Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill - remaining stages – Maria Caulfield.
Maria Caulfield: What steps he is taking to support high street businesses.
Maria Caulfield: As more retailers struggle to survive on our high streets, what discussions has the Minister had with Treasury colleagues to move business rates away from a property-type tax so that high-street retailers can compete on a level playing field with online businesses?
Maria Caulfield: It was my understanding, listening to the witnesses this morning, that they all agreed in principle with holding deposits. They saw a need for them. They might have concerns about how that mechanism is used, but I heard them speak in support of holding deposits in principle.
Maria Caulfield: I want to touch on the point you made about the requirement in the Bill of proof to a criminal standard and how difficult that will be. Do you have any suggestions for how the Bill could be formed to allow enforcement to happen relatively easily and effectively?Q
Maria Caulfield: Q That is very helpful. In terms of the bands having clear and unambiguous definitions, particularly around the default fees, are you saying that in the Bill itself and its schedules, there is not enough detail to be able to uphold that?
Maria Caulfield: Yes.
Maria Caulfield: Q As a trading standards officer, as the Bill stands would that be difficult to—
Maria Caulfield: Farmers in my constituency are concerned about a lack of focus on food production in agriculture policy post-Brexit. Farmers are the biggest guardians of our environment, and they can protect the environment and produce food at the same time. What support will the Minister give farmers to enable them to produce food post-Brexit?
Maria Caulfield: Small UK independent under-10 metre fishermen have historically been the big losers in the common fisheries policy. My fishermen in Newhaven are disappointed to learn that, post Brexit, fishing policy meetings are being held with big quota holders. Will the Minister commit to including the small independent under-10 metre fishermen in post-Brexit fishing policy discussions?
Maria Caulfield: This is a hugely sensitive issue. Fundamentally, this debate should be about women’s choice on abortion in Northern Ireland. That is why I find it incredible that the one thing the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy) does not ask for is for women in Northern Ireland to have a vote and a say on whether they actually want abortion in Northern Ireland. Yet in her interviews on...
Maria Caulfield: On the issue of enforcement, I have been working closely with my local citizens advice bureau in Lewes, which has done a huge Q amount of work on this. The current system does not work because it is up to local authorities to enforce it, and tenants often do not realise that there are fees that have to be paid, and that on the same high street those fees could vary from hundreds to, in some...
Maria Caulfield: Q There is, because it will be very clear that these fees will be banned.
Maria Caulfield: Q But do you not recognise that that gives power back to the tenants? They can then question letting agents as to why fees are being charged. Currently they do not have the information to be able to do that.
Maria Caulfield: Q Do you not welcome the Bill, then, in that it will make it very clear to tenants that there should not be fees being charged in the first place? They can then make that decision for themselves.
Maria Caulfield: Q Do you not recognise that the Bill would improve that situation?
Maria Caulfield: Q I just have a quick question on default fees. Will you set out your views on default fees, and why they are necessary? I recognise that there are tenants who often leave properties in a state in which they did not find them. How often, in your experience, are default fees payable? What percentage of tenants would this apply to?
Maria Caulfield: So businessmen like you don’t know how often default fees are applied, as it stands.
Maria Caulfield: Q So is there a need to have default fees within this Bill?
Maria Caulfield: Do we really need a review before action is taken? People who commute from Lewes, Polegate, Seaford, Newhaven and many more stations have had to endure not just the timetable changes, but 18 months of strike action and 18 months of misery while the London Bridge works were happening, and we now have fewer trains than ever before. When trains do run, they sometimes do not stop, as happened in...