COMMONS

Backbench debate announced for 4 February

29 January 2014

Following its public meeting on 28 January, the Backbench Business Committee has scheduled a backbench debate for Tuesday 4 February 2014. The backbench debates have already been announced for Thursday 6 February.

The Committee has determined that the following business will take place in backbench time:

Tuesday 4 February in the Chamber

  • Debate on a motion relating to energy company charges for payment other than by direct debit (Member in charge: Robert Halfon)

Robert Halfon, Albert Owen, Dr Julian Lewis, Elfyn Llywd, made this representation at the Backbench Business Committee on 28 January.

Text of motion for 4 February debate

"That this House is disappointed that 17 energy companies in the UK charge their customers more if they do not pay their bills by direct debit; acknowledges that some firms do not charge their customers any extra at all; notes that Department for Energy and Climate Change statistics show that this adds £114 to the average consumer’s bill; further notes that 45 per cent of people do not pay their energy bills by direct debit; recognises that over one million people in the UK do not have access to a bank account; believes that these charges are a stealth tax on the poor; and therefore urges Ofgem to hold an inquiry into these practices, encourages energy companies to operate with more transparency, and urges the Government to consider ways of limiting these charges, such as by introducing a cap."

Bids for debate  - 28 January meeting

At its public meeting on Tuesday 28 January the Committee heard, in addition to the bid led by Robert Halfon, representations from the following:

  • Albert Owen, Roger Williams, Elfyn Llywd for a St David’s Day debate on Welsh Affairs.
  • Dame Anne Begg and Margot James for a debate on Parliamentary representation.
  • Caroline Spelman, Dame Anne Begg, Robert Buckland, Margaret Ritchie for a debate on International Women’s Day relating to women’s contribution to the economy.
  • David Ruffley, on behalf of David Davis, for a debate on the Normington Report on reform of the Police Federation.

Backbench Business Committee

The Backbench Business Committee meets weekly on Tuesdays at 3pm to consider requests for debates from any backbench Members of Parliament on any subject, including those raised in e-petitions or national campaigns.

An MP must make a representation before the Committee for an e-petition or petition to be debated; e-petitions exceeding the Government's 100,000 signature threshold are not automatically allocated backbench time.

The Committee then has to decide how to allocate the limited Parliamentary time it has at its disposal. The Committee's meetings are always conducted in public and can be watched on Parliament TV.

Further Information

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