Yesterday I spent a few hours in the Chamber after finding time from Select Committee and charity meetings. It was eventful.
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): Hon. Members may recall the visit of Mr Matthew Lammas of Newport to the House just over a year ago. At the age of just 23, he gave a harrowing account of his wait, the frustrations and delays, for a heart transplant. Tragically, Matthew died two months ago, but is not the example of the difficulties and delay that he faced a powerful argument for supporting the proposals of the Welsh Assembly Government?
Stephen Crabb: The hon. Gentleman brings a powerful example to the House of why we need to do more at different levels, in both the UK and the Welsh Governments, to increase the number of organ donors across the UK, and to that end we look forward to seeing the detail of the Welsh Government legislation.
Nia Griffith (Llanelli) (Lab): I very much welcome the Welsh Government’s initiative of introducing legislation to increase organ donation, but after the Supreme Court justices described as “bizarre” the referral by the Secretary of State to the court of the Welsh Government’s byelaw legislation, will the Minister give the House unreserved assurances that the Wales Office will not delay this life-saving legislation and will not waste taxpayers’ money by making any more spurious referrals to the Supreme Court?
Stephen Crabb: My Department and the Department of Health have been in close discussion with the Welsh Government about the detail of the legislation, and we are optimistic that all outstanding devolution issues will be addressed before publication of the legislation.
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): Studies show that those countries in the world that are happiest and have highest levels of contentment and well-being are the Scandinavian nations that have relatively high taxes and high minimum wages. Is it not strange for the Government to believe that we make the rich work harder by giving them more money but the poor work harder by taking money from them?
Rachel Reeves: My hon. Friend makes an important point. The work of Wilkinson and Pickett in “The Spirit Level”, and other academic research, has shown exactly that. Some people will be a lot happier next year—the 8,000 millionaires who will have their taxes cut—but ordinary working people who see their taxes go up will be a lot worse off and, I expect, not very happy with either their finances or the Government who have inflicted that situation on them.
Mr Graham Stuart: I appeal to my hon. Friend not to be too harsh on the Opposition. Does he not understand that the Labour party now gets 90% of its funding from the trade union movement? If the trade unions insist that there should be a 50p tax rate—even if it does not raise money and undermines public services—it may feel obliged to put it in its manifesto regardless.
Mr Gauke: My hon. Friend displays an unusual degree of cynicism. I am still hopeful that Labour Members will share with us a desire for the UK to be a competitive environment for business that attracts high net worth and high-earning individuals to locate and pay tax in the UK, and that we can raise more revenue from them. Perhaps, however, my hon. Friend will turn out to be right and they will be driven more by their trade union paymasters.
Paul Flynn: Did the hon. Gentleman see the filmed interview with the treasurer of the Conservative party who demanded £250,000 for an invitation to dinner with the Prime Minister? Does not that give us an idea of the source of the Tory party’s funds?
Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that a number of councils out there are working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus? They include Medway council, which reduced youth unemployment from 1,600 to 1,200 between April and October. That clearly shows that where there is the will, the Government’s policies, with local councils working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, are reducing youth unemployment.
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): The results that we heard about yesterday cannot be compared with anything else that ever happened. It is probably true that if the Government did nothing at all, there would be a better outcome. Can we therefore conclude that the best we can expect from the Government for the next two and a half years of their miserable existence is a long period of inactivity?
Guto Bebb: The hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn) seldom sees the bright side of life. The truth is that I am not willing to see 31,000 job outcomes so far as immaterial. That is something that we should be proud of. To be perfectly frank, if that is failure, give us more.