Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 15th November 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Jeremy Hunt Portrait Jeremy Hunt
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The hon. Member had better listen to what we say on Thursday before she jumps to conclusions. We will approach the difficult situation that we face progressively. We will ask those who have more to give more. I advise her not to talk down the financial services and energy industries, which employ thousands of people in Scotland.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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T6. As my right hon. Friend knows, Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine has driven up energy prices across the world. The Government were therefore right to support households throughout the country. What is the long-term plan to reduce our dependence on gas so that taxpayers do not have to subsidise energy bills?

Jeremy Hunt Portrait Jeremy Hunt
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right to point to the challenge of the past two years. Nationally, we are spending £140 billion more on energy. That is almost like supporting an entire second NHS. We have to have a long-term solution that is about energy independence and energy efficiency.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 28th June 2022

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Lucy Frazer Portrait The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Lucy Frazer)
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I am proud that HMRC is a leader in tax transparency, has a number of double tax treaties and co-operates with a large number of countries and international organisations to share tax information to ensure that people pay their fair share.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe  (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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T3.   The global cost of living crisis is affecting many of our constituents, so it is welcome that those on means-tested benefits—one in three households—will receive £1,200 in support from the Government this year. When will that vital support be hitting bank accounts?

Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
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My hon. Friend is right to highlight the need to target support on those who most need it. I am pleased to tell him that the payments will be made for those on means-tested benefits in July, with the second of those payments following a few months later, in the autumn, for those on tax credits, so that deduplication can be done.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 7th December 2021

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Simon Clarke Portrait The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr Simon Clarke)
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The hon. Lady raises an important point. Of course, we delivered a record settlement for the Department of Health and Social Care at the recent spending review. That budget will rise to £177.4 billion in 2024-25. NHS dentistry is a top priority of that spend.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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Can the Minister confirm that the £1,000 a year tax cut delivered through changes to the universal credit taper rate will begin to be seen in people’s bank accounts this side of Christmas?

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 2nd November 2021

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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John Glen Portrait The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen)
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The Government are committed to making the UK a hostile place for illicit finance and economic crime and ensuring that all donations to political parties comply with the legislation that the Labour party enacted in Government. We have taken tough action through our No Safe Havens strategy to ensure that the correct UK tax is paid. Our landmark 2019 economic crime plan builds on that, and we will continue to work on these matters.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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T5. As my right hon. Friend may know, this week is Evidence Week. Will he therefore let the House know whether, in his opinion, the evidence still indicates that the proposed lower Thames crossing represents value for money?

Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
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I know that my hon. Friend has paid close attention to this issue, which obviously has a particular impact on his constituency. He will know that the current Dartford crossing is one of the most congested pinch points in the entire strategic road network, which is why the Thames crossing development is part of the Department for Transport’s plans. We also recognise that it needs to be brought about in a way that maximises the benefits and mitigates the cost to local communities and businesses. The commitment does include an obligation to create tens of thousands of new jobs. I understand that National Highways has recently launched a consultation, in which I know my hon. Friend and his communities will be engaged.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 1st December 2020

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Felicity Buchan Portrait Felicity Buchan (Kensington) (Con)
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What steps his Department is taking to support self-employed people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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What steps his Department is taking to support self-employed people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Simon Baynes Portrait Simon Baynes (Clwyd South) (Con)
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What steps his Department is taking to support self-employed people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

--- Later in debate ---
Jesse Norman Portrait Jesse Norman
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the importance of innovation. She will be delighted to know that the Government are protecting innovators and start-ups from the impact of covid through almost £900 million of future fund loans to date, £79 million for innovation loans as well as other grants, and that comes on top of more than £5 billion of support through research and development tax credits claimed for 2018-19 so far, which support more than £35 billion of R&D expenditure.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe [V]
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I thank my right hon. Friend for all he has done so far to support the self-employed, but will he keep an open mind when it comes to future support? As he will be aware, millions have benefited from the schemes he has introduced, but there is a minority who have not. As the pandemic is lasting longer than we had imagined, will he look again at what else can be done for those who have had no income for nine months?

Jesse Norman Portrait Jesse Norman
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I should make it perfectly clear to my hon. Friend, as the Chancellor has, that we take these points extremely seriously. We have been given many different suggestions over the past few months for ways in which we could accommodate these concerns. We have looked at them very closely, and so far we have struggled to find one that meets the need to avoid the fraud risk that bedevils this concern. I responded last week to the latest request to meet from the Federation of Small Businesses, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Forgotten Ltd to explore the latest of these schemes. I have also said that I would be happy to meet the all-party parliamentary group, alongside ExcludedUK, to address these questions.

Economy Update

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 5th November 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
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Obviously, the Scottish Government are due to outline a budget at some point soon and, in respect of future tax and welfare policy, if that is something that the hon. Gentleman and the Scottish Government want to do, I am sure they have every tool and lever at their disposal to do exactly that.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con) [V]
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I thank my right hon. Friend for all that he has done during this challenging time to support jobs and businesses. As he will know, this is Tomorrow’s Engineers Week. As the former engineering envoy, I am keen to see our vital engineering sector continue to thrive and prosper, so will my right hon. Friend tell the House what steps are being taken to ensure that the engineering sector has full access to and participates in the excellent kickstart scheme, to bring on the talent of the future?

Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
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My hon. Friend is a fantastic champion for the engineering sector, which he cares deeply about and has spoken to me about previously. He is right: it is important that we train the engineers of tomorrow, and what better time than Tomorrow’s Engineers Week? I would be happy to talk to him and any organisations that he wants to connect me with to make sure that the sector fully benefits from the opportunities we are providing for companies to take on bright new people and provide them with a better future.

Covid-19: Economy Update

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 22nd October 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
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I know that it is a difficult time for the hon. Gentleman’s constituents, and he is right that they should engage constructively. I am glad that he and his local area are doing that. There will be a variety of support available. Closed businesses will receive grants of up to £3,000 a month, paid centrally. Obviously, similar to other areas, there will be a negotiation and a conversation with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which will result in an amount of support being provided for businesses. Of course, as the hon. Gentleman will know, there is also a formula to provide the local authority with support of up to £8 per head, and that money is used to enhance local compliance enforcement and contact tracing. I know that those conversations are ongoing and I very much hope that they will have a constructive outcome.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con) [V]
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I warmly welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement and thank him for supporting people and businesses across Essex. Already more than 15,000 people have benefited from the furlough scheme, and more than 5,000 from the self-employment income support scheme. These additional measures to support those who have been adversely affected by the recent introduction of tier 2 in Essex are welcome. Will he confirm that he will continue to do whatever it takes to support our country and our economy?

Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
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I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. He mentioned some numbers, and that is ultimately what it is about. We stand in this place and talk about many billions of pounds and policy, but often it is about the people and the jobs and livelihoods that we are trying to protect. I am delighted to hear that the 20,000 people he mentioned have benefited from the support that this Government have put in place, and I can give him and them the assurance that we will continue to do exactly that.

Public Health Restrictions: Government Economic Support

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 13th October 2020

(3 years, 6 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

Steve Barclay Portrait Steve Barclay
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My right hon. Friend rightly highlights an industry and a sector that have been particularly hit. Again, we have tried, through the package of measures such as the extension of the self-employed income support scheme, to help some of those within that sector. I think the business to which she is referring is more a pay-as-you-earn one, but it is often freelancers who work in, say, the lighting sector and the events sector, and they have been particularly impacted. That is why the self-employed scheme was introduced. To some extent, and given the over £200 million of support, the Chancellor has been very candid, as have I, about the fact that we were not in a position as a Government to save every single job. We are working with colleagues—I am always happy to work with my right hon. Friend—to look at what measures we can take, but it has to be balanced against the wider fiscal position.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con) [V]
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I thank my right hon. Friend and the Chancellor for all the support they have given to jobs and businesses over this period. However, as we move to the next stage of our battle, to echo other colleagues, will my right hon. Friend at least agree to keep an open mind about further support for hospitality businesses in tier 2, which are not required to close, but are going to struggle with reduced capacity? I am sure none of us wants to see hollowed-out communities as pubs permanently call last orders.

Steve Barclay Portrait Steve Barclay
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his question; I think the Chancellor has demonstrated throughout the health pandemic that he has both kept an open mind and consulted widely, with the TUC, business leaders and many others. That is why for hospitality specifically we had a range of measures in the summer, with eat out to help out, the targeted VAT support and cash support measures, and the job support for staff coming back, where the Government helped with some of those labour costs. Of course the Chancellor will keep these things under review, but the key issue for all of us is to get the virus down, and that is the best way of helping our hospitality sector.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 7th July 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak
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Those who call for a sector-specific approach are not always able to articulate exactly how they would define those sectors and also the supply chain that they serve. The most important thing is to have provided broad, generous and swift coverage to protect 9 million jobs, as this Government have done, and now to reopen these sectors so that we can get as many of those people back to work as quickly as possible to the jobs that they have.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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What fiscal steps he is taking to support landlords affected by the covid-19 outbreak. [R]

Jesse Norman Portrait The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jesse Norman)
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The Government recognise the current challenges facing commercial landlords. That is why we have worked very closely with lenders to ensure that support and flexibility is being shown to commercial borrowers. This forms part of a much wider picture of unprecedented support to businesses affected, including via business rates holidays, grants and Government-backed loans—and of course those, in turn, give access to cash to pay for rents and salaries or suppliers.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe [V]
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May I draw Members’ attention to my entry in the register?

While many tenants welcome the steps the Government have taken to protect them from eviction, for many small private landlords the rental income on shops, offices and residential property is their only form of income, which in many cases is completely tied up. Will my right hon. Friend therefore work with the sector to explore how to provide financial support to individuals who find that they have no income and no access to any of the other very impressive schemes that the Government have introduced?

Jesse Norman Portrait Jesse Norman
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My hon. Friend will know, of course, that we published a code of practice to encourage all parties involved in a landlord-tenant situation to work together to ensure equity and swift recovery. More widely, we have made available over £330 billion of guarantees through the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, the large business interruption loan scheme, and the corporate financing facility. But of course I would be happy to continue to discuss this issue with him.

Economic Outlook and Furlough Scheme Changes

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 16th June 2020

(3 years, 10 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

Jesse Norman Portrait Jesse Norman
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I thank the hon. Lady for her question. I have not seen the survey that she describes. but I will look at it and discuss it with the Minister for Equalities, my colleague the Exchequer Secretary. Of course there can be no shying away from this issue and if it is as the hon. Lady describes, we will look closely at it. I thank her for that.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con) [V]
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I thank the Minister and all his team for the extraordinary work they have done to support our economy during the first phase of this crisis. As we look towards the future and our recovery, may I ask him to continue to make bold and innovative interventions in our economy to protect as many jobs and businesses as possible, in both Basildon and Thurrock?

Jesse Norman Portrait Jesse Norman
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I almost did not recognise my hon. Friend with his new coronavirus growth, but I very much accept and recognise the point he makes. I thank him for it, and we will continue to work hard in this area.