This week's committees

An unusual week looms on the committee corridor, with a genuine novelty in prospect.

On Thursday, David Cameron gives evidence to the super-committee on the National Security Strategy.

Here's my rundown of the highlights for the rest of this week:


The Education Committee (9.30am) continues its fascinating inquiry into educational underachievement by white working class children.

The lead witness is Owen Jones, the author of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class.

Growing antimicrobial resistance could mean future epidemics are harder to treat and the routine use of antibiotics in factory farming appears partly to blame.

The Science and Technology Committee (9.15am) questions representatives from the National Office of Animal Health, Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance, National Farmers' Union, and Alliance to Save our Antibiotics.

How are claimant advocates and welfare rights advisers supporting tenants affected by the Benefit Cap and the Social Sector Size Criteria?

The Work and Pensions Committee (9.30am) questions representatives of housing benefit claimants about the impact of the government's welfare reforms relating to housing. Among those appearing are representatives from Citizens Advice, StepChange, the Surrey Welfare Rights Unit, and the Zaccheus 2000 Trust.

The Treasury Committee (2.15pm) takes evidence from Lawrence Tomlinson, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, concerning banks' lending practices and their treatment of businesses in distress.

The politically crucial subject of creeping EU influence over UK law is examined when the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, gives evidence to the European Scrutiny Committee (2.45pm) on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the light of a series of recent court rulings which seem to suggest that, whatever Parliament thought, the UK is not opted out of it, after all.

Invasive species like Tree of Heaven, the Demon Shrimp and the water Hyacinth are causing over £1.5bn of damage a year to the UK economy, so what is to be done to stop or at least control them? The Environmental Audit Committee (2.30pm) continues its inquiry with the Angling Trust, Anglian Water, and Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society and the Horticultural Trades Association.

How far can or should the UK aim to feed itself? Professor Sir John Beddington, a former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government gives evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry into Food Security. (3pm)


The super-committee on the National Security Strategy has a plethora of high-powered members, headed by the Labour former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett.

Its job is to monitor the implementation of the NSS - and it mostly meets in private.

But today, the prime minister will give public evidence on "the government's decision-making on national security issues since 2010, and its plans for the next National Security Strategy," expected in 2015 (from 3pm).

This could be fascinating, but often enticing sessions like this flatter to deceive as everyone is discrete to the point of invisibility.

But worth a watch.