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  • National Planning Policy Framework
    we should have had during the 13 years of the Labour Government Greg Clark My hon Friend is right and that is now a shared view As I have said the right hon Member for Wentworth and Dearne has said that Indeed in our conversations about the Localism Bill the hon Member for Birmingham Erdington Jack Dromey whom I congratulate on his promotion also recognised that the regional approach would go and not come back It has not worked for the reasons that I have mentioned because it sets people against the planning system Hansard Alok Sharma I am delighted that the right hon Gentleman agrees with much of what my right hon Friend the Minister has said The right hon Gentleman is implying that there was a golden age of sustainable planning under the Labour party but clearly that was not the case Does he agree that reducing the planning policy document from 1 000 pages to fewer than 100 pages will be good news for encouraging what we all want to see more sustainable development in this country Hilary Benn The planning policy that we all inherited had great strengths and evolved over time My concern is that

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  • Pensions Bill debate
    power it did not really bother about saving for tomorrow This is what his predecessor said when the point was raised in Committee this is outside the period of the comprehensive spending review and the budget deficit reduction plan Official Report Pensions Public Bill Committee 5 July 2011 c 8 As the hon Gentleman knows we are not going to suddenly stop spending and raising money after the budget deficit has gone If we keep making unfunded pension commitments that will add to the deficit and the debt in the future Hansard Alok Sharma I thank the hon Gentleman for giving way He is making a passionate point and he talks about social justice and fairness but all those on whose behalf he speaks up will ask If the Labour party ever get back into power will they enact these changes It is a fair question for everyone to ask and it is fair that he gives us an answer today Gregg McClymont After the hon Gentleman s previous intervention he did not listen to the answer given that intervention he did not listen to the answer I gave the hon Member for East Dunbartonshire He just does not seem to get it Hansard Alok Sharma My hon Friend makes the point that we are not in an ideal world A large part of the reason why we are not in the world that we would like to be in is that the previous Labour Government left us with a record deficit Labour Members are now talking about another 10 billion Does she agree that it is ludicrous for them to talk about unfunded commitments and that they should instead apologise for the mess that they left the country in Jenny Willott We need to focus on what is realistic

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  • Careers Service (Young People) debate | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    enough I agree that that responsibility should go to schools At the end of the day they know their pupils best and know what is required They will be able to commission advice and services from the new national careers service when that is up and running and of course from other external sources It has been implied I do not whether it was deliberate or not that providing online advice does not make sense for young people Some of us have young children ourselves and some of us know young people and we know that it is second nature for them to use the internet to do research Professor Alison Wolf who led the Government review of vocational education has said very clearly that there is a role for the Government in providing online updated information on what is available It is entirely consistent that online provision is one of the things that will be happening Lilian Greenwood I agree that young people often want to access information through new technology but does the hon Gentleman consider it an adequate replacement for guidance and the opportunity to discuss options face to face Alok Sharma Clearly we need to have both Interruption Hang on let me finish Schools will be able to access this information I want to talk about what is happening on my patch in Reading It is vital that not just schools but businesses have a key role in providing careers advice because at the end of the day they have an interest in interacting with their future employees It is vital that we do not forget that element As the Minister knows because he is opening it at the end of the month we have organised an interactive careers fair we have called it a futures fair open to all secondary schools in my constituency We have organised it with the educational charity Central Berkshire Education Business Partnership which I guess is the sort of external service provider that we are talking about I have long thought it important I am sure that other Members have too that we connect schools and business and that careers advice is not provided in isolation by schools and teachers When I began the initiative I wondered how we would fund it but actually businesses bent over backwards to provide funding We are holding it at the conference centre at the Madejski football stadium in Reading it is going to be a very big event and schools will not have to pay a penny because it will be fully funded by business More than 60 organisations including businesses multinationals and local companies are taking part An hon Member said that we need alumni and former students in positions of responsibility in companies to come and talk to pupils in schools which is exactly what we will have every sector will be covered from engineering to IT and apprenticeships providers along with seminars on practical skills including on how to write

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  • Home Office Questions: Policing Reading Festival | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    potholes in Reading West Past Campaigns Exporting for Growth Seminar Battle Health Petition Boosting primary school places in Reading Delivery of Purley Bund Flood alleviation for Keswick Close and Ogmore Close Flood alleviation for Kingsley Close in Whitley NatWest Branch Closure in Pangbourne No to Pincents Hill Development Number 33 Bus Route Number 33 Bus Route Survey Save the Bath Road Reservoir Campaign Southcote rat infestation The Reading Futures Fair Underwood Road Precinct Development Visitor Parking Permits Letters Gallery Contact Links Home Office Questions Policing Reading Festival Alok Sharma congratultes Thames Valley police on the policing of the Reading Festival and also on protecting front line policing while finding budget savings Mrs May I thank my hon Friend for his question to which I am very happy to respond not least because I could hear Reading festival from my home even with the doors and windows shut A significant number of people attended that event which has had problems with crime in the past so Thames Valley police are to be congratulated on the work they did this year to reduce crime The Thames Valley force is a very good example of a force that is committed to ensuring that

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  • Libya: Humanitarian Aid | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    Circuit Lane Surgery Securing infrastructure fit for the 21st Century Sewage problems in Theale Supporting Heathrow Airport Tackling overcrowding on trains Tackling potholes in Reading West Past Campaigns Exporting for Growth Seminar Battle Health Petition Boosting primary school places in Reading Delivery of Purley Bund Flood alleviation for Keswick Close and Ogmore Close Flood alleviation for Kingsley Close in Whitley NatWest Branch Closure in Pangbourne No to Pincents Hill Development Number 33 Bus Route Number 33 Bus Route Survey Save the Bath Road Reservoir Campaign Southcote rat infestation The Reading Futures Fair Underwood Road Precinct Development Visitor Parking Permits Letters Gallery Contact Links Libya Humanitarian Aid Alok Sharma welcomes the international effort in Libya and asks the Prime Minister for details of the humanitarian aid Britian is providing Alok Sharma Reading West Con I too congratulate the Prime Minister on leading the international effort in Libya May I say that it is rather refreshing finally to have a Prime Minister who leads from the front Will he give us a few more details on the humanitarian aid that Britain and the international community are providing and are planning to provide which will be incredibly important in the days weeks and months ahead The Prime Minister I am happy to do that We have helped through the ICRC to provide medical assistance to 5 000 people We have provided food for I believe around 700 000 people We are working with others to provide water as well On the humanitarian situation we have always been ready to do more The planning carried out by the Department for International Development has been first class The needs have not always been as great as predicted because the Libyans have responded themselves relatively rapidly to deal with shortages and problems Hansard Printer friendly version

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  • Alok Sharma condemns phone hacking scandal and welcomes inquiry | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    World scandal and that he was targeted because he had refused to support a News of the World campaign to allow parents access to the sex offenders register It is shocking that any hon Member or indeed any member of the public should be subject to such an invasion of their privacy just because they choose not to support a media campaign If the allegations prove to be true I hope that justice will be served Secondly I welcome the Prime Minister s statement this morning giving further details of the judicial inquiry I also welcome the very forthright views that he has set out in the past few weeks and today on this issue His frankness about the collective failure of politicians the press and the police to get to grips with this whole issue much earlier has been very much in line with the mood of the House and of those outside it The Leader of the Opposition said in the House last week that all of us should accept our share of responsibility for not having spoken out more on these issues Official Report 13 July 2011 Vol 531 c 391 He was right The Labour Government of the day did not act on the Information Commissioner s reports of 2006 or on the Culture Media and Sport Committee s report of 2003 To be fair the Prime Minister has also said that the then Opposition did not make enough of those reports either We know that phone hacking was discussed in Cabinet by the previous Labour Government but they did not act Last week the right hon Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Mr Brown came to the House and spoke at length absolving himself from responsibility for not taking action on his watch I do not know whether he forgot but he was Chancellor and then Prime Minister He was in charge but he did not act By contrast this Prime Minister has acted decisively He has taken weeks to set up a public inquiry not years I should also add that the freedom of the press is a hugely important part of our democracy We all want to see a clean press but we do not want to see a cowed press I hope that as the inquiry gets under way that will be uppermost in the minds of those leading the inquiry There has been lots of focus quite understandably on News Corp and the Murdochs in recent weeks but we must also keep it in mind that the issues we are discussing have a bearing on the media as a whole not just the Murdoch press As has been mentioned the 2006 Information Commissioner s investigation spoke of a widespread and organised undercover market in confidential personal information In the Operation Motorman case the police and the ICO found evidence that there were about 300 journalists working for a wide range of newspapers that had used a variety of techniques to obtain personal

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  • Sharma raises public sector pensions issue at Prime Minister's Questions | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    Bund Flood alleviation for Keswick Close and Ogmore Close Flood alleviation for Kingsley Close in Whitley NatWest Branch Closure in Pangbourne No to Pincents Hill Development Number 33 Bus Route Number 33 Bus Route Survey Save the Bath Road Reservoir Campaign Southcote rat infestation The Reading Futures Fair Underwood Road Precinct Development Visitor Parking Permits Letters Gallery Contact Links Sharma raises public sector pensions issue at Prime Minister s Questions Reading West MP Alok Sharma raised the issue of public sector pensions at Prime Minister s Questions today Alok asked Alok Sharma Reading West Con What does the Prime Minister think is more fair and progressive the coalition Government s policy of safeguarding defined benefit pension schemes in the public sector or Labour s 100 billion smash and grab on private pension funds which directly contributed to the demise of defined benefit schemes in the private sector Prime Minister David Cameron responded The Prime Minister My hon Friend makes an extremely good point and I note that we are 26 minutes into Question Time yet we have not heard a squeak from Labour Members about strikes pensions or the need for reform Because they are all paid for by the trade unions they cannot talk about this issue What the coalition Government are doing is right because we are saying that we want to have a defined benefit system in the public sector We want to make sure all those accrued rights are kept and people will still be able to take those accrued rights at the age they were originally allowed to take them Just to put this beyond doubt when people who are currently in a final salary scheme get the accrued benefits they will be based on their final salary not their final salary now or when

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  • Pensions Bill debate | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    West Past Campaigns Exporting for Growth Seminar Battle Health Petition Boosting primary school places in Reading Delivery of Purley Bund Flood alleviation for Keswick Close and Ogmore Close Flood alleviation for Kingsley Close in Whitley NatWest Branch Closure in Pangbourne No to Pincents Hill Development Number 33 Bus Route Number 33 Bus Route Survey Save the Bath Road Reservoir Campaign Southcote rat infestation The Reading Futures Fair Underwood Road Precinct Development Visitor Parking Permits Letters Gallery Contact Links Pensions Bill debate Alok Sharma condemns criticisms of the Bill when the previous Government s Pensions Commission reported in 2005 that the pension age should go up and the Pensions Act of 2007 legislated to increase it for men and women Alok Sharma Reading West Con Does my right hon Friend not think that the criticisms from the Opposition are rather rich In September 2004 the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions the right hon Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle Alan Johnson told the TUC This Government will not raise the state pension age yet Labour s Pensions Commission reported in 2005 that the pension age should go up and in the Pensions Act 2007 the Labour

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