Community

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.

Mike Wood: Members on both sides of the House will be pleased that the fixed charge will no longer apply from later this month, but does the Secretary of State agree that it is right that convicted criminals should contribute not only towards supporting victims, but towards the running costs of our criminal courts?

 

Michael Gove The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Mike Wood: What advice would the Minister give to planning authorities that do not treat the presence of community pubs on the register of assets of community value as a material consideration when planning applications are considered?

 

Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

Mike Wood: What plans his Department has to increase capacity in general practice and primary care.

 

Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health

It is a pleasure to be back, Mr Speaker. By 2020, we will increase the primary and community care workforce by at least 10,000, including an estimated 5,000 doctors working in general practice, as well as more practice nurses, district nurses and pharmacists.

 

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