30/06/2011 Daily Politics


30/06/2011

Andrew Neil and Anita Anand have the top political stories of the day.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Morning, folks. Welcome to The Daily Politics. I'm at work, are

:00:33.:00:35.

you? Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers aren't.

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They've taken to the streets angry over proposed changes to their

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pensions and how long they'll have to work. That's the view in central

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London, where the main march is about to start. It's estimated

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750,000 people are taking part in industrial action across the

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country. Thousands of schools are shut across England and Wales.

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Government ministers had to cross picket lines in Westminster this

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morning. The Government says it's still negotiating with the unions.

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We'll be asking, will there be a compromise? The PM's also on a

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collision course with his mates in Europe. No surprise there. The EU

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is calling for an increase in it's budget. Call Me Dave's not happy.

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Some people call him Red Ed, but is he actually on a mission to turn

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Labour blue? Or even purple? Are you going colour blind yet?! Ed

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:01:42.:01:46.

Miliband's new policy wallah will It could end up a rainbow coalition.

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I see what you did. All that in the next half hour.

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With us for the duration, Labour peer, Maurice Glasman.

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Welcome to the programme, the first time, I think. It is, thank you.

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:02:11.:02:16.

He's also personal guru to Ed Before we talk about strikes, let's

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turn our eyes briefly to events in Europe, because the EU's talking

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money again. It wants a 5% increase in its budget for the seven years

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from 2014. This is at a time when national budgets across Europe are

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being slashed. Not music to the ears of the Government, who called

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it "completely unrealistic". The Commission is also proposing a

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Europe-wide VAT levy and a re- working of the UK budget rebate. No

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doubt Mr Cameron will be looking for Mrs Thatcher's au -- old

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handbag. What is your view? I think the EU has lost its way, it has

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become very administrative, liberal and procedural. The vision is there

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and -- is not there. We have to restore proper democratic politics.

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A 5% increase, for what? Do you think this government, which often

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talks tough and doesn't always act tough, will it to draw what they

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call the red line in Brussels, will there be much bluster and they will

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walk away from it? I think this government talks tough but is

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generally weak and quite confused and they will cave. That should

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cheer them up in Brussels if not in the rest of the country.

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Picket lines are being set up outside schools, Government

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buildings, job centres and courts as thousands of public sector

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workers go on strike over their pensions. The Government estimates

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that up to one in five of all public sectors workers will strike

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today. But who exactly is taking action? And what are they angry

:03:45.:03:55.
:03:55.:03:57.

With some schools closed, we thought we'd give our own lesson

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this morning. You'll be surprised to hear both sides are claiming

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victory in the strike today. There are four unions involved in the

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action, three teaching unions and the Public and Commercial Services

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Union. According to a Downing Street survey of about 75% of

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schools in England, around a third will close, a third will be

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partially closed and a third would be open. In Wales it's believed

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around 1,000 out of 1,800 are closed. The PCS has about 250,000

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members, including coastguards, police support workers, court staff

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and UK border agency staff. Airports are warning of delays,

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although the Government claims a "vast majority" of courts, job

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centres and HM Revenue and Customs call centres would remain open. The

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unions are protesting at planned changes to their pensions which

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will mean having to work longer, pay more in and receive less in

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retirement. The Government argues these changes are necessary because

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the current schemes are unaffordable and says the plans are

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fair to taxpayers and the public sector. Earlier this morning, I

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spoke to Christine Blower, who's the general secretary of the NUT. I

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began by asking her whether it was right to strike when negotiations

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are continuing. The problem with the talks is that

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the government haven't been listening to what we have been

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saying. In the Hutton reports, there are no comments about the

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pensions being unaffordable. The point is, the government has not

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done the evaluation of the teachers' pension scheme. Secondly,

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the cost of public sector pensions is set to fall. Hutton recognises

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that. Yet the talks from the Government's point of view are all

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about implementing what they have already put on the table. That

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simply isn't satisfactory. That is why we have decided to take action,

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because at last, the media is realising that what we've been

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saying all along, about the pensions not going broke and not

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being unsustainable, isn't -- is actually true. Aren't these points

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that should be raised around the table instead of placards and

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freezing central London? You saw Benny Alexander saying, this is the

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bottom line, there are no negotiations about anything other

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than this. If they were to take the �2.8 billion off the table, which

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is what they want to put on to the public sector pension scheme, we

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would have something about which we could discuss. That was our

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position at the end of January when these talks started. The fact is

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there has been no move on the central question of affordability.

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We think it is very important that by taking this action today, we are

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able to make the case for the fact that Hutton did not say public

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sector pensions are unaffordable. The government can't demonstrate

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that they are, because in the case of the teachers' pension scheme,

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they haven't done the valuation. The how much sympathy do you think

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there is for your course, particularly from people not on

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public sector pensions, who have had to take a day of work to look

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after their kids? Today, we are launching a petition, fair pensions

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for all. We recognise that in the private sector, there are real

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problems with pensions. We don't want to be in a race to the bottom.

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The petition we are launching his for fair pensions across the public

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sector, the private sector, and a fair state pension. Yes, we believe

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we are all in this together. Rather different from George Osborne.

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you disappointed in the stance of the Labour Party? There is no

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shoulder to shoulder from the leadership, they have distanced

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themselves from today's action. It would appear to be a backlash even

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among your firmest allies. I think what Ed Miliband has said is that

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this is a failure of the system and the government should have been

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negotiating in good faith. That is what Andy Burnham said in the House

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of Commons. Of course, there will be Labour MPs who have supported

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this, I am not going to name them now. The fact is there are people

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everywhere across society who support us. Even parents who are

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losing money today, we have had many messages of support from them.

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You are being selective about the Miliband quote. He also said

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today's action was a mistake and he is taking great pains to distance

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himself from it. It is his view that it is a mistake, but not my

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view, and not the view of the members who are on strike today.

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Because they know that by taking this action, we are exposing the

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flaws in the Government's position. If you listen to Justine Greening

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or Francis Maude, you will see that they can't answer the basic

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questions. The basic questions are about affordability, and whether

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the scheme is tenable or not. It's a choice, whether the scheme is

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tenable or not. We believe we have systems in place, from the

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arrangements were made in 2007, to be able to maintain the teacher

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scheme as it is, albeit with a negotiation that contributions may

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have to go up. But on the basis of the scheme that we negotiated in

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:09:24.:09:24.

Apologies for the pictures dropping out.

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You forgot to put a shilling in the meter.

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I am not that well off. We are joined by Nick deep, we hope

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to be joined by the general secretary of the Fire Brigades'

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Union, Matt Wrack. The government - - we are joined by the Schools

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Can we clarify what areas are still open to negotiation and compromise?

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Moving pension increases from the RPI index to the CPI index, which

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is a tougher index, it doesn't rise by as much as the RPI, though they

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both go through the roof at the moment. Is that open to

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negotiation? The issues that are being discussed with the trade

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unions are about how you implement these different recommendations,

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recommended by Lord Hutton. There has to be an increase in

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contributions, there has to be some move on the retirement age, because

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people are living longer. All those issues are being discussed with the

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trade unions. I understand that, so I will come back to my question. Is

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the move from RPI to CPI open to negotiation or not? That decision

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has been taken. It will be a move to CPI. So it is not? The decision

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has been taken. By the norms of the English language as I was taught it,

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that means it is not open to negotiation. I have given the

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wording as I have given it. What about public sector workers, who

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often don't make much of a contribution, they are now going to

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make bigger ones, sometimes 3% more, is that open to negotiation? There

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has to be a significant increase in the contribution all rate. If these

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pensions are to be sustainable... This is what Lord Hutton said, he

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said that given the scheme design, the general public cannot be sure

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of the sustainability of the pension into the future.

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understand that. We have heard all this before. I am trying to find

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out what is still open for negotiation. I take it that

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increased contributions of up to 3%, maybe more, that is not open to

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negotiation. How those contributions are allocated across

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the funds and between employees of different salary levels is what is

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being discussed. An employee earning under �15,000 a year, we do

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believe should be making any contributions increase.

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principle of increased contributions of 3% or more, that

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is not open to negotiation. concept of increased contributions

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has to happen, if we are going to keep these pensions sustainable to

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the future. We want teachers and public service staff to have good

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pensions, in great contrast to many people in the public -- the private

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sector who no longer have defined benefits. I know you have to get

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your talking points out, but I am asking specific questions and we

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haven't got much time. It would be good if you could stick to the

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specific answers. Changing the retirement age, up to an extra

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eight years for some people, not as much for others, a substantial rise

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in the retirement age, is that open to negotiation? There does have to

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be a change in the retirement age. One-third of all active members of

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the teacher pension, are already at retirement age of 65. Given that

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people are living significant number, it is right that people

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contribute longer to the Pensions Scheme, if they are to be

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sustainable. What you have just told us is that there maybe a lot

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to talk about, negotiations are going on, but on the core

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principles of switching from RPI to CPI, increasing contributions by 3%

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or more, and changing the retirement age up to an extra eight

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years, these three core principles are not open for negotiation.

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they are implemented is the issue. That is not the issue, ministers. I

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am saying, are they open for negotiation or not as core

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principles. I think you have told your viewers that they are not.

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they are implemented, the extent they are implemented, is what is

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being discussed with the trade unions, this Monday for two hours,

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resuming again next week. Which is why we believe that going on strike

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is premature, while these negotiations are going on. I am

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sorry, Minister. I can understand there are issues of process. Let's

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take the idea that some people's retirement age may have to go up by

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eight extra years. Is that open to negotiation? The way you put it, it

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is as though somebody who is 64 will be working until they are 72.

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No, I am not. There is a transitional period for all of this

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and all the crude rights will be maintained. Nobody need fear that

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the money they have put into their pension will change as a

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consequence -- all the accrued rights. None of this will come in

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before 2015, there will be plenty of time for it to be implemented.

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will have one more go. Is it open to negotiation that some people in

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their 50s, mainly women as I understand it, at some stage, under

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the current plans, their retirement age increases by eight years. What

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they had planned to retire on and what they will, under your

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proposals, will change by eight years, is that open to negotiation?

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How it is implemented is what is matters, that will determine the

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precise retirement age of any individual, the transition period.

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We have said that people can still retire at the age they were

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expecting to, but there may be an actuary the adjusted figure that

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applies to their pension. I believe the unions are issuing

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scaremongering statements about the consequences of these reforms, and

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that is what the negotiations are about. We understand the passions

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teachers have for their profession, we want to maintain good-quality

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pensions in the teaching profession. It is part of the overall package

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for people working in the public sector, and that is what we want to

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:15:37.:15:39.

You have described what the Government is doing as vicious.

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That is a 1970s word, it is doing what a Labour government would have

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had to do and what a former Labour minister said had to be done.

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last government did significantly changed pensions and we did not

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like those. But we were told in 2006 that the changes make would

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make public sector pensions affordable for the long term. That

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is why we consider this vicious. Horton said affordability has to be

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measured by the share of GDP going to pension liabilities -- the Lord

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Hutton. This is a nonsense. Given that average public-sector pay it

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in this country is higher than average pay and the private sector,

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from the office of National Statistics, why should those in the

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private sector with poor pensions have to pay more for those and the

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public sector with good pensions? Every year, another �10 billion is

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added to public spending from private sector taxes to pay for

:16:45.:16:50.

your pension, why should you not contribute more? We want decent

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pensions for everybody. This Government has created a nasty and

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vicious attempt to divide people in both sectors. Most have family

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members in both. I have a member of my family on strike today as a

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teacher and others in the private sector, we reject this idea the

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government is creating. Because they have taken it away from people

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in the private sector, they want to take it away from you. It is an

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outrageous and nasty attack by the government. It is not the

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Conservative government that has seen private pensions slight to the

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bottom, Mr Brown took 100 and -- �100 billion out of private sector

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provision. I do not care who did it, it is disgraceful what happens to

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workers in the private sector and I support them trying to defend their

:17:45.:17:52.

pensions. Lord Hutton has made it clear we want good-quality pensions.

:17:52.:17:58.

Take teachers' pensions, this year it cost �7 billion a year and by

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2014 it will be 10 billion, so we need to take measures to keep these

:18:03.:18:11.

as high quality pensions that our sustainable into the future. You

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referred to the paragraph in the Hutton report saying it is 1.5% of

:18:16.:18:23.

GDP, but he says that depends on the assumptions you use for life

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expectancy, size of workforce. Every assumption and sup with less

:18:29.:18:37.

than 1.9% of GDP last year -- ends up with. But that was before that.

:18:37.:18:43.

It was 1.5% in 1999, we are trained to get it to a level that is

:18:43.:18:48.

sustainable in the long term -- we are trying to. We cannot be sure it

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will be sustainable in the future unless we make the recommended

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reforms. It Lord Hutton was a Labour minister dealing with

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pensions. I understand what he did. Maurice Glasman, you have been

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patient. If this is right, a vicious attack on ordinary workers,

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why does the Leader of the Labour Party say these strikes are wrong

:19:12.:19:19.

at a time when negotiations are going on? We have not yet built up

:19:19.:19:22.

the organisation and the support and the mobilisation, the

:19:22.:19:28.

compelling alternative. This can be portrayed as a defence of the

:19:28.:19:38.
:19:38.:19:38.

status quo. Why does he not support the workers as Labour leader?

:19:39.:19:43.

this is the result of is the complete dishonour of teachers. So

:19:43.:19:49.

where is the mutualisation with the public sector? You do not trust

:19:49.:19:58.

teachers. Teachers have no sense of vocation, no sense of respect. You

:19:58.:20:03.

have a teacher who is 50 Yate and have been wonderful and served the

:20:03.:20:07.

children, in your scheme, there is no recognition of good teachers all

:20:07.:20:11.

those who have given everything to the children. And now she is

:20:11.:20:15.

looking at less money, working longer, you have really dishonoured

:20:15.:20:25.
:20:25.:20:26.

the teachers and no part of your scheme... Do you see this, you

:20:26.:20:32.

are... I am an an old-fashioned socialist. Do you see this as a

:20:32.:20:37.

political challenge? I think members, I think they are very

:20:37.:20:42.

careful about what they do. They study the details of the government.

:20:42.:20:50.

Do you see it? Pay and pensions of public sector which has -- workers

:20:50.:20:56.

are a key political debate in Britain today. I know you have a

:20:56.:21:01.

busy day, so thank you for being here.

:21:01.:21:04.

Now, we all know blue stands for Conservative. Yellow stands for

:21:04.:21:07.

Liberal Democrat and Red is Labour. But moves are afoot in the Labour

:21:07.:21:17.
:21:17.:21:29.

Party to change all that. Max Hello, today, we are talking about

:21:29.:21:32.

callers. Weather blew his Conservative, whether read his

:21:33.:21:38.

radical or whether Green is green - - blue. Let's look at the pictures

:21:38.:21:47.

you have been sending the and four hour gallery. David Cameron -- sent

:21:47.:21:51.

us in for the gallery. David Cameron does not like this as much

:21:51.:21:58.

as this, the Red Tory. It is about Big Society. Nick Clegg has been

:21:58.:22:04.

working on this for some time, it is the Orange book and it is a

:22:04.:22:08.

homage to economic liberalism. This is the purple book, from the New

:22:08.:22:17.

Labour think tank. The idea is blue Conservatism meets read socialism.

:22:17.:22:23.

But we are here to talk about the work of Ed Miliband. This is Blue

:22:23.:22:29.

Labour, but he has had a bit of help. Marks tears was -- Mark

:22:29.:22:33.

Stears was at Oxford with Ed Miliband and is one of the

:22:33.:22:39.

architects of New Labour. Something went wrong with Tony Brown -- Tony

:22:39.:22:44.

Blair and Gordon Brown. Labour was so far out of touch with the public.

:22:45.:22:49.

Labour did not resonate with the public. So it came up with a plan

:22:49.:22:53.

of doing politics by stealth, to redistribute by stealth and

:22:53.:22:58.

increase people's right. For a lot of the time, of New Labour was

:22:58.:23:02.

doing things behind closed doors rather than saying, this is what we

:23:02.:23:07.

think, this is what we think, how can we find a common good? Blue

:23:07.:23:11.

Labour wants to reconnect with working class voters who feel

:23:11.:23:16.

alienated. They want to on a family, faith and community. Policy

:23:16.:23:20.

relating to immigration and minority rates were not be swept

:23:20.:23:24.

under the carpet, and Blue Labour wheat to the private sector and not

:23:24.:23:29.

state to weed growth and provide jobs. This man likes some of the

:23:29.:23:35.

stuff, but there are plenty of reservations. Some of the rhetoric

:23:35.:23:39.

suggests the people cannot see anything good that new Labour did

:23:39.:23:44.

in power for 13 years. And that is unfortunate. Some of the colour-

:23:44.:23:49.

coded names like Blue Labour, and the purple book, they disconcert

:23:49.:23:53.

ordinary party members because it sounds like because you are moving

:23:53.:24:00.

away from the Labour Party must back read that you are going to

:24:00.:24:10.

ditch values -- the Labour party's red. Politics, branding is

:24:10.:24:17.

everything, and this is like asking Manchester it United to play in the

:24:17.:24:20.

kicked of Manchester City. -- Manchester United.

:24:20.:24:22.

We're now joined by Danny Finkelstein, of the Times, and

:24:23.:24:32.
:24:33.:24:33.

Maurice Glasman, of course, to talk about Blue Labour.

:24:33.:24:38.

So many viewers do not know what Blue Labour is about. What is the

:24:38.:24:46.

main difference between Blue Labour and New Labour? It has disrespect

:24:46.:24:52.

for the managerial are some and has more on a for the workforce. So if

:24:52.:24:57.

you talk about schooling, we would like to see parents have a third of

:24:57.:25:03.

the power and teachers and the state or local authority, and

:25:03.:25:09.

negotiate a common good. New Labour look for managerial solutions in

:25:09.:25:16.

the private sector that led to the banking collapse, and to the public

:25:16.:25:21.

sector... We but people and relationships first. What is the

:25:21.:25:27.

difference between Blue Labour and Old Labour? There is a distrust of

:25:27.:25:32.

the Keynesian economics. The idea you get a few people that worked at

:25:32.:25:37.

Oxford and put them in the Treasury and it will be all right.

:25:37.:25:43.

Miliband also did PPE at Oxford, so did his brother and Ed Balls.

:25:43.:25:47.

there is a problem with the way working class leaders have --

:25:47.:25:51.

working-class readers have not come through, we have become to

:25:51.:25:56.

managerial. People who have not had the experience of life. If you look

:25:56.:26:01.

at Bevan, they Union was their teacher and they would great

:26:01.:26:07.

teachers. The difference between old and new is that we rejected the

:26:07.:26:12.

nationalisation model. And we are very interested in the German

:26:12.:26:17.

social market economy, particularly in vocation. What do you make of

:26:17.:26:24.

this? Some of it is good, some of it is right. Some of it makes the

:26:24.:26:28.

Labour recognise issues they did not recognise enough empower. But I

:26:28.:26:32.

am worried it sounds quite nostalgic and it moves the Labour

:26:32.:26:37.

Party towards a class analysis. A lot of talk about respecting the

:26:37.:26:41.

working class or public servants, I am in favour of respecting

:26:41.:26:46.

everybody, but with an issue like pensions, it is about distributing

:26:46.:26:51.

money between one person and another. So the respect you showed

:26:51.:26:55.

teachers are increasing their pensions is disrespect you show to

:26:55.:26:59.

security guards charging them to pay for it. So there are

:26:59.:27:04.

distribution issues. There are a lot of be questioned. New Labour

:27:04.:27:13.

believes in distribution of income? Do not be too anxious! People keep

:27:13.:27:18.

going, I am really worried. Read it carefully and do not drum -- jump

:27:18.:27:28.
:27:28.:27:28.

to premature conclusions. This is just crazy. Security guards,

:27:28.:27:34.

cleaners and cooks is my central concern, so to talk about not being

:27:35.:27:44.
:27:45.:27:48.

concerned about living wage... Naturally. This is just wrong!

:27:48.:27:56.

There is no nostalgia. Naturally, you have respect. But Arab

:27:56.:27:59.

distributional questions and I do not think you have sold those --

:27:59.:28:04.

but there are. And talking about respect for working people, there

:28:04.:28:09.

were people he sustained Labour full sums to -- for some time in

:28:09.:28:12.

power and Tony Blair's concentration on middle-class is

:28:12.:28:18.

help they stayed in power. And I am middle class. I am in favour of the

:28:18.:28:23.

German model that favours both sides, there has to be a big change

:28:23.:28:33.
:28:33.:28:34.

in the way we conceptualise public funds... I am sorry we have had to

:28:34.:28:44.
:28:44.:28:44.

rush this. These are some pictures of what is happening, that is the

:28:44.:28:51.

march in central London. Thanks to our guests. I'll be back tonight

:28:51.:28:54.

for This Week with the author Michael Rosen, Adam Boulton and

:28:54.:28:56.

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