Kevin Hollinrake: According to Lord O’Neill, diagnostics prior to prescription of antibiotics is the most important of the 10 commandments in the O’Neill review on antimicrobial resistance. Will the Minister update the House on progress towards that very important goal?
Kevin Hollinrake: It is sadly a matter of public record that RBS and HBOS deliberately asset-stripped thousands of potentially viable businesses to benefit their own banks or individual bankers. Evidence before the High Court indicates that Lloyds may also be guilty of the same. Will the Prime Minister consider the calls of the all-party parliamentary group on fair business banking—endorsed by the chief...
Kevin Hollinrake: The Chancellor is right to look at the impacts of the VAT threshold on business. It is a disincentive to growth and an incentive to avoid tax through cash deals. Does he agree, however, that registering for VAT does not just have financial implications—it also has an administrative impact? Would this be an appropriate time to look at the entire VAT regime?
Kevin Hollinrake: The banking scandals at RBS destroyed thousands of businesses, but the owners of those businesses have no means of seeking justice or recompense. Will the Minister support the proposal of the all-party group on fair business banking and finance for redress through an independent tribunal system?
Kevin Hollinrake: A recent report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England says that viability assessments favour large developers over small developers and cut the number of affordable homes by 50%. Will the Minister take the strongest possible action to make sure that small and medium-sized enterprises compete on a level playing field with large developers, and that developers provide homes for those most in...
Kevin Hollinrake: The whole House wants to help those in vulnerable circumstances in particular. My right hon. Friend alluded earlier to the provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2017, which will give suppliers access to customers in difficult circumstances. At that point, if we do not take action through legislation, will my right hon. Friend work with the industry to develop best practice so that suppliers...
Kevin Hollinrake: I drive an electric car, but many people do not. Northern powerhouse rail will take many cars off the road. The all-party parliamentary group on the northern powerhouse is calling for the northern powerhouse rail project to be brought forward to coincide with the completion of High Speed 2 in 2032. Will the Minister support that proposal?
Kevin Hollinrake: Will the hon. Lady therefore welcome the £28 million investment in the Housing First initiative, which is very much along the lines of the Scandinavian model to which she refers?
Kevin Hollinrake: The Chancellor has spoken out in favour of rebalancing the economy via a fairer distribution of transport spending. Will he therefore consider Transport for the North’s strategic transport plan, which calls for a 50% increase in transport spending across the north of England?
Kevin Hollinrake: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Kevin Hollinrake: I await with anticipation what the hon. Gentleman will say. When he said he would not lightly discount EFTA and the EEA, does that mean the official Opposition are not discounting it as an option?
Kevin Hollinrake: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Sharma. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Antoinette Sandbach) on securing this debate. The alternative to no deal is, of course, a deal, and that is what the Prime Minister has set out to get. I was pleased to hear her support a deal that will mean free and frictionless trade in goods and services between the UK and...
Kevin Hollinrake: My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. My point is that I will accept the deal that the Prime Minister negotiates. We will get a deal. I guess that it will not be the deal that we are all hoping for, but we will get a deal and I will accept it in Parliament. However, others may not and that is where plan B possibly comes in. We should look at other options. Clearly, EFTA and the EEA have...
Kevin Hollinrake: Anybody—any hon. Member—can see those figures in the Treasury report, but the report caveats them by saying that that is without any other Government interventions or reaction of businesses in adjusting to a new world of trade with the European Union. Does the hon. Gentleman accept that?
Kevin Hollinrake: I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. Is she proposing EFTA-EEA membership as a transition or a permanent safe harbour?
Kevin Hollinrake: North Yorkshire is doing its best to make ends meet despite a difficult and tight spending round. Can it be right that spending power in North Yorkshire is £770 a head, when in many other areas, especially in London, it is around £1,100 a head per year? Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need a fairer funding review that delivers fairness for North Yorkshire and other rural areas?
Kevin Hollinrake: Earlier in his remarks, the hon. Gentleman mentioned the customs union. Is it the Opposition’s policy that we must remain in the customs union?
Kevin Hollinrake: Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that point?
Kevin Hollinrake: My hon. Friend is making an excellent speech. To take her back to her earlier comments on a transition: is she proposing this scenario as a transition or a permanent state?