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Summary

  1. The day began at 09.30 GMT with questions to energy and climate change ministers.
  2. There was be an urgent question at 10.30 GMT on Barts hospital, then a statement on fiscal responsibility and fairness.
  3. After that, William Hague set out the week's forthcoming business. MPs spent the rest of the day in the Commons debating the Budget.
  4. Peers met at 11.00 GMT for oral questions, followed by debates. The first was on the Select Committee report on the Inquiries Act 2005.
  5. Following that, the Lords held debates on the European Public Prosecutor's Office; and science and mathematics students from overseas.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Lords adjourn - and good evening

House of Lords

Parliament

The debate on international students wraps up and the final piece of business - the Health Service Commissioner for England (Complaint Handling) Bill - goes through without any debate, which concludes the day in the Lords.

The Lords will return on Monday at 14.30 GMT.

Genuine students

House of Lords

Parliament

Government Spokesperson, Baroness Williams of Trafford, defends student visa reforms quoting a National Audit Office report that estimated 25% of international students who came to the UK in 2009/10 came to work rather than study.

The Baroness also recognises that the government does need to better communicate the UK's offer to students in order to prevent being overtaken by competitor nations such as Australia and the US.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
BBC

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

That's the end of today's debates in the Commons.

MPs are sitting tomorrow from 09.30 GMT, not for private members' bills as is usual for a Friday sitting, but for a third day of debate on the Budget.

The debate will focus on local growth.

Stay with us today as the House of Lords continues its debate on international students.

Three earls and a viscount

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara
BBC

Shadow spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, praises the quality of the debate noting its aristocratic bent with contributions from three earls and a viscount.

He goes on to attack the government's response to the report as defensive and brusque to the point of rudeness.

The government response says there is no limit on the number of international students and that there exist a number of myths and inaccurate perceptions on the subject.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Budget debate is adjourned until tomorrow.

Labour MP Robert Flello has secured the final, short debate, which concerns the Shooter's Hill mobile phone mast in his constituency of Stoke on Trent South.

Summing up

House of Commons

Parliament

We're on the final wind-up speech in today's leg of the Budget debate.

Continuing an election theme of trying to bring back the feel-good factor, Treasury Minister Andrea Leadsom says there is now a mood of "national optimism".

She says it is a myth that "when the economy grows, it is government that does the running".

"It is not the government, it is businesses and hard-working individuals."

'Productivity gap'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow business, innovation and skills minister Iain Wright says the Budget "offered little to business".

He argues: "Tackling the productivity gap is the single biggest means by which Britain will improve competitiveness, improve living standards for all and ensure that the deficit is brought down."

He tells MPs: "UK output per hour has fallen to 17% below the rest of the G7 - the largest gap since 1991.

"It takes a British worker until Friday to produce what a German or American worker produces by Thursday."

One in, one out?

House of Lords

Parliament

In a neat counter-balance to Viscount Tenby's valedictory speech, Earl Kinnoull now stands to make a maiden one.

He says he has been touched by the warmth of members of the House, but regrets the lack of an iPad app to help with navigation around the building as he envisions getting lost for "some moons to come".

'Economic incompetence'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Debbie Abrahams says the government has been "crowing about their economic performance" but the coalition inherited "an economy that was growing at the end of 2010 but then flatlined for three years".

She adds: "The government is borrowing £219bn more than you estimated in 2010. How about that for economic incompetence?"

'Unwelcoming UK'

House of Lords

Parliament

Committee Chair and Oxford academic, Lord Krebs, says there has been a drop in international students coming to the UK and specifically identifies a 42% decrease in students coming from India.

He argues that circumstantial evidence suggests government polices on immigration have prevented STEM students from choosing to study in the UK.

Lord Krebs
BBC

'On the precipice'

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat Annette Brooke outlines why she supported coalition with the Conservatives in 2010.

"I genuinely believed that we were on the point, the precipice, of a major, major decline in the financial markets and I felt that achieving financial stability was the most important thing that we should do," she says.

She adds that, while she has disagreed with some government policies, "I still remain convinced that the right thing was done, and there are many aspects of this Budget that I am proud to stand up and defend".

One of these "aspects" is raising the personal allowance for income taxpayers.

Annette Brooke
BBC

International Stem Students

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Krebs opens the last committee report debate, this one concerning the Report of the Science and Technology Committee on International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students.

The report blames "contradictory" government policies for the fall in international STEM student numbers.

The committee's report argues that international students enrich the experience of domestic students, provide skills needed for growth and contribute's to the UK's soft power.

The committee also notes the contribution made by international students to university finances.

@AlecShelbrooke

Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke tweets: #Budget2015: building a fairer economy with a plan to tackle tax avoidance and evasion that'll bring in an extra £3.1billion to the treasury

'Bank of mum and dad'

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's Mike Weir says that the new "Help to Buy" ISA will be welcomed by some and he expects "better off parents" to open accounts for their offspring.

"But it's just another variation on the bank of mum and dad," he argues.

Welcoming the report

House of Lords

Parliament

UKIP Peer, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, also welcomes the report stating that "it is the first time in 25 years that I am able to congratulate the EU select committee on one of its reports and indeed the government on its reply."

The

government response reiterates that the UK will not participate in the EPPO.

Prosecution of cases

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hope of Craighead welcomes the report and the government's decision not to opt in to the establishment of the EPPO.

He argues that it is "difficult to come to the conclusion that the EPPO would be more able to prosecute a case than nation states".

Lord Hope of Craighead
BBC

Key points of Budget 2015

BBC Business

BBC News has

summarised the key points of this year's Budget.

And you can find out what yesterday's announcements mean for you with our

Budget calculator.

European Public Prosecutor's Office

House of Lords

Parliament

The Lords now turn to the report of the European Union Committee on the impact of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) on the United Kingdom.

The establishment of the EPPO was proposed by the EU Commission with the purpose of investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of "offences against the Union's financial interests".

The committee's report expresses concerns about the proposal fearing that the EPPO would be overworked and that a centralised body could complicate the prosecution of crimes.

'Help to buy' welcomed

House of Commons

Parliament

Another London MP, Conservative Mary MacLeod, welcomes the "help to buy ISA" and argues it will help Londoners onto the housing ladder.

She says her constituency of Brentford and Isleworth has "a growing economy, a growing number of jobs and rising living standards".

Mary MacLeod
BBC

Housing costs

House of Commons

Parliament

The Budget debate turns to housing, as Meg Hillier, the Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, criticises the sale of "huge, publicly owned sites" for high-cost housing.

She says that Kingsland fire station is being sold off "for a rumoured £28 million - this clearly can't be for affordable housing" while the Mount Pleasant Royal Mail sorting office in neighbouring Islington is being sold "mostly for luxury homes".

She says the "ISA for homebuyers" announced in the Budget "really just fuels the house price increases we've seen in my constituency".

The chancellor announced a new "Help to Buy" ISA for first-time buyers which will allow government to top up by £50 every £200 saved for a deposit.

Lessons learned

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Faulks, summing up for the frontbench, says that lessons will be learned from the report for the future.

He says he believes the 2005 Act works well. The government accepts three amendments to the rules, out of the committee's four, and will make the changes as soon as possible in the new Parliament.

Lord Faulks goes on to more controversial subjects. Why did HM's Government reject the committee's recommendation on rules 13 to 15 on warning letters? he asks.

He says that a departure from the current approach could lead to a loss of the co-operation of witnesses, he implies.

'Hayekian nightmare'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins renews the charge that the cuts are ideologically motivated.

He paints a picture of "an agenda which is really about diminishing the role of the state, on the road to the Hayekian nightmare of a world government by private markets, not by democratic government".

Kelvin Hopkins
BBC

More Tory support

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Chris Kelly is the next to praise the Budget, combining an old and new Tory slogan.

"Thanks to this government's long-term economic plan, Britain is walking tall again," he says.

And he warns against a "return to the chaos of the past".

'Incompetence and arrogance'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Soley rises to support the recommendations of the report and regrets the

government's response describing ministers as incompetent and arrogant.

The government has rejected the committee's recommendation concerning warning letters stating that, although universally adopted by inquiries, sending out warning letters is technically already at the discretion of the chair.

Tory support

House of Commons

Parliament

Now it's the turn of the Tories to praise the Budget.

And Mark Simmonds, the MP for Boston and Skegness, obliges.

He says he supports the Budget against the background of the fastest growing economy in the G7, a record number of jobs having been created, high employment, the deficit down, debt falling and more than three-quarters of a million jobs having been created.

Mark Simmonds
BBC

Warning letters

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Buscombe is criticising the practice of sending out "warning letters" prior to the publication of an inquiry report.

Warning letters are sent to participants in an inquiry who may be criticised in the final report.

Letters sent to, amongst others, Tony Blair and Jack Straw have been blamed for the delay in the publication of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq War.

The committee has recommended revoking the rules that make warning letters a mandatory part of conducting an inquiry and argues that inquiry chairs should be allowed more discretion on the matter.

Hollow sound

House of Commons

Parliament

Adrian Bailey, the chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, tells the House that it is difficult to feel pride, and hard to walk tall on your way to a food bank - and that, he says, is the feeling of people who are desperate for alleviation from the policies of the government.

"'Walking tall' and 'sun shining' rings hollow in their ears," he says.

He says the reduction in income also rings true for the average family; an experience, he says, MPs will recognise from their own constituencies.

@politicshome

PoliticsHome tweets: .@vincecable hits back at @edballsmp insisting top 20% "have paid four times as much in terms of deficit reduction" than poorest 20%

Tribute to Viscount Tenby

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Pannick is next on the speakers' list and pays tribute to the departing Lord with a quote about the House of Lords from Viscount Tenby's grandfather, David Lloyd George: "A body of five hundred men chosen at random from amongst the unemployed."

Lord Pannick notes that Viscount Tenby has never been unemployed.

Inequality

House of Commons

Parliament

Vince Cable addresses the accusations that Britain has become a more unequal society.

This is a problem we share across the world, he says. He adds that the top 10% or 20% have contributed the most under austerity measures.

And he points to research that he says shows that inequality under this government is not worse than it was under a Labour government.

Valedictory speech

House of Lords

Parliament

There is a hiatus in discussion of the committee's report as Viscount Tenby stands to deliver his valedictory speech.

Viscount Tenby is the grandson of former Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, and has sat in the Lords as one of 90 hereditary peers since 1983.

Members of the House of Lords have only been allowed to resign or retire since the introduction of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014.

Viscount Tenby
BBC

'Pulling the plug'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Morris of Aberavon expresses the concern that the independence of inquiries can be damaged by the desire to keep costs down.

He suggests that "pulling the plug" on an inquiry should be considered out of bounds by ministers.

Cable replies

House of Commons

Parliament

Business Secretary Vince Cable rises to respond for the government.

"The shadow chancellor does outrage very well," he says.

Vince Cable
BBC

Government 'borrowing more'

House of Commons

Parliament

Ed Balls says the government is borrowing more and "failing" to reduce the national debt.

He claims the Conservatives are planning "even deeper cuts in the next next three years than in the last five years".

'Salmon Principles'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Woolf refers to the "Salmon Principles" which set out how participants in an inquiry should be treated.

The principles were established by Lord Justice Salmon in 1966 in the aftermath of Lord Denning's inquiry into the Profumo Scandal.

The principles include allowing a participant the opportunity of preparing their case, the right to call witnesses and access to some level of legal support.

Chance to respond

House of Commons

Parliament

Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband replied to yesterday's Budget statement by the chancellor, so the second day of debate gives shadow chancellor Ed Balls his chance to respond in the House.

Ed Balls
BBC

Committee report

House of Lords

Parliament

The Select Committee found that the Inquiries Act 2005 has "worked well" but recommended the setting up of a Central Inquiries Unit with the aim of making future inquiries "more efficient, more streamlined and less costly to the public".

The Committee's report can be found

here.

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Questions on Commons business and points of order to the Speaker are over.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is opening the second day of debate on the Budget.

'One of the most agreeable'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Paul Flynn, who represents Newport West, pays his own tribute to Mr Hague, who served as Secretary of State for Wales in the 1990s.

Mr Flynn calls Mr Hague "one of the most agreeable alien governor generals we've had".