Mike Hill: Rates of premature deaths in Hartlepool and the north-east are among the highest in the country. Other issues such as poor-quality housing, food poverty, fuel poverty and unemployment are also factors. Does the Minister agree that those factors also need to be taken into consideration?
Mike Hill: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that he is referring to historical cases within Cleveland police? Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary has rated the force as good for the past two years.
Mike Hill: In the past seven years, Government funding to Cleveland police has fallen in real terms by 39%, resulting in the loss of 450 officers and 50 police community support officers. Does my hon. Friend agree that community safety is suffering because of police cuts?
Mike Hill: Is my hon. Friend aware that in Hartlepool, where universal credit is not being rolled out—it is already in—more than 1,000 children are being denied free school meals on the basis of the new proposal?
Mike Hill: I did not expect to speak in this debate but am happy to do so, given the enthusiasm of Members on the Government Benches for local museum services. In Hartlepool, our museum, which is now part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy in the North of England, is part of the town centre; the ship that forms part of it, HMS Trincomalee, stands proud in the middle of our town centre. There is...
Mike Hill: In Hartlepool, we have a local museum, which is the Royal Navy museum of the north, and a volunteer-run museum at the Heugh battery on the Headland. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that such independent museums are important to the local economy and the tourist industry?
Mike Hill: On the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) about North Tees and Hartlepool Solutions, as the LLP is called, does my hon. Friend agree that its immediate intention to introduce worse terms for new starters sets a dangerous precedent?
Mike Hill: In Hartlepool, there are many initiatives to promote inclusion and the use of BSL. Does my hon. Friend agree that BSL should at least be offered as part of the curriculum?
Mike Hill: My local authority in Hartlepool finds it increasingly difficult to establish a business rates base but will participate in the programme. However, its departments face 40% cuts, and it has a £6 million shortfall. How fair is that?
Mike Hill: Cleveland police, who share many services with the neighbouring Durham constabulary, have also seen such cuts. Does my hon. Friend agree that 500 fewer police officers—the boots on the ground—over the past seven years is intolerable?
Mike Hill: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Mike Hill: I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate. On the point of cure, will he celebrate with me the fact that one of my young constituents, Elly-Mae Waugh, aged 12, was confirmed cancer-free in November 2017, having been treated for two years for lymphoblastic leukaemia? Does he agree that there is hope and that there is a need to better finance research into blood cancer developments?
Mike Hill: It is a pleasure to follow that thorough speech by the hon. Member for Henley (John Howell). On Monday, I asked the then Minister of State, the hon. Member for Ludlow (Mr Dunne), what the Government were doing about the crisis in the ambulance service. He responded by saying that a new ambulance response programme has been introduced to try to deal with category 1 calls more rapidly. The...
Mike Hill: Constituents of mine recently waited several hours for an ambulance, owing to the North East Ambulance Service running at a high state of alert. What are the Government doing about the crisis in the ambulance service?
Mike Hill: I am grateful to my hon. Friend and neighbour for giving way. I take great pleasure in praising him for his work on behalf of the WASPI women. Some 5,500 women in my constituency have suffered because of the Government’s lack of action. Some have been forced to go to food banks, and in all cases the women feel victimised.
Mike Hill: The hon. Gentleman is making an excellent speech, particularly with respect to mental health, which is one of my specialities. In my constituency, Hartlepool, a man waiting for a double kidney transplant was declared fit for work despite having to make four trips a week to his local hospital. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that such cases are abhorrent?
Mike Hill: Does the Prime Minister agree that the resignation of Lord Kerslake really does put the Government on a final warning about NHS problems? Does she agree that, in my constituency, it is disgraceful that, despite us having a perfectly good hospital, people have to travel at least 15 miles to get to the nearest A&E?
Mike Hill: What steps she is taking to monitor the financial accountability of multi-academy trusts.
Mike Hill: In my constituency, we have suffered significant cuts in central budgets that support the most vulnerable people in our communities. Hartlepool Council has suffered cuts of almost 50% over the last five years, at a time when demands on services continue to rise rapidly. The council has tried very hard to protect frontline children’s services, but there has nevertheless been a 14%...
Mike Hill: It is a pleasure to speak under your chairmanship, Mr Hanson. I wish to declare an interest; I used to be employed by Unison, which brought forward the petition and also donated to my general election campaign, together with Unite and GMB. The Government’s austerity agenda has not only done great damage to our public sector services but brought our NHS to the brink of collapse. Indeed,...