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Points of Order

Volume 685: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2020

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I hope that you will indulge me, because I have two points of order on two separate questions. My apologies in advance for that. First, further to the question that I raised and that my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh East (Tommy Sheppard) raised, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury seems to have missed the point entirely on grossing. The Scottish Government do not receive income tax revenue in-year. Income tax is collected by HMRC and accrues to the Treasury, and it is reconciled in 2023. Grossing means a net loss to the Scottish budget this year—

Order. I am sorry, but this is not a point of order for me; it is a continuation of the debate. I cannot take it as a point of order.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will recall that on 19 November you were kind enough to grant me an urgent question on the performance of the Department of Health and Social Care in answering written questions. The Minister, in responding, said:

“We have instituted a parliamentary questions performance recovery plan”.—[Official Report, 19 November 2020; Vol. 684, c. 461.]

I then put down a question asking for that plan to be put in the House of Commons Library, so that we could all see it. Late last night, I received a reply saying that it was not possible to answer that question yet. Surely this now means that the whole issue of stonewalling has become farcical, particularly when we take into account that a lot of the other outstanding questions are highly relevant to the debate we will be having this afternoon.

I have a lot of sympathy with Members. All Members are answerable to their constituents, and if they cannot get answers their constituents are not getting the service that should be provided. I do not think that that was a satisfactory answer, and the hon. Gentleman will no doubt wish to put in for another urgent question if the situation does not improve later today.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This one relates to the answer given by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the accuracy of his answers. Is it in order for Ministers not to be clear on who they are meeting with? Excluded UK claims that it has had no such contact as was referred to by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Unfortunately that is not a point of order for me. It is a continuation of the debate. I am sure that, through the hon. Lady’s good offices, she will find other ways in which to ensure that her views can be expressed, and they will also be on the record.

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 shall now suspend the House for a few minutes.

Sitting suspended.