The situation in Ukraine is at the forefront of the minds of us all in this House, and I am grateful for the immensely hard work of civil servants across Government, and of those in local government, as well as those involved in diplomatic and humanitarian efforts at this time.
My Department has two specific roles in supporting cross-Government work. The first is exploring how we can support the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and other Departments with a sanctions regime that meets the needs of the hour, and in particular how we can target the property and assets of those in this country who have been supporting the Putin regime. We are also responsible for ensuring that we can provide appropriate support for refugees arriving in this country. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has already expanded the family sponsorship system, and we have an existing humanitarian sponsorship scheme, which is being expanded now to ensure that local authorities and others can play their part in ensuring a warm and safe welcome for those fleeing persecution.
More than 2,100 residents have signed my petition to see the former Teddington police station site repurposed for community use and affordable housing. The Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the hon. Member for Harborough (Neil O’Brien), confirmed last week that there is nothing in law or guidance that says the Mayor of London has to sell the site to the highest bidder, as he claims, and he has reportedly rejected a bid for a new home for Park Road GP surgery and affordable homes because he is insisting on getting the highest price—probably from luxury developers. Will the Minister join me in calling on the Mayor to reconsider this decision, as Teddington residents are demanding?
I know how determined the hon. Lady has been to represent the residents of Teddington in this matter, and I know she has raised it in a Westminster Hall debate with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary. I will seek to ensure that my ministerial team are closely engaged with the hon. Lady to ensure that we can come to a fair and equitable solution for her residents.
It is three months since Russian troops massed at the Ukraine border and not a single detail has been published about the community sponsorship scheme that the Secretary of State is supposedly leading. We stand alone among European countries in insisting on a visa that takes months while desperate people are being turned back at Calais. Nearly 2 million people have fled Ukraine and only 50 visas have been granted. Will he really ask desperate people to wait months for his Department to get its act together or will he pick up the phone to the Home Secretary, cut out the bureaucracy and help people now?
I agree with the hon. Lady that it is vital to provide the fastest and safest route for those fleeing persecution and we are working with our partners on the ground in Poland and elsewhere to do just that. We are processing more than 14,000 applications under the family scheme at the moment. Of course, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary outlined last week, that scheme has been significantly expanded. There is an existing community sponsorship scheme and the details are available on gov.uk for those who wish to help through it, but we are expanding it and more details will be announced later today and later this week.
I point the Secretary of State to last year’s inspectorate report that highlighted that his existing scheme is an absolute shambles. People are being asked to wait months on end to access it and still not a single detail has been published. I cannot bear to listen to that with the scenes that we are seeing unfolding in front of our eyes—it is too slow. While he quarrels with the Home Office, we are turning away refugees and, worse, letting oligarchs off the hook.
Seriously, how can the Housing Secretary sit there without any sense of shame while, just down the road, Russian oligarchs linked to the Kremlin are offloading millions of pounds from the UK property market in a fire sale? That is the dark money that sustains the Putin regime. He could set that right this afternoon through amendments tabled by his Back Benchers and by Labour that would start to put an end to the shameful situation that his party has presided over for too long. Will he back those amendments?
Again, I am grateful to the hon. Lady for raising two important questions. On the need to ensure that we have a rapid expansion of the scheme, we need to use the existing community sponsorship scheme, which has been successful, to—[Interruption.] She has already asked her question, and I can answer. If she wants to try to rewrite her original question, she is welcome to do so. [Interruption.]
Thank you very much for ensuring order, Mr Speaker. The scheme that we are expanding will ensure that we meet the needs of the hour and that all those who need humanitarian resettlement find it. As to the hon. Lady’s point about the steps required to ensure that the assets of oligarchs and others are addressed, the legislation that we are bringing forward will mean that we have the strongest sanctions regime in the world.
I will make two points in response to my hon. Friend. First, I thank his constituents for their amazing work, which reflects the commitment and compassion of many people across the country. The single most important thing that any individual can do at the moment is donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee. It is understandable that people want to see goods of a humanitarian nature flow to the Polish border, but the nature of the support that we need to give means that it is actually more effective to raise money to give to the DEC and others. With respect to the expansion of the humanitarian sponsorship scheme, there are more details to come.
Transparency International recently estimated that more than £1.5 billion-worth of UK property was bought by Russian oligarchs accused of corruption or links to the Kremlin between 2016 and 2021, of which £1 billion is in London. Can the Secretary of State assure that House that the UK will bring forward emergency legislation to repossess Kremlin-linked properties in London, which he reportedly favours, and does he agree that using the proceeds from those properties to offer further support to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine would be entirely appropriate and desirable?
Some £20 million is potentially available to Keighley and Ilkley through the levelling-up fund. Bradford is in a top priority category, and I really hope that it will bid so that we can build on the tens of millions of investment already being put into Keighley through the towns fund.
I think the hon. Lady said the shambolic response from the European Government and that she probably meant the United Kingdom Government, but not to worry. I respectfully disagree. More details on how we will help not just the devolved Administrations but local government to accept a higher proportion of humanitarian refugees will follow shortly.
My hon. Friend is completely correct. Some £19.4 million was allocated to projects in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton through round 1 of the levelling-up fund, in addition to the £21.1 million allocated to Crawley. I look forward to working with people in West Sussex to do more through round 2 of the levelling-up fund as well as the UK shared prosperity fund.
We need to introduce the White Paper, which will be published in the spring, first. I look forward to discussing its terms with the hon. Lady so we can ensure that the legislation subsequently introduced is fit for purpose.
Due to my role in planning, I cannot comment on specific plans, but national park policy empowers local communities by making it clear that they can designate areas of importance as local green space through their local plans. Such designations ensure that these important assets are provided with protection, reflecting their importance.
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that, and I will look closely, with my colleague the Home Secretary, at that proposition. It is important that we have appropriate biometric checks, for reasons that are well understood, but I appreciate the generosity of the offer, and indeed we have been talking to the Welsh Government about how we can co-ordinate our efforts.
Many people are still planning to staycation this year. Would the Secretary of State extend the scheme that worked so well during the pandemic, and allow permitted development rights to be relaxed so that pop-up campsites can allow people to have holidays in places such as North Yorkshire?
I now know what my Easter plans will be. My right hon. Friend is absolutely right that making sure, through the exercise of permitted development rights, that we can provide people with the opportunity to holiday in places as beautiful as North Yorkshire is an entirely welcome development.
Reported cases of antisemitism continue to rise, with the Community Security Trust recording a record 2,255 cases in 2021. The Government have funded the security at Jewish locations, including synagogues and schools, and this, unfortunately, is vital to ensuring the safety of the Jewish community. Will the Secretary of State commit to the continuation of this funding next year, as well as ensuring that it is adjusted for the increased cost associated with inflation?
The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. As the Minister who, as Secretary of State for Education, initiated that scheme, I will do everything I can to ensure it continues. But I would make one additional point: one of the things we can all do across this House in order to tackle the evil of antisemitism is stand against the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, and that is why when we bring forward legislation to outlaw BDS at local government level I hope we can count on the hon. Gentleman’s formidable voice pressing on those on his Front Bench the importance of supporting that legislation and not, as they did in the past, abstaining.
Levelling up is crucial to rejuvenating our high streets and making sure we do not have buildings collecting dust and not in use, which has often been the case in Ipswich. In Carr Street, however, that is not the case: we have micro-shops there now: fantastic businesses such as Trini Flava, Central Vintage, and the Juice Mix bar. Does my right hon. Friend agree that to do this we need not only funding but a local council with a bit of a proactive, can-do attitude to bring such premises back into use?
Yes, we need a council that is composed of simulacra or clones of my hon. Friend. If every Ipswich councillor was as ambitious for Ipswich as he is, Ipswich would not only be in the premier league for football—which it is not at the moment of course—but in the premier league of places to visit in the United Kingdom.
Seven out of 10 of the most deprived areas in Wales, six out of 10 in Scotland and three out of 10 in England have not received any levelling-up funding. When will the right hon. Gentleman give them that opportunity—when will he publish the timetable and the criteria for the second tranche of money?
It is coming in the spring statement, but I should say to the hon. Gentleman, whom I count as a friend and much admire, that he should have a word with the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry), who seems not to want this money to go to Scotland because she believes it works against devolution. The hon. Gentleman wants that money to come to Scotland; can the Scottish National party please make up its mind?
In the past week I have worked with Anna Buckley from Wrexham’s Polish integration support centre to logistically manage the unprecedented UK response to her call for donations. Businesses and people across Wrexham have answered that call, with hundreds of volunteers sorting through five warehouses full of donations going to Poland. Will the Secretary of State congratulate Anna and the community spirit of Wrexham?
Will the Secretary of State speak to his colleague the Home Secretary and make her aware that only issuing up until now 50 visas for Ukrainian refugees is quite wrong and brings shame upon this country?
I talk to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary every day. The Home Secretary was in Poland at the border talking to those who were working with refugees: she was delivering while others, I am afraid, seek to make political points. We have a Home Secretary who is energetic, determined, on the job, talking to those on the frontline, making a difference, and I am afraid that when people want unity, purpose and delivery they will say to the right hon. Lady—
Will the Secretary of State confirm that when it comes to local plans the idea that we need exactly the same proportion of extra housing in every part of every council area is wrong, and instead the different needs of different communities, as in my constituency in Haverhill, Brandon and Newmarket, can be treated differently, not with a one-size-fits-all approach?
Excellent. If every question and answer were like that, it would be wonderful.
Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill: Allocation of time
That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill—
(1)(a) Proceedings on Second Reading and in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings on Third Reading shall be taken at today’s sitting in accordance with this Order.
(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion four hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.
(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.
Timing of proceedings and Questions to be put
(2) When the Bill has been read a second time:
(a) it shall, despite Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of bills not subject to a programme order), stand committed to a Committee of the whole House without any Question being put;
(b) proceedings on the Bill shall stand postponed while the Question is put, in accordance with Standing Order No. 52(1) (Money resolutions and ways and means resolutions in connection with bills), on any financial resolution relating to the Bill;
(c) on the conclusion of proceedings on any financial resolution relating to the Bill, proceedings on the Bill shall be resumed and the Speaker shall leave the chair whether or not notice of an Instruction has been given.
(3)(a) On the conclusion of proceedings in Committee of the whole House, the Chair shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.
(b) If the Bill is reported with amendments, the House shall proceed to consider the Bill as amended without any Question being put.
(4) For the purpose of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (1), the Chair or Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions in the same order as they would fall to be put if this Order did not apply:
(a) any Question already proposed from the chair;
(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;
(c) the Question on any amendment, new Clause or new Schedule selected by the Chair or Speaker for separate decision;
(d) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;
(e) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded;
and shall not put any other questions, other than the question on any motion described in paragraph (15)(a) of this Order.
(5) On a Motion so made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chair or Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
(6) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (4)(d) on successive amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Chair or Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.
(7) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (4)(e) in relation to successive provisions of the Bill, the Chair shall instead put a single Question in relation to those provisions, except that the Question shall be put separately on any Clause of or Schedule to the Bill which a Minister of the Crown has signified an intention to leave out.
Consideration of Lords Amendments
(8)(a) Any Lords Amendments to the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.
(b) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.
(9) Paragraphs (2) to (7) of Standing Order No. 83F (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (8) of this Order.
(10)(a) Any further Message from the Lords on the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.
(b) Proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.
(11) Paragraphs (2) to (5) of Standing Order No. 83G (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on further messages from the Lords) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (10) of this Order.
(12) Paragraphs (2) to (6) of Standing Order No. 83H (Programme orders: reasons committee) apply in relation to any committee to be appointed to draw up reasons after proceedings have been brought to a conclusion in accordance with this Order.
(13) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on the Bill.
(14) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply in relation to any proceedings to which this Order applies.
(15)(a) No Motion shall be made, except by a Minister of the Crown, to alter the order in which any proceedings on the Bill are taken, to recommit the Bill or to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order.
(b) No notice shall be required of such a Motion.
(c) Such a Motion may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.
(d) The Question on such a Motion shall be put forthwith; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (c) shall thereupon be resumed.
(e) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on such a Motion.
(16)(a) No dilatory Motion shall be made in relation to proceedings to which this Order applies except by a Minister of the Crown.
(b) The Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.
(17)(a) The start of any debate under Standing Order No. 24 (Emergency debates) to be held on a day on which the Bill has been set down to be taken as an Order of the Day shall be postponed until the conclusion of any proceedings on that day to which this Order applies.
(b) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply in respect of any such debate.
(18) Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.
(19)(a) Any private business which has been set down for consideration at a time falling after the commencement of proceedings on this Order or on the Bill on a day on which the Bill has been set down to be taken as an Order of the Day shall, instead of being considered as provided by Standing Orders or by any Order of the House, be considered at the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill on that day.
(b) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business so far as necessary for the purpose of securing that the business may be considered for a period of three hours.—(Priti Patel.)