Maria Caulfield: The move to calculate business rates using CPI instead of RPI is reducing bills for many small businesses across the country, but 62 councils are yet to move to CPI despite the Government providing Budget funding. What are the Government doing to ensure that all councils use CPI to calculate their business rates?
Maria Caulfield: With the leave of the House, I thank all hon. Members who have taken part in this debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Wendy Morton) asked about the Bill’s impact on prison governors, but it will actually reduce their workload because responsibility will lie firmly in the hands of the mobile phone operators. Governors have tried hard to keep up with technology,...
Maria Caulfield: My hon. Friend makes an important point. Does she not agree that prison officers work under very stressful conditions and that the Bill would enable them to get rid of the curse of mobile phones in prisons, take the pressure off them and make prisons a safer working environment?
Maria Caulfield: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time. I am sure that many Members have already noticed that the Bill is in not my name, but that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Ms McVey). It is a huge honour to take over the Bill from my right hon. Friend following her recent and richly deserved promotion to the Government. I am very grateful to her for having brought this...
Maria Caulfield: Absolutely. Existing legislation bans mobile phones, so prisoners should not be accessing them to contact their family. That is not to say that contacting and keeping in touch with family members is not important; it is crucial both for inmates’ welfare and to reduce reoffending. The second concern raised previously was about the possibility of interference activity in prisons having a...
Maria Caulfield: I welcome the announcement that the southern and Thameslink franchise will be broken up—it cannot come soon enough for my constituents. Can I ask specifically about the line reopening, because we have the Lewes to Uckfield line in my constituency, with the BML2 scheme, which could be opened very easily, improving connectively and putting towns such as Seaford and Newhaven on a main line...
Maria Caulfield: I welcome the statement, in which the Secretary of State said that there will be extra support for tenants in the private rented sector. Will he expand on that? Will it include private landlords having access to the portal available to social landlords?
Maria Caulfield: Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Maria Caulfield: The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee heard a couple of weeks ago from the Chief Constable about how difficult it is to budget from month to month. Given that we are entering the new budget-setting process for the next year, does my hon. Friend not agree that we should look at setting the budget for the next financial year as well as for this one?
Maria Caulfield: Does my hon. Friend not think it is particularly important that the voice of the nationalist community is heard, given that they do not have representation in this place or in the Assembly? Theirs is a voice unheard in terms of electoral representation.
Maria Caulfield: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Written Statement of 23 October 2017, on equalities, HCWS192, whether her Department consulted with (a) Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and (b) hon. Members on extending the Northern Ireland abortion scheme to include provision for free travel to an abortion provider in England for Northern Ireland residents from low...
Maria Caulfield: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Written Statement of 23 October 2017, on equalities, HCWS192, with which organisations she consulted on extending the Northern Ireland abortion scheme to include provision for free travel to an abortion provider in England for Northern Ireland residents from low income backgrounds before making that statement.
Maria Caulfield: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Written Statement of 23 October 2017, on equalities, HCWS192, how many women her Department estimates will travel from Northern Ireland to England for an abortion in the (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19, (c) 2019-20 and (d) 2020-21 financial years.
Maria Caulfield: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Written Statement of 23 October 2017, on Equalities, HCWS 192, what the estimated annual cost is of providing a central booking service for the provisions of free travel to an abortion provider in England for Northern Ireland residents in the (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19, (c) 2019-20 and (d) 2020-21 financial years.
Maria Caulfield: I congratulate the Minister on her announcement today. Does she not find the hypocrisy of the Opposition astonishing, given that it was the Labour Government who doubled the number of fixed odds betting terminals in shops and tried to withdraw the powers of local councils to stop betting shops being placed on high streets? Is their attitude not extraordinary at this stage?
Maria Caulfield: What progress the Government have made on the implementation of the Farmer review published on 10 August 2017.
Maria Caulfield: Figures from the Farmer review show that inmates who receive regular family visits are 39% less likely to reoffend. Will the Minister outline what steps the Government are taking to enable more family visits to happen in our prisons?
Maria Caulfield: I was very pleased to hear the Prime Minister announce this afternoon that there will be no housing benefit cap for tenants of supported housing. Many Members in all parts of the House have drawn attention in earlier debates to the difference that supported housing can make to individuals. I look forward to the announcements next week and hope that there will be some more positive news then....
Maria Caulfield: We have already heard this afternoon that mopeds are being increasingly used in daring and violent crimes by criminals who know they will not be pursued because police officers face prosecution if an accident occurs. Will the Home Secretary support the Police Federation’s call for a change in the law so that the police are free to chase criminals using mopeds?
Maria Caulfield: The hon. Gentleman talks about consensus and agreement, but that is exactly what we reached during that Opposition day debate, and Opposition Members are still not happy.