Regular readers of my column will know that I have something of a passion for education and I have used my position as a Member of Parliament to push for better standards in our schools and an educational system fit for the modern day.
Does my Right Honourable Friend agree that what the steel industry, including in the Black Country, needs above all else is a long-term strategy, with a pipeline of projects that can create good opportunities for those who work in the sector?
Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Mike Wood: Understandably, several concerns have been expressed about the impact that any changes might have, particularly on people on lower incomes who might have served in a job for many years before being made redundant. Can the Minister explain how the £30,000 threshold compares with the maximum available from statutory redundancy pay, and who might be captured by the measure?
Mike Wood: I thank the shadow Minister for giving way. His point is entirely bogus, because as the Minister made clear, and as he knows, the Bill concerns purely employers’, and not employees’, contributions, so it does not tax anybody’s redundancy payment.
Mike Wood: On the example that I think the hon. Lady was starting to give, until fairly recently Reading football club had a tradition that anybody who had played for the club for 10 years received a testimonial. It was not a contractual term, but it is difficult to see how that is anything other than expected earnings as part of employment. Is it not right that it should be taxed accordingly?
Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy), SNP Deputy Leader
Mike Wood: I welcome the progress that has been made in closing the gender pay gap and increasing the representation of women on company boards, but what are the Government doing to support low-paid, low-skilled women, who often seem to be left out of the conversation?
Victoria Atkins (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women)