We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Tim Farron's Recent Appearances in Parliament

Tim Farron speaking on unaccompanied refugees (Liberal Democrat Newswire)Content supplied and updated by theyworkforyou.com

  • Oct 29, 2019:
    • Petition - West Cumbria coal mine | Commons debates

      I present a petition on behalf of 1,852 residents of Cumbria who oppose the proposed West Cumbrian coal mine, believing, as I do, that in the fight to prevent climate catastrophe, it is vital that we keep fossil fuels in the ground. The petitioners request that the Secretary of State call in the application for his own determination at the earliest opportunity and that he rule against the opening of the mine.

      Following is the full text of the petition:

      [The petition of people of the United Kingdom,

      Declares that a local petition has been collected against the proposed west Cumbria coal mine which should not be opened on account of the impact on the climate.

      The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to call this application in for its own determination at the earliest opportunity and that it rules against the opening of the mine.

      And the petitioners remain, etc.]


    • Social Security Benefits: Appeals | Department for Work and Pensions | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that the mandatory reconsideration process is an effective means of redress for applicants who have not been awarded personal independence payment.

    • Social Security Benefits: Appeals | Department for Work and Pensions | Written Answers

      To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the mandatory reconsideration process.

    • Bus Services: Cumbria - [Dame Cheryl Gillan in the Chair] | Endometriosis Workplace Support | Westminster Hall debates

      Thank you, Dame Cheryl.

      The reality, whether we like it or not, is that climate change is happening. The question is whether we can prevent a climate catastrophe that will have huge impacts on human beings in this country and across the globe. Tackling this global disaster will take change in every community and lots of steps that add up to a bigger picture. Public transport is an element of that. In order for there to be success globally, we in the Lakes are determined to act locally. Our community bus services prove that determination.

      Two new platforms are being funded and opened at Manchester Piccadilly railway station. That important public investment in infrastructure and the economy through the northern powerhouse is good news, but where is the equivalent for the rural north? The transport spend in the north-west per head of population is still barely half that in London, despite promises made when the northern powerhouse was formed. I will continue to fight the cuts to individual bus services. I will continue to stand with and work with the community to find alternative solutions, just as we are currently doing for Arnside, Levens, Cartmel, Hincaster and Kendal. But let us be honest: that is not good enough. The concept of the northern powerhouse is great, but from Cumbria's perspective it is not much of a powerhouse and it is not very northern.

      If new platforms at Manchester Piccadilly are an investment that will boost the Manchester city region's economy, a comprehensive bus service in rural Cumbria is the investment to boost the Cumbrian economy, so that is my proposal today: that the Minister should ensure the direct commissioning of a comprehensive, affordable and reliable rural bus network in Cumbria. Will the Minister do that as a key plank of the northern powerhouse?

      The bus service running through the south Lakes along the A6 and the A591 is the 555. Running from Lancaster to Keswick, it serves Milnthorpe, Kendal, Staveley, Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. It is a reliable service, but extremely expensive. The Kendal to Ambleside journey was recently revealed as the second most expensive route in the country. But if we look at the 555 as the trunk service, what we have seen over the last 30 years has been the slow but steady hacking off of the twigs and the branches. If people do not live in one of the communities along the main south Lakes route, they are more than likely without a bus service. Therefore, what I am asking for is a new commissioned service that will bring back buses to every community and breathe new life into the public transport of the Lakes.

      If the Government keep ignoring the plight of rural communities, we will keep fighting for ourselves, rolling up our sleeves, making our own luck and finding solutions against the odds, but we would love it if they would stop ignoring us and instead commission a comprehensive rural bus service to exceed anything that we have seen before, even 35 years ago before deregulation. It will be an investment that revives rural communities, boosts our economy, tackles isolation and connects our towns and villages. I plead with the Minster to be ambitious and to back that proposal.

    • Bus Services: Cumbria - [Dame Cheryl Gillan in the Chair] | Endometriosis Workplace Support | Westminster Hall debates

      The hon. Lady's intervention is very appropriate. I am certain that her communities will have had similar experiences to mine. In the end, investment in public transport is just that. People use the word subsidy, but we are talking about an investment, because the impact on local communities, their economy and the wellbeing of the people who live in them of having these services is worth the money we put into them. It makes more money in terms of the multiplier, so her point is well made and I am grateful to her for making it.

      Over the next three weeks we will work together to try to provide a long-term solution to the proposed loss of the 552 and the 530 services. We are grateful to have managed to persuade Stagecoach to give us that stay of execution. As I said, in a large rural area with a dispersed population, it is hard for bus services to be run on a commercial basis and, unlike many urban areas, we cannot rely on the private sector to fill the gaps when funding disappears. In fact, none of the recent services that have been cut has since been taken up by a commercial provider. Once they are gone, they are usually gone for good.

      That is why I am so determined that we should find solutions now to protect or to replace the 530 and the 552 before they disappear. With no alternative bus service, those communities can easily become cut off. The average age in my patch is 10 years above the national average, and with a significantly larger older population the need for reliable, regular bus services is all the greater. Many people I know have found themselves alone and disconnected in their later years, the loss of bus services leaving them stranded in places that are utterly beautiful but utterly isolated.

      The steady erosion of our bus services comes at the worst time, when other key services are also being reduced. The closure of bank branches in places such as Milnthorpe, Grange, Sedbergh, Ambleside and Coniston in recent times, alongside the closure of shops and post offices, means that people rely even more on public transport to get to the bigger towns and villages, just as those public transport options are disappearing.

      That is why we were right to fight to expose Barclays for its dreadful plan to withdraw from the scheme that underpins our post offices, and I am relieved that Barclays has done a U-turn under pressure from many of us. However, it is a reminder that we need to ensure that the banks pay a fair price to the post offices that now fill the spaces that they left behind when they closed their branches and abandoned our communities.

      Many in our towns and villages rely on the buses for the basic tasks of daily life-shopping, doctor's appointments, seeing friends and family or getting to work. The 530 is the only bus route that serves the village of Levens. It is well used by residents to travel into Kendal to shop and to access other vital services. The same applies to the 552; without that service, there is no regular bus connection linking Arnside with the other major communities.

      We must also consider the impact of loneliness on physical and mental health. Let us imagine someone who lives in a small village and is unable to drive. If their one transport link is removed, they will find themselves increasingly cut off, unable to travel at the same time as they witness the closure of accessible services in the place they live, with more and more of the homes in their community becoming second homes that are empty for 90% of the year. With few neighbours and fewer local services, the loss of buses constitutes the loss of a vital lifeline and risks leaving many even more isolated and vulnerable.

      It is not only the elderly in our communities who are suffering from the reduced bus services. Young people's access to public transport is also under threat. Free school transport is provided for children up to sixth-form age, but after that the support is not available. It simply makes no sense for the Government to demand that young people carry on in education until they are 18 and then deny them the ability to afford to do so. In places such as Sedbergh and Coniston, it is often impossible to gain access to sixth-form provision at schools or colleges by public transport. There needs to be a statutory responsibility for local education authorities to guarantee home-to-school transport for 16 to 18-year-old students, in the same way that there is for the under-16s. However, there must also be the buses available to deliver that transport in the first place.

      Community bus services have filled the gap in some cases, as over the past 30 years Governments of all colours have allowed funding for bus provision to evaporate. To their absolute credit, communities have not just stood by. When the X12 from Coniston to Ulverston was cut, the community stepped up to run the service through fundraising and sheer determination, but it has not been easy. It is a service run in the face of obstacles thrown up by the Department for Transport's own rules.

      Similar stories could be told of the 106 between Kendal and Penrith, and of the 597 Windermere town bus. In Sedbergh the buses are now run by the community-run Western Dales Bus, set up after the cancellation of the 564 left Sedbergh entirely without a connection to the main town of Kendal. I am massively grateful to the volunteers who make those services possible. Indeed, it was a pleasure to be a volunteer driver myself on the Sedbergh bus just a few months ago. It was a great pleasure for the passengers too-at least, they were pleased when the experience was over.

      I am proud of our communities and proud of the bus services that so many groups run locally, working tirelessly to provide the best services they can, but it is a battle that comes at a personal cost. Our communities do a phenomenal job, but they should not have to. Urban areas would never settle for that absence of provision, so why should we?

      The Cumbria chamber of commerce last year consulted businesses throughout our county for their response to Transport for the North's strategic review. Inadequate bus services were cited repeatedly for the toll that they were taking on the ability of businesses to recruit staff. Put simply, staff have no means of getting to work. That is a particular issue for the tourism and hospitality industry, in which staff often have to start shifts early or finish late. Lack of buses also prevents businesses in the Lake district from recruiting staff from Barrow, where the employment pool is bigger and unemployment is higher.

      Bus services are essential to life for locals. They are also key to Cumbria's vibrant tourism industry. Cumbria's Lake district is Britain's second biggest visitor destination after London-16 million people visited us last year. A high proportion of visitors use their free bus passes while on holiday. That is subsidised by Cumbria County Council through funds provided by the Government, but calculated according to the number of people permanently living in our community. That calculation does not count the reality of the colossal number of tourists using the service. The funding does not even begin to reflect the number of passes used in our area, and local taxpayers end up picking up the shortfall. That is one reason why there is no money to subsidise public bus services in Cumbria; we are basically subsidising public transport for people from richer authorities who do not return the favour.

      It strikes me as bizarre, standing in London as I am, that bus services here receive a £722 million annual subsidy, while in Cumbria we receive absolutely nothing. The lack of subsidy has a catastrophic impact on fares, and the extortionate prices make commuting by bus a real challenge, especially for lower-paid workers. How is it right that the 5-mile bus journey from Ambleside to Grasmere-neighbouring communities-costs £4.90, while a journey of equivalent length in London costs £1.50? The Government subsidise buses in a big city where the market is not broken, but they refuse to help in rural areas where the market absolutely is broken.

      We are proud that so many people want to visit our area-we love to welcome you to Cumbria. Our tourism industry is invaluable to the economy, but investment in public services is essential to ensuring that tourism does not damage our local communities but helps them to thrive. We want to encourage our visitors to travel sustainably, but 85% of them use the motor car to get to our community and to travel around once they are there. However, we know that with the right interventions and conditions, our visitors will travel sustainably.

      Tourism sector deal zone proposals include a focus on sustainability, and public bus transport is a key component of that-so we welcome it-alongside rail, boats, bikes and, of course, walking. Improved bus services could alleviate pressure on the roads that become clogged with the cars of those visiting.

      The reality is that we are too late to prevent climate change, but we have perhaps a dozen years left to avoid a major climate catastrophe, with real and appalling human consequences. [Interruption.]

    • Bus Services: Cumbria - [Dame Cheryl Gillan in the Chair] | Endometriosis Workplace Support | Westminster Hall debates

      I beg to move,

      That this House has considered bus services in Cumbria.

      It is a huge privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Dame Cheryl, and I am grateful for the opportunity to raise this massively important issue.

      To represent a part of Britain as breathtakingly beautiful as ours in south Cumbria-to stand here and speak up for communities in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and the rest of the south Lakes-is the greatest privilege. It is an awesome place, and it is a huge place-the travel distances are immense. My constituency could contain every single one of the 73 constituencies that make up London, and we would be delighted to have the public transport options of just one of them. In such a vast and sparsely populated area as the south Lakes, public transport links are fundamental, yet so often they fall woefully short of meeting the needs of communities, and the provision that currently exists is coming under continuous and increasing threat.

      Cumbria suffers from rural transport poverty. The picture for the whole north-west region is pretty bleak; in the 10 years from 2008 to 2018 the north-west lost 888 separate, distinct services. That figure does not include the services that we have lost in the past year. We in Cumbria have been particularly badly hit, although we had a little good news last week when we won a temporary reprieve for two bus services in the south Lakes. Stagecoach agreed to continue running the 552 between Arnside and Kendal and the 530 between Cartmel, Levens and Kendal, but only for a further three weeks, while we look to put a longer-term solution in place.

      In a large rural area with a dispersed population, it is very hard for bus services to be run on a commercial basis. Unlike many urban areas, we cannot rely on the private sector to fill the gaps when funding disappears.

    • End-of-life Care | Health and Social Care | Commons debates

      Last week in the Queen's Speech debate, I mentioned a constituent of mine, Liz, who had declined the offer of palliative radiotherapy treatment simply because it would involve a four-hour round trip to get from the Lakes to Preston. Does the Minister agree that it is wrong for cancer patients to be forced to choose shorter lives because they cannot cope physically with the longer journeys?

  • Oct 24, 2019:
    • The Economy | Commons debates

      The Chancellor is being generous in giving way. As taxpayers, the British people collectively bailed out the banks a decade ago, and the banks have repaid taxpayers by closing down branches on every high street and in every village in the country. Just in the past two weeks, we have seen Barclays withdraw from the scheme that underpinned the Post Office, which now does its work for it. Will he stand up to Barclays and demand that it remains part of that Post Office scheme?

    • The Economy | Commons debates


    • HS2 | Transport | Commons debates

      HS2 is an investment for the north of England, but it would be a lot more popular in the north of England if the trains actually stopped somewhere in the far north of England. At present, there are no plans whatsoever for HS2 trains to stop in Cumbria, even though the Lake District is the biggest visitor destination in the country after London. Will the Minister fix this immediately?

  • Oct 23, 2019:
    • The National Health Service | Speaker's Statement | Commons debates

      It is an honour to follow the hon. Member for Crawley (Henry Smith), who made some excellent points. I am not alone in this debate in wanting to peddle a manifesto, but in my case it is the manifesto of the all-party parliamentary group on radiotherapy, which I hope I can encourage Members of all parties to take very seriously. Fifty per cent. of people with cancer-which we have already established is going to be half of us at some point during our lives-need radiotherapy, yet only 5% of the cancer budget is spent on radiotherapy. As the hon. Gentleman mentioned, the NHS long-term plan rightly identifies the need to diagnose more cancers earlier. Early diagnosis is massively important. The United Kingdom stands below average among European countries for cancer survival for nine out of 10 cancers, and has the second-worst survival rate in Europe for lung cancer. Only in September, The Lancet demonstrated that we have the worst survival rate for cancers across a range of comparable countries.

      Poor survival rates are, in part, down to late diagnosis, but they also are down to poor access. The increase in early diagnosis that I hope will result from the NHS long-term plan's success will of course increase demand for radiotherapy. There is no provision within the NHS long-term plan to provide that radiotherapy to deal with the extra demand that ought to be created if it is successful.

      Radiotherapy is used for curative purposes eight times more than chemotherapy, yet, as I said, it gets only a fraction of the investment. The all-party group discovered during our inquiry that 20,000 people in the United Kingdom who would benefit from radiotherapy treatment are not getting it, and nor are 24% of people living with stage 1 lung cancer. That is largely down to poor geographical access to radiotherapy treatment. Despite the fact that all 52 cancer centres in England are enabled for precise SABR-stereotactic ablative radiotherapy-technology, only 25 of them are commissioned to deliver it. That means that 27 of the cancer centres in England using the tariff are being rewarded for using less effective radiotherapy and penalised for using more effective radiotherapy. Fixing that would be free, by the way, but for months and months NHS England has been refusing to deal with it.

      The all-party group found that, when new satellite centres from existing large cancer centres are built, there is an average 20% increase in demand for them. That proves that there is unmet demand in our communities for radiotherapy. People live too far from the radiotherapy centre. I therefore ask Ministers to consider our local proposal in South Lakes for a satellite centre at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal. We have been campaigning for that for many years. We have an excellent cancer treatment centre at the Rosemere centre in Preston. There is nothing wrong with the Rosemere centre whatsoever; it treated my dear late mother. The only problem is that it is too flipping far away for those of us who live in the Lake district and the Yorkshire dales.

      I accompanied a young woman called Kate on one of her many trips to Preston to get treatment. It was a three-hour round trip, and she lives at the south end of my constituency. Only last week, I went to a prostate pals meeting in a pub in Kendal, where there were several men who are making four-hour round trips every day for six weeks, which is often debilitating financially as well as physically. That is why we desperately need that cancer centre at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal, linked to the Rosemere satellite. Longer journeys mean that people have shorter lives. An older lady called Liz diagnosed with skin cancer told me, again not very long ago, that she was choosing to decline the radiotherapy treatment that had been recommended by her oncologist. Why? Because of her age, she just could not cope with the journey. So Liz made the conscious choice to have a shorter life because the journey that she would have to take to get the treatment was too long.

      Will the Minister accept the radiotherapy manifesto in full to enact all the things that are set out within it, as agreed cross-party? I am bound to ask, on behalf of the people of my communities in South Lakes, that we invest now to end the long, long wait for people to have a radiotherapy satellite unit at our hospital, the Westmorland General in Kendal.

    • TB in Cattle and Badgers - [Phil Wilson in the Chair] | Westminster Hall debates

      The hon. Lady is being very generous in giving way. She is right that this issue is massively important to farmers and farm businesses. Farmers care massively about the welfare of their livestock and, indeed, wildlife. Does she agree that the Government's 25-year strategy, long though it is, is showing signs of having some impact and that we should not throw all the toys out of the pram and stop things as they stand? Does she also agree, though, that 25 years is a long time, and that if the Government do not continue basic payments through to the point when the new environmental land management scheme comes into effect, there may be no farmers left to protect by the end of the process?

  • Oct 15, 2019:
    • Britain's Place in the World | Commons debates

      Will the Minister give way?

    • Britain's Place in the World | Commons debates

      Will the Secretary of State give way?

    • Britain's Place in the World | Commons debates

      May I point out that I stood on a manifesto promising to fight for a second referendum, a referendum on the deal, so that the people could have the final say on whatever is stitched up in the vape-filled rooms in Brussels and London? May I also point out that in the Lake District, where we have a marvellous export-our tourism industry-one in three of the staff on whom we rely are from overseas, most of them from the EU, and the Government's proposal to introduce a £30,000 salary floor for those people would decimate our tourism industry? Will the right hon. Gentleman sort that out before he causes such enormous harm to such an important part of our economy?

  • Oct 8, 2019:
    • Topical Questions | Oral Answers to Questions - Justice | Commons debates

      Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

      Local families and police in the south lakes have been badly affected by the closure of Kendal court. Will the Secretary of State agree to meet me to ensure that we restore access to justice in the south lakes?

    • Government Plan for Net Zero Emissions - [James Gray in the Chair] | Westminster Hall debates

      I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton) for securing this important debate. Undoubtedly, climate change is a bigger challenge and a bigger crisis than even Brexit. It is important that we put it in that context, but given that I do not have all that much time, let me focus on Cumbria.

      Cumbria receives 42 million visitors each year, and we are delighted to see them. We just wish that fewer would come by car, which is how 83% of our visitors currently arrive. That is a serious problem in our fight to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and I am sure what is true in my patch applies in many other places across the country. Therefore, in the moment or two I have, I want to address public transport, which is an enormous part of achieving net zero. Not only does the use of diesel and petrol-powered cars have a devastating impact on the environment, but the Government's failure to invest in public transport prevents people from choosing better options.

      Bus provision is a colossal problem in our communities in the Lake district. In the past 10 years, we have lost 888 bus routes in the north-west of England. To their absolute credit, communities have not just stood by; in places such as Sedbergh and Dent, they have established community bus services, which are a lifeline for people who would otherwise be isolated from the communities around them. I am massively grateful to the volunteers who make those services possible. However, with the closure just this month of bus services 552 between Arnside and Kendal and 530 between Cartmel, Levens and Kendal, the decline appears to be accelerating.

      I am of course fighting those cuts along with the community but, more broadly, I ask the Minister to make provision of a comprehensive, affordable and reliable rural bus service in Cumbria a key plank in the northern powerhouse. From a rural Cumbrian perspective, the northern powerhouse does not look much like a powerhouse, and it is not even very northern.

      The main public transport route into the Lake district is the Lakes line. Back in 2017, the Government shelved their planned electrification of the Lakes line on the basis of completely inaccurate projected costs. Electrification of the Lakes line is the easiest electrification project in the country. The 12-mile route carries hundreds of thousands of passengers each year, but it could carry four times as many if we introduced a passing loop at Burneside so we could run half-hourly services. If the Government are serious about tackling climate change, they need to speed up their electrification project, especially for the railway line that is responsible for taking people into Britain's second biggest visitor destination after London.

      The impacts of climate change are real, and they are being felt right now. My constituency in the lakes and the dales has been devastated by catastrophic floods. In the past nine years, we have experienced three flood events classified as one-in-200-year events, with one-in-100-year and one-in-50-year events filling the gaps. At this rate, we absolutely will need to revise the classifications. In 2015 alone, Storm Desmond caused 7,500 properties and more than 1,000 businesses to be flooded. The impact has been heartbreaking.

      I want us to mitigate the consequences of our failure to tackle climate change in time to protect my communities from further flooding, but I am also determined that the Government must make the big strategic decisions to fight climate change. That requires a revolution in renewables and a push for energy self-sufficiency, especially in hydro, tidal and marine, for which 95% of the supply chain, including Gilkes in my constituency, is British. That would protect our environment, boost our economy and give us vital energy security. Just a few weeks ago, I was with students in Kendal protesting against inaction on climate change. That was a reminder that the coming generation will not let us get away with it, and they are absolutely right not to.

      The reality is that we are too late to stop climate change and have perhaps a dozen years left to avoid a major climate catastrophe. Tackling this global disaster will take change in every community and lots of steps that add up to a bigger picture. Clearly, public transport is an element of that. Will the Minister therefore agree to meet me and others so we can put together a comprehensive rural bus service under the umbrella of the northern powerhouse, and a plan for the electrification and expansion of the Lakes line? In order to succeed globally, we in the lakes are determined to act locally.

  • Oct 3, 2019:
    • Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund | Treasury | Written Answers

      To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his announcement of 28 September 2019 of £16.6 billion to guarantee funding for organisations in receipt of EU programme funding in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, whether charities and non-Governmental organisations that receive funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund will be eligible for that funding.

    • Tourism Sector | Digital, Culture, Media and Sport | Commons debates

      Is the Secretary of State aware that the Government's plan to put a £30,000 salary floor on migrants entering the UK will massively damage the tourism industry in the Lake District and the Yorkshire dales, leaving many unable to fill vital positions? Representatives of the tourism industry and I have spoken to Ministers past and present about the need to massively lower that figure. Will she listen?

  • Oct 2, 2019:
    • Free Movement of EU Nationals | Westminster Hall debates

      My hon. Friend makes a massively important point about the great mass of us in this country; this issue is about our freedom of movement, and that of generations to come, as much as it is about anybody else's.

      I wonder whether my hon. Friend will say something about those people in the most marginal position. There is a real need to ensure that the provisions of the Dublin system for refugee family reunion are maintained post-Brexit. However, does she share my concern that unaccompanied minors in Europe who have family in the UK might find themselves in a much more marginalised position?