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Summary

  1. MPs met at 9.30am for Transport questions, followed by the weekly Business Statement from Leader of the House Chris Grayling.
  2. There was an urgent question from Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin on the Trade Union Bill.
  3. MPs had two Backbench Business debates tabled on Autism Awareness Week and HMRC's Building our Future plan.
  4. Peers began their day with questions, and then considered the Northern Ireland Bill at third reading.
  5. Peers took part in a debate on building a stronger economy.

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel, Patrick Cowling and Claire Gould

All times stated are UK

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Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

That brings Common's business to an end.

Join us on Tuesday at 2.30pm, when MPs will be debating Lords amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill. 

But in the meantime - goodbye.

Commons clock
HOC

Burt: We need to ensure that commitments are met

Mental health services debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Alistair Burt
HOC

Health Minister Alistair Burt tells David Lammy he shares his passion for the issue.

He says he is proud of the government's record on mental health but says it is important to ensure that "what we commit to flows through" to the right places.

He assures the House that they won't find him lacking when it comes to dealing with the issue. 

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The debate on HMRC concludes and David Lammy rises to open the adjournment debate on mental health services in Haringey.

He begins by paying tribute to those who work for the council who he believes have "been asked to do an impossible job".

He says this constituency has seen some "terrible cases" in recent years and calls on the minister to earmark funding for the crisis team. 

"I'm putting the minister on notice," he says.

David Lammy
HOC

Gauke: Changes will save £700m a year by 2020

HMRC debate

House of Commons

Parliament

David Gauke
HOC

David Gauke says the changes are designed to produce a modern, efficient organisation which provides value for the taxpayer.

He tells MPs that the new changes will make it easier to do taxes online, allow HMRC to offer a seven day service and establish a dedicated phone line for new businesses.

He says the changes are expected to save £700m a year by 2020.

'All a bit of a mess'

HMRC debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Treasury minister Rob Marris opens his speech - "It's all a bit of a mess isn't it".

He says the debate is taking place in the context of the Panama Papers. He asks how HMRC staff will be able to deal with the fall out when "they are already rushed off their feet".

He says the "plummeting" HMRC staff numbers is a case of the government cutting off its own nose to spite its face.

He argues that the fewer staff there are the less money HMRC can bring in. "The staff pay for themselves," he says.

Rob Marris
HOC

Saville Roberts: services in Wales have been dismantled

HMRC debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Liz Saville Roberts
HOC

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts laments the "dismantling" of HMRC services in Wales over the past 15 years. 

Where there used to be 23 offices in Wales, she says it is now proposed that there will only be one. 

One of the offices threatened with closure is in her constituency - "the home of the tax office's Welsh language service."

She argues that the office's current location makes it ideal to attract Welsh speakers.

She worries that if the office is closed the rights of Welsh speakers will be diminished. 

Dowd: Closures will damage social cohesion

HMRC debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Peter Dowd is MP for Bootle where four HMRC offices are due to close. 

He says the criteria by which HMRC decided to close offices "does not bear much scrutiny".

He accuses HMRC officials of ignoring the affect of closures on the local communities, social cohesion and nearby businesses.

Peter Dowd
HOC

House adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

The debate wraps up and peers are now speaking about the Northern Ireland (Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan) Bill which is receiving its third reading.

Minister Lord Dunlop thanks peers for their scrutiny of the bill and the legislation passes.

With that the House of Lords adjourns for the day.

Peers will return on Tuesday next week at 2.30pm - until then, goodbye.

Stephens: Government destroying our future

HMRC debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP Christopher Stephens accuses the government's plan of destroying rather than building the future. 

He says HMRC staff would be entitled to ask why a government that "comes up with catchphrases" on devolution "is so intent on such a centralist agenda".

He argues that closures of local HMRC offices will increase unemployment in areas that are already employment black spots.

Chris Stephens
HOC

Government response

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Treasury Minister Lord O'Neill of Gatley rises to respond to the debate for the government and attempts to answer the many issues raised by peers.

Speaking about the issue raised by some Labour peers about state investment and deficit reduction, saying "the idea that we should suddenly spend a lot more money and ignore the current employment realities, and ignore potential rainy days in the future is a very, very questionable concept".

When he talks to the points raised by Lord McFall on banking regulation and culture, he says this is a "very important challenge that I and colleagues are spending a considerable amount of time on", but warns that "our desire to punish wrongdoing doesn't smother the financial system".

Lord O'Neill of Gatley
BBC

HMRC reveals tax office shake-up

From 12 November 2015

HMRC sign
Getty Images

The UK's tax authority is to close 137 local offices and replace them with 13 regional centres, raising fears over job losses.

The closures will be complete by 2027, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), but the new centres will be open in the next five years.

Towns and cities hosting the new offices include Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and Croydon.

The plan comes as HMRC faces criticism of its call centres.

Read more here.

Outlining the debate

Parliamentary reporters tweet

HMRC debate begins

House of Commons

Parliament

HMRC building
HOC

That concludes the autism debate and the debate on HMRC's Building our Future plan now begins.

The motion being debated expresses concern that the closure of HMRC offices will compromise its ability to collect tax and enforce compliance.

It also calls for the closures to be suspended until a full consultation has been carried out. 

Attitude change can see 'opportunity fulfilled'

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Alistair Burt
HOC

Health Minister Alistair Burt tells MPs that changes in attitude can be the difference between "ambition thwarted and opportunity fulfilled".

On diagnosis waiting times, he is unwilling to impose a target of three months believing it would be merely be a token gesture.

However, he hopes government efforts to collect more data will have an effect.

Autism suicide statistics 'a scandal'

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Luciana Berger
HOC

Shadow mental health minister Luciana Berger sums up the debate for the opposition.

She says it is scandalous that people on the autistic spectrum will on average die 18 years earlier than the general population.

She calls it a scandal that those with autism are nine times more likely to commit suicide.

One of the solutions, she argues, is more money for research and calls the current expenditure "a paltry amount".

The ideological divide

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Davies of Oldham
BBC

Labour shadow spokesperson Lord Davies of Oldham rises to join others in praising the late Lord Peston, saying he combined the two features that are appreciated all around the House - "real expertise and being well worth listening to on all occasions".

Turning to the motion that notes steps taken by the government to build a stronger economy, Lord Davies says "the first thing we ought to do is disregard their track record".

He says when the coalition government came to power in 2010 there was "a deficit of 8% and a growth rate of 3%" and accuses the chancellor of "spending no time at all in demolishing hopes that the growth rate would be sustained".

Highlighting once more the ideological divide between the two sides of the chamber, the Labour peer says that in the wake of the financial crash "far from the state withdrawing the state should have stepped in" with investment.

Huge interest

Charity for autistic people and families tweets

Avoiding Cinderella

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP Mike Weir offers his own experience of bringing up his autistic daughter.

He recalls that his daughter was fascinated by Disney cartoons - especially Cinderella and the mice that accompanied her.

He tells how, when on holiday at Disneyland Paris, he took her to meet Cinderella and her rodent friends. However, his daughter couldn't cope with the fact that the mice were bigger than she was.

"We spent the rest of the holiday discovering ways in which to avoid certain Disney characters," he says.

Call for better vocational training structure

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem Baroness Kramer speaks out for young people who are "not going an academic route" into skills and employment.

She calls for a "genuinely viable, vocational structure" for young people who want to develop technical or business skills without going to university.  

She says addressing the current lack of support in this area is not just an education issue, but that the Treasury should be taking an interest.

kramer
BBC

Worrying stories

Parliamentary reporter tweets

Autism-friendly progress

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Jonathan Reynolds says he is a father of an autistic child and celebrates a number of schemes he has found helpful. 

He mentions efforts made by cinema chains to have autism friendly screenings.

He welcomes the fact that his own football club Sunderland has built a sensory room - "So, something never before available to me - that feeling of taking my son to a football match - will now be available".

Although, he adds, he may wait until next season.

Jonathan Reynolds
HOC

Gibson: Awareness generates compassion

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Patricia Gibson
HOC

The SNP's Patricia Gibson runs through a number of statistics illustrating the difficulty of having autism. 

She notes that 26% of graduates with autism are unemployed - the highest rate of any disability group.

She also says someone with autism is twice as likely to die prematurely. 

However she is optimistic about society's capacity to change - "folks are decent". She says if we can help raise awareness the public will display more compassion.

Universities at 'forefront' of tech economy

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher Lord Bilimoria speaks on the importance of UK universities and academics being at the forefront of technology and scientific discoveries of global importance, including the CERN project and the discovery of gravity waves.

He says the UK would lose vital R&D funding if it were to leave the EU, and that Harvard academics have warned against it.

Lord Bilimoria says Britain would "survive, even thrive" outside the EU, and that he is sceptical, but that Britain is safeguarded from greater political union.

He closes by saying "if we want to go far, we must go together".

Bilimoria
BBC

Phillips: We need to think differently about people who think differently

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Jess Phillips
HOC

Labour's Jess Phillips tells the House that she is a mother currently on the waiting list for an autism diagnosis.

She recalls watching the new Star Wars film with her sons and their friends and the interpretation they reached of the new Dark Lord.

"Perhaps he needed time out, perhaps the Death Star was so noisy that it made him stressed, perhaps he was wearing a mask because he didn't want to make eye contact."

She says society needs to "think differently about people who think differently".

How does a child experience autism?

BBC iWonder

The autism diagnosis is set on a spectrum therefore it could be said that if you have met one person with autism, you’ve simply met one person with autism. Every person is different. It’s also important to remember that autism isn’t who a person is, they still have their own innate nature and character.

When you meet a child with autism, it may be obvious to you that they are different somehow - but equally, there may be absolutely no obvious sign of difference. Children and young people with autism are living around us all the time and we may not be aware of their condition. In fact, some people may even have autism and not realise this is the thing they have been struggling with.

Read more here.

iWonder autism logo
BBC

An 'absolute absence of autism'

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Helen Hayes tells MPs of a family in her constituency whose autistic son was sectioned after assaulting his father.

She says the troubling aspect of their story was the "absolute absence of autism" in the system.

Specifically she points to a lack of understanding of the young man's need for routine and structure. Consequently, she says, his condition seriously deteriorated.

Helen Hayes
HOC

Call to remain in the EU

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative Lord Suri says the UK economy would suffer if there is a vote to leave the EU at the forthcoming referendum.

He says the detailed Treasury report into the economic consequences of leaving the EU is long but clear: there would be costs to business and to individuals.

Lord Suri says "leading from the front is the British way", and withdrawal from the EU would leave Britain isolated.

Suri
BBC

Concern over engineering skills crisis

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Leading civil engineer Lord Mair makes a speech about the need for the UK to train and retain more engineers, saying "if we want to build a stronger economy we cannot ignore the vital role of engineering innovation and the problem of the growing engineers skills crisis".

Lord Mair talks about the "exciting and attractive" challenges faced by our society in the future and how engineers will have to deal with these issues.

"Our economy simply will not thrive if our industries fail to recruit the young men and women engineers that are needed for them to grow and innovate."

Call for reform of 'tick box' systems

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Huw Merriman relates the case of a constituent, who was turned down by the DVLA for a disabled parking badge to assist in the care of her autistic child.

Mr Merriman says the application failed because there was no clear physical disability, and the "tick box system" was not suitable for describing the needs of a child with autism. He calls on the minister to deliver training to all those in government responsible for 'tick box' systems to have autism awareness training.

merriman
BBC

UK needs more R&D

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Bhattacharyya takes a broader view of the issue, saying "economic policy debates often focus on the crisis of the moment" and argues that "when we examine the causes of each crisis we find they are complex and often the result of our own previous decisions on supporting, taxing and regulating our industries".

He says that UK government and businesses do not focus enough effort on research and development and encouraging innovation.

"Small sums of money, coordinated can trigger a chain reaction and create record level production and thousands of new jobs."

Lord Bhattacharyya
BBC

Speed up diagnosis, says former health minister

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Lib Dem Norman Lamb, a former health minister, calls for autism to be included in the guidelines for mental health diagnosis, so that people with autism are seen by a specialist within weeks of being referred by a GP, rather than waiting anything up to 36 months.

He says quick access to mental health services is essential as people with autism disorders and learning disabilities are moved out of long-term hospital facilities.

Lamb
BBC

The need for education

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Sheikh
BBC

Conservative Lord Sheikh immediately disagrees with Lord Hain's assertion that Labour ran a "successful economy" before the financial crash, by saying there has been "great progress in rebuilding the economy after Labour's financial mismanagement".

The peer says that the better educated society is the more innovative and productive it is, and praised the government for "doing much to improve the integrity of our education system and enhance our skills base".

Hain: return to Keynesian economics

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hain, a former Cabinet member in the last Labour government, makes a lengthy critique of George Osborne's economic policies since 2010 - which he says are based on a "neo-liberal aim of shrinking the size of the state" rather than on "what is best for the country".

The former secretary of state says that the country needs a return to Keynesian economics rather than a continued pursuit of neo-liberalism.

He also says he was struck by the government figure of £74bn for borrowing in the financial year 2015-16, saying this was the "exact figure" set by Lord Darling in his final Labour budget in 2010 for the year 2014-15.

Autistic people are 'untapped resource'

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative David Jones recounts large-scale studies that have shown autism spectrum disorders to be far more prevalent than thought in previous generations.

He goes on to say that autistic people are an untapped resource, with skills that are attractive to potential employers. He calls for greater awareness by employers of autistic people's needs to have clear instructions and quiet working conditions.

Mr Jones closes his comments by calling for greater scientific research into the causes of autism.

David jones
BBC

The need for innovation

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher Lord Mawson says there is an increasing disenchantment among the young with representative democracy because governments of different political complexions "seem incapable of delivering the integrated and joined up world that they want to live in".

Prime ministers have "dabbled in notions of the third way and the big society" he says, but argues they have "failed to create any coherent practical sense of what this means in practice".

Lord Mawson says that businesses and entrepreneurs who are "capable of delivering this joined up innovation" are prevented by government and the civil service.

Lord Mawson
BBC

'Deal with it'

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The SNP's Brendan O'Hara tells MPs that no two autistic people display the same characteristics and that society should afford each individual "the respect they deserve".

He says that sometimes people with autism become anxious in social situations and sometimes they have a meltdown - "deal with it".

Brendan O'Hara
HOC

'Unfinished business' in bank culture reform

Economy debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord McFall of Alcluith
BBC

Labour peer Lord McFall of Alcluith, who was chair of the House of Commons Treasury Committee during the banking crisis, says there is "unfinished business" in changing the culture and practice in banking.

He says that recent reports have found that UK banks' profitability is "imperiled by persistent misconduct, aggressive sales based culture and excessive remuneration".

"As a result of that every citizen is poorer," he says.

Lord McFall joins others in praising the late Lord Peston, who has died this week. He says that when he was first appointed as chair of the Treasury Committee, Lord Peston had told him not to worry about the "many eminent people" he will question because they do not know their A from their E.

"For the sake of decency, my lords, E stands for elbow," he tells the chamber.

'A Victorian sensibility lingers'

Autism debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Jon Cruddas begins with a quote from writer John Harris: "Our culture too often couches autism in terms of pity or fear. A Victorian sensibility lingers on."

Mr Cruddas tells MPs that progress has been made and says this is in part due to the work of Cheryl Gillan.

He focuses his speech on the issue of diagnosis delay which he suggests are down to insufficient training and cost pressures.

Jon Cruddas
HOC