28/06/2011 Daily Politics


28/06/2011

With Andrew Neil and Anita Anand. More woe in Britain's retail sector as two more High Street chains announce shop closures. The guest is Sir Martin Sorrell.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Good morning, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. More commit other

:00:28.:00:35.

high street. Two more retail chains announced shop closures. Thorntons

:00:35.:00:39.

and TJ Hughes are the latest victims. Thousands of jobs are

:00:39.:00:43.

malign. We are asking what, if anything, can be done. More power

:00:43.:00:47.

to the students. The Government says it wants greater competition

:00:47.:00:51.

between universities. Labour calls the latest shake-up to higher

:00:51.:00:55.

education a complete shambles. And they are back on the streets,

:00:55.:00:59.

eight two day general strike is being held across Greece ahead of a

:00:59.:01:09.

vote that could determine the So, all of that in the next half-

:01:09.:01:15.

hour. With us for the duration, media and advertising might

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:01:25.:01:29.

Let's turn our eyes to the visit of Wen Jiabao yesterday. It appears

:01:29.:01:33.

the Chinese premier is not happy with David Cameron criticising

:01:33.:01:39.

China's human rights record. Do you do business in China? Big business,

:01:40.:01:43.

close to $1 billion. What should come first, business of human

:01:43.:01:47.

rights? The answer is probably both. But there are ways of doing it. I

:01:48.:01:55.

draw a distinction between what we saw Jack rocks and the IOC do

:01:55.:02:00.

around the Beijing Olympics. -- Jack rocks. There were external

:02:00.:02:10.
:02:10.:02:13.

issues like Sudan and Darfur. The quiet diplomacy, in the context of

:02:13.:02:18.

the Beijing Olympics, dealing with difficult issues, against how

:02:18.:02:24.

Google handled a similar set of issues and, in a way, how the Prime

:02:24.:02:30.

Minister yesterday talked about human rights issues, the Chinese-

:02:30.:02:34.

made moves last week to release prisoners and try to deal with the

:02:34.:02:42.

issue. It doesn't work to, in public, take them to task.

:02:42.:02:45.

David Cameron done too much of that? I think it's a difficult

:02:45.:02:49.

thing to balance. You are making political decisions, you have to

:02:49.:02:53.

counterbalance... Has he got the balance right? If you actually

:02:53.:02:57.

tried to do something, I don't think... It is this odd question

:02:57.:03:01.

about a loss of face. Westerners get worried about that. I think the

:03:01.:03:06.

key issue is that you do it in private, the Chinese listen and

:03:06.:03:10.

learn, if you have a strong case, talked to them privately and they

:03:10.:03:14.

will change and move on. Slapping them in the face in public, whether

:03:14.:03:18.

it is Google, and I don't think it was quite as bad yesterday as

:03:18.:03:22.

people are making out, but I think it's counter-productive. When you

:03:22.:03:25.

say business of human rights, you can achieve one with the other, by

:03:25.:03:29.

working closely with them. Do we really want to be friends with

:03:29.:03:33.

them? They are always mounting cyber-attacks against us, they are

:03:33.:03:37.

not our friends. The MI5 has written that hundreds of UK

:03:37.:03:42.

companies have been hacked by the Government of China. The German

:03:42.:03:46.

government says that the personal computer of Chancellor Merkel was

:03:46.:03:50.

hacked into. Are you suggesting that Julian Assange is a Chinese

:03:50.:04:00.

plant? No, I think he is Australian. The Vodafone network, there were 90

:04:00.:04:09.

million a tax on consumer accounts. On the road system, about 6 million

:04:09.:04:15.

a year. Cyber-attacks is a major issue and we had only seen the

:04:15.:04:20.

beginning of it. But there are many types of hackers. People are

:04:20.:04:23.

attributed to many governments. It's going to be an issue we have

:04:23.:04:27.

to deal with increasingly, whether it be Sony, the attacks they have

:04:27.:04:31.

suffered, or others in recent months. It's a big issue, but you

:04:31.:04:36.

can't put it at the door of the Chinese totally. Have you ever been

:04:36.:04:40.

in a dilemma where, on the one hand, if we going to this market and do

:04:41.:04:47.

this we could make a lot of money, on the other hand... Yes. Sudan.

:04:47.:04:55.

Iran. I was offered a considerable piece of business by a major

:04:55.:05:00.

multinational company in Iran. Which, to the front, given the

:05:00.:05:04.

sanctions that were meant to be operating and which the UK and

:05:04.:05:07.

American government claimed are being effective, I was shocked to

:05:07.:05:15.

even have the offer made to me. We declined. Burma, Cuba is off limits.

:05:15.:05:20.

There may be political changes. Iran is actually one of the next 11,

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I call it the next 10, because Iran is of the map. We made the decision

:05:26.:05:30.

not to do it. If it's a difficult decision. If you go to Turkey, you

:05:30.:05:37.

will find many examples of sanction busting through Turkey. We are glad

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you took the decision to be with us today. We've got a lot more to talk

:05:41.:05:49.

about. An offer I couldn't refuse. Andrew Neil, the Godfather! Plans

:05:49.:05:52.

for a radical shake-up of universities in England will be set

:05:52.:05:55.

up by the Government today. Ministers say they want to increase

:05:55.:05:59.

competition and provide potential students with more information.

:05:59.:06:02.

They are hoping to improve what they are calling the quality of

:06:02.:06:07.

courses and drive down the level of fees. They also propose allowing

:06:07.:06:10.

private companies to offer degrees and the best investors to recruit

:06:10.:06:14.

more students with top grades. This is what David Willetts had to say

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earlier today. What we are saying is, look, students are going to be

:06:18.:06:22.

thinking very carefully about the quality of the academic experience

:06:23.:06:26.

at university, what their job prospects after they had been to

:06:26.:06:30.

university. We are looking for a transformation in the amount of

:06:30.:06:33.

information that they get so that they will be able to make well-

:06:33.:06:37.

informed choices. It will really drive universities to think about,

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well, how crowded are the seminars? How much practical experience do

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they get, how much work experience do we provide? Those are the things

:06:46.:06:49.

that students care about and we want them to know what is being

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offered. No government minister was available to talk about the

:06:52.:06:56.

proposals. We are joined by Gareth Thomas, the shadow university's

:06:56.:07:00.

minister. Isn't is a good thing that the universities that people

:07:00.:07:04.

really want to go to La going to be given the freedom to get bigger?

:07:04.:07:08.

the Government proposals, the vast majority of students who get the

:07:08.:07:12.

highest grades get the opportunity to go to university. What is in

:07:12.:07:15.

this white paper is that the number of student places that we are

:07:15.:07:21.

seeing offered, at a far lower rate, is likely to be increased. Students

:07:21.:07:25.

are going to seek place is taken from mainstream universities,

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beneath the very highest level, and offered at far lower rates. That is

:07:29.:07:35.

likely to affair in a -- a share in a new generation of high property

:07:35.:07:40.

corporations, some of which have very low degree completion rates

:07:40.:07:46.

and high drop-out rates. I'll come to private universities in a moment.

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But students are not stupid. They will go to the university that will

:07:50.:07:54.

give them the best chance of scoring a job in the future. That

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will give them the best student experience. Really, what will

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happen, is that those that are poor-quality will fall by the

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wayside. That is just the way it should be? Well, that is not what

:08:06.:08:10.

the Government is saying. It is taking place is away from

:08:10.:08:13.

universities, many universities with a pretty good reputation at

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the moment. It is going to offer them, in an auction, to the lowest

:08:17.:08:24.

bidder. Beneath the highest universities, you are going to see

:08:24.:08:30.

cuts... Of what examples can you give me where they are taken places

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away from a successful, good university? By what benchmarks do

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you say it is good? The Government is going to propose that the

:08:37.:08:40.

students that get a highest grades will be able to go at the

:08:40.:08:44.

University of their choice, if the universe deep in question wants to

:08:44.:08:48.

expand. Beneath that level, what the Government have been ripping up

:08:48.:08:54.

to now is that they want to cut university places at every other

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university by a small amount, 20,000 places, and offer them, in

:08:58.:09:03.

an auction, to a lower bidder. Doesn't that drive down prices for

:09:03.:09:11.

students? That is what they want to hear, they want to pay less? That

:09:11.:09:16.

is what they want to do, drive down the headline fees that they have it

:09:16.:09:20.

-- allowed to rise to �9,000 in most cases. Potentially, what they

:09:20.:09:23.

are going to do is make a race to the bottom, to lower quality

:09:23.:09:28.

degrees. I don't know why you keep saying that, they will go to the

:09:28.:09:31.

cheap university that is the best in that bracket. Martin Sorrell,

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what do you think? I welcome greater private sector... As in

:09:37.:09:43.

most areas of activity, greater private sector involvement. I

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noticed the Shadow Minister talked about the American experience. My

:09:45.:09:49.

experience of the private sector in America is that it has been pretty

:09:49.:09:53.

vibrant, it has contributed to general levels of improving

:09:53.:09:58.

education and training, at different levels. At the most

:09:58.:10:02.

excellent degree level, at trade schools, that schools on down. I

:10:02.:10:06.

feel that involving the private sector is not a bad thing. Netting

:10:06.:10:13.

fees inflate I think is very important. Actually, I did

:10:13.:10:17.

something for business schools at the turn of the millennium. We

:10:17.:10:20.

looked at business schools. There are too many in the UK. You get

:10:20.:10:24.

people coming in and donating to create a new school, that sucks in

:10:24.:10:31.

more teens, Chancellors, students, you get a lowest common denominator.

:10:31.:10:35.

I want the highest common multiple. One of the things we can sell the

:10:35.:10:39.

Chinese is education and training, it's one of our strengths. Boosting

:10:40.:10:45.

the private sector in education, having a public and private

:10:45.:10:48.

partnership is not a bad thing, it's a good thing. Students

:10:48.:10:52.

investing in their education, being able to pay for it longer term,

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very much the American model, I think that's a good thing. I don't

:10:57.:11:01.

agree with Martin's General point that there is a role for public-

:11:01.:11:05.

private partnerships. There is a role for the private sector. But if

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you take what has happened in America, many of the very big

:11:09.:11:12.

business higher education corporations do have very high

:11:12.:11:17.

drop-out rates, very low degree completion rates. They have very

:11:17.:11:21.

aggressive recruitment practices. Some of them have been compared to

:11:21.:11:25.

the pension mis-selling scandals we have had over here in the past. I

:11:25.:11:27.

think we have to be extremely careful that quality is not

:11:27.:11:30.

sacrificed because of the Government's financial incompetence,

:11:30.:11:35.

to drive down fees for students. But the Americans have eight of the

:11:35.:11:39.

top 10 universities in the world, they are the benchmark, Harvard,

:11:39.:11:43.

Yale, these are the best universities in the world. We are

:11:43.:11:46.

not talking about those type of universities expanding go be here.

:11:46.:11:50.

We are talking about universities that offer a far lower standard of

:11:50.:11:54.

education. Otherwise we would not have the statistics from the US.

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are talking about a leaked White Paper, we haven't seen it yet. Is

:11:59.:12:04.

there going to be some sort of benchmark to, testing, approval

:12:04.:12:09.

process? One would hope so. One would hope that they are regulated

:12:09.:12:13.

more vigorously, more often, in order to prove their worth. It's

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not clear if that is going to happen. We will get those details,

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as you say. We've got quite convincing leaks, but when we see

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it for real we will have you back. Greece, and the trade unions have

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begun a 48 hour general strike against the proposed drastic public

:12:33.:12:36.

spending cuts, which are being voted on by parliament tomorrow in

:12:36.:12:41.

Athens. If their package of austerity measures is rejected,

:12:41.:12:45.

degraded national loans will have to be withheld. The country could

:12:45.:12:50.

run out of money within two weeks, some say. That would throw the

:12:50.:12:55.

European sovereign debt crisis into a new level of chaos. Jon Sopel is

:12:55.:13:01.

in Athens. The demonstrators, are they going through the motions or

:13:01.:13:08.

do they believe that they can stop these austerity plans? I think the

:13:08.:13:13.

key is how many people turn out. If it is hundreds of thousands of

:13:13.:13:20.

people who turn out and show that the anger is widespread, not just

:13:20.:13:23.

concentrated amongst trade unionists, I think that will have

:13:23.:13:27.

some influence. The other factor to bear in mind is how much trouble

:13:27.:13:32.

there is today. We have seen groups of at -- anarchists, and I think we

:13:32.:13:37.

can see them emerging into the square, wielding sticks, or wearing

:13:37.:13:41.

gas masks and crash helmets. They are clearly intent on causing some

:13:41.:13:47.

trouble here. Now, I think some trouble was always going to be

:13:47.:13:50.

expected and anticipated today. If you look at the opinion polls, it

:13:51.:13:56.

is not just a small minority of people opposed to the austerity

:13:56.:14:02.

measures that are protesting outside Parliament today. It is 70

:14:02.:14:09.

to 80% of the Greek people. We are broadcasting from Syntagma Square,

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from the roof of what should be prime real estate. The building is

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largely derelict and empty because so many businesses have closed

:14:17.:14:22.

during the past year or so of the austerity crisis. If people had

:14:22.:14:26.

expected the parliament to vote for the austerity measures. But when

:14:26.:14:29.

the politicians see the scale of the demonstration you are looking

:14:29.:14:33.

on know, might they changed their minds? Might there be a vote to

:14:33.:14:40.

reject austerity? Let's deal with the maths. For those that don't

:14:40.:14:45.

know the precise numbers in the Greek parliament, there are 300 MPs,

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155 of them are from the ruling Socialist Party. If they all toe

:14:49.:14:55.

the line, George Papandreou should get it past. If you Socialists say

:14:55.:15:00.

they are going to vote against. There is also a lot of pressure on

:15:00.:15:03.

the centre-right to come in and back it. They will be very aware of

:15:03.:15:08.

the people out there. If you like, Greece has two choices. One of them

:15:09.:15:13.

is awful and the other one is calamitous. I think that is what

:15:13.:15:17.

the Greek politicians have to weigh in mind. Do they go for the awful

:15:17.:15:21.

choice of having another austerity programme, further tax increases,

:15:21.:15:26.

further spending cuts, on a country that is already suffering? Or do

:15:26.:15:30.

they go for the calamitous choice, and many people think it would be,

:15:30.:15:33.

of a default and all of the consequences that might flow from

:15:33.:15:43.
:15:43.:15:44.

that? Not just, of course, for Thank you, look after yourself.

:15:44.:15:49.

Looks like it will be a hot day in Athens in more ways than one. Don't

:15:49.:15:53.

we meet a reality check? Greece has already had a bail-out, it is now

:15:53.:15:58.

looking for another 100 billion bail-out, it may come back for a

:15:59.:16:02.

third bail-out and the austerity measures, which mean massive

:16:02.:16:06.

unemployment in the public sector and huge privatisation, is probably

:16:06.:16:12.

not going to happen? It is too big to sail again. Look at the knock-on

:16:12.:16:21.

effects. That is different. Would it be Portugal, Ireland, Spain,

:16:21.:16:26.

there are still a fundamental issues to be dealt with. It is too

:16:26.:16:30.

big to fail, it is Northern Rock and Lehman Brothers all over again.

:16:30.:16:35.

Look at the ramifications for the system, it is also interconnected.

:16:35.:16:39.

At the end of the day, to say it is posturing would be unfair because

:16:39.:16:46.

it is much deeper than that, but this is a process... In the case of

:16:46.:16:51.

restructuring and bankrupts, they like companies to go through this

:16:51.:16:57.

as well. Somebody is going to have to pay the bill at the end of the

:16:57.:17:05.

day. You are part of the eurozone, in Ireland. Right? Yes. Has the

:17:05.:17:08.

euro got a future? We are coming back to the UK if the legislation

:17:09.:17:15.

gets... Coming back to Britain? This is not unique to Daily

:17:15.:17:21.

Politics. This isn't the Politics Show! This is Daily Politics.

:17:21.:17:27.

sorry. We're coming back when the legislation is enacted. We said

:17:27.:17:33.

after the last Budget, we would get shareholders' approval, which we

:17:33.:17:40.

haven't got yet, but on the euro, I think it does hang together and it

:17:40.:17:45.

will hang together. Putting myself out on a limb but I think the

:17:45.:17:49.

Greeks will approve it. There is a contingency plan that the EU have

:17:49.:17:54.

already indicated they will put in place, emergency funding, and then

:17:54.:17:59.

they will ask the Greeks to make the decision again. The politicians

:17:59.:18:02.

are stuck between the banks and between the people so they have to

:18:02.:18:07.

go through this process. It is very unpleasant. You have Amicis

:18:07.:18:14.

involved as well. It is very unseemly and difficult -- you have

:18:14.:18:19.

anarchists involved as well. Let me be the first to welcome you back.

:18:19.:18:24.

We missed you. You should never have gone. It was the threat of

:18:24.:18:28.

increased taxation, not the reality. Let's turn our eyes to the high

:18:29.:18:37.

streets. Or is really not well in the retail sector. A David Bailey

:18:37.:18:41.

goes by without another household name announcing a fall in profits

:18:42.:18:48.

and shop closures -- barely a day goes by. It is carnage on the high

:18:48.:18:51.

street! Carnage is the word for it to be

:18:51.:18:56.

honest and it looks like it may just keep getting worse. Gloomy to

:18:56.:19:06.

say the least. Be warned, the list of shops I am going to go through

:19:06.:19:10.

is very, very long. At first, we mourned the disappearance of those

:19:10.:19:13.

charming family owned shops as we bemoaned an attack of the clones,

:19:13.:19:18.

the big generic superstores. But now it looks like closing time for

:19:18.:19:21.

some of the giant retailers. This morning, chocolate purveyors

:19:21.:19:24.

Thorntons announced plans to close up to 180 stores over the next

:19:24.:19:31.

Fashion store Jane Norman shut all it's 90 stores this weekend. It

:19:31.:19:34.

reopened them yesterday but only to the administrators. Although

:19:34.:19:39.

efforts are being sold to sell it. Up to 1,600 jobs are at risk.

:19:39.:19:42.

Liverpool-based TJ Hughes has also said it will call in the

:19:42.:19:47.

administrators. Up to 4,000 jobs are thought to be at risk.

:19:47.:19:50.

On Friday, Habitat, founded in 1964 by Sir Terrence Conran, saw its 30

:19:50.:19:54.

stores outside London placed into administration. 900 jobs are under

:19:54.:19:57.

threat. Mothercare announced in May it will

:19:57.:20:04.

shut 110 outlets and and focus on out of town super-stores.

:20:05.:20:08.

HMV announced plans to close 60 stores at the beginning of the year

:20:08.:20:13.

due to declining sales. It has also sold the Waterstones book chain for

:20:13.:20:19.

�53 million to prop up its finances. Focus DIY and Oddbins are amongst

:20:19.:20:26.

other stores that have faced buy- I'm joined now by Stephen Robertson

:20:26.:20:30.

from the British Retail Consortium. This is a miserable lift. What do

:20:30.:20:36.

you blame it on? There is no doubt that the consumer has got a lot

:20:36.:20:41.

less in their pockets. We saw it reported last month, 8% less

:20:41.:20:45.

discretionary spend. Where that is really hitting, as your list

:20:45.:20:51.

demonstrates, is the non-food retailers because it is

:20:51.:20:58.

discretionary spending that gets hits first. It is then non-food

:20:59.:21:04.

retailers that we saw serious decline in, we have all got to eat.

:21:04.:21:09.

Those sales are being sold at a poor practice because of the deals

:21:09.:21:14.

and offers that go behind them. good ones will survive, the bad

:21:14.:21:20.

ones will sink and that may be no bad thing? Remember, the retail

:21:20.:21:30.

sector is 10% of all jobs in the UK. That is 3 million jobs. These

:21:30.:21:33.

closures and reductions in trading are not without consequence and

:21:33.:21:37.

right now, it is very important that the private sector is well

:21:38.:21:41.

positioned to be able to mop up some of the jobs that we have seen

:21:41.:21:48.

been shed in the public sector and we need to get from cuts to growth.

:21:48.:21:53.

What do you want the government to do? You want a big hand to be

:21:53.:21:59.

played? No. We do not want handouts. But there is no doubt about it,

:21:59.:22:04.

things like the business rates increase that we saw at Easter, and

:22:04.:22:09.

eye-watering 4.5%, do not help the situation. We do need action. The

:22:09.:22:12.

red tape challenge that the Secretary of State for the

:22:12.:22:16.

Department of business has issued. We need to get conclusions to

:22:16.:22:21.

remove some of the problems that we have in business to do with ticking

:22:21.:22:25.

boxes. In the employment legislation, we have seen growth in

:22:25.:22:29.

the number of people going to industrial tribunals, which wastes

:22:29.:22:33.

time and money in business. Let's see those sorts of things sorted

:22:33.:22:37.

out very quickly. We have seen the appointment of a celebrity to

:22:37.:22:42.

review the high street. Let's get to action, not more reviews. Thank

:22:42.:22:47.

you very much. Back to Andrew. Thank you.

:22:47.:22:50.

With us now is Allister Heath, editor of City AM, and Clare Perry,

:22:50.:22:56.

who is a Conservative MP. Welcome. Allister, let's UN pick this. Let

:22:56.:23:02.

me suggest to you, fundamentally a lot of these shops are closing

:23:02.:23:07.

because of this incredible squeeze on living standards. People's wages

:23:07.:23:11.

are not in any way keeping pace with prices. They just don't want

:23:11.:23:16.

to spend any more. That is the number one reason for this

:23:16.:23:23.

situation. When retail sales stopped growing or shrink, the best

:23:23.:23:26.

performers continue to do well but the weaker shops go bust and that

:23:26.:23:31.

is what is happening. When things are harder, we see a difference

:23:31.:23:36.

between the retailers. Inflation is very high, taxes are going up and

:23:36.:23:40.

in comes a not keeping up. The second reason is the technological

:23:40.:23:44.

revolution, which is linked to the first. That is the longer term

:23:44.:23:49.

trend. When everything is booming, when retail sales are going up

:23:49.:23:53.

because of cheap credit, the fact that internet retailers were going

:23:53.:23:57.

up 20% did not matter for traditional bricks and mortar shops.

:23:57.:24:01.

Now it does. People are shopping mall online so there we could

:24:01.:24:05.

traditional stores are going under and that trend is not going to stop

:24:06.:24:11.

any time soon. So all the closures we see of famous high street names

:24:11.:24:16.

is a direct consequence of the government policy. It is a

:24:16.:24:22.

consequence of unravelling a decade of over leverage. People are

:24:22.:24:26.

perhaps moving from consumption toward saving and investment and in

:24:26.:24:31.

the long term, that makes for a more sustainable economy. Meanwhile

:24:31.:24:37.

the casualties of Sirius. The good shops continue to survive. -- the

:24:37.:24:42.

casualties are serious. John Lewis had its best performance ever. In

:24:42.:24:47.

smaller market towns, if you get the shopping centre right, you have

:24:47.:24:53.

a fantastic mix of independent retailers and it becomes a more

:24:53.:24:57.

sustainable economy. Towns like devisers. So there is nothing to be

:24:57.:25:02.

done. The biggest problem is when there is no link between business

:25:02.:25:07.

rates and the local council can't see so all things that affect the

:25:07.:25:13.

locality, like high street parking, developments, the council has no...

:25:13.:25:18.

What we have to do, I am hoping there will be a consultation next

:25:18.:25:23.

week, is give councils more up lift if they generate... Would that has

:25:23.:25:31.

saved Habitat? We have seen a huge change in shopping patterns and

:25:31.:25:35.

perhaps Habitat is not the strongest there. I suspect a lot of

:25:35.:25:42.

traffic has gone to John Lewis. We need a stronger link between their

:25:42.:25:45.

business community and the local council. Some of this is probably

:25:45.:25:49.

the inevitable shift of market forces but this is still an

:25:49.:25:55.

expensive country in which to be a retailer. We are a rock in the

:25:55.:25:59.

North Sea with 60 million people and leasing property is extremely

:25:59.:26:08.

high. Rents peaked at 2008 and they have come down, except London rents.

:26:08.:26:14.

Prime positions in London, driven by the Olympics. But the recession

:26:14.:26:19.

is an accelerated. That has accelerated the process.

:26:19.:26:23.

Fundamentally it is the rise of e- commerce. It is interesting that

:26:23.:26:28.

the internet is the biggest medium in the UK. It was the second

:26:28.:26:31.

country in the world where we saw the internet surpassed television

:26:32.:26:36.

as the main medium. Denmark was the first country a couple of years ago

:26:36.:26:44.

and the UK was two years ago as well. This is an e-commerce country.

:26:44.:26:47.

Most non-food will be sold over the internet. It will be a mixture. The

:26:47.:26:55.

model will be a mixture... I am the woman who probably does most of the

:26:55.:27:02.

shopping as recreation... Not if you are my husband. By increasing

:27:02.:27:06.

use the internet, that is key. the high street, these jobs are

:27:07.:27:11.

completely the same, the customer experience is terrible, they are

:27:11.:27:16.

dull. Many reporters is trying to make the high Street's more

:27:16.:27:22.

exciting. -- Mary. I don't think it is about the government trying to

:27:22.:27:28.

change these things. The biggest single driver is the fact that this

:27:28.:27:32.

quarter and the previous quarter, retells will continue to fall and

:27:32.:27:38.

that is because of high inflation, increasing taxes and low incomes.

:27:38.:27:42.

It is exactly the same as newspapers. Chopping trees down and

:27:42.:27:47.

distributing newsprint is not a particularly economic the efficient

:27:47.:27:51.

process or environmentally-friendly. If you can download a newspaper, it

:27:52.:27:58.

is much more efficient and cheaper. Newspapers never close because some

:27:58.:28:06.

mug is always ready to buy it. newspapers actually make money. Of

:28:06.:28:11.

course some newspapers are doing badly. But by shifting their models

:28:11.:28:17.

to embrace the new technology, and it is interesting, what is Murdoch

:28:17.:28:22.

in the process of doing? Proving that subscriptions work. Don't we

:28:22.:28:26.

need these retailers to think about their online brand. We have been

:28:26.:28:31.

talking about this for 20 years. Sorry to keep plugging John Lewis...

:28:31.:28:37.

You have done, non-stop! There is a great online presence there.

:28:37.:28:42.

Anyway! We have run out of time. One thing is for sure, the high

:28:42.:28:47.

street will be very different in the next five years. Thanks to our

:28:47.:28:51.

With Andrew Neil and Anita Anand.

More woe in Britain's retail sector as two more High Street chains announce shop closures: Thorntons and TJ Hughes are the latest victims. With thousands of jobs on the line we ask what if anything can be done.

More power to the student! The Government says it wants greater competition between universities. Labour calls the latest shake up to higher education a complete shambles.

Plus news of a two-day general strike being held across Greece, ahead of a vote that could determine the future of the Euro.

Our guest throughout the programme is the media and advertising magnate Sir Martin Sorrell.


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