Business of the House: 23rd March 2017

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
We are urged to follow business as usual, which is difficult given what happened yesterday, not because any of us is affected by terrorism but simply because we are so horrified and saddened by those events and the terrible deaths and injuries. We wish everyone well, and our thoughts are with those who have suffered as a result of these terrible murders.

I will try to engage in business as usual by asking this of the Leader of the House. Many of us were surprised to learn that the apprenticeship levy, which is a good idea that has been rightly passed on to local, upper-tier and unitary authorities, has wrongly in turn been passed on to schools. Schools in my constituency of Broxtowe find that they are paying £300 or £400 but are receiving no benefit from the levy. They are having to pay the burden, which is wrong. When will the Leader of the House arrange for us to have a debate on that outrage?

Mr Lidington
Although we rightly return to business as normal to demonstrate that our democracy and our free society will not be disrupted by terrorism, it is important that we always remember that the families of those who lost their lives and the families of those who were severely injured will have to live with the events of yesterday for the rest of their days on this earth. We should have that in mind, too.

On the apprenticeship levy, the situation my right hon. Friend describes in Nottinghamshire is not, as I understand it, the case for every local education authority in the country. My understanding is that some local education authorities have decided to deal with the levy themselves, rather than pass it on to schools, but I will draw her concern to the attention of the Secretary of State for Education.