Giles Watling debates involving the Cabinet Office during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 8th July 2021
7 interactions (116 words)
Thu 25th March 2021
7 interactions (77 words)
Wed 24th February 2021
3 interactions (96 words)
Wed 23rd September 2020
3 interactions (92 words)
Wed 22nd January 2020
3 interactions (84 words)
Thu 19th December 2019
5 interactions (1,157 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

Giles Watling Excerpts
Thursday 8th July 2021

(3 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

What steps the Government are taking to implement their levelling-up agenda. (902393)

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con)
- Hansard - -

What steps the Government are taking to implement their levelling-up agenda. (902401)

David Evennett Portrait Sir David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

What steps the Government are taking to implement their levelling-up agenda. (902413)

--- Later in debate ---
Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to mention Ben Houchen, the Gareth Southgate of local government. It is appropriate that, as the Treasury and the Department for International Trade are recruiting new roles in Darlington and there is more investment in Teesside, we must make sure that we have proper connectivity, including first-class rail travel as well as improved digital connectivity.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling [V]
- Hansard - -

I thank my right hon. Friend for his earlier answer. The Government’s levelling up agenda is laudable, and in Clacton some progress has been made. I am doing the best I can to inform residents in the area of what the Government are doing. There is a feeling of being left behind locally, however, so what are the Government doing to communicate more widely what they have been and will be doing for the people of Clacton and other left-behind communities? Will my right hon. Friend come back to the sunshine coast and join me to raise awareness of the Government’s important work?

Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I absolutely will. There is nothing left behind about Clacton and Frinton and the communities that my hon. Friend so ably represents, and I look forward to visiting them. I understand that there is a fantastic local community theatre that he has played a part in championing, among many other local endeavours. Levelling up is about culture as well as connectivity. I look forward to coming to Clacton and making sure that it is firmly on the map and at the centre of our levelling up plans.

Oral Answers to Questions

Giles Watling Excerpts
Thursday 25th March 2021

(6 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab/Co-op)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

What plans he has to move civil service jobs to York. (913891)

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con)
- Hansard - -

What steps the Government are taking to deliver civil service jobs outside London. (913901)

Sarah Atherton Portrait Sarah Atherton (Wrexham) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

What steps the Government are taking to deliver civil service jobs outside London. (913903)

--- Later in debate ---
Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Transparency drives everything that the Government do—that and a commitment to levelling up and ensuring that our Union is stronger. That is why we are moving jobs to Glasgow, a beautiful city that, sadly, has not flourished as it might have done under the Scottish Government’s stewardship over the course of the last 14 years. It is also why we are moving jobs to York, the city that the hon. Lady so ably represents alongside my hon. Friend the Member for York Outer (Julian Sturdy). We will be increasing the number of Cabinet Office jobs in York by 50% in the coming months, and it is not just the Cabinet Office; other Government jobs will be coming to York as well, because, as she rightly points out, its transport connectivity, its historical connections and its potential for brownfield renovation all make it a superb site for investment.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling [V]
- Hansard - -

I thank my right hon. Friend for his earlier answer. Moving Government Departments to the provinces is a fantastic initiative, but I implore him not to forget the southern coast. We may be near to London, but we have deprivation and we need the benefit of civil service jobs in our area. I ask him to give us in Clacton serious consideration.

Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Thanks to my hon. Friend, I never give Clacton anything other than serious consideration. Clacton, Frinton and the communities that he so ably represents contain talented people who have a contribution to make, and of course we will do everything possible, not necessarily by relocating civil service departments to that part of Essex, but by ensuring that there are opportunities through apprenticeships and the civil service fast stream, to ensure that talented young people in Essex have an opportunity, like him, to serve.

Oral Answers to Questions

Giles Watling Excerpts
Wednesday 24th February 2021

(7 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I sympathise very much with the hon. Lady’s constituents and the pupils who have to put up with disruption caused by flooding. I know that the Environment Agency continues to work very actively with the county council to resolve the issues and that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister has written to her about what more can be done.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling  (Clacton) (Con) [V]
- Hansard - -

  My right hon. Friend will know that pubs have been closing all over Britain for decades now, tearing the hearts out of communities. This terrible pandemic has made things even worse. Part of the problem is undercutting by cheap supermarket booze. Surely, now that we are out of the EU, we can do as we please with beer duty. Differentiation in favour of on-sales could deliver great benefits to pubs in communities such as Clacton, at nil cost to the taxpayer. Will my right hon. Friend commit Ministers to looking at that differentiation proposal? (912364)

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point, which I am sure will be heard with great interest around the country. There is just such a review being carried out after consulting pub owners, brewers and others, and I know that the Chancellor is looking very closely at the findings.

Oral Answers to Questions

Giles Watling Excerpts
Wednesday 23rd September 2020

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the hon. Lady, because she is raising a very important point. Getting kids back into school has been the most important objective that we have had over the last few months, and I am glad that it has got under way, but she is right in what she says about the digital divide. That is why we are investing massively in online education, giving 2,200,000 laptops and tablets, and putting routers in schools across the country. That is what we are going to do, and I want to see a world in which every school in our country has full gigabit broadband, with the equipment that will give pupils the access to the internet that they need.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con)
- Hansard - -

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, as the UK’s performing arts are a global gold standard that are not only the envy of the world but a vital showcase for UK plc across the world, we should treasure them and look after that industry? We have had the furlough and other job retention schemes, but those who have fallen through the cracks are the freelancers. We must do something to protect the freelancers—the actors, the costumiers, the prop makers and many others. Can we do something to look after those people?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

That is a very important point. Obviously the job retention scheme has been very effective in keeping people in work, but there are of course people who do not have employment of that kind. That is why we have given £1.57 billion to support the creative, culture and media sectors, including the theatres. We will do whatever we can to support the freelancers who my hon. Friend describes, because they are the backbone of our theatrical world, which, as he knows, is the jewel in the crown of the London cultural economy.

Oral Answers to Questions

Giles Watling Excerpts
Wednesday 22nd January 2020

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I yield to no one in my admiration for the Duchy of Lancaster. I recognise that as the Government decide where agencies of both Government and Parliament should go we should think fondly of the north-west as well as Yorkshire and the north-east, but I cannot help saying to the hon. Lady that when she talks about fratricidal conflict in mediaeval times, when people were putting each other to the sword, she reminds me of nothing so much as the deputy leadership contest of the Labour party.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con)
- Hansard - -

T4. Thank you for calling me, Mr Speaker, and may I say how lovely it is to see you in your place?The Government’s aim of creating a level economic playing field between the north and the south is laudable and much needed, but can the Minister assure me that, in the rush to create this much-needed equality, we will not overlook deprived coastal areas in the south, such as some in the Clacton constituency which have been overlooked so often in the past? [900341]

Jake Berry Portrait The Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth (Jake Berry)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

22 Jan 2020, 11:57 a.m.

The reason that, in just 10 days’ time, we on this side of the House are getting Brexit done is so that we can drive growth across our United Kingdom. From Clacton to Caithness, from Holyhead to Hull, we will be investing millions of pounds in communities, not least £2.5 million in the coastal community of Clackers.

Debate on the Address

Giles Watling Excerpts
Thursday 19th December 2019

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

19 Dec 2019, 6:05 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention, and he is absolutely right. No matter what happens, when the money comes across, we need to have a Minister in place to ensure that the moneys do go to the Department of Health where they are needed, and are not swallowed up in the block budget and therefore do not become as effective as they could be.

We need to address the issue of appropriate staffing pay and working conditions, as well as having acceptable waiting lists. There are waiting lists for occupational therapy referrals, hip replacements or cataract operations. There are massive numbers of people waiting not just to be assessed, but to have such operations, so it is really important that we have this in place so that we can serve the people of Northern Ireland better. I do not blame our current permanent secretary or his senior civil servants, who are attempting to do the job of running the Department that belongs to an elected representative and which they have been asked to oversee without the power of the position of a Minister. They are being asked to run the largest Department with one hand behind their backs, and I believe that that must end.

I spoke to many nurses and families of nurses on the doorsteps in the run-up to and on the day of the election, and they told me that even with the pay rise, the lack of staff on the wards makes their position untenable. We need the Department of Health—this is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland—to employ extra nurses, not to have all the temporary staff they have, which is a large cost on the health budget in Northern Ireland. I support the Government’s desire to raise staffing levels and to put in additional funding to achieve this, but I am asking, in the same way the House believed it appropriate to step in and legislate for abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, that it steps in and legislates for life-and-death matters, and sorts out the pay scales in the trusts and the pension issues as a matter of urgency. As I said about the Labour amendment in the last Session, if the House and the Government can rule on this issue, there is a responsibility to continue the interference and to step in for our hospitals and for our schools.

It is very important that we have a system in place that can respond positively to what is happening on universal credit. I see that the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry), who speaks for the Scots Nats on this, has just left the Chamber, but he and I have the same opinion on this. Universal credit should be suspended. At the moment, we have a scheme that disadvantages the people of my constituency, and I want to put that on the record. People are losing out on four to five weeks of possible help and of moneys to help them through this process. I am very fortunate to have a very good manageress in the local social security office, but she cannot work miracles with the system she has. I ask the Government to look at this again because it has thrown many into poverty across the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, especially in my constituency.

In Northern Ireland, we are coming to the end of the welfare supplementary payments and the food banks in Northern Ireland are already oversubscribed. I put on record my thanks to the Trussell Trust food bank in Newtownards, which is run through the Thriving Life church. It does a magnificent job, but it tells me that more and more people are being disadvantaged and are going to the food bank because of the delays in benefit payments. That has to be looked at.

The middle and working classes are about to implode, without intervention, and in the absence of a functioning Assembly, this place must do the right thing by Northern Ireland and get the ball rolling, starting with health and education funding and decision making.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con)
- Hansard - -

19 Dec 2019, 6:08 p.m.

It is an honour to follow the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon), and I absolutely agree with him about the Union. The Union is important in relation not only to Northern Ireland, but to Scotland. I would like to reiterate the words of the late, great David Bowie, who said, “Scotland, don’t leave us. We love you. Stay with us.”

I would like to congratulate the hon. Member for Foyle (Colum Eastwood) on his maiden speech, getting it out of the way so early and with such aplomb—very good work there. I would also like to disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West (Sir David Amess), who said he did not like to campaign in the winter. I loved it. I knocked on many doors—I canvassed for all six weeks—and I got offered cups of tea everywhere I went. I would like now to apologise to some residents of the Clacton constituency that I could not have a cup of tea with them all. A man can only take so much tea while walking the streets.

Only yesterday, I had a chat with a friend who recently lost his seat on the Opposition Benches. He was very candid, and said that although the result of the election was not what he would have preferred, he is happy that the Government now have a serious majority and can finally get on with delivering an agenda without more fuss and delay—that was an ex-Labour MP, but I frequently found that attitude on the doorsteps in Clacton. People want us to get on with it and deliver on the promises made.

When walking in Clacton, I gained support from many previous Labour voters; there were people who had voted Labour all their lives, as had their parents and grandparents, yet this time they gave me their vote. I am deeply humbled and honoured by the confidence placed in me and, like the Prime Minister, I am acutely aware of the responsibilities placed on me by that support. We now have to earn it. I am delighted, once again, to have been elected to represent the glorious sunshine coast of Clacton, and I have strong support from my constituents for my work, and the work of this Conservative Government, who today laid out a comprehensive and progressive policy programme.

During the election, I stood on doorsteps in Clacton with a simple message: “We must get Brexit done and then focus on other vital priorities, including even more police, better healthcare and infrastructure improvements, not to mention education.” Predominantly, the response I got back was the same. People said, “Yes, those are our priorities too. I am so glad that somebody is finally listening.” We are not just listening, we are acting—indeed, we have already acted. In Clacton, more than 30 new police officers now operate locally, and I am proud that they were recruited after a campaign I led to increase the police precept in the area.

Bob Stewart Portrait Bob Stewart (Beckenham) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

19 Dec 2019, 6:12 p.m.

I have known my hon. Friend for 54 years and I have visited his house, which is not in Clacton—I rather like Frinton, but it has not been mentioned. I think he should mention Frinton.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling
- Hansard - -

19 Dec 2019, 6:12 p.m.

As my constituents know I am a resident of Frinton, which is part of the glorious Clacton constituency. I am delighted that my hon. Friend has reminded me where I live.

As we know, hundreds more officers—20,000 in total—have been promised for every policing area, and I understand that Essex Police has already started recruiting the first wave of new officers. I am delighted that a Bill will be introduced to increase policing powers and ensure that violent convicts are kept off the streets. We have had issues in Clacton and I know my constituents expect no less.

On healthcare, we have secured a change in management at four local surgeries where services were woefully substandard. I thank Ed Garrett, leader of the local clinical commissioning group, for his perseverance on that matter. It has been my priority to hold the management to account. We have done that, and residents will see an improvement in another key doorstep issue. The Government have provided nearly £15 million for an upgrade at Clacton Hospital, which is in addition to the £33.9 billion funding boost for the NHS by 2023-24. It is right to enshrine that key pledge into law, along with the other healthcare announcements in this programme.

Some £318 million has been set aside by the Government to fund two local infrastructure schemes, including a new railway station at Beaulieu, which has been a pinch-point on our rail lines and held up transport for the Clacton community. Clacton is just under 70 miles from the great conurbation of London, yet that journey takes the best part of one hour and 40 minutes. These days that is an outrage and it should be improved. Money will also be spent on the new link road between the A120 and the A133—my hon. Friend the Member for Harwich and North Essex (Sir Bernard Jenkin) will agree with me on this, because we worked hard to get funding to build that new road. The Conservative party manifesto pledges to spend £100 billion on additional infrastructure spending, which will go on roads and rail. That productive investment will repair and refurbish the fabric of our country, and generate greater growth in the long run.

On the doorstep, I saw how popular our policies are and—at least in my local experience—that was one of the great differences in this election. We listened to, and will deliver for, the electorate we have, rather than the imaginary electorate championed by those on the Opposition Front Benches. We will deliver pragmatic and practical policies for those voters, whereas the Opposition take them for granted and promise the undeliverable. We will get Brexit done. We cannot continue to deny the Brexit result. We know that the Prime Minister has achieved a good deal that delivers on the result of the referendum and allows us to move on, and I for one will be happy to reach a place where we never have to hear the word “Brexit” again.

People know that this is a credible Government who will act on their demands, and in five years our record will speak for itself—post Brexit. That record of delivery starts with this Government programme, although of course there is more I want to do, including further improvements in animal welfare, a ban on dog and cat meat consumption in this country, making elder abuse a hate crime that carries a tougher sentence, and ensuring that school funding is spread evenly across the county of Essex.

We must care for those who protect us by increasing defence spending, and protect and promote our incredible “Theatre” offer, which does so much to inform, educate and promote the UK internationally. We should also introduce a differential rate of beer duty between pubs and supermarkets, after the B-word has been delivered. I will bother Ministers greatly about those matters in due course, but for now I recognise that this is a strong programme that gets Brexit done and delivers on our priorities, and I happily support it.

Geraint Davies Portrait Geraint Davies (Swansea West) (Lab/Co-op)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

19 Dec 2019, 6:16 p.m.

It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Clacton (Giles Watling). The Queen’s Speech introduced by the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) stated:

“My government’s priority is to secure the best possible deal”,

and mentioned working with the devolved Administrations and business. That was then dropped to become, “My priority is to secure a deal by 31 October, do or die”, and now we have 31 January.

Hon. Members know that we have a different system for referendums—they are one person, one vote, which decided the referendum in 2016—compared with elections for constituency MPs. Under the one person, one vote system, other than generating a significant Conservative majority, this election also generated 16.5 million votes for remain parties, and 14.5 million for leave parties, which is 2 million fewer. If we consider the number of parties that do not agree with the deal that is being railroaded through, which includes the Brexit party, that is 18.1 million people who do not agree with the deal as it stands. Nevertheless, this deal will be hammered through on the basis of an election that was thrust on us on a cold, dark night, and that disadvantaged poorer people who do not have cars and so on.

The election was engineered in such a way because the Conservatives realised that they could unite the smaller pro-Brexit vote, divide the remain vote, secure a majority, and hammer Brexit through on the back of a few slogans such as “get Brexit done”, and “oven-ready” convenience food. We all know that living on oven-ready convenience food is not particularly good for our health, but we are where we are. I am sad that we have lost so many good Labour MPs, and our next task is to ensure that people’s jobs, livelihoods and environments, and workers’ rights, are secured in this deal through democratic scrutiny. I fear that that will not happen, that those things will not prevail, and that we will end up with a Brexit that will make us all poorer, weaker and more divided.

Given that, it is incumbent on the Government to deliver a Queen’s Speech that counteracts the negative economic impacts of Brexit by making as its centrepiece a re-engineering of our economy to deliver the white heat of technology focused on sustainability, given that we have a climate crisis—a new green economic renaissance. Sadly, we did not see that in the Queen’s Speech. We saw “get Brexit done”—whatever that means—and, yes, we will have some trade deals, but there will be no scrutiny. Instead, we will stand alone, weak against China and weak against the United States, as we turn our back on the European market.

We should have accelerated our ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2050, and put in place a fiscal strategy to deliver excellent green technologies and products that would form an export base for a new economy. I welcome the fact that we will host the COP26 summit, which will give us an opportunity to showcase ideas. I very much hope that the Budget will focus on fiscal strategies and incentives for investment to push that agenda forward.

As the chair of the all-party group on air pollution, I welcome the legally binding targets in the Queen’s Speech. The devil, however, will be in the detail. It is important that we meet the World Health Organisation target on particulate matter—the target to reach PM2.5 down from the 15 micrograms per cubic metre we have in London now to 10 micrograms per cubic metre by 2030. Microparticulates will penetrate unborn babies and we are seeing dreadful public health problems in Britain. The latest estimate on premature deaths from air pollution is approximately 62,000 people a year, at a cost of £20 billion a year. It is therefore very important that we focus on this issue. People doubted much of the economics in the Labour manifesto, but according to the Royal College of Physicians the cost of air pollution is £20 billion a year. If we saved £3 billion—a fairly modest saving—that income stream could service, at a 5% interest rate, a borrowing of £60 billion to invest in green manufacturing.

We need a transition towards the electrification of all our trains and buses sooner rather than later. We need to incentivise, through scrappage schemes, the switchover to electric cars for normal consumers. It is unfortunate that the roll-out of much of the electric grid is in the hands of BP, which has a vested interested in slowing it down in order to sell more petrol and diesel. We need to re-engineer our duties to incentivise people towards a sustainable future and for the Government to invest in public transport alternatives. There are a lot of technological opportunities. Our subsidy focus should move from fossil fuel to renewable energy—whether wave, wind or solar—and towards the manufacture of associated products.