Community

Mike Wood: To proceed in the tone that I thought had been set for the debate, does the hon. Gentleman recognise that the work the Government are doing, through the Bill, to authorise HMRC to work with NCS to reach more people is a key part of ensuring that the NCS reaches a far wider range of eligible young people? Hopefully that will increase participation rates, as well as diversity in the schemes.

 

Steve Reed Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Civil Society)

Mike Wood: I rise as a member of the Campaign for Real Ale and one of the vice-chairmen of the all-party group on beer and brewing.

Given what we hear about the number of pubs closing each week, a proposal such as new clause 9 has a superficial attraction. After all, pubs are at the heart of our communities not only as a place for people to come together, with all the social and health benefits that that brings, but increasingly as community hubs, as more and more services are operating out of licensed premises.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support library provision.

 

Rob Wilson (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport):

Mike Wood: This issue has always been of personal importance to me. For nearly 30 years, my father was a West Midlands police officer, serving in the mounted branch and the firearms unit. In the 1980s, I remember kissing him goodbye as he went off to police football matches and riots, city centre riots and, yes, Orgreave. Having seen all that makes watching footage of assaults on police officers that bit more real. It is even more devastating when the person going home injured is one’s own father.

 Mike Wood: Was my hon. Friend as startled as I was to discover that in the last quarter, nearly 5,000 people were judged to be homeless but not a priority case? Does he welcome the changes in the Bill to address those extremely vulnerable people who are not covered by the existing legislative framework?

 

Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay

Like many colleagues, I have seen a substantial spike in the number of tax credit inquiries following the letters from Concentrix. Our constituents expect action to be taken to ensure that benefits and tax credits are paid to the right people, and not to people who should not qualify for them. They also expect that process to be fair and sensitive. It is clear, however, that that has not been the case with Concentrix. So I am relieved—indeed, delighted—that the contract with Concentrix will not be renewed.

Mike Wood: My constituency, like my hon. Friend’s, has been occupied by a number of unauthorised Traveller camps over the summer, which have caused a large amount of criminal damage and left a great deal of litter. Local residents have had to witness defecation and urination in play areas and playgrounds, and near schools. Does my hon. Friend agree that the police need better and clearer guidance on when it is appropriate to use their section 61 powers?

 

Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

Dishonest individuals have always sought to deceive and to take advantage of the most vulnerable in society. Sadly, as our world has increasingly moved online, transforming the way we communicate, do business and live so much of our lives, many fraudsters have used the same technologies to increase their activity and come up with ever more elaborate ways of defrauding vulnerable people. Action Fraud estimates that about 70% of fraud is either conducted online or is cyber-enabled.

Mike Wood: Clearly, close collaboration is important not only for efficiency, but for the delivery of effective prevention work. Can my right hon. Friend give additional assurances that the revenue streams of fire services such as that in the West Midlands will be protected, including for commercial activities?

 

Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Mike Wood: What assessment has my right hon. Friend made of the UK energy market’s capacity to replace unabated coal by the cut-off date of 2025?

 

Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

We will carry out a consultation at the beginning of next year in order to address that, but I have been very clear in the policy choices that I set out that we expect to bring on more gas to cover some of the coal that will be coming off.

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