House of Commons
22nd 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
898 LEGAL AID AND ADVICE (S. I., 2013, No. 2790) 18:12:13
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Criminal Legal Aid (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (S.I., 2013, No. 2790), dated 1 November 2013, a copy of which was laid before this House on 4 November, be annulled.
899 LEGAL AID AND ADVICE (S. I., 2013, No. 2791) 18:12:13
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Criminal Legal Aid (Financial Resources) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (S.I., 2013, No, 2791), dated 1 November 2013, a copy of which was laid before this House on 4 November, be annulled.
933 HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS 13:1:14
That this House notes the demonstrations during the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in November 2013; further notes the UK's work on the UN Human Rights Council; regrets the Indian Supreme Court's criminalisation of homosexuality; and urges the Government to ensure that the Commonwealth continues to play a major role in promoting, encouraging and protecting international human rights.
935 BEATRIX POTTER AND WOMEN IN SCIENCE 13:1:14
That this House recognises and commends the contribution to science by Beatrix Potter; notes that, from an early age, she was studying and recording the characteristics of a wide variety of animals, birds and insects in a home-made sketchbook; further notes that in April 1897 she presented a scientific paper, Germination of the spores of the Agaricineae, to the Linnean Society of London, despite male opposition from within the Society; also recognises that she was the first person to postulate in a scientific paper that lichens are symbiotic life forms; further recognises that the Linnean Society held a meeting in her honour 100 years after she submitted her paper; believes that as a pioneer for women in science, she is a role model for young women, who can draw inspiration from her life's work and commitment to scientific endeavour; and calls on the Government to do more to ensure that young people, particularly young women, are encouraged to pursue careers in science.
936 PILOT SCHEME FOR TRANSFORMING REHABILITATION AGENDA 13:1:14
That this House recognises that the supervision of offenders in the community is demanding and complex work; notes the Government’s intention to subject the majority of probation work to competitive tender; and therefore calls on the Government to pilot the proposals first and independently evaluate them before there is any national roll-out of the Transforming Rehabilitation Agenda.
937 NON-DIRECT DEBIT SURCHARGE BY ENERGY COMPANIES 13:1:14
That this House notes that 17 energy companies are effectively charging consumers extra for not paying by direct debit; condemns those companies for that practice; further notes that four energy companies offer other payment methods at no extra cost; concludes that many companies are charging excessive fees to consumers using alternate payment methods; and therefore urges Ofgem and the Government to investigate those charges.
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.
943 AIRTRICITY CHARGES FOR NOT PAYING BY DIRECT DEBIT 14:1:14
That this House condemns Airtricity for charging consumers up to £80 per annum for not paying their gas and electricity bills by direct debit; notes that 45 per cent of households do not pay their electricity bills by direct debit; further notes that one million British adults do not have a bank account so paying by direct debit is impossible; recognises that this hits the poorest and most vulnerable people in society the hardest; and calls on the Government and the regulator to review this issue.
944 VENDING MACHINES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 14:1:14
That this House notes the introduction of a number of newly-installed vending machines on the Parliamentary Estate packed with crisps, fizzy drinks and confectionery; questions the thinking behind the installation of these additional machines within an institution which purports to care about the health of the nation via the work of many hon. and right hon. Members devoted to health-related issues via All-Party Parliamentary Groups, Early Day Motions and other parliamentary means; further notes the fact that 2014 commenced with National Obesity Week; and calls on the House of Commons Commission to reconsider the content of those machines with a view to ensuring that they be altered to include fruit and a number of health beverages and snacks so that all who work in Parliament will have easy access to nutritious items rather than those significantly more detrimental to our health and wellbeing and thus that of the NHS.
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 an 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.
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.
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.
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.
963 KIDNAP OF FATHER JEAN-PIERRE NDULANI 17:1:14
That this House calls on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to make representations to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United Nations peacekeeping mission MONUSCO regarding the kidnapping of Father Jean-Pierre Ndulani and his colleagues Anselme Wasikundi and Edmond Bamutute from Our Lady of the Poor Parish Church house in Mbau, North Kivu region on 19 October 2012 by an armed group; notes that the three have been in captivity for over a year despite a ranson being paid; pays tribute to the work Father Ndulani undertook while a priest at Wellburn care home in Dundee for six years; and calls on the local authorities and the international community to increase their efforts in order to secure their release without further delay.
965 SELF-BUILD HOUSING 20:1:14
That this House notes the promise made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to remove self-build housing from the community infrastructure levy; regrets the lack of progress in implementing this decision; and urges the Government to promptly institute this change and remove this unfair tax on those building their own home and give small building firms, home ownership and housing a much needed boost.
966 HOMOPHOBIA IN FOOTBALL 20:1:14
That this House welcomes former Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger's decision to announce his sexuality; supports Gainsborough Trinity player Liam Davis, Britain's only male openly gay semi-professional or professional footballer; further supports efforts to eradicate homophobic abuse from football by campaigns such as the Football Association-backed Football v. Homophobia campaign; notes the positive changes that have occurred since Justin Fashanu came out in 1990; recognises there is still more progress to be made to remove homophobia in football; and calls on all clubs, supporters, football authorities, police and relevant authorities to work together to eradicate this abuse.
967 ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY SERVICES 20:1:14
That this House recognises the current crisis facing the provision of accident and emergency services; acknowledges that an inadequate resourcing of the training, recruitment and retention regime is leading to a shortfall in accident and emergency health practitioners throughout the NHS; is concerned that this is putting patients at risk and creating further costs elsewhere in the system; further recognises the high cost associated with a reliance on locum doctors to provide these services; concurs with the comments made in The Independent by the President of the College of Emergency Medicine Dr Clifford Mann, stating that this problem has resulted from an under-investment in training going back to 2010 that has caused a chronic shortage in the recruitment of accident and emergency doctors; is critical of the closure of weekend accident and emergency services at the Downe Hospital in South Down and other local hospitals in Northern Ireland, which has placed an excessive strain on other accident and emergency wards including the Royal Victoria Hospital, where there was a major incident on 8 January 2014; and calls on the Government to conduct an urgent review of accident and emergency services and to work with the devolved administrations to address this problem.
As an Amendment to Ms Margaret Ritchie's proposed Motion (Accident And Emergency Services):
Line12, after `2014', insert `and at the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald'. 22:1:14(a1)
968 BETTER ENERGY CHARGES FOR NOT PAYING BY DIRECT DEBIT 21:1:14
That this House condemns Better Energy for charging consumers 10 pence more per day for not paying their gas and electric bills by direct debit; notes that 45 per cent of households do not pay their electricity bills by direct debit; further notes that one million British adults do not have a bank account, so paying by direct debit is impossible; recognises that this hits the poorest and most vulnerable people in society the hardest; and calls for the Government and the regulator to review this issue.
969 ATLANTIC CHARGES FOR NOT PAYING BY DIRECT DEBIT 21:1:14
That this House condemns Atlantic for charging consumers up to £40 per annum per fuel type for not paying their gas and electric bills by direct debit; notes that 45 per cent of households do not pay their electricity bills by direct debit; further notes that one million British adults do not have a bank account, so paying by direct debit is impossible; recognises that this hits the poorest and most vulnerable people in society the hardest; and calls for the Government and the regulator to review this issue.
970 BRITISH GAS CHARGES FOR NOT PAYING BY DIRECT DEBIT 21:1:14
That this House condemns British Gas for charging consumers an average of £73 extra per annum for not paying their gas and electric bills by direct debit; notes that 45 per cent of households do not pay their electricity bills by direct debit; further notes that one million British adults do not have a bank account, so paying by direct debit is impossible; recognises that this hits the poorest and most vulnerable people in society the hardest; and calls for the Government and the regulator to review this issue.
971 SOCIAL ECONOMY ALLIANCE 21:1:14
That this House welcomes the Social Economy Alliance, a new voice on the economy, made up of more than 20 respected social and co-operative enterprises, universities, think tanks, social finance and housing associations; recognises that social and economic policy must be mutually reinforcing and that the UK can foster bottom-up economic growth and take advantage of the many innovations the social sector has created; further recognises that social enterprises and co-operatives are outperforming mainstream businesses and that alternative banks have better returns on assets as well as lower volatility and higher growth, and that these organisations are economically successful while having a positive impact on society and the environment; and calls on the Government to ensure much greater alignment between social and economic policy-making to meet the needs of communities around the UK.
972 NATIONAL INSURANCE CREDITS AND YOUNG PEOPLE 21:1:14
That this House recognises the need to support young people in education and training; notes the need to incentivise and support these young people; and calls on the Government to give 16-18 year olds in education and training, including apprenticeships, two years worth of national insurance credits to provide this support.
973 PAKISTAN-UK PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDSHIP GROUP 21:1:14
That this House welcomes the reconstitution of the Pakistan-UK Parliamentary Friendship Group in the National Assembly of Pakistan; commends the Friendship Group on securing over 90 members of the Pakistan National Assembly from across Pakistan's political parties ensuring genuine cross-party representation; notes that the Convener of the Friendship Group, Dr Fahmida Mirza MNA, is a former Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan; further welcomes the wealth of Parliamentary experience that Dr Mirza will bring to the leadership of the Friendship Group; further commends the role of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's UK branch (CPA UK) in facilitating a letter of agreement between the Pakistan National Assembly and the UK Parliament's Pakistan All-Party Parliamentary Group during the last Pakistan parliament; encourages CPA UK and the Pakistan National Assembly to build on the reconstitution of the Friendship Group through continuing with their partnership programme and delegations; further notes that Pakistan and the UK have deep social and cultural ties alongside a growing trade relationship worth over £2 billion; further notes that many British citizens have family and other ties to Pakistan, with around 270,000 visiting Pakistan every year; and therefore encourages the Government to seek to maintain and improve relations between Pakistan and the UK.
974 HARLOW MECCA BINGO 21:1:14
That this House recognises that Harlow Mecca Bingo is one of the biggest bingo clubs in the country, with 54,000 members; notes that their staff are second-to-none; further notes that Harlow Mecca Bingo provides an important role in Harlow's community; 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; and therefore urges the Government to reduce this tax to 15 per cent in line with other forms of gambling, to ensure that Harlow Mecca Bingo continues to have a strong future.
975 ADULT AUTISM STRATEGY 22:1:14
That this House is aware of the forthcoming publication of the revised Adult Autism Strategy; notes that, since the passing of the Autism Act 2009, the implementation of that Act has so far been patchy, with some areas taking the correct steps to reform services, whilst others are significantly lagging behind with the necessary changes; is further aware that the National Autistic Society has highlighted areas of concern yet to be addressed by the relevant Government departments, which includes the introduction of an innovation fund to encourage the development of new and innovative models of provision for people with autism which can be shared by different authorities, and the introduction of a community-based awareness-raising scheme; and calls on the Government to listen to such sound advice that will undoubtedly help the delivery of an autism strategy which is fit for purpose.
976 CONDUCT OF MORTGAGE LENDERS 22:1:14
That this House condemns mortgage lenders breaching tracker rate mortgage contracts by unilaterally increasing the margin they charge over the Bank of England base rate in order to increase their profit margins and deliberately targeting borrowers where consumer protection law is ambiguous; and calls on the Government to investigate the alleged associated recent activities of the Bank of Ireland and West Bromwich Building Society.
977 POLITICAL NEGOTIATIONS IN BAHRAIN 22:1:14
That this House welcomes the meeting held on 16 January 2014 between Bahrain's Crown Prince, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and Bahraini opposition leaders, including Ali Salman Ahmed Salman, Secretary-General of Al-Wefaq; hopes that this meeting signals the willingness of the Bahraini government to engage in meaningful negotiations leading to substantive political reform; believes that ultimately such negotiations should result in greater and fairer political representation, the rule of law and an end to discrimination; urges the Bahraini government to carry out confidence-building measures, including the implementation of all the recommendations of the report by the Bahraini Independent Commission of Inquiry and the UN Universal Periodic Review, as well as the release of all political prisoners; calls on the Bahraini government to stop sending out mixed messages to, and persecuting, those committed to peaceful political change; and calls on the international community to build on the momentum generated by the meeting by encouraging all sides to adopt a road map and timetable for subsequent negotiations to resolve the ongoing political crisis in that country.
978 GENDER SELECTION ABORTION 22:1:14
That this House notes the issue of gender selection abortions, particularly in countries where there has traditionally been a male culture; and calls on the Government to ensure that, given the numbers of people in the UK who are either from those countries or have family ties there, that the practice is totally unacceptable, and every step will be taken to ensure that it is not carried out in the UK.
979 PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY AND CARE.DATA 22:1:14
That this House views with concern the plans of NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre known as care.data, which will extract and link large amounts of patient data as part of NHS care in order to improve healthcare and benefit researchers inside and outside the NHS; shares the concerns of the Information Commissioner, who delayed the start date for the harvesting of patient data by a year to spring 2014, due to concerns about the confidentiality of the extracted data and lack of public awareness; welcomes the public awareness campaign but believes that these plans, which operate on the assumption of presumed consent unless individuals opt out, fundamentally compromise the principle of patient confidentiality; has no faith in Government assertions that patient data will be coded in such a way as to guarantee anonymity, particularly as it reserves the right, in the public interest and for the benefit of the health service, to allow access to identifiable data; is mindful of the history of large-scale data mismanagement and leakage across government; believes that patients themselves should determine when and why their own medical information is used; further believes that if the Government wishes to improve healthcare it should first address deep-seated issues of mismanagement and lack of transparency and oversight in the NHS; and calls on the Government to delay indefinitely the introduction of care.data to allow further consultation with patients and patient groups and until the central principle of opting-in has been accepted.
980 WOMEN AND CHILDREN SUFFERING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE BENEFIT CAP 22:1:14
That this House welcomes the petition by Women Against Rape calling on the Government to put the safety of women and children first by lifting the benefit cap so they are not trapped in violent relationships where they risk injury, trauma and even death; deplores that mothers and children fleeing domestic violence are impoverished by the cap after rent is paid, including in social housing, and are sometimes left with nil income; further deplores that even Child Benefit and many refuges and hostels for vulnerable women are not exempted from the cap; notes that many such families are forced to rely on discretionary housing payments from their local council which are temporary and uncertain; considers it unacceptable that local councils be expected to make up for cuts in national social security benefits; further notes that many victims of violence are unable to find a job immediately or to move to a cheaper area, and need time to recover and reassure distressed children, close to supportive friends and relatives; and calls on the Government to lift the cap to protect current and future potential victims of domestic violence.
981 CO-OPERATIVE ENERGY CHARGES FOR NOT PAYING BY DIRECT DEBIT 22:1:14
That this House condemns Co-operative Energy for charging consumers up to £60 per year for not paying their gas and electricity bills by direct debit; notes that 45 per cent of households do not pay their electricity bills by direct debit; further notes that one million British adults do not have a bank account so paying by direct debit is impossible; recognises that this hits the poorest and most vulnerable people in society the hardest; and calls on the Government and the regulator to review this issue.
982 MR MASUD AHMAD AND THE PERSECUTION OF THE AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN PAKISTAN 22:1:14
That this House notes the case of the British national, Mr Masud Ahmad, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, who is imprisoned in Pakistan under the country's draconian anti-Ahmadi laws after being secretly filmed reading the Holy Qur'an; condemns Pakistan's continued persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community; further condemns the anti-Ahmadi laws that are used to target Ahmadi Muslims and the blasphemy laws that are used to target religious groups to deny them their right to freedom of religion; acknowledges the risk that ongoing detention poses to Mr Ahmad's life; and therefore calls on the Government to make representations to the Pakistani authorities, urging them to withdraw charges against Mr Ahmad and release him with immediate effect in line with the country's stated commitment to religious freedom and tolerance under the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
983 BROWNIES 100th ANNIVERSARY 22:1:14
That this House congratulates the Brownies on their 100th anniversary year which has just commenced; notes that a quarter of all eight-year-old girls in the UK are in Brownie packs, the section of the Guide movement for those aged eight to 10; recognises that the evolution of the programme of activities enjoyed by Brownies over the decades has kept pace with the needs and aspirations of this age group within what is now known as Girlguiding UK; pays tribute to Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts in 1907 and Girl Guides in 1910, for establishing the Rosebuds in 1914 with the name changed to Brownies the following year; places on record its appreciation to all the uniformed leaders and helpers who have contributed to the success of the Brownies over the last 100 years; and wishes the Brownies continuing success in the years ahead.
984 WATER CANNON 22:1:14
That this House notes with concern plans to equip the Metropolitan Police with a water cannon; further notes that no water cannon are currently in use on mainland Britain; recognises the physical harm water cannon can inflict, as demonstrated by their use in Germany; believes that the introduction of a water cannon onto London's streets would run against our tradition of intelligence-led, community policing; and calls on the Mayor of London and the Metropolitan Police to abandon these plans.
985 E.ON ENERGY CHARGES FOR NOT PAYING BY DIRECT DEBIT 22:1:14
That this House condemns E.ON for charging consumers up to £70 per year for not paying their gas and electricity bills by direct debit; notes that 45 per cent of households do not pay their electricity bills by direct debit; further notes that one million British adults do not have a bank account so paying by direct debit is impossible; recognises that this hits the poorest and most vulnerable people in society the hardest; and calls on the Government and the regulator to review this issue.
986 EDF ENERGY CHARGES FOR NOT PAYING BY DIRECT DEBIT 22:1:14
That this House condemns EDF Energy for charging consumers up to £74 per year for not paying their gas and electricity bills by direct debt; notes that 45 per cent of households do not pay their electricity bills by direct debit; further notes that one million British adults do not have a bank account so paying by direct debit is impossible; recognises that this hits the poorest and most vulnerable people in society the hardest; and calls on the Government and the regulator to review this issue.
987 PUNCH TAVERNS TENANTS' DEPOSITS 22:1:14
That this House notes that Punch Taverns plc has announced final terms of its proposed debt restructuring to be voted on by the company's bondholders on 14 February 2014; further notes, with concern, that under the terms of the restructuring, £52 million described as Available Cash held outside the securitisations will be injected into Punch B, reducing this reserve to a total of £6 million; further notes that Punch Taverns plc requires its retailer partners to deposit with them cash, as credit collateral, and in its Annual Report 2013 these deposits totalled £22.6 million; recalls that this House has found it necessary to legislate to protect tenants when landlords hold deposits of this nature, with the risk that when they come into financial difficulties they might seek to utilise tenants' deposits for purposes other than underwriting the obligations of the tenant to the landlord; therefore calls on the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to seek specific reassurances from Punch Taverns plc as to the status of retailer partner deposits and strict confirmation that the funds held as credit collateral from their retail partners is hypothecated to those retail partners in the event of corporate administration; and requests that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills reviews the law regarding safeguards for small businesses when obliged to place funds at risk with commercial partners as security for their own creditworthiness without reference to the creditworthiness of the other party.