Prisons education and employment strategy – Rachel Maclean.
Rachel Maclean: I will be brief. I merely wish to thank the hon. Member for Westminster North (Ms Buck) for her opening remarks and for explaining the need for this Bill. She gave a good account. I support the Bill. In this country we are rightly proud of our universities, which are a symbol of our soft power that attract people from all over the world. As both the shadow Minister and the hon. Lady said,...
Rachel Maclean: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Rachel Maclean: My hon. Friend is making good points about flexibility and councils’ powers. The Minister referred to instances in which people were in care. Does my hon. Friend have any thoughts on that, because that can often be a fluid and flexible situation?
Rachel Maclean: I thank the Minister for giving way again. One issue that has been brought to my attention as a local MP is the time that it can take the council to turn around the voids when one tenant leaves and another comes on stream. Will this provision affect the council’s housing stock? I would be grateful for that clarification.
Rachel Maclean: I am delighted to hear of the good work that is going on in Bolton and Kent, but I am obviously much more interested in what is going in Worcestershire and in my local area. Will the Minister go on to discuss how my council can learn from the excellent examples that he describes?
Rachel Maclean: I absolutely support the measures the Minister is putting forward. Does he agree that in a town such as Redditch, which is growing rapidly, we need more housing? We struggle to expand, however, because we just have not got the room. It is therefore right that we are bringing more empty homes back into use to meet the housing need of our young people in our growing town.
Rachel Maclean: Far from expecting my staff to treat me like a demigod, I regard them as absolutely essential; none of us could be MPs without our staff and we could not function in this place at all. They make us look good, frankly—[Interruption.]
Rachel Maclean: No, they are not. The point I want to make to the Leader of the House is that this should not just be about avoiding bad and negative behaviour; it should also be about a culture where people can thrive and reach their true potential, as in any other workplace. What are her thoughts on that point?
Rachel Maclean: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wish to place on record that I omitted to declare an interest when I questioned my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the 5G West Midlands bid. I asked what the benefits were for my constituency, but I failed to declare that my husband is the CEO of the company. While he is working as a volunteer, he receives no...
Rachel Maclean: It would be interested to hear more from the Minister about what she thinks the role of social media is. Social media can often have a negative influence, particularly on young people, but does she think it could have a positive role to play in tackling loneliness?
Rachel Maclean: Does the Minister welcome, as I do, the fact that recent research indicates that two thirds of millennials are looking for green jobs? What more can the Government do to encourage this very welcome news?
Rachel Maclean: What steps the Government are taking to assist disabled entrepreneurs.
Rachel Maclean: I thank the Minister for that answer and join her in congratulating my hon. Friend on his recent wedding. Disabled people can benefit from self-employment because it provides much-needed flexibility in the workplace. To that end, there is a group in my constituency called Disability Support Project. Will the Minister congratulate it on its recent launch and look at what more can be done to...
Rachel Maclean: In Redditch, we were fortunate enough to have a visit from the Leader of the Opposition recently. I was unable to attend, as I was busy seeing constituents in my surgery. If he had spoken to my constituents, as I do, he would have found that the vast majority do not support a second referendum, because they believe that it would undermine our democracy. Can the Secretary of State confirm for...
Rachel Maclean: Does my right hon. Friend welcome the fact that, as we leave the EU, we will be able to have additional control over the £1.5 billion within our international aid budget that we currently channel through the EU? Does she think that we could use that money to achieve the global development goals?
Rachel Maclean: The Minister will be aware that my constituents want to be assured that their operations in Redditch and Worcester will be able to continue as normal. Can he give them that assurance?