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Banner Paul in Parliament

Paul has enjoyed an active Parliamentary Career. His posts held include:

  • Spokesman for Older People, 1997-2003
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Health, 2003-2005
  • London, Non-Departmental & Cross Departmental Responsibilities, 2005-2006
  • Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, 2006-2010
  • Member, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, 2006-2008
  • Minister of State for Health (Care Services), 2010-2012

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View Paul's written and spoken questions, statements and debates (Hansard).

View Paul's full voting record in Parliament

View Paul's profile on the BBC's 'Democracy Live'

View Paul's profile at www.theyworkforyou.com.

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Most recent appearances

  • Apr 10, 2014:
  • Apr 9, 2014:
  • Apr 1, 2014:
    • Royal Mail | Oral Answers to Questions - Health | Commons debates

      The NAO report shows that about 167,000 employees of Royal Mail -nearly 100%-have taken up the option of the free shares, which has given them a stake in its future. When a sale delivers nearly £2 billion to the taxpayer, creates nearly 700,000 retail investors and gives so many people a stake in the future of their business, is it not something that we should celebrate?

    • Physical and Mental Health (Parity of Esteem) | Oral Answers to Questions - Health | Commons debates

      The Minister is absolutely right to talk about the institutional bias and that is why it is absolutely right to introduce choice today and to set access standards for mental health for the first time. Will he go one step further and do something else that the previous Labour Government did not do by introducing the standards that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence sets for mental health and ensuring that they are must-dos as well?

  • Mar 26, 2014:
    • Prostate Cancer | Health | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Health

      (1) whether he plans to ask the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to consider using its end-of-life criteria in its appraisal of abiraterone for the treatment of metastatic hormone relapsed prostate cancer not previously treated with chemotherapy; and if he will make a statement;

      (2) what discussions his officials have had with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concerning the applicability of NICE's end-of-life criteria to (a) abiraterone for castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer previously treated with a docetaxel-containing regimen and (b) abiraterone acetate for the treatment of metastatic hormone relapsed prostate cancer not previously treated with chemotherapy since May 2010; and if he will make a statement;

      (3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the March 2012 letter from Simon Reeve in his Department to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence concerning the appraisal of the treatment abiraterone for prostate cancer.

    • Engagements | Oral Answers to Questions - Prime Minister | Commons debates

      Children with cancer are being denied new life-saving drugs because out-of-date rules governing clinical trials allow companies to exclude children, even when the drugs could treat childhood cancers. Will the Prime Minister meet me, and members of the Institute of Cancer Research, to discuss how we can get the rules changed through the European Commission so that families can have hope and we can get those treatments to children?

  • Mar 20, 2014:
    • Prostate Cancer | Cabinet Office | Written Answers

      To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 28 February 2014, Official Report, column 587W, on prostate cancer, what the standardised mortality rate from prostate cancer was in each parliamentary constituency in the latest year for which figures are available.

    • Amendment of the Law | Commons debates

      My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The two organisations in Sutton have an exceptional working relationship, which makes the site unique in the UK and up there with the best organisations in the world, such as MD Anderson in Houston and Sloan-Kettering in New York. My right hon. Friend the Business Secretary is aware of these emerging plans, and I know that my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury was very impressed when he visited the Institute of Cancer Research in January. The potential from the site is huge. There is space for life science businesses to cluster; 10,000 direct jobs; a £350 million contribution to the economy; and increased research income. These are huge opportunities and I hope that the Business Secretary and his colleagues in the Department will ensure that his officials fully engage with them so that we can realise the full potential of the project.

      Let me end my speech by making some comments about housing. What was announced in the Budget was welcome, but I think it missed an essential ingredient-a focus on the fastest-growing source of demand for housing, people over the age of 65. There is a chronic shortage of the right housing options for people in the second half of their lives. Too often, moves in later life come as a result of a crisis rather than an attempt to fulfil aspirations for a better quality of life. The Help to Buy scheme and the rules governing the community infrastructure levy need to be reviewed to help grow the market for later life housing. The impact on the housing supply chain could be profound, freeing family homes, creating jobs in renovation and helping people to make the most of their third age.

      In conclusion, there is more to be done, but the Government have ensured that growth is back, employment is rising, unemployment is falling and inflation is under control. The Government are doing the right thing and providing a sound platform for this country to move forward and that is why I support the Budget.

    • Amendment of the Law | Commons debates

      I wish to reflect on one or two significant changes that this Budget and the Government's long-term strategy are delivering, and to look at how they impact on the businesses and the people in my constituency.

      First, I welcome the further steps that have been taken on tax-free personal allowances. Some 39,000 people in my constituency will benefit from the £800 tax cut. In addition, my local council has frozen the council tax for the fifth consecutive year, which is good news for local families. None the less, we still need to go further. In due course, I hope we will be able to align the tax-free personal allowance with the national minimum wage, so that no one on the national minimum wage pays income tax.

      Secondly, I want to welcome the pension changes that were announced yesterday. The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for Thornbury and Yate (Steve Webb) has his fingerprints all over those proposals. Pensioner security has been his goal for a very long time. Linking the basic pension to rises in prices or earnings or 2.5% whichever is the higher has delivered an extra £650 to 14,879 pensioners in my constituency. That feature of our pension system should be made permanent. It would help to guarantee the foundation on which individual retirement savings are built. I also welcome what my hon. Friend said in response to me earlier on when he made his statement.

      That leads me to the radical change to the way in which people take their pensions. The change is the most radical for nearly a century, giving people greater choice on how to access their defined contribution pension savings. The current arrangements are complicated and leave pensioners feeling short-changed. By lifting restrictions on individuals who have made the right choice to save can empower people to plan for their later life. The changes reflect the longevity revolution that is taking place in our country. As life spans increase and healthy life expectancy rises, we need our pension system to adapt to support people in their third age.

      The quality of the guidance available to people when taking decisions will be critical. The fact that this guidance will be free and face to face is good news. I hope Ministers will take the opportunity to join up later life planning. The way in which long-term care is paid for in this country introduces a duty to provide information and advice, including financial advice. It must surely make sense to ensure that people are presented with a rounded picture of their later life needs. We all want to plan for our third age of active retirement, but impartial guidance should also help us to plan for our fourth age of frailty, when we sometimes need support and care. I welcome what my hon. Friend said on that, too.

      It is great news that the UK is forecast to grow faster than any other G7 economy in the first half of this year. Sustainable growth will come from a more balanced economy. We want to prosper from what we make and from our ability to translate scientific discovery into jobs and growth for UK plc.

      In my constituency, we already have a world leader in the life sciences-the Institute of Cancer Research. The institute discovers more new cancer drugs than any other academic centre in the world, as well as generating more invention income per capita than any other UK higher education institution. My council's Successful Sutton growth plan, which has already attracted £319 million of inward investment and created many more new jobs, will form the heart of an extraordinary life science campus. What makes that plan so exciting is that the institute shares its Sutton home with the Royal Marsden, which is one of the world's best cancer hospitals. That ability to translate discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside and to operate a close collaboration between clinicians and scientists provides a huge competitive advantage.

    • Amendment of the Law | Commons debates

      My hon. Friend is absolutely right that investment and exporting are key to our growth. Does he therefore welcome the other announcement that was made yesterday, which is the doubling of the tax allowance when it comes to capital investment, from £250,000 to £500,000?

    • Pensions Strategy | Business of the House | Commons debates

      The Minister has rightly championed the triple lock, making sure that the pension goes up by whichever is highest: earnings, prices or 2.5%. That is making a huge difference to pensioners in my constituency and, I suspect, the constituencies of hon. Members across the House. Will he confirm that it is the Government's intention to make that very important change a permanent feature of the pension landscape so that it gives people certainty for the future? As part of the guidance guarantee, will he ensure that a linkage is made to the duty in the Care Bill to provide information and advice in respect of care?

  • Mar 13, 2014:
    • Backbench Business - Badger Cull | Royal Assent | Commons debates

      I very much welcome this debate. I congratulate the hon. Member for St Albans (Mrs Main) on taking the initiative in calling it, and the Backbench Business Committee on selecting it and providing time for it. Now is the right time for this debate.

      The hon. Lady is certainly not responsible for ensuring that we have all the facts from a report at the Government's disposal. By the end of the debate, I hope that it will be clear to the Minister that hon. Members on both sides of the House want to see the report, and that he should at least indicate the timetable for its publication. However, several hon. Members have shared much of the material

      from the leaked report, and we should be cognisant of what it tells us about culling's lack of effectiveness and its inhumane nature, which is why I certainly support the motion.

      From listening to this debate, which has been a great education, it is clear that there is no silver bullet-no one single thing that we or the Government can do to bring easily within our grasp our shared goal of eradicating bovine TB. It is a complex, multi-faceted problem and, as such, it requires a comprehensive strategy. I therefore welcome the comments of the former Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr Heath), in which he said that there is a comprehensive strategy. Unfortunately, the strategy is all too often obscured by the need to be concerned about and to debate the inadequate evidence base. Indeed, the evidence demonstrates that culling is not the right strategy. We need to get that debate out of the way so that we can have the necessary focus on delivering all the welcome aspects of the strategy.

      The hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch) made an excellent speech and an excellent demand of the Government. It is great that the Backbench Business Committee has provided us with time to debate this issue. However, given that it does not divide us along party lines, but is of serious concern to Members across the House, I think that the Government should test the opinion of the House on a motion if they are minded to make the case for further culling.

      We have heard some compelling evidence in this debate, not least from the leaks of the report. I cannot ignore the evidence that the Government's own test for the humaneness of killing has been breached in so many cases. The guidelines say that it is sufficiently humane if a creature dies within five minutes, but 18% of the badgers did not do so. That raises questions about whether we are travelling in the right direction by maintaining support for the cull. Several colleagues have also mentioned the flight risk that exists with such operations, which can make matters worse, not better.

      Several hon. Members have referred to what Wales is doing. If we are to have an informed debate, we need to have all the evidence of the successes and failures in Wales, and to know what lessons can be learned. As my hon. Friend the Member for Torbay (Mr Sanders) said, we know that trapping and vaccinating is cheaper than culling, and that it has led to a 33% reduction in the number of cattle that have been slaughtered. He also said that having tighter biosecurity is a way of securing what we all want at a lower cost.

      I have a question for the Minister about the vaccination of cattle. Every 10 years, we are told that it will be another 10 years before we get a vaccine. One of the issues is that the tests are not sufficiently refined to distinguish between those that have the infection and those that have had the vaccine. Will the Minister indicate when we might see progress on the testing, so that the vaccine can be used more effectively?

      This is a serious matter to which the House keeps returning. I hope that the Government realise that Members across parties and across the House do not believe that the evidence is compelling and clear enough to support the use of culling.

    • School Funding | Business of the House | Commons debates

      I thank my right hon. Friend for the announcement about basic needs capital earlier this year, including the £35 million to enable Sutton to provide extra secondary school places. In his statement, he mentioned Sutton as one of the potential beneficiaries of the changes. Sutton has been short-changed in funding for education for at least 30 years, if not 40 years. Will he give us some indication of the good news that pupils, teachers and schools in Sutton can now expect in securing extra resources for teaching?

  • Mar 12, 2014:
    • Mental Health Services | Health | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason, and under what authority, NHS England requires area commissioning teams to adopt a standard national tariff deflation for mental health services where prices are determined locally.

  • Mar 11, 2014:
    • Clause 127 - Short title | Oral Answers to Questions - Treasury | Commons debates

      The Bill deserves a Third Reading because it replaces 60 years of piecemeal, dog's breakfast legislation. In place of that it will put a system focused on promoting the well-being and quality of life of the individual. It provides a foundational set of changes of the sort that my right hon. Friend the Member for Charnwood (Mr Dorrell) was talking about.

      My 18 years in this place have been about campaigning for the changes that the Bill brings about. I have seen countless Green Papers and heard countless promises of reform. This legislation brings that reform home and delivers change-change that I hope all Members will support, because it is for the good of our constituents that we are here and the Bill delivers a lot of good.

      Question put and agreed to.

      Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, with amendments.

    • Clause 127 - Short title | Oral Answers to Questions - Treasury | Commons debates

      The right hon. Gentleman expresses concern about the care crisis. Why did he abstain in yesterday's vote on the Local Government Association's proposal that there should simply be an assessment of the adequacy of funding?

    • New Clause 6 - Secretary of State's response to a section 65 regulator's report on an NHS foundation trust | Oral Answers to Questions - Treasury | Commons debates

      I think I have heard the Minister tell us that there will be an equivalency between commissioners whereby they will all have to agree to changes being led by a trust special administrator, that there will be further examination of the consultation issues, and that we will make sure that the process is used rarely and exceptionally. Given his confirmation of those things, I want him to know that I am satisfied that my concerns are being addressed. On that basis, I do not intend to press my new clause, and I urge colleagues to do likewise.

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