Commons Gate

Speeches and parliamentary questions in the House of Commons in the 2007-8 session

While speaking in the chamber of the House is a high profile activity for an MP, much other work is done elsewhere, in committee, as well as a large casework load for constituents.
 

A backbencher speaks for his constituents

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Current Session

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27/10/08 Local Transport Bill
22/10/08 Surgery
22/10/08 Transport infrastructure
21/10/08 Obesity: Surgery
07/10/08 Hurricane Ike
16/07/08 The John Lewis List
14/07/08 House of Lords
09/07/08 Working Menís Clubs
09/07/08 Communities in Control
08/07/08 Concessionary Fares: young people
07/07/08 Bus Fares and Bus Profits
03/07/08 Support for Carers
03/07/06 Membersí Expenses
22/04/08 Local Transport Plans
26/03/08 Local Transport Bill
04/03/08 Tyne and Wear Metro system
18/02/08 Northern Rock
06/02/08 Public Ownership of Development Sites
04/02/08 Local Government Finance
23/01/08 Regional differences
22/01/08 Transport Investment
12/12/07 Concessionary travel for young people
05/12/07 Carerís Allowance Petition
04/12/07 Planning Application: Durham Police
04/12/07 Bus Services
29/11/07 Lifting Article 14 orders
26/11/07 SORN Fines
26/11/07 Student Travel
22/11/07 Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties (2)
22/11/07 Motor Vehicles: Licensing (2)
20/11/07 Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties
19/11/07 Motor Vehicles: Licensing
19/11/07 Northern Rock
13/11/07 Security Industry Authority


 

Commons Hansard
27 Oct 2008

Local Transport Bill

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): On the Transport Tribunal, my hon. Friend will be aware that the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 makes provision for two tiers of tribunal, the lower and the upper. On the face of things that may be fine, but under the Bill the first appeal would be to the integrated transport authority itself. Surely we will not then have two further tiers of appeal, as that would be over-bureaucratic. Will he clear that matter up?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark): I thank my hon. Friend for that comment. He is absolutely right that under the 2007 Act, sectoral tribunals will be done away with in favour of the new first-tier and upper tribunals. Decisions on interim arrangements and which levels will be used are still being consulted on, but we are keen to ensure that processes are not drawn out by any individuals or groups. The Bill contains provisions on that point, which we are keen to recognise. I add that if a QCS board states its opinion that the five public interest criteria are met and that the authority meets the statutory consultation obligations, the right of appeal to the tribunal will be limited to points of law.

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Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): I entirely understand where my hon. Friend is coming from, and new clause 9 is very welcome. He says that the power will be time-limited. What will happen if the time runs out, but a new operator has not been found?

Paul Clark: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. The power is time-limited; the proposal is that the time should be limited to nine months, with the option of having a further three months thereafter. It is, in our opinion, highly unlikely that a transport operator would not be found, because if things got to that stage, I suspect that the proposed scheme would not have met other criteria. Our genuine

+++

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): The hon. Gentleman seems to be lauding the success of deregulation and privatisation, but patronage in passenger transport authority areas has halved since bus deregulation. Although there has been a slight increase of 9.5 per cent. over the past 10 years, most of that is down to increases in patronage in London. The situation outside London is no better - in fact, it is a lot worse - than it was in 1985.

Stephen Hammond: Yes, but there are two points about that. One is that patronage in county council areas has increased. More importantly, 86 per cent. of the decline in bus patronage since 1950, which is when bus patronage started, happened while buses were still regulated, not in the period of deregulation.

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Paul Clark: If I recall correctly, such provisions exist within other local government legislation in respect of health improvement forums and so on. We should not necessarily seek to implement decision-making processes in transport in the same way, because this is a complex area. We must respond to local needs, and that is exactly what we are endeavouring to ensure. There are precedents for other joint bodies having non-elected members, such as national park authorities and police authorities - I knew that I would think of them.

Mr. Clelland: I am sorry to labour this point. I applaud the Minister for what he is saying about giving maximum flexibility to local elected members - that is music to my ears - but introducing non-elected members is a slightly different proposition. For instance, we would not, in law, allow local authorities to recruit people who were not elected and then allow them to vote and make decisions. The same principle should apply in this instance, so he should re-examine this matter.

Paul Clark: I take on board my hon. Friendís comments. It is in the hands of local people to make these decisions. If they decide not to involve outside bodies, such as representatives from service users groups, so be it - that is a matter for them to decide. If they decide to have transport users on their board and they went them to be able to vote, that is also up to the ITA. As I have said, the elected members of the ITA will always be in the majority.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Oct 2008

Surgery

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge):To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many out of areas referrals were made by the Gateshead and South Tyneside Primary Care Trust because the surgery options sought by the patient were provided by a neighbouring primary care trust rather than Gateshead Primary Care Trust in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007 and (d) 2008 to date. [227619]

Mr. Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State, Department of Health: This information is not held centrally.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Oct 2008

Transport infrastructure

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): The Chancellor of the Exchequer is considering bringing forward capital works in order to stimulate the economy in the face of the economic downturn. Is the Minister aware that improvements to the major road network and local rail services in the North-East, which are currently outside the scope of regional funding allocations, would be of major benefit to small businesses in the North-East, which have been calling for such improvements for some time? Will my hon. Friend draw to the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer the opportunity that the proposal presents for helping small businesses in the north-east of England?

Ian Pearson, Economic Secretary, HM Treasury: My hon. Friend is right to point out that a number of worthwhile infrastructure projects could be brought forward to provide strong economic benefits while at the same time helping small businesses during difficult economic times. We are actively looking at such possibilities. Our policy contrasts very sharply indeed with that of Conservative Members, who do not want to borrow, think we are wrong and think we should be spending less. That would damage our economy, so it is not the right or responsible thing to do.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2008

Obesity: Surgery

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what options for bariatric surgery for the morbidly obese are provided by (a) Gateshead and South Tyneside Primary Care Trust and (b) Liverpool Primary Care Trust in their respective areas; [227617]

(2) how many morbidly obese patients in (a) the Gateshead and South Tyneside Primary Care Trust area and (b) the Liverpool Primary Care Trust area have been offered a duodenal switch in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006, (iii) 2007 and (iv) 2008 to date. [227618]

Dawn Primarolo, Minister of State, Department of Health: This information is not held centrally.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has published "Guidance on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children". This is available at:

www.nice.org.uk/CG43

This guidance is for both health and non-health professionals, and contains guidance on when bariatric surgery may be considered as an option.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
7 Oct 2008

Hurricane Ike

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): The Foreign Secretary will be aware of the devastation caused to the Turks and Caicos Islands when hurricane Ike recently passed through the region. Is he aware that the situation continues to be grave, with electricity supplies and telecommunications disrupted and many public and private buildings in need of repair and restoration? Can he satisfy the House that everything possible has been done by the United Kingdom Government to help the Turks and Caicos Islands; and does he agree that in the circumstances it might be appropriate to suspend the current inquiry into the governance of the islands until normality is restored?

David Miliband, Secretary of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office: I am glad that my hon. Friend has raised the natural tragedy that has occurred in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is right about the level of devastation, and he can be assured of our commitment to trying to help to remedy the situation. I am very wary of suspending the discussions on the political governance arrangements, because in the end it is precisely those arrangements that will give strength to the people of the Turks and Caicos islands themselves in responding to the problems that exist there. We want to support them, but we should be leery of suspending the reform of governance. Particular meetings may have to be rescheduled, but I would be sorry if the process were stopped.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
16 Jul 2008

The John Lewis List

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is aware that John Lewis adopts the mantra, "Never knowingly undersold". Therefore, does it not provide a perfectly reasonable measure of Members' expenditure?

David Maclean (Penrith and The Border) (Con): Yes, it is a good mantra, and that is the point. What would happen if we were to move to any other list? I know that people joke about the IKEA list; it will have some good furnishings, but it will not have any electrical goods. Others have proposed an Argos list. The point is that there will still end up being a list of some sort - perhaps a National Audit Office list.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2008

House of Lords

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): These proposals represent major constitutional change. If proposals for elected mayors, regional assemblies and devolved Government require referendums, should the people not be asked whether they want to abolish the House of Lords and create 200, 300 or 400 more paid politicians?

Mr. Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor, Ministry of Justice: It has never been the view of any party that such a complex issue ought to be put to a referendum, but we are clear that it should be included in election manifestos.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 
David asking his question on Working Men's Clubs
David asking his question on Working Men's Clubs

Commons Hansard
9 Jul 2008

Working Menís Clubs

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that many working men's clubs and other private clubs in communities up and down the country are struggling, not least because of recently passed legislation that is well-meaning but is nevertheless having a detrimental effect on their operations? Will she agree to convene a meeting of relevant Ministers with the all-party group to discuss how we can keep these clubs as a force for good at the centre of all our communities?

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman) [replying for the Prime Minister who is at the G8 in Japan]: I will agree to convene a meeting such as my hon. Friend proposes. I agree that clubs are often at the very heart of their communities and we want to do all we can to support them. In fact, I will ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to take that meeting forward.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
9 Jul 2008

Communities in Control

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): I am an honorary alderman of Gateshead council - [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] - an honour conferred on me because of my long service to the council, so local authorities already have such powers. I am not sure why the Secretary of State has proposed to centralise those powers. I am always filled with trepidation when Ministers start telling local government how to go about its business - I have seen that from both sides of the House - so I shall study her proposals with interest. Will she guarantee that any new powers, responsibilities or duties placed on local authorities as a result of her White Paper will be fully funded from the centre by Ministers in the Departments responsible?

Hazel Blears, Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government: My hon. Friend has extensive experience of local government, as do a number of people in the House, including myself. I think that I am one of the relatively few members of the Cabinet who have been local authority councillors. Indeed, I have also been a local authority officer, so I am a real champion of local government. He made a point about ensuring that there are no new burdens, which is the phrase that we use, and I certainly give him an undertaking that across Government we will make absolutely sure that when we ask local government to do new things, local government has the finance to do them.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
8 Jul 2008

Concessionary Fares: young people

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): The concessionary fare scheme has been a tremendous success. It is popular and a credit to the Government, but does my hon. Friend recall the Prime Minister saying that he wanted to remove all barriers to people receiving training and acquiring skills? Will she encourage local authorities and other bodies to come together and extend concessionary fares to young people between the ages of 16 and 19 who are pursuing further education and training?

Ms Rosie Winterton, Minister of State, Department for Transport: My hon. Friend makes a very good point. As he said, something like 11 million people nation-wide will be eligible for concessionary fares as a result of the changes that came in on 1 April. He is right to say that local authorities, transport authorities and other organisations in some parts of the country have come together to look at the problems facing young people undertaking training; in some instances, I think they are looking at facilitating travel for young people doing the new diplomas. We have given local authorities freedom to deal with this matter at their own discretion, and I am sure that some of them will consider what my hon. Friend suggests to be a good way forward.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2008

Bus Fares and Bus Profits

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): The hon. Gentleman [Mr. Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) (Con)] is correct that in the first round of the new concessionary fares system, when it was restricted to localities, we had a problem in the Tyne and Wear area, and there were cuts to concessions for young people. However, the latest round of expenditure has meant that that can be reconsidered, which is happening as we speak.

Mr. Goodwill: It is encouraging that the Government have been keen to bail out some constituencies in the North-East, but maybe they have not been quite so keen to help people in the south.

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Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): A further element of the equation is the fact that the profits of the bus companies have rocketed over that period. Therefore, we have seen rocketing profits for bus companies, rocketing fares for passengers, rocketing subsidy by the taxpayer and a decrease in services and passenger numbers. That is not a success story.

Mr. Clelland: The hon. Gentleman has just made the very point that I was going to raise, in recognising that the profits of the bus companies have indeed rocketed in that period. What proposals does he have to deal with those rising profits and with falling bus ridership?

Norman Baker: To be fair to the Government, they have started to go along that track with their proposals in the Local Transport Bill. They will make it easier to bring in quality contracts and give local authorities more control over the type of bus operations in their area. We would go further than the Government are going, however, and I have tabled amendments to the Bill to try to achieve that, as the Minister knows. Collectively, however, we all have to recognise that the statistics that I have just given demonstrate a failure of bus policy over 20 years, and unless there are proposals to remedy that - such as those that we have put forward and, to some extent, those from the Government, though they are not enough - the failures, including decreasing patronage and increasing costs, will continue. That cannot be sensible.

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Mr. Clelland: Having acknowledged that the bus companies are making massive profits, does not the hon. Gentleman think that they ought to make a contribution to that?

Norman Baker: I do as a matter of fact, because it is in the bus companies' interests to do so. There is a need to reverse the decline in bus patronage, and they ought to realise that it is in their own interests to do so. It is also in the interests of all those who believe in tackling climate change, including the Government, who must lead the process and explain how it can be achieved. Simply standing back and saying, "We'll let the market sort it out," does not work; we need more Government intervention and leadership.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jul 2008

Support for Carers

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): When can we have a debate on support for carers and the carer's allowance? Although the increase in the earnings threshold to £95 was welcome, it remains the case that for every £1 increase above the threshold carers lose the whole allowance. That means that they can end up more than £40 a week worse off. They also lose the allowance when they retire, although they have to continue their caring role. Surely it is not beyond the wit of Government to come up with a more sensible system to ensure that carers continue to be supported when their circumstances change.

Ms Harman, Leader of the House of Commons: In raising the question of financial support for those who do the important work of caring for older and disabled relatives, my hon. Friend puts the spotlight on the element of that support that remains unsatisfactory. It is being kept under review by the Department for Work and Pensions and, in particular, by the Carers Commission. We want people who are caring for family members not to suffer financially as a result, and not to have to give up their jobs because they are worse off if they stay at work.

We are proceeding with a range of activities following consultation on the carers review. The carer's allowance is being specifically reviewed, and I shall bring my hon. Friend's comments to the attention of those who are conducting the review.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
3 Jul 2008

Membersí Expenses

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House how much all this [practice assurance teams looking at members' expenses] will cost and how much it will save?

Nick Harvey (North Devon) (LD): How much it will save time alone will tell. I hope that it will save and improve the reputation of the House and improve the quality of British democracy. If it does that and if in a couple of years we have convinced people that any problems that there were are being ironed out, it will have been worth it. The question of how much it costs will depend on terms of contracts that we let, what people bid in at and what scale of work is done. Some estimates are included in the appendices -

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Apr 2008

Local Transport Plans

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): May I pay my tribute to Gwyneth Dunwoody, who will be sadly missed by all who knew her and who worked with her?

Does the Minister agree that the best way to achieve successful local transport plans is to ensure that transport authorities continue to be made up of democratically elected and accountable local representatives?

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton): I know that my hon. Friend will be feeling very deeply the departing of Mrs. Dunwoody? I know from my most recent appearance before the Transport Committee that he was with her when she was conducting its inquiry into blue badges.

On having elected people on passenger transport authorities and the future integrated transport authorities, it is true that we want to give local areas the right to co-opt other members - for example, representatives of passenger groups - on to those authorities, if it is felt that that would be helpful. However, we have said very firmly that the majority of voting members must be elected councillors. I hope that that reassures my hon. Friend.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Mar 2008

Tyne and Wear Metro system

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Tyne and Wear Metro system saves some 15 million short car journeys every year? It is now more than 20 years old, however, and it is beginning to creak and groan a bit. The business plan for the improvement of the Metro system was submitted to her Department in June last year, and discussions have been ongoing. Can she confirm that she will soon be in a position to make a statement on the reinvigoration of the Metro system, so that it can continue to provide an alternative to short car journeys?

The Secretary of State for Transport (Ruth Kelly): I congratulate my hon. Friend on his tenacity in raising the issue of the Metro. He is absolutely right to say that it matters enormously to people in Tyne and Wear and the surrounding areas, and it is important that we take any investment case seriously. The business case is with the Department, and I hope to be able to make an announcement shortly.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
18 Feb 2008

Northern Rock

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): This morning I received an e-mail from a constituent who is a shareholder in Northern Rock. He said that he was a Labour supporter who would never vote Labour again because of what the Government had done. I have not yet had a chance to reply to my constituent, but should he vote for the Liberal Democrats, who would have nationalised the bank five months ago without seeking any of the private sector solutions that the shareholders required? Should he vote for the Conservatives, who would have let the bank sink with all the consequences for shareholders and employees alike? Or should he, on reflection, continue to support the Labour Government, who offer the best solution for the bank and the long-term future of the North-East's economy?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Alistair Darling): Probably, the correct answer is the last one. Naturally we are all concerned about all those who experience a fall in the value of shares they have bought, but there is no getting away from the basic problem: these were shares in a bank whose business model was entirely dependent on the ability to raise large sums of money. Last summer, when the problem began in the international financial markets, the company had no fallback position, and it would have gone bust at that time if we had not intervened. That, I am afraid, is the stark reality, as I know my hon. Friend recognises. Today we are trying to ensure that we do the right thing by the taxpayers, while also helping the company to restructure and refocus its activities.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
6 Feb 2008

Public Ownership of Development Sites

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Gateshead council is planning the development of a 20-acre brownfield site near the town centre for housing, 25 per cent. of which would be affordable housing. However, the completion of the acquisition of the site is being held up by the British Rail residuary board on the rather curious premise that the council has depressed the valuation of the site by planning affordable housing. Should this public body not be more au fait with Government priorities and objectives, and will my right hon. Friend look into this matter and try to break the logjam?

The Prime Minister: I will of course look into the matter. There is a need for affordable housing in every part of the country, and we will wish to do the best that we can to meet the target of 3 million new houses by 2020, a very substantial number of them affordable for first-time buyers. I will look into the issue about public sector and private sector land, and I will write to my hon. Friend.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Feb 2008

Local Government Finance

7.31 p.m.

The Minister for Local Government (John Healey): I beg to move,

That the Local Government Finance Report (England) 2008-09 (House of Commons Paper No. 262), which was laid before this House on 24th January, be approved.

On 6 December, I announced plans for Government grant allocation to local authorities in England. I announced grant to councils not only for the next year but - for the first time ever - for the next three years. Councils now know what they will get, and can plan and manage ahead. I also announced not only the core formula grant, but the allocation of 61 other grants from eight different Departments. Local government will therefore get a total of £2.7 billion extra next year, with overall increases in each of the next three years of 4 per cent., 4.3 per cent. and 4.3 per cent. That continues the inflation-busting rises given by the Government to support local councils each and every year since 1997.

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge) (Lab): I have to challenge my hon. Friend on his comment about inflation-busting rises. He has said that the settlement would

"make the system fairer to authorities with a relatively low council tax base."

Why, then, has Gateshead - 91 per cent. of whose households are in bands A to C - been given a settlement of 2 per cent. when inflation is almost 4 per cent. and the average for the metropolitan authorities was 4.1 per cent.? Why is that four-star authority, which is often held up by Ministers as a beacon of good Labour local government, constantly given such poor settlements? What is wrong with the formula, and when will the Minister put it right?

John Healey: There is nothing wrong with the formula, which is the best and fairest way that we have established for distributing the money available. Last year we consulted on whether to alter the formula, and I confirmed the decisions that I took as a result of that in my statement to the House on 6 December.

The fact is that next year Gateshead will get more than £6.5 million extra overall. Gateshead is also protected by the system of floors, which means that all councils in all regions will get an increase in the core formula grant in each of the next three years. I can tell my hon. Friend that there were, and are, those who argue against the floor system that the Government introduced in 2000. If I had listened to their arguments and representations, my hon. Friend's authority might not have been as well off as it is today.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Jan 2008

Regional differences

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): The latest economic survey for the North-East shows high levels of business confidence, and there is no doubt that the region's economy has improved under the stewardship of my right hon. Friend, with massive reductions in unemployment and record levels of employment. Much remains to be done, however, to reduce the gap between the North-East and other regions. What does my right hon. Friend consider to be the greatest threat to continued progress -

The Prime Minister rose -

Mr. Clelland: - and will a slowdown -

Mr. Speaker: Order.

The Prime Minister: Long-term unemployment in the north has fallen by 70 per cent. Long-term youth unemployment has fallen by more than 70 per cent. More people are working in the north of England as a result of the Government's policies, and we are determined to maintain that. That success would be put at risk by opportunistic policies that risked the public services in favour of £10 billion of tax cuts and meant that we could not spend on health, education and the new deal in the interests of the people of the north. That is why I urge people to favour our policies against the policies of the Opposition.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Jan 2008

Transport Investment

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): When the North-East remains cut off from the nation's motorway system; when it is more than 22 years since the last major improvement to the Gateshead western bypass, which is our region's most congested road; and when the Department continues to pour cold water on the idea of a high-speed rail link, does the Minister understand why there is more than just a raising of eyebrows when we see billions of pounds being invested in transport infrastructure in London?

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton): I am well aware of the strength of feeling in the North-East. When I met my hon. Friend and colleagues up there, they put their points very well. However, I think my hon. Friend also recognises that the system for deciding priorities in the region through the regional funding allocations, which have been vastly increased in recent years, is the right way to go. Overall, departmental spending in the North-East has increased by more than 80 per cent. in the past six years. Some £457 million has been provisionally allocated to fund major schemes in the North-East. We recently announced £245 million of funding over the next three years for local authorities throughout the North-East region. We are illustrating a commitment to the people of the North-East through increased investment and modernisation.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Dec 2007

Concessionary travel for young people

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Does my right hon. Friend recall saying, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Mahmood) on 28 November:

"We are trying to remove every barrier to young people getting the chance of both training and jobs." - [Official Report, 28 November 2007; Vol. 468, c. 278.]?

Does he agree that transport costs can represent such a barrier? Will he ask the Government office for the North-East to support the campaign by the North East Regional Youth Assembly to bring about concessionary travel for young people between the ages of 14 and 18, so that they can take full advantage of the education and training opportunities available to them?

The Prime Minister: We will certainly look at anything that removes the barriers to young people getting jobs. We have introduced changes that will make it possible after the age of 16 for young people without qualifications to make the transition to work. For those who are in work, where travel costs are high, we are already helping adults as a result of an announcement made two weeks ago, and I will look at what my hon. Friend says about young people. We will take action to remove any barrier to young people getting jobs.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Dec 2007

Carerís Allowance Petition

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): This petition has been organised by Gateshead carers association and has been signed by 2,850 residents of Gateshead and the surrounding area. The petitioners recognise the all important and crucial role of millions of carers across the UK. They also recognise the improvements made to carers allowances and support services, but wish to see adjustments to allowance system to further improve the lot of carers. The petition reads:

To the House of Commons

The Petition of those concerned about carer's allowance

Declares that carer's allowance needs to be reformed to make it a fair and just benefit for all carers. In particular, that the rules which prevent carer's allowance being paid to those receiving an equivalent amount of retirement pension or incapacity benefit should be ended. Further, that the earnings rule be changed to a sliding scale, so that carers do not suddenly lose all of their carer's allowance when they earn more than a given amount. The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Health to reform the carer's allowance to make it a fair and just benefit for all.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Dec 2007

Planning Application: Durham Police

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) has recently been pursuing his leadership campaign in the North-East, and that in doing so he has asked Durham police to look into certain planning applications without a shred of evidence that anything is amiss with any of them? Should the costs to Durham police of pursuing those investigations be considered to be a donation to the hon. Gentleman's election campaign or should he be prosecuted for wasting police time when nothing is found?

Mr. Heath: The investigation will be a matter for the Durham police. If they feel that there are matters to be investigated, they will investigate them, but if they feel that there are no such matters, they will not investigate. That is the answer to the hon. Gentleman's question.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
4 Dec 2007

Bus Services

Mr. Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr) (Lab): What plans she has to enable the public to have greater involvement in making decisions about local bus services. [170386]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton): Today I have published a consultation paper, "Options for strengthening bus passenger representation", covering England. This follows our earlier commitment to consult on ways to ensure that bus users have their say when key decisions are being made, and to provide a more influential voice for bus passengers.

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Does the Minister agree that such plans should be capable of being implemented as speedily as possible, should be meaningful and capable of delivering what local people want, and should be designed so that those local people cannot be unreasonably frustrated by appeals and recourse to judicial review by bus operators?

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton): I assume that my hon. Friend is talking about the quality contracts scheme as opposed to the concessionary fares scheme. I absolutely agree, which is why we have tried to ensure that our approvals board is established to avoid difficulties and secure greater certainty - we can never reach complete certainty, but we can at least bring about greater certainty - for local authorities that proposals have been through an independent process and can proceed as quickly as possible. Local authorities need that certainty, and where bus operators may be withdrawing services from an entire area because they cannot meet a contract, we also need certainty that the proposals have been through an independent process.

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Commons Hansard
29 Nov 2007

Lifting Article 14 orders

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): In any discussions that we have on rules and regulations surrounding planning applications, may we take account of the terms of early-day motion 313, which I tabled on 19 November and has been signed by many hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson)?

[That this House congratulates the North East Chamber of Commerce, The Journal newspaper, local politicians and all involved in the successful Go for Jobs campaign; thanks those transport Ministers who listened to the campaign and acted to bring about an end to restrictions on economic growth in the region caused by Article 14 Orders; and calls upon the Government to recognise that the excellent economic progress in the North East over the past 10 years will only be sustained and improved with a clear and comprehensive plan for the improvement of the region's major road and transport infrastructure.]

The early-day motion draws attention to the fact that a large part of the responsibility for convincing the Highways Agency to lift article 14 orders in the North-East, including in Durham, lies with The Journal newspaper and the North East chamber of commerce.

Ms Harman, Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Commons: I will draw my hon. Friend's comments to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

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Commons Hansard
26 Nov 2007

SORN Fines

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether any registered vehicle owner has been summoned to appear before a court for not paying a fine imposed for not returning a statutory off-road declaration in the latest period for which figures are available. [167207]

Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: I have been asked to reply.

In the last financial year (2006-07) no summons were issued for failure to return a statutory off road declaration. However 107,550 county court claims were issued.

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether any registered vehicle owners appeared before a court for failure to pay a fine imposed for failure to return a statutory off-road declaration in each of the last five years. [167209]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I have been asked to reply.

The exact number of people who appeared before a court for failure to declare a vehicle off the road are not recorded but the number is very low.

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Commons Hansard
26 Nov 2007

Student Travel

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Does the Secretary of State agree that transport costs can be an obstacle to those who want to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them? Will he support the north east regional youth assembly in its campaign for concessionary travel for those between the ages of 16 and 19 who want to pursue further education and training across the region?

Mr. Denham, Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend's imaginative initiative in raising an issue that is beyond my departmental responsibilities, in respect of funding for 16 to 18-year-olds and transport policy. I cannot answer directly about any proposals on that particular age group. However, I draw attention to the commitment to which I have already referred a couple of times today: we intend to ensure that long-term unemployed lone parents and those on incapacity benefit are better off in work, even after reasonable transport costs. That will be done by ensuring that long-term benefit claimants moving into work will, for a period, see an increase in their income of at least £25 a week. That applies to workers older than the group to which my hon. Friend referred; we clearly have plans to raise the participation age and so on. I shall draw his question to the attention of my right hon. Friends.

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Commons Hansard
22 Nov 2007

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties (2)

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many registered vehicle owners were prosecuted for failing to comply with statutory off-road notification declarations in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. [165849]

Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: I have been asked to reply.

The number of registered vehicle owners who were prosecuted for failing to comply with statutory off-road notification declarations is:

 County court claims Magistrates court cases
2003-04 - 1,660
2004-05 107,100 777
2005-06 133,254 -
2006-07 107,550 -

Prosecution procedures for statutory off-road notifications changed in 2004 from a criminal to a civil process.

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Commons Hansard
22 Nov 2007

Motor Vehicles: Licensing (2)

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 461W, on motor vehicles: licensing, how many registered vehicle owners identified as failing to comply with a statutory off-road notice subsequently complied with the enforcement action. [167413]

Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: The following table shows the number of cases where the penalty for failure to declare a vehicle off the road was paid following enforcement action:

 £
2003-04 332,980
2004-05 336,375
2005-06 458,615
2006-07 473,079

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 461W, on motor vehicles: licensing, how many registered vehicle owners who failed to comply with a statutory off-road declaration and who failed to comply with subsequent enforcement action were consequently summonsed to appear in court. [167408]

Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: Since the inception of Continuous Registration enforcement in March 2004 cases have no longer been settled via a magistrates court summons but via a county court claim. The volumes for both are:

 Magistrates court casesCounty court claims
2003-04 1,660 -
2004-05 111 107,100
2005-06 - 133,254
2006-07 - 107,550

Prosecution procedures for statutory off-road notifications changed in 2004 from a criminal to a civil process.

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Commons Hansard
20 Nov 2007

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge):To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many fines were issued to registered vehicle owners for failing to comply with the statutory off-road notification declaration in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. [165848]

Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: I have been asked to reply.

The number of fines that were issued to registered vehicle owners for failing to comply with the statutory off-road notification declaration is:

 Successful Prosecutions County Court Judgements
2003-041,647 -
2004-0576774,872
2005-06 - 114,713
2006-07 - 84,545

Prosecution procedures for statutory off-road notifications changed in 2004 from a criminal to a civil process.

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many registered vehicle owners paid fines issued for failing to comply with statutory off-road notification declarations in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. [165890]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I have been asked to reply.

The number of registered vehicle owners who paid fines issued for failing to comply with statutory off road notification declarations is:

 Number
2004-0513,219
2005-06 30,124
2006-07 29,074

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Commons Hansard
19 Nov 2007

Motor Vehicles: Licensing

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many registered vehicle owners appeared before a court for failing to comply with the statutory off-road notification declaration in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. [165850]

Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: The exact number of people who appeared before a court for failure to declare a vehicle off the road are not recorded.

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many registered vehicle owners failed to comply with statutory off-road notification declarations in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. [165851]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of people identified as failing to comply with Statutory Off Road Notification legislation and who had enforcement action taken against them(1) is shown in the table.

(1) In the 2003-04 financial year enforcement did not pick up 100 per cent. of those who had failed to comply. Complete figures to answer the question are not available for that year. In all other years all people who were identified as failing to comply were the subject of enforcement action.

 Number
2003-041,394,317
2004-051,183,544
2005-061,341,598
2006-071,272,384

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles were declared off road under statutory off-road notification declarations in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07. [165852]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In 2003-04 DVLA received 2.65 million Statutory Off Road Notifications. In 2004-05 the figure was 3.66 million, in 2005-06 it was 4.19 million and in 2006-07 it was 4.20 million.

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Commons Hansard
19 Nov 2007

Northern Rock

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Is it not now clear that if either of the Opposition parties had been in power, Northern Rock would already have sunk without trace and 6,000 jobs would have gone down the drain? Is my right hon. Friend aware that whatever the outcome of this, the people of the North-East are at least assured that the Government are doing whatever they can to ensure the future of that business and the thousands of jobs involved?

Mr. Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer: My hon. Friend is right. He has raised that point every time we have discussed the issue on the Floor of the House, and he is right. We owe it to people to do everything we can to help the situation. It is unfortunate that some of those who supported what we were doing at the start now appear to be changing their tune.

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Commons Hansard
13 Nov 2007

Security Industry Authority

Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Is not this the industry that, under the Conservative Government, was allowed to get away with paying wages of, on occasion, less than £1 an hour? Was it not our Government's minimum wage policy that put a stop to that? Is it not now clear that certain elements of the industry are continuing to try to get away with paying derisory wages, and should not my right hon. Friend be congratulated on trying to put a stop to that again?

Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary: I certainly think that it is important that we support high-quality employers in the security industry. That is why one of the improvements that the SIA has been able to make is an assured employers scheme, which acts as a kitemark of high-quality employment practices, including as from 1 August the ability of employers to verify the right to work of those whom they employ. That is regulation that, as my hon. Friend points out, supports responsible employment in the security industry and has improved the industry as a whole.

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Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO

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