Luke Pollard

Labour congratulations for Tory MP Mercer's minister job

BBC Radio Devon

Labour MP Luke Pollard has given a guarded welcome to Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer's appointment as government minister for defence people and veterans.

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The Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP tweeted that he had "lots to get his teeth into" after the government's "very poor" record on the care for veterans.

Charlotte Holloway, Labour's candidate for Mr Mercer's Moor View seat, tweeted that she hoped he could "reconcile his desire for so-called compassionate conservatism with the actions and views of the most extreme right-wing government of modern times".

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Plymouth MP's warning for Universal Credit claimants

BBC Radio Devon

A Plymouth MP has said Universal Credit claimants may be forced to find the cash for an extra week's rent this year.

Speaking in the Commons at Prime Minister's Questions, Labour MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport Luke Pollard pointed out there are 53 Mondays in this financial year instead of the usual 52.

He said it meant many people would have to make 53 rent payments in 2019/20, because weekly housing association rent payments were due on a Monday.

Yet Universal Credit recipients will only get enough benefits to cover 52 payments, because the six-in-one benefit is calculated based on a maximum of 52 times the recipient's weekly rent.

Luke Pollard

Mr Pollard said there was a flaw in the design of Universal Credit that the government was aware of but had not yet addressed.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has dismissed the MP's claims, and said no-one would be left out of pocket.

No one on Universal Credit will be left with a week’s rent shortfall as a result of having 53 rent payments in a year. Having 53 rent days does not mean paying more rent over a year as most of the final payment will cover the first week’s rent for the following year.”

Department of Work and Pensions

MPs 'need extra-strength gin to help in tough times'

Press Association

Double or triple strength gin should be provided in the House of Commons to help MPs deal with "tough times", according to MP Luke Pollard.

The Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport MP called for Plymouth Gin to be stocked in the House of Commons to commemorate the Mayflower 400 celebrations, marking the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth to the US.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Pollard suggested going further and stocking extra-strength gin to help MPs cope with "tough times".

Luke Pollard MP

In these tough times, may I suggest we not only look at the standard strength gin, but Plymouth Gin's Navy strength, because we could all do with a little bit extra in these tough times."

Luke PollardMP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

Speaking for the House of Commons Commission, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) said the House of Commons catering service "does not currently stock Plymouth Gin", but will seek to stock some for the Mayflower 400 commemoration.

He said, however, that stocking extra-strength alcohol may not be something the House of Commons would welcome.

Mr Pollard may be aware of moves within the House perhaps to look at the availability of alcohol within this place, so I am not sure double or triple strength gin may be something the House wants to entertain. But he has put that on the record and I will take that back to the catering services to see if they want to stock the double or treble strength that he proposes."

Tom BrakeHouse of Commons Commission