Mr Hayes: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. As he knows, I am a frequent visitor to his constituency for recreational purposes. I tend to holiday on the north-east coast in Bamburgh and other places. I know the road north of Newcastle extremely well, and I am

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aware of the difficulties in terms of safety and congestion, although we have addressed the issues around Newcastle itself. As he will also know, I have visited the area as a Minister to see first hand some of the challenges and what can be done to overcome them.

Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire) (Con): Will the route strategies include strategies on speed limits? If so, does my right hon. Friend intend to make greater use of variable speed limits, which have been quite successful?

Mr Hayes: Variable speed limits are part of the smart motorway schemes that we are doing immense work on. Indeed, I was speaking about them at lunchtime today. They reflect a greater understanding of and ability to alter the way in which people interface with roads through the provision of dynamic information, and allow us to make much better use of infrastructure once the investment has been made. The way in which people drive, what they drive and the way in which they interface with the information that is provided for them on the road will change considerably over our lifetimes and beyond. It is important that we do not allow any rigidity in public policy to inhibit the developments that will spring from such technological changes.

My right hon. Friend is right that variable speed limits are an important part of that future. He has been a great champion of them. Indeed, what greater champion of roads and motoring has there been than my right hon. Friend, who has shared many long evenings discussing just these kind of matters with me? I look forward to many more.

Through the route strategies, Highways England, the body that we are creating, will work closely with local authorities, LEPs and other bodies, including rail bodies, to develop the building blocks of future plans. It will ensure that local roads, local transport, our cities and other modes of transport are considered throughout the strategy development process. That is the point. It is a point that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) made in Committee. It was taken on board by the Government. People call me the people’s Minister, but I would rather be called the listening Minister, because I listen and respond to good argument, and I try to develop politics and policy accordingly.

Joan Walley rose—

Mr Hayes: On that basis, I am happy to listen to the hon. Lady.

Joan Walley: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way, because he is clearly a well travelled Minister, just like the well travelled road. While he is in listening mode, I remind him that when he gave evidence before the Environmental Audit Committee on air quality, he said specifically that the remit of the new body he was creating would include environmental concerns. If he has read our report and listened to what we have said, he will know that we are calling for

“a legal duty to protect air quality”

and the introduction of

“a specific clause to that effect in the Infrastructure Bill”.

Will he tell us how he has listened and brought that to fruition?

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Mr Hayes: Let me say two things, the first of which is how much I enjoy giving evidence before the hon. Lady’s Committee. I have enjoyed many exchanges with her on policy matters over a considerable period. Secondly, I will ensure that environmental considerations are built into all the strategic thinking and the development of all these plans. Air quality should be regarded as a salient that is taken into account in the building blocks, as I have described them, that we put together between local roads and the national strategy.

Furthermore, the hon. Lady will be delighted to know—indeed, I hope that she will be in the audience—that I will be making a speech in the next few weeks on precisely these issues: the environmental aspects of the strategy and how we need to develop a new paradigm in respect of the environmental impact of infrastructure development. I can tell that the excitement is building in the House as a result of that. I can see that she is excited enough to intervene again.

Joan Walley: Does what the Minister has just said amount to a legal duty? He has referred to the way in which some of the responsibilities for roads lie with local authorities and some with the new agency. Without a legal duty, it is impossible to see how there can be certainty—rather than uncertainty—that everything possible will be done to reduce air quality problems.

Mr Hayes: Even my audacity does not allow me to make up legal duties on the hoof. I shall take away what the hon. Lady proposes and look at the legal ramifications. I am clear that air quality and the environment are an absolute salient in these matters. As I said, I will ensure that those considerations are built into the development of the strategies, but far be it from me to say what I cannot subsequently justify. I do not want to make up a legal duty as I go along, and I know that she would not expect me to do so.

Notwithstanding what I have said about the importance of route strategies, I understand that there are those who would like additional reassurance that they will happen. That is why I tabled new clause 17, which will insert a reference to route strategies in the Bill. The Secretary of State will require a strategic highways company to prepare and publish one or more strategies on the management and development of the highways to which it has been appointed, which will be known as route strategies. The strategies must be published, as must the Secretary of State’s directions to the company, so we have provided that the process will be transparent and comprehensible. The new clause, along with the provisions in the statutory directions and guidance, which we have updated, provides reassurance, while giving Highways England the flexibility to adapt the route strategy process to meet the needs of cities, the country as a whole and the Government of the day. It is clear that, as a result of new clause 17, amendment 43 is not needed, so I ask that it not be pressed.

8.15 pm

The title of the new body that will oversee the work of Highways England was raised in Committee. It was argued that the Office of Rail Regulation was, nominally at least, an inappropriate description of a body that will oversee road investment, as well as the rail strategy. In giving the Office of Rail Regulation new responsibilities

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over the roads sector, we risk causing public confusion over its remit. I agreed in Committee to reflect further and to return with a view on how such an undesirable situation might be avoided.

Amendment 114 will alter the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 to allow the ORR to be renamed through secondary legislation. It does not rename the ORR, but creates a power for the Government to do so. I have discussed the matter with the ORR. It wants to discuss it in a consultation. As you can imagine, Madam Deputy Speaker, when that was said, I took a step back because consultations bring forth images of curious names being devised by all sorts of curious people. I therefore suggested that the ORR hold a short discussion with its stakeholders, who would want to have a say in any such changes. However, that should be a short and straightforward process, and not a great national conversation. We do not need one of those in respect of the renaming of the Office of Rail Regulation. As the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield pointed out, it will not actually be a regulatory body in respect of roads, so we need to be careful about the name so that we do not cause the very confusion that we are trying to avoid or prevent.

My preference would be to call the organisation the office for rail and road. To give credit where credit is due, that was first suggested by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield. [Hon. Members: “Ah!”] I am an honest chap. I do not want to steal his thunder. It is a jolly good idea. It has a certain elegance, after all. Never underestimate the importance of style. Substance matters, but style matters too.

I urge Members to support Government amendments 115 and 116. I am determined that staff who transfer to the new organisation should not be disadvantaged in respect of terms and conditions. I have given assurances to the House that that is the case and intend, through the amendments, to reaffirm those protections and the stated commitment that the transfer of employees to Highways England will follow TUPE principles.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): Will the Minister clarify the difference between staff transferring under TUPE and under his proposal in amendment 115?

Mr Hayes: I am coming to that. In shorthand, let me assure the hon. Gentleman that I do not want staff to be disadvantaged in any way, as I said. We will honour TUPE principles in this transfer of staff.

Amendment 115 makes it clear that when existing Highways Agency staff transfer to the new company, their employment terms and conditions will not change. I recognise that the changes that are planned for the Highways Agency will cause anxiety for existing staff. The amendment confirms that the existing rights and liabilities of staff will not change following transfer to the new organisation.

John McDonnell rose—

Mr Hayes: I will make a little progress and then let the hon. Gentleman come back.

The Bill provides that a transferring employee can terminate their contract if there is a substantial detrimental change to it if they transfer. That reflects regulation 4(9) of TUPE. Government amendment 116 supplements

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that by providing that where the employee claims constructive dismissal in those circumstances, no damages are payable in respect of any unpaid wages that relate to a notice period he or she has not worked. I should stress that the amendment does not prevent employees from claiming for damages for constructive dismissal, but seeks to establish a common-sense position that damages cannot be claimed for a period of required notice that has not been worked. I should highlight that the amendment ensures that the provisions in the Bill properly reflect TUPE in that regard.

Richard Burden: I should like to press the Minister to clarify Government amendment 116. From what he has said, it seems that the intention is to put the TUPE principles into the Bill. The amendment contains the words “constructive dismissal”. It seems to me—this is certainly the advice we have had—that that is inappropriate. Will he look again?

Mr Hayes: The hon. Gentleman, with the courtesy he personifies, raised that with me before we came to the House today. I have committed to take another look at that through the parliamentary draftsman. There is no intention to disadvantage staff in that regard. I give that absolute assurance, but I will double-check the language, because language in such things matters. He and I are in discussion and I have committed to write to him as soon as possible, and certainly before the matter is discussed further, to clarify the use of the language to which he has drawn the House’s attention.

John McDonnell: Will the Minister clarify why he has used a formulation unused in any other legislation in the past? I have set out the various options in three amendments showing what the Government have used in past legislation to assure staff that they are transferring either under TUPE or under the Cabinet Office statement of practice, the TUPE-like agreement that the Cabinet Office agreed with the trade unions involved. Why are we not using the past formulations?

Mr Hayes: Originality and imagination are part of my style. I said style is as important as substance. The substance is in the Bill; the style is all my own. The important thing is that, having met staff representatives on 13 January, I am fully aware that there are other aspects they want me to look at. I fully recognise the concerns they raised. Some of those issues need to be considered further, and I have asked my officials to pursue those matters urgently. In the spirit that I have described, I will not allow staff to be disadvantaged by any changes. The House has my absolute assurance on that. Government amendments 115 and 116 reaffirm our commitment that existing Highways Agency staff terms and conditions should be protected, as I have described.

New clause 18 places a responsibility on the Government to report periodically to Parliament on the performance of Highways England. I have introduced this to reassure some who fear that Ministers will lose control of Highways England, and that they will have no accountability to Parliament if Highways England fails to deliver. It is absolutely right that the new body can get on and deliver the strategy that the Government devise, establish and agree, but let me be clear that should the implementation and delivery of the strategy require further involvement, direction or adjustment by Ministers,

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in concert with the House, the ability to make those changes must be established in the Bill. I am absolutely clear that Highways England must report to the House, and that Members on both sides of the House must have the chance to scrutinise its work. Ministers must have a role, indeed play a key role, in the delivery of the strategy.

It might be true to say that the greatest challenge we face is getting the delivery right. We have surmounted an important hurdle in developing a strategy founded on empiricism and backed with funding for the long term—more than £15 billion up to 2021—but it will happen only if we have in place the right resources, skills and partnerships, and the right range of other organisations, to make it happen. It would be inappropriate if Ministers and all hon. Members were not involved in that process. I expect directions to emanate from the Department for Transport periodically—it is not meant to be an exceptional power. I expect reports to be made to the House periodically. That, too, should not be a matter of exception. That was raised at length by the shadow Minister. The strong governance arrangements and framework we have put in place provide some of the measures he sought when he argued the case for greater accountability.

The use of directions in the licence will allow the Government to exert control over how the company exercises its statutory functions. In addition, as sole shareholder the Secretary of State can ensure that the company is properly led and governed. More detail is in the summary document published in December, but I will write again on some of those matters following today’s consideration.

Opposition Front Benchers and all Members of the House will be familiar with the new copy of the licence, which strengthens those provisions, and which was provided to hon. Members on 22 January and placed in the Library of the House. Let me say again that if there are problems with performance, I expect Ministers to make use of those directions; I expect Parliament to see the Highways monitor’s report on the impact; and I expect Ministers to ensure that Parliament is informed of how issues have been resolved.

It is obvious from the amendments that were tabled that I need to explain why we need to change the status of the Highways Agency and create an arm’s length body, and I am happy to repeat an argument I made earlier. Let me start with the point of view that some suggest—they suggest that we should do nothing more than implement a road investment strategy without changing the structure necessary to deliver it. Of course, the Highways Agency would make every effort to do so efficiently, and of course we would have some success in delivering that strategy, but we need to understand that if we are to deliver the strategy, we need to make significant changes to the existing arrangements.

The relationship between the agency and the Government has on occasions failed to reflect the wider interests of the economy and the long-term interests of taxpayers and road users. The measure is about providing a clearer, more strategic role for the Government, and providing a stronger, more certain framework, through the licence and the road investment strategy and the framework document, for the organisation mission to deliver those important infrastructural changes to our nation. By the way, those changes are not just about economic well-being; they are also about societal and communal well-being.

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The industry is keen to see change both in the way funding is committed and in the way the Highways Agency is constructed. In the call for evidence for the Bill, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association said:

“Even with an apparently committed five year programme, not transforming the Highways Agency into an arms-length body could still leave it a target, should future Governments decide cuts to spending…The supply chain…has confidence that the creation of a Government-owned company would significantly reduce the likelihood of this happening.”

The CBI said that business welcomes the Government’s important decision to reform the Highways Agency to a more independent body, giving it greater funding certainty through fixed five to six-year funding cycles.

The road investment strategy provides a logical and credible commitment between two separate parties—the focus of the company is on delivering its operational objectives, and the focus of the Government is on providing a long-term funding stream. I know that some fear we will lose control of the reins of the company. That is why I have gone as far as I have in the framework document, the licence and the Bill. We will also of course have the monitor—the new body that will oversee the operation of the new arrangements. That is all in line with the conclusions of the Public Administration Committee’s recent report on the relationship between Government and arm’s length bodies, which said:

“Relationships should be high trust and low cost, but too often are low trust and high cost.”

On that basis, I resist amendments 5 to 42 which would remove the relevant clauses or reinsert the words “Highways Agency”.

8.30 pm

In conclusion, the Bill will transform the quality of our roads infrastructure, secure delivery, drive growth and provide the network operator with the stability needed to deliver a better service for those who rely on and use our roads, as well as generating £2.6 billion over 10 years in additional savings. These changes will provide certainty for the industry and help it to get ready for the significant increases in investment over the next few years, with the confidence to recruit and train skilled workers. That confidence will mean that suppliers can build capability for the future and sign longer-term contracts with a new company at reduced cost to the taxpayer.

In short, these changes will lead us towards the effective, long-term planning and development of the world-class national road infrastructure that road users deserve. In that spirit and with that confidence, bold, but humble—because, as I said, we must listen and learn through the process of scrutiny—I am proud to commend the Government’s new clauses and ask that the other amendments, which would create a very different model, be withdrawn.

Richard Burden: Time is clearly short, so I will be as brief as I can be in having to cover a wide range of amendments and issues.

The Minister began by mentioning the walking and cycling issues covered by the amendments and new clauses. For too long, walking and cycling have been an afterthought in transport policy, given attention only

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when the end of the list is reached and the tick needs to be put in the box. There is now widespread consensus on the need for change. Getting more people walking and cycling will improve our nation’s health, tackle congestion and make our towns and cities better places to live.

We lag behind many other countries. Just 2% of overall journeys are made by bike and walking levels continue to decline. Some 64% of all journeys are made by car, but more than half of them are shorter than five miles, with a fifth being under a mile. We need to move walking and cycling to the mainstream of transport policy. We raised that point time after time in the other place and in Committee. In the other place, Labour secured an explicit consideration of pedestrian and cyclist safety in the Bill, and that is to be welcomed. In Committee, we pressed the Government to include a long-term strategy and funding for active travel, but sadly they voted against our plans. One always welcomes a sinner who repents, but if that was the Government’s intention all along, why did they oppose our amendments in Committee?

The Government’s change of course is a credit to the cross-party members of the all-party cycling group; to cycling groups such as British Cycling and the CTC; to transport campaigners such as Living Streets, Sustrans, the Campaign for Better Transport and the Campaign to Protect Rural England; and the Richmond group of health charities. They have all put the right kind of pressure on in the past two weeks to secure this change, which we welcome.

The new clauses and amendments tabled by the Minister are almost identical to those tabled earlier, with the exception that the original contained an explicit obligation on the Secretary of State to “comply” with the strategy. The absence of that word may not mean anything significant, but perhaps that could be clarified.

The Bill will turn the Highways Agency into a wholly owned Government company. We support road investment strategies to give the roads sector the same funding certainty as the railways, to enable efficiency savings to be delivered in the supply chain and to improve infrastructure planning. Most reviews of the Highways Agency—most recently the Cook review of 2011—have shown that the ending of stop-start Government funding could cut costs on the strategic road network, construction maintenance and management by 15% to 20%. We support that, but we will continue to ask the Government why we need a top-down reorganisation of the Highways Agency to deliver that strategy.

We have still not had the evidence for that. The only real evidence I have seen is an EC Harris paper in 2009, which found that motorway construction costs were higher per lane kilometre in the UK than in Holland, where the road operator is at arm’s length. If we look closely, however, we see that the additional costs in the UK were from CCTV, speed enforcement and vehicle recovery services, which are funded separately under the Dutch model. The additional costs also come from higher technical standards for pavements and structures, more complex ground conditions, design solutions and drainage provisions. Therefore, there is not the evidence to say that the Government need to have that top-down reorganisation. We are not convinced. We have debated this and scrutinised it in two Houses of Parliament, but there is no substantial evidence to prove that an institutional reorganisation, with estimated transitional costs of

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£100 million, is needed. That is why we will be moving to delete the clauses from the Bill today, while maintaining a commitment to the road investment strategy.

The Minister touched on accountability. I welcome the changes and amendments he has made. There are still some pretty fundamental questions, however, about primary accountability and responsibility. We cannot allow the Secretary of State to become a third party commentator on the performance of a company and the state of the road network: he must be answerable for it. The Minister has said that he completely signs up to that and I believe that that is his intention, but if so why are we having to debate a structure that separates responsibility for the road network from ministerial responsibility? In the absence of any real evidence to prove that this is needed, is it any surprise that many people are worried that this could become—not now, but in the future—a way of creating an increasingly contracted out, carved out and removed from public control structure? That is causing concern from organisations as diverse as the Public and Commercial Services Union, Prospect and the Alliance of British Drivers, right the way through to members of the British Chambers of Commerce. Our amendment would keep the oversight mechanisms of a monitor and road user watchdog in place, even if we did not go ahead with the reform of the Highways Agency.

The Minister talked about route strategies. He was right to do so, as they have been a major part of the discussion in Committee and elsewhere. Our concern is that, while reform and investment in the strategic highway network is absolutely necessary, we have to remember that the changes and the whole Bill affect just 2% of roads. The Department for Transport’s own research shows that 90% of the public are satisfied with those roads. That is not to say that there should be any complacency, but it does not affect the 98% of local roads that people rely on every day. It is here that we see the pothole epidemic, and it is here that we see record public dissatisfaction and congestion levels estimated to rise by 61% by 2040, so it is crucial that strategic road plans support city, county and regional growth plans and help councils to improve road conditions and to tackle congestion. Strategic roads must be co-planned with local networks and other transport modes so that we can really improve people’s everyday journeys and reduce traffic congestion.

I am pleased that pressure from Labour and transport campaigners has secured a greater priority for local roads and joined-up transport thinking in the Bill, and I thank the Minister for the movements he has made, but we need to go further. We need to get our entire transport system working as a connected whole. That is why we want Network Rail and the new company to sit down and map and plan road and rail routes together, and not only to take reasonable account of each other’s views. We want to ensure that local authorities and devolved bodies are represented at board level in the company, too. There are long-running difficulties in joining up local and strategic roads to get the network moving as one. We do not agree that “considering” local views and allowing local authorities to align their plans with a company is enough.

For that reason, our amendment 43 sets out some safeguards to ensure that the road investment strategy is a genuine co-product of plans with other transport networks, devolved growth plans and local transport

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provision, including walking and cycling, and to ensure that the road investment strategy is developed in consideration of the condition of local roads, a third of which, we know, are in urgent need of attention. Under the Government’s plans, £1.4 million per mile will be spent on the maintenance of strategic roads, but only £31,700 per mile is allocated to local roads. I hope that hon. Members will seriously consider the safeguards that we have argued for and which have been supported by the Local Government Association and others today.

Throughout this debate, it has been clear that infrastructure must be planned to meet clear economic, social and environmental objectives, but we have seen from previous debates on energy and planning that the Bill has often fallen far short of doing that. Along with groups such as the Campaign for Better Transport and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, therefore, we have pressed for obligations to ensure that strategic roads investment improves our environment. That means action to meet legally binding climate change targets by 2050. Worryingly, the Department’s forecast predicts that although road traffic emissions will flatten they will then start to increase in the 2030s. We need urgent action, therefore, to tackle air pollution, which is estimated to be killing up to 29,000 people prematurely each year, and vehicle emissions, such as particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen, which are major sources of the problem.

The road investment strategy states that the new company should make progress towards reducing the negative impacts on air quality, but in the light of the Government’s record on air quality that is not very reassuring—a point to which my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent North (Joan Walley) alluded earlier. The UK is not compliant with EU limits on air pollution now. In November, the European Court of Justice said that urgent action was needed, but under this Government’s plan we will not be compliant until 2030, and that simply is not good enough. That is why we are asking for much greater action than is in the Bill; why we have committed to a national framework of low-emission zones to help local authorities tackle the problem; and why we are pleased to support amendment 70, which my hon. Friend tabled, and which would add an explicit obligation on the new company to address air quality issues.

I wish to say a word about transfers—I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) will want to say something about this as well. I welcome the Minister’s assurances in Committee that the terms and conditions of employees transferring will not diminish—I believe he meant it, and it was good he met the trade unions—but, as my hon. Friend said, one issue remains: if the TUPE regulations, or the mechanisms used to apply them in other reorganisations, are to apply, why has that not been enshrined in the Bill? As the Bill continues its passage, I hope that those issues will be addressed further, and I welcome the Minister’s clarification today that he will come back to us on the question of constructive dismissal, on which the Bill does not currently make sense.

The road reforms could have done so much more to fix Britain’s roads. A constituent of mine wrote to me last week:

“I have major concerns about the ill thought out proposals which will do nothing to assist the UK economically and will be of great concern to road users.”

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I think a lot of people would agree with that. We need to ensure that infrastructure decisions are based on national independent evidence-based assessments, which could be done if we set up the national infrastructure commission; we need to facilitate more efficient joint road and rail planning, which could have been done had our amendments been accepted; and we need to join up local and strategic roads to get the whole network moving. Unfortunately, the Bill is a wasted opportunity. Its centrepiece, before all the others things were added, was another top-down reorganisation that cannot deliver the changes our road network needs.

Several hon. Members rose—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Dawn Primarolo): Order. I remind hon. Members that the debate ends in 16 minutes, because the knife will fall at 9 o’clock, so it would be helpful if each Member spoke briefly to enable everyone to make their points. We will start voting at 9 o’clock.

8.45 pm

Guy Opperman: It has been a long struggle for many of us, and I congratulate hon. Members of all parties on instituting, bringing forward and finally getting Government agreement on the cycling strategy, which I shall briefly address.

We have spoken in various debates over many years to get where we are, but as with all the best cycling strategies, if we stick at it and power on through, the destination is always worth the journey. I congratulate the various cycling groups behind the campaign. Speaking as someone who cycles to work here in Westminster and at home in the great county of Northumberland, I say that whether it be off road in Kielder or taking the highways and the byways, this is without a shadow of a doubt one of our finest assets.

This decision by the Government, and the reaching of cross-party agreement on it, will definitely be welcomed in Northumberland. There is a tremendous desire there for a cycling strategy. We have looked enviously at the city of Newcastle, which has enjoyed £6 million to £7 million of cycling investment. That is wonderful for Newcastle, but has been somewhat to the disadvantage of us in Northumberland. While we now have an integrated strategy, I genuinely feel that there is an opportunity for our constituents to get the cycling strategy that they so enthusiastically require.

Locals have already prepared strategies for Hexham, Prudhoe and other towns in Tynedale and Castle Morpeth. I am pleased to say that Northumberland county council has at last got into gear, and it needs to pitch to the Government for the funding; otherwise the cycling groups in my area will definitely be disappointed and potentially left behind. That is not something that anybody wants.

Let me finish by saying that I do not believe we can improve tourism without a cycling strategy; I do not think we can improve our health, the obesity problem and pollution without a cycling strategy; I do not believe we can improve the cost of living that is an issue for so many people without a cycling strategy; and I certainly think we could do great things to improve the quality of life if we had such a strategy.

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Joan Walley: Everyone is aware that the Environmental Audit Committee has now drawn up three reports on air quality. We came up with a series of recommendations, clearly showing that there is no one single solution to the problem of improving air quality and that we need a raft of measures. Cycling and walking are certainly part of that, and I am very pleased with the progress that has been made. It is imperative for the Minister to do exactly what he said he would do, and give further serious consideration to the amendments tabled, following the Environmental Audit Committee discussions, about how placing a legal duty on the new Highways Agency is critical if we are to deal with the public health issues.

I see the hon. Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston), who chairs the Health Select Committee, in her place. The whole House is aware that we have something in the order of 29,000 premature deaths a year. We know that air pollution is an invisible killer. It is vital that when the new agency comes to do its work, it does not just look at the environmental appraisal, but ensure that it has real teeth. We need real ways to plan roads and provide green walls to help reduce pollution, and to look at layout and public transport integration. The whole integrated approach to public transport needs to be taken on board. Without the legal commitment, which I hope will come forward in the other place, we cannot begin to tackle the problem of our being in breach of EU regulations. We must deal urgently with that.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) for saying that he would support amendment 70. At this stage, it is incumbent on us to see what progress can be made by the Government in the other place.

Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) (Con): I warmly welcome the cycling and walking strategy. It is not just a cycling and walking strategy; it is a cycling and walking investment strategy. As the Minister knows, good cycling infrastructure does not happen without that vital investment. I am particularly pleased to see the words “certainty” and “stability” in new clause 13. That is what it is all about, and it is how Holland achieved its objectives. It makes it appropriate for the Minister to be the Member for South Holland and the Deepings. Holland achieved its goals by having £24 a head of stable, long-term investment. If we can get that level of investment—£10 to £20 a head has been called for in the all-party cycling group—we can do the same. I pay tribute to all my colleagues in the all-party cycling group for the work they did, and I commend the cycling report. I warmly welcome the opportunity of discussing the issue with the Minister responsible for cycling, the hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr Goodwill), who is in his place.

I think that we can expect an increase in the number of cycling journeys from 2% in 2011 to 10% within a decade, which will have enormous benefits for health. I hope there will be investment in not just infrastructure but training, and that cycle to work schemes will, in some form, be extended to young people. I warmly thank the Secretary of State for tabling the new clause, and look forward to seeing the health and well-being of the nation improve as a result.

John McDonnell: On Second Reading I echoed the fear that had been expressed by Highways Agency staff that this was the first stage of a privatisation process.

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Since then, the Minister has written to various Members saying that the Bill will not privatise the agency or any part of it. It is true that the Bill contains no such provision, but the staff nevertheless feel that they are being packaged up into an organisation and that the second stage will be privatisation, along with tolling.

The Minister has also given an assurance that the roads investment strategy budget will no longer be annualised, but the chief executive has made clear to staff that the revenue budget for the maintenance of the new company will be annualised. Staff fear cuts and the prospect of being transferred to a company that will be privatised in due course.

It is crucial for committed, dedicated professionals who, as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden), have done everything asked of them by this and the last Government over the years to be secure in the knowledge that they will have a job following the transfer. Both Governments have normally provided that assurance by including a reference to TUPE in legislation. In some instances, however, that may not be appropriate.

TUPE usually obtains when a group of staff have been transferred from the public sector to the private sector. When the transfer is between Government agencies, or from the Government to an agency, a formal agreement called COSOP operates. It was initiated by the last Government, and has been confirmed by this one, and it is negotiated and signed off by the Cabinet Office. My amendment 127 provides that

“if the TUPE regulations do not apply in relation to the transfer”

the transfer scheme may

“make provision which is the same or similar.”

There is real anxiety about the fact that the form of words used by the Government does not include such a provision, and hence does not abide by the agreement reached by them and by the last Government with the trade unions.

Amendment 115 refers to

“all the rights and liabilities relating to the person’s contract of employment.”

The transfer of undertakings extends beyond the basic contract of employment to a range of other assurances that should be given to staff on transfer. That is why people are worried, and I feel that we will lose some very dedicated professional staff as a result of the lack of commitment that is being given to the staff who have served us so well. I urge the Minister to reconsider, and to translate into the Bill a form of words that has been used in every other Bill, relating either to TUPE or to similar arrangements. If he does not do so, the staff will remain anxious and concerned.

Dr Huppert: It is a pleasure to have an opportunity to speak at the end of the debate, and to see the new clause make progress.

As I think the House knows by now, the case for cycling and walking is incredibly strong. It is a great way to travel. It is environmentally friendly, healthy, reliable, cheap and fun. It cuts congestion, so that everyone else benefits as well. It boosts the economy, it saves money and it saves lives. Public Health England recently said that one in six deaths was due to physical inactivity. What we do to promote physical activity helps people to improve their health.

26 Jan 2015 : Column 678

The all-party parliamentary cycling group set some targets during the Get Britain Cycling inquiry. If we achieved those targets, about 80,000 disability-adjusted life years would be saved each year by 2025. That is a huge number. When mental as well as physical health is taken into account, the financial savings would amount to between £2 billion and £6 billion, and the national health service would save £17 billion a year if we could reach the Dutch and Danish levels. That is worth investing in. That will save money as well as lives.

The case is strong, and that is why in our report we called for spending of up to £10—heading towards £20—per person per year. The report was supported not only by all the cycling organisations, of course, and by Living Streets, a pedestrian group, but by organisations such as the Automobile Association. All forms of transport want to see this happen, and business does, too. The director general of the CBI has called for a major effort to expand the dedicated cycle network, and it is very good that the Government have agreed and are doing the right thing by supporting this amendment. I thank the Minister with responsibility for cycling, the hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr Goodwill), in particular. I remember when the hon. Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston) and I tried to talk to him, and I am glad he has managed to deliver on what he knows is the right thing.

This amendment has been backed not only by the cycling organisations, but by health organisations—all of them, ranging from the British Heart Foundation to Age UK, to Macmillan, and to Rethink Mental Illness. This is clearly a popular thing to do, therefore.

This Government have made progress on the policy on cycling and walking. We have seen more money go in to this policy than ever before, and I welcome that. The £241 million from the Deputy Prime Minister is the largest single investment in cycling, but it goes nowhere near far enough. To get the benefits I spoke about, we must have the money going in. This strategy says there has to be some, but it does not say how much. My party is committed to the £10 per person per year that was agreed by this House and the cross-party group. It would also be something we would enshrine as part of our green transport Act.

I would love to see the other parties join in. I know that Back Benchers on both sides of the House are supportive, but I also know that the Front Benches on both sides are against this—or at least they have been so far. At the beginning of this year we saw an awful spat with the Conservatives putting out something saying that Labour is going to spend £63 million on cycling, as though that was too much. Unfortunately, we saw Labour respond by saying that that was nonsense and that Labour was not committed to spending any money on cycling. I hope both Front Benches will fix that, because I know their Back Benchers would like to see that happen. I know the shadow Minister was taken to task by the right hon. Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw) for not committing any money to cycling. I hope both sides and all parties will join us in committing to cycling and walking, because it is not enough to have a strategy; we have to put the resources in and we have to make sure they are available. We can do that and we should do it, and it is something this House has voted for. I hope it will become a reality in the next few months and after the general election as well.

26 Jan 2015 : Column 679

Mr Hayes: I will address matters in reverse order to add excitement. On cycling and spending, I said at the outset, but repeat for the sake of clarity, that this Government have committed to spend £374 million between 2011 and 2015. We have more than doubled spending on cycling compared with the last four years of the previous Government. As I said, about £6 per person each year across England and £10 per person in London is being spent as part of cycle city ambition. Of course we understand that the strategies have to be funded and that money matters, and the Government put their money where their mouth is.

On the circumstances of staff, let me be absolutely crystal clear once again that it is not our intention to disadvantage staff. Far from it. I want to ensure that they are treated properly and fairly in their terms and conditions and all that that means. There is no hidden agenda, despite what the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) says; there is nothing under the bed that he should fear. The plan is to be absolutely straightforward, transparent and fair to all those staff transferring from the existing organisation to the new one. I have already said I will come back to the shadow Minister on the particular point he raised in his intervention.

Finally, we do believe a new body is necessary. This new strategy requires a structural change in the way the strategy is delivered. This is a complex argument, but I will try to make it as cogently as I can in less than a minute. It is probably true to say that the existing Highways Agency is too close to Government and too far away from Government. The new arrangements, with the framework, the licence and the statutory requirements to be put in place under this Bill, mean that this new body will be close to Government but far enough away to deliver the Government’s objectives. That is our proposal. I think it has force. It has been widely welcomed and I hope the Opposition will come to the view that most others have: that this is an idea whose time has come.

9 pm

Debate interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

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

Question agreed to.

New clause 13 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

The Deputy Speaker then put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

New Clause 17

Route strategies

“(1) The Secretary of State must from time to time direct a strategic highways company to prepare proposals for the management and development of particular highways in respect of which the company is appointed (“a route strategy”).

(2) A route strategy must relate to such period as the Secretary of State may direct.

(3) The strategic highways company must—

(a) comply with a direction given to it under subsection (1), and

(b) publish the route strategy in such manner as the company considers appropriate.

26 Jan 2015 : Column 680

(4) A direction under subsection (1) must be published by the Secretary of State in such manner as he or she considers appropriate.”—(Mr Hayes.)

This amendment inserts a new clause requiring the Secretary of State to direct a strategic highways company to prepare route strategies. The company must comply with such a direction and publish route strategies in such manner as it considers appropriate.

Brought up, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 18

Periodic reports by the Secretary of State

“(1) The Secretary of State must from time to time prepare and publish reports on the manner in which a strategic highways company exercises its functions.

(2) The Secretary of State must lay a report prepared under subsection (1) before Parliament.”—(Mr Hayes.)

This amendment would place a duty on the Secretary of State to prepare and publish reports on the exercise by a strategic highways company of its functions.

Brought up, and added to the Bill.

Amendment proposed: 4, page 1, line 4, leave out clauses 1 and 2.—(Richard Burden.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 203, Noes 323.

Division No. 142]




Abbott, Ms Diane

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Ashworth, Jonathan

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Banks, Gordon

Barron, rh Kevin

Begg, Dame Anne

Benn, rh Hilary

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brown, Lyn

Brown, Mr Russell

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Chapman, Jenny

Clark, Katy

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Field, rh Mr Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Francis, Dr Hywel

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gilmore, Sheila

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Goodman, Helen

Greatrex, Tom

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Hamilton, Mr David

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Mr Tom

Havard, Mr Dai

Healey, rh John

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Khan, rh Sadiq

Lavery, Ian

Lazarowicz, Mark

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Long, Naomi

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

McCabe, Steve

McCarthy, Kerry

McClymont, Gregg

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonnell, John

McGovern, Alison

McGuire, rh Dame Anne

McInnes, Liz

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

Mearns, Ian

Miller, Andrew

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morrice, Graeme


Morris, Grahame M.


Munn, Meg

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

O'Donnell, Fiona

Onwurah, Chi

Osborne, Sandra

Owen, Albert

Pearce, Teresa

Perkins, Toby

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Qureshi, Yasmin

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Steve

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Mr Frank

Ruane, Chris

Ruddock, rh Dame Joan

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Seabeck, Alison

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Shuker, Gavin

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Walley, Joan

Watson, Mr Tom

Watts, Mr Dave

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Williamson, Chris

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wood, Mike

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, Mr Iain

Tellers for the Ayes:

Phil Wilson


Tom Blenkinsop


Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, rh Norman

Baker, Steve

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, rh Gregory

Baron, Mr John

Bebb, Guto

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, rh Annette

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Carmichael, Neil

Cash, Sir William

Chishti, Rehman

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Davey, rh Mr Edward

Davies, David T. C.


Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

de Bois, Nick

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Dorries, Nadine

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Farron, Tim

Field, Mark

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunter, Mark

Huppert, Dr Julian

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, rh Norman

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Luff, Sir Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Main, Mrs Anne

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

McVey, rh Esther

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Munt, Tessa

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Paice, rh Sir James

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Redwood, rh Mr John

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reid, Mr Alan

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, rh Sir Hugh

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Scott, Mr Lee

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Simmonds, rh Mark

Simpson, David

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Teather, Sarah

Thornton, Mike

Thurso, rh John

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Uppal, Paul

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, rh Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, rh Jenny

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wright, rh Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Gavin Barwell


Tom Brake

Question accordingly negatived.

26 Jan 2015 : Column 681

26 Jan 2015 : Column 682

26 Jan 2015 : Column 683

26 Jan 2015 : Column 684

Clause 9


Amendments made: 112, page 6, line 28, at end insert “, and

(c) the effect of directions and guidance given by the Secretary of State to a strategic highways company under this Part.”

This amendment provides that the activities of the Office of Rail Regulation may include investigating, publishing reports or giving advice on the effect of directions and guidance under Part 1 of the Bill.

Amendment 113, page 6, line 42, at end insert—

“(8) The Secretary of State must lay a report published by the Office under this section before Parliament.”

This amendment provides a duty for the Secretary of State to lay a report published by the Office of Rail Regulation before Parliament.

Amendment 114, page 6, line 42, at end insert—

‘(9) In Part 2 (Office of Rail Regulation) of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, after section 15 insert—

“15A Change of name

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for the body established by section 15 to be known by a different name.

(2) Regulations under this section may amend this Act or any other enactment, whenever passed or made.

(3) Regulations under this section are to be made by statutory instrument.

(4) A statutory instrument which contains regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.”’—(Mr Hayes.)

This amendment inserts a new section 15A into the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 which provides for the Secretary of State to change the name of the Office of Rail Regulation by regulations. The regulations may also make amendments to legislation which are consequential on the name change.

Clause 51


Amendment made: 94, page 57, line 45, at end insert—

‘( ) Part 1A (Cycling and Walking Investment Strategies) extends to England and Wales only.”—(Mr Hayes.)

This amendment provides for the new clause relating to Cycling and Walking Investment Strategies, which it is intended will form a new Part after Part 1, to extend to England and Wales only.

26 Jan 2015 : Column 685

Clause 52


Amendment made: 101, page 58, line 32, at end insert—

“( ) Part 1A (Cycling and Walking Investment Strategies) comes into force on such day as the Secretary of State appoints by regulations.”—(Mr Hayes.)

This amendment provides for the new clause relating to Cycling and Walking Investment Strategies, which it is intended will form a new Part after Part 1, to come into force by regulations.

Schedule 3

Transfer schemes

Amendments made: 115, page 92, line 5, at end insert—

“(1A) Where in accordance with a scheme a person employed by a transferor becomes an employee of a transferee, the scheme must provide for the transfer of all the rights and liabilities relating to the person’s contract of employment.”

This amendment requires a transfer scheme to provide for the transfer to the transferee of all of the transferor’s rights and liabilities relating to a person’s contract of employment, where the person becomes employed by the transferee as a result of the scheme.

Amendment 116, page 92, line 19, at end insert—

“(3A) No damages are payable by virtue of a constructive dismissal occurring under sub-paragraph (3) in respect of unpaid wages relating to a notice period which the employee has not worked.”—(Mr Hayes.)

This amendment provides that, where a transferred employee claims constructive dismissal as a result of a substantial detrimental change made to the employee’s working conditions, no damages are payable in respect of any unpaid wages relating to a notice period which the employee has not worked.


Amendment made: 108, line 15, leave out

“to make provision about the electronic communications code;”. —(Mr Hayes.)

The explanatory statement for amendment 92 also applies to this



Third Reading

Queen’s consent signified.

9.13 pm

Mr Hayes: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

This is a Bill for the long term. As I said on Second Reading, Governments of all persuasions neglect the long term. Perhaps that is only human—[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Dawn Primarolo): Order. Perhaps Members leaving the Chamber could do so quietly. Secretary of State, that means you as well—we want to hear your eloquent Minister move the Third Reading.

Mr Hayes: It is bewildering, Madam Deputy Speaker, that Members do not want to stay and hang on my every word. It is bizarre. I know you agree.

On Second Reading, we said the Government were determined to put in place a strategy, backed by statutory changes, that allowed us to invest in this nation’s future. I was about to say that it is only human nature to focus

26 Jan 2015 : Column 686

on the immediate, on the imminent. It is easy to forget that the present is an illusion, as now becomes then in an instant; it is the past that matters and the future. As I said a few moments ago when we were debating the Government amendments, it is easy for Governments to neglect infrastructure investment for just that reason. This Bill looks beyond short-term political expediency to a future of greater investment—a future of more jobs, more opportunities and more growth. This Bill improves the funding and management of our major roads, streamlining the planning process, particularly for major projects, and so facilitating investment. It also supports house building; introduces rights for communities to buy a stake in new, commercial renewable electricity schemes; boosts our energy security and economic growth by making the most of North sea oil and gas reserves; and facilitates shale gas and geothermal development. This is a bold Bill, introduced by a far-sighted Administration.

A few moments ago, we debated some of the measures we will introduce to act on the road investment strategy—the exciting strategy I was delighted to be part of, alongside the Secretary of State for Transport, who is here, adding glamour and insight to our consideration today. He was its architect and under his stewardship it has come to pass. This is the most exciting road investment strategy for a generation, and this Bill makes the statutory changes necessary to deliver it. We have committed to Highways England remaining in the public sector. Let me repeat that this is not about privatisation; it is about a public sector organisation fit for purpose. We will not diminish the fundamental accountability to parliamentarians, which I am so keen will allow us to gauge, monitor and, if necessary, alter things over time, but without compromising the essential role of the new body to deliver the plans we have set in motion.

In addition, as the House knows, we have amended the legislation further to ensure better integration between local and national networks through route strategies. As has been celebrated throughout the House this evening, we have also committed to setting and reporting upon a cycling and walking investment strategy, acknowledging the strategic importance of those things for the first time. We have had more tributes tonight than a ’60s pop band for that change. In total, this paradigm shift to a longer-term vision for transport infrastructure will give the construction industry the certainty and confidence it needs to invest in people and skills for the future. That clear vision, with the confidence it breeds and the investment it will bring, is crucial to the health and well-being of our nation.

In planning we have a number of measures designed to help get Britain building. The Bill makes changes to speed up the approval of nationally significant infrastructure projects and to the discharge of planning conditions that will ensure planning applicants can get on and build without unnecessary delay. The small changes in the Bill will have an important cumulative impact: they will send a clear message to investors and developers that the steps to deliver these transformational schemes are as simple, sensible and straightforward as possible. We have responded to concerns and shared the draft statutory instrument on deemed discharge in advance. Our Land Registry reforms will enable proper record keeping and modern digital efficiency, with the aim of making dealings with property quicker, cheaper and easier.

26 Jan 2015 : Column 687

On zero-carbon homes, the “allowable solutions” approach is cost-effective and practical, and it has been welcomed by the Home Builders Federation, the UK Green Building Council and Federation of Master Builders. We have also introduced new legislation related to planning. The abolition of the Public Works Loans Board removes—

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Before my right hon. Friend leaves the issue of planning, may I ask him about new clauses 12 and 20, tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert)? Obviously, there was no possibility for a Minister to respond to the points he and I made on those clauses, but if the Minister has a moment to say a word or two on them, I am sure my constituents in the royal town of Sutton Coldfield would be grateful.

Mr Hayes: I am delighted to amplify the remarks that I made in an earlier intervention and say that we do take very seriously the remarks made by my right hon. Friend and the amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert). We will take the necessary steps to ensure that the spirit that underpinned those amendments is realised in respect of Government policy. I must say that my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield has been a doughty champion of the interests of the people in his constituency in this regard. He is right that development needs to enjoy community support, to be proportionate and, in my judgment, to inspire and to elevate. Is that too much to ask for in our age? I say that it is not.

The introduction of mayoral development orders will allow the Mayor of London to assist local authorities to regenerate London. Across the nation, these planning reforms will help kick-start a new era of construction that is fit for purpose.

Tonight, we have also debated energy. Some of the measures that we have introduced are designed to assist our current and future energy needs. We will take a lead in improving global transparency in the extractive sector by participating in the extractive industries transparency initiative. Our country has an enviable record on the regulation of extractive industries. We have listened carefully to concerns about new forms of extraction and have put in place additional measures to reassure Members across the House. The House will have seen tonight that, because we are sensitive to those concerns, because we are responsive to arguments, and because we listen and learn, we will take on board the perfectly proper considerations of those who are as determined as we are to ensure that these things are done safely and securely and in tune with local interests.

Mark Menzies: As a Minister, my right hon. Friend has genuinely listened to the concerns of Members on both sides of the House. I wish to put on the record my thanks to the Government for taking on board some of the issues that I have raised, particularly in allowing the British Geological Survey to play a role, thereby ensuring closer, independent monitoring, which is very important for me in Fylde. Will he give me an assurance that this is not the end but a continuum of the process and that we will continue to see calls for rigorous on-the-ground inspections delivered by this Government?

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Mr Hayes: This is an iterative business. No one has made the case more forcefully for their constituents than my hon. Friend. I was pleased to visit Fylde with him to look at these matters in some detail. He has worked tirelessly throughout this Parliament to represent the views of his constituents and to improve shale gas regulation. I commit to working with him to ensure that we take further the matters that he has raised.

That determination means that we will issue statutory direction to the Environment Agency on a minimum of three months baseline monitoring—that was an issue raised by the shadow Front-Bench team when we debated the matter in Committee. We will publish information on chemicals that the agency requires operators to disclose; require operators to monitor and report fugitive emissions for each onshore hydraulic fracturing site; and issue statutory direction to the Health and Safety Executive to ensure independent well inspection and public reporting for each onshore oil and well. The industry has committed to produce an annual report of shale sites and an environmental impact assessment.

We will seek advice from the Committee on Climate Change on the likely impact on carbon budgets and report each carbon budget period on the conclusions reached as a result of the advice given. Making water companies statutory consultees in respect of planning applications for shale oil and gas development via secondary legislation in this Parliament, subject to consultation, will also form part of our determined effort to ensure that these things are done properly, safely and securely. We have introduced new legislation to help with the sharing of costs for connecting to the electricity distribution network and to help strengthen competition in the connections market.

This Bill has been broadly welcomed by Members across the House. As I said earlier, Opposition Front-Bench Members have scrutinised the Bill in a mature and measured way because they understand, as we do, that infrastructure investment is about not a single Government or a single party but the future of our nation. Of course there are debates to be had, differences to be aired and arguments to be made, and of course scrutiny should improve and enhance thinking, and that is precisely what has happened in relation to this Bill. I am grateful for the conciliatory approach to the scrutiny of this Bill. Even when we have disagreed, it has been in a considered way. I therefore thank the Opposition Front-Bench team—the hon. Members for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden), for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex), and for City of Durham (Roberta Blackman-Woods)— for their challenge and understanding.

I wish to express my deepest thanks to my fellow Ministers, the Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd), and the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol West (Stephen Williams), for their constant hard work throughout Committee and again in the House today. That work is not just about what happens on the Floor of the House or in Committee; it is about the dialogue that takes place outside the Chamber to ensure that we get the provisions right, and my hon. Friends have played a full part in that dialogue with Members from all parts of the House.

During the passage of the Bill my colleagues and I have listened carefully, and where appropriate we have changed or added to its detailed provisions, but on its

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fundamental purpose we have stood firm, because we are absolutely convinced of the necessity of a step change in the way we approach infrastructural investment, its planning and delivery. This Government, with this Bill, confirm their courage and their willingness to put long-term thinking before short-term expediency. This Government, with this Bill, corroborate their confidence and their confident vision of a bold, ambitious nation.

Governments are of two types: timid and reactive, or bold and proactive. Politics needs to be confident. In the words of the great Conservative philosopher Edmund Burke—the Opposition will be delighted that I am ending with Edmund Burke—

“When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.”

This Government are ambitious not for themselves, but for Britain; not just for now, but for the future; not for piecemeal advantage, but for the people’s well-being, for the common good, in the national interest, driven by virtue, gauged by our determined successes, inspired by the people’s will. This is a Bill of which to be proud, a Minister honoured to articulate its strength, and a Government marking their place in history.

9.26 pm

Richard Burden: Toward the end of his remarks, the Minister praised members of the Bill Committee and adopted a consensual approach, so perhaps I shall start in the same vein. I, too, thank all those who have contributed to debate on the Bill as it has gone through its various stages. In particular, I add my thanks to Labour’s team in the other place for the improvements they sought, and in some cases secured, and to my hon. Friends the Members for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex) and for City of Durham (Roberta Blackman-Woods), with whom I led for the Opposition in Committee and again today.

I also thank all members of the Committee on both sides who scrutinised the Bill, but two in particular: my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr Raynsford) and my hon. Friend the Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Andrew Miller). For both, this will have been their last Bill Committee, I suspect, unless they do something dreadfully wrong in the next few weeks. Both have given great service to the House. In fact, when we were both new in this place, the first Bill Committee I served on was also my hon. Friend’s first Bill Committee, so it is great that we have shared his last.

Finally, I thank the Minister and his colleagues, and all those who have contributed to today’s debate. We all know that infrastructure is critical to the UK’s future, from affordable energy in our homes to a modern communications system, or a transport system connecting people to jobs, opportunities and each other. Good infrastructure is vital to our economy and our quality of life. That is why it was so important to give the Bill the thorough scrutiny that it deserved. Given its wide-ranging nature, it should have had more than one day for Report and Third Reading; the way debates today have been truncated underlines that fact.

It is of course even more wide-ranging than what the Library briefing described as a “portmanteau Bill”, when it was introduced in this place. The Bill has had a

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new long title, and it has two more parts and many more clauses than when it was introduced. It ranges from the abolition of the somewhat mysterious Public Works Loan Board commissioners to invasive non-native species to the British Transport police, and everything in between.

Constructive criticism has strengthened the Bill, ensuring that a rushed and badly drafted reform of the electronic communications code governing mobile telephone infrastructure will be rethought. We have new requirements to support apprenticeships and training in road construction, and we have a walking and cycling strategy which is welcome and must be built on. Important actions that will follow from the Bill include the Wood review, whose implementation will be vital. If we needed reminding of that, the current situation in the North sea is such a reminder. In a victory for wildlife groups, communities in Devon and Scotland and the Opposition, we have protected the European beaver.

For making some of those changes and changes in other areas, including some of the roads clauses, I pay tribute to the Minister for the way that he has approached these matters. We still disagree on some key points, particularly on converting the Highways Agency into a Government-owned company, but he understands the need for scrutiny of Bills and he has made changes to the Bill in response to issues that we and others have raised. That shows how legislation can be approached. Sadly, that is the part of proceedings in this place that the public all too seldom see.

However, as we approached today’s debate, some things went badly wrong, starting with the timetable and the fact that we had only one day on Report. We have seen far too many last-minute changes to the Bill and things being tagged on without time for parliamentary scrutiny, despite the Minister’s best efforts. We saw it in the rushed electronic communications code, which ended up pleasing nobody and had to be rethought. It was not in the Bill in the other place; it came in more than halfway through the Committee stage and had to be withdrawn today. It was not necessary for that to happen. The issue should have been approached in a more measured way.

In relation to new regulations regarding planning and pubs, we tabled a thought-through amendment, but the response was a last-minute rushed statement to try to head off that amendment, instead of Ministers looking at what was being said, responding to that and enshrining it in the Bill. Most notable today has been the issue of shale gas extraction. I am pleased that the Government accepted our new clause 19, which introduces 13 conditions as vital protection if shale gas extraction is to be taken forward. The matter should not have had to be resolved today at the last minute with the Government finally accepting an Opposition amendment, presumably because they thought they would lose unless they did so. These issues have been raised in Committee and elsewhere, and they could have been resolved elsewhere. My hon. Friend the Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West has been raising them for three years. We now know that new clause 19 has been accepted and I welcome that.

I have to say to the Government that one or two comments made today suggested that although new clause 19 was being accepted today, when the Bill went back to the other place, there could be attempts to

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tinker with it—take a bit out here, put a bit in there. If the Government go down that road, they will be asking for trouble. That new clause was thought through. It is a package, not a pick and mix. I hope the Government will respect that as we go forward.

As the Opposition have continued to state throughout proceedings on the Bill, we face major infrastructure challenges—a population rising to 73 million in just 20 years’ time, the challenges of energy security, a chronic shortage of affordable housing, airports, roads and railways all straining under demand, and the threat that climate change presents to us all. There is a cross-party consensus on the need to address these issues, but all too often decisions are not taken, public support is not achieved and projects are not delivered.

We may be one of the world’s leading economies but we lag behind other countries that take a more strategic and long-term approach to infrastructure investment. As the noble Lord Adonis said last week, infrastructure investment

“will not happen on the scale required unless it is better planned, better led and better financed.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 22 January 2015; Vol. 758, c. 1392.]

During the Committee stage, the Institute of Government published a booklet called “The Political Economy of Infrastructure in the UK”, which concluded that we need to change the “institutional architecture” for infrastructure decision making. Labour Members completely agree. That is why my hon. Friend the Member for City of Durham called for this House to back the proposal by Sir John Armitt, chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, for a national infrastructure commission that would look three decades ahead and consult across all sectors to provide an evidence-based assessment of infrastructure priorities in the UK. Parliament would be able to vote on these, and Governments would be held accountable for delivering them.

For me, the debates on this Bill have crystallised why that kind of evidence-based approach is needed so badly, from controversy about the priorities in the road investment strategy, to disputes about rushed electronic communications regulations, to the need for robust environmental and regulatory safeguards in relation to energy security. We need a more rigorous and independent look at infrastructure needs in energy, transport, telecoms and many other sectors. It is a travesty that the Government continue to oppose such a common-sense reform, which is backed by the LSE Growth Commission, EEF, the Institution of Civil Engineers, 89% of businesses surveyed by the CBI, and many more. By establishing that commission, the Bill could have set the UK on course for the challenges of the 21st century, but it has failed to do so. The repeated failure of the Government to address these issues in a sufficiently planned-out way is not good enough.

This could all have been very different. With a shared national purpose, long-term planning, proper public engagement and cross-party support for our world-leading engineering and construction sectors, we can deliver the improvements our country’s infrastructure needs. The 2012 Olympics were a model of that kind of approach. We urgently need the same framework for decision making and planning across national infrastructure. This Bill could have delivered that, but it has not done

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so, and we have a Government who are not going to do so. That is why it will take a change of Government in May to deliver the change that is needed.

9.37 pm

Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): The development of an electronic communications code in part 7 has been closely followed in my constituency, because all too often the standard of infrastructure in the City of London and surrounding areas as regards mobile telephone coverage and broadband lags behind that which commercial tenants nowadays expect to find in a world-leading business district. It is vitally important that this situation be improved if London is to keep up with its global rivals in established sectors and in the emerging tech industries. In particular, we cannot allow the business heart of the capital to be left behind in state-of-the-art technology such as fibre optics and 4G—and eventually 5G when that arrives.

New rights to upgrade and share communications infrastructure could play a very important part in improving that situation. Could we introduce a simpler procedure for landowners to require the removal or repositioning of equipment, where necessary, in order to enable redevelopment to proceed? That might sound counter-intuitive, but at present, especially in areas such as the City of London with very high rates of development, there is a strong incentive for landowners to resist the installation of equipment such as telephone masts in the first place if they fear that the presence of that equipment will obstruct future redevelopment of the site.

I entirely understand the reaction by the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex), to the late tabling of amendments dealing with the communications code, now removed by amendment 91, and the fact that further time is required to consider the new code. That is necessary; let us get the code right if we can. It is also important to ensure that the code strikes an appropriate balance between landowners and network operators, because only by so doing will it be effective in bringing about the expanded coverage that we all so desperately require. I hope, however, that the process will not take too long, and that we can move forward swiftly with the introduction of a new code, having taken account of the views expressed by industry representatives.

Mr Hayes: Just for clarity, the Government will move ahead with the reform of the communications code. We will begin a full consultation in the next few weeks, with a view to bringing forward draft legislation, for exactly the reason that my hon. Friend gave: to ensure that we have the agreement of all those who are most directly involved or affected and to ensure that there is agreement across the House.

Mark Field: I am very encouraged by the Minister’s words and I know that that will be true of many of my commercial constituents, as it were.

I ask the Government to consider two other things as this important work continues. The first is the position of infrastructure that has been installed before the new code comes into force, whenever that is. As I understand it, the new rules will not apply automatically to such dated infrastructure. Although I understand the reluctance

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of the Government to interfere in pre-existing legal relationships, I suggest that it would be beneficial to find some means of encouraging existing infrastructure to be brought under the new code as swiftly as possible.

Secondly, there are numerous cases in the City of London in which lengthy wrangling between freeholders and network operators over the terms and conditions for the grant of the necessary consents has delayed the installation of mobile masts or broadband facilities by several months. In the most serious instances, that has prevented business tenants from taking possession of new offices on time or forced businesses to occupy new office space with no functioning communications. Naturally, this is principally a matter of negotiation between private parties, and I would not expect any Government to interfere in such issues, so there are rightly limits to the extent to which they can furnish a solution.

However, when the Bill is enacted, there will be an opportunity under the code for the relevant industry bodies, which have been referred to, to encourage the adoption of model terms and conditions to deal with the issue. Although that is not a complete answer, it would be a constructive step and I hope that it is taken. The City of London corporation has held positive meetings with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the matter and will be looking to provide further support where possible, potentially in conjunction with the Greater London authority.

I have spoken before in this House about the need to ensure that adequate investment in the electricity distribution network can be made to meet tomorrow’s demand for new connections, without imposing unreasonable costs on today’s consumers. This is not the occasion to delve into the intricacies of the matter. Suffice it to say that the need for action is increasingly pressing. In relation to my constituency, I am aware that the Government are working with interested parties such as Ofgem, UK Power Networks, the Greater London authority and the City of London corporation with a view to developing new models that might enable the necessary upfront investment to be delivered, with the costs being recouped from customers over time as new connections are made. It is not yet clear whether the amendments that were made in Committee to extend the second-comer rules to independent connection providers will prove directly relevant to that work, but if so, they are to be welcomed.

In conclusion, I commend the Government for the attention they have given to this important matter in part 7. I urge them to continue that focus to ensure that we get it right. As with telecommunications as a whole, this is a crucial, bread-and-butter issue when it comes to London’s future competitiveness as a commercial centre.

9.43 pm

Mr Weir: Having heard the honeyed tones in which the Minister opened the debate for the Government, I feel a bit guilty about having to say that I still have severe reservations about parts of the Bill.

Not all the Bill applies to Scotland, but the main part of it that does is on energy. It is a great shame, as the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) said, that we had so little time to debate those issues today. We had serious concerns about some of them, but we were not given the opportunity to debate them fully. However, that is the way it goes.

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On Second Reading, I referred to two issues with fracking in Scotland: drilling under people’s homes without consent and the complexities in Scots law in relation to that. I am pleased that the Government have moved on those issues. I welcome the Government amendments removing Scotland, but I remain concerned that they have not taken the obvious action of moving licensing powers from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Government.

All powers relating to fracking lie with the Scottish Government, apart from the crucial power of licensing. The UK Government say that they intend to move those powers under the Smith commission proposals after the next general election, but with the best will in the world the process of getting that Bill through both Houses will take some time, and it will be some considerable time before the powers are with the Scottish Parliament.

Tom Greatrex: Given what the hon. Gentleman has said and new clause 2 on licensing, does he agree, as I suggested earlier to the Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, that it would be sensible for the Government to stop the 14th licensing round in Scotland so that any new licenses may be granted after the powers have been devolved, and a Scottish Government of whatever complexion can make those decisions?

Mr Weir: That is one of the few things on which the hon. Gentleman and I agree. I made that exact point earlier. My concern is that, currently, there are a few existing licences, but not many. The Department of Energy and Climate Change could grant licences between the current time and when the powers are devolved. That leaves us in a dangerous situation. All powers should be in one place. I am disappointed that the Government have not done that.

That was one of the reasons why Scottish National party members supported the moratorium on fracking. I have severe doubts about fracking, but we wanted that moratorium to ensure that work can be done before the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to consider it in great detail.

In Scotland over the weekend, the Labour party was telling us that it was very keen on a moratorium, and that it was going to stop fracking. Labour Members came down here today and abstained on that proposal. We are told that Labour’s new clause 19 will stop fracking in the UK. Frankly, it will do no such thing, as the Minister rightly said. Nowhere does new clause 19 mention a moratorium. As far as I can see, it does not even apply to Scotland. Unlike Government new clause 15, which had a consequential amendment to ensure it applied to Scotland, new clause 19 had no such consequential amendment. The new clause therefore does not apply to Scotland at all.

Interestingly, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield said that the Minister had hinted that she might change the Bill in the Lords. She was a lot clearer than that. She said definitely that the provision on the depth of the drilling would be changed in the Lords. There is no moratorium, and new clause 19 does not apply to Scotland and is likely to be changed in the Lords in any event. We have not got very far with the Bill.

I remain concerned. I accept that the Bill has improved, but on fracking I urge the Government, even at this late stage, to think again in the Lords about the transfer of

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powers. Transferring them now will close the potential difficulty, put all the powers together and allow the Scottish Parliament to take decisions in line with the wishes of the Scottish people.

9.48 pm

Andrew Miller: I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) for his kind remarks. Unless I commit a sin that means the Whips require me to do something else in the next few weeks, this will be the last Bill I serve on in Committee. I did so voluntarily, because I take a great interest in a number of its clauses, not least the one referred to by the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mark Field). I followed his remarks carefully and agreed with virtually every word he uttered. I am sure he would agree that the draft presented to the Committee last week was grossly inadequate for its purpose. He described the issues in thriving urban areas that need to move quickly to accommodate the needs of developers and the economy, as well as the changing technologies in the telecoms space. Different issues arise when it comes to rural access. Access arrangements have been far from satisfactory, but the clause—drafted in haste—has resulted in this step backwards. That is regrettable because—as was said in Committee—this is long overdue.

I will get the Minister into trouble with the Whips if I go on too much, but he is a man of such integrity that in the last general election he even invited his Labour opposite number, who was at one time my agent, to go for a coffee to discuss how their business should be conducted. That is an example of how collegiate he is. I thought that he would get into trouble with the Whips again when he praised the Secretary of State. I thought that the Minister was going to say that the Secretary of State was adding his weight to the matter, but as I am of similar girth I can get away with that remark.

The Bill has some extraordinarily important aspects. As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield said, it covers an enormous area. The House will have to come back to the telecoms code and in the interests of all parties—including those mentioned by the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster—that will need to be done sooner rather than later, but with careful engagement with all the players.

I was especially interested in the clauses relating to hydraulic fracturing. In the dim and distant past when I worked in geology, I taught students how drilling technology works. I made the point in Committee that had we been using the technology today that we were using 40 years ago I would be against hydraulic fracking, but the technologies have developed to an extraordinary degree. We do not know enough about the UK’s general environment subsurface, so a huge amount of work is needed. In Committee and in the other place, amendments were tabled on baseline monitoring, and I am pleased that the Government have started to move in the right direction. It is possible to come up with a regulatory structure that works for the communities we seek to represent and in terms of the economics of the industry. To achieve that goal, the Government will need to think carefully about some of the issues and the underlying science.

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The amendment that I tabled in Committee, about peer reviewing baseline monitoring data, is acceptable to the industry. It is in the interests of the Government and the country to reach cross-party agreement so that the data that go into the public domain are fully understood and we can argue from an evidence base, which we cannot do at present. When the first pilot well was drilled in my constituency, I got only five letters about it: three were technical questions and two were letters of objection. The second one, which was handled differently by the developer, resulted in a massive number of objections and a protest camp that is very firmly in place.

It is important that this House, the industry and the regulators engage with the public, so that there is a better scientific understanding of what can be achieved with the regulatory machinery we put in place. I have no doubt that that is an achievable goal. I hope those on the Government Front Bench recognise that when they seek to develop the Bill further in the other place.

Serving on the Bill with my hon. Friends on the Labour Front Bench and the rest of the Labour team has been a pleasure, as has been working on this topic with the right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings and the Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd). These are hugely important issues and Parliament must get them right.

Finally, there is a message to consider. Reflecting on the way the Bill has been conducted, it is important that the next Parliament looks carefully at the process we have gone through. There are better ways to legislate and perhaps the next Parliament can learn from that. I wish the Bill well in the Lords. I want to see the robust amendments retained so that the regulatory issues raised by those on the Opposition Front Bench can be protected and enshrined in the Bill. That will enable this important industry to develop in this country with the support of the public we seek to represent.

Mr Hayes rose—

Mr Speaker: The animation of the House knows no bounds when the right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes) seeks to take to the Dispatch Box.

9.57 pm

Mr Hayes: I am grateful, Mr Speaker. I simply want to affirm the thanks offered by those on the shadow Front Bench to all members of the Committee, which I omitted to do in my opening remarks, as well as to those who have taken a leading role, if I may put it in those terms, on both sides of the House.

Bigger, better, well-funded roads; more straightforward planning; safer fracking; a cycling strategy; and we have saved the beaver. What’s not to like? The Bill deserves its Third Reading.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

Business without Debate

Delegated Legislation

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

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Cinemas and Films

That the draft Films (Definition of “British Film”) Order 2015, which was laid before this House on 4 December 2014, be approved. —(Gavin Barwell.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Income Tax

That the draft Finance Act 2004 (Registered Pension Schemes and Annual Allowance Charge) (Amendment) Order 2015, which was laid before this House on 9 December 2014, be approved.—(Gavin Barwell.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Health and Safety

That the draft Justification Decision (Generation of Electricity by the UK ABWR Nuclear Reactor) Regulations 2015, which were laid before this House on 10 December 2014, be approved. —(Gavin Barwell.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Environmental Protection

That the draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015, which were laid before this House on 15 December 2014, be approved. —(Gavin Barwell.)

Question agreed to.

Mr Speaker: With the leave of the House, I propose to take motions 7 and 8 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Local Government

That the draft Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015, which were laid before this House on 17 December 2014, be approved.

That the draft Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015, which were laid before this House on 17 December 2014, be approved. —(Gavin Barwell.)

Question agreed to.


Traffic safety measures in Cartmel

9.59 pm

Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD): I seek to present a petition on behalf of residents in Cartmel and neighbouring communities concerned about road safety outside Cartmel Priory school.

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The petition states:

The Petition of a resident of the UK,

Declares that current traffic safety measures on the road outside Cartmel Priory School are insufficient and pose a safety risk to pupils and local residents and further that a local petition on this matter was signed by 255 individuals.

The Petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons urges the Government to launch an urgent strategic review of traffic safety measures in the Cartmel area and the implementation of further controls and restrictions.

And the Petitioner remains, etc.


Traveller encampments in Brighton and Hove

10 pm

Simon Kirby (Brighton, Kemptown) (Con): Unauthorised Traveller encampments remain a major issue in my constituency and across the wider city area of Brighton and Hove. Many constituents feel that the city council does not have a robust plan in place to move on Travellers on unauthorised sites expeditiously, and that too often the needs and wishes of the existing settled community appear to be ignored. Many of my constituents believe that the city council, after years of trying to manage the issue, should be more actively using the powers available to it. The petition has been signed by thousands of local people, and a similar online petition attracted the support of 2,000 local people.

The petition states:

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Brighton and Hove City Council to use the powers available to them to deal promptly with unauthorised traveller encampments in the city.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

Following is the full text of the petitions:

The Petition of residents of Moulsecoomb, Woodingdean, Rottingdean & the wider Brighton area,

Declares that Brighton and Hove City Council has powers to deal with unauthorised traveller encampments; further that the Petitioners believe that the views, concerns and needs of the existing, settled community on this issue too often seem to be ignored; and further notes that sensitive sites in the city seem to be repeatedly targeted every year, costing large amounts of taxpayers’ money to clear up.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Brighton and Hove City Council to use the powers available to them to deal promptly with unauthorised traveller encampments in the city.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


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Pakistan (UK Support)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Gavin Barwell.)

10.2 pm

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) (Con): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to raise in Parliament the horrific, evil and brutal attack on the army public school in Peshawar last month, and the UK’s support for Pakistan in the war on terror.

While the official 40 days of mourning—chehlum—have now passed, the people of Pakistan still weep for the tragic loss of innocent lives that day. The attack claimed the lives of 134 children, as well as the many teachers who lost their lives trying to save their children. Pakistan is a courageous nation that has had to face many challenges in its short history. It worked with the international community in defeating the Russian communist threat in Afghanistan, and stood with the international community after 9/11 in the fight against global terrorism. Its citizens and armed forces continue to face the daily threat from terrorist organisations operating across the border in Afghanistan.

Andrew Griffiths (Burton) (Con): Given the challenges that Pakistan has faced from national and international catastrophes, such as flooding and earthquakes, does my hon. Friend agree that it is incumbent on the UK, given our relationship with Pakistan, to do all we can to support it through yet another difficult time?

Rehman Chishti: My hon. Friend is right to highlight the importance of our two great countries’ relationship. As vice-chairman of the all-party group on Pakistan and chairman of the all-party group on Kashmir, and having visited the country and being a passionate and strong friend to Pakistan, he recognises the importance of that relationship and knows that the UK has always stood shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan, and will continue to do so. Pakistan is fortunate to have such people as friends and advocates here in Parliament.

Pakistan lost its courageous and talented former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to an act of terror. I had the privilege of working with Ms Bhutto as an adviser from 1999 to 2007. Natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. No one can question the resilience of this brave and courageous nation. The horrific and evil act in Peshawar has united the country and its political parties to come together in the national interest to defeat these evil organisations, with the country’s brave armed forces taking the fight to the terrorists.

Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. I know that, like me, he went to the Pakistani high commission soon after this dreadful attack to sign the book of condolence and express our sorrow at this tragedy. Will he join me in paying tribute to organisations across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom that organised their own books of condolence, vigils and fund-raising events for the victims—including the Burnley and Pendle friends league that organised an event I attended at the people’s centre in Brierfield?

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Rehman Chishti: Yes, it is a privilege and a pleasure to do that. I know that my hon. Friend, as chairman of the all-party group on Pakistan, has done everything he possibly can to build the relationship between our two great countries. I know that the former high commissioner, who I see in the Public Gallery, will remember his many meetings with my hon. Friend. It is right that people across the UK came together to show solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this difficult hour.

This was a cowardly terrorist attack by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan which struck at the youngest and most vulnerable, and it is a reminder that Pakistan remains on the front line against terrorism. God forbid if Pakistan should fall as a front line in fighting terrorism, as the world will become a dark and unsafe place, with suffering affecting each and every part of it.

It is important to clarify one thing. The TTP, like many other terrorists, has often been described as “Islamist extremists” or “Islamist terrorists”, thereby linking Islam to them, which is what they want. We should be clear and refer to them and any other terrorists who want to link their evil acts to Islam simply as “terrorists” and “extremists”. That is it. They are terrorists and extremists, and we should not give them the credibility of linking this great religion with their evil acts.

Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) (Con): May I gently suggest that my hon. Friend might want to go one step further? These extremists never hesitate to call other Muslims with whom they disagree “unIslamic”. Although I see the point of my hon. Friend’s argument that these people are not Islamist and not Islamic, just calling them terrorists and extremists is not quite enough. We need some context, so may I suggest “unIslamic extremists” as a possible denomination for them?

Rehman Chishti: My hon. Friend is an expert on defence matters, and I have great admiration and respect for him. I take on board the point he makes. Everyone around the world wants to make it clear that these individuals are terrorists and extremists. When I comment on these matters on television, I often get e-mails saying I am a non-Muslim myself for calling them terrorists. We know who the terrorists and extremists are in this context.

Paul Uppal (Wolverhampton South West) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. The events in Peshawar were very salient and pertinent when they hit the news headlines. Is it not imperative, when it comes to discourse on this issue, that people should always remember globally—not just in the UK—that regardless of their background, whether people be Sunni, Shi’a or of whatever denomination, many of these organisations kill people of an Islamic faith? That is the crucial point.

Rehman Chishti: My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I shall pick up that point in due course. It is one made by the former Foreign Secretary, our right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), who said in 2013 that the people who have suffered the most as a result of terrorism are Muslims. My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South West (Paul Uppal) is absolutely right, and I would like to congratulate him on the work he does in strengthening our two countries’ great relationship.

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Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that when people commit these atrocities in the name of Islam, they also betray—sometimes catastrophically—the vast majority of law-abiding decent Muslims in this country, who then have to defend themselves? Does he agree that that is a double betrayal for those Muslims?

Rehman Chishti: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. When individuals carry out these evil atrocities in the name of Islam or of religion, they undermine the wonderful, peaceful, tolerant Muslim community around the world and in our great country. I know that he does a brilliant job in building the great relationship between our two countries, and I know how much importance he ascribes to it. When I was in Pakistan in 2012, walking through Karachi, I was surprised to see that he was there at the same time.

I welcomed recent articles by Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia, the former Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom and head of the Saudi intelligence service, who has suggested that we call ISIL—or Daesh, as it is called in Syria and Iraq—Fawash, which means “obscenity”. The organisation proclaims itself to be an “Islamic State” because it wants to be linked to Islam, but there is no such thing as an Islamic state. Let us not give those people any legitimacy. Let us call them what they are: terrorists and extremists who believe in an obscene ideology.

Pakistan is not alone in facing such horrific, brutal, evil atrocities carried out by terrorists, as we saw only a few weeks ago when gunmen attacked the office of Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris. In Belgium, police have foiled a plot to attack police, and in 2013 there was a brutal attack on a shopping mall in Kenya. Since 2003, more than 40,000 civilians and more than 6,000 security forces in Pakistan have been killed in the continual war on terror.

The former Foreign Secretary said in a speech in 2013:

“Muslim communities are bearing the brunt of terrorism worldwide, at the hands of people who espouse a distorted and violent extremist interpretation of a great and peaceful religion.”

Terrorist groups such as the Taliban claim to be Islamic, but that interpretation bears no resemblance to Islam, and is rejected by the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world. The Koran teaches us to be tolerant of others and to live in peace. Chapter 5, verse 32 says that

“if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind”.

Recent events have shown us that our freedom of speech can never be threatened or destroyed through violence, and that there can be no justification for the causing of death or the use of violence. However, we also need to be tolerant and respectful of other people’s religious beliefs, whatever they may be. Faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Baha’ism and Islam—to name just a few—are cherished by billions of people around the world. Rights come with responsibilities, and we need to be careful not to mock other people’s religions. Doing so can lead to intolerance, which feeds into the terrorist extremist agenda of wanting to divide communities and societies, and makes our society a less safe place for all.

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Those are not my assertions, but the assertions of a great man with great intellect, wisdom and a passionate desire to serve humanity, which are there for all to see. I refer to Pope Francis, for whom I have great admiration and respect. He spoke about this very issue recently, saying that the right to liberty of expression came with the “obligation” to speak for “the common good”.

The United Kingdom has continued to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who are affected by terrorism, and has always been a strong friend and ally of Pakistan. The Prime Minister summed up our close relationship when he said

“in this battle the friends of Pakistan are friends of Britain; the enemies of Pakistan are enemies of Britain.”

After the Peshawar attack, the UK offered its assistance, and I know that the Department for International Development has collaborated in the provision of counselling for those who have been affected.

Many people in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have become displaced and we should consider how best the UK and DFID can help in that region, in particular with the temporarily displaced persons. Pakistan has played a part in helping the international community tackle the threat of terrorism. There are many examples, including the capture of Ramzi Yousef, one of the perpetrators of the World Trade Centre bombing, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of al-Qaeda’s most senior operatives, who was the mastermind behind 9/11 and the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing as well as the failed Bojinka and shoebomber plots.

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the most important ways in which the UK Government, through DFID, can work together with the Government of Pakistan is through support for the education system, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, where there is tremendous UK support for Pakistani schools?

Rehman Chishti: My hon. Friend is right, and as a member of the International Development Committee, he well knows that the UK has always supported Pakistan at difficult moments. On education and health, Pakistan is the largest recipient in terms of education, and he is right: if we want to give somebody hope, opportunity, aspiration and a life without being sucked into extremism or radicalisation, we must give them education. The UK has always supported that and will continue to support Pakistan in that respect.

At the forefront of the battle with terrorism, Pakistan faces several major challenges. With a porous border with Afghanistan, around 40,000 people make the crossing every day, putting pressure on security checks, especially at the two main crossings at Torkam and Chaman. I understand from discussions with Pakistan officials that they would appreciate assistance to enable them to monitor the border more effectively, including the provision of additional technology and intelligence gathering and sharing. Some other suggestions include technology such as biometric scanners, night goggles and GSM intelligence gathering. The UK currently provides a GSM tracking vehicle. I believe this vehicle was crucial in tracking those who were responsible for the terrorist attacks in Peshawar and is crucial in helping to destroy the terrorist networks and leaderships in Pakistan.

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The UK has already assisted Pakistan in developing counter-terrorism capabilities through the counter- improvised explosive device programme, but IEDs continue to be a threat in the region. Only two weeks ago, an IED attack killed four security force personnel in Pakistan’s Lower Kurram.

Greater assistance is also required to help return the large number of refugees to Afghanistan. Since 2002, the UNHCR has facilitated the return of 3.8 million registered Afghans from Pakistan, but there are still almost 1.5 million registered refugees in the country, with unofficial figures suggesting the total could be more than 3.5 million—the largest protracted refugee population in the world.

Pakistan also needs international co-operation to tackle extremists groups who may operate from abroad. There are, for example, real concerns about some elements of the Balochistan Liberation Army—the BLA—who it is said are co-operating with extremists to enact violence in Pakistan. Hizb ut-Tahrir has openly attempted to recruit Pakistani military officers to revolt against the Pakistan army, and Pakistan needs assistance to tackle Hizb ut-Tahrir’s finances and supporters operating from outside the country.

The Peshawar attack on a school was also a direct assault on education and the country’s future generations. It was a reminder that there are still those who want to prevent children in Pakistan from learning. Seeking knowledge and education is, as many religious texts—Hadiths—make clear, an obligation on Muslims, both men and women. I know that the Government have continued to support Pakistan through aid, with 4 million primary school children benefiting and more than 20,000 classrooms being constructed.

Pakistan is still on the road to reform, and there is still much work to be done to improve its own institutions and create a more robust law and order system. This includes assistance with police capacity building, canine training in explosive detection, computer and mobile forensic labs, counter-IED jammers and body armour. The Peshawar attack was the worst terrorist attack Pakistan has suffered, and only through co-operation and collaboration, standing shoulder to shoulder with one of our key partners, with whom we share a long history, can terrorism be defeated.

With that, Mr Speaker, I thank you once again for giving me the chance to have this debate, and I look forward to hearing the Minister’s reply.

Mr Speaker: I think the hon. Member for Bolton South East (Yasmin Qureshi) has the agreement of the hon. Gentleman and the Minister to contribute, but of course, time must be left for the Minister to respond, so a pithy contribution would be orderly.

10.21 pm

Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East) (Lab): I congratulate the hon. Member for Gillingham and Rainham (Rehman Chishti) on securing this debate. I shall speak quickly as I have only a couple of minutes and the Minister will want to take his time.

I just wanted to outline a few facts. People forget that when Pakistan joined our war to deal with the Russian threat in Afghanistan and the invasion, one consequence,

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apart from the instability and violence, was that 10 million people who were left homeless in Afghanistan came to Pakistan, so Pakistan had to bear that burden. Also, in the war on terror, Pakistan has suffered economically—some £30 billion to £40 billion over the last 20-odd years. It has suffered more than 30,000 civilian casualties and tens of thousands of military casualties.

Of course, what happened recently in Peshawar was dreadful, but it is great to see that the Government—this one and the previous one—have always had a very good relationship with Pakistan. I hope the Government will continue to work with the people of Pakistan, and in particular with the people of Peshawar.

10.22 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Tobias Ellwood): I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham and Rainham (Rehman Chishti) for bringing to the House this debate on our support for Pakistan since the terrible attack on the army public school in Peshawar on 16 December last year. It is right that this House debate developments in the 40 days since that attack on Pakistan, which is a key ally and close friend of the United Kingdom.

The attack robbed parents, families and friends of their children. As parliamentarians, we struggle for meaningful words in response to an attack of this scale. It offends our values as democratic politicians, and threatens our work for the rule of law and the peaceful development of nations. As parents, uncles, aunts or grandparents ourselves, we try to comprehend the staggering losses borne by so many families in Peshawar: the silence they face in place of the irrepressible noise of childhood, the empty spaces at so many family tables. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said at the time:

“Nothing can justify such an horrific attack on children going to school. The UK continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the government and people of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and extremism.”

This attack reminded us of the one constant rule of terrorism: those who suffer the most are the citizens of countries blighted by extremism—the men, women and children kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria; the communities living in mortal fear of ISIL in Syria and Iraq; and the boys and girls in Pakistan living in the shadow of the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups, children for whom school should be a safe haven.

My hon. Friend asked me what the UK has offered Pakistan since the attack and what more we can achieve together. I can assure the House that we continue to work with the Pakistani Government across a range of issues—a multi-track approach—but we must help Pakistan to tackle the root causes of violent extremism. Part of that is our work on promoting inclusion, economic development, education and health services to lift Pakistan’s people out of poverty and fill the societal cracks in which extremism festers and grows. We are also encouraging Pakistan to reduce the space for extremist ideologies.It is fair to say that Pakistan cannot beat terrorism alone. The scale of the challenge is huge, and the UK is a key partner of Pakistan in that fight. Let me outline some of the ways in which are helping Pakistan.

We are supporting Pakistan’s economy. Part of my job is to show British businesses the opportunities that working and investing in Pakistan can offer. In my

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speech, I very much want to counter the impression that appalling incidents, such as the attack on the school, can generate. As my hon. Friend knows well, Pakistan and Pakistanis offer visitors a warm welcome. Their generosity and hospitality are legendary, and must transcend such violence. We already have solid business links and strong growth projections for our bilateral trade and investment, and we must not let that slip from our grasp.

This morning, I had the pleasure of making the opening remarks at the third annual UK-Pakistan trade and investment conference. We know that the majority of Pakistanis want the same things that people everywhere want: an education for them and their children; the chance to have a good job; and the chance to live in a peaceful and prosperous state. We have a trade and investment road map that sets out our joint targets for economic growth and for growth that will begin to address that need. Our Prime Ministers have set out a joint bilateral trade target of £3 billion annually by the end of this year. It is a challenging target, but we think it is achievable.

We must support the families of the victims caught up in such atrocities. The Department for International Development is working closely with the provincial government and the UK charity Merlin to provide psychological support services to the victims, families and wider community affected by the Peshawar school incident. That will enable up to seven psychological family centres to be opened, allow home visits to be made to affected families and establish a child psycho-trauma centre at Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar to treat the most serious cases.

We must support and strengthen the democratic process in Pakistan. That is critical not just for the future of millions of Pakistanis, but for the security of the region and our security in the UK. In 2013, millions of Pakistanis voted in a general election and, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, one full-term democratically elected Government passed power to another. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was the first Head of Government to visit Pakistan after that historic election in June 2013, emphasising the UK’s support for this process. It was a victory for democracy and welcome progress, and that is not what the terrorists want.

We must support Pakistan on education and health, as my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy)

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said in an intervention. My hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham and Rainham knows that we are supporting education and health through our DFID-led aid programmes. The programmes help to give the poorest people in Pakistan access to public services, and they promote peace, stability and democracy, as well as macro-economic stability, growth and jobs.

We are supporting Pakistan’s national security, and my hon. Friend covered several areas in which we are providing support. However, time is against me. It is a shame that we do not have longer to debate this important matter, but I hope that the issue will be brought back to the House.

As my hon. Friend knows well, our countries share strong connections through our extensive diaspora links. There are more than 1.1 million people in the UK of Pakistani heritage, and more than 1 million trips are made annually between our two countries. The diaspora makes a significant contribution to British life, with many famous, successful and prominent people across sport, culture, business and, of course, Parliament. That familiarity between us is what makes so much of our family, Government, military and business relationships easy, and it is what makes the Peshawar school attack so painful for us.

We know that there is rarely, if ever, a purely military solution to terrorism. Many countries, including the UK and Pakistan, are engaged in a long-term effort to deny terrorist groups the space to operate, to help vulnerable countries to develop their law enforcement capabilities and to address the injustice and conflict that terrorists exploit.

Muslim communities often bear the brunt of terrorism, as has been said in the debate, at the hands of people who espouse a distorted and violent interpretation of a great and peaceful religion. My hon. Friend was right to point out that terrorism and Islam are not the same. We believe that our British values uphold the idea that people of different faiths and cultures can live together in peace. We know that the fight against terrorism will be protracted, but we know that by working together with our friends and our allies, we can win.

Question put and agreed to.