Greener Road Transport Fuels (15 Oct 2013)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): Just to reinforce the point made by the hon. Member for East Lothian (Fiona O'Donnell), I think the United Nations has latterly described the use of wheat for petrol as a "crime against humanity", which I think sums up where we are on that.

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Climate Change Act (10 Sept 2013)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): Up until now, there have been two main groups in the debate: those who accept that man-made global warming is happening and, therefore, that we need the Climate Change Act; and those who repudiate the idea that it is happening and who think, therefore, that we do not need the Act.

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Climate Change Act (10 Sept 2013)

David Mowat: Germany's global carbon emissions are 20% higher per capita and per unit of GDP than ours, and the reason is that, notwithstanding its renewables, it burns much more coal than we do. Germany is accelerating coal production in order to bring electricity prices down.

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Climate Change Act (10 Sept 2013)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con):I hate even to semi-defend the Met Office, but my hon. Friend is talking with certainty as though the science were settled in his favour. Does he accept that due to physics, CO2 and water vapour increase temperature? What we do not know is how much. We have two effects: natural and man-made CO2. They interact. On his point about the last 12 or 15 years...

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Criminal Legal Aid Reforms (4 Sept 2013)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I am listening very carefully to the hon. Gentleman's remarks, and he is making a strong case for access to justice with which no one, in any part of the House, would disagree. What I would be interested to understand, though, is whether his position is that legal aid as it is currently is pretty much right and cannot be reformed or that reforms are possible but the Government are pursuing the wrong. 
 
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Co-operatives (3 Jul 2013)

David Mowat: I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way again; I shall not make another contribution after this. I accept that it was the Britannia. It was also mismanagement of a large IT project. I wonder whether one of the lessons to be learned is that there is a size issue in terms of types of activity: whether something that grew out of being a credit union into something much more than that did not have the management processes necessary. I wonder whether there is an issue there that the hon. Gentleman might consider.

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Co-operatives (3 Jul 2013)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): Many Government Members accept the points being made about trust and the model of the co-operative. However, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not conclude without considering the recent collapse of the Co-operative bank and the fact that the co-operative movement chose not to bail it out. The bond holders, many of whom are pensioners and not well off, are having to pay to deal with that. Does he consider that some points made about ethics and trust could be undermined by that? I am not asking that in a pejorative way, but because I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's reaction.

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The High Street (21 May 2013)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate. He has not yet addressed something that probably costs retailers more than business rates: credit card interchange fees. If they were reduced to what Europe has said the cross-border level should be, £1 million would be put into every MP's high street. That is an enormous amount of money. Would the hon. Gentleman, therefore, give the Government credit for acting on credit card interchange fees through the recent consultation, and will he hope that we can make progress? That would make a substantial difference, by putting demand into local economies.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)
 
David Mowat: I am listening carefully to what the Minister is saying about the COP process. One of my thoughts is that some of the time would be better spent considering abatement, as well as deals. We talked earlier about the fact that many millions of square kilometres in Russia might become usable as a result of climate change. Should we not be thinking about that globally as well?

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: The hon. Lady refers to lack of credibility with our EU neighbours. I could accept that if our carbon emissions were higher than those of our EU neighbours, but, with the exception of France, they are significantly lower. Surely actions drive the issue, not words.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: From the tone of the hon. Lady's remarks it would seem as if the UK were among the higher producers of carbon in the EU, whereas, according to EU figures, we produce 8.8 tonnes per capita. That is among the lowest in the EU and 30% lower than countries such as Germany, Holland, Ireland and Poland. I find her remarks odd in that context.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: The hon. Gentleman makes the argument for the money being used as a cross-subsidy. Unfortunately, EDF will not look at it that way; I would be happier if it did, because that would mean getting Hinkley Point, but I am concerned that that will not happen.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: It might be a more fertile route for the world to look at that interaction between those that are gaining and losing, rather than trying to stop what would appear to be the unstoppable, in terms of coal burning at scale.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's analysis, particularly in respect of the national point and Russia. Some countries—how can I put this?—might benefit from climate change, including Russia, because there is a lot of tundra there. I wonder whether COP might look at the possibility of globally taking advantage of that phenomenon, given that my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley) may be right in saying that we are not going to stop coal being burned at the present rate.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: I will make a quick intervention to point out that we are saying that fossil fuel usage is a developing world phenomenon—it is not. The EU is increasing its use of coal. Last year, the increase of coal use in the EU was significant. For example, it is one of the reasons why Germany has much higher carbon usage than we do, both per head and per unit of GDP.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: I just wanted to put my tuppence-worth into the example from Tanzania. If that were the way forward at scale, China would not be building 50 unabated coal stations every year. That is what is happening, but it does not mean that solar power cannot power laptops in Tanzania. The proof is in the pudding. I want to go back to the remarks made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley). Where does he see nuclear?

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: I agree with what I think is the point that the Chairman of the Select Committee is making, which is that if the world continues to show great concern about climate change the first movers might have an advantage. Does it not give him pause for thought, though, that the EU in particular now appears to be showing some reluctance on building in a persistent competitive disadvantage to the United States? That would be one interpretation of the vote this week. If that were to become more pervasive, it would create some issues with respect to my hon. Friend's analysis.

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: My hon. Friend makes a point that I have been reflecting on. He says that his Committee is of the view that a 30% cap is in the UK's long-term economic interest. For my own education, will he tell me the main thrust of the argument on how that long- term interest will be met by that?

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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (18 Apr 2013)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I wish to follow up on the point made by the hon. Member for Brent North (Barry Gardiner). A subsidy for new nuclear would be more defensible, but the issue is that it is a subsidy for existing nuclear, which makes no sense whatever. I reiterate the point made by the Chairman of the Select Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for South Suffolk (Mr Yeo): such a differential between us and the rest of the EU could wipe out large parts of the process industry in the north of England. It is not tenable—not at all.

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Energy Generation (17 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: It is right that the costs need to come down, and, of course, activity will drive down the costs. There is a school of thought that says that excessive subsidies stop costs coming down, but I accept that costs need to come down. Does the shadow Minister accept that these are global industries and that global activity, not just UK activity, is what will drive down costs?

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Energy Generation (17 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: I have not been in the Chamber from the outset, but the hon. Gentleman was the first to use the word "nuclear" in the debate. France has some of the lowest carbon emissions in the Europe. Would he support an expansion of our civil nuclear programme so that we can be like France and have much lower emissions than the average in Europe?

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Energy Generation (17 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: We often take Germany as an example of best in class in such matters, so it is right to make absolutely sure that on the record we have the point that Germany's carbon emissions are 20% higher per head and 23% higher per unit of GDP than the UK's, principally because of the amount of coal burnt, which makes the renewables activity irrelevant. I thank the hon. Gentleman for his answer.

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Energy Generation (17 Apr 2013)

David Mowat: I am listening carefully to the logic flow of the hon. Gentleman's position. What puzzles me a little is that Germany has four times as many renewables as the UK, in spite of its much higher carbon emissions per capita and per unit of GDP. It would be a step in the right direction if we emulated Germany. Germany does not, however, have a target—how did that happen?

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Scottish Referendum (Trident) (7 Mar 2013)

David Mowat: That is a good point. One issue that would be negotiated in the 18-month period is whether the new Scottish Government would use the pound and whether the Bank of England would be the lender of last resort to them. Does the hon. Lady think that that discussion or negotiation might be more difficult if the Scottish Government had just kicked out Trident?

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Post-16 High Needs Provision (Warrington) (15 Jan 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): It is true that the rate has gone up significantly in the last year, which is causing the anomaly. Even after it has gone up, it is still lower than the national average. Surely that is relevant to the way in which the computation is done, because it does not imply any abuse.

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Claims Management Companies (8 Nov 2012)

David Mowat: In terms of the hon. Gentleman's brief from the personal injury lawyers, Germany also has built-up areas, and we would not necessarily expect the incidence in our country and other countries to be so massively different.

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Claims Management Companies (8 Nov 2012)

David Mowat: We got into this discussion because of the point the shadow Minister was making about compensation culture. Of course nobody is minimising soft tissue injuries—that would be awful—but we seem to have five times as many of them as other countries in Europe. Surely that statistic should at least have given him pause for thought before he read out the brief from the APIL.

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Claims Management Companies (8 Nov 2012)

David Mowat: I am listening very carefully to what the shadow Minister is saying about compensation culture. To pick one issue, we appear to have a massively bigger incidence of whiplash than other European countries. What is his position on that situation; why does it arise?

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Claims Management Companies (8 Nov 2012)

David Mowat: My hon. Friend makes the point that some regulation is better than none whatever, but I am not sure that that is true: if regulation is so weak and ineffective and the public think that responsible, professional people are acting in this shoddy way, I simply do not think that that is good enough.

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Claims Management Companies (8 Nov 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): My hon. Friend is making good points about regulatory failure and the Ministry of Justice "kitemark". A large part of this shoddy industry is in effect administered by solicitors, who are supposed to be regulated by the Law Society. The Government have given it particular powers, including monopoly powers, so it should be in a good position. Does he agree that the Law Society has failed to manage its people effectively in respect of this shoddy industry?

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West Coast Main Line (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat: The thrust of my hon. Friend's remarks is that if there is an issue with Euston or the revenue projections, that is a problem for the Government, but it must be a problem for FirstGroup, and the contractual basis must make that clear. Such points, although interesting, do not mitigate FirstGroup's liability. That must be a principle.

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West Coast Main Line (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat: My hon. Friend is right that the bids contain a huge amount of detail that is very hard for anyone here to understand. In his Select Committee role, he might like to investigate—I have heard this several times—the Virgin bid not being evaluated against the other bid because of the £250 million price gap, which has been highlighted by the hon. Member for West Lancashire (Rosie Cooper). That would be worth understanding.

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West Coast Main Line (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat:
The hon. Lady suggests that an operator might walk away from a franchise having made the money in the early years of the contract. Is it not key for the Government to make clear at this point that if the operator did that—giving the keys back, as she said—it would do no further work with the Government in any other contract....?

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West Coast Main Line (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): The hon. Lady is quite right to say that all these projections for the future are estimates and guesses, that they may be too low or too high and that FirstGroup made very aggressive ones. However, is not the key point of a procurement process to ensure that the risk in respect of those projections is with FirstGroup's shareholders and not with the passengers? The issue is how we manage that risk and not what the estimates were.

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Energy Security (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): As the second hon. Member to speak who had nothing to do with the report, I congratulate the Select Committee. Three of the report's features strike me as particularly good. It was short, which is always good for Select Committee reports. Secondly, it talked about gas storage.....

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Energy Security (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat: I am interested in the make-up of the £3.6 billion. Are we talking about tax reductions, or am I missing something?

David Mowat: I am sorry, but I do not understand that answer, because £3.6 billion is a very large amount of money. The hon. Gentleman makes a powerful point if that figure is a true reflection of the situation, and it is reasonable to ask how the money is being transferred at that rate to the energy companies and, presumably, their shareholders, because that had previously passed me by.

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Energy Security (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat: I hesitate in trying my hon. Friend's patience further. I was going to mention this earlier. There is no such thing as a world price of gas. There is a European price of gas and a Henry hub price of gas in the United States of America. Currently, the gas price in the US is one quarter of the price here.....

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Energy Security (6 Sep 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I have just been reflecting on that point about security and diversity going hand in hand. Does my hon. Friend think that France, which is relatively undiversified—it has 70% to 80% nuclear—has inherently less secure energy than us?

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Nuclear Power (4 Jul 2012)

David Mowat: CFDs are necessary because nuclear is considerably more expensive than either coal or gas, even though it is many multiples cheaper than most large-scale renewables. I find the hon. Lady's position difficult to understand, given her concern about fuel poverty.

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Nuclear Power (4 Jul 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I, too, congratulate the hon. Lady on securing this debate. She is talking about the level of subsidy in relation to the current Bill and in general. Does she not agree that the level of subsidy that will be proposed for nuclear is considerably lower than that for solar, offshore wind or, indeed, onshore wind? How does that equate with her concerns about fuel poverty, because that seems a little odd?

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Social Mobility (28 Jun 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I was listening very carefully to the hon. Lady's comments and to the catalogue of emerging policy. One of the elephants in the room on social mobility in our country is that we have a two-tier education system, with quite a high proportion of children going to independent schools and boarding schools. Much of that is allowed through tax subsidy or tax allowances. What is the Labour party's position on the efficacy of that tax allowance in terms of social mobility?

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School Funding (23 Apr 2012)

David Mowat: Are the 10 factors, which the Minister has read out, that are to be used within a local authority to achieve a fair allocation potentially the basis for a national funding formula by which the money would get to the local authorities in the first place, which is the nub of the problem?

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School Funding (24 Apr 2012)

David Mowat: I am sure the IFS's list of problems, which the hon. Lady has just read out, is correct, but does that not demonstrate the size of the problem that must be fixed? The fact those problems will exist if we move to a fair formula demonstrates how much inequity there is at the moment. However, will the hon. Lady clarify the Opposition's position on introducing a new funding formula? Would they like us to carry on as we are doing, or would they prefer to see a new formula developed, albeit over time?

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School Funding (24 Apr 2012)

David Mowat: Three times now the hon. Lady has used the word "progressive". Can she explain to us how it is more progressive that Warrington, which has a substantially lower income per head than Westminster, has 50% less funding for its schools? That does not seem progressive to me.

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School Funding (24 Apr 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) on leading the charge on this matter. I am not from the south-west and have no real knowledge of Schleswig-Holstein. Warrington is one of the lowest funded of the F40. Periodically, I visit primary and other schools, as we all do, most recently Broomfields in Appleton.

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Thamesteel (21 Mar 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Davies, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Tom Blenkinsop) on his remarks. I associate myself with his comment on blast furnaces. The first time I saw a blast furnace in Port Talbot was a formative experience for me. Every hon. Member would benefit from spending some time in front of a blast furnace...

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Clean Coal Storage (28 Feb 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I agree with the hon. Lady's remarks on clean coal. She mentioned 2025, which might be a realistic time for this technology to come in, because it is unproven. Does she acknowledge an issue that all hon. Members know about, given the dependence of regions on coal, which is that the previous Government signed the EU large combustion plant directive, which mandated that, by 2015, five of our biggest coal stations will come off-stream, way in advance of any realistic prospect of CCS working? I hope, eventually, that that technology will work.

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Jam-Jar Bank Accounts (28 Feb 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): We have heard a good idea this afternoon, but high street banks cannot, or will not, provide such accounts at a cost-effective rate. Until that issue is fixed, we are just talking about an idea or a concept, and it will be very hard for it to be realised. Will the Government do more to bridge the gap between what the banks are able or willing to do and what the market is apparently willing to spend

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Energy suppliers and energy prices (28 Feb 2012)

David Mowat: I completely agree that we need transparent energy prices, and I hope that the Minister will talk about how we will simplify the tariff structure and all that goes with it. However, my point is the same. I understand that the hon. Lady's constituents do not care about energy prices in Italy, France, Germany or Sweden. My point is that if there is a cartel operating, it is surprising that our gas prices are so much cheaper than in those countries. I will leave it at that.

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Energy suppliers and energy prices (28 Feb 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I am listening carefully to the hon. Lady's argument that there is a market failure in the energy sector. If there is a market failure and therefore a de facto cartel is operating, that would be a very serious issue that would need to be fixed. However, what I genuinely do not understand—perhaps she can help me with this point—is why EU figures from November last year showed that UK gas prices for the consumer were 25% lower than those in Italy, France and Germany.

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Northern Rail Hub (18 Jan 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): On the point about the difference in spend between the north and the south, the hon. Lady may have seen in the Transport Committee the report from the Institute for Public Policy Research, which evaluates the projects that the Government brought forward in the spending review in the autumn. Infrastructure spending amounted to £30 billion, and the spend per head was £2,700 in London, £134 in the north-west, £200 in Leeds and Humberside, and £5 in the north-east.

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Carbon Capture & Storage (17 Jan 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): Thank you for letting me speak, Sir Roger—I had not intended to do so. I want to make two points in relation to some of the comments I have heard: one in favour of CCS and one expressing some reservations. I will mention the latter one first, which relates to cost.

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Carbon Capture & Storage (17 Jan 2012)

David Mowat: I agree with the hon. Lady that gas is the default solution to energy where decisions have not been made. On gas from overseas, I think I am right in saying that the majority of our coal also comes from overseas at the moment, but we can rest assured that, from 2015, Europe is likely to be flooded with cheap shale gas from the US, so I think our concerns about that particular fuel source are misplaced.

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 Carbon Capture & Storage (17 Jan 2012)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I have listened very careful to his arguments about coal and gas. It seems that this technology is a long way from being proven, and it would be a big win if we could get it to work for either gas or coal. I want to address the point about Longannet. The Government's most recent publication, "The Carbon Plan", which came out about a month ago, states that the first decision about an operational plant for CCS will be made in 2018. That is a long time after the current generation of coal is scheduled to be switched off, so there is an issue there if we expect this technology to save some of the coal stations that are planned to be switched off in the next five years.

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Pension Plan Charges (7 Dec 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis) on leading the charge. During his remarks, he distinguished between the need for transparency and the absolute cost. I contend—I will talk a bit about the absolute cost—that there has been a market failure in the UK pensions industry over the past two decades....

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Electricity Market Reform (3 Nov 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I have already spoken this afternoon, so I will be brief to let the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead) contribute to the debate. I liked the Rubik's cube analogy that we have just heard; I will not add to that although I want to raise a couple of points that have not yet been discussed. We have spoken a little about fuel poverty, but we have not specifically mentioned energy-intensive industries.

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Shale Gas (3 Nov 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): Thank you, Mr Gale, for calling me to speak. In several contributions, the term "balanced" has been used, both about the Select Committee's report and the tone of the speeches. My remarks might be a little less balanced, because I think that shale gas production is a very positive development and that we could be on the verge of something significant.

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Shale Gas (3 Nov 2011) 

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I am listening carefully to the thrust of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. I think he will concede that there has been a significant price differential in the US on the Henry hub, for whatever reason. Gas prices have fallen by about 50%, and that has been attributed to shale. I have listened to the logic of his remarks, but I have not heard the specific reason why he does not think that that will happen, not in the UK—the UK is not where the issue is—but in Europe; that is where the issue is.

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High Speed Rail in the North (2 Nov 2011)

David Mowat: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that Shadow Front-Benchers have been ambivalent about this issue over the past 18 months? The Evening Standard recently stated that Labour had announced: "a root and branch review of…transport policy with nothing ruled in or out," including high-speed rail. Is that no longer the position?

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High Speed Rail in the North (2 Nov 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con):
I was not expecting to be called. I would have preferred to wait a little before making my speech. I will be fairly brief. I want to touch on the business case figure for high-speed rail, which is estimated at 2.6, including the wider economic benefits. That is considerably higher than the business case of Crossrail. I know that we can all doubt the Department's methodology, but nevertheless let us put that on the table first.

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High Speed Rail in the North (2 Nov 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con):
I, too, was struck by the Action Alliance analysis that when we improve connectivity, the stronger city benefits and the weaker city loses out. If we follow that logic through to the end, it means that we should close the M6, the M1 and the west coast main line, which is ridiculous.

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Regional Growth Fund (1 Nov 2011)

David Mowat: The point my hon. Friend is making extremely powerfully is that, in the last year of the previous Government, the north-south divide reached a peak for the previous three decades. That is extraordinary; it was brought about by the boom in the south-east and London, and it is a fact.

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Rural Broadband (Cheshire East) (19 Oct 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend on leading the charge in this debate and on this subject. During her remarks, I think I have heard the word "rural" two dozen times. Does she accept, however, that it is also an urban issue? In parts of Warrington, urban development has massively outstripped broadband infrastructure capability, and the need there is as great as in some of the rural areas mentioned by her and others.

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Westminster Hall Debate - High Speed Rail (13 July 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): On the subject of benefits and the point about delay, it might be worth putting on the record that the business case for High Speed 2 puts the net benefit ratio of the project at 2.6, which is higher than Crossrail, Thameslink or HS1.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Employment (North West) (6th July 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Blackpool South (Mr Marsden) on securing the debate. It is a pleasure to take part in a debate with the phrase "north-west" in the title, because there is a bit of a structural issue in this place about the treatment of the English regions vis-à-vis other parts of the country. We hear a great deal about Scotland, and we have Scottish questions. We also have Welsh questions and Northern Irish questions. However, we hear little about the English regions, which is why I am pleased to take part in the debate...

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Westminster Hall Debate - Private Finance Initiative (23 Jun 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I thank my hon. Friend the Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay) for shortening his speech to let me in—I hope it was worth it. Along with other hon. Members, I commend the hon. Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Jesse Norman) for his important initiative.It seems to me that the PFI is a procurement technique that has been used over the past decade or so—perhaps for longer. Like any technique, it can be used wisely or poorly.....

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Westminster Hall Debate - HS2 (31 Mar 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for South Northamptonshire (Andrea Leadsom) on securing this debate. I shall start by agreeing with her on a few points, but, unfortunately, our paths will then diverge. We should not do high-speed rail just because the rest of the world is doing it. Just because every other country in Europe is forging ahead with this does not mean that we should-I accept that argument. We should not do High Speed 2 just because the business case for High Speed 1, and the reason why it went to St Pancras, was that it could be linked to the north....

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Westminster Hall Debate - Rail Investment (17 Feb 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): No one would claim that high-speed rail on its own could solve the north-south divide. I do not think that anyone in the Chamber, including my right hon. Friend the Minister, would attempt to do that. However, will my hon. Friend admit that the creation of 40,000 jobs-that is KPMG's estimate-in the north-west, north-east and Yorkshire as a result of high-speed rail would contribute towards doing it...

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Westminster Hall Debate - Arbroath and Forfar Driving Test Centres (18 Jan 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): The hon. Gentleman makes an extremely valuable point in relation to the impact on driving instructors whose centres are closed in that way, particularly in Forfar and Arbroath. When the driving test centre in Warrington was closed, there was a displacement of activity to driving instructors in St Helen's, which had a test centre, and that has resulted in a number of Warrington-based driving instructors going out of business. A secondary impact is that the pass rates for Warrington-based students have declined, presumably because they were less likely to be able to practise in those areas in which they would ultimately take the test.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Funding Formula (18 Jan 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): This has been an important debate, focusing more on Wales than on Scotland. There is a disparity in Wales-the figure of £300 million has been mentioned-but it is dwarfed by the Holtham estimate of the disparity in Scotland, which is £4.5 billion. Many English Members of Parliament, particularly those from the north, are being forced to go back to their constituencies and defend an austere budgetary environment. It is tough to do so when £4 billion a year over and above the needs-based amount is being sent to Scotland.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Funding Formula (18 Jan 2011)

David Mowat: I thank my hon. Friend for giving way. What he says about the time scale is important, particularly vis-à-vis Scotland. Next week the Scotland Bill is coming before the House. In my opinion, it will enshrine the current level of the Barnett settlement for ever, as it will link the Barnett amount that Scotland receives directly to the level of income tax paid in Scotland. As a consequence, future reforms will be difficult. I am not sure that time is on our side.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Royal Mail Privatisation (18 Jan 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): Does my hon. Friend agree that it is extraordinary that the Government on the one hand are giving much-needed subsidies to the network-£1.3 billion over four years; £50,000 per location per year-yet on the other hand are taking away some of the contracts? No other shareholder or business would act in that way. It just is not joined up.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Communities & Local Government (CSR) (13 Jan 2011)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): My hon. Friend mentioned the Barnett formula, and Lord Barnett's view on it. He does actually have a view on it, which he made clear at the House of Lords Select Committee on the Barnett Formula. His view is that it should be replaced by a formula that is much more needs-based than the current one. The consequence of the current formula is revenue misallocation in the order of £4 billion per year. That is £4 billion that does not come to the English regions but goes to Scotland and enables it to pay for things that we cannot have.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Education (Warrington North) (23 Nov 2010)

David Mowat: I am interested in what the Minister is saying about social mobility. Does he recognise that in the past decade, we as a nation have slipped from fourth to 14th in science teaching and from eighth to 24th in mathematics teaching? The impact of that will have been felt in Warrington. Those statistics are a damning indictment of our ability to be socially mobile. Science, technology, engineering and maths, more than anything else, will provide jobs and skills for the future.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Education (Warrington North) (23 Nov 2010)

David Mowat: The Minister might be aware that the average cost of bidding for a BSF project was about £1 million, which is approximately the cost of a new primary school. Does that not say all that there is to be said about the waste implicit in the programme? Everybody wants more and better schools. Two schools in my constituency, Sir Thomas Boteler and Penketh high schools, desperately need refurbishment, but that must be done cost-effectively, not while frittering away money as BSF did.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Education (Warrington North) (23 Nov 2010)

David Mowat: Does the Minister agree that this week's announcement by Councillor Woodyatt, who has been mentioned extensively in this debate, of a new primary school in Warrington North, Oakwood avenue, is an example of the fact that capital spending is continuing? Not everything has been stopped by the hiatus in BSF.

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Westminster Hall Debate - High Speed 2 (23 Nov 2010)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I will describe the context as I see it for such infrastructure improvements. The right hon. Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Frank Dobson) spoke of economic forecasts. I start with the economic figure that the average gross value added per head in London is about £30,000, whereas in the English regions, it is about £17,000....

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Westminster Hall Debate - High Speed 2 (23 Nov 2010)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): Does my hon. Friend accept that every infrastructure investment and transport initiative imaginable could, in the short term, be done more cost-effectively with the sort of incremental approach he has just mentioned? That does not take away the need to think strategically, and occasionally to do things that are more than just incremental.

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Westminster Hall Debate - Science Research (10 Nov 2010)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon Central (Gavin Barwell) for giving me the chance to speak. I am one of three hon. Members in the Chamber from Imperial College...

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Westminster Hall Debate - Rebalancing the UK Economy (3 Nov 2010)

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): The right answer to the question of how to rebalance the economy is not to shrink the financial services sector. However, the fact remains that we have the largest financial services sector in relation to the rest of the economy of any advanced economy....

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Westminster Hall Debate - Incinerators (26 Oct 2010)

David Mowat: I hear what the Minister says about the level of pollution from incinerators, which is correct and broadly in accordance with reports produced, inter alia, by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on this subject. However, it is not true of landfill sites...

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Westminster Hall Debate - Incinerators (26 Oct 2010)

David Mowat: I do not want to go into the details of the incineration in Middlewich, but it is important to understand why we incinerate or combust. This country continues to put more waste into landfill than any other country in Europe, which is a disgrace. There is a large landfill tip in Warrington...

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 Westminster Hall Debate - Banking in Scotland (14 Oct 2010
 

David Mowat: This discussion has always struck me as a bit odd, because banks need to lend to make money. I understand the things that the Government are doing-the two things that the Minister mentioned-but are there not two real issues here...

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 Westminster Hall Debate - The North West Economy (20 Jul 2010)

David Mowat: I congratulate the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) on securing this important debate and on her speech, the first half of which I pretty much agreed with. It is important to put the size of the north-west economy into context. I shall talk about the regional development agency, but even in its heyday-before the cuts imposed about a year ago by Lord Mandelson, which had...

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