Debates between Simon Fell and Paul Scully during the 2019 Parliament

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Simon Fell and Paul Scully
Wednesday 14th June 2023

(8 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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I gave a long answer the first time, so I can give a shorter one this time. We are already acting in that space. On the apprenticeship levy, we always work with employers and supply chains throughout this country to ensure it works as effectively as possible for what businesses need.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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The submarine programme in Barrow will deliver thousands of jobs and generations of work, but we are struggling to grow our own. We have Furness STEM and UlverSTEM, which do good work, but this is an international endeavour with AUKUS and a national endeavour with Dreadnought. What discussions has the Minister had across Government about how we lean in to that skills challenge?

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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My hon. Friend is right to champion Barrow’s industry. We talk regularly with the Department for Education, colleagues from the Department for Work and Pensions, tech sectors and academia to ensure we get it right. We must remember that domestic and international talent are so important in this space.

Economic Crime: Planned Government Bill

Debate between Simon Fell and Paul Scully
Wednesday 26th January 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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I know the hon. Gentleman has used that example on a number of occasions. It is a particularly pertinent example but, as I say, Companies House reform is foremost among our priorities and it will come as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake) on securing the urgent question.

From migrant boats to county lines, the golden thread that runs between them is illicit money flows. Although the national cyber-security strategy and the economic crime plan, and the measures in them, are welcome, what we really need is a Bill to bring this forward. May I urge my hon. Friend to use his good offices to make that case, in order to deal with not only some of the big issues but the low-level frauds that are affecting so many of our constituents? Let us not forget that it is the No. 1 crime in this country at the moment.

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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I thank my hon. Friend for his work in this area and those comments. He is absolutely right: the theme in this is economic crime—county lines and those kinds of things. That is why the Business Department, the Treasury and the Home Office are working together to get this right and to tackle all of that in the round.

Post Office Update

Debate between Simon Fell and Paul Scully
Wednesday 19th May 2021

(2 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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I thank the right hon. Gentleman, who has rightly been pushing on behalf of postmasters in general for a number of years.

Yes, nothing is off the table. We want to get justice and answers for people, and that clearly includes the role of the Government and shareholders. The fact is that, yes, we are the single shareholder through UK Government Investments, but that allows Post Office Ltd to work operationally independently of the Government —otherwise, there would be no point in splitting it that way. None the less, as I say, our representatives on the board have been asking that question. We were assured that Horizon was robust in all these areas. None the less, within the inquiry those questions will no doubt be asked and I expect them to be answered.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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I warmly welcome my hon. Friend’s statement and the work being undertaken by Sir Wyn in what is now a statutory inquiry. It is right that the inquiry should look at how on earth this was allowed to happen in the first place—most pertinently, why the Post Office and Fujitsu completely ignored the red flags being waved by trusted sub-postmasters across the network.

Compensation will be key. Sub-postmistress Isabella Wall from Barrow lost her home and business and was left with nothing. Can my hon. Friend guarantee that fair compensation for those who have been completely wronged through this process will be the focus of the Government?

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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Through you, Madam Deputy Speaker, I pass my best wishes to Isabella Wall; I can only imagine what she and her family have been through. We will continue to talk about these issues over the next year, as the inquiry goes through.

Yes, the inquiry looks at what went wrong and goes back historically to give confidence to those affected and in the future network. But clearly we want to make sure that postmasters get fair compensation as well as justice.

Arcadia and Debenhams: Business Support and Job Retention

Debate between Simon Fell and Paul Scully
Wednesday 2nd December 2020

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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I agree that it is so important that we continue a viable business where it is possible, and I know that the administrators will have that at heart.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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The news about Debenhams and Arcadia will cause many concerns as we head into Christmas. Can my hon. Friend reiterate the support that the Government will make available to the employees who face an uncertain future? Further to that, this year alone in Barrow, we have lost M&S and Topshop, so Debenhams will be another heavy blow. What support will the Government provide to offer hope to the high street in future?

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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In terms of employees, as well as universal credit and access to other support through Jobcentre Plus, we will connect people to jobs in the labour market, help with their employment skills, such as CV writing, interview skills and so on, and identify transferable skills. It is, though, so important that we do more than that for our high streets to create the opportunities for those people to take up, through the future high streets fund and the work that we are doing with the Retail Sector Council and others at every level of government.

Horizon: Sub-Postmaster Convictions

Debate between Simon Fell and Paul Scully
Wednesday 10th June 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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I thank the hon. Gentleman for that promotion to Secretary of State. He raises some really important points. The point is that, whether we call it a review or an inquiry, the terms of reference are exactly as he describes. We want to make sure we can get to the bottom of this to find out who made what decisions and how they were made, and ensure they can never happen again. That is exactly why I have pushed to make this happen as soon as possible.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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Isabella Wall was a sub-postmistress in Barrow. She ran a thriving shop and let flats above the property. As a result of the scandal, she lost everything. She was the very first person to come and see me at a surgery as a newly elected MP and I carry with me the anger she brought to that meeting. Does my hon. Friend accept that while the Post Office has accepted it got things wrong, there is a long, long way to go for people like Ms Wall before they are properly compensated for the financial and emotional losses they faced? Will he confirm that the Government will give weight to fair compensation being paid to wronged sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses?

Paul Scully Portrait Paul Scully
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Isabella Wall is one of far too many constituents of ours who have suffered in this. The hon. Member for Slough (Mr Dhesi) was right when he said that the Post Office should have had more faith and trust in its sub-postmasters. Of course we will make sure we can get to the bottom of this to get some justice for Isabella Wall. On the group litigation, I am glad that they have reached a settlement. As for sub-postmasters who have not yet been part of a case but may have suffered a shortfall, I encourage them to come forward to take advantage of the historical shortfall scheme the Post Office has launched.