The debates were two of five scheduled Westminster Hall debates that gave MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister.
Schedule of Westminster Hall debates: 29 January 2013
9.30-11am – RSPCA (Prosecutions)
Simon Hart, Conservative MP for Carmarthan West and South Pembrokeshire, moved a debate on the role of the RSPCA as a prosecutor. Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, responded on behalf of the Government.
11-11.30am – Radlett Aerodome (Green Belt)
Anne Main, Conservative MP for St Albans, moved a debate on the protection of the Green Belt and Radlett Aerodome site. Nick Boles, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, responded on behalf of the Government.
2.30-4pm – Political Party Funding
William McCrea, Democratic Unionist MP for South Antrim moved a debate on financial assistance to opposition parties. Tom Brake, the Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, responded on behalf of the Government.
4-4.30pm – Employment of young people and the raising of the participation age
Barry Sheerman, Labour/Co-operative MP for Huddersfield, moved a debate on employment of young people and the raising of the participation age. Matthew Hancock, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills, responded on behalf of the Government.
4.30-5pm – Charging of council tax to benefit claimants
John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham, Yardley, moved a debate on charging council tax to benefit claimants. Brandon Lewis, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, responded on behalf of the Government.
Westminster Hall debates
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays there are two one and a half hour debates and three half hour debates. The longer debates are intended for broader subjects where a number of MPs will want to speak. The shorter debates may focus on an issue that an MP may want to raise about their constituency.
Two ballots are held on the Wednesday of the previous week for each type of debate; MPs may enter into both ballots but can only be successful in one.
Each government department responds to the debates every other week according to a rota.
The Chair is taken by a member of the Panel of Chairs, with the same duties and powers conferred on Deputy Speakers.