In addition to my contributions to Parliament below, in November I made contributions to the Taxation of Pensions Bill Committee and the Pension Schemes Bill Committee. You can read about the Bills and my contribution to them by clicking on the corresponding links.
Work and Pensions Question on Personal Independence Payments – Monday 3rd November
Nigel Mills MP: Will the Minister ensure that the welcome progress on PIP is also reflected in a legacy on DLA claims, because under-16s, for whom these claims still have to be made, are also experiencing long delays?
Minister of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, Mark Harper: I hear what my hon. Friend says. I have had one or two examples of that brought to my attention, and I have asked officials to brief me on the DLA performance for children. I will come back to him in writing when I have something further to tell him.
Urgent Question on Rolls Royce – Wednesday 5th November
Nigel Mills MP: This sad news will also be a great concern to the 500-plus people in my constituency who work for Rolls-Royce. The company also plays a great role in training young people who work for small and medium-sized businesses all around Derbyshire. Will the Minister work to ensure that training is not lost through these changes?
The Minister for Business and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock: My hon. Friend makes an important point. The supply chain is vital, and it relies on Rolls-Royce for contracts, but it also relies on Rolls-Royce because it has a policy of training apprentices, and some of those apprentices then go out into the supply chain, making sure the supply chain gets the skills training it needs. That has worked incredibly effectively, so I am very pleased that the Rolls-Royce apprenticeship programme will continue and that that was part of the announcement, because the point my hon. Friend made is incredibly important.
Topical Question to the Deputy Prime Minister – Thursday 18th November
Nigel Mills MP: In a recent informal ballot I organised in my constituency, more than 80% of those who replied wanted to leave the EU. Is it not now time for a Government Bill so that we can have the referendum that people want?
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg: I suspect that the hon. Gentleman and I will have been in the same Lobby back in 2011 when we introduced legislation on behalf of the coalition guaranteeing in law something that could not be tampered with by future Governments and Parliaments: the circumstances in which a referendum on our membership of the EU would take place—when the rules next change and we are asked to endorse a new treaty. That was our view then, and it remains my view now. It is perfectly free to do so, but his party has decided to change its mind radically since then.
Work and Pensions Question on Universal Credit – Tuesday 25th November
Nigel Mills MP: I welcome the progress announced in the Secretary of State’s statement. Will he confirm that the Treasury has now signed off the whole business case and laid to rest the fear that it was not going to do so?
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith: That is exactly what was being asked before the summer break, and the answer is that the Treasury has done that. The MPA has also signed off the roll-out process in saying that it de-risks the nature of the roll-out and approves it exactly as it stands at the moment.