Written question – Finance [21/10/2019]

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that people are able to obtain their money from free-to-use ATMs throughout the country. (1067)

Tabled on: 16 October 2019

Answer:
John Glen:

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK.

The Governments’ Call for Evidence on Cash & Digital Payments highlighted changing payment trends. In response, the Government has set up the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group. This group brings together the key regulators to co-ordinate regulatory work to support the country’s cash infrastructure, including ATMs. It will publicly update on activity in the Autumn.

The Government also believes industry has a crucial role to play in protecting access to cash. In addition to previous commitments, LINK – the UK’s largest ATM network – has recently committed to protect access to cash on high streets with five or more qualifying retailers. It has also created an ATM delivery fund for elected officials to request a new machine in areas with poor access to cash. Furthermore, UK Finance has launched a Community Access to Cash Initiative, offering grants to local communities to improve cash access through alternative solutions.

The Government-established Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) continues to closely monitor developments in the ATM market and has used its powers to hold LINK to account over commitments to preserve the broad geographic spread of ATMs.

The answer was submitted on 21 Oct 2019 at 15:13.

 

Written question – Defence [21/20/2019]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether there is a statutory requirement for a (a) military and (b) legal review of the Trident Replacement Decision. (661)

Tabled on: 15 October 2019

Answer:
Anne-Marie Trevelyan:

There is no statutory requirement for a military or legal review of the decision to maintain the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent.

The answer was submitted on 21 Oct 2019 at 11:58.

 

UK Parliament Week 2019

UK Parliament Week is a UK-wide festival taking place from 2-8 November, which aims to engage people, especially young people, from different backgrounds and communities, with the UK Parliament and empower them to get involved.

This is a great opportunity to be part of a thriving democracy, ask questions, think critically and engage with the UK Parliament. Schools, museums, libraries, faith communities and youth organisations representing every constituency across the United Kingdom have already signed up to be part of the conversation.

As Member of Parliament for Inverclyde, I welcome the involvement of schools and people during UK Parliament Week 2019. I am determined to ensure that our voters and citizens of tomorrow understand how vital their participation is in our democracy, and I’m excited to see so many schools, uniform organisations and local groups taking part.

In 2018, UK Parliament Week reached almost 1 million people, with more than 8,100 activities. This year’s UK Parliament Week festival is expected to be the largest ever with even more activities and people taking part.

I look forward to visiting local schools, including St Stephen’s and Port Glasgow High during the week.

 

Westminster diary w/b 14th October

Monday

The State Opening of parliament is the opportunity for the UK government to lay out their plans for the coming session. It is a grandiose ceremony of pomp and circumstance. The Queen sends Black Rod to summon us commoners up to the Lords but we shut the door on Black Rod and pretend not to let her in. But then we do. We always do. Then we go to the Lords and the Queen sitting on a gold throne in the House of Lords reads a speech given to her by the Prime Minister. I should say that is after the cellars have been searched by the Yeoman of the Guard and a hostage has been taken and held in case we try and keep the Queen. The Queen’s speech is then debated on over a few days and practically nobody attends. If you think that’s strange the week was just beginning. I joined protestors outside the Spanish Embassy in a show of solidarity for the yellow ribbon campaign to highlight the imprisonment of political prisoners.

Tuesday

There is an urgent question on the prison sentences handed down by the Spanish Supreme Court to the nine political prisoners. Some people may feel this is not an issue that should concern elected members of the UK parliament, but it is sufficiently relevant for the speaker to grant the question. Many people condemn the sentences as an affront to democracy but the Minister responding on behalf of the government doesn’t get it. I quoted Dr Martin Luther King when he said ‘our lives begin to end the day we stay silent about things that matter’. I then met up with a delegation of Kenyan parliamentarians who have grave concerns about UK owned gambling companies that are targeting a new vulnerable market place in Kenya. We shall be monitoring this situation closely. I had a meeting with the Chief Executive of Scottish Power Energy Network and we discussed electric vehicles and the infrastructure required to support them.

Wednesday

It’s my turn to speak on the Queen’s speech and I question the Minister on closures of coastguard centres and job centres in Inverclyde along with the government’s reluctance to support medical cannabis and drug consumption rooms. For a six-minute speech I had to be in attendance for the best part of six hours. It’s nonsense just utter nonsense. We are supposed to be using our time wisely to work towards a constructive outcome regarding Brexit and instead we are going through the motions.

Thursday

I start the day on College Green giving an interview to the Spanish TV station Antena 3. They have grave concerns over the image that Spain is portraying across the globe regarding the political prisoners and the violence we are seeing from the National Police against peaceful protestors. Rumours around deals with the European Union are in abundance and change by the hour. When we finally get to read what has been offered it has changed very little from what has already been voted down. This time however a deal has been done to keep Northern Ireland in the single market, with a few caveats. The DUP are refusing to back it and it will now be debated and voted on Saturday. The UK Parliament has only sat three times on a Saturday, once during game the Second World War, once during the Suez crisis and again during the Falklands War. Brexit will be the fourth time. That’s how big the mess is. I grab a flight home.

Friday

I catch an early train to Edinburgh as I am speaking at the 5th LEAHN (Law Enforcement and HIV Network) consultation on police, drugs and harm reduction. It’s a privilege to be asked to speak along with the experts in this field. We shall only address the issue of problematic drug use when politicians listen to the experts from academia, recovery and lived experience. I catch a tea time flight from Edinburgh back to London. On Saturday we shall debate on the deal and the amendments. Who knows where that shall take us?

European Union vote

The deal being offered by the UK Government is one the people of Inverclyde did not vote for back in 2016.  It would take Scotland out of the European Union, out of the single market and out of the customs union against the overwhelming democratic will of the people of Scotland.

Scotland did not vote for Brexit in any form, and my SNP colleagues and I will not vote for Brexit – especially when it is clear that Scotland, alone of the nations of the UK, is being treated unfairly.

It cannot be right that Scotland alone is facing an outcome it did not vote for – that is democratically unacceptable and makes a mockery of claims the UK is in any way a partnership of equals.  That is not the future that I or the majority of Scots, who voted, envisage for this country.

This deal would leave Scotland as the only part of United Kingdom that is being taken out of the European Union without the electorate’s consent and with no say on any future relationship.