The second of Lord Bilimoria’s parliamentary debates drew attention to the lack of creative subjects being taught at A Level. The debate focused primarily on the recently dropped History of Art A Level, a decision which Lord Bilimoria roundly condemned. In his speech Lord Bilimoria highlighted the benefits that the subject has, not just for the pupils studying it, but also for the UK economy, and challenged the Government to ensure that there is a suitable provision of creative subjects for A Level pupils to study.
The first of the two debates that Lord Bilimoria participated in Parliament yesterday discussed the impact that leaving the European Union would have on the UK’s universities and scientific research. In his speech Lord Bilimoria noted the successes that collaborative European research has produced and detailed the effect that Brexit would have on EU funding of scientific research, both directly and indirectly, while calling on Britain to remain outward looking.
Speaking in a House of Lords debate on the implications of the EU Referendum result on NHS staff, Lord Bilimoria warned against implementing policies which would see trained medical professionals leaving the NHS at a time when the institution is facing a staffing shortage. He reiterated the words of Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, that EU nationals are vital to the success of the NHS, and called on the government to ensure that EU nationals working in the NHS are able to stay in the UK post Brexit.
In the first debate in the House of Lords since the outcome of the EU Referendum, Lord Bilimoria lamented the spirit in which the Referendum was held. He noted the inaccuracies in the statistics used during the campaign and suggested that the Electoral Commission should be granted new powers to police against misleading campaign material. Lord Bilimoria then outlined the implications of the Referendum, including on the economy and in the Higher Education sector, and stressed the need for caution on triggering Article 50 until the UK had entered into negotiations with the EU to determine what Brexit would entail.
As President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), Lord Bilimoria gave the opening keynote speech at the UKCISA Annual Conference 2016 on 29th June. In his speech he highlighted the benefits that international students bring to the UK, from economic prosperity, to soft power, to international competitiveness, and reflected on the current political narrative on international students relating to visas, net migration targets, access to work, skills and talent. The potential future development of these policies – especially considering the EU Referendum result – were considered, as was the burning question of the day, where next for the UK’s international student strategy?
In the last debate on the EU referendum in the House of Lords before the historic vote, Lord Bilimoria spoke about the implications of the UK leaving the EU. In his speech, Lord Bilimoria reaffirmed his status as a Eurosceptic who reluctantly supports the UK’s continued membership of the EU. He noted the issues that continue to haunt the European Union, but stressed the many benefits that Britain gains remaining a member, while dispatching a number of myths that those campaigning to leave the EU have propagated over the course of the referendum campaign.
In his final debate of the 2015-16 parliamentary session, Lord Bilimoria spoke about the issues faced by ethnic minorities in the workplace and sought to identity ways in which to boost the employment prospects of minorities in the UK. He celebrated the strides that the UK has made on this issue, but noted that more action is needed, especially on increasing BAME participation in leadership roles and at the top positions in business and politics.
Last week, Lord Bilimoria took part in a debate about the steps that the Government has taken to boost the UK’s economy. Shortly following the release of the 2016 Budget, the debate gave Peers a chance to scrutinise the Chancellor’s policies and contribute their thoughts about the action needed to improve the country’s economic growth. Lord Bilimoria praised the strides that the Government has made in boosting entrepreneurship, but highlighted topics that the Government needs to improve on, notably productivity and higher education, while stressing the impact that the EU referendum may have on the UK’s economy.
Last Wednesday saw the Lords debate Budget 2016, George Osborne’s last before the upcoming EU referendum. Lord Bilimoria welcomed the business friendly measures that the Government introduced, such as the expansion of business rates relief and the sustained reduction in Corporation tax, but he lamented the impact of the Chancellor’s proposals on the UK’s increasingly complex taxation system and condemned the poorly thought out plans to cut Personal Independence Payments.
Lord Bilimoria spoke during the Second Reading of the Armed Forces Bill in the House of Lords yesterday. His speech focused on the implications of spurious lawsuits against the UK Armed Forces and stressed the need for the Government to ensure that soldiers were given the freedom to do their jobs effectively. After debate, the motion was agreed to and the bill was committed to a Grand Committee.