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FAQs - 6


HS2 and the Environment

Thank you for emailing Harriett Baldwin MP about HS2 and the environment.
On the recommendation of the independent Oakervee review commissioned last year, the Prime Minister has given the go ahead to HS2, alongside major improvements to local transport networks up and down the country.

HS2 will play an important role in the UK’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. I understand that HS2 will offer some of the lowest carbon emissions per passenger km, seven times less than passenger cars and 17 times less than domestic air travel in 2030. Indeed, HS2 is expected to help reduce the number of cars and lorries on the road and cut demand for domestic flights. It is estimated that the total carbon emissions produced by both constructing and operating Phase One for 120 years would be the same as just one month of the UK's road network. HS2 was also the first major transport infrastructure project in the UK to commit to the achieving ‘no net loss’ in biodiversity.

I am pleased that a green corridor will be created alongside the railway. This will involve the planting of seven million new trees and shrubs, including over 40 native species, along the Phase One route from London to the West Midlands. It is welcome too that an overall £70 million funding package has also been made available to enhance community facilities, improve access to the countryside, and help improve road and cycle safety in towns and villages along the HS2 Phase One route.

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Statement on NHS Testing

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, commented: “The Government has taken enormous steps to introduce a Covid-19 testing system from scratch and the local testing centres in Worcestershire have plenty of capacity to administer tests for anyone who needs one.

“The Department for Health and Social Care has introduced targeted testing of staff without symptoms where appropriate. In line with advice from the Chief Medical Officer, staff working with patients on wards will benefit from regular testing far more than NHS staff working in offices or administrative roles where they do not come into regular contact with patients.

“Testing will play an important role as we seek to identify and isolate outbreaks of the virus and I am confident the Government has the right plan in place to help us to combat the spread of Covid-19 while now relaxing the lockdown, helping more businesses to re-open and helping our economy to recover.

“This matter was debated in the House of Commons in time allotted to the opposition parties and it would be wrong to say MPs voted against testing of NHS staff because that clearly is not the case.”

The Hansard report of the whole debate can be read here.

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Tear gas exports

I know the Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously. Indeed, the UK operates one of the world’s most robust and transparent export control regimes. Each export licence application is considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework, requiring the Government to think very carefully about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. My understanding is that the Government will not grant an export licence if doing so would be inconsistent with the criteria. I have ensured Ministers are aware of the points you make about these exports.

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Black history in schools

Schools already play a significant role in teaching children about the importance of having respect and tolerance for all cultures. Black history is an important topic which schools can teach to children of all ages as part of the history curriculum. Schools can utilise resources from a range of organisations and sources to support teaching Black history, including the Black Curriculum.

Various bodies offer resources, such as the Runnymede Trust, which provides resources about the stories of the generations of migrants who came to and shaped the British Isles from the medieval times to present day, and the Historical Association which has a wide choice of resources including on Black Tudors, multi-cultural Britain, key historical figures, Black local history, and many other topics. The flexibility in the history curriculum means that teachers can include Black voices and history as a natural part of the themes and eras in the curriculum as referred above e.g. Black Tudors, multi-cultural Britain, key historical figures from Black communities.

At key stage 2, pupils should be taught about a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history. Key stage 3 includes the example of the impact through time of the migration of people to, from and within the British Isles, as well as Indian independence and end of Empire. In Citizenship, at key stage 4, pupils should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

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BAME Covid report

The figures suggesting that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 are extremely concerning and trouble me greatly. The disproportionate impact has been recognised by my colleagues in government and Public Health England was commissioned to conduct thorough research into the matter and has now published its report and I await the Department for Health and Social Care's response as soon as possible. In the wake of the report, PHE been commissioned to carry out further work to better understand the key drivers of the disparities identified in the initial report and the relationships between the different risk factors. I note Ministers have said PHE has been engaging with a significant number of individuals and organisations from BAME backgrounds over the past couple of months to hear their views and this will be built on.

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Dominic Cummings Response

Click here for Dominic Cummings Response

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Coronavirus: Help for the Self Employed

Click here for letter from Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Coronavirus

Firstly, let me reassure you that the NHS is well prepared to deal with incidents like this, and I am assured that the Government has a clear path to ensure the public is protected. I regularly post the latest advice on this matter on social media and you can find the latest advice by visiting the Government website: www.gov.uk or the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ This page is being updated every day at 2pm until further notice, in addition to press briefings and parliamentary statements.

If you have any concerns about your own health or symptoms, please call 111.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced strengthened legal powers to bolster public health protections against coronavirus. The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.

In September 2019, Public Health England (PHE) published guidelines on Investigation and management of outbreaks of influenza-like illness in schools:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa...

These guidelines outline the best ways to be prepared for, as well as how to respond, in the event of an outbreak of a viral infection. There are also guidelines which cover all health protection in schools and other childcare settings:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-in-schools-...

Individual schools are responsible for decisions about closure in the event that there is a risk of coronavirus at the school.

If you would like further information about self-isolation, or the latest information, please visit the Government guidance here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-pub...
If you need urgent Consular assistance whilst abroad, the hotline number is 0207 008 1500.

If you run a small business and need urgent advice or support, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy helpline is 0300 456 3565.

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.

It is clear that the virus will be with us for some time, but I know my Ministerial colleagues and others are working around the clock to ensure to ensure the public is protected.

I will continue to closely follow this issue and, where appropriate, provide further updates.

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Clause 37 of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – family reunion for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

On 20 December, the Government took a historic and decisive step towards getting Brexit done with the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passing its second reading. Several Members have raised questions surrounding the Bill’s amendment to section 17 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which concerns the family reunification of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. I am writing to you today to set out very clearly how the Government remains fully committed to the principle of family unity and to helping and supporting the most vulnerable children.

Please be assured that Government policy has not changed on this matter – protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority and we have a proud record of doing so through our asylum system and our resettlement schemes. In the last 12 months, the UK granted protection to over 7,500 children, and to 41,000 children since 2010. This is more than the vast majority of EU countries have done to help vulnerable children. Furthermore, in the last ten years, the UK received asylum applications from over 23,000 unaccompanied children. In 2018, the UK received over 3,000 asylum claims from unaccompanied children, accounting for 15% of all claims from unaccompanied children in the EU and making the UK Europe’s thirdhighest intake country. Additionally, in the year ending September 2019, 6,035 family reunion visas were issued to children and partners of those granted humanitarian protection or refugee status in the UK.

Our resettlement schemes offer a safe and legal route to the UK for the most vulnerable refugees. As of September 2019, over 18,250 people have been resettled through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and over 1,700 have been resettled through the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS). Over half those resettled via these two schemes have been children.

The Prime Minister made clear the importance this Government places on ensuring that unaccompanied children who are seeking international protection in an EU Member State can continue to be reunited with specified family members who are in the UK, as well as children in the UK with family in the EU, following the UK’s exit from the EU. This remains a negotiating objective of this Government.

It is also important to note that the UK will continue to reunite unaccompanied children with children with family members in the UK under the Dublin Regulation during the implementation period, processing and deciding all ‘take back’ requests that have been submitted.

The new clause 37 in the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is primarily about clarifying the role of Government and Parliament in negotiations. It is right that the statutory obligation to negotiate previously contained in section 17 of the Withdrawal Act is removed and not retained by this amendment, so that the traditional division between Government and Parliament be restored, and the negotiations ahead can be carried out with full flexibility and in an appropriate manner across all policy areas.

A statutory obligation to negotiate with the EU does not itself lead to an agreement. That is not in the gift of the UK Government alone as it requires EU co-operation at a time of complex negotiations on a range of priorities. The new clause requires the Government will lay a statement before Parliament on its policy regarding any future arrangements between the UK and the EU regarding the family reunification for unaccompanied children seeking international protection.

Ensuring the continued family reunification of these vulnerable children remains a Government priority. Indeed, the Government has already made efforts to begin negotiations on this issue, with the Home Secretary writing to the European Commission on 22 October inviting the EU to begin discussions.

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Fracking

Thanks you for contacting me about the risks to the environment of fracking.

I hope you have seen the announcement from the Government over the weekend.
Ministers took the decision on the basis of a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which found that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations.

Fracking already takes place across the world including in the US, Canada and Argentina. However, exploratory work to determine whether shale could be a new domestic energy source, delivering benefits for our economy and energy security, has now been paused - unless and until further evidence is provided that it can be carried out safely here.

Ministers have always been clear that the exploration of England’s shale gas reserves could only proceed if the science shows that it is safe, sustainable and of minimal disturbance to those living and working nearby. For that reason, government introduced tight planning controls through the Infrastructure Act 2015 and set strict limits on seismicity, in consultation with industry.

On the basis of the disturbance caused to residents living near Cuadrilla’s site in Lancashire and this latest scientific analysis, the government has announced a moratorium on fracking until compelling new evidence is provided.

The government also confirmed today that it will not be taking forward proposed planning reforms for shale gas developments at this time. These proposals were consulted on in 2018 but will not be implemented now.
I hope you find this information useful.

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Rural Connectivity

Thank you for contacting me about rural connectivity. I wanted to share some important progress with you as we work towards delivering much better connectivity for all by the end of 2020.

As you will know, the Government has delivered a series of initiatives that has seen superfast broadband availability rise from 50% to 96% of UK premises. Due to increased coverage and take-up, average broadband speeds for UK consumers have increased from 5.2Mbit/s in 2010 to 54.2Mbit/s in 2018.

Initiatives to improve connectivity have included:
• Superfast Broadband Programme, investing over £1.7 billion of public money to deliver superfast broadband in hard-to-reach areas;
• Local Full Fibre Networks Programme, which includes a £190 million Challenge Fund (a capital grant programme funding locally-led public connectivity projects), the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to improve affordability, and the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme for homes and businesses unable to achieve even a 2Mbit/s connection;
• Driving down barriers to deployment of existing telecoms infrastructure, including changes to legislation to make it easier to deploy more infrastructure without planning permission;

There’s still lots to do. West Worcestershire’s superfast broadband coverage is still below the national average, at 88 per cent, but I wanted to share this news with those of you who are concerned about connectivity in our rural communities.

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West Midlands Train congestion

Statement on current Birmingham commuter line congestion:

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, commented: “West Midlands Trains management have assured me that the two extra carriages came into operation last week but that services in the last few days have been affected both by serious staff shortages and the impact of bad weather across the county.

“I sympathise with commuters who are frustrated by the overcrowding, and as someone who regularly uses that route to Birmingham, I share their views.

“I will be writing to the managing director of West Midlands Trains to ask him to re-double his efforts to ensure that our commuters get better journeys to and from the second city.”

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Environment

Thank you for contacting me about plastic pollution in UK rivers, this issue matters enormously in West Worcestershire where we have the Rivers Severn, Avon and Teme.

The Resources and Waste strategy, published last year, sets out plans to reduce plastic pollution with a target of eliminating all avoidable waste over the lifetime of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan. The majority of aquatic litter originates from land based sources therefore I believe the best approach to stemming the flow of plastic is by taking action on land.

The UK's world-leading ban on microbeads will help stop potentially billions of tiny pieces of plastic from entering the aquatic environment every year. As well as this, 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out to shoppers by the seven main retailers since the introduction of the plastic bag charge in 2015. I am also pleased that following an open consultation, a ban on the supply of plastic straws - excluding those needed for medical purposes - drinks stirrers and cotton buds will come into force in April next year.

Ministers have also consulted on a number of key policy measures which will significantly change the way we manage our waste. These include: reforming existing packaging waste regulations; exploring the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers; and increasing consistency in the recycling system; with a parallel consultation on the 'Plastic Packaging Tax' which the Chancellor announced in the Budget last year. The responses to these consultations will be published in due course.

I am pleased that the Environment Bill had its Second Reading this week, and I met with the Minister to confirm that environmental standards will be maintained and increased after we leave the European Union.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

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Brexit Latest

Thank you for contacting me about Brexit.

As I am sure you will appreciate, it is hard to predict what will happen each day this week in Parliament and what votes will be called.

I have voted four times for the Withdrawal Agreement and I am pleased that a majority of the House of Commons has now supported the current deal as well. My position has always been that we should respect the result of the 2016 referendum and leave with a deal, offering certainty to my constituents and securing an orderly departure from the European Union. I also believe the best way to avoid No Deal is to vote for one.

I hope the Government presses on with the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the House to continue to support it, allowing us to leave the EU with a deal in place.

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Supreme Court Judgment

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, commented: “The Supreme Court has ruled that prorogation was unlawful and their ruling must be respected. Parliament will resume sitting tomorrow. I’m already in Westminster meeting with West Midlands Trains to talk about train carriages and with Highways England to talk about the planned improvements to the A417. I’ve always said that proroguing Parliament at this time is undesirable and I would be willing to sit for as many days as are required to vote for a deal. I hope that, when Parliament does return, we will get on with the important job of exiting the European Union and delivering certainty for the businesses and people in West Worcestershire.”

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Proroguing Parliament

Thank you for contacting me about proroguing Parliament.

I would be happy to stay in Parliament every day until October 31st to vote for the deal the Prime Minister seeks, or the one the previous PM agreed. Parliament will return on October 14th and MPs will have time to support a Withdrawal Agreement. A new session of Parliament would allow the Government to table the unamended Withdrawal Agreement as a last resort.

I agree that proroguing is undesirable at this time although this prorogation coincides with the conference recess and only a few sitting days will be lost. My preference, along with 90 per cent of my party colleagues, has been to back the Withdrawal Agreement offering certainty to local people and local businesses. Because of Speaker Bercow’s ruling the current Withdrawal Agreement can’t be brought back without changes in this session, and as yet changes requested by the Government have not been forthcoming from the EU. If the EU continues with its intransigence, MPs who want to avoid No Deal can support the deal when Parliament returns in October.

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River Pollution

Thank you for contacting me about plastic pollution in UK rivers, this issue matters enormously in West Worcestershire where we have the Rivers Severn, Avon and Teme.

The Resources and Waste strategy, published last year, sets out plans to reduce plastic pollution with a target of eliminating all avoidable waste over the lifetime of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan. The majority of aquatic litter originates from land based sources therefore I believe the best approach to stemming the flow of plastic is by taking action on land.

The UK's world-leading ban on microbeads will help stop potentially billions of tiny pieces of plastic from entering the aquatic environment every year. As well as this, 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out to shoppers by the seven main retailers since the introduction of the plastic bag charge in 2015. I am also pleased that following an open consultation, a ban on the supply of plastic straws - excluding those needed for medical purposes - drinks stirrers and cotton buds will come into force in April next year.

Ministers have also consulted on a number of key policy measures which will significantly change the way we manage our waste. These include: reforming existing packaging waste regulations; exploring the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers; and increasing consistency in the recycling system; with a parallel consultation on the 'Plastic Packaging Tax' which the Chancellor announced in the Budget last year. The responses to these consultations will be published in due course.

On the Environment Bill, draft clauses on environmental principles and governance have now been published. I am encouraged that these clauses are only part of a broader Bill, which will include legislative measures to take direct action to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age: air quality, nature recovery, waste and resource efficiency, and water resource management.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

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Climate Change

Thank you for contacting me about climate change.

I am proud of the Government’s record on addressing climate change. The UK has played a leading role as the world has worked towards a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Paris Agreement.

Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent while growing the economy by more than two thirds, the best performance on a per person basis than any other G7 nation. The Government’s Energy Act puts Britain firmly on track to meet the 2050 target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by 80 per cent and underpins the remarkable investment that the UK has seen in its low carbon economy since 2010.

The UK is a world leader in clean growth and the Government has invested more than £52 billion in renewable energy in the UK since 2010. The Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy identify and target the huge potential opportunity for the UK from clean growth and transition to low carbon economy, while the National Adaptation Programme 2018-23 sets out a strategy for dealing with the effects of a changing climate. The Government has also agreed to support and expand offshore wind, and made the historic commitment to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025.

That said, I appreciate that you would like to see the UK increase its ambition on climate change. The Government believes the UK will need to legislate for a net zero emissions target at an appropriate point in the future, to provide legal certainty on where the UK is heading. In the meantime, Ministers will continue to seek advice from the UK’s independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, on the UK’s long-term emission reduction targets.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

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Article 50

Thank you for contacting me about Brexit. As you will appreciate, I am currently receiving a high level of correspondence on this important matter and although I do take time to read the letters, mass identical emails and social media posts, it is impractical to respond to every different viewpoint individually.

My view continues to be that we should respect the result of the 2016 referendum in which 80% of local people cast their vote. The 2017 General Election endorsed the referendum result and the manifesto on which I stood. It said we would aim for the best possible deal as we leave, delivered by a smooth, orderly Brexit.

A Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50 is the only legal way to move from a hybrid legal system to a UK-only legal system. This gives certainty to over one million British citizens living in EU countries, and to all the contracts written between businesses here and in the EU. It is also a way to clarify the outstanding financial obligations we incurred during our membership. An implementation period allows us time to negotiate free trade agreements with the EU and around the world, something we are not able to do until we've left. To leave without legal certainty for real lives and people's livelihoods would be deeply irresponsible and contrary to the UK's values as an upholder of the rules-based international order.

I feel it is important that, as we press on with the process of leaving the European Union, we provide certainty for local people and local businesses, and secure a strong partnership with our European neighbours as well other countries across the globe. No Deal is currently the legal default if nothing else can be agreed, but I for one believe the current deal is better than No Deal, which is why I have supported it twice.

As to unilaterally revoking Article 50, I am sure you can appreciate how unpopular that would be with the 17.4 million people who voted to leave.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue.

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Second Referendum

Thank you for contacting me about the ‘Beckett amendment’ which puts forward proposals for a confirmatory public vote on any EU withdrawal agreement.

I will not support another referendum, in this or any other guise, for the following reasons;

* I promised to respect the outcome of the last referendum on EU membership, which voted leave nationally and in West Worcestershire.

* The General Election of 2017 endorsed the result of the referendum, with both Labour and Conservatives pledging to respect the result.

* The Liberal Democrats offered a confirmatory referendum, and received 7.4% of the vote in 2017.

* We have seen how referenda clash too strongly with our representative Parliamentary democracy.

* It is unclear what question would be asked. A referendum needs legislation and Parliament would want to have Leave as one of the options. The Beckett amendment is silent on this.

* The result could be Leave once more, and many people would then presumably be calling for a third referendum.

* The only valid route to another referendum is to win a majority in Parliament with a pledge to hold one.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me on this important issue.

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Brexit

Thank you for contacting me about Brexit. As you will appreciate, I am currently receiving a high level of correspondence on this important matter and although I do take time to read the letters, emails and social media posts, it is currently impractical to respond to every different viewpoint individually.

My position remains that I respect the result of the referendum, endorsed in the 2017 General Election, and support the work of the Prime Minister Theresa May as she negotiates the terms of withdrawing from the European Union.

Some of you want a second referendum, some want Brexit stopped, some want a no-deal Brexit and some of you think a General Election would be helpful at this time. Many of you are supportive of the Prime Minister and her deal. I think I can safely say that I'm not going to be able to please all of you.

I feel it is important that, as we press on with the process of leaving the European Union, we provide certainty for local people and local businesses, and secure a strong partnership with our European neighbours as well other countries across the globe. I don't support a 'No Deal' scenario and I do not support a second referendum.

The Withdrawal Agreement and the political statement on a future economic partnership deliver on the result of the referendum, but do so in an orderly, phased way to minimise disruption to people, farmers and businesses and thus this approach has my full support.

A Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50 is the only legal way to move from a hybrid legal system to a UK-only legal system. This gives certainty to British citizens living in EU countries, and to all the contracts written between businesses here and in the EU. It is also a way to clarify the outstanding financial obligations we incurred during our membership. An implementation period allows us time to negotiate free trade agreements with the EU and around the world. To leave without legal certainty for real lives and people’s livelihoods would be deeply irresponsible and contrary to the UK’s values as an upholder of the rules-based international order. Those who voted to reject this withdrawal agreement need to now say what they would agree to and the Government stands ready to listen.

Thank you for contacting me on this important matter.

You can read more on the Brexit deal here: https://brexitdealexplained.campaign.gov.uk

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Harriett offers backing to draft Brexit deal

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has offered her backing to a draft deal between the UK and the EU on the process for the UK leaving the European Union.

The draft agreement, which was confirmed yesterday by the Prime Minister Theresa May, outlines the terms of our exit from the EU as well as setting out the broad terms of a future relationship with our European partners. The draft deal will allow for the UK to withdraw from the European Union in a smooth and orderly way on March 29, 2019.

There will be further negotiations in the coming days and weeks and it is hoped that a full document will be placed before European leaders for approval at the end of the month. The UK Parliament will then get a meaningful vote on the deal.

Harriett commented: “I welcome this announcement which is a decisive step forward as we prepare for leaving the European Union.

“Every time I chat to local people, farmers and businesses, they tell me that what they want is certainty and this document is testament to the huge amount of work that has been put in to secure agreement on key issues like citizen’s rights, immigration and trade.

“I don’t support a ‘No Deal’ scenario and I don’t support a second referendum. This document is a significant breakthrough and I am planning to support it, and Theresa May, when it comes before the House of Commons in due course.”

Moving Forward

Prime Minister's Statement

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Setting out a new relationship for the UK and the EU

However you voted in the referendum, in a democracy it is essential that the outcome is respected. I was elected last year on a mandate to deliver the result and both major political parties pledged to respect the referendum vote in their 2017 manifestos. So this year, the Government has been working to respect our commitment of ending free movement, leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market, while ensuring there’s no disruption or friction for businesses, including on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Neither of the options on offer from the EU - membership of the EEA with Norway (maintains free movement), nor keeping Northern Ireland in the Customs Union (creates a border within the UK) is acceptable. Staying in the Customs Union like Turkey (the Labour position) is clearly against our manifesto and prevents us striking other free trade deals, while a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement hardens the border in Northern Ireland.

After months of stalemate where no one has been able to find a breakthrough, the Cabinet agreed a common, alternative position last week.  Following the agreement the Government published its White Paper on how we will trade on the global stage once we have left the European Union. You can read it here and a letter from Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union.

I believe this compromise delivers on the key principles of the referendum result - we leave the European Union next March 29th, we end freedom of movement, we end paying into the EU budget and we regain control of our trade policy and regulatory framework for the 80 per cent of our economy that derives from services. We keep to a Common rule book on tradeable goods, so that farmers and businesses can move goods freely. This is the most controversial element of the compromise, but it’s one which businesses would have implemented themselves anyway, and the rule book for goods has been quite stable for years. It avoids the disruption of shifting to WTO rules, which require a 10 per cent tariff to be charged on cars and a 40 per cent tariff on lamb and tariffs on other agri-foods.

I continue to support the Prime Minister as she leads her team in this difficult negotiation. I voted for Theresa May to be leader because I thought she would be the right person to lead us through the challenge of delivering Brexit and the get the best possible deal for our country and I continue to support her as she carries out this complex, critical work.

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NHS Future Funding

Thank you for contacting me about how to fund the NHS in the future. I know you will join me in wishing the NHS a happy 70th birthday in July.

Should you wish to pay an additional 1% tax on your income, I have confirmed with Treasury Ministers that it is possible now for you to make a ‘patriotic gift’ of this amount.

Since 2010/11, Government expenditure on health services has risen 20%, from £119.9 billion to £144.3 billion in 2016/17. The question of how to fund the NHS in the long-term is one of the most pressing political issues facing the country. Demand only continues to rise, and as the population ages, there are a growing number of widespread chronic conditions which will be increasingly expensive and challenging to address.

This is why I welcome the Prime Minister’s recently announced plans to invest an additional £20.5 billion in the NHS by 2023. This will equate to nearly £400 million more a week in real terms, securing the future of our greatest national inheritance. Under this plan, NHS funding will grow on average by 3.4% in real terms each year from 2019-20 to 2023-24. This increased funding will go to support a new long-term, 10 year plan that the NHS will put forward, which will help tackle waste and improve services.

While further details of how this funding will be provided are to be set out in due course, I can assure you that the Government is working to deliver a solution which provides the NHS with the investment it needs, and will be financially sustainable.

Locally, I continue to work hard to support the NHS, in particular ensuring that the Worcestershire NHS Acute Trust has the right funds to add capacity at Accident and Emergency. An extra £29 million has been secured to help fund much needed improvements at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and I continue to support the new management team leading programmes to improve patient care at our local acute hospitals.

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The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Thank you for contacting me regarding amendments proposed to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill also known as the Repeal Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament. It is my intention to support the Government position and deliver a framework for the UK which will minimise disruption to businesses and individuals as the UK leaves the EU.

The Government also wants to ensure that power is returned as close as possible to communities as laws are returned to the UK. I expect that there will be a significant increase in the decision making powers of the devolved administrations but I want this approach to work coherently for the whole of the UK.

Regaining the sovereignty of Parliament is a fundamental principle of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. I am glad that once the UK has left the EU, the British people will have more control over the decisions that affect their daily lives.

I would like to reassure you that workers' rights, consumer protection and environmental laws will not change and businesses will benefit from this certainty. Parliament will, of course, be free to keep, amend and repeal laws as it sees fit after this date. There may also be some laws which no longer operate as intended and the bill will provide the power for corrections to be made so that the UK legal system can continue to operate.

This bill will transfer EU law, including the case law of the European Court of Justice, into UK law at the point of the UK's departure from the EU. This will make sure that the UK has a functioning statute book when it leaves the EU and it will provide the maximum amount of certainty, control and continuity.

The Bill has already had sixty-four hours of debate in the House of Commons, followed by 20 days of debate in the Lords and now will receive a further two days of debate on Lords amendments. This scrutiny is unprecedented in my parliamentary experience.

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Harriett says...

Harriett Baldwin
 
This website has been created to keep you in touch with my work both in Westminster and across the constituency.

Surgery Dates

Surgeries are held on Fridays. To book an appointment please talk to a caseworker at the constituency office on 01684 585165.

 

| Full list of dates

 

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The Little Book of Big Scams

Click here to read the Metropolitan Police’s advice on scams.
 

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