House of Commons
16th January 2014
Notices of Motions for which no days have been fixed
('Early Day Motions')
The figure following this symbol is the number of Members who have added their names in support of the Motion, including the Member in charge of the Motion.
After an Early Day Motion (EDM) has been printed for the first time, it is only reprinted when names are added or amendments tabled; only the first six names and any names added since the last printing are included. After the week in which a Motion is first printed and the following week, added names and amendments appear only in a separate paper, Mature EDMs, distributed the next Thursday. In the meantime, they are available for inspection by Members in the Table Office and the Library or on the EDM database at edmi.parliament.uk
907 LEGAL RECOGNITION FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH A PARTICULAR GENDER (No. 2) 6:1:14
That this House recognises the issues faced by those in the UK who identify themselves as non-gender, bi-gender or intersex; believes that many of those who are non-gendered or bi-gendered feel compromised and diminished as a result of inappropriate gender references on their personal identity information; acknowledges that all passports issued by HM Passport Office are currently gender-specific and it is therefore not possible to obtain a passport that contains no reference to gendered identity; understands that, alongside F (Female) and M (Male), the International Civil Aviation Organisation's Document 9303 already contains X (unspecified) as a permitted character for three permitted characters under the mandatory sex element for machine-readable travel documents; notes that in Australia and New Zealand citizens are able to obtain a non-gender specific X passport and that India, Nepal and Pakistan also recognise the legitimacy of X as a preferred option when M and F are not appropriate; further believes that allowing this possibility in the UK would go a long way to amend this discriminatory policy which denies non-gendered and bi-gendered people a legitimate identity; and therefore urges the Government and HM Passport Office to make non-gender-specific X passports available to those UK passport holders who do not identify with a particular gender.
909 THREATS TO ANABEL HERNÁNDEZ 6:1:14
That this House salutes the bravery of Mexican journalist Anabel Hernández whose recently published book on Narco Wars has highlighted issues of security and corruption in Mexico; is appalled that in common with many investigative journalists she faces constant death threats; notes that on 21 December 2013 her home was invaded by an armed gang in an attempt to find her and threaten her life; supports campaigns to secure the freedom and security of journalists to go about their work; and calls on the authorities in Mexico to ensure the safety and security of Anabel Hernández and the many serious investigative journalists who are also constantly threatened.
912 CAMP LIBERTY - ISSUING OF VISAS 7:1:14
That this House is aware of the plight of the 3,000 residents of Camp Liberty in Iraq who have been promised United Nations protection but who instead regularly face violence, assaults, physical torture and intimidation; understands also that the Iraqi authority frequently denies relatives visas to visit their loved ones; and urges the UK Government to inform the controlling regime that such behaviour is neither acceptable nor in the spirit of freedom, justice or democracy.
913 INTEREST RATES AND HOUSEHOLD DEBT 7:1:14
That this House recognises the difficult economic times and financial challenges faced by families; highlights the impact that a rise in the base rate of interest would have on homeowners who would face increasing mortgage demands; draws attention to a recent report by the Resolution Foundation which demonstrates that a rise in interest rates could put two million households into a dangerous financial situation, with over half of these cases involving families with children; acknowledges that many homeowners already face a strain on their household income from rising petrol prices and home energy costs; further recognises that household debt held on credit cards, especially after Christmas, will bring a further burden to many people; and urges the Government to bring forward measures to prevent an escalating household debt crisis.
914 MELBOURNE DECLARATION ON DIABETES 8:1:14
That this House notes that the first meeting of the Global Parliamentary Champions for Diabetes Forum was held in Melbourne from 30 November to 2 December 2013 and was attended by parliamentarians from over 50 countries; understands that there are an estimated 382 million people with diabetes and that this number is expected to rise to 592 million by 2035, that 80 per cent of people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries, and that diabetes will have caused 5.1 million deaths in 2013, one every six seconds; further notes that the 66th World Health Assembly held in May 2013 has adopted nine global targets and 25 indicators to help address the non-communicable diseases (NCD) pandemic and that diabetes is the only one of the four major NCDs with its own global target, which is to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025; congratulates the 90 nations that have signed the Melbourne Declaration on Diabetes; and urges hon. Members to join those advocating for increased prevention, better diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in the UK.
917 DOMESTIC ABUSE 8:1:14
That this House believes that the level of domestic abuse in the UK is unacceptable, that the number of victims reporting incidents is extremely low and that the number of alleged perpetrators convicted is unsatisfactory; further believes that all criminal justice professionals should receive training on the subject of domestic abuse; and asks the Government to consider introducing a specific law of domestic abuse, which would take into account courses of conduct and repetitive abusive behaviour.
918 RELEASE OF DOCUMENTATION ABOUT THE 1984-85 MINERS' STRIKE 8:1:14
That this House is appalled to learn what thousands of people in mining communities have strongly suspected for 30 years in the wake of the release of the Cabinet papers relating to the 1984-85 miners' strike, that senior Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, micromanaged the Government's side of the strike, whilst publicly claiming to be innocent bystanders; notes that, all along, the National Coal Board had the intention to close over 70 collieries whilst publicly claiming the number to be around 20; further notes that senior Cabinet Ministers deliberately misled the country; further notes that when those striking to protect their communities seemed to be on the verge of victory, the Government plotted to bring in the armed forces to avoid defeat; and furthermore demands a full independent inquiry into the then Government's handling of the 1984-85 miners' strike.
919 LIVING WAGE AND ROYAL OPERA HOUSE CLEANERS 8:1:14
That this House notes that the cleaners employed by MITIE, under contract at the Royal Opera House, have voted for strike action because they are paid below the London Living Wage; urges the Royal Opera House to take appropriate steps to raise the wages of its cleaners to the London Living Wage of £8.80 per hour; further notes that the cleaners have seen their tea break abolished under threat of disciplinary action; and calls for this to be restored, for the cleaners to be treated with respect and dignity at work and for their trade union IWGB to be fully recognised.
922 MISSING PEOPLE 8:1:14
That this House recognises the huge distress caused to almost 200,000 families every year whose relatives go missing, and the potential risks faced by those who are missing; welcomes the support provided to missing people and their families by the charity Missing People; notes the partnership established between the trade body Outdoor Media Centre and Missing People in providing and generating digital billboard publicity, without charge, to assist the search for missing people; celebrates that on 13 November 2013 the one hundredth person was found safe and well since the launch of this initiative; and encourages hon. and right hon Members to support this initiative in their constituencies to increase the chance of even more missing children and adults being found by supporting the partnership so that publicity campaigns reach as many people as possible, and by encouraging members of the public to join the search through the Missing People charity.
923 RESEARCH ON THE EFFECT ON THE ECONOMY OF PUBCO REFORMS 8:1:14
That this House welcomes the research from the Federation of Small Businesses that shows that the introduction of a statutory code of practice including a market rent-only option for the large pub-owning companies would benefit the UK economy by an estimated £78 million; notes that the research, conducted anonymously through a market research company, shows that licensees would invest more in their pubs, employ more staff and stock a wider selection of beers; further notes that 9,888 pubs would take on a new member of staff or increase staff hours creating £48,666,758 of additional wages per year, 10,359 pubs would spend money on maintenance, meaning an extra £10,359,030 to the economy, 6,698 pubs would spend money on modernisation, meaning an extra £9,697,984 to the economy, and that 9,796 pubs would spend more on advertising and websites, meaning an extra £9,796,000 to the economy; further notes that the research also shows that 8,213 pubs would offer a wider range of beers, benefiting small breweries and 8,614 pubs in the UK would use the extra profits to bring down the price of a pint and that 98 per cent of tenants said they would have more confidence in the future of their business; believes that this powerful evidence shows the very strong case for the market rent-only option as the way to rejuvenate the pub sector; and calls on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to act on this and implement the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee market rent-only option for companies with more than 500 pubs.
924 PUB CLOSURE FIGURES 8:1:14
That this House expresses concern at the misinformation supplied to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, hon and right hon. Members and the media by large pub companies and their lobbyists the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) regarding pub closures; notes the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, working with CGA Strategy, which exposes that false statements have been made; further notes that CGA figures show that between December 2005 and March 2013, 5,117 non-managed pubs closed compared with only 2,131 free trade pubs; further notes that BBPA's own figures show that over 10 years non-managed pubs decreased by over 8,000 whilst the free trade sector actually expanded by 1,600; condemns the myth that has been peddled suggesting that more free of tie pubs have closed than tied pubs; further notes that this has now been debunked and should not be repeated; further notes that the figures clearly show that tenanted and leased pubs have closed in greater number than free trade pubs, without even counting the thousands of temporary closures of pubco pubs each year; further notes the damning disposal figures with Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns collectively disposing of over 5,000 pubs between 2008 and 2012, a third of all their pubs in just four years; expresses concern that false information has been taken at face value by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, HM Treasury and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) leading to inappropriate assessments; calls for an investigation into this; and further calls on the Government and the OFT to accept the real picture of pub closures and to act accordingly.
926 GUIDE AND HEARING DOG OWNERS 8:1:14
That this House congratulates and supports the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Guide Dogs for the Blind Association on their work to raise awareness and educate service providers on providing equal access for guide and hearing dog owners; recognises that despite amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People have found that 80 per cent of hearing dog recipients have been refused access on one or more occasions; further recognises that hearing and guide dog owners are more reliant on public and private transport and so this affects confidence and independence; notes that guide and hearing dogs users are left financially responsible for prosecution of those who breach the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and urges the Government to review current legislation and access to legal services at the earliest possible opportunity.
928 PUBLICATION OF DEFRA REVIEW ON FOOD AID PROVISION IN THE UK 9:1:14
That this House acknowledges that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commissioned an evidence review entitled, Household food security - a literature review of Food Aid, in March 2013 to assess and summarise evidence about food aid provision in the UK; notes the Government's commitment to this House to publish the findings of the review by the summer of 2013; further notes the Government's failure to publish the findings of the review despite a formal request from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty in December 2013; and urges the Government to provide a clear deadline as a matter of urgency for the publication of the review to inform a public debate on the reasons for growing demand for food aid provision in this country.
929 WORLD LEPROSY DAY 9:1:14
That this House acknowledges that World Leprosy Day is on 26 January 2014; welcomes the significant advancements made in leprosy treatment; notes that despite this medical progress, discrimination related to leprosy is still prevalent; records with appreciation the 90th anniversary of Lepra, the world's first leprosy prevention organisation; commends the efforts of this charity in giving leprosy-affected people a voice with which to demand their rights; recognises that neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) including leprosy occur in extreme poverty and cause further extreme poverty and that controlling NTDs is a key component of promoting economic development; and calls on the Government to mark World Leprosy Day by committing the UK to seek maximum multi- and bilateral aid effectiveness in efforts to combat this curable disease and reduce poverty.
931 ACTION ON SUGAR CAMPAIGN 9:1:14
That this House welcomes the launch of the Action On Sugar campaign, an unprecedented call to action to tackle and reverse the obesity and diabetes epidemic by 15 leading health experts from across the world including Professor Graham MacGregor, Dr Aseem Malholtra, Professor Andrew Rugg-Gunn, Professor Aubrey Sheiham, Professor David Haslam, Professor Jack Cuzick, Professor John Wass, Professor Peter Sever, Professor Philip James, Professor Simon Capewell, Professor Sir Nicholas Wald, Professor Timothy Lang, Dr Mike Rayner, Dr Robert Lustig and Dr Yoni Freedhoff; notes that the campaign calls for a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in sugar added by the food industry, which would result in a reduction in calorie intake of approximately 100kcal per day; recognises that unnecessary calories hidden in food and drinks are causing children and adults to become obese as well as causing dental cavities and putting people at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes; further recognises that Public Health England has warned that by 2050, 60 per cent of men, 50 per cent of women and 25 per cent of children will be clinically obese, and that voluntary agreements with industry are failing to provide any significant changes to our nation's health; and further notes that the campaign calls on the Secretary of State for Health to take urgent action to address the twin epidemics of obesity and type-2 diabetes by abolishing the Responsibility Deal and giving public health targets back to the Food Standards Agency to enforce the recommended 20 to 30 per cent reduction in added sugar.
932 HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 9:1:14
That this House notes that 27 January 2014 is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, marking the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered; commemorates the six million victims of the Holocaust; further notes that the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 is Journeys; pays tribute to the commitment of Holocaust survivors who share their experiences with young people across the country; acknowledges the importance of the Holocaust Educational Trust's work in schools across the UK and in particular the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, which has so far given over 22,000 students and teachers the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau; also pays tribute to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for organising this year's Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations; further notes that a Book of Commitment will be placed in the corridor between the Members' Cloakroom and Members' Staircase; and urges all hon. and right hon. Members to sign the Book and observe the day, so that the appalling events of the Holocaust are always understood by future generations.
938 TELEVISION IN NORTH KOREA 13:1:14
That this House notes the suggestion that the broadcast of programmes like Teletubbies would change the attitudes of the North Korean dictatorship, which has incarcerated more than 200,000 of its citizens in gulags; and believes that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs would be better advised to support an extension of BBC World Service programming to the Korean Peninsula, promoting Britain's cherished belief in democracy and human rights.
939 CHINA'S POPULATION CONTROL POLICIES AND MR ZYANG YIMOU 13:1:14
That this House notes with profound concern the 7.5 million yuan fine imposed by the Chinese authorities upon Mr Zyang Yimou, the Director of the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, simply for having a third child; further notes the severity of the demographic crisis which China's one-child policy has bequeathed the Chinese people; and calls on the Government to intervene in Mr Yimou's case and to stress with the Chinese government the repugnance of all civilised nations at the compulsory abortion, infanticide and sterilisation of women that have been a feature in practice of their draconian population control policies.
940 NON-DIRECT DEBIT SURCHARGE BY ENERGY COMPANIES (No. 2) 13:1:14
That this House notes that 45 per cent of the British public do not pay for their electricity by direct debit; believes that charging customers extra for not paying by direct debit is ripping off consumers; condemns Airtricity for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Atlantic for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Better Energy for charging consumers up to £38 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns British Gas for charging consumers up to £73 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Co-operative Energy for charging consumers up to £60 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns EDF Energy for charging consumers up to £73 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns E.on for charging consumers up to £70 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns First Utility for charging consumers up to £96 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Green Star Energy for charging consumers up to £30 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns M&S Energy for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Npower for charging consumers up to £90 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Power NI for charging consumers up to £40 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Sainsbury's Energy for charging consumers up to £73 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Scottish Hydro for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Southern Electric for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns Spark Energy for charging consumers up to £390 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns SSE for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying by direct debit; further condemns SWALEC for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying by direct debit; and calls on the Government to review this issue with a view to changing this situation.
945 ATTACK ON GOLDEN TEMPLE AT AMRITSAR IN 1984 14:1:14
That this House notes with concern the evidence now available as a result of the most recent release of Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents which reveal that in 1984 the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe, agreed that the UK would provide military assistance in the form of SAS advice in planning the assault by Indian forces on the Sikh's Golden Temple at Amritsar which resulted in a large number of deaths and the desecration of this holy place; further notes that the authorisation of this military assistance was kept secret; and calls on the Government to establish an independent public inquiry into the collusion between the UK and Indian governments on the perpetration of this massacre, including the immediate release of UK Government documents relating to it.
946 FIREFIGHTERS' ADDITIONAL PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS 14:1:14
That this House recognises that firefighters in the 1992 Firefighters' Pension Scheme currently pay 12.9 per cent of their salary into an unfunded scheme; is concerned at the Government's proposal which will take their contributions to 14.2 per cent from 1 April 2014; notes that a firefighter earning £1,650 per month net will pay around £340 a month or £4,000 a year in employee contributions; further notes that firefighters who are members of the 2006 New Firefighters Pension Scheme will pay around 12.6 per cent by April 2015 and will have seen an increase of 4.1 per cent in just four years; acknowledges that a recent YouGov survey of over 6,000 firefighters found that 43 per cent of respondents would be likely or very likely to opt out of the pension scheme if the Government's proposals were implemented although 78 per cent of these would reconsider their decision if the Government did not impose the full increase; is concerned that the Treasury's initial forecast of £72.6 million savings over three years from these increases is based on an opt-out rate of one per cent, with every percentage opt out costing the scheme £3.5 million per annum in lost contributions and an opt-out rate of over seven per cent would nullify the Government's projected savings; believes that the proposed contribution increase is self-defeating, unworkable and will destabilise the firefighters' pension scheme; and calls on the Government to enter into meaningful negotiations with the Fire Brigades Union and reconsider its intransigence on firefighters paying such high additional pension contributions.
947 ENVIRONMENT AGENCY BUDGET 14:1:14
That this House commends the excellent work undertaken by staff employed at the Environment Agency in dealing with recent flooding incidents; recognises however that Environment Agency staff do a lot more than dealing with just the prevention and aftermath of flood incidents; further recognises that this wide range of responsibilities are essential in safeguarding the country's environment from harm and includes water quality oversight, pollution control, waste regulation, fisheries management, conservation and ecology, navigation, contaminated land and flood and coastal risk management; notes that the Environment Agency has had its budgets cut yet again which will lead to 1,500 jobs being lost, around 15 per cent of the total workforce; further notes that, with some spending ring-fenced by the Government, the effect of these further cuts will impact disproportionately on non-protected areas like the prevention and prosecution of waste crime, monitoring and protection of migratory fish, pollution management and work with planning authorities to ensure environmental safeguards are in place for new development; believes that as a result, communities will be put at risk of environmental harm through the significant reductions in services currently provided and is a licence to pollute; and further believes that the Government should implement an immediate moratorium on any cuts and recognise that the cost of responding to incidents of harm is much greater than the effective prevention the Environment Agency provides and the cuts will compromise.
948 MENB VACCINE AND CHILDHOOD IMMUNISATION SCHEDULE 14:1:14
That this House welcomes the public letter signed by over 100 nurses, doctors and scientists, who deal with the consequences of Meningitis, calling for positive decisions on all available meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine for children in the UK; notes their observations that the new MenB vaccine, licensed last year and still undergoing consideration for inclusion in the childhood immunisation schedule (CIS), is estimated to cover 88 per cent. of MenB disease in the UK; recognises that the meningitis vaccinations already in the CIS have been very successful in preventing unnecessary child deaths and long term complications; further recognises that MenB, which remains the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK, mainly effects children, is difficult to diagnose, strikes fast and kills or seriously disables in hours, questions the terms of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consideration of the potential cost-effectiveness of the MenB vaccine to date; urges the JCVI to re-evaluate their interim conclusions to reflect the health burden of MenB disease , after effects of survivors, quality of life for carers and wider costs for the NHS; and encourages the Secretary of State for Health to consider and take all appropriate steps towards introducing the MenB vaccine, including the option of a UK-wide population-based evaluation, as mentioned in the initial JCVI interim position, which would serve to save lives, prevent disability, and inform further appraisals and investment in vaccine development.
950 DEATHS OF CHILDREN FROM CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN ENGLAND 14:1:14
That this House notes that prosecutions for manslaughter and murder as a result of a child death in 2011 were 16 and in 2012 were 19, but in 2013 were 34; further notes that this would imply an increase in the number of child deaths from child abuse and neglect; further notes that Ofsted hold records of significant incident notifications as a result of deaths of children suspected to have occurred as a result of child abuse and neglect and that Ofsted did until 2012 provide lists of those notifications to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley for his research and analysis; further notes, however, that Ofsted are now refusing to provide that information either through freedom of information or through a parliamentary question; further notes the thesis of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley that the wrong children are taken into care as a consequence of the concentration on removing young babies from their mothers and the difficulty of assessing risk at birth given that risk factors change later in life; further notes that in 2010 1,400 babies under one month were taken into care, but in 2013 that figure was 2,013, a 45 per cent increase; recognises that the statistics are aligned with the thesis that more children are dying as a result of child abuse and neglect as a consequence of the concentration on younger children; and believes that this issue should be reviewed urgently.
951 DIAGNOSIS OF ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER 15:1:14
That this House notes the 10 fold increase over 10 years of labelling children with diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); further notes the pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for this condition are similar to cocaine, have numerous side effects including suicide, depression and anxiety and costs the health service tens of millions of pounds; affirms that there is no objective test to demonstrate the existence of this condition and that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed deep concern about children being misdiagnosed with ADHD; strenuously opposes the unnecessary drugging of children; calls for rigorous control of the prescribing of psychoactive drugs to children; and further calls for NHS money currently spent on pharmaceutical drugs to be diverted into research into the dietary and environmental causes of the symptoms currently labelled as ADHD.
952 FLOODING AND THE FIRE SERVICES 15:1:14
That this House is aware that firefighters throughout the UK have recently been involved in responding to the devastating effects of flooding that have hit the nation over the last few months, working tirelessly to keep people safe and reduce damage to homes and businesses; notes that today the role of these public sector workers is extremely diverse in respect of their protection against the worst effects of fire as well as the many other responsible roles they play in protecting communities; is also aware that currently no statutory duty in England and Wales exists upon the Fire Service to attend flooding incidents, thereby restricting the role they might play in planning effectively to minimise damage, injury and death which may occur in any emergency; and calls on the Government to introduce forthwith a duty on the service, replicating that laid down in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
953 DEFIBRILLATORS 15:1:14
That this House believes that schools and workplaces in the UK should be equipped with defibrillators; notes that there are 60,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year and that every minute without cardiac pulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by 10 per cent; and calls on the Government to help save lives and provide defibrillators free of charge to every school in the UK and to bring forward legislative proposals to make it a requirement in the workplace.
954 STATUS OF NETWORK RAIL 15:1:14
That this House notes that the Office for National Statistics is to reclassify Network Rail as a central government body from 1 September 2014, adding Network Rail's £30 billion debt to the national debt; recognises that since Network Rail's creation, Ministers have respected the company's status as a private company by not exercising executive authority over Network Rail's management or operational activity; further recognises that the reclassification of Network Rail as a central government body offers the opportunity for a new relationship between the company and ministers; and believes this new relationship should begin with an instruction from the Secretary of State for Transport to Network Rail's directors that any future proposal for executive bonuses must be approved by Ministers.
955 RAIL ELECTRIFICATION AND THE CALDER VALLEY LINE 15:1:14
That this House welcomes plans to electrify a number of rail routes; notes that a joint taskforce was recently announced to look at developing eight new electrification schemes in the North; expresses concern that the Calder Valley Line (CVL) was not included in the list of schemes; further notes that as a key trans-Pennine route linking major cities and towns the CVL has a strong case for electricification; further notes that both passenger figures at stations on the CVL and the growth in those figures have been very great over recent years, often greater than for routes on the taskforce list; considers that CVL electricification would bring significant social and economic benefits to towns and cities along the route including Bradford, Halifax, Brighouse, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Littleborough and Rochdale as well as local and wider environmental benefits; understands that electricification of the route would operationally link the route with other proposed electrified routes in the region leading to savings in operational costs; urges the Secretary of State for Transport to take into consideration the excellent characteristics and passenger figures of the route; praises the work of organisations like Halifax and District Rail Action Group campaigning for electricification of the route; and calls on the Calder Valley routes to be added to the list being considered for electricification by the taskforce.
956 AL JAZEERA JOURNALISTS IN DETENTION IN EGYPT 15:1:14
That this House is concerned at the safety of Al Jazeera journalists who are still being held in detention in Cairo and thus preventing proper reporting of important news from Egypt by this global channel; urges the Government to put all possible pressure on the government of Egypt to ensure the freedom of all journalists to safely report the events going on in Egypt; and recognises that the freedom of journalists is an integral part of any democratic process.
957 CONDUCT OF LOBBYIST MR CHRIS WHITEHOUSE 15:1:14
That this House is surprised that the lobbyist, Chris Whitehouse, defends his involvement in the disgraced commercially driven charity TOAST on the grounds that it had dozens of parliamentary patrons; notes TOAST's abuse of its relationship with an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) as exposed by The Independent on Sunday in 2008; recalls that the former hon. Member for Norwich North, Ian Gibson, said of the commercial link, that he was absolutely not aware of this connection and was very concerned about the origin of these large donations; further notes an hon. Member from the Labour Party said he never agreed to be a patron of TOAST after being named as such on publicity material; further notes two comments from hon. Members representing the Conservative Party that they were conned and that TOAST should have declared its financial link with commercial firms; is gravely concerned that Chris Whitehouse supports a similar APPG while simultaneously being employed by firms seeking to profit from the obesity crisis including The Cambridge Weight Plan, Nuffield Health and Fox Communications; fears that hon. Members may again be deceived; and calls for new unambiguous regulations to ensure that commercial groups and their lobbyists do not misuse their contacts with All-Party groups.
958 CONDUCT OF LOBBYIST MR CHRIS WHITEHOUSE (No. 2) 15:1:14
That this House is baffled by the objection in a recent e-mail from lobbyist, Chris Whitehouse complaining about the wording of an Early Day Motion tabled by the hon. Member for Newport West 22 years ago; invites hon. Members to consider the wisdom of Mr Whitehouse's complaint against the following Early Day Motion, That this House welcomes the revelation in the magazine, Family Doctor, in a letter from Christopher Whitehouse who writes that the greatest hidden cost of a ban on tobacco advertising would be the future burden of paying the pensions and healthcare costs of those low earners in the future who will no longer die from tobacco-related illness; and further invites the Government to deny its opposition to a ban on tobacco advertising is based on a desire that people on low wages should die young.
959 BOOST BINGO CAMPAIGN 15:1:14
That this House acknowledges that, despite being recognised as a soft form of gambling that plays an important social role within many local communities in the UK, bingo is subject to a gross profits tax of 20 per cent, as opposed to the 15 per cent charged on other forms of gambling; notes that with no recoverable VAT on costs, bingo duty is equivalent to the industry paying a VAT rate of 32 per cent; further notes that this is significantly more than other high street businesses; and welcomes the Bingo Association's Boost Bingo Campaign that will be running between 17 January to 26 February 2014, asking for a level playing field, so that the industry can continue to invest in people, premises and product.
960 10th ANNIVERSARY OF CARDIFF AS THE FIRST FAIRTRADE CAPITAL CITY 16:1:14
That this House congratulates the city of Cardiff on having been a Fairtrade city for 10 years; notes that Cardiff was the world's first Fairtrade capital city; and commends all the individuals and groups in Cardiff who have campaigned over more than a decade to ensure people are aware of and support the principles of Fairtrade.
961 BOOKMAKERS AND FIXED ODDS BETTING TERMINALS 16:1:14
That this House is concerned by the campaign which is being waged against fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in bookmakers' shops and against bookmakers themselves; believes that bookmakers site their shops in affordable, populated areas, as do owners of many shops, and do not target areas of deprivation; points out that, far from proliferating, the number of betting shops has halved from its peak number; disputes the assertions that problem gambling is on the increase or that vast amounts of money can be lost in a few minutes on FOBTs; reminds the Government that the sport of horse racing, the finances of which remain in a very poor state, is dependent on bookmakers for much of its income, and that any reduction in their profits would have a serious knock-on effect on the UK's second most popular spectator sport, putting thousands of jobs at risk; and calls on the Government to continue to pursue an evidence-based approach to this issue.
962 CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA 16:1:14
That this House expresses concern over the continued persecution of Christians in Syria; notes that Christians are often caught between government and rebels; asks the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to bring their plight to the attention of the UN and the Syrian government; and calls for their assistance to reduce and in time stop the attacks on the Christian Church and community in Syria.