Bill Grant: I think the hon. Gentleman is distorting what I was saying. I clearly said that passenger numbers had doubled. In life, we have to deal in facts. That was a clear fact, and I went into the details and the reasons why. The trains certainly did improve in quality. I use them on a weekly basis, going north to south. The quality of the train rolling stock is very good.
Bill Grant: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Moon. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose) for securing the debate. Railways are one of the great examples of this country’s industrial and innovative spirit, which is often symbolised by the Forth rail bridge in Scotland. It was designed by Sir William Arol, who for many years resided in Ayr in my...
Bill Grant: My simple reply to that is no, I would not support that at all. Network Rail works by being interconnected throughout the United Kingdom.
Bill Grant: That is correct, and it was a fair comment. ScotRail cannot be blamed entirely, because Network Rail is a key player in the movement of rolling stock within the United Kingdom, including in Scotland. Under the franchise, ScotRail is supposed to move towards a punctuality target of 92.5%, but in reality it is going backwards. Since August 2017, punctuality has dropped from 91.2% to just 88.7%....
Bill Grant: Scotland trades around four times as much with the rest of the United Kingdom as it does with the European Union. Does my right hon. Friend agree that our top priority must be to ensure that the internal UK market is protected as soon as we leave the European Union?
Bill Grant: What steps he is taking to improve mental health support for members of the armed forces and veterans.
Bill Grant: I am sure that the Minister will agree that it is vital that the UK Government and devolved Administrations work together on this important issue of mental health. Will he assure me that he is working closely with the Scottish and Welsh Governments to ensure that all veterans and service personnel have access to the high-quality mental health support that they so richly deserve, irrespective...
Bill Grant: rose—
Bill Grant: Let me just say that Members on this side never walked out and turned their backs on the people of Scotland from this Parliament, unlike those on the right hon. Gentleman’s side.
Bill Grant: In reference to Donald Trump, the President of the United States, does the hon. Lady not agree that he is one of the single biggest investors in Scotland, whether in the north-east in Aberdeen or in Turnberry in my constituency, where he employs 300 people and has invested more than £200 million? I would welcome Donald Trump to my constituency. Does she agree?
Bill Grant: I understand that the International Union for Conservation of Nature classes sharks simply as “vulnerable”. Does my hon. Friend agree that, as a result of the demand he is clearly pointing out, further action is required to afford greater protection to all the shark species that inhabit UK and Scottish waters and beyond?
Bill Grant: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Sharma. I thank the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mike Hill) for securing this debate and the Petitions Committee for tabling it. The petition, which was started by the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance, has secured more than 100,000 signatures. That has led to this debate this afternoon. The petition will remain open until 8 August, if...
Bill Grant: Will my right hon. Friend confirm that more than eight in 10 claimants are satisfied with their experience of universal credit?
Bill Grant: Recently, my right hon. Friend visited my constituency where she announced the Ayrshire growth deal. Does she agree that the deal has the potential to transform the local economy, and may I ask what steps the Government are taking to drive the matter forward?
Bill Grant: Does my right hon. Friend agree that there will be many benefits for regional airports throughout the United Kingdom, up to and including Scotland, and for Prestwick airport in particular, as well as the potential for one of the four construction hubs for Heathrow to be placed in Scotland?
Bill Grant: rose—
Bill Grant: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Bill Grant: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Bill Grant: I thank my hon. Friend for his contribution to this important debate. Does he agree that we have moved on since the UN report, which the Government refuted? Does he also agree that it is good that through the Disability Confident scheme 600,000 disabled people have secured employment and the dignity it brings? That must surely be a good thing—and that has happened in the past four years.
Bill Grant: As a local councillor, I had the privilege of sitting on the board of Headway Ayrshire, which is affiliated with Headway UK, the brain injury association, a registered charity. Headway Ayrshire is based in the town of Ayr in my constituency of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, and it provides services to the population of Ayrshire and Arran. Its invaluable work includes the provision of information,...