Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPPs) were introduced by the last Labour Government from 2005. They were designed to ensure that dangerous violent and sexual offenders stayed in custody for as long as they presented a risk to society. Under the system, a person who had committed a specified violent or sexual offence would be given an IPP if the offence was not so serious as to merit a life sentence. Once they had served their “tariff” they would have to satisfy the Parole Board that they no longer posed a risk before they could be released.
IPPs were abolished in 2012, but not for existing prisoners.
There were 2,403 unreleased IPP prisoners in custody in England and Wales on 31 March 2019, which is the latest snapshot of the prison population at the time of writing. Ninety-eight per cent or 2,360 of these prisoners were male. There were only 43 unreleased female IPP prisoners.
I asked the Minister a series of questions on how he would ensure that any flaws remaining in the system were rectified and balanced with the need to keep dangerous offenders off our streets. We must always put the victim at the heart of our judicial system.
I am a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for working at height. We recently published our review of the law and safeguards in place to protect those working at height. The debate secured today by the Chair of the APPG ensured us an opportunity to hold the UK Government to account and press them to adopt our proposals.
I asked a number of questions to the Minister, but the most important is how will he and his department reduce the number of fatalities of people working at height. 18% of all fatalities in the UK current at work are caused by a fall and although better than some of our neighbours in Europe we can still do better.
My colleague, Louise Haigh MP, secured a much needed debate in Parliament on the fall in life expectancy across the UK. I was able to use this debate to once again tell some hard truths to the Government minister in attendance.
Child poverty in some wards in Delyn is now reaching 50%. Child mortality is also rising across the UK. Action is needed now to stem the tide of growing poverty. If not this Government will have created a lost generation.
A number of constituents have been impacted by a scandal of the new housing market where new homes are sold with leaseholds – which results in ground rents that in some cases double every ten years and will cost over £7,000 to buy the leasehold.
In many cases, the people being hurt by this are first time buyers who have saved for years to buy a home. Only to find that housing developers have used leasehold schemes to undermine their dream of owning their first home.
Many people who purchased a new home with these leaseholds were not given legal advice and if they approached a sales team they would be sold a leasehold under pressing sales tactics.
We are now in the absurd situation where developers are profiting from this legal loophole and giving bonuses to their Chief Executives of over £100m. This is wrong and needs to be put to an end.
The Government happened to make a statement today setting out their approach for this, which I welcome. But I am still concerned that by the time the legislation comes into being developers will have sold on their leaseholds to third parties to negate their liability.