Neil Carmichael: I thank the Minister for these amendments, as they reflect very well what the Education Committee said in its recent report on the university sector and implications of leaving the European Union. I, like the Minister, believe that it is important to ensure that our sector—this very important sector—is attractive abroad.
Neil Carmichael: rose—
Neil Carmichael: Cyclists in Stroud—and for that matter in Sefton—are crying out for more road safety measures to ensure they can go around roundabouts and across junctions in safety. Will the Minister take that into account in national transport planning?
Neil Carmichael: Have the Government given any consideration to Sir John Armitt’s proposal for a UK national investment bank, which would be handy, for example, in supporting projects such as the bridge from Sharpness to Lydney in my constituency?
Neil Carmichael: The Prime Minister’s letter to President Tusk is not one I ever hoped to read, but having done so I welcome the eight principles. Does the Prime Minister agree that to bring them to fruition it would be very helpful to include all of us in this process, because even the most ardent pro-European is also incredibly ambitious for this country?
Neil Carmichael: Will my right hon. and learned Friend give way?
Neil Carmichael: I certainly welcome this statement because it underlines very strongly the case for fairness and also salutes the important work that self-employed people do. Does the Chancellor of the Exchequer agree that if we enter a period of turbulence for whatever reason, it is fundamentally necessary to have a strong fiscal basis, and that is what he is achieving through acting in this way?
Neil Carmichael: If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
Neil Carmichael: Does Sweden’s announcing that it plans on reintroducing conscription signal an awareness in countries such as Sweden that there is an increasing problem from Russia and elsewhere, and should that be translated into an argument for spending 2% of GDP on defence?
Neil Carmichael: In order to support infrastructure investment effectively, we will need to upskill our workforce to deliver the projects we need, especially hi-tech projects. Does the Chancellor of the Exchequer agree that we need investment in the post-16 arena quite quickly to ensure we fill that skills pipeline?
Neil Carmichael: What assessment she has made of the potential role of personal, social and health education in promoting equality.
Neil Carmichael: Does the Secretary of State agree that embedding PSHE—life skills as she correctly terms it—will help us to deal with social mobility and productivity, and that we should see proper, age-appropriate teaching across the piece in our schools?
Neil Carmichael: I suspect and fear that the process we are about to vote on will, in effect, close a lengthy chapter in our national history that has included our support of enlargement, and that has seen sustained growth in our economy, our country becoming more liberal and our being more active in the international field. That is a great problem to have to deal with, and historians will ask in years to...
Neil Carmichael: It is worth bearing in mind that the EU accounts for almost a quarter of the world’s GDP and is involved in a huge amount of trade. That is a signal of why it is important for us to bear in mind what the EU has done for us. I now want to talk about the 48% of people who voted to remain, because it is crucial that they are properly represented in this process. When we elect a Government...
Neil Carmichael: I usually find that when I am telling somebody to do something they do not want to do, I get the blame, and if I suggest something that they do want to do, it was their idea in the first place. That is how we should remember this. When we look back on our history, we will see that that was absolutely right with regard to the European Union. I wish to talk about events. Harold Macmillan was a...
Neil Carmichael: What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the implications of the UK leaving the EU for the free movement of higher education students and staff.
Neil Carmichael: The universities sector is one of the largest contributors to our economy, so it needs to think very carefully about its post-Brexit position. Is there an appropriate point of contact for that sector, with significant staffing, so that it can feel confident that its issues will be dealt with?
Neil Carmichael: The very fact that we are having this debate is proof that there has been a huge step forward, because there is a proposal on the table for fairer funding. We should salute the Government for getting this far. We are obviously in a consultation process. The Education Committee is part of that process, in a sense, because we will be seeing the Minister for Schools shortly, and we will expand...
Neil Carmichael: No, I am not going to give way, because too many people wish to contribute. In an ideal world, we would want to spend more on education. When the Government continue to grow the economy, as I am sure they will, with or without Brexit, that will be achieved. But we have to be realistic about the size of the cake and make sure that everybody has an appropriate slice.
Neil Carmichael: I am grateful for what the Minister is saying. Does she agree that the debate about SRE is intrinsically linked with PSHE? This is about life skills and enabling young people to deal with the challenges they will face later, by having the capacity to understand what they are facing.