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Stephen Timms: Is it not now beyond dispute that the Government’s cuts to police officer numbers have gone much too far?
Stephen Timms: May I add a word of appreciation for Sir Amyas’s accessibility to me and other Back Benchers who are not members of the Public Accounts Committee?
Stephen Timms: Does the Secretary of State recognise that if the Prime Minister returns with an amended version of her deal, there is a very strong case that parliamentary approval should be subject to subsequent ratification in a public vote?
Stephen Timms: I want to raise one topic, which has already been touched on by my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Ruth George) in her excellent speech opening the debate: namely, the current five-week delay between claimants applying for universal credit and being entitled to their first payment. Like the hon. Member for Edinburgh West (Christine Jardine), I welcome the change of tone from the...
Stephen Timms: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. On JSA, people could not be sanctioned for that and on universal credit they can. I agree with him that that is wrong. That was revealed in a very recent written answer. Another written answer to a question I asked last week told us that 57% of new universal credit claimants are taking an advance. The proportion of those applying for universal credit...
Stephen Timms: What is the Minister’s current estimate for how long it is going to take to complete this exercise and to correct all these very serious mistakes?
Stephen Timms: Does the Secretary of State expect the beneficial arrangements that the European Union has made with developing countries to be maintained in the deals that his Department will negotiate?
Stephen Timms: The hon. Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford) asked the Secretary of State for an assurance that the wording he read out from the agreement with Canada will be included in these future trade deals, too. Can he give the House that assurance?
Stephen Timms: The Department’s assessment is that any form of Brexit will leave us worse off than if we stayed in the European Union. Will the Minister simply confirm that that is his Department’s view?
Stephen Timms: The Central and East London breast screening service was performing well until last April, when it was transferred from Barts Health NHS Trust to the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, even though the Royal Free and did not have enough staff. The number of women invited plummeted from 3,000 a month to 1,000 a month. Why was that transfer allowed to go ahead, given the clear warnings...
Stephen Timms: The Secretary of State has managed to reach agreement with the Faroe Islands, but not with Japan or Canada. Why has this crucial exercise proved so much harder than he said it would be?
Stephen Timms: The Secretary of State is, no doubt, right that delays in payment were part of the problem, but does she recognise that the fact that people are not entitled to any money for the first five weeks makes a big contribution to the problems that we are seeing?
Stephen Timms: I think that that research will be useful, but can the Minister at least give an assurance today that maintained nursery schools will know by the end of the current financial year what their future funding is going to be?
Stephen Timms: Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell) on leading this debate, and I am pleased to be following the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton), who has a distinguished record in this area. I do not agree with him that we ought not to be criticising the Government, because it is a shocking state...
Stephen Timms: Will my hon. Friend give way?
Stephen Timms: My hon. Friend is making a powerful case. Does she agree that it is pretty shocking that nursery schools are having to decide now about admissions in September without knowing what their budget for the whole of the next academic year will be?
Stephen Timms: What assessment he has made of the potential effect on consumer prices of new non-tariff barriers in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Stephen Timms: The British Retail Consortium estimates that if we leave the EU without a deal, new non-tariff barriers will add on average 29% to the cost of food imports from the EU, on top of new import duties on food. The Chancellor was surely right in his call to business leaders to argue for no deal to be taken off the table. Will he continue to press the Prime Minister to do so?
Stephen Timms: I very much agree with what my hon. Friend is saying. Does he agree that in looking at the supply of knives, we need to consider the ready availability of some pretty horrendous weapons online? The Government need to look hard at what they can do to restrict access to knives through that channel.
Stephen Timms: What recent assessment he has made of the safety and security of human rights defenders throughout the world.