My Week in Westminster - 16th March 2018

Supported the Spring Statement – I was pleased by the Chancellor’s balanced approach and that the Government has identified housing as an economic and social priority. Following the statement, as Chair of the Treasury Committee, I asked the Chancellor whether he would consider our recommendation to remove the housing revenue account borrowing cap to allow local authorities to play their part in building the right homes in the right places. His response can be found here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-03-13/debates/CB15DC39-DCB5-4290-9045-73BFCFEDAC16/SpringStatement#contribution-C9EE2CFB-FEC6-47CE-8B5B-7CBA005282FF

More information about the Spring Statement can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/spring-statement-2018

 

Supported the Prime Minister’s Statement on Russia - I absolutely 100% support the Prime Minister’s actions she is taking following the appalling incident in Salisbury. I agreed with her view that there is no place for serious criminals and corrupt elites, or their money, in our country, and, as Chair of the Treasury Committee, I urged the Prime Minister to bear in mind that the Select Committees could have a real role in teasing out information about what is going on to tackle these issues and we can bring evidence to the House that could shape amendments and actions the Government could then take. The Prime Minister’s statement and response to my question can be found here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-03-14/debates/071C37BB-DF8F-4836-88CA-66AB74369BC1/SalisburyIncidentFurtherUpdate#contribution-642A07D6-C6D9-483E-9A36-0D0C716C5A2B

 

Pressed the Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, for information about reducing the time it takes to build new homes - Charnwood Borough Council has planning permissions for 10 years of housing but is facing difficulties in getting the developers to start building. I asked the Minister what the Government is planning to do to speed up delivery. His response can be found here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-03-12/debates/2F943D8C-A034-4FEE-9018-33CE008CAD39/NewHomes#contribution-0480FAD3-CC04-43E9-B518-3607B2F955AB

 

Pressed the Local Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, for fairer funding for Leicestershire County Council – Leicestershire has had one of the lowest per head of population funding settlements in the country and I asked the Minister whether he agrees that the overall funding formula needs to be looked at again in detail. His response can be found here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-03-12/debates/A712C0FF-D7C6-4BA7-AC8D-CE110ED45246/TopicalQuestions#contribution-30BBA671-AC30-4E33-A1D1-DB44CD06B009

 

Attended the STEM for Britain event – at the event, I met a talented Loughborough University PhD student to hear more about his current ground breaking research into a method to detect the fatal Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in blood.

 

Attended a briefing on sleep-in pay - I recognise the effect continued uncertainty is having on service providers, many of which are under threat as a result of the current guidance set by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that facilitates HMRC’s investigations into them. This is an issue I have been working on for many months now and the briefing was an opportunity for MPs to be given an update on recent developments from stakeholders.

 

Spoke at the launch of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Cumulative Impact Assessment report – this report analyses the Government’s tax, social security and public spending reforms on people who share certain protected characteristics, in particular the right to an adequate standard of living. If you would like to read this report, you can do so here: www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/cumulative-impact-tax-and-welfare-reforms

 

Chaired a Treasury Select Committee evidence session on household finances – last year, as Chair, I launched an inquiry into household finances which will look into whether households are saving adequately in the current economic environment, problematic and over-indebtedness, inter-generational issues, lifetime financial planning and the effectiveness of the market in financing solutions and products to low income households. As part of this, this week, we took evidence from the Chief Executive of the Pensions Advisory Service, as well as Baroness Altman, former Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, and Rt Hon Sir Steve Webb, former Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions. This session can be found here: http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/cd68c5af-4cf4-4e76-a7b9-0ad41ca1fe3d

More information about our inquiry can be found here: www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/inquiries1/parliament-2017/household-finances-17-19/

 

Attended the Severn Trent Apprentices tea – apprenticeships can give young people the opportunity to learn a valuable skill while earning. They can also raise the productivity of the businesses they join and so I have always been proud to support them. This event was an opportunity to meet some of Severn Trent’s graduate apprentices to discuss the company’s award-winning apprentice and graduate schemes. More information on Severn Trent’s apprentice scheme can be found here: www.severntrentapprentices.com