Mary Glindon: It is an honour to follow the hon. Member for Reigate (Crispin Blunt), who is so impassioned—that was evident in his speech—and has done so much work on this issue. I think everyone would pay tribute to what he has done. I congratulate the right hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Sir Mike Penning) and my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Tonia Antoniazzi) on securing the debate and on...
Mary Glindon: I certainly would agree, and that is the case that we are all trying to make today. I want to highlight the situation for my adult constituent, Lara Smith, who is known for courageously campaigning for the medical use of cannabis by highlighting the problems that she has faced in recent years to access the medicine Bedrocan. Lara is a wife and the mother of three children. She was a...
Mary Glindon: What recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of Capita’s Army recruitment contract with her Department.
Mary Glindon: I welcome the new Secretary of State to her place. There is no denying that the Capita contract is an appalling failure, when the Army is still 8% below its par. This issue has been repeatedly raised during Defence questions, but the situation keeps worsening. Does that not show that the Minister’s Department has zero desire to resolve the problem?
Mary Glindon: Does my hon. Friend agree that it is disgraceful that while we are talking about all those cuts to the health service the Government have provided more than £4 billion in tax giveaways to alcohol companies, which is the equivalent of the salaries of 160,000 nurses?
Mary Glindon: Does my hon. Friend agree that it is a really frightening and terrible statistic from the Ministry of Justice that private prisons are 47% more dangerous than public prisons?
Mary Glindon: I welcome the new Minister and hope that he will visit Baghdad and Irbil. Will he finalise the long-delayed official visit by the Kurdistan Regional Government President and Prime Minister to boost our important bilateral relationship with a strong KRG in a federal Iraq?
Mary Glindon: Will my hon. Friend commend the vocational rehabilitation provided to 10 of my constituents by Momentum Skills in Newcastle? The organisation asked me to pass on its massive support for the “Time for Change” report and its recommendations.
Mary Glindon: If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
Mary Glindon: The housing association Habinteg recently launched a new advisory group for disabled people. The group has highlighted the impact that not having an accessible home has on people’s employment, health and wellbeing. Will the Minister agree to meet representatives of the group to discuss their real concerns?
Mary Glindon: It is an honour to follow the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford), particularly after listening to her account of what can be done to help to tackle dementia. Like a number of other Members, I have had the honour of being a councillor: for 15 years, I served the people of Battle Hill ward, where I live, in North Tyneside. To this day, I am proud of everything that Labour councillors have...
Mary Glindon: Having experienced their average salary fall by over £2,000 a year since 2010, and expecting just a 1% pay rise this year, civil servants in the Public and Commercial Services Union are rightly being balloted for industrial action. Will the Minister tell the House when these civil servants will be free of austerity measures and receive a substantial pay rise, which is long overdue?
Mary Glindon: Cuts in alcohol duty have cost the Treasury £4 billion over the last five years. What assessment has the Chancellor made of the impact of those cuts on public health and alcohol-related deaths?
Mary Glindon: Lara Smith, my constituent, is really upset about what happened to Teagan and her family at the weekend. Lara travels to Holland every three months to get a schedule 2 drug, Bedrocan, for her seriously debilitating illness. It could be imported but, if it was, unfortunately, she would have to bear the licence fee. Will the Minister say whether anything can be done for her?
Mary Glindon: Will the Minister give way?
Mary Glindon: My brother is a meat inspector; I will just make that clear. There is CCTV in all slaughterhouses now. Is that eliminating cruelty? Are the Government monitoring the footage?
Mary Glindon: Does the hon. Gentleman agree with Colin Shevills of Balance North East, who commissioned an independent survey of publicans, that it is cheap alcohol—cheap booze—in the supermarkets that is most dangerous to our pubs and causing more closures than alcohol duty?
Mary Glindon: What assessment he has made of the effect of prescription charges on the health and wellbeing of people with asthma.
Mary Glindon: More than 90% of people on low incomes say they struggle to afford their prescriptions, and 71% told Asthma UK they skipped their asthma medication due to cost. Given the health inequalities in this country, will the Minister investigate that injustice?
Mary Glindon: As satisfaction with—[Interruption.]