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Summary

  1. Questions to Brexit ministers
  2. Business Statement outlines forthcoming debates
  3. MPs continue Budget debate
  4. Peers question government ministers
  5. Main business Criminal Finances Bill
  6. Public Accounts Committee looking at access to GPs

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel and Esther Webber

All times stated are UK

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End of business in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

The House of Lords has adjourned for the day. 

Peers return tomorrow at 10am for private members' bills, starting with second reading of the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence Bill.

Government 'taking BME employment very seriously'

International Women's Day

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Vere
BBC

Winding up for the government, Baroness Vere of Norbiton picks up comments made earlier by Labour's Baroness Howells on "double discrimination" faced by black women. 

She says ministers are "taking BME [black and minority ethnic] employment very seriously", particularly that of black women.

She points to the McGregor-Smith review and the government's undertaking to set up a Business Diversity and Inclusion Group.

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons
HoC

And that ends the day in the House of Commons.

There is no business tomorrow so MPs will be back at 2:30pm on Monday for defence questions.

Bed occupancy has been close to 35% - minister

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Philip Dunne
HoC

Health Minister Philip Dunne notes that bed occupancy in the ward has fallen from 66% to 49% in the last few years.

At times it has been closer to 35%, he adds.

He suggests that the community hospital is seeing the success of long term care packages which allow people to stay at home rather than being kept in the hospital.

However, he concludes that these decisions are best taken at a local level.

He says the MP can be comforted by the fact the the Trust in Northumberland has coped with increased demand "remarkably well".

Conservative MP argues against ward closure

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
HoC

Conservative Anne-Marie Trevelyan tells MPs that her local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has temporarily closed the inpatient ward because of lack of use.

Anne Marie Trevelyan argues that closing the ward permanently will mean older patients are sent home.

She says that there are not enough community nurses to support them back to independent living

Children's TV presenter issues porn warning

International Women's Day debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Benjamin
BBC

Lib Dem and former TV presenter Baroness Benjamin says although pornography has been around for a long time, it's becoming more commonplace and influences how girls see themselves. 

Porn encourages boys to see their role in sex as "violent and dominant", she argues, and "we need less porn and more education". 

Adjournment debate begins

House of Commons

Parliament

Hospital bed
PA

The Budget debate comes to an end for the day - it will return on Monday.

Conservative Anne-Marie Trevelyan now gets to her feet to begin her adjournment debate on Rothbury Community Hospital.

There are plans to permanently shut the 12-bed inpatient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital in Northumberland.

Residents say the area has a high proportion of vulnerable, older people who need local hospital beds.

NHS managers argue that the facility is under-used and want to replace it with a health and wellbeing centre.

'The majority will be better off' - minister

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Jane Ellison
HoC

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison responds to the debate.

On National Insurance, she quotes Labour's Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams  "one of the principles [of Labour's self-employment commission] is that self employment National Insurance contributions should rise towards employee level."

Deputy speaker Eleanor Laing has to intervenes as things get a bit noisy.

"They don't like it up 'em," suggests the minister. 

She argues that under the new changes "the majority will be better off".

Surrey Council to receive more social care money, says Barbara Keeley

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Barbara Keeley
HoC

Shadow social care minister Barbara Keeley focuses much of her response to the debate on the accusations that Surrey County Council received a deal on social care in exchange for calling off a referendum on tax rises.

Looking at the allocation of the £2bn the Chancellor announced yesterday for social care, Barbara Keeley notes that next year Surrey Council is one of only six councils whose allocation will increase.

She further notes that whereas the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid met the leader of Surrey Council six times in recent months, he has not had time to meet Hull Council leaders.

That is very worrying, she says.

Government still paying for unsuccessful Brexit appeal

Esther Webber

BBC News

Gina Miller outside the Supreme Court
Getty Images
Gina Miller outside the Supreme Court

Although the Article 50 bill is in its final stages, it seems the government has not yet finished paying the legal costs of challenging the ruling that Parliament had to be consulted.

Labour MP Gloria de Piero tabled a written question asking when ministers will confirm the cost of the Supreme Court appeal of the Brexit court case decision.

Brexit Minister Robin Walker replied:

The department has not been billed for all costs related to the case. Details of the total costs associated with the case, including the costs of the Supreme Court appeal, will be published in due course after they have been settled.

'What socialism is all about'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Stewart Jackson
HoC

Conservative Stewart Jackson suggests that it is ironic for the Labour party to paint itself as "the friend of the entrepreneur".

He argues that changes to National Insurance is about "fairness and simplification of the tax system". 

He questions Labour's opposition to grammar schools and accuses the party of seeking to "share the level of misery amongst everyone".

"That is what socialism is all about."

Government is in 'blind ideological pursuit'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Seema Malhotra
HoC

Labour's Seema Malhotra accuses the government of being in "blind ideological pursuit" of grammar schools.

She tells MPs that the National Audit Office said £6.7bn would be needed to bring schools "up to standard".

Ministers, she says, are instead choosing to spend millions on funding new free schools while "existing schools crumble into disrepair".

Baroness Brady on Brexit

International Women's Day debate

House of Lords

Parliament

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Conservative Baroness Brady says business leaders are "rightly concerned" about Brexit and "top female talent" may be their best insurance as they seek to ensure they have the right skills. 

A dedicated NHS and care tax?

Brexit debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The budget was inadequate for social care, says Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, "but it was disastrous for the NHS".

He notes that there is a 1% increase in funding for the NHS in 2017-18, but adds that this is accompanied by an increase in demand of 4%.

"Wherever you are on the political spectrum, that makes no sense at all", he adds. 

He suggests that there is "growing interest" in establishing a dedicated NHS and care tax. 

Baroness Howells: Black women suffer double discrimination

International Women's Day debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Howells
BBC

Labour's Baroness Howells of St Davids focuses her remarks on the situation of black women, whom she says face "double discrimination". 

She pays tribute to immigrants to the UK who have started businesses, including hairdressers, noting that coming into a cold country with Afro-Caribbean hair means "you gotta lot of work to do".  undefined

Streeting: Labour needs to do its job

Brexit debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Wes Streeting
HoC

Labour's Wes Streeting attacks the Conservatives for not understanding "the need to balance spending cuts with investment for growth".

He accuses the government of damaging both the private and public sector in addition to "botching Brexit".

"It is long past time that the Labour Party took this thing apart. That's the job we need to face up to, and we need to start doing it now." 

'In this one respect, we are lagging far, far behind'

International Women's Day

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Barker
HoL

Lib Dem Baroness Barker is using her speech to talk about transgender women's rights in the UK.

"There's a country where one group of women are allowed to be recognised legally, only if they can prove their identity to the satisfaction of a psychiatrist, for at least two years...there's a country where women can have their legal identity denied indefinitely by a spouse...there's a country where some women, in order to obtain legal recognition, have to make an application to a panel which meets in secret, whose composition is never revealed, and when a decision is made, there's no right of appeal," she says.

"We have done a tremendous amount in this country, in order to lead the world in equalities legislation, but in this one respect, we are lagging far, far behind," she finishes.

'We must shout out for women who cannot shout out for themselves'

International Women's Day

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Prosser
HoL

"We must shout out for women who cannot shout out for themselves."

Baroness Prosser on the Labour benches references how lucky women in the UK are. She says across the world many women may not protest, and many may not even leave the house without a male escort. 

"It is a proven point, that decisions made by both women and men, generally lead to the most sustainable and effective outcomes," she adds, talking about UN resolutions for women and girls. 

'We must persist'

International Women's Day

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Shields
HoL

The Criminal Finances Bill receives approval from the Lords for the next stage of its progression. 

Baroness Shields is now opening the debate on International Women's Day.

"More women than ever are in work, and the gender pay gap is at its lowest point, but we must persist," she says.

Women helped NASA space missions, she says, but "we saw faint praise at the time".

She says that when she started her computing studies back in the 1980s, she was one of three women in a class of 400.

NI tax rise: is it progressive?

BBC tweets

Where else will the money come from?

Brexit debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Kerry McCarthy
HoC

Labour's Kerry McCarthy tells MPs that her constituents are "extremely worried" about how National Insurance changes will affect them. 

Conservative Stewart Jackson argues that there is consensus that more money is needed for social care.

If the money isn't raised through National Insurance contributions, where else would it come from? he asks

Kerry McCarthy replies that the government is spending money on fundng grammar schools and £70bn in tax cuts for the "rich and corporations" including £1bn on tax inheritance.

Criticism coming...

Labour MP tweets

'£4.2bn of property bought in London with suspicious wealth'

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Kennedy of Southwark
HoL

Lord Kennedy of Southwark says he has been reading 'Faulty Towers', a report by Transparency International UK , which claims that £4.2bn of property has been bought in London with suspicious wealth.

He welcomes the measures in the bill to tackle tax evasion, particularly in the case of British companies avoiding tax in the UK.

He wraps up by saying he welcomes the bill, and its measures to keep people safe, "which is, after all, the first duty of government".

Baroness Williams of Trafford, Home Office Minister, says she is pleased to be able to bring in this bill. 

"We are leading the way, and we hope others will follow," she adds.

Blackman: Treasury should introduce National Insurance tapers

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Bob Blackman argues that people who have gone into self-employment are on relatively low rates of pay and are "taking on the risk themselves". 

We want to encourage those people, he says.

He notes that there has been "a dramatic reduction" in National Insurance for low wage earners but argues that the point at which people will pay more is too low.

He suggests that the Treasury introduce "appropriate tapers" to ensure that the rise hits those "abusing" their self employment status.

'These services have already been cut by £5bn since 2010'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Steve Reed
HoC

Steve Reed, from the Labour benches, uses his speech to discuss the issues facing social care in his constituency.

"After the Chancellor ignored the social care crisis in his Autumn statement, we were hoping for better this time, and although £2bn extra over three years is a welcome start, it goes absolutely nowhere near resolving this crisis, these services have already been cut by £5bn since 2010," he says.

"People need reassurances, not broken promises," he says, referring to the planned rise in National Insurance contributions to pay for the social care crisis

"The Tories have made all of this worse by targeting the poorest communities for the biggest scale of the cuts, they've put the greatest burden on the weakest shoulders, and they've done it as a deliberate political tactic," he wraps up.

The 'socialist pipedream of the party opposite'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Dominic Raab
HoC

Conservative MP Dominic Raab says he accepts concerns about inflation and the cost of living pressures facing families.

However he says efforts to solve income inequality should not involve "chasing the socialist pipedream of the leadership of the party opposite".

He says that in constituencies like his, which have a disproportionate number of smaller businesses across small towns and villages, the business rate change will be very welcome.

He adds that the addition of 1.8 million children studying in state schools which are 'good or outstanding' as rated by Ofsted is this government's greatest achievement. 

What is the Criminal Finances Bill?

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

The Criminal Finances Bill seeks to give law enforcement agencies powers to recover the proceeds of crime, tackle money laundering and corruption, and counter terrorist financing.

The measures in the bill aim to: 

  • Create a range of new powers for law enforcement agencies to request information and seize cash stored in bank accounts 
  • Ensure that relevant money laundering and asset recovery powers will be extended to apply to investigations under the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT)
  • Create two new corporate offences of failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion

Read a Lords Library briefing note.

'A grubby way to behave'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Angela Eagle
HoC

Labour's Angela Eagle says she is "very disappointed with the Chancellor's first budget yesterday".

She says there was no mention of climate change, poverty, inequality, or budget cuts. The most surprising thing was the lack of a mention of Brexit, she declares.

"He left the grimmest news unspoken, perhaps hoping that nobody would notice it", she adds.

She finishes by saying that the increase in National Insurance contributions has been proposed to "fill a fiscal hole for social policy" and this is "a grubby way to behave". 

Business rates discount 'will make a real difference'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

George and Dragon pub in Yorkshire
HoC

Pubs are the cornerstone of my constituency's economy, says Conservative Rishi Sunak.

He notes that it is impossible to visit a pub in his area without seeing a picture of his predecessor (Lord Hague) pulling a pint.

Over recent months he acknowledges that he has been worried that the rise in business rates would undermine these local pubs.

He therefore congratulates the chancellor for, "like any good landlord", listening to concerns.

The £1,000 business rates discount will make a real difference, he says.

Brexit and the Budget: two impacts which should have been addressed

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Roger Mullin
HoC

The SNP's Treasury spokesman Roger Mullin says there are two impacts of Brexit that should have been tackled in the Budget.

Firstly, he says, the "disruption to the labour market" should have been addressed.

Secondly, he expresses concern that the Chancellor made no announcement on how funding gaps in areas such as agriculture and higher education would be filled post-Brexit.

Labour peer calls for scrutiny of expensive property sales

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Rooker
BBC

Labour's Lord Rooker tells peers he went on the first UK "kleptocracy tour".

Discussing the new corporate offence in the bill of failing to prevent tax evasion, he asks why more attention is not paid to estate agents and lawyers involved in high-value property sales.

He says these are often "smart, Blue Chip operations who do not like the searchlight of sunshine on their activities". 

Ex-minister attacks government's 'envelope tax'

Criminal Finances Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Faulks
BBC

Conservative and ex-justice minister Lord Faulks takes aim at a tax introduced by the government on high-value properties which allows owners not to declare which houses they own.

"It appears some would rather pay £218,000 a year in tax than declare who owns the mega-mansions in which they do or do not live," he says.  

This is, he continues, "contrary to the underlying philosophy which informs the government approach - or should do".

"Large parts of the most expensive parts of central London are dark at night," he observes. "I suspect many of these properties are owned by rich international financiers - some of whom have not obtained their money honestly."

Budget 'levels the playing field'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sajid Javid lauds the regional investment announced in the Budget yesterday.

He tells MPs that the government can make this investment because of "fair progressive changes to the tax system".

The budget, he says, "levels the playing field" between the employed and the self employed.

He adds that 60% of the lowest earners will gain from these changes.

Mint distribution

Parliamentary reporter tweets

Labour MP pushes Sajid Javid on Surrey sweetheart deal

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Steve Reed
Hoc

In an intervention, Labour's Steve Reed notes that the communities secretary denied offering Surrey Council a sweetheart deal .

However, he says the BBC published a letter from his department offering Surrey "more cash in a unique deal".

"Did he know about that letter when he issued that denial?" asks the Labour MP.

There was no deal available to Surrey that was not available to other councils, replies Sajid Javid.

Javid: If you borrow money, you have to pay it back

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sajid Javid
HoC

The Labour Party never learns, begins Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

There is, he says, no recognition of "the state his party left the country's finances in".

He argues that if John McDonnell had been chancellor he would have announced half a trillion pounds' worth of borrowing.

Responding a Labour heckle, he replies: "Let me explain how money works: If you borrow money, you have to pay it back."

Government under pressure on housing benefit

BBC journalist tweets:

House of Lords

Parliament

Grammar schools are 'a ludicrous throwback'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

John McDonnell now attacks the £1bn for "the vanity project of free schools" and "the ludicrous throwback to grammar schools".

He says that thousands of Whitehall hours will be wasted for "a handful of privileged children".

At the same time he accuses the government of "real term funding cuts" for the schools "that 95% of our children use".