Michael Tomlinson: It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Bone, and to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh). I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) on her manifesto, on securing this debate and on her powerful speech. My hon. Friend mentioned a new Cabinet Minister. I warmly welcome the Minister to his place, whose ears...
Michael Tomlinson: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I have also seen a figure of 63%, which may even be from the same study. Access to organisations and services with proven expertise in helping families that have members inside prisons is vital for protecting children’s life chances. The Farmer review makes a lot of sensible and achievable recommendations. To give one simple example, today is the last...
Michael Tomlinson: I could not agree more. I could mention two local examples from Dorset and the south-west—the Footprints Project and Clean Sheet, a national organisation that operates in Dorset—that do exactly that volunteering work in prisons. We should also mention prison chaplains, who do so much in that area. I am pleased that the Government have committed to supporting the Farmer review. I do not...
Michael Tomlinson: What steps his Department is taking to support tourism across the UK.
Michael Tomlinson: I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. I am sure no one in the Chamber will need persuading that Dorset is a beautiful county. It is an excellent place in which to live and work, and of course to visit, but it is a significant distance from London and the tourist attractions there. What more can he do to ensure that Dorset and constituencies such as mine benefit from increasing...
Michael Tomlinson: Just in case anyone—either inside the Chamber or beyond—has inexplicably missed what my right hon. Friend has said, will she reaffirm the Government’s commitment to leaving the single market and leaving the customs union, and that this will ensure that we have control over EU immigration in the future?
Michael Tomlinson: I warmly welcome my hon. Friend to his place. Does he agree that, on the important subject of children living in poverty and universal credit, it is important to have a sensible, grown-up discussion and debate, rather than bandying around unqualified figures?
Michael Tomlinson: rose—
Michael Tomlinson: What benefit has auto-enrolment provided for my constituents?
Michael Tomlinson: On that point, has my hon. Friend seen the families manifesto by my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce)? It raises the importance of stability in the family for bringing up children. Does he support that manifesto?
Michael Tomlinson: I very warmly welcome my hon. Friend to her place. It is great to see a ray of sunshine, optimism and positivity from the Front Bench. What a shame that we do not see the same from the Opposition Benches. Is she surprised, as I am, that we are still discussing the customs union? The EU has ruled it out. The Prime Minister has ruled it out. The Leader of the Opposition—if not quite the...
Michael Tomlinson: My hon. Friend set out the potential costs of the review. Will she put that in the context of her Department’s overall spending to support people with disabilities and health conditions? Will she reaffirm that spending in this area increased in the last Parliament and will continue to go up during this Parliament?
Michael Tomlinson: Following directly on from that, is it not right that we should approach such economic modelling with caution? History has proven to be wrong and flawed in the past. The information is incomplete. Does my hon. Friend, and philosopher longstanding, look forward to proving this analysis wrong as well?
Michael Tomlinson: I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing the debate. I warmly welcome the Minister to his place; we all look forward to his response. Was my hon. Friend as struck as I was by the Centre for Social Justice and the Family Stability Network’s research showing that nearly 80% of young people aged 14 to 17 aspire to a lasting relationship and find that as important to them as a long-term career?
Michael Tomlinson: What steps his Department is taking to improve pupils’ literacy and numeracy.
Michael Tomlinson: I am grateful for that answer. Thanks to some tough decisions by the Minister and sheer hard work by our teachers, reading standards are the highest for a generation. Sadly, disadvantaged children still lag behind, so what are he and the Department doing to address that issue?
Michael Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the number of reoffenders for each year since 2010.