February 2010

Here you can find information on some of the key parliamentary motions that I signed in February 2010.

EDM 932 – Inquiry into Extraordinary Rendition
EDM 913 – Robin Hood Tax Campaign
EDM 908 – Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy
EDM 896 – Inquiry Into Light Rail And The City Regions
EDM 890 – Asylum Seeker Support
EDM 880 – Signing on Television
EDM 869 – Minister for Pubs
EDM 835 – HM Revenue and Customs Office Closures
EDM 822 – Consultation on a Supermarket Ombudsman
EDM 802 – Royal Bank of Scotland, Cash Bonuses and Public Finances
EDM 780 – Hate Speech and University Campuses
EDM 772 – Domestic Violence and Children
EDM 756 – Honour Network Funding
EDM 740 – Carers

EDM 932 – INQUIRY INTO EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION

This EDM notes the concerns of members of the House of Commons regarding revelations relating to the case of Mr Binyam Mohamed, and Britain’s complicity in extraordinary rendition. In light of the recent High Court ruling on this case, it calls from a full judicial inquiry into all concerns raised in recent years regarding extraordinary rendition and British involvement in torture.

EDM 913 – ROBIN HOOD TAX CAMPAIGN

The Robin Hood Tax Campaign calls for the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, essentially targeting speculative banking practices in a way that could raise funds to help tackle issues such as poverty and climate change. The concept of a financial transaction tax is a good idea in principle, and it is something that the Liberal Democrats would be happy to pursue. This motion calls on the Government to do all that is possible to ensure that the Robin Hood tax becomes a reality.

EDM 908 – SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE REPORT ON HOMEOPATHY

This motion expresses members concerns at the conclusions drawn by the Science and Technology Committee’s Report, Evidence Check on Homeopathy. The Committee only took oral evidence from a limited number of witnesses, including several known critics of homeopathy who have no expertise in the subject. There were also other inadequacies in the evidence taking process, notably the lack of evidence heard from the primary care trusts that commission homeopathy. This motion calls on the Government to allow decisions on the use of clinical interventions, such as homeopathy, to be left in the hands of local NHS service providers and practitioners.

EDM 896 – INQUIRY INTO LIGHT RAIL AND THE CITY REGIONS

As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group, I signed this EDM to show my support for the findings of our recent report on light rail and city regions. This report promoted the role that modern trams can play in providing cities with greener and more efficient transport systems. It called for the Government to take a more active role in this area, to encourage the further development of tram networks such as the Metrolink in Manchester.

EDM 890 – ASYLUM SEEKER SUPPORT

Asylum seekers in the UK receive a very low level of support, with a single 25-year-old adult receiving a mere £35.13 per week. This policy means they often live below the level of subsistence, and does not help to integrate them into society but instead excludes and pushes them into poverty. This EMD then calls on the Government to consider raising asylum support to a minimum of £45 per week, so that they can better support themselves.

EDM 880 – SIGNING ON TELEVISION

This motion notes that while the current Communications Act states that 90% of ITV and Channel 4 programmes must be subtitled by the end of 2010, it only requires five per cent to be signed, and encourages the Government to look at this again and increase this proportion.

EDM 869 – MINISTER FOR PUBS

The appointment of a Pubs Minister is a welcome development, as it is a positive move to address the current situation which sees 39 pubs across the UK closing every week. This motion pushes for the Government to produce a manifesto to support and preserve the pub, which tackles all the major issues faced by the industry and involves all those with a stake in this, to bring about real change in the industry.

EDM 835 – HM REVENUES AND CUSTOMS OFFICE CLOSURES

This motion looks at the issue of planned job cuts and office closures for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The Department already has some significant failings in terms of service delivery, with an astounding 400 million calls going unanswered in one year for instance. Issues with the department’s performance need to be addressed, before making cuts which may simply add to its problems. I therefore support this motion calling for a suspension of all job cuts and office closures, until a review of the impact of further cuts is undertaken.

EDM 822 – CONSULTATION ON A SUPERMARKET OMBUDSMAN

This EDM welcomes the announcement by the Government that it accepts the recommendations of the Competition Commission to create an independent grocery market ombudsman. This would be a way of ensuring a fair deal is struck between suppliers and supermarkets, so that the latter cannot exploit their advantageous market position in comparison to the former. It therefore urges the Government to move forward with creating a supermarket ombudsman as soon as possible.

EDM 802 – ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, CASH BONUSES AND PUBLIC FINANCES

This motion states the House’s shock at the insensitivity of the senior management of the Royal Bank of Scotland, in planning to press ahead with large cash bonuses. Given the role of such big bonuses in creating the casino culture in the banking sector that led to the financial crisis, this issue needs to be addressed. It calls on the Government to demand that the RBS chief executive, Stephen Hester, halt these unacceptable bonus plans, on penalty of dismissal if he fails to comply.

EDM 780 – HATE SPEECH AND UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES

In a recent Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism, a number of recommendations were made in regards to Antisemitism and Higher Education. These ranged from welcoming the improved reporting of Antisemitic incidents in universities to addressing the issue of speeches designed to incite hatred or radicalise students. It calls for further progress by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, university vice-chancellors and Students Union representatives to deal effectively with issues of hate speech, and establish good practice guides for guest speakers requests.

EDM 772 – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILDREN

Around 750,000 children each year witness domestic violence in the home, whether this be witnessing acts or being a physically or verbally attacked themselves. This motion declares members support for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s campaign to tackle domestic violence and its impact on children, and wants to see the Home Office change the definition of domestic violence in England to include its impacts on children.

EDM 756 – HONOUR NETWORK FUNDING

This is a motion I put forward myself, after reading that the UK’s only national telephone helpline dedicated to providing assistance to victims of forced marriage, the Honour Network, has had to stop taking evening and weekend calls due to a lack of funds. This has meant that it has already been unable to take over 70 calls this year, which could mean the difference between a victim of a forced marriage getting help or not in many cases, as they may only get one chance to ring. Given that it has previously been funded by the Home Office, and is it only requires the relatively small sum of £80,000 to preserve such a vital service, this motion calls on the Government to make up for this shortfall in funds.

EDM 740 – CARERS

This EDM recognises the excellent work done by the six million people in the UK who provide unpaid help, care and support to friends or relatives who have an illness or disability. These individuals efforts often go unrecognised, and this can lead to them often not receiving the support they need to continue this vital work. In help tackle this, it calls on the Government to review carer and benefits policy to ensure that vulnerable people continue to get the care they need.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s