Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 1st February 2024

(3 weeks, 1 day ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for his usual helpful advert for the Backbench Business Committee. He mentioned the opportunities that it affords Members, and the topics that I hope we can debate in the week back after recess. That is much appreciated.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is focused on precisely the type of situation that the hon. Gentleman describes, and on similar situations in which the landlord, although not an obstacle to development, does not have the capacity to make repairs to the building, and other third-party developers do not wish to buy a building in that condition. He is looking at what bridging finance could be made available to facilitate matters, and has also brought forward the notion of community auctions. I will write to the Secretary of State to ensure that he has heard of the hon. Gentleman’s interest in the issue, and will ask his officials to afford the hon. Gentleman some advice.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Happy birthday, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Cedars roundabout on the edge of Barnstaple is subject to 20 weeks of roadworks, which are supposed to help with congestion. The first week saw up to two hours of delays for students and teachers getting to school and businesses losing huge amounts of trade, with staff also arriving late. The scheme has gone ahead with local councillors’ support, but without adequate traffic management or modelling, either on the site or across the rest of Barnstaple, which has been blighted by road delays for decades. While this is clearly a local issue, can the Leader of the House guide me towards any Government assistance or national schemes that could enable someone to come and help with the road traffic modelling? The fear is that given how bad the traffic management has been to date, even when the scheme is completed, it will barely help the congestion in the way that it should.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am very sorry to hear about what is happening in my hon. Friend’s constituency. I know that elsewhere in the country such schemes have caused massive disruption, particularly to local businesses, and local authorities have compensated those businesses. My hon. Friend can obtain examples of good practice from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. In my patch, we have taxi drivers who model traffic flow and tell us where there are problems with, for instance, traffic light sequencing. There are many innovative ideas out there, and I would encourage my hon. Friend’s local authority to look at them, but I shall also ensure that the Secretary of State has heard about the situation in her constituency.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 11th January 2024

(1 month, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising that. I refer him to Hansard, where he can see what has been said already in the statement and urgent question earlier this week. I shall certainly ensure that both the Post Office Minister and the Cabinet Office Minister with oversight of procurement have heard what he has said today.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating Watermouth Valley camping park in my constituency, which has been named the best campsite in the UK in the camping and glamping awards? May we have a debate in Government time about how we could better support tourism and hospitality businesses by reducing VAT, enabling more businesses to enjoy similar successes?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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First, I congratulate Watermouth Valley camping park on its achievements. My hon. Friend will know that, as we approach the Budget, the Chancellor’s door will be open for lobbying—I know that other hon. Members have mentioned VAT rates, in particular. It is surely one of the upsides of our new-found freedoms that we are able to vary rates on products and services. I know that this sector, as well as the hospitality sector, will be keen to ask for things in the forthcoming Budget. I will certainly ensure that the Chancellor has heard what she has said.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 30th November 2023

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I think we all want our national broadcaster to be the best in the world, and we want its editorial standards and policies, and those who work for it, to be the best in the world. The BBC is operationally independent, but I hope it will reflect on what has happened over the past few weeks. I hope it will look at what it can do, perhaps through training, and at what is happening with its editorial teams and those who work for it in the field, so that the British public can rely on getting impartial, good advice, produced to the highest journalistic standards. The BBC is usually very good at these sorts of things, but there are certainly questions that I, as a licence fee payer, would want answered in this respect.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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This is National Tree Week, and it is also 50 years since Conservative MP Sydney Chapman suggested the “Plant a Tree in ’73” campaign. It is even more important now that we preserve our woodland and plant productive forests for sustainable manufacturing and construction. What conversations has my right hon. Friend had with Cabinet colleagues on the deforestation due diligence legislation that we committed to in the Environment Act 2021, and on its progression through the House, and what other steps can I take to assist on this issue?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for mentioning Sydney Chapman and his campaign; it is nice to know of the legacy that Members of this place can leave. My hon. Friend will know that we are committed to implementing the provisions that she mentioned at the earliest opportunity through secondary legislation. We also recognise that businesses need clarity on their obligations, so that they can prepare to meet them. Questions to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are on 7 December, next week, so she may wish to raise her point directly with the Secretary of State then.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 16th November 2023

(3 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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One of the reasons we are testing these matters in the courts and why we are having to proceed at this pace—we want to move faster—is that we want to ensure that what we are proposing is compliant with the law. If it is not compliant with the law, it will not work. That is why we are going through this process, and that is why, if necessary, we will do what we have done before and will continue to do, and make amendments to the statute book to enable us to do this. We are absolutely determined and united in our mission to ensure that we can control and protect the borders of this country. The criminal gangs who wish to bring people here illegally—people who are placed in tremendous jeopardy—will continue to adapt their model of business to try to get around the new measures that we introduce, but we are going to continue, and we are beating them. Boat crossings are down by a third in the last 12 months. We wish to end them completely: that is our mission, and that is what we will do.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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The biggest transport hub in my constituency, Barnstaple bus station, has not reopened since the pandemic, which has limited users’ access to shelter and toilets. The Liberal Democrat-run district council is not pursuing options to reopen the space to the public, such as by finding an operator for the café. This is putting users off taking the bus into town, which can have a knock-on effect on businesses in the high street, especially as we enter the crucial pre-Christmas period. Ahead of Small Business Saturday, may we have a debate on the role of councils in supporting our high streets by providing key facilities?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am sorry to say that the performance of Liberal Democrat-run local authorities has been something of a theme in this session of business questions, and I am very sorry to hear about the situation in North Devon. As my hon. Friend will know, we have made available not only funding but advice and support to enable high streets to thrive, and also to enable community asset transfers to take place. I saw an example of that when I visited a local social enterprise in my hon. Friend’s constituency which is helping town centres and villages to continue as thriving communities. This is so important that any delay in ensuring that people can enjoy these facilities is inexcusable. I thank my hon. Friend for the campaign that she is running on behalf of her constituents, and I will ask the Secretary of State to see whether there is anything further he can advise about what she can do. I will advertise Small Business Saturday on 2 December to all Members, and I thank my hon. Friend again for the work she is doing for her constituency.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 7th September 2023

(5 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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That is a very important issue which will affect many households in the hon. Lady’s constituency, as well as businesses. She will know that the Government have acted and are setting up what Fair Fuel UK has called a PumpWatch scheme. The Competition and Markets Authority is now establishing a number of measures to ensure that there is fair pricing at the pump and that competition is improved. She will know that the Government have done other things to help her constituents and to lower the cost of fuel. In the same time that Labour put up fuel duty by 46%, we have lowered it by 7.5%.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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On the eve of the rugby world cup, will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating Aramis Rugby, a North Devon-based manufacturing company, on providing all the scrum machines used in this year’s tournament? Following the success of the Lionesses and with England hosting next year’s women’s rugby world cup, can we have a debate in Government time on the links between hosting sports events and participation in sports?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising that and giving us the opportunity again to celebrate the successes of women in sport, as well as the fantastic news of our hosting the next women’s rugby world cup. That is wonderful news and we have a great record of hosting such events. Since 2012, we have hosted over 130 sporting events, which is a great record to be proud of. I will make sure that her enthusiasm has been heard by the relevant Minister.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 18th May 2023

(9 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I shall ensure that the Secretary of State has heard the hon. Gentleman’s request for a statement, but I do not think that what he says is quite correct. The only way to end storm overflows and sewage going into our rivers and around our coast is to invest in and upgrade infrastructure. Work has started now. We have legislated so that every water company needs to have a plan in place and to meet those targets. It is a shared cost, but I will give him some hope. We know from where work has already been done—in London, for example, with Thames Water—that the cost to the bill payer has not been great. We have got to make this investment, which will be shared between bill payers—all of us—and those companies. It needs to be done.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I was delighted to welcome Molton Monthly, the south-west enterprise champions, to this week’s Countryside Alliance rural oscars here in Westminster, celebrating some of the best rural businesses, presented by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In the same week, we have seen the Farm to Fork Summit, with additional support for our fabulous farmers. While warmly welcoming all the work that DEFRA does to support rural communities, does my right hon. Friend agree that rurality should be considered in decisions across Departments such as on decarbonising transport, energy efficiency and equity of health and education outcomes, as work to design such policies in SW1 may need adapting to be effective in our rural communities? Might we secure a debate in Government time to see how practically we can implement a more rural focus?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend and congratulate everyone who took part in the Countryside Alliance rural oscars. I thank them for coming to Westminster. She will know we take this matter seriously. DEFRA has launched the £110 million rural England prosperity fund, and we also have Project Gigabit funding and our multimillion-pound rural mobility fund. Those things are in place precisely because of the issues that she raised.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 11th May 2023

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Lady for raising this issue and reminding us that tomorrow is World ME Day. Indeed, next week is ME Awareness Week, which will give all Members a good opportunity to discuss ME and the care that sufferers need. This would be an excellent question to ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and, of course, Members can apply for a debate in the usual way if they wish to do so.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Derelict buildings can have a significant impact on communities, both as eyesores and, in areas such as my constituency where there is a lack of affordable housing, as a lost opportunity. Can my right hon. Friend tell me what powers councils have in this regard and how they can be encouraged to use them? May we have a debate in Government time on how to bring these buildings back into use and breathe life into communities by providing affordable housing for local families?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I think that this is an excellent topic for a debate, and my hon. Friend will know how to apply for one. She will be aware that since 2017, local planning authorities in England have been required to maintain and publish brownfield land registers, and they should all be doing that, as well as updating and reviewing the registers at least once a year. They also have compulsory purchase order powers that they can use to acquire empty properties or properties that are eyesores when they can demonstrate that there is a compelling case for such an acquisition to proceed in the public interest.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 27th April 2023

(10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Lady for raising that case; I am very sorry to hear it. She may wish to raise it at Treasury questions on 9 May but, given that that is a sizeable chunk of money for her constituent to be out of pocket, I will certainly raise it today with HMRC and ask it to contact her about it.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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The Government committed to bringing forward a consultation on the regulation of rehoming activities for animal sanctuaries and rehoming organisations this year. Dogs Trust, which operates in my constituency, is keen that that should take place. Might my right hon. Friend grant Government time for a debate on the issue, or advise me of other ways to expedite the consultation? I know other colleagues will be as concerned as I am by the possible mistreatment of dogs in non-regulated establishments and the effect they are having on the legitimate rehoming centres that do such fantastic work.

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for all the work she has done in championing this issue and in supporting Dogs Trust, which does a huge amount of good work in this area. She will know that the action plan for animal welfare includes commitments to pursuing the licensing of animal sanctuaries and rescue and rehoming centres for cats, dogs and horses; I will certainly ensure that the relevant Department hears her concerns.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 30th March 2023

(11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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As the hon. Lady will know, Ministers give the House frequent updates about all the pay negotiations and discussions that are taking place across many sectors. For example, the Health Secretary answered an urgent question on the subject this morning. I shall make sure that those in the Cabinet Office have heard what the hon. Lady has said today as their next questions is not until 11 May.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I have already highlighted the record-breaking achievements of my constituents who have raised funds for our excellent North Devon Hospice. May I now ask my right hon. Friend to congratulate both Jade Kingdom, the first person with Down syndrome to complete a sprint triathlon, and Max Woosey, the boy in the tent who has raised the most money ever raised by anyone camping outside? While it is marvellous that so much money is being raised for our wonderful hospice, will my right hon. Friend also help to secure a debate in Government time to ensure that the current increases in hospice energy costs do not undermine their core caring work?

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 16th March 2023

(11 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Lady for raising that. I know it is of concern to many Members, as well as many people outside the House. The hon. Lady mentioned cuts to some of the orchestras, but the BBC Singers is the only orchestral choir involved. The decision is obviously independent from Government, but I understand that an internal consultation is currently taking place with staff. I think that if the hon. Lady were to apply for a debate in the usual way, it would be very well attended.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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While there has been much good news for business this week, I am gravely concerned about the unavailability in the current leasing round of the proposed strike price for floating offshore wind in the Celtic sea to international developers who have, up to this point, shown serious interest in developing the sector in the UK and bringing green jobs to our coastal communities. Given the importance of renewable energy—as detailed by the Chancellor only yesterday—can my right hon. Friend advise me on the best way to ensure that the leasing round does not fail, and we do not see this international investment literally float off overseas?

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 23rd February 2023

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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The hon. Lady will know that we have been investing in social housing and removing some of the obstacles that have prevented developments going ahead. We have had the largest social housing programmes we have seen in this country in recent years. I congratulate her and her constituency on getting some developments moving, and I shall make sure that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has heard her concerns.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating the George & Dragon in Ilfracombe on reaching the national finals of the Community Pub Hero Awards for its charity fundraising? Pubs do vital work in their local communities, especially in rural areas. Will it be possible to have a debate in Government time to highlight that work, the importance of pubs and how we can best support them during the current cost of living pressures?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Lady for hosting me in her beautiful constituency last week. I join her in congratulating the George & Dragon on its success in the Community Pub Hero Awards. She is right that it is an incredibly important sector, not just for the facilities that pubs provide but for the fact that they are a community hub. She will be reassured to know that we will continue to support that pub and others through the energy bills discount scheme once the energy bill relief scheme comes to an end in March.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 2nd February 2023

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I reiterate what I said in my opening remarks: I am incredibly grateful for the support that the hon. Lady and her colleagues have given to the lion’s share of legislation that we have introduced. I hope that that trend will continue as we bring forward critical legislation, such as that to stop small boats, and I encourage the Opposition to continue in that way.

With regard to energy companies, the hon. Lady will know that the Government have taken action not just to support households through the cost of living crisis —£26 billion-worth of support brought in by the Prime Minister and his Secretary of State—but to ensure that energy companies are acting in good faith in passing on cost of living measures to bill payers and also that people will not be pushed on to prepayment meters. The Department and Ofgem have taken action on that front.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Bringing the vision of floating offshore wind to reality in the Celtic sea has been the work of the Celtic sea all-party parliamentary group, which I chair, and so many businesses in the Celtic Sea Developer Alliance. Will my right hon. Friend advise how we can ensure that the Government deliver a strike price in the current auction round that enables this to happen as there are growing concerns that officials behind the scenes would prefer a failed auction round rather than start at an achievable strike price. A failed auction round would lead to investment in this vital new technology going overseas. May we have a debate on this in Government time, or can my right hon. Friend suggest more rapid alternatives to ensure success in this auction round so that floating offshore wind becomes a reality and we hit net zero by 2050?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising those concerns. Given that the next departmental questions are not until late February, I will write on her behalf to the Department and ensure that her very understandable concerns have been heard.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 26th January 2023

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I agree entirely with the hon. Lady’s sentiments. Sadly, this is not an isolated case; it goes right back to Winterbourne View and the recommendations that Sir Stephen Bubb made in his report. We have to look at the volume of referrals going into care settings that we know are not appropriate for children, particularly those with behavioural and learning disabilities. We also have to look at what good care looks like. We are talking about a relatively small number of children and they should have the best care possible. I shall certainly make sure that the Secretaries of State who are involved in this hear what several Members have said today.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I know that it is customary to request a debate at business questions, but I wonder if my right hon. Friend can advise me which Department would be best to respond to a debate on the levelling up of hotel accommodation in Ilfracombe. The levelling-up Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Dehenna Davison), acknowledges the need to level up Ilfracombe, despite its bid being unsuccessful, and is coming to visit, but the Home Office is considering two further asylum centres in the town. What plans are there to process the applications of those asylum seekers already in the town, and when will we start reducing the number of tourist hotels being used, so that we can go back to providing accommodation to much-needed tourists? I understand that it is a priority for the Prime Minister—might he respond to a debate or make a statement on progress to the House?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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This is not the first time that my hon. Friend has raised that matter, and I can confirm to her again that the Home Office is the Department that needs to respond to her concerns. What it boils down to is that we have to ensure the whole system is working effectively. She will not have long to wait before that piece of legislation is brought forward, but I will write again on her behalf to the Home Secretary to raise her concerns about how much-needed hotels for tourism and so forth are being used in her constituency and her other concerns about this matter.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 12th January 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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In my North Devon constituency, we have issues with legacy street furniture, such as public phone boxes. These phone boxes are no longer used by the majority of the public, so have become a hub for vandalism, drug taking and antisocial behaviour. Barnstaple is a recipient of the future high streets fund, and we are cleaning up our high street for businesses and residents. The state of these phone boxes has drawn multiple complaints. Despite that, the company that runs the phone boxes refuses to remove them. Does my right hon. Friend agree that local communities should have a say over their public spaces, and can she advise how I might secure their removal?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for raising this important matter, and I suggest that she also raises it on 26 January with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport directly. There are provisions for these boxes to be removed, and that should be straightforward. There is also an alternative, in that the community can buy them for £1 and convert them to another use. I shall certainly flag her concerns with the Secretary of State and ask her, if possible, to contact her office before 26 January.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 17th November 2022

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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These matters have always been a free vote. I know over the last few years the House has had several large debates on this issue, including in Westminster Hall. I know that many all-party parliamentary groups in the House are looking at the question from all sides. I encourage the hon. Lady to apply to the Backbench Business Committee if she has support from across the House to revisit this issue.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Today is Social Enterprise Day. Social enterprises play a vital role in creating local jobs and solving local social and economic problems. For example, Parracombe Community Trust in my constituency has raised nearly £145,000 in community shares to transform an old public toilet into a bustling community shop and café, helping to foster renewed civic pride. It is also developing affordable housing via a community land trust for local people. Might my right hon. Friend update the House, and maybe even find time for a debate, on how we plan to support social enterprises as they work to bring community assets back into the hands of local people?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my hon. Friend for allowing me to congratulate Parracombe Community Trust on its terrific job creating that community facility. She will know that we recognise the importance of social enterprise. We have made finance available to support it through dormant asset funding, and there is also assistance from the £150 million community ownership fund. I encourage her to apply for a debate on the matter.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 3rd November 2022

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I know that my right hon. Friend the Health and Social Care Secretary is very concerned about services, dealing with the backlog and all the pressures that the NHS will be under this winter. Part of that is the wellbeing and robustness of the workforce, and I know that he cares about that deeply. I will certainly pass on the hon. Lady’s sentiments. Clearly, there is a very clear timetable and process for pay awards and so forth, but I am sure that he will keep the House up to date.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Please can my right hon. Friend explain who is managing the dispersal of asylum seekers to hotels? Having raised this matter previously, I know that it is not the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and it does not seem to be the Home Office either. I have it in writing from officials just two weeks ago that the Dilkhusa in Ilfracombe was not suitable to be used and would definitely not be used. Last night, the hotel filled up and there was security on the door, which is not normal for tourist hotels in North Devon. Can my right hon. Friend help me to secure details of what is actually going on at the Dilkhusa right now, and will she ensure that whichever Minister is responsible for these decisions comes to this House to update Members and explain why these decisions seem to be taken without any information reaching the councils or their MPs?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am always happy to hear from the hon. Lady, but sorry to hear another similar such case being brought to the House—my hon. Friend the Member for Erewash (Maggie Throup) spoke earlier on the matter. I can confirm that it is the Home Office. I will certainly raise this particular case with the Department on the hon. Lady’s behalf.

I reiterate that the only way that we will take pressure off the system and that we will have the resource to deal with those very genuine cases that we want to look after and protect is to ensure that those who do not have a genuine case to be here are returned and are not putting additional pressure on the system.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 20th October 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I agree with the hon. Lady: as I set out in my earlier remarks, we have a way of organising ourselves in this place, but we are elected by our constituents to look after their interests and the interests of this country. I was in the Lobby last night and did not see any of what has been reported, but there are processes for reporting and for looking at such things. I am sure she will have heard Mr Speaker’s statement earlier today; I think he is right and that is the right approach.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Nitrous oxide capsules have littered North Devon beaches this summer, as more and more people use them for recreational purposes despite risks such as damage to the lungs, halting breathing and slowing the heart to dangerous levels. Manufacturers have called this week for further restrictions on their purchase. Will the Government consider that recommendation and restrict sales for recreational use?

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 13th October 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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We have just had Transport questions so it might be a little while before the hon. Lady can raise the matter with the Secretary of State in that way. I will write to the Secretary of State on the hon. Lady’s behalf and encourage the provision of clarity, so that people can be assured about what the future will look like. The hon. Lady will know that she can apply for a debate in the usual way.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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Like me, my right hon. Friend represents a fabulous coastal constituency. So many communities around our coast face significant challenges. Remote Ilfracombe in my North Devon patch has seen a hotel close its doors and make 30 people redundant to become an asylum dispersal centre—before the Home Office has even confirmed that it will use it. This has created huge concern in a community that already has a life expectancy that is 10 years less than most of the county, and that has little public transport and few health facilities. This is not nimbyism—we are happy to help—but there are potentially more suitable locations nearer to the services that will be needed.

I remain concerned that along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall we increasingly have asylum seekers in hotels, key workers living in holiday parks and houses stood empty for more than half the year as second homes or holiday lets. Will my right hon. Friend consider the case for a coastal communities Minister, to begin to tackle our coastal housing needs and properly level up coastal communities?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I am sorry to hear about that situation. My hon. Friend is a fierce campaigner for bringing economic benefit to her local area and is very focused on quality of life for her constituents. The Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Dehenna Davison) has that responsibility; I would be happy to facilitate a meeting between her and my hon. Friend. I ask my hon. Friend to keep me posted on progress in the matters she has raised.

Business of the House

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Thursday 8th September 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for reminding the House about one of the many services that Cheryl Gillan performed for this House in introducing that Act, which was supported by many Members of the House. It has been in operation for some time, and we should look at how it is performing. I encourage him to apply for a debate in the usual manner, and I will be happy to raise the issue with the several relevant Departments so that they can consider his request.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I congratulate my right hon. Friend and welcome her to her new position. Following the shocking fire 10 days ago at beautiful Baggy Point in my stunning North Devon constituency that was caused by a disposable barbecue blowing up from the beach on to the tinder-dry gorse, may we have an urgent debate in Government time to consider banning those dangerous and unnecessary items from our open spaces?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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That was a particularly shocking incident. Natural fires are a tragedy in themselves, but it is very depressing when they are preventable and caused by such events. The Government are ensuring that disposable barbecues are safe and include clear instructions for use, but there is clearly a lack of awareness about what might happen. I thank my hon. Friend for raising awareness of that issue today. I know she will continue to do so, and I am happy to raise the matter with the relevant Department.

Future Relationship with the EU

Debate between Selaine Saxby and Penny Mordaunt
Tuesday 9th June 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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The political declaration is not a treaty and there will be differences on both sides as to its interpretation. The point we have emphasised in the past few days is that the EU cannot be the referee in that.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I have received a large number of emails from farmers and constituents in North Devon who are concerned about food standards once we leave the EU. Will my right hon. Friend assure me, and worried constituents, that we will retain our current food standards, and prevent the import of chlorinated chicken and other inferior food?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I refer my hon. Friend to the very good joint letter that was recently sent out by the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and for International Trade. In this we should be trusting the consumer—if people do not want to put their faith in Government, we should trust the consumer, and I think consumers want high-quality, fairly priced food, with high animal welfare standards.