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Summary

  1. MPs met at 11.30 GMT for Foreign Office questions.
  2. There were two urgent questions today: the first on the Serious Case Review into child exploitation in Oxfordshire and the second on Yarl's Wood detention centre.
  3. Following that, there were two statements: on the independent investigation into maternity services at Morecambe Bay and the second on Ebbsfleet.
  4. MPs then worked through an Estimates Day: subjects included support for housing costs and children's and adolescents' mental health.
  5. The final business of the day was an adjournment debate on international endangered species.
  6. Peers met at 14.30 GMT and after oral questions, heard all four of today's statements repeated in the House of Lords.
  7. Peers then began their report stage scrutiny of the debate the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

And that brings an end to today's business in the Houses of Parliament.

MPs will be back tomorrow at 11.30 GMT for questions to the Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabb, ahead of Prime Minister's questions at noon.

Peers will be back in at 15.00 GMT where peers will give two bills their third readings; first up the Modern Slavery Bill, followed by the Deregulation Bill.

Local development

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating a Labour amendment to create an obligation on local authorities to "pay due regard" to their duty to promote "economic growth" and "skills development" in their local area when deciding which companies to procure supplies from.

Call for evidence

House of Lords

Parliament

Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe says she is concerned that the changes will remove businesses' ability "to limit liability with other business" leading to "significant claims for business earnings."

However following a promise by Baroness Neville-Rolfe to establish a "public call for evidence" before the end of this parliament to check if current legislation is working, Labour withdraw their amendment.

Consumer protections

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now turn their attention back to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

First: a Labour amendment re-class small businesses as "consumers" in some circumstances to extend protections afforded to consumers to businesses.

Protections for business are lower because there is an assumption they are "smart or big enough to look after themselves" Lord Mendelsohn argues, but "in reality they face many of the same problems as consumers."

Rare diseases debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now take a dinner break, but some remain behind for a short debate on improving access to treatments for patients with rare diseases.

The debate is led by the Labour peer, and former president of the Royal College of Physicians, Lord Turnberg.

Mandatory reporting

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Patel
BBC

Crossbench peer and obstetrician Lord Patel supports the mandatory reporting of maternal deaths and still births. He says if an unexpectedly high number of normally-formed babies had died during the antenatal period in his hospital - as happened frequently at Morecambe Bay - it would have led automatically to an internal investigation.

House of Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

That brings today's Commons debates to an end.

MPs will meet tomorrow from 11.30 GMT, with Prime Minister's Questions at noon.

The main business includes the remaining stages of the Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Bill, which devolves powers over the tax to Stormont, as agreed by political leaders in talks in December.

Meanwhile today, the House of Lords is questioning Health Minister Earl Howe on the review of maternity services at Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.

'Considering' Chief Midwifery Officer

House of Lords

Parliament

Earl Howe says he is "happy to consider" the idea of establishing a Chief Midwifery Officer, but points out there is already a Head of Maternity in NHS England.

Chief Midwifery Officer

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hunt uses his speech to call for a the establishment of a Chief Midwifery Officer to carry out a similar role to the

Chief Medical Officer and provide "more visible leadership" and "really start to raise the moral of the industry and tackle some of the issues".

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The final Commons business today is the adjournment debate on international endangered species.

Opening the short debate, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker tells the House: "The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the last 40 years."

Norman Baker
BBC

Picture: Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
BBC
Shadow health minister Lord Hunt of Kings heath is responding for Labour.

Petition

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Sir William Cash presents a petition from his constituents on the closure of the NatWest branch in Eccleshall.

'Supplementary estimates'

House of Commons

Parliament

The debates are over and MPs approve a series of "supplementary estimates" of further funding required by government departments.

Government response

House of Commons

Parliament

Summing up for the government in the debate on children's and adolescents' mental health services, Health Minister Norman Lamb says young people should be learning about mental health at school.

"It ought to be part of the curriculum," he argues.

Around the country "too many areas have disinvested in mental health", he says, but insists that the government is taking steps to improve services.

Morcambe Bay statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Health Minister Earl Howe is now repeating a statement on maternity services in Morecombe Bay, made earlier in the House of Commons by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (see below).

Mr Hunt announced that he is asking the NHS England medical director to review the professional codes of both doctors and nurses to prevent future cover-ups in the light of

today's report into unnecessary deaths at a Morecambe Bay hospital.

Full text of the statement can be found

here.

'Commissioning confusion'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow health minister Luciana Berger says the government's reorganisation of NHS services in England has led to "commissioning confusion".

There have also been cuts to local authority mental health services for young people and "early intervention services", she says.

She also asks if teachers can be given training in recognising mental health problems.

Luciana Berger
BBC

Repeated statements

House of Lords

Parliament

Important government statements made in the House of Commons will sometimes be repeated in the Lords at an appropriate time to fit in with the main business.

Once the statement has been repeated, peers have an opportunity to quiz a government minister on the content of the statement, as in the House of Commons.

Labour response

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow communities minister Lord Mckenzie of Luton is now repeating Labour's response to today's announcement, made in the House of Commons by Emma Reynolds. Full text of the statement can be found

here.

Ebbsfleet

Ebbsfleet
BBC

In March Chancellor George Osborne announced that a garden city with an initial 15,000 homes would be built at Ebbsfleet in Kent.

Attempts have been made to build new homes at Ebbsfleet since 1996. Planning permission was granted for about 6,000 new homes at Eastern Quarry, near Ebbsleet station, in 2007, but nothing was done.

The chancellor

told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show the site was chosen because of its "fantastic" infrastructure and its location in south-east England, where pressure on housing has been high.

Ebbsfleet statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Ahmad
BBC

Communities Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon is now at the despatch box repeating a statement on the garden city of Ebbsfleet made earlier in the House of Commons by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis (see below).

Full text of the statement can be found

here.

'Regulatory machinery'

House of Lords

Parliament

Business Minister Lord Popat is setting out the government's "current regulatory machinery used to consider regulatory and deregulatory proposals" after concerns from peers that the changes contained in the

Deregulation Bill may interfere with the work for the
Regulatory Policy Committee.

Recognition of mental health problems

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Andrew Percy, a member of the Commons Health Committee, said young people who gave evidence to the committee's inquiry said "some of the best support they had received was from dedicated teachers".

However, others found that "teachers lacked the skills" or were not interested.

Mr Percy, a former teacher himself, said he had seen pupils who may have had mental health problems "dismissed too often as just being badly behaved".

He concedes that he may have been "guilty sometimes of not always understanding some of the signs that were presented to me".

'Most difficult stage' of life

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh suggests that few adults "would choose to be reincarnated as an adolescent".

He describes it as "probably the most difficult stage of anyone's life to negotiate", adding that it is "hard to be consistently happy".

But he cautions about "the myth of the normal" and argues that society should not divide into those with mental health problems and those who do not.

'People harm themselves'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Paul Blomfield gives an example of the level of demand for mental health services.

He quotes a patient who said: "People harm themselves or attempt suicide just to be put on another waiting list."

More from the Health Committee report

House of Commons

Parliament

Healthcare providers have reported increases in waiting times for CAMHS services, according to the Health Committee.

The committee was sharply critical of the practice of holding adolescents with mental health issues in prison cells.

This practice is permissible under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, when hospital places are unavailable.

SME review

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Mitchell
BBC

Peers are now debating a Labour amendment to set up a review of alternative forms of finance available to small businesses.

Shadow business minster Lord Mitchell argues that funding schemes often overlook small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which are "risky and difficult and costly to analyse."

"We need to the facts [on how best to fund SMEs] and only a obligation [for a review] will suffice" he says.

Increasing transparency

House of Lords

Parliament

Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe argues that only preventing two financial methods would be "easy to side step" and the government's proposals to increase transparency and require companies "to report on these practices" in their quarterly statements will better "address the economic balance involved".

Lord Mendelsohn is convinced. He thanks ministers for showing they "take seriously" the concerns he's put forward and are "prepared to deal with the problems" and withdraws his amendments.

Health committee report

House of Commons

Parliament

The Health Committee published its report on

children's and adolescents' mental health and CAMHS last November.

Child and adolescent mental health services or CAMHS is used as a term for all services that work with young people who have emotional or behavioural problems.

MPs said there were "ingrained problems" with CAMHS including major problems with access to inpatient mental health services. The committee also reported that demand for CAMHS services was increasing but health provision was being cut.

No 'Obfuscation'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Mendelsohn is back on his feet moving another group of amendments designed to tighten regulations and prevent companies from "obfuscating" and delaying payments while legally sticking to the Prompt Payment Code.

The amendments would:

1) allow the Business Secretary to impose a limit on the number of days after receipt of a supplier's invoice the company may challenge the invoice to prevent companies using the courts to delay payments

2) allow regulations prohibiting the practice of companies using complex financial methods "reverse fixed payments or retrospective rebates" in charges to a gain "unfair economic advantage" on their suppliers.

Mental health services debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The second estimates day debate is on a report from the Health Committee on child and adolescent mental health services.

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the committee, is opening the debate.

Sarah Wollaston
BBC

Committee report

House of Commons

Parliament

The Work and Pensions Committee has said that there are flaws in current housing welfare policy and has called for reforms to the support provided for housing costs, including the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC).

The SSSC is also known by opponents as the "bedroom tax" and supporters as the "

spare room subsidy".

It applies to working age tenants in the social rented sector and reduces the amount of housing benefit to tenants of "under-occupied" properties.

The committee said that the SSSC has had a particular impact on disabled tenants who have adapted homes or need a room to hold medical equipment or house a carer.

'Extraordinarily rich'

House of Commons

Parliament

Work and Pensions Minister Mark Harper says Labour's accusation that the government has been "wasting money on welfare" is "extraordinarily rich".

He claims that Labour oversaw a 60% increase in the welfare budget, while the rise under the coalition has been "the lowest since the creation of the welfare state".

Amendment defeated

House of Lords

Parliament

Despite the "very, very useful" concession, Labour pushes the amendment to a vote, but is ultimately defeated 256 votes to 187, a government majority of 69.

House of Lords
BBC

'Cost of living crisis'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow work and pensions minister Helen Goodman says the Office of Budget Responsibility figures show that housing benefit to unemployed people has fallen but housing benefit for those in work is set to rise up to 2019.

"This is yet another indication of the cost of living crisis," she argues.

She adds that the Work and Pension Committee described the so-called "bedroom tax" as a "blunt instrument", which is particularly problematic in rural areas.

Helen Goodman
BBC

Government concession

House of Lords

Parliament

Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe
BBC

The government will bring forward new legislation to ensure that companies include the list of late payments as well as the amount of interest owed on all quarterly statements, Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe tells peers.

The government "have been persuaded by some of [Labour's arguments]" she tells peers and will bring its own amendments by third reading - the bill's final stage in the House of Lords.

Welfare changes

House of Commons

Parliament

Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris says that the Public Accounts Committee report on Universal Credit, published a few weeks ago, highlighted the housing benefit element.

He tells MPs that the report was ground-breaking - because while some issues were raised - the committee was much more comfortable with the way the Universal Credit programme was going.

It would be something "no matter which side of the House you are on" would be welcomed, he says.

A gradual approach

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Stoneham of Droxford argues that peers should wait until they see the impact of the Prompt Payment Code before agreeing to any further changes.

He calls for a gradual approach to prevent peers establishing "a very bureaucratic, proscriptive system that could damage a lot of companies" aimed at solving a problem that may no longer exist.

What's the cost?

The Independent

According to research by the payment service Bacs,

small and medium-sized enterprises were owed £39.4bn in overdue bills when it conducted its research in July last year.

Six in 10 small businesses are owed late payments and the average small business is currently owed £38,186 in overdue bills, Bacs says.

One in four of these companies warns that if the amount owed was to rise above £50,000, they would be forced into bankruptcy. One in four companies is spending more than 10 hours a week chasing these payments.

'Insufficient' approach

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Mendelsohn
BBC

Moving the amendment Labour peer Lord Mendelsohn says his party support the government's plans to crack down on late payment through the

Prompt Payment Code, but fell it is "insufficient".

Focus needs "to move much more onto changing the behaviour of the payers, who need to pay on time" because of the simply "enormous scale [of late payments] and the huge drag on our economy that it is".