Jobs and skills

Mike Wood: My father was a West Midlands policeman in the 1980s and spent some days policing at Orgreave. Clearly, where there is solid evidence of police malpractice, it must be dealt with effectively and with the full force of the law. Does the Home Secretary recognise the concerns of many serving and retired police officers about what they perceive to be a political campaign with a predetermined outcome?

 

Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for the Home Department

Mike Wood: The previous Chancellor announced a new light rail link between the Midland metro and the new enterprise zone in Brierley Hill in my constituency. Will my right hon. Friend meet me to discuss how we can extend that to the main line rail link at Stourbridge so that we can support businesses, communities and jobs in my constituency?

 

David Gauke The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Mike Wood: In my constituency, rather like in the hon. Gentleman’s, Lloyds Banking Group announced two further bank closures yesterday. He is speaking movingly about the impact of bank closures on our communities, but that impact also extends to the staff. Does he agree that banks need to do far more to redeploy staff, and, where redeployment cannot take place, to make sure that retraining and support are in place so that staff are treated fairly?

 

Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn

Mike Wood: On that very point, the family-owned Hinton Perry & Davenhill brickworks in my constituency has recently invested £5 million in new energy and production efficiency measures. Does my hon. Friend agree that undermining the business model on which such brickworks operate reduces investment in energy efficiency, thereby worsening the situation, rather than helping?

 

Craig Tracey Conservative, North Warwickshire

Mike Wood: Thousands of members of the pension scheme at the old Round Oak steelworks in my constituency may need a buyer to ensure that we have a stable steel industry, but one of the obstacles to securing such a buyer has been the withdrawal of trade credit insurance over recent weeks. Will the Secretary of State do everything he can to ensure that appropriate guarantees are available?

 

Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Mike Wood: What action is my right hon. Friend taking to help UK steel suppliers to win Government contracts, and to ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises in the supply chain benefit from those opportunities?

 

Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, Dudley is proud of its heritage, but we need economic stability to deliver a prosperous future. Will the Prime Minister come to launch the new enterprise zone in Brierley Hill and look at how we can attract more investment, create new jobs and develop the highly skilled workforce that our community needs?

 

David Cameron (The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party)

Mike Wood: Will the Minister support employers coming into prisons to offer training, so that offenders can be better placed to find a job when they leave prison and are more likely to stay out of prison?

 

Andrew Selous Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Mike Wood: Two hundred and sixty thousand new apprenticeships have been created since the election, but the whole public sector needs to play its part if we are to meet the 3 million target to which the Prime Minister has referred. Will he ensure that every part of the public sector invests in training our young people so that we have the skills the country needs?

 

David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Rosindell, I think for the first time. I thank
the hon. Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) for securing this debate on an extremely important issue. Before I begin, I declare an interest in that my brother works in the social care sector—he started a new role on Monday—although he is not directly affected by the issues we are discussing this afternoon.

The Budget builds on the Chancellor’s strong record over the past six years of restoring sanity to the public finances, rebuilding the nation’s economy and securing growth. It is a shame that the shadow Chancellor is no longer in the Chamber, but I am sure that the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury will pass on the message that despite the shadow Chancellor’s mean-spirited comments to the Chancellor, such a feeling is not reciprocated on the Government Benches.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many doctors were working in hospitals in the West Midlands in (a) the first quarter of 2010 and (b) the latest period for which figures are available.

 

Ben Gummer (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)

Data is not available in the format requested.

The number of full time equivalent (FTE) doctors working in the Health Education West Midlands area in the first quarter of 2010 and the latest period for which figures are available is shown in the table below:

Mike Wood: Does my hon. Friend agree that extending the system of finance so that more part-time and postgraduate students can receive funding is helping social mobility and providing greater opportunities for people who would otherwise not be able to have access to higher or postgraduate education?

 

James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk

Earlier, I referred to mobile businesses being within the scope of the Bill. To clarify, they are not in the Bill but the intention is to include property contained within mobile businesses in the regulations. I hope that the Minister will take that on board.

Mike Wood: I am father to two beautiful children: my seven-year-old daughter Rebecca, and my four-year-old son Ben. To them, there is no such thing as a boy’s job or a girl’s job; maths and science are not off the radar for either of them. I want them to grow up in a society where girls of all ages have choices and opportunities every bit as much as boys. That is why I am so pleased that the Government are committed to eliminating inequality at every stage of life. For women in work, this must mean earning an equal wage.

Moving more of HMRC’s work out of central London, which has some of the world’s most expensive office space, will enable it to make substantial savings. It is right that HMRC makes whatever savings it can on its property costs so that the money that it does have can be used to improve customer service and maximise tax revenues. It cannot be sustainable for its 58,000 full-time employees to be spread across 170 offices around the country, many of which, as has been, said are little more than a legacy of the 1960s and 1970s. That is highly inefficient.

Mike Wood: As a fan of “Yes, Minister”, I shall start by congratulating the Opposition on their brave decision to choose this subject; given the Labour party’s abysmal record in this area, that is perhaps courage verging on chutzpah.

Mike Wood: Will the Secretary of State bring forward details of the package of support that will be put in place to help those workers in the Black Country affected by the collapse of Caparo, including 54 in my constituency, so that the skills can be retained within the black country engineering sector?

 

Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Mike Wood: Does my hon. Friend agree that a basic test of the fairness of this package would be for its painful parts, such as the threshold reduction, not to be introduced quicker than its more positive elements, including the living wage, personal allowance increases and other benefits?

 

Stephen McPartland Conservative, Stevenage

Mike Wood: It is a pleasure to be called to participate in my first Westminster Hall debate under your chairmanship, Mr Crausby. I join my right hon. and hon. Friends in congratulating Richard Burden on securing the debate on this extremely important topic. As the son of a west midlands police officer, who served for nearly 30 years in West Midlands police and before that in the Birmingham force, through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and mid-’90s, this issue is important to me personally.

Mike Wood: Despite being diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica mid-way through her degree course, my constituent Amy Green successfully completed her course and now hopes to set up her own business. What support is available for people with disabilities who want to start their own business?

 

Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

Mike Wood: It seems slightly rude to intrude on the private squabbles between the Labour and SNP Front Benches, but I am delighted to speak in support of the Finance Bill, which implements many of the measures in the summer Budget.

Last week’s Black Country Day celebrated our region’s industrial heritage, and the measures announced in the Budget will do much to develop the framework for

Mike Wood: The business rates system is one of the major barriers to competitiveness for small and medium-sized enterprises. What plans do Ministers have to reform and alleviate some of that burden?

 

Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Mike Wood: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a real need for greater and better capacity in vocational education for children with special educational needs, particularly for 14 to 19-year-olds?

 

Ian Austin Labour, Dudley North

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