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"a photograph of his head and shoulders (showing the features of the face)".
The right hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough (Mr Blunkett) and my hon. Friends the Members for Somerton and Frome (Mr Heath) and for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) may wake up one day and decide that they would like to use the razor to a greater extent than usual. If they take such action and do not tell the Government, they must pay a £1,000 fine for not sending another photograph.
The passport system is simple and straightforward. Every 10 years, people must renew their passports and send in a new photograph. At one stage the Government got into a real mess with babies. They required a baby not to have its mouth open when being photographed, and people had to send in 20 photographs before one was considered acceptable. That was a serious problem. Under the ID card system, such people would fall outside the time limits specified in section 10 of the Act, and would have to pay a £1,000 fine.
My daughter decided to dye her hair green. Obviously that is a change, involving not just the price of the dye but a possible £1,000 fine for dyeing her hair green and not telling the Government. Let us suppose that I decide tomorrow to put on a dress and call myself Doris. The statutory instrument requires me to tell the Government that I am calling myself Doris and have an alternative gender. If the day after that I decide to call myself Ethel and do not tell the Government, I will have to pay a £1,000 fine. The Government are definitely making good progress in getting rid of the deficit: this is a very good stealth tax.
It is all a question of whether the Government serve the citizen or the citizen serves the Government. One of my constituents was stopped by the police on the Coventry road, which-as those who are acquainted with Yardley will know-is a very big road that, unsurprisingly, leads to Coventry. Everything, including his insurance, was perfect, but the wrong box was ticked on a form, and he was subsequently prosecuted and convicted of an offence that he had not committed. It took a lot of doing for us to reverse the conviction and remove it from the system. That is an example of what can happen when things are done for the convenience of the state rather than the convenience of the citizen. The right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson) said that this was not Big Brother, but I think that having to tell the Government every time one does something is a bit like Big Brother.
During the general election campaign I cut my finger on a piece of paper, and obviously that changed my fingerprint. Schedule 1.2 is headed "Identifying information", and subparagraph (c) refers to fingerprints. If I had had an ID card and had not told the Government that I had cut my finger, I would have had to pay a
£1,000 fine. Members may laugh, but such things happen. The purpose of speed cameras was to make money out of the fines. If a Department is targeted to be self-financing, it will look for solutions such as another change that should have been, but has not been, put on the identity card register.
There is no point in my reading out all of schedule 1, which is available to Members, as are the regulations which amend schedule 1. More than 50 pieces of information may be required, but the main issue is the sudden creation of a major duty for the citizen to tell the Government everything that he or she does. We all know how good the Government are at keeping information secure. They can get a little memory stick and lose a number of bank accounts, for instance. There is also the question of access to the information. The Data Protection Act may make it an offence to sell access to any of the databases, but when there is a single database in a single place all the information is tidily collated, and it may be worth someone's while to obtain and pass to someone else information such as where a holiday home is in France, what name a person uses when wearing a dress, the colour of a person's hair, or a national insurance number.
Caroline Flint (Don Valley) (Lab): I am the proud owner of an ID card, and I went through the process of filling in the application form. Yes, I did give information such as my name and address, but there were huge parts of the form that I did not have to fill in, because I had already provided that information in order to obtain my passport. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that we should not give such information in order to obtain a passport?
John Hemming: When we apply for a passport, every 10 years, we provide a new photograph. I, for example, am a little bit follicly challenged, and at some stage I must recognise that.
John Hemming: If I follow the hon. Gentleman's advice and shave it off, and then do not provide a photograph for the ID register, I will pay a £1,000 fine.
It is recognised that passport photographs go out of date. That is why children's passports do not last as long as adults' passports. But, having applied for a passport, we do not have a duty to tell the passport office that we have moved to a new address, or that the location of a second home has changed. There will be no £1,000 fine in such circumstances. The real difference is that individual citizens are threatened with a fine of up to £1,000 if they do not inform the Government's ID card department of such changes. It could be said that the most intrusive aspect is not the ID card itself, but the maintenance of the register and, in particular, the duty for the individual to update the register.
I think that all the other aspects have been ably dealt with. A voluntary scheme is unlikely to achieve anything in terms of preventing crime, particularly serious crime. People who are willing to die in the process of committing crime will not be frightened of a £1,000 fine for not giving a photograph of themselves to the Government. We have heard no good arguments for how ID cards and the ID database would prevent crime. What is clear is that the identity register is massively intrusive. The duty that it places on the citizen to inform the Government
of every change is an extreme step, forcing people to serve the Government and make things convenient for them by providing such information. It is obvious that this is all about convenience in the provision of services. The public interest is defined as the achievement of more efficiency in providing public services. The basic point is that the Government are here to serve the citizen; the citizen is not here to serve the Government.
Jack Dromey (Birmingham, Erdington) (Lab): I congratulate you, Mr Deputy Speaker, on your election and thank you for the opportunity to make my maiden speech. It is a privilege-an interesting one-to follow a fellow Birmingham MP, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley (John Hemming), who made the point very well that was brought out by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough (Mr Blunkett) that there are those who believe in caricatures and myths.
Birmingham, which I am proud to represent, is a remarkable city, the birthplace of local government and municipal enterprise. Under Joseph Chamberlain and the visionary Victorian pioneers, Birmingham city council provided gas, water and electricity. The council built some of the first swimming pools because it understood the link between health and well-being. Some of those pools are still in use, including the great Moseley Road baths. Birmingham city council even established a municipal bank.
In the 20th century, under visionary pioneers such as Dick Knowles, the national exhibition centre, the national convention centre and the national indoor arena were remarkable examples of municipal enterprise and partnership with the private sector, which brought millions to Birmingham.
Birmingham remains the industrial heartland of Britain: 100,000 people work in manufacturing. Birmingham's manufacturing contributes billions to our economy and to the quality of life and the culture of Birmingham itself. That is captured by the legend in the municipal museum,
"By the gains of Industry we promote Art."
Birmingham is indeed a city of culture that deserves to win the accolade of European city of culture.
Birmingham is a city of diversity. As the proud son of Irish parents who left the emerald isle to escape poverty and to build a better life, I feel at home with what is the largest Irish community outside London, the Erin Go Bragh Gaelic games club, the magnificent St Patrick's day parade and enjoying the craic in the New Inns. I feel at home in a city that celebrates its diversity: the Afro-Caribbean community and its churches, Vaisakhi, that great Sikh festival that brought 100,000 people to Birmingham's Central park, and St George's day, celebrated with passion in the working men and working women's clubs, with more flags of St George being flown than I have ever seen before-English people proud of their identity and rightly recapturing the flag from the brain-dead bootboys of the BNP.
Birmingham is characterised by Brummie pride. There is a distinct ethos of hard work and enterprise, of smiling in adversity, of community and solidarity. I have attended excellent events such as that for Help for
Heroes. These are proud people in proud communities in Erdington. Castle Vale, which I am privileged to represent-entered through Spitfire island, rebuilt under the remarkable Robin Corbett-is still a remarkable community to this day. It has a great community spirit; 5,000 people turned out recently to celebrate the life of a young girl who died of asthma and to raise money for charity so that no more would follow that terrible fate. Among the great communities of Erdington are Pype Hayes, the Asian community in Slade road, the traditional Green, Perry Common and Kingstanding.
Erdington is a constituency with manufacturing in its blood. Sadly too many workplaces have gone to the wall: Fort Dunlop, Cincinnati and IMI. However, there are still great industrial enterprises such as the Jaguar plant, the jewel in the crown of manufacturing excellence; GKN; Valor Fires, recently the winner of the Queen's award; and small but dynamic companies such as Guhring.
Erdington is a stronger, fairer, better place thanks to 13 years of a Labour Government. The schools were rebuilt and new children's centres were built, including the Gunter school and children's centre, giving kids the best possible start in life. We have world-class health centres such as that in Stockland Green. Thousands of homes have been renovated as a consequence of Labour's decent homes programme, including those on the Lyndhurst estate.
For all those advances over 13 years, Erdington has enduring deep-seated problems, including high unemployment. I have seen the impact of that. An excellent craftsmen from LDV lost his job and five years on was desperate to get back into work. A young builder from Marsh lane was almost in tears with frustration because he could not get a job in the industry for which he had been trained. Often there is still poor housing, long waiting lists and a lack of affordable family housing, which divides families and breaks up communities.
Crime is down thanks to Labour's investment in the police and the excellent police community support officers in Erdington, but there are still too many examples of unacceptable antisocial behaviour. Too many people in Erdington were left behind, including those in Kingstanding. People lost their jobs three or four times in the 1980s and some of them never went back to work again. Two generations have grown up in workless households.
Erdington is a community that believes in the power of community, solidarity and self-help. I mention the excellent Enta project. Recently I was privileged to be with young men and women who had been brought back into the labour market by that excellent organisation, which believes in the legend of that song "You Raise Me Up". But Erdington is a community that knows this: the deep-seated problems of jobs and housing are incapable of resolution without the power of good government.
For 25 years I fought great battles for working people in Birmingham. I am a Labour man proud of my trade union background, but I have worked with those from other political parties: the admirable hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire (Peter Luff), who chaired brilliantly the recent Select Committee inquiry into the scandal of the Kraft takeover of Cadbury's; Baroness Shephard, who stood alongside me and my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan) in the drive to take the Gangmasters (Licensing) Bill into
law, ending modern-day slavery; and the right hon. and learned Member for North East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell), with whom I fought to save Rosyth dockyard from closure in Scotland. Therefore, where the Government get it right, I will work with them, but where government, national or local, gets it wrong, I will stand up for the people of Erdington as their champion, fighting their corner, making a difference for them and with them, and defending that which matters to their lives. There can be no rolling back of those great advances that we have made. Yes, choices have to be made, but I will resist any notion of asking those who are least able to bear the burden to pay the price of the misdeeds of the bankers.
I have seen that at first hand. A young schizophrenic approached me in Erdington high street and said, "Jack, for 10 years I could not get out of my home. Now I can, helped by a local project. They are going to help me to get back into work, but what will I do when they close the project because of city council cuts?" Therefore, my message to the Government is this: if they cut the future jobs fund, they will deprive the unemployed of Erdington of hope; if they cut the child trust fund, they will deprive parents of modest means of the ability to pass on to their children assets for the future; if they cut Labour's expansion of university places, it will not be the stockbroker belt of Surrey and Sussex that suffers, but the young working-class kids of Erdington who will be deprived of the chance to become the first in their family to go to university.
I pay tribute to my predecessors: Robin Corbett and Siôn Simon, who have served the people of Erdington well, and I hope to follow in their footsteps. I have one other message to Government: do not step back from what Labour has done in recent years on industrial activism-that necessary partnership between industry and good Government. Everyone now understands, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, that we must rebalance our economy, no longer be heavily dependent on the financial sector but again rebuild the real economy, including our manufacturing base.
Locally, I have seen this in Castle Vale. The admirable chief executive of the Castle Vale community housing association says that we have rebuilt the housing and built a community, but we have a desperate shortage of jobs. That is why my No. 1 priority will be jobs and manufacturing-and I have to say that the subject of ID cards did not come up once in the 4,000 doorstep discussions I had throughout the general election campaign.
My priority will be jobs and manufacturing. I want us to preserve what is left of our manufacturing base, which is why I will promote a "Cadbury's law" so that we protect vital British industrial assets from hostile takeovers by foreign multinationals. That is why I will stand up for the future of the Jaguar plant in my constituency, and that is why I will work-with Government, I hope-to promote the hi-tech industries of the future. I want green manufacturing in Birmingham and a green investment bank for Birmingham, but as I know from experience of dealing with major manufacturing companies, there is a simple reality: manufacturing will flourish only if there is a partnership between good government and these world-class companies.
Historically, Birmingham was the laboratory of the world and the workshop of the world, combining British genius, enterprise and hard work. Too often now, however, it is British genius, but made in China. For both
Birmingham and Britain, the single biggest task is the renaissance of our manufacturing industries, and I say this to the Government: do not walk away from Birmingham's great industries, and do not condemn this generation to the fate suffered by that of the 1980s. In the 21st century, we must not have a generation of young people with no work and no hope. Birmingham, Erdington deserves better.
Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con): I congratulate you on your election, Mr Deputy Speaker, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to make my maiden speech. I also congratulate the previous maiden speaker, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Jack Dromey), not only on his excellent speech but, if I am not mistaken, on becoming the first Member of this House to make his maiden speech while his wife, the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman), was not only present in the Chamber but sitting before him on the Front Bench.
It is a big step for anyone to represent his cathedral city in this House. Many previous maiden speakers have alluded to the difficulties of filling the large shoes of their predecessors. In my case, that is literally true as both of my feet would probably fit into one of Parmjit Dhanda's shoes. I pay tribute to him for the work he did on behalf of Gloucester, his great interest in Gloucester City football club and his contribution to the relocation and rebuilding of Gloucestershire college. I also respected his enthusiasm-although I did not share it at all-for the regionalisation of many things, including government, planning, the police and fire control centres. In these respects at least, I hope that small is beautiful.
It is appropriate that I am making this maiden speech on behalf of my Gloucester constituents during the Second Reading debate of the Bill to abolish ID cards, which are certainly a vivid example of the misuse of both parliamentary time and taxpayer money.
The main issue in my city and others like it is not dissimilar to that described by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington: we are a great working city which now has record youth unemployment and too many families with no working role model-in fact, there are occasionally three generations living entirely off benefits. I believe that everyone in Gloucester will support me in our main endeavour today-to increase business growth in order to generate more jobs, especially for the young, and that this will in turn generate the tax revenues that fund the front-line services that are so crucial for everyone in my city.
Let me try to put our work in context. Gloucester first appeared on the map through two early attempts at European integration: first, it was the Roman colonia of Glevum, and it was then at the forefront of a large Norman military and religious building programme, which has left us with the glories of Gloucester cathedral. However, as Conservative Members know so well, economic development rarely follows Government plans, and our next phase of mass tourism was created by the unfortunate and regrettable homophobic act of regicide against Edward II in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Neil Carmichael). The numbers of pilgrims then arriving in our city have only recently been exceeded, with another pilgrimage after the filming of Harry Potter in our cloisters.
Our true business adaptability was shown during the industrial revolution, however, when we created, first, the world's deepest canal, and then Britain's most inland port, to bring raw materials to Gloucester to make things. That is where my city has excelled: we have always made things. We manufactured wagons during the age of the railway to carry everything from coal to maharajahs, with slightly different degrees of comfort, and most spectacularly we built the world's first jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, which was exported to 14 countries.
Today, we face different times and challenges. Like many other constituencies, our business sector has a strong retail and financial element, but we continue to manufacture despite the large drop in our manufacturing sector during the last 10 years. Some 15% of Gloucester's gross domestic product still comes from manufacturing, including health products and large quantities of materials for the aerospace industry such as insulation, coatings and cylinders, and almost every ice cream that every Member has eaten in this country comes from the Wall's ice cream factory in Gloucester.
It is as a symbol that I am today wearing something manufactured in Gloucester. The shirt I am wearing was made two days ago on the Cross in the heart of our city by Gloucester cutters and machinists, and I am proud to say that the company that makes these wonderful shirts will shortly be opening a retail space in Bombay, demonstrating that Gloucester will soon be exporting to India again.
At the same time as this greater diversity in manufacturing and business enterprise, we have seen a growing diversity of our residents. I thought it would be useful as a new Member of Parliament to have lived and worked in 10 countries and to speak the languages of eight of them, but the people of Gloucester speak 46 languages and so, in this as in so much else, I still have a lot to learn.
It will be of interest to Members to learn that many of our residents from overseas come from close to the Indian port of Surat in Gujarat, which was, by wonderful historical irony, the port where Elizabethan sailors from this country first landed in India some 450 years ago. I welcome all my friends from Gujarat, and also more recent arrivals. I am proud to have been invited as the guest of honour at the opening this weekend of the new association for Tamils and also to an event by the Polish community.
Today, the truth is that all of us, whatever our origins, face severe difficulties in handling the record youth unemployment and in trying to re-grow our economy to provide jobs for our young people. That is why all my constituents will welcome measures taken by this Government to stimulate business, which we must remind ourselves is the sole source of growth, providing jobs and then tax revenues for the services that many Members are calling for in our different constituencies.
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