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House of Commons Hansard
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Petitions
05 November 2019
Volume 667

Petitions

Tuesday 5 November 2019

PRESENTED PETITION

Petition presented to the House but not read on the Floor

Hillcrest Care Home

The petition of residents of Erewash,

Declares that the planning application to convert the former Hillcrest Care Home into a house of multiple occupancy should be rejected by Erewash Borough Council, and notes the negative impact that this change of use would have on the residents of Kirk Hallam should theses plans be approved.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons directs the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to urge Erewash Borough Council to reject the Hillcrest planning application and call on the developers to find an alternative, more suitable use for the site, thus reducing the impact on the residents of Kirk Hallam.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Maggie Throup.]

[P002546]

Tamworth George Bryan Centre

The petition of Kath Jones and Gwen Kingsley,

Declares that we, the undersigned, are opposed to any proposal to close the George Bryan Centre, following the fire at the George Bryan Centre on 10 February 2019; further that the centre provides vital mental health services, and is used by the local community of Tamworth and its environs.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to help rebuild and reopen the George Bryan Centre and to continue to provide vital mental health services to the community as supported by 5179 Tamworth residents.

And the petitioners remain, etc.]

[P002547]

OBSERVATIONS

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Morrison's supermarket Shirley

The petition of residents of Solihull,

Declares that local residents have great concern over the proposals to close Morrison’s Store, in Shirley.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage WM Morrisons PLC to reconsider proposals to close Morrisons in Shirley.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Julian Knight, Official Report, 26 September 2019; Vol. 664, c. 972.]

[P002523]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Kelly Tolhurst):

The Government recognise the vital contribution that retailers make not only to the UK economy but also to local communities. We also recognise local residents’ concerns at the impact of the closure of the Shirley Morrisons store.

That said, it would not be right for Government to interfere in the management decisions of a private company such as WM Morrisons, as it takes decisions on commercial matters affecting its business.

The Government have been in touch with Morrisons and understand that Morrisons have taken the decision to close the Shirley store as part of a restructuring programme. We recognise this is not the news the petitioners wished to hear.

Morrisons have spoken to the teams in affected stores and are now working with them to review the options available to them including redeployment within the business. The most important thing is that Morrisons continue to provide the necessary level of employee support to ensure staff are redeployed or moved back into employment as soon as possible.

In a wider context the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) have been awarded £433 million across three growth deals to invest in projects that benefit the local area and economy. To date the LEP have supported a number of projects in Solihull, which includes over £2 million investment into improved transport infrastructure at Lode Lane and over £1.9 million in upgrading and improving the skills provision at Solihull College and University Centre.

In March this year, GBSLEP launched a new Framework to regenerate town centres and high streets across the region. The document offers guidance on how towns can attract more investment by drawing on best practice from other locations. Solihull Council was involved in the development of this strategy and continues to work closely with the LEP to maximise the economic opportunity of the areas towns and high streets.

Health and Social Care

University Hospital Monklands

The petition of residents of Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill,

Declares that the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman's unilateral executive decision to remove the current site of University Hospital Monklands as an option for the location of the new University Hospital Monklands will detrimentally impact healthcare provision across Lanarkshire; further that the current site offers significant advantages for a new hospital such as its existing public transport infrastructure; further that the unilateral executive decision taken by the Cabinet Secretary is in defiance of the recommendation of the Monklands Hospital Independent Review for greater public consultation on the location of the new University Hospital Monklands; further that concerns have failed to be addressed regarding the two alternative location options for the new hospital, particularly whether the offer of land in Glenmavis can be withdrawn at the whim of the owner; further that the Scottish Government should rebuild the planned new University Hospital Monklands on the site of the current hospital as it is the most suitable option for the greatest number of people in the Monklands community and is essential to those it serves.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make representations to the Scottish Government on their behalf to have the current hospital site reinstated as an option for the location of the new University Hospital Monklands.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Hugh Gaffney, Official Report, 16 October 2019; Vol. 666, c. 420.]

[P002532]

Observations from the Minister for Care (Caroline Dinenage):

Health and Social Care is largely devolved across the United Kingdom. As such, it is for the Scottish Government to set their own priorities for its health service and to make decisions regarding the operations of the healthcare system across Scotland.

Treasury

Dispute between HMRC and Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust

The petition of residents of Linlithgow and East Falkirk,

Declares that concerns about the Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust have escalated to an unreasonable level; notes that despite a meeting taking place on the 27th of March 2019 between HMRC and REBTL, eligible employees that include local residents of Linlithgow and East Falkirk have still to receive any payments as HMRC is continuing to hold the funds over the level of tax liability of the beneficiaries; and further notes it is unacceptable that the distribution of funds is being prevented by HMRC notwithstanding a High Court ruling in January 2014 in favour of the Roadchef Employees Benefits Trustees Ltd.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges HMRC to end their foot-dragging and resolve this long-standing issue of the withholding of payments by HMRC to the Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Martyn Day, Official Report, 30 October 2019; Vol. 667, c. 463.]

[P002538]

Observations from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jesse Norman):

The Government thank the ho. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Martyn Day) for submitting the petition on behalf of his constituents about the dispute between HMRC and Roadchef Employee Benefit Trust (EBT).

The administration of the tax system, including where appropriate the repayment of tax or duties, is a matter for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). It would not be appropriate for Treasury Ministers to engage with any particular issue. As I hope you will understand, the statutory obligation of HMRC to maintain taxpayer confidentiality also means I cannot comment on this case.

HMRC recognises that the beneficiaries of the EBT are keen to see a resolution.

Insolvency of London Capital and Finance

The petition of residents of Linlithgow and East Falkirk,

Declares that investors affected by the insolvency of London Capital and Finance eight months ago have still to learn whether they will have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme; notes investors that include local residents of Linlithgow and East Falkirk have still to receive clarification about the Financial Conduct Authority's role in regulation the activity of London Finance and Capital; and further notes no explanation has been given as to why London Finance and Capital was permitted to promote itself as regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Treasury to ensure that the independent investigation into the events around London Capital and Finance's collapse is not in any way impeded and reaches a swift conclusion.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Martyn Day, Official Report, 16 October 2019; Vol. 666, c. 419.]

[P002530]

Observations from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen):

The Government thanks the ho. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk Martyn Day), who has recently submitted a petition regarding the independent investigation into the failure of the firm London Capital and Finance (LCF).

The Government want to make sure we have a strong and safe financial system and recognises that this is a very difficult and uncertain time for all LCF bondholders. That is why on 23 May, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury formally directed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to launch an independent investigation into the events at LCF, and approved the FCA's appointment of Dame Elizabeth Gloster to lead it.

Dame Elizabeth is looking at the events and circumstances surrounding the failure of LCF and whether, in its supervision of LCF, the FCA discharged its functions in a manner which enabled it to effectively fulfil its statutory objectives. Dame Elizabeth is able to consider any other matters she deems relevant to the events set out in the Economic Secretary to the Treasury's direction to the FCA.

The Government's view is that the investigation should take place without delay. The Government have directed the FCA to report the findings of the investigation back to the Treasury once the investigation has concluded, as well as the lessons it will take from those findings. The Treasury has stipulated that the investigation should be completed within 12 months. This will ensure that the investigation is as thorough as possible, whilst allowing the investigator to report sooner than 12 months if this is feasible. The investigation will be completed by 9 July 2020.

The petition has also raised the issue of compensation for investors. The administrators are currently estimating recoveries for investors. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) can only provide compensation for claims connected with certain types of regulated activities.

The FSCS is an independent body. The FSCS carries out its compensation function within rules set by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the FCA, which are also independent from Government. As such, the Government is therefore unable to intervene or comment on specific cases and decisions taken by the FSCS.

The FSCS has been working closely with LCF's administrators and the FCA to understand more about LCF's activities. At this stage, the FSCS's investigation has led it to believe that there are protected claims, which may result in compensation for some of LCF's investors.

The FSCS is continuing its investigation and has launched a questionnaire for investors to complete, to better understand individual investor's circumstances and the number of investors that may have been impacted. It has also invited LCF investors to register for updates on its website. The questionnaire, registration for updates, and further information can be found at https://www.fscs.org.uk/failed-firms/lcf/.