described as market abuse by lead contractors, with subcontractors in Cheltenham suffering as a result of the failure to adhere to best practice schemes such as the prompt payment code. What steps are the Government taking to ensure compliance with the schemes and more generally to stamp out market abuse?
Alex Chalk: In considering Russia, we should never forget that, for all its geographical size, Russia’s economy is little more than half that of the UK. In those circumstances, does my right hon. Friend agree that British economic levers are far more potent than some might realise and that we should not hesitate, if the circumstances demand it, to pull them hard?
Alex Chalk: The last official survey in Cheltenham found nine homeless people, each of whom is a living rebuke to us to do more. Will the Secretary of State join me in thanking all the staff at the P3 charity who are ensuring that the £1 million social impact bond provided by central Government is being used to provide one-to-one support?
Alex Chalk: When HMS Queen Elizabeth puts to sea, it will need a fleet of frigates and destroyers to escort and protect it. Will my right hon. Friend reassure the House that the Royal Navy has sufficient vessels to perform that vital task while protecting our shores at home?
Alex Chalk: In the last 15 years, there have been 340 casualties on the notorious A417 near the Air Balloon pub. There have been 148 accidents in the last five years alone. Will my hon. Friend join me in warmly welcoming the landmark of reaching the consultation stage on the shortlisted new roads scheme? Does he agree that, by backing that project, this Government are committed to saving lives on...
Alex Chalk: Will my hon. Friend join me in commending the outstanding compassion and professionalism of the community team and other professionals at the Brownhill Centre in Cheltenham, who provide such a vital lifeline for those suffering with eating disorders?
Alex Chalk: I want to say a few words about the urgent need to support community transport providers. Those fantastic organisations do vital work to reduce loneliness and isolation, yet through no fault of their own they are fearful for the future. Community Connexions in my constituency is a charity with more than 30 years’ experience, and it provides a community transport service throughout...
Alex Chalk: Does my hon. Friend recognise that, since the last Labour Government were in power, youth unemployment has been cut in half? That generates opportunities, the dignity of work, the chance to get on and the chance for women and children to achieve their best in society?
Alex Chalk: Is not it important to see the wood for the trees here? The wood, so to speak, is to show precisely the point that my hon. Friend has indicated—that women on lower wages now do not start paying income tax until they earn £11,500, instead of paying at £6,475 as they did under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and they gain over £1,000 in the process. The suggestion that...
Alex Chalk: Does my right hon. Friend agree that, as well as improving the treatment of adolescent ill health, everything possible needs to be done to prevent crisis from occurring in the first place? Does he agree that we need more research into why we are seeing a surge in Cheltenham and elsewhere in the world, so that clinicians can best tailor their response?
Alex Chalk: It seems clear that Stagecoach miscalculated, overbid and is now paying a £200 million price. Can anything more be done to avoid private sector companies overbidding and setting themselves up to fail, and can those lessons be learned in time for the GWR extension, which will affect my constituents in Cheltenham?
Alex Chalk: As a distinguished barrister, my hon. Friend will know, however, that the difficulty for prosecuting authorities is establishing what those individuals were doing in those foreign fields. Given that we apply the rule of law and believe in justice, that inevitably means that, all too often, under the current system people who were probably doing something will get away with it.
Alex Chalk: I respectfully say that my hon. Friend is absolutely on to something there because, crucially, there is evidence that can be provided to prove the case. The difficulty in so many other cases is that, if we want to uphold our way of life, that means not prosecuting people unless we have sufficient evidence to put them on trial and convict them. Unfortunately, it is very often difficult to...
Alex Chalk: Not yet!
Alex Chalk: Does the Minister agree that competitive rates of interest should be offered to businesses and subcontractors that are affected by the LARC collapse, and that the 8.64% offered to LARC Construction in my constituency is simply too high?
Alex Chalk: In the time available to me, I want to say a few words about a business in my constituency—a subcontractor that has been dealt a hammer blow by Carillion’s collapse—and to make three points. First, I will identify the human impact, which is perhaps taken as read but bears repetition. Secondly, I want to shine a light on the fact that the collapse has exposed market abuse by...