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I think we all agree on that.

The Child Poverty Action Group and others have said that we have to put serious extra resources into tackling child poverty. They have mentioned a figure of some £3 billion, and the hon. Member for Northavon (Steve Webb), who has spoken ably today, mentioned a figure of £4 billion to £5 billion. That is the kind of sum that we would have needed from the Government if they were really serious. Without real money, I cannot see how child poverty targets can possibly be met. I know that we are not supposed to venture into the pre-Budget report, but it seems to have done very little to help.

There are other factors to consider, such as the fact that when people's work is cut to less than 16 hours, they lose tax credits, as well as the particular problem of single-parent families. In my constituency, there is a real problem of some kids being able to afford to go on a
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school trip whereas others in the same class cannot. The main issue brought to me is housing problems, and I see many youngsters being brought up in seriously overcrowded accommodation.

I agree with those who have said that less than 10 per cent. of children in relative poverty is a pretty poor target to aim at. Is it ambitious enough? It is certainly not eradication.

John Barrett (Edinburgh, West) (LD): Does the hon. Gentleman agree that that is the major failing of the Bill? It has redefined the word "eradicate". Eradicating poverty means to wipe it out, and the target is not to wipe it out.

John Mason: Absolutely. It makes a complete joke of the word.

There are other concerns. The Committee discussed whether clause 15 will be a get-out clause for the Government in future. We clearly have to set priorities for the time we are living in. I might as well mention Trident again, because that seems to be more of a priority for the Government than eradicating child poverty. There is not time to talk about many other things, but I emphasise that the minimum wage is far too low. We need it to be a living wage, and there is some good work being done on that in London, Glasgow and elsewhere. I want the Government to be a bit stronger on that, because it would surely go a huge way towards eradicating child poverty.

Finally, I appeal to the Government to work with the Scottish authorities in taking these matters forward. Westminster clearly needs to take-

7 pm

Debate interrupted (Programme Order, 20 July).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed , with amendments.

Business without Debate

deferred Divisions

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order 41A(3)),

Question agreed to.

corporation tax

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order 118(6)),

Question agreed to.

9 Dec 2009 : Column 466

Regional select committee (London)

Motion made,

Hon. Members: Object.

sittings of the house

Motion made,

Hon. Members: Object.


Badman Report (Mid-Dorset and North Poole)

7.1 pm

Annette Brooke (Mid-Dorset and North Poole) (LD): My first petition tonight comes from home educators who are concerned about the Badman report. The signatures from my constituency reflect the general concern of home educators up and down the country. The petition states:


9 Dec 2009 : Column 467

Park Home Sales

7.3 pm

Annette Brooke: My second petition tonight has been organised by one of my constituents, Sonia McColl. It is about a problem involving park home owners, who are on the whole very vulnerable people, and unscrupulous park owners. The petition does not in any way suggest that park owners are all unscrupulous, but there are instances that many of us know about when we need to strike a better balance between the two groups of people.

The petition states:


Badman Report (Harborough)

7.5 pm

Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough) (Con): I beg leave to present a petition from persons resident in my constituency in the county of Leicestershire.

The petition states:


9 Dec 2009 : Column 468
7.6 pm

Mr. John Leech (Manchester, Withington) (LD): Some time ago, I submitted a petition on behalf of thousands of constituents in support of the "Mahoro Must Stay" campaign. Unfortunately Adela Mahoro Mugabo is still under threat of deportation-

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): Order. I understood that the hon. Gentleman's petition was on the Badman report.

Mr. Leech: That was last night, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I am afraid that my information is that his petition is on the Badman report. I accept what the hon. Gentleman says, but would he be kind enough to see the Clerk at the Table to confirm that his petition has been endorsed by the Journal Office? I can then call him to present his petition.

Climate Change (Copenhagen Talks)

7.7 pm

Angela Browning (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con): I present a petition that has been organised by Crediton Climate Action and has signatures from people in the town of Crediton, surrounding villages and many local organisations. Playing an especial part in this have been my constituents Gerald and Laura Conyngham, who are cycling to Copenhagen from Crediton to take part and make their views known.

The petition states:


Post Office (New England)

Mr. Stewart Jackson (Peterborough) (Con): The New England post office in Peterborough was closed in 2008. I wish to present the petition of 721 residents of Millfield, New England and other areas in the city of Peterborough.

The petition states:


9 Dec 2009 : Column 469

Deepcut Army Barracks

7.8 pm

Mr. Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam) (LD): I wish to present two petitions this evening. The first is on behalf of my constituent, Mr. Gary Hobbs, who collected a petition of 200 signatures requesting an inquiry into the deaths at Deepcut barracks.

The petition states:


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