Julian Knight: What steps he is taking to support economic growth while decreasing emissions.
Julian Knight: As we rightly move towards eliminating the internal combustion engine in all new cars from 2040, does the Minister agree that, in the short to medium term, it is important to jobs and growth that we recognise the role of clean diesel engines such as those in the cars that roll off the production in my local car plant?
Julian Knight: My constituents are extremely concerned by the Labour police and crime commissioner’s proposals to close Solihull police station. This will leave my constituency without a single proper police base following the earlier closure of Shirley police station. It will mean 209,000 people in a borough without a police station. Crime is one of the issues that local residents most often raise...
Julian Knight: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for her knowledge in this area; in fact, I think she was a TV star in the horticultural sphere for a short time. Is it not true that the changes in the Bill will make it much easier for plant nurseries to grow and be productive?
Julian Knight: I do not think that my hon. Friend is digressing at all. In fact, she has made a germane point in mentioning the 300,000 people who work in the industry. Does she agree that if we can get people to plant more and get them really interested in horticulture in ways such as this, we could get a great deal closer to self-sufficiency, not only in food but in plants?
Julian Knight: rose—
Julian Knight: While the hon. Gentleman is being so generous and giving such fulsome praise, will he also be generous in recognising that the Government and the coalition Government raised the personal allowance to such an extent that the very lowest incomes have risen considerably?
Julian Knight: It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Owen. I congratulate the hon. Member for Glasgow South West (Chris Stephens) on securing this important debate. Let us first get something straight about the British civil service in devolved Administrations and in England and Wales. According to the international civil service effectiveness index, this country is fortunate to have...
Julian Knight: I will give way, although I am conscious of the time.
Julian Knight: My hon. Friend makes a fair point, but it is right and proper that the Government now take into due consideration the independent pay review bodies so that the 1% cap is dispensed with over time. However, I take my hon. Friend’s point in its entirety.
Julian Knight: I am really conscious of the time. I apologise. Not only must the public sector modernise to keep pace with the evolving needs and expectations of modern Britons but it is absolutely essential that the civil service is equipped to take on the new responsibilities that will fall to the Government as we exit the European Union. It is worth remembering that the pay freeze has allowed public...
Julian Knight: My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. Is the situation he describes not exacerbated by pensions differences? The fact is that the pensions of public sector workers are far more valuable than those in the private sector.
Julian Knight: I support the statement and the Secretary of State’s careful, consultative approach. Birmingham airport, which is on the border of my constituency, currently runs well under capacity—by about 30% to 40%. Does he believe that this announcement will improve that situation over time, and if so, how?
Julian Knight: The Secretary of State touches on a point that is very pertinent in my constituency. I met a former police officer who had an NHS operation on his hip. The operation went wrong, so the local NHS trust paid privately for the officer to have the operation done correctly. Does that not show that at times it can be a very good thing to involve the private sector? The key is that the NHS is free...
Julian Knight: rose—
Julian Knight: I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way; he is being most generous. He is forensically taking apart the Opposition’s case. Was he struck, as I was, by the fact that the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Andy McDonald) did not even mention the cost of renationalisation? Across the board, the renationalisation of the utilities and the railways would cost more than £170 billion, and...
Julian Knight: What steps his Department is taking to ensure that public broadcasters reflect and provide for the whole of the UK.
Julian Knight: Although I thank the Secretary of State for his leadership on Channel 4, does he agree that chronic under-investment in the west midlands by the likes of the BBC is a grave injustice and that the 5.5 million people in the west midlands deserve a better deal?
Julian Knight: My wife was a renal nurse for 15 years, and she says that one of the key changes that happened in her time as a nurse was the university-fication of the nursing profession. Does my right hon. Friend agree that having this diverse route is a much better way to do things and brings in people from all backgrounds?
Julian Knight: Picking up on the point about those conventional vehicles, although I share my hon. Friend’s enthusiasm for electric vehicles and know the importance of reaching the 2040 target, we need to bear in mind the 170,000 jobs in car making in this country. In the medium term, clean diesel—which is less polluting than petrol—should be part of the strategy as we go forward.