Community

In my constituency, we have both private and local authority-owned Traveller sites, but those are not the subject of this debate; this debate is about the kind of unauthorised encampments that many of us will have had a series of, summer after summer. In my constituency many of these encampments cause significant disruption, misery and loss of amenity for local residents.

Everyone in the House will agree that members of our communities have a right to choose alternative ways of life, but none of them has the right to opt out of British law. When that breaks down, not only community cohesion but respect for the rule of law and those who represent the people affected break down as well.

Mike Wood: The Black Country flag has come under attack from Labour Members in recent days. Will the Prime Minister join me in again congratulating Gracie Sheppard, who designed the flag, reflecting our industrial heritage, when she was just 12 years old? Does the Prime Minister agree that the latest figures showing the west midlands as the fastest growing part of this country show once again that the Black Country remains a great place to do business?

 

Mike Wood: Some illegal Traveller camps in Dudley have left behind criminal damage and large clean-up bills for council tax payers. May we have a debate on the use of police powers to remove illegal camps and on proposals to allow combined authorities to pool provision for authorised Traveller sites, rather than insisting that each local authority has its own provision?

 

Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

Mike Wood: Some media outlets have suggested that Grenfell survivors have been forced to move to cities in the north of England. Can the Secretary of State reassure the House that nobody who chooses to not move out of London will be deemed intentionally homeless?

 

Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Mike Wood: All Members will have their own examples of mental health casework. Often, those constituents will have attended an advice surgery or sent an email for help about a different problem entirely. It could be housing; it could be employment or welfare; it could even be a problem involving the criminal justice system. But it soon becomes clear, after a few questions and a little bit of probing, that the underlying problem is one of undiagnosed—or unsupported—mental illness.

Mike Wood: To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimate the Church Commissioners have made of the potential cost of repairing historic windows in churches.

 

Caroline Spelman (The Second Church Estates Commissioner)

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):

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