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On a point of order, Sir Michael. You have spent the past six minutes reading out a raft of clauses and amendments that the House has not had the opportunity to consider. I calculate that a full Committee of the House has been unable to scrutinise some 133 clauses. I would like you to advise me, Sir Michael, on whether there is anything that I can do about it, given that my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) raised the matter with the Leader of the House last Thursday during business questions and requested extra time for the Committee stage. The Leader of the House failed even to acknowledge her request. Is it right for the people of Wales to be so badly ignored by the House and the Government? Is it right that 133 clauses, including the extremely complex financial provisions, should not be
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scrutinised? It is a disgrace. The Government have let the people of Wales down. Is there anything that we can do to extend the Committee stage?
The Second Deputy Chairman: That is not a matter for the Chair at this juncture. The House has already decided those matters. There is nothing that I, personally, as the Chair this evening, can do about it.
That, at the sitting on Tuesday 31st January, proceedings on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House in the name of the Prime Minister relating to pensions may continue, though opposed, for three hours or until Ten o'clock, whichever is the later, and shall then lapse if not previously disposed of.[Tom Watson.]
Mr. Andrew Pelling (Croydon, Central) (Con): I present a petition on behalf of the IsItFair council tax campaign, on this occasion sponsored by the Monks Orchard residents' association in my constituency.
That the year-on-year above-inflation increases in Council Tax are causing hardship to many and take no account of ability to pay: further, that the proposed property revaluation and re-banding exercise will make an already flawed system even worse.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons votes to replace Council Tax with a fair and equitable tax that, without recourse to any supplementary benefit, takes into account ability to pay from disposable income, such tax to be based on a system that is free from any geographically or politically motivated discrimination, and that clearly identifies the fiscal and managerial responsibilities of all involved parties.
Mr. Ben Wallace (Lancaster and Wyre) (Con): I am relieved to have been called for this debate, because it is certainly timely that the constituents of Lancaster and Wyre should be given answers as to their fate if they work in the Department for Work and Pensions across the Fylde coast. The Fylde coast has a number of DWP sites, including Norcross in my constituency, Peel Park, Warbreck in Blackpool, and Lytham St. Annes. I also have numerous constituents who work at the Department's Preston Dock site.
To date, there have been 169 redeployments off site from Norcross, and 56 on site. According to the Public and Commercial Services union, some 800 jobs have already gone as a result of the current review. The job losses are planned not in a consistent and strategic way but in a haphazard way. My experience, after visiting the site, was that a number of civil servants had been told that, as part of the review of manning levels in the Department, their service had been centralised. The Pension Service is an example of that. Those civil servants had been removed from their former role and redeployed on site, perhaps to the Jobcentre Plus service. Having been there for a short time, they were then told by Jobcentre Plus that it was embarking on job cuts, and that they would either be redeployed again off site, or be told to wait until another agency of the Department had decided how to reconfigure the service. All this sounds rather farcical, and it is certainly not good for the civil servants, who want to know where their future lies.
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