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Julian Knight: The Secretary of State touches on a point that is very pertinent in my constituency. I met a former police officer who had an NHS operation on his hip. The operation went wrong, so the local NHS trust paid privately for the officer to have the operation done correctly. Does that not show that at times it can be a very good thing to involve the private sector? The key is that the NHS is free...
Julian Knight: rose—
Julian Knight: I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way; he is being most generous. He is forensically taking apart the Opposition’s case. Was he struck, as I was, by the fact that the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Andy McDonald) did not even mention the cost of renationalisation? Across the board, the renationalisation of the utilities and the railways would cost more than £170 billion, and that is...
Julian Knight: What steps his Department is taking to ensure that public broadcasters reflect and provide for the whole of the UK.
Julian Knight: Although I thank the Secretary of State for his leadership on Channel 4, does he agree that chronic under-investment in the west midlands by the likes of the BBC is a grave injustice and that the 5.5 million people in the west midlands deserve a better deal?
Julian Knight: My wife was a renal nurse for 15 years, and she says that one of the key changes that happened in her time as a nurse was the university-fication of the nursing profession. Does my right hon. Friend agree that having this diverse route is a much better way to do things and brings in people from all backgrounds?
Julian Knight: Picking up on the point about those conventional vehicles, although I share my hon. Friend’s enthusiasm for electric vehicles and know the importance of reaching the 2040 target, we need to bear in mind the 170,000 jobs in car making in this country. In the medium term, clean diesel—which is less polluting than petrol—should be part of the strategy as we go forward.
Julian Knight: Bringing forward the 2040 target will destroy the new car market, because no one will spend £50,000 on a Land Rover if they think it will be worth peanuts in five or eight years’ time. That is simple economics. I caution my hon. Friend that it is great to have the ambition, but setting an arbitrary date before 2040 would be a grave mistake.
Julian Knight: Does my right hon. Friend agree that whereas some may disagree with what the President has done, it is a mistake to indulge in any anti-American rhetoric, as the US is, and remains by a country mile, our most important ally?
Julian Knight: May we have a debate on the urgent need for new clean diesel cars to play a full part in the medium term in this nation’s transport needs, especially in the light of the recent 1,000 contract worker job losses at Jaguar Land Rover in my constituency?
Julian Knight: Jaguar Land Rover in my constituency employs 9,000 people. Will the Minister assure me that securing the supply chain will be at the centre of our post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU and beyond?
Julian Knight: I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this important debate, and what he is saying rings a bell. In Solihull, we have just lost 1,000 diesel engine jobs. Does he agree that cleaner diesels are much less polluting than petrols and that the potential targeting of these vehicles by some councils with so-called “pollution charges” is wrong-headed?
Julian Knight: The hon. Gentleman is being very kind in giving way. He talks about older diesel, but actually this is about very recent diesel—my own diesel, for instance, is from 2013. It has fallen in value by 70%, which will probably mean that it is more sensible to run it into the ground, effectively meaning that a more polluting car will stay on the road.
Julian Knight: My right hon. Friend has shown real steadfastness throughout this situation. Is she aware of the disquiet on doorsteps in Solihull about illegal immigrants accessing services? All sensible countries have a balanced approach to immigration, including removal when necessary.
Julian Knight: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission. The National Audit Office’s investigation published in March 2018 sets out factually the sequence of events leading up to the Department for Transport’s announcement in July 2017, cancelling the three electrification projects in response to concerns raised about the decision-making process. As such,...
Julian Knight: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his tireless work in this area on behalf of his constituents. The NAO conducts investigations to establish the underlying facts and circumstances where concerns have been raised. Investigations are not evaluative and do not seek to provide a conclusion on value for money. The report was focused on the concerns that had been raised. However, the report does...
Julian Knight: It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Leicester West (Liz Kendall), who made a typically passionate speech, and I echo what she said about the need for a cross-party approach. When she mentioned that anyone talking about social care almost has to do it out of election time because otherwise they can end up being torpedoed by their opponents, I was reminded of one particularly...
Julian Knight: Does my hon. Friend think that there is also a role for the greater use of co-operatives such as the CareShare organisation, which matches those in need of care with care givers so that they can swap time with each other?
Julian Knight: I refer Members to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I completely agree with what the hon. Gentleman says about credit unions. Does he agree that one key aspect of trying to promote them is improving their professionalism, IT and this information, and using the potential for workplace credit unions? Should we not try to bring this through the workplace and payroll?
Julian Knight: I welcome my right hon. Friend’s announcement of a special taskforce. Will she confirm precisely how quickly cases will be processed and, crucially, when she envisages the backlog of cases will ultimately be dealt with, as people need this shadow removed from their lives?