Mark Spencer: I pay tribute to the Minister, as I am aware of the enormous personal effort she has put in to mitigate the impact of job losses. Will she reassure the House that the Government’s investment in retraining and reskilling workers will end up in the pockets of those workers, not of consultants or accountants?
Mark Spencer: Does the Minister have access to any figures that point to successes since 2010 in the number of people in employment and the number of people receiving benefits?
Mark Spencer: I wish to present a petition further to that of my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Robert Jenrick). It, too, calls on NHS bosses to allow a takeover of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust by a neighbouring trust. Members may be familiar with the financial issues faced by the Sherwood Forest trust, mainly as a result of a disastrous PFI deal which was signed under the Labour Government and...
Mark Spencer: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Mark Spencer: The Secretary of State will be aware that the largest percentage of electricity generated today still comes from coal-fired power. Will she give further reassurance that, as we move to a lower carbon future, consumer prices will remain at the forefront of her thoughts, as well as continuity of supply and carbon leakage?
Mark Spencer: What really matters to my constituents is whether they will be safer after this process. The Prime Minister is making a strong case for attacking the heart of this terrorist organisation. Will he assure the House that, as well as taking action in Syria, he will shore up security services and policing in the United Kingdom?
Mark Spencer: I am delighted to present this petition. One of the privileges of being a Member of Parliament is the people one meets. I was privileged to meet a young lady from my constituency called Emma Donaldson, who is a vociferous and tenacious campaigner for disabled rights. Emma has a great social life, despite being in a wheelchair, and has many friends not only in my constituency, but all over...
Mark Spencer: Members of the House rise to support Government spending commitments and often ask for more money, yet when it comes to cuts in Government expenditure they are not as enthusiastic. Can the Prime Minister do more to ensure that all Members of the House understand that we can have national military security only if we have national economic security?
Mark Spencer: I am delighted to be able to take part in this most important of debates. It is worth saying at the outset that the most important issue we face when talking about changing these contracts is patient safety. We do well to recognise that our No. 1 priority should always be patient safety, and about the service that the NHS delivers to the patients who require its health and assistance at the...
Mark Spencer: The hon. Lady is making a powerful case for dialogue. Will she join the Secretary of State in calling for the BMA to come back to the negotiating table or join the shadow Secretary of State in refusing to call for it to do so? Which will she do?
Mark Spencer: Given the Secretary of State’s assurance, is there any reason why the BMA should not come back to the table and negotiate with him to solve this problem so that patients are safer at weekends?
Mark Spencer: Does the hon. Lady therefore agree that the best course of action would be to get round the negotiating table again? Will she encourage the British Medical Association to come back to the negotiating table?
Mark Spencer: In 2010 the tax credit system supported people on wages in excess of £60,000. Will the hon. Gentleman say what level of income should mean that people can no longer get support through the tax credit system? How much would someone need to earn before they do not need that support?
Mark Spencer: The hon. Gentleman is being generous in giving way. He must recognise that the system creates circumstances in which some employees turn down promotions and overtime because that would dramatically affect their tax credits. Surely it is better to have a system where people who want to work extra hours or take a promotion would be better off if they did so.
Mark Spencer: What support her Department offers to kinship carers.
Mark Spencer: I know the Minister will recognise the important role that kinship carers are taking, many of whom are the grandparents of those for whom they have responsibility. Their caring responsibilities prevent them from working full-time. What assistance can my hon. Friend give to grandparents who happen to be kinship carers to support them further in their caring duties?
Mark Spencer: It is always a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Belfast North (Mr Dodds), who speaks with great experience. One of the challenges of this debate is to understand where we are coming from and our different constituencies. Some of those who come from other parts of the UK fail to understand the strength of feeling on the doorsteps of England.
Mark Spencer: I accept the argument. To a certain extent, my constituents would like to see something more robust and firmer put in place for the long term, but we are where we are. We need to resolve this matter. We have been kicking this can of the West Lothian question down the road since 1997, and we need to sort it out so that we can find a way of sorting out devolved matters.
Mark Spencer: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, and I can tell him that whenever I have been campaigning in my constituency, no constituent has ever said to me that the answer is more politicians. We need to find a way of using this House—[Interruption.] We are going to reduce the number of politicians here to 600, and I hope that Opposition Members will support us when that legislation comes...
Mark Spencer: The hon. Lady has had a lot to say. I shall give way to her now, but I shall not give way again.