Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Prime Minister's Questions: 8 July 2020

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>> Anna McMorrin (Cardiff North) (Lab) If he will list his official engagements for

Wednesday 8 July 2020

>> The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) This morning, I had meetings with ministerial

colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings

later today.

>> Anna McMorrin I am shocked and angered at workers in UK

clothing factories such as Boohoo being paid a mere £3.50 an hour and being forced to

work in totally unacceptable conditions. In the 21st century, there must be no room for

exploitation and modern slavery. We must call time on fast fashion for the sake of people

and our planet, so my question is simple: what will the Prime Minister do about it?

>> The Prime Minister First, it is this Conservative Government

who set out laws against modern slavery. It is this Conservative Government who massively

increased the living wagenot only instituted the living wage, but massively increased it.

We hoped that it would be the Labour mayor of Leicester who would stand up for the interests

of the workforce in his community. That is what we will do.

>> Mr Speaker We are heading to the shadows of Lichfield

cathedral with Michael Fabricant.

>> Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con) [V] It is not just the 800-year-old Lichfield

cathedral that we have; we also have the beautiful leafy lanes, wonderful restaurants and bars.

But I will tell you what we also have: the Lichfield Garrick, which is a major theatre

in the area, and The Hub at St Marys. This is what I would like to know: I welcome the

£1.7 billion grant that is being given to support our theatres and performing artists,

but are we going to see any of it at all outside the west end, and here in Lichfield?

>> The Prime Minister I thank my hon. Friend. I can tell him that

Lichfield has been at the centre of our cultural life since Dr Johnson and David Garrick made

their famous walk and ride from Lichfield to London in the 18th century, and it will

continue to be so. We are working closely with Arts Council England to support and develop

the projects that I know are so dear to his heart.

>> Keir Starmer (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab) On Monday, when asked why care home deaths

had been so high, the Prime Minister said that

too many care homes didnt really follow the procedures in the way that they could


That has caused huge offence to frontline care workers. It has now been 48 hours. Will

the Prime Minister apologise to care workers?

>> The Prime Minister The last thing I wanted to do was to blame

careworkers for what has happened, or for any of them to think that I was blaming them,

because they have worked incredibly hard throughout this crisis, looking after some of the most

vulnerable people in our country and doing an outstanding job, and as the right hon.

and learned Gentleman knows, tragically, 257 of them have lost their lives. When it comes

to taking blame, I take full responsibility for what has happened. But the one thing that

nobody knew early on during this pandemic was that the virus was being passed asymptomatically

from person to person in the way that it is, and that is why the guidance and the procedures

changed. It is thanks to the hard work of careworkers that we have now got incidents

and outbreaks down in our care homes to the lowest level since the crisis began. That

is thanks to our careworkers and I pay tribute to them.

>> Keir Starmer That is not an apology, and it just will not

wash. The Prime Minister said that

too many care homes didnt really follow the procedures in the way that they could


It was clear what he was saying. The Prime Minister must understand just how raw this

is for many people on the frontline and for those who have lost loved ones. I quote Mark

Adams, who runs a social care charity, who spoke yesterday. He said:

Youve got 1.6 million social care workers going into work to protect our parents, our

grandparents, our children, putting their own health and potentially lives at risk.

And then to get the most senior man in the country turning round and blaming them on

what has been an absolute travesty of leadership from the Government, I just think it is appalling.”

Those are his words. I ask the Prime Minister again: will he apologise to careworkers? Yes

or no?

>> The Prime Minister The right hon. and learned Gentleman keeps

saying that I blamed or tried to blame care workers, and that is simply not the case.

The reality is that we now know things about the way the coronavirus is passed from person

to person without symptoms that we just did not know. That is why we instituted the care

home action plan on 15 April. That is why we changed the procedures. Perhaps he did

know that it was being transmitted asymptomaticallyI did not hear it at the time. Perhaps Captain

Hindsight would like to tell us that he knew that it was being transmitted asymptomatically.

Of course it was necessary to change our procedures. I want to thank our care workers for what

they have done, and this Government will continue to invest massively in our care homes and

in our care workers. By the way, it is this Government, as I said just now, that put up

the living wage by record amounts, and that is something that we can do directly to help

every care worker in the country.

>> Keir Starmer By refusing to apologise, the Prime Minister

rubs salt into the wounds of the very people that he stood at his front door and clapped.

The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary must be the only people left in the country

who think that they put aprotective ringaround care homes. Those on the frontline

know that that was not the case. I quote one care home manager from ITN News yesterday.

She said this:

Im absolutely livid at the fact that he says we didnt follow the procedures.

Because the care assistants, the nurses, everyone in the care home, have worked so hard. And

then hes got the audacity to blame us.”

Those are her words. What would the Prime Minister like to say to that care home manager?

>> The Prime Minister What I would like to say to the lady in question,

and indeed to every care home worker in the country, is that this Government appreciate

the incredible work that they have done, and we thank them for the incredible work they

have done. Let me say further that we will invest in our care homes and we will reform

the care home sector. I hope, by the way, that we will do it on the basis of cross-party

consensus and get a lasting solution to the problems in our care homes and the difficulties

many people face in funding the cost of their old age. That is what we want to do. That

is what this Government have pledged to do after 30 years of inaction, and I hope that

the right hon. and learned Gentleman will join us in doing it.

>> Keir Starmer I am glad to hear it. I gently point out that

his Government have been in power for 10 years, with no plan and no White Paper. Of course

we will join in plans for reforming social care, but 10 years have been wasted. The reality

is that more than 19,000 care home residents have died from covid-19. It is a far higher

number when we include excess deaths. Overall, around one in 20 care home residents are estimated

to have died from the virus. One in 20it is chilling. These are extraordinary numbers,

yet the Prime Minister has consistently ducked responsibility for this. Will he accept that

it is not care workers who are to blame; it is his Government?

>> The Prime Minister I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman

has got the old vice of reading out the pre-prepared question without listening to the answer I

have just given. I have made it absolutely clear that this Government take responsibility

for everything that we have done throughout this crisis. Of course I pay tribute once

again to the work of every care worker in the country and I thank them, but what we

have also done is put forward a care home action plan that has helped our care workers

and our care home industry to get the incidence of coronavirus right down in every care home

in the country to the lowest level, and we are now putting in monthly testing for every

resident in our care homes and weekly testing for every care home worker. That is thanks

to the fantastic efforts of everybody involved in NHS testing and tracingand I think,

by the way, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman should pay tribute to them as well.

>> Keir Starmer The Prime Minister continues to insult those

on the frontline by not taking these issues seriously. The Prime Minister must recognise

that huge mistakes have been made. Two months ago at PMQs I highlighted the weakness of

the early guidance on care homes. The Prime Minister, typically flippant, simply said

it wasnot true”. There were repeated warnings from the care sector and repeated

delays in providing protective equipmentthis was not hindsight; they were raised here day

in, day out and week in, week out. It was not hindsight; it was real-time for the frontline.

It was the same with routine testing. And the decision to discharge 25,000 people to

care homes without tests was clearly a mistake. Will the Prime Minister simply accept that

his Government were just too slow to act on care homes, full stop?

>> The Prime Minister The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows

very wellor he should know very wellthat the understanding of the disease has changed

dramatically in the months that we have had it. When he looks at the action plan that

we brought in to help our care workers, I think he would appreciate the vast amount

of work that they have done, the PPE that they have been supplied with and the testing

that they have been supplied with. That has helped them to get the incidence of the disease

down to record lows, and it has enabled us to get on with our work, as the Government,

in getting this country through this epidemicgetting this country back on its feet. That is what

this country wants to see. We have stuck to our plan to open up our economy gradually

and cautiously; one week he is in favour of it, the next week he is against it. What this

country wants to see is a steady, stable approach to getting our country back on its feet. That

is what we are delivering.

>> Keir Starmer Finally, to add further insult to injury,

there are reports this morning that the Government are to remove free hospital parking for NHS

workers in England. The Prime Minister will know that this could cost hundreds of pounds

a month for our nurses, our doctors, our carers and our support staff. We owe our NHS workers

so much. We all clap for them; we should be rewarding them, not making it more expensive

to go to work. The Prime Minister must know that this is wrong; will he reconsider and

rule it out?

>> The Prime Minister The hospital car parks are free for NHS staff

for this pandemicthey are free nowand we are going to get on with our manifesto

commitment to make them free for patients who need them as well. The House will know

that that was never the case under the Labour Governmentneither for staff nor for patients.

May I respectfully suggest that the right hon. and learned Gentleman takes his latest

bandwagon and parks it free somewhere else? One week he is backing us; the next week he

is not. One week he is in favour of a tax on wealth and tax on homes; the next week

he tries to tiptoe away from it. We know how it works: he takes one brief one week, one

brief the next. He is consistent only in his opportunism, whereas we get on with our agenda:

build, build, build for jobs, jobs, jobs. The House will hear more about that shortly.

>> Mark Pawsey (Rugby) (Con) My well-known and much loved constituent Alan

Young died of cancer last year, having been cared for at Myton Hospice in Warwick. I am

sure the Prime Minister will remember the very moving letter that he received from Alans

brave nine-year-old son Tommywhich Tommy read out on local radiopraising Myton for

looking after his dad and asking for the hospice to receive support. The Government are providing

£200 million per quarter for hospices during the current emergency, so it is very clear

that the Prime Minister appreciates their work. Will he join me, Tommy, his brother

Shay and his mum Kelly in thanking Myton and all hospices throughout the country for the

invaluable care that they provide to people like Alan?

>> The Prime Minister I do indeed remember that letter, and I know

that the thoughts and sympathies of the whole House will be with Alan and his family. I

would like to join Tommy, Shay, Kelly and indeed my hon. Friend in thanking all hospices

for the incredible work that they do.

>> Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP) [V]

I am sure that you, Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister and indeed the whole House will want

to join me in marking Srebrenica memorial day, which takes place this Saturday, for

the first time happening online. We should never forget the terrible genocide that took

place 25 years ago. May I associate myself with the concerns about Tory hospital parking

charges? The Scottish National party Government abolished them in Scotland 12 years ago, and

I urge the Tory Government to do the same, so that NHS workers and patients will not

be penalised.

Some 3.8 million people across the United Kingdom could face unemployment when the furlough

scheme ends. The job retention scheme has been a lifeline to millions; yet we could

see progress unravel as the scheme ends. Millions of people could find themselves out of work,

struggling to pay bills and to put food on the table. Will the Prime Minister commit

today to extending the furlough scheme? People must not lose their jobs because the Tories

refused to act.

>> The Prime Minister I think that most people looking at what has

happened in the UK over the last three or four months around the world have been overwhelmingly

impressed by the way that we, as a Government, have put our arms around people, with £164

billion invested in jobs, in incomes and in supporting people. It has been a massive effort.

I know that a lot of people in this House will agree with me that we cannot go on forever

with a furlough scheme that keeps employees in suspended animation in the way that it

does. We need to get our economy moving again. That is what I think the people of this country

want to see, in a sustainable and cautious way.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is constantly saying this, but I would just remind

him that the reason the job retention schemethe furlough schemehas worked is because of

the power and the efficiency of the UK Treasury. It is the UK Government that have funded the

furlough scheme and £4.8 billion in Barnett consequentials to Scotland alone. I am sure

that he does not hesitate to remind his colleagues of that.

>> Ian Blackford Of course, it is about the future, and it

is about making sure that people can be protected. Just this week, we have seen Spain look to

extend its furlough scheme into 2021. Research has shown that prematurely ending the job

retention scheme risks higher unemployment and weaker productivity, with a potential

loss of up to £50 billion to GDP. The Resolution Foundation is calling for £3 billion to £5

billion to be spent on extending furlough payments for the hardest-hit sectors, and

the TUC is warning of the effect that ending the furlough scheme early will have on people

who are shielding and in difficulties. This is about not throwing away the benefits that

we have accrued. The Prime Minister seems intent on sinking the lifeboat that has been

keeping so many people afloat. If the Prime Minister will not extend the furlough scheme,

will he give Scotland the powers so that we can do it ourselves?

>> The Prime Minister I think I have answered the right hon. Gentlemans

question already. I believe it is absolutely essential that we invest in our people and

protect them from the effects of this epidemic, as we have done at huge expenditure, quite

rightly, but it is also essential that we get the economy moving, including in Scotland.

I hope that he supports that objective as well.

>> Paul Holmes (Eastleigh) (Con) Does the Prime Minister agree with me and

my constituents that calls from some in this House for a raid on homes, pensions and savings

would hammer hard-working families and undermine Britains economic recovery?

>> The Prime Minister Absolutely right. I have been amazed to hear

that Labour is proposing to bring forward a wealth taxa tax on homes. New leader,

same old Labour policiesexactly what this country does not need. What we need is investment

in people and investment in their wages, increasing the living wage and taking this country forward.

They want to tax, tax, tax; we want jobs, jobs, jobs.

>> Colum Eastwood (Foyle) (SDLP) [V] Given the devastating impact of Brexit on

my constituency and the decades of under-investment and neglect by successive British Governments,

will the Prime Minister agree to work with the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that

a freeport area is developed in Derry to try to address the long-term economic imbalance?

Will he agree to meet me and a delegation from the city to progress this project?

>> The Prime Minister I note the paradox that the hon. Gentleman

wants a freeport in Londonderry/Derry, which is something that can only be achieved by

Brexit, by the way. I am more than happy to study the plans he proposes. We will see what

we can do to take them forward.

>> Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)

The coronavirus has hit young people in work and those about to enter the jobs market particularly

hard. Will my right hon. Friend continue to build on his excellent package of announcements

so far, so that young people have hope, encouragement and the very best prospects for the start

of their working life?

>> The Prime Minister Absolutely. We want young people to have the

self-confidence brought by the experience of work, to keep learning on the job and to

get the jobs that they need. If my hon. Friend waits just a few minutes, he will hear rather

more from my right hon. Friend the Chancellor about that very matter.

>> Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East) (SNP) [V]

Hundreds of my constituents have been excluded from the furlough scheme or support for the

self-employed due to gaps in the legislation. Barriers to that support include real-time

information cut-off dates and the 50% cap on non-trading income. The Governments

solution for those constituents is to take out loans, which for many is untenable and

will lead to unemployment and bankruptcy. Will the Prime Minister commit to widening

access to these schemes for the many people who are left behind?

>> The Prime Minister There are, in fact, 12,000 people who have

taken advantage of the furlough scheme in the hon. Ladys constituency. They are getting

80% of their income up to £2,500 a month. It is a fantastic, massive scheme. In addition,

for those she rightly identifies who have had difficulties accessing furlough, we have

massively increased universal credit, which is up by £1,040 for families across the country.

That is in addition to the panoply of other loans and grants we have made.

>> Nick Fletcher (Don Valley) (Con) I am sure that the Prime Minister will join

me in thanking Richard Parker, the chief executive officer of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching

Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and his staff for all their hard work during the covid pandemic.

Does the Prime Minister agree with me that Doncaster needs a new hospital? Does he believe

that by building a new hospital in the town, the Government will send a clear message to

the people of Don Valley that we are committed to levelling up the north?

>> The Prime Minister I thank my hon. Friend for an apposite question,

because the Health Secretary has committed not just to building 40 new hospitals, but

to visiting Doncaster very shortly to discuss investment in healthcare there.

>> Rachel Hopkins (Luton South) (Lab) Luton airport provides direct funding to Luton

Borough Council and many local charities in my constituency, but covid-19 has had a huge

impact on that commercial and charitable income. Without urgent Government action, Luton council

will be forced into making £22 million of in-year cuts next week. I have raised this

issue repeatedly in Parliament on behalf of the thousands of Lutonians. Will the Prime

Minister meet me to discuss how emergency funding for Luton council would save crucial

local services and the jobs of hundreds of key workers?

>> The Prime Minister The hon. Lady raises a very important issue.

The aviation industry has been very hard hit. We are supporting the sector in all kinds

of ways, not just by supporting employees, but through the time-to-pay scheme and loans

from the Bank of England and the Government to aviation. Of course, we are supporting

local councils as well with billions of pounds—£3.2 billion. The most important thing is to get

a medium and long-term solution that enables airlines to start flying again, so that Luton

council can get the revenue it needs. I perfectly understand and support the points she makes.

>> Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con) It has been said, I hope not uncharitably,

that my right hon. Friend has never met a bridge that he did not want to build. Off

the Cumbrian coast, we have an opportunity to steal a march with a tidal barrage that

would supply 5% of the UKs energy needs in a green, sustainable way. It would leave

a legacy of jobs in Copeland, Barrow-in-Furness and Workington7,000 jobs. It would allow

us to connect communities that have a terrible transport network at the moment with a shiny

new bridge and it would allow us to build, build, build our way into a green revolution.

Will the Prime Minister agree to meet me and my Cumbrian colleagues to explore this deal


>> The Prime Minister I am grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing

that attractive idea to my attention. I know that several projects are being considered

along the Cumbrian coast. I would advise him, first, to get in touch with my right hon.

Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to see what

he can do to take it forward, and I will give what support I can.

>> Alex Norris (Nottingham North) (Lab/Co-op) Yesterday, after a delay of more than a year,

the Government published their response to their call for evidence regarding violence

and abuse against shopworkers. In that period, there have been 150,000 such incidents, which

are completely unacceptable. There are a lot of good things in the Governments response,

but it is disappointing that they have stopped short of a change in the law. Will the Prime

Minister make a commitment that if his plans do not reduce the 400-plus incidents every

day, within six months he will support legislative change?

>> The Prime Minister I think we should have absolutely zero tolerance

for violence or aggression towards people who work in shops, just as we have zero tolerance

for people who are aggressive towards those who work in our public services, and we will

do everything we can to ensure that that is the case.

>> Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) (Con) There was a welcome relaxation of lockdown

rules on Saturday, but some sectors, such as health and beauty, the performing arts,

language schools, events providers and the wedding industry, are still not able to open.

Will my right hon. Friend publish a timetable so that there can be some hope and certainty

for these industries?

>> The Prime Minister My hon. Friend raises a very important point.

As he knows, on 10 May we set out our plan for cautiously getting our economy open again,

and we will be saying more later this week about the next steps and the timetable we

hope to follow.

>> Mohammad Yasin (Bedford) (Lab) [V] A care home owner in my constituency was told

that if it refused to accept the return from hospital of a covid-positive patient, they

would be discharged to an unfamiliar home. The procedure that the owner was obliged to

follow was this Governments, so rather than point the finger at care workers for

his failures, will the Prime Minister do the right thing, apologise and pay tribute to

the professionalism of the care home owners, managers and staff in Bedford, who went above

and beyond this Governments guidelines in order to save lives?

>> The Prime Minister I thank the hon. Gentleman and renew the points

I made earlier and the tributes I pay to care home workers. The particular case he raises

is important and troubling, so if he would be kind enough to write to me with details,

setting out exactly what happened, I would be very happy to reply.

>> Danny Kruger (Devizes) (Con) We have seen the most amazing upsurge in community

spirit in this country, with millions of people coming together to support their neighbours.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need to sustain this community spirit into the

future, which means supporting the social infrastructure of local places, such as libraries,

youth clubs and community businesses, and it means Whitehall giving away power, so that,

finally, local communities can take back control?

>> The Prime Minister I thank my hon. Friend for everything he has

done to champion the voluntary sector and community spirit over many years. I have followed

his campaigns with interest and with support. I think there is now an opportunity to build

on the way the nation came together during the covid crisis and to deliver even more

of the kind of projects that he wants. We will certainly be putting our support behind

those types of community initiatives.

>> Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) (Lab)

Some 230,000 renters are going to be at risk of homelessness or eviction as we emerge from

lockdown. Will the Prime Minister urgently, today, lay legislation so that, on a cross-party

basis, we can support those people at risk of homelessness before we break up for the

summer recess?

>> The Prime Minister I am grateful to the hon. Lady. She is right

to draw attention to one of the most remarkable features of the covid crisis, which was the

way that the country and the Government were able to help thousands and thousands of homeless

people to find accommodation. In other countries, where they were less fortunate, we saw serious

epidemics among the homeless. Thankfully, we have so far avoided that, and we are taking

forward plans with Dame Louise Casey and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for

Communities and Local Government to ensure that the 15,000 do not just come back on to

the streets. We will do everything we can to stamp out homelessness in this country.

>> James Wild (North West Norfolk) (Con) The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn

serves more than 300,000 people across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. On the 40th

anniversary of a hospital only built to last 30 years, does my right hon. Friend agree

that the dedication shown by staff in responding to coronavirus deserves to be recognised by

including the Queen Elizabeth in our new hospital building programme?

>> The Prime Minister Of course, this Government were elected to

build 40 new hospitals, and that is what we are going to do. My right hon. Friend the

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care will be setting out the list, but I can also

tell my hon. Friend that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was awarded £9 million in October

for urgent upgrades to protect vital frontline care. I am sure he will understand that further,

long-term solutions are now under active consideration.

>> John Spellar (Warley) (Lab) I thank the Prime Minister for getting things

moving on the disclosure and barring scheme. It was also good to hear him belatedly adopting

the policy of jobs, jobs, jobs, but does he mean jobs in the UK, or in France, Poland,

Germany, Korea and China? It is all very well announcing, for example, blue passports, but

those are now not being produced in the north-east, but by a French company in a Polish factory.

Will the Prime Minister now take back control and give instructions to the Treasury, the

Cabinet Office, Whitehall and town halls to buy British and protect British jobs, jobs,


>> The Prime Minister My hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury and

Atcham (Daniel Kawczynski) behind me says from a sedentary position, “What has the

right hon. Gentleman got against Poland?” We will create hundreds of thousands of jobs

in this country. We will actively buy British. We will ensure that contracts go to great

British companies, but what we will not do is turn our faces against the notion of international

free trade and the market, which has brought colossal wealth to the people of this country.

Those are the politics and the economics of the madhouse.

>> Mr Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con) To avoid drama later, we need to complete

the process of getting Brexit done in the next few months. Will my right hon. Friend

therefore please confirm for the benefit of everyone listening that nothing in the Northern

Ireland protocol will be allowed to stop the United Kingdom charging our own tariffs for

the whole United Kingdom from 1 January 2021?

>> The Prime Minister Yes. Not a sausage, not a jot and not a tittle

of the Northern Irish protocol will provide any such impediment to the unfettered access

of goods and services between all parts of the UK.

>> Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC)

I am totally on board with the Prime Ministers rhetoric that for too long money has piled

into the south-east corner of this island. Investment is needed now to bolster and boost

universal confidence. Can he explain, therefore, why his Secretary of State for Wales took

to Twitter this week to argue that Wales is too poor, with too few businesses and taxpayers,

to be successful? Surely he cannot condone the Welsh Secretarys off-message pessimism.

>> The Prime Minister I have seldom met anybody who was more boosterish

for the future of Wales than the Secretary of State for Wales, and that is because this

Government are absolutely committed to levelling up throughout the whole UKin Wales and

everywherewith infrastructure and investment in education and in technology. We will do

the things, by the way, that the Welsh Labour Government have failed to do, such as unblocking

the Brynglas tunnels and allowing that proper M4 bypass, which has long been needed. We

will provide the Vicks inhaler to the nostrils of the Welsh dragon and get Wales moving.

>> Mr Speaker Are you trying to put the fire out of the

dragon, Prime Minister?

In order to allow the safe exit of hon. Members participating in this item of business and

the safe arrival of those participating in the next, I suspend the House for three minutes.

The Description of Prime Minister's Questions: 8 July 2020