tv International Programming CSPAN February 16, 2011 7:00am-7:30am EST
>> and now to london for the prime minister's question time. every wednesday while parliament is in session, prime minister david cameron takes questions from members of the house of commons. prior to question time, the house is wrapping up other business. this is live coverage on c-span c-span2. >> i will shortly than announcing to the house the outcome of our major roof and branch review of bilateral aid which has looked in detail at each country. >> mr. white? >> thank you mr. speaker. while i strongly support government's aid to china, can my right honorable say what impact it will have on his ability to engage with china on developing business? >> well, mr. speaker, he's right to say that the coalition made clear on day 1 that we would end all aid to china and indeed russia but we need to have a
powerful and reinvigorated partnership with china on development issues not only in the areas where we both share deep concerns such on freeing up the trading system but on climate but also in working in third countries and, for example, britain is working with china now in the drc on a major infrastructure roads program we're doing that work together and it's extremely successful. >> john sudan >> question 1, prime minister. >> thank you, mr. speaker, i'm sure the whole house will wish to join me in paying tribute to the following servicemen who have lost their lives in afghanistan. private lewis hendry from third battalion the parachute regiment who died last wednesday and lance corporal kyle marshall from second battalion the parachute regiment who died on monday. they were all brave and dedicated soldiers who were serving in afghanistan for the safety and security of the
british people. our thoughts and deepest condolences should be with their families, their loved ones and their colleagues. they shall never be forgotten. mr. speaker i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others and in addition to my duties i shall have further such meetings later. >> as to the members i associate myself and my constituents with the prime minister's tribute to our fallen heroes. one man who also served his country is my constituent doug hunt who with his wife gladys lives in westwood care home. she's currently being fattened for privatization by increasing its fees by 400 pounds. that's not 400 pounds a year and it's not 400 pounds a month. that's an increase of 400 pounds a week. would the prime minister like to answer mr. and mrs. hunt who are listening now to share some leadership and to have these
tory cuts removed or would he like to justify these increases to mrs. hunt? >> it got. prime minister? >> well, i will certainly look at the individual case that the honorable gentleman raises but what i would say is this. far from cutting the money that is going into social care we've actually increased by 2 billion pounds the money going into our social care because we know how important it is. i don't think it's right to try and call some false distinction between care homes that are run by local authorities and those run by did private sector. there's good practice and bad practice in both. as we've seen in recent days we need to have a change of culture for caring for our elderly to make sure they have the dignity in old age. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my 6-year-old constituent is one of just 17 people in the united kingdom to be diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder mld. the family is trying to raise 200,000 pounds to send her for
treatment in holland even though the treatment may be involved in the u.k. can they look in the case and make sure the family gets the support they deserve. >> i'm very happy as my right honorable friend asked. there's great things being put in medicine where for interest needs to be nut genetic data and genetic disease and this is how we'll reduce disease and illness in the future. we are looking, for instance, at the whole issue of value-based pricing where we try and share between those companies developing these new treatments and the taxpayer the cost of developing them which i think would be a very good way forward to make sure we get more treatments to more people more quickly. >> ed miliband. >> mr. speaker, i want to join the prime minister in paying tribute from private lewis henry from third battalion the regiment and the fourth regiment and kyle marshall from second battalion the chair chute regiment in all of these men
showed extraordinary bravery and dead chags our thoughts are with them and their family and friends as they grieve for them. mr. speaker we now know that inflation is rising. growth has stalled. and 66,000 young people extra are out of work. can the prime minister tell us whether he thinks his strategy is working? >> well, of course today's unemployment figures are a matter of great regret and it's a great regret particularly in terms of higher youth unemployment but i have to say to him, youth unemployment has been a problem in this country for well over a decade in good years and in bad. the level of -- the level of youth unemployment actually went up by 40% under the last government an extra 270,000 young people unemployed and what we have to do is sort out all of the things that help young people get back into work. that is a welfare system that doesn't help you get work. it is an education system that doesn't prepare for you scomboshg it's the back to work programs that under the last
government simply didn't work. now, he asked me in terms of what's happening in our economy well, we are no longer linked with greece and ireland and those countries in the danger zone. we have a situation where market interest rates have fallen. our credit rating is secured. there are 218,000 more people in work than there were a year ago. but above all, what i'd say to him is what the governor of the bank of england said this morning and it is this. there has to be a plan a. this country needs fiscal consolidation to deal with the biggest budget deficit in peacetime. >> mr. speaker, he says we're doing so well compared to the rest of europe but we were the only major european economy in the last quarter of 2010 where there wasn't economic growth and growth went into reverse. now, let me ask him specifically about youth unemployment. his own former chief economist said this morning that he thought they were wrong to scrap the educational maintenance allowance, that they were wrong to scrap the futures jobs fund
and should have been building on it and i know he likes make a industry saying that the future jobs fund was the wrong thing to do. he went to liverpool and said it was a good scheme. he had been inspired by what he saw. why doesn't he listen to young people and their families up and down the country and take real action to help them? >> well, first of all, the economy is from the cabinet office that the leader opposition just quoted also said this and i quote i would not skies the previous government on this. they failed to open up to this problem early enough. the right honorable gentleman talks about what matters here is whether work programs are effective. well, i now have the figures for the flexible new deal which was the absolute centerpiece of the last government's approach to this matter. let me give the house of commons figures because i do what has been going on. 279,000 people took part in the flexible new deal. of those how many got a
long-term job? 3,800. it's not good -- what we've been doing on welfare, on education, on back to work programs is not good enough. all those things need to change. >> dave miliband. >> mr. speaker, what we actually discovered today that his great new work program that he's trumpeting as the answer to all the nation's problem will have 250,000 fewer opportunities than were provided under the last labour government. now, look, we know that his view of social mobility is auctioning off a few city internships at the conservative party ball but, frankly, he's going to have to do better than that. the truth is, he's betraying a whole generation of young people. he's trebling tuition fees, he's abolishing the maintenance allowance and he's abolishing the future jobs fund why doesn't he change course and help those young people who need help up and down this country. >> first of all, let me answer him on the work program 'cause this is important.
for the last 20 years, in this house and elsewhere, people have been arguing why don't we use the savings from future benefits and invest those now into helping people to get a job? and for 20 years, the treasury has said no. including the time when those two gentleman were sitting in the treasury advising. now, for the first time under this coalition government, we're going to be spending the future benefits in order to get people training and work now. that is going to include in some cases spending up to 14,000 people to get people particularly on incapacity benefit a job. and the figures he gives are wrong. the work program is the biggest back to work scheme this country has seen since the 1930s. and instead of being cash-limited and patchy like his schemes, it has no limit. it can help as many people as possible from all of those different categories. the honorable gentleman mentions internships, when i did a little bit research into his own he did one for tony ben and one for the
debt leader of the republican party he's on left wing, so completely incorrect and so completely incorrect. >> i want and the house wants to hear mr. nichols sones. >> mr. speaker, would my -- would my right honorable friend the prime minister agree with me that deregulation is an extremely powerful weapon in economic reform? is he also aware that this program is not proceeding fast enough and will he take personal charge as seeing this process is hurrying up. >> i completely agree with my right honorable friends. one of the problems is the huge amount of regulations particularly coming out of europe that we need to put a stop to before they're introduced. and my right honorable friend the business secretary is doing an excellent job with his one in one out scream so you cannot introduce another regulation until you have scraped one but i think we probably have to go
further and faster and be more ambitious in terms of scrapping the regulation that is holding back job creation in our country. >> mr. nick rainsford. >> thank you, mr. speaker. can i invite the prime minister to look ahead to the summer of 2012 when we will be welcoming millions of overseas visitors to this country. what does the prime minister think will be the abiding images they take home with them? will it be images of a brilliantly successful staged like games? will it be a fond memory of the warm welcome to london extended by the newly elected mayor livingston? [laughter] >> will it be the memory of the shocking images of homeless people all over the streets of london because of his government's economic failure and hart benefit cuts? >> well, i noticed that the honorable member of greenwich couldn't keep a straight face when back in labour's candidate for mayor. but i have to say the honorable
member for greenwich can't speak for the for the olympics then this is going to do be a problem and this is going to be a great festival and something who comes our country and those i look forward with mayor julian barstrom >> hundreds of people will arrive britain for the britain's super fast broadband in and how we'll get the rest of the county connected in the years ahead. what message would he give to did get about the government's commitment to rural broadband. >> my honorable friend is absolutely right. we have made a big commitment to this, 530 million pounds going into this broadband investment. and it is absolutely vital particularly for rural parts of the country because we do not want them to be cut off from the information super highway. so i hope my honorable friend will be advising them about super fast broadband, the business creation and job creation it can mean for right across this country. >> ed miliband.
>> mr. speaker, can the prime minister tell us whether he is with his flagship policy on forestry. >> the short answer to that is no. [laughter] >> it is as i've said before in this house, it is a consultation that was put forward. we've had -- we've had a range of interesting responses to this consultation. but i think what is important is that we should be making sure whatever happens we increase access to our forests. we increase biodiversity and we don't make the mistake -- and we don't make the mistake that was made under the last government where they sold forests with no access rights at all. >> dave miliband. >> i mean, even he must appreciate the irony.
the guy who made the tree, the symbol of the conservative party, flogging them off up and down this country. now, he says they're consulting -- he said they're consulting on this policy. they're actually consulting on how to flog off the forests whether to flog off the forests. . >> you put forward some proposals and you listen to the answer. and then you make a decision. i know it's a totally alien concept but what's so complikd about that? >> mr. dave miliband? >> mr. speaker, everybody knows he's going to have to drop this ludicrous policy. now, let me give him the chance to do that this. >> nobody voted for this policy. 500,000 people have voted -- 500,000 people have signed a petition against the policy. why doesn't he -- why doesn't he when he gets up at the dispatch box not say he's postponing the sale but say he's canceling it?
>> i think once again he wrote the questions before he listened to the answers. and i think the bandwagon has just hit a bit of a tree. >> may i take this opportunity to inform my right honorable friend and indeed the house that the public administration select committee to take -- is launch an inquiry into the big society. >> very good one. well done. does he share my hope that as we consider things like volunteering, promoting charitable giving, decentralizing public services that we will receive positive evidence from all sides of the house? >> i do and i'm sure like everything my right honorable friend it will be wholly supportive of the government's position but my honorable friend makes a very good point which is
the big society is about more than just volunteering or support for charitable groups. it's about deinvolving power to the lowest level and it's about giving people the opportunity to play a greater part in their lives and the lives of their own communities and i would thought people from across the house should recognize that the big state approach has failed and it's trying for something different. >> mr. ben bradshaw. >> is his upheaval of the health service resulting in longer or shorter waiting times? >> we wanted to see waiting times come down. that is the whole point -- that is the whole point of the reforms. and i think anyone who has watched what has been happening over the last few days where we see the standards of care that some elderly people -- well, i think the country is also interested in the standards of care old people are getting in our hospitals. and this idea that everything is right and rosy in the health service after the government opposite has just been shown to be completely untrue so do we need to change the system and
make it more related to what gp's and patients want? yes, we absolutely do. >> mr. andrew bridgeon. >> thank you, mr. speaker. will the prime minister join me in praising the work for the conservative administration of northwest area by cutting senior management and bureaucracy, protected front line services, measures opposed by the local labour group on the council. >> what my honorable friend makes an important point which we have made all available this information local councils have to set out their expenditure on everything over 500 pounds so now people can see how much money is being spent on salaries, how much money is being spent on bureaucracy and how much could be put into voluntary sector and other organizations. we have given local people the tools hold their local politicians to account and i think it's thoroughly progressive step. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. can i first of all put on record my thanks to the prime minister
for meeting a small delegation from my constituency on the whole question on unemployment and the area. but does he really think that to be part of the big society that he talks about is to throw youngsters, because of the cuts of housing benefits onto the states of the u.k. seven >> what we are doing in terms of housing benefit is actually what was set out in the manifesto that he stood on. which he is to say we shouldn't be subsidizing housing benefit for people to live in houses that those taxpayers themselves cannot afford. that is the principle behind the welfare bill which will be coming before this house shortly and i look forward to getting wide ranging support. >> mr. duncan hames. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister has drawn comparisons between care homes and hospitals when discussing changes to disability allowance currently out for consultation to friday. yet for those by reason of disability spend not just their latter years but their whole lives in care homes, this comparison simply isn't valid.
will he ask his ministers to look again at this? >> my honorable friend makes a good point. this is exactly what we have been looking at. the whole intention of the change that was announced in the budget and the spending review was to make sure that there wasn't an overlap in the way that we were judging people in care homes and the people in hospitals. and i think when he sees what is being proposed in the welfare bill i think he'll see it meets his concerns. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. sadly since i first asked the prime minister about human trafficking in september, he has collapsed every government initiative on the issue including the excellent poppy project which rescues women from prostitution. when i meet my colleagues from the portuguese parliament tomorrow who are signing up to the human trafficking director, where do i tell him the prime minister lost the moral compass on human trafficking. >> i think what the right honorable gentleman is completely wrong. this government is supporting those organizations that are helping in terms of human
trafficking and we are committed to making sure we have the very best and toughest laws on human trafficking. i know that he works on this issue. i know my right honorable friend works on it and i know previous parliaments have done so as well. the point of human trafficking directive is that it's not necessary for us to opt into that to give ourselves the strongest laws here in the u.k. it's that what we should be doing and that i'm committed to doing so. >> thank you, mr. speaker. labour led kirkley council is still obsessed with top-down housing targets leaving my constituents worried that the beautiful green fields of the coleman home valleys will be bulldozed away and quite a few trees could be cut down as well. will the localism bill give my constituents a real say in what development? in going in their areas. >> under the top-down targets of
the party opposite, the house bill fell. what we are doing by having the new homes bonus, rewarding local authorities who do build houses means that there's a real benefit for local communities if they opt to have more homes and more businesses that is part of the economic development that we badly need? >> mr. speaker, the overwhelming majority of my constituents believe that the government -- local government cost, the cuts in upper government spending have not simply too fast too deep but are cruel and politically motivated. can he tell the house -- committee tell the house why my constituents are wrong? >> i can say to him very directly that i think the cuts being made by manchester city council are politically driven and are too deep. manchester city council is having its grant cut by 15%. that is less than my council being cut by 23% but a 15% cut in their grant and yet they are
cutting services by 25% but i noticed they've still got 100 million pounds in the bank as balances and they have a chief executive paid over 200,000 pounds a year. i think people in manchester will look at their council and say cut out the waste, cut out the bureaucracy. start to cut the chief executive salary and only after than should he be looking at services. >> mr. philip davis. >> after votes for prisoners, we now have human rights legislation being potentially used to give sex offenders the opportunity to come off the sex offenders register. is the prime minister aware that my constituents are sick to the back teeth of human rights of criminals and prisoners being put before the rights of law-abiding citizens in this country and is it time to strap the human rights law and we withdraw from the european convention of human rights all together? >> well, i have to say that my honorable friend speaks for many people when he says how completely offensive it is to have once again a ruling by a court that seems to fly
completely in the face of commonsense. i mean, requiring serious sexual offenders to sign the register for life as they do now, i would say has broad support right across this house and right across the country. so i'm appalled by the supreme court ruling. we will take the minimum possible approach to this ruling and we will use the opportunity to close down some loopholes in the sex offenders register. for instance, we're going to make it compulsory that they have to report to the authorities before any travel and also that sex offenders cannot change their name to avoid having their name on the register. i could also tell my honorable friend that the commission we are establishing to look at a british bill of rights will be established imminently because i think it's about time we started making sure decisions are made in this parliament rather than in the courts. >> thank you, mr. speaker. given the difference in time between drink responsibly and smoking kills, what action will the prime minister take in responses to the heartfelt pleas from my constituent rachel jones
who wants to see much harder hitting labels on alcoholic drinks following the tragic death of her boyfriend, stewart cable, the former stereophonics drummer. >> i think what we can take is the action through the tax system and we are looking at this in terms of dealing with the problem drinks and also with some tougher minimum pricing for alcohol. i think that is actually where we should be putting our attention rather than necessarily looking at labeling. i think that the problem we have particularly with young people, particularly with people preloading before they go out for a night out -- a lot of that is related to deeply discounted drinks in supermarkets and elsewhere. and it's that that we should be dealing with first. >> mr. speaker, thousands of younger women drivers in the u.k. are facing the prospect of a massive hikes in their insurance premiums.
what is it my right honorable friend is able to say in terms of encouraging better risk assessment to avoid such unintended consequences? >> well, the honorable gentleman makes an important point which is because of the way this has been handled, many people who face lower insurance premiums because of their risk profile are going to have to pay more and i'm afraid it falls too me to speak an eternal truth to the house of commons which women on the whole have better safety driving records than men. but as a result of this judgment, they won't benefit from lower insurance payments. what it says to me we've got to do much better to risk-assess and then stop so much of the damaging regulation that is coming out of brussels. >> hazel blair. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the importance of internships in helping young people get on in life has been much in the news lately. would the prime minister, therefore, take this opportunity to express his support for the new speaker's parliamentary placements? it's a cross-party initiative backed by the honorable members from lancaster and fleetwood and
it will give people from working class backgrounds the chance to come to parliament, get vital experience of political life, paid a living wage and who knows? they may well be the politicians of the future. >> no, i fully support what the honorable lady says. this is a very important scheme in opposition in the shadow cabinet we worked with the social mobility foundation in order to give out internships like that to shadow cabinet members and we'll do it again as cabinet members. i think it's a very important initiative and i welcome what the speaker is doing. >> what investigation has the prime minister made of the allegation that the imf was bullied into turning down its assessment of the dangers facing the u.k. economy? >> well, my honorable friend makes an incredibly important point which the imf was reporting on the state of the british economy and was arguing that we did have a structural deficit and it was a problem. but there's an attempt to gag them by the party opposite when they were in power because they did not want to own up to the
mess they got this country into. and even now, they are still denying the fact that they left us with a dangerous fiscal deficit which is the cause of many of the problems we face today. >> jim sherman. >> the prime minister will be very aware of the concerns people have in relation to the coast guard. this week a cross-party deputation members met with coast guard officials. is the prime minister aware from the figures from bangor coast guard over this last year, 654 responses were done at that station and could one station could satisfactory handle ten times to the bangor coast guard station should it be closed or the service was just from 19 coast guard stations, u.k. way to an inadequate two station isn't it so >> i'm very aware of this issue and i know that he will be speaking to the secretary of state of transport about this. the point of this is this, the coast guard as, i think, got to prove in this consultation that what it wants to do is
coordinate the number of offices that are actually receiving calls in order to put more money and resources into the front line service which is actually the number of boats and rescue and helpers that there are. that is the aim of the policy but i fully accept they've got to prove that to people in order to go ahead with the proposals that they're making. >> mr. gavin williamson. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my surgery on saturday a constituent explained to me that with her husband and a young family she had been told giving up her part-time job and relying on benefits. will the prime minister assure this house that we will give people the incentive and the support to go into work and end the culture of welfare dependency left by -- >> i think my honorable friend speaks about this in an absolutely correct way. the fact is for too long we've had a welfare system that pays you not to work. that gives you an incentive not to go out and work and universal credit which will be introduced
through the welfare bill will mean that in every single case, no matter how few hours you are working you will always be better off in work and working more. and i think it's absolutely right and long overdue and i hope this issue will have support from right across the house of commons. >> mr. nigel dodds? >> we've had revelations about the appalling level of health care for our pensioners. what does the prime minister say to the elderly population of this country by proposing to change the inflation link for the operating of benefits and pensions from retail price index to consumer price index, something that will cost present and future pensioners, millions of pounds in lost incomes? how is that fair? how does that protect the vulnerable? >> the first point i'd make is that the state pension is under the triple lock going to be linked with whatever is highest but we are taking the step that the last government didn't for 10 years of relinking the state pension with earnings. and i think that is an absolutely vital step in giving people the dignity andur