Debates between Lord Watts and Viscount Younger of Leckie during the 2019-2024 Parliament

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Debate between Lord Watts and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Tuesday 18th April 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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My noble friend makes a good point. I will add to what I said: we are still on track to deliver the Government’s pledge, with the OBR—it has to be the OBR—forecasting that inflation will reduce to 2.9% by the end of the year. In my newspaper today, I noticed that there are signs that food prices, which have been extraordinarily high, are beginning to slip, so I very much hope that this is going in the right direction.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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Is it not correct that the Government have decided to increase pensions by 10%, for example, but not to do anything to change the system for families with more than two children? Is this not a direct choice of the Government? What are the implications for children living in those families?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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I think I made my position clear on the two-child limit, as I have over my three months in this role. Obviously, putting children first is extremely important, and that is why we have given huge support, as I said—a total of £94 billion over this year and the next—to help households and individuals. The focus on children is a very important point: that is key.

Local Housing Allowance Rates

Debate between Lord Watts and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Wednesday 22nd February 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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I would answer that by saying that it is not a question of justifying it but of looking at the whole way in which we are helping people at the moment. That is why it is worth reminding the noble Baroness that, for example, working-age and disability benefits will increase by 10.1% in 2023-24, which I will be speaking to later in the Moses Room. In addition, the benefit cap will be increased in line with CPI. We understand the pressures that people are under and that is why we will also deliver further cost of living payments worth up to £900 for claimants on means-tested benefits, £300 for pensioner households and, as I mentioned yesterday, £150 for those on disability benefits.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the Minister seems to suggest that people should contact the local authority if they are in trouble. Has he contacted all local authorities to see whether they can help those people? If he has done so, can he publish the findings?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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I will see whether we are able to publish the findings, but perhaps I may reassure the noble Lord that there is continuous interaction between central government and local authorities in terms of the funds that we give them. As I said earlier, it is for them to prioritise the targeting of the funds but, equally, we want some feedback on how well those have been targeted. That is happening.

Tax-free Shopping

Debate between Lord Watts and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Thursday 15th December 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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I do not agree with the noble Earl. Introducing VAT-free shopping would come at a significant fiscal cost because it would subsidise a large amount of tourist spending that already occurs without any relief in place. This is supported by OBR estimates which found that the withdrawal of the previous schemes would reduce visitor numbers by only 0.07%.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, do the Government understand that it may not affect the number of tourists who come to the UK, but they will stop spending in the shops and that will be lost revenue? Will the Minister not reconsider this matter?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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Well, it has been considered—as I say, we had a round table in November—and the benefit is pretty marginal. As far as I can tell from walking around London, the visitors are still flooding into Britain. We also need to look to next year, when we have the Coronation, and remember that we must look after the visitors who come here. But, as I pointed out, the actual benefits are marginal.

Coronavirus Grants: Fraud

Debate between Lord Watts and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Tuesday 25th January 2022

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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My understanding is that BEIS has invested significantly in the expansion of its counterfraud function, in terms both of increased resource and, critically, of capabilities. A key role of its counterfraud function will be to embed a governed and risk-assessed approach throughout BEIS and the arm’s-length bodies.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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Yesterday, the noble Lord, Lord Agnew, was accountable and did the right thing, but is not the Chancellor of the Exchequer ultimately responsible for this mess and should he not resign?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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No, he should not resign. I go back to the most fundamental point, which is that we had to act particularly quickly back in lockdown 1 to support businesses. As a result, we put in the £400 billion package of economic support that I referred to earlier. That protected more than 14.5 million jobs and thousands of businesses. It is a great credit to the Chancellor that he took those bold steps.

Yorkshire: Devolution

Debate between Lord Watts and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Monday 10th February 2020

(4 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie
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There seems to be an element of support for that behind me. Because negotiations are at an early stage, I will make sure that my noble friend’s comments are passed back to those negotiating in that area.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, the present powers in all the regions are different; in fact, they are a dog’s dinner. When will all the regions be given the same powers, given that they all want more powers?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie
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This is exactly what we are doing. We are looking to level up across the whole of England. Some 37% of people now live within a mayorship. In the White Paper that is due to come out before long, we are looking at levelling up all other areas of England and devolving powers. It is about what they want, not what we want. It is giving them the opportunity to decide for themselves what they want.