All Baroness Blackstone debates involving HM Treasury

Tue 12th January 2021
3 interactions (45 words)
Tue 27th October 2020
3 interactions (83 words)
Mon 28th September 2020
3 interactions (67 words)
Wed 3rd December 2014
3 interactions (39 words)
Fri 7th November 2014
5 interactions (68 words)

Economic Update

Baroness Blackstone Excerpts
Tuesday 12th January 2021

(10 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

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HM Treasury
Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton (Con) [V]
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My Lords, I do not have an update on the response that the noble Earl received last week, but we will of course notify the House as soon as any is issued.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, it is clear that there are gaps in support, with some groups having had no help since the first lockdown began, which can only widen inequality. What is being done to change this and when will more support for these groups be provided?

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton (Con) [V]
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My Lords, we have used such instruments as discretionary funding support for local authorities. We have just given an additional £500 million to enable them to fill gaps, for example, in the small business community, where hardship is being experienced. We remain alert to any other pockets of the economy where we feel we may be able to assist.

Covid-19: Economy Update

Baroness Blackstone Excerpts
Tuesday 27th October 2020

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber

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HM Treasury
Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton (Con)
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The noble Lord asks an important question. I do not speak as a health expert, but a lot of these tests are simply not reliable enough. The worry is that we would create a false sense of security which could then cause further problems. I might be incorrect but, as I understand it, some of these tests cannot pick up the infection when it is still gestating in the gut of an asymptomatic person. I am aware that a number of universities and employers are taking their own decisions and using their own technologies. It is much easier for independent organisations to do this, knowing the risks, and they can respond accordingly.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, tier 3 restrictions are hugely disruptive to the economy and will lead to the collapse of yet more businesses. In these circumstances, as many Conservative MPs in these areas now say, it is imperative to provide clear information about the exit route from tier 3 so that businesses can at least try to plan for the future. Will the Minister tell the House what measures will be used and how will they be weighted when the decision to exit is made?

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton (Con)
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I agree with the noble Baroness that tier 3 has a devastating impact on businesses and on people’s lives, but it is how we are trying to control the spread of the virus. We see what is happening in Spain at the moment. That is the nightmare that we are seeking to avoid. As I understand it, the overriding way of monitoring whether an area can come of out of tier 3 is when the percentage of those being tested for the virus falls below a certain threshold. This information gives some indication to businesses that they may be coming out of this nightmare.

Economy

Baroness Blackstone Excerpts
Monday 28th September 2020

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber

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HM Treasury
Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton (Con)
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My Lords, the Prime Minister is hesitant to address this because it was a very strong manifesto commitment and he is very anxious not to break those. As we know, in politics it is very easy to break promises.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Ind Lab)
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My Lords, the Statement claims that new investment is being provided in training and apprenticeships. Can the Minister elaborate on what is new rather than already announced? Can he tell the House whether the Government will ensure that workers on reduced hours have real opportunities to use the time they have to develop much-needed additional skills? What conditions will be required from employers to fulfil that need?

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton (Con)
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My Lords, the announcements last week included a number of matters around the extension of existing loan facilities and keeping open the window for loan applications under the various support schemes that the Treasury has created. On encouraging part-time working to enable staff to use the spare time for training, I think that that has to be an individual matter between employees and employers. However, to me it seems fairly straightforward that a part-time employee can access, in particular, online training, which has become the method by which most training is now distributed.

Autumn Statement

Baroness Blackstone Excerpts
Wednesday 3rd December 2014

(6 years, 12 months ago)

Lords Chamber

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HM Treasury
Lord Deighton Portrait Lord Deighton
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My noble friend has reached the point of exhausting my detailed knowledge. It is a good point. We are of course helping them with VAT in every case, but I am happy to write to my noble friend and explain how we have made those decisions.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Lab)
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My Lords, while there has been a welcome increase in the number of jobs there has been a very unwelcome decline in pay. In these circumstances can the Minister say why the Government have not embraced the living wage?

Lord Deighton Portrait Lord Deighton
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The Government have of course embraced the most significant increase in the national minimum wage. The new rate of £6.50 came into effect on 1 October. This affects about a million people. I have already listed the other things that we have done. These include increasing the personal allowance on a consistent basis, by again another £100 to £10,600, as my right honourable friend announced today, as well as the other measures to deal with cost-of-living challenges.

Assisted Dying Bill [HL]

Baroness Blackstone Excerpts
Friday 7th November 2014

(7 years ago)

Lords Chamber

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HM Treasury
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Portrait Baroness Finlay of Llandaff
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I shall answer that directly and attempt to be as clear as I can. I have seen patients who are in overwhelming distress. I have sat there with a syringe full of diamorphine—heroin—and titrated it in milligram by milligram, minute by minute, until the patient’s pain level changes from unbearable—usually, 10 out of 10 or even 11 out of 10—to a level that they can cope with where they tell me the pain score is three or four out of 10. When I have done that, I have known that I may suppress their respiration but that is a risk that I am prepared to take and I have adjacent to me what I would need to maintain their respiration if it dips. I have seen patients who have been given an inadvertent overdose, where their respiratory rate has dropped to critical levels but we have found ways round that and restored their respiration without having to reinflict pain. I have been in one situation which was, I think, the only time that I could say honestly that I have used the principle of double effect. I had a patient with a horrible head and neck cancer. The whole of his neck was solid. The nurses asked me first thing in the morning to go to see him—

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Lab)
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My Lords, I am extremely concerned about the time. I am certainly worried that we are drifting—

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Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone
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Please let me finish what I wish to say. This is a Committee Stage of a Bill and it is very important in Committee that we stick to the amendments on the Marshalled List and do not debate a whole lot of other issues when we are considering a particular grouping.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Portrait Baroness Finlay of Llandaff
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My Lords, I am simply trying to answer the question as succinctly and honestly as I can and not to waste the Committee’s time. I hope that my intervention so far has not done that; it is still under 10 minutes.

I realised that the man I was talking about was unable to breathe and that there was no way we could restore his airway. He was terrified and standing in a panic. I therefore gave him what I thought was a tiny dose of midazolam to calm his anxiety from the breathlessness. Unfortunately, as he relaxed, he obstructed his airway and I was then faced with somebody with no airway but still conscious, so I injected all of the ampoule and another one that I had taken with me in case I dropped the first one, knowing that I may be bringing about the end of his life. As he became blue, purple and blotchy and collapsed, the nurse and I caught him and got him on the bed. After what seemed like an eternity, he started to breathe again. He lived for four and a half hours in a peaceful and comfortable state. As I administered the drug, I thought that my defence in court would be that of double effect. That is the only time that I have thought that I would need to use that defence.

I hope that explains to the noble Lord why we go up to the limit and we know the risks that we are taking. However, that is fundamentally different from deliberately foreshortening a life that would otherwise go on for days, weeks, months or possibly years because we cannot predict prognosis.