07/09/2011 Daily Politics


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Morning folks and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Coming up in the next hour and a half - Is the 50p tax rate holding


back an already feeble recovery? A group of leading economist think so


and are calling on the Chancellor to scrap it. We'll ask if they're


right. The train arriving on Platform two


is from Germany. MPs ask why the contract from Thameslink trains


went abroad. Warnings our planes could be going


abroad too if the Government doesn't do anything about airport


expansion in the South East. there any question you would like


me to ask her? I would give the lessons in how ring to be a


reporter later. I will give you some lessons on how to be an ever


do because I was your boss. And could small, local TV stations


be just what British viewers have been waiting for - our guest the


Culture Scretary thinks so. I like that.


All that coming up in the programme, and of course, the first Prime


Minister's questions of the new political term. Now the new series


of Strictly Come Dancing may have Jason Donovan and Edwina Curry, but


we can top that. Oh yes! Doing the Lambada we have shadow culture


secretary, Jeremy Hunt. And the shadow environment secretary, Mary


Creagh's also here. I'm told yoga's more her thing.


Anyway, there will be no dancing on the show today, we have much more


serious matters to discuss. Yes, Parliament got right back into


the swing of things yesterday evening, subjecting the Prime


Minister to his twice-yearly grilling in front of the Liaison


Committee. In the forefront of MPs' minds was the News of the World


hacking scandal following yesterday's evidence from News


International executives. But the Prime Minister warned the committee


not to use the scandal as an opportunity to get back at


journalists over the MP's expenses scandal.


We must not be seen to be the fall and leaping on this opportunity to


over regulate the media. It is a vital industry for Britain and an


important part of our democracy. We want it to be free, vigorous and be


able to uncover wrong doing. No there is a danger of the pendulum


swinging too far the other way and I think MPs have a particular


responsibility. In the end, what ever the Levison report comes up


with we need to be able to legislate and put it in place.


Jeremy Hunt, in what way cut as -- pendulum swing too far the other


way? I think what he was saying is that things have gone wrong in the


wake things have been regulated and there were not enough safeguards in


place. But, we depend on a free society. In phone hacking it was


uncovered by journalists in the Guardian by reporting which has


been compared to Watergate in terms of how impressive it was. He is


saying don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, in a free


society we need a vigorous press that holds politicians to account


and we don't want to lose that. you get rid of the Press Complaints


Commission, which seems to be on the cards, what would replace it?


We need something that stops short of politicians regulating the


content of newspapers. Because what makes our newspaper industry able


to do its job well, is the fact people like me as Culture Secretary,


has no control over what goes into them. We need something that gives


the public more confidence than the PCC was able to do. Her what would


independent regulation look like? We don't want to Prix just --


prejudge largest is never so. We hope he will come back within the


year with his recommendations on this aspect. What the Prime


Minister has said, let's look at the concept of independent


regulation. Regulation at arm's length from politicians but also


from editors and does have the power to credibly sanction


newspapers that stepped out of line, but stopped short of politicians


telling newspapers what they can write. Did you ever discuss the


Murdoch attempt to take over all of BSkyB with David Cameron? No, this


is something which is as soon as I got the job in deciding on this


merger it was a quasar judicial process, which was meaning I was


deciding like a judge. It is a role laid down in the enterprise at so


it was a decision I made on my own. If you never discussed the matter


with the Prime Minister, how were you able to tell the Commons the


Prime Minister's conversations with Murdoch executives had been a


relevant? They were irrelevant for this merger because what ever


conversations he may have had about the merger, nothing was transmitted


that to me. I was deciding this on my own. As I said in my statement,


it is the only decision I have had as a minister I was deciding on my


own without any reference to the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.


you don't know what he said, it is hard to decide whether it was a


relevant? It was a relevant for this merger because he did not


communicate with me any instructions. He was letting me


decide this on my own, which is the right thing under the law Labour


passed into 1002. A Will you publish the minutes of the meetings


you have had with Murdoch executives? I already have. Every


conversation? The minutes of meetings we have had were part of


the process. At the outset we published the Times of the meetings


and who was present. Then as soon as the merger was abandoned, we


then publish the minutes of the meeting so people could see what


was discussed. When Labour was in power it substantially used under


the ability of one media company to get a hold of another media company.


It made it a more liberal regime, but now you want to tighten it


again? That's right, we have written about the rules on media


ownership. We did say to Jeremy, of the rules on which she could reject


the BSkyB bid won narrowly drafted. We have written to Jeremy asking


for was to work on a cross-party basis for some short-term, quick


legislation to be passed through to tighten up the rules. We want to


hear from you were the you are prepared to work on a cross-party


basis to do that? We have gone a lot further than the proposals Ivan


has made and we have talked about whether to remove politicians from


the process altogether. One of the problems in this process was,


although I was deciding in a quasar judicial role and I sought


independent advice at every SAT -- stage, people won't trust what a


politician does with media barons. You are talking about that but you


have not done it? We need to talk up that before Levison reports. It


goes through the the 2013 Queen's Speech and may not be in place in


2015. Why is there a rush to do this? Will there be any other


takeovers? Who knows but what this sorry episode has shown is the


current system of regulation is not a fit for purpose. I appreciated


talking about a number of things, but is it your intention to do


anything this side of lovers and? We will listen to all suggestions


but this is headline-grabbing by Labour. If there was another bit, I


would have the opportunity to refer this to Ofcom for investigations on


grounds of fit and proper person, on the grounds of media plurality.


All the safe grounds people would be concerned about exist. Ofcom has


the time at any time to withdraw a broadcasting licence from someone


it deems not to be a fit and proper broadcaster. There are protections


in place, but we want to go further. It is right to hear what the report


says before we decide what to do. It does not look like you will get


it. But you found out on the Daily Politics. We also heard of


opposition trying to get headlines, who would ever have heard of that!


Now, should trains running on British railways be built in


Britain? The contract to build new trains for the Thameslink network


was awarded in July to Siemens who will build the trains in Germany


rather than the Derby-based manufacturer, Bombardier. The


decision's prompted accusations that the Government's failing to


protect British industry. The awarding of second contract for


Crossrail trains has now been delayed until the New Year. This


morning the Transport Secretary explained the Government's decision.


It is astonishing the French and Germans managed to build so many of


their own trains. Have you discussed this with officials on


how we can be slotted into that same astonishing category? It is my


perception we need to look at how these things are done in other EU


member states. We need to consider how socio-economic factors are


taken into account in other EU member states, while being fully


compliant with EU procurement law. We need to look at how other member


states seek to take into account of their strategic, national interests


without breaching EU procurement law. We need to see if there are


lessons we can learn for the way we do public procurement in the UK.


That was Philip Hammond, and joining us now is Steve from


Siemens. He is not hear it, but we hope to get him later on. Listening


to Philip Hammond it sounded like a regret. That decision was not the


right decision for British industry, it was regrettable it had to go to


Siemens and now afterwards, Philip Hammond is saying we will have a


look at the rules and see if we can interpret them differently to


favour home-grown companies without breaking EU regulations? There was


an element of that in his tone and I don't want to be someone who is


continually blaming the last Government. All Government makes


mistakes. Do you think he has regrets? The procurement system was


set up by the last Government and then you have to stick to the rules.


What Philip feels is the rules were very narrowly set on cost grounds


and made it difficult to take into account what he described as socio-


economic factors, long-term, strategic implications of trains


being built in the UK as opposed to be been built a board. -- abroad.


The contract for the new South West Trains going to Hitachi, which will


create 500 jobs, we have shown we are learning from perhaps some of


the mistakes in the way that put your money happened. You say they


were narrowly set but there was room for manoeuvre. Do you think


the Government failed to manoeuvre correctly in the way France and


Germany seems to be able to do so they can award their own companies.


You can interpreted differently and the Government was a naive and did


not do that? I don't think you can, once the procurement is set up, you


get judicially reviewed if you don't follow that process to the


letter. So the way you have to do it is to allow yourself at the


outset to take into account socio- economic factors, which allows the


bidders to construct their bids accordingly. We obviously do want


to want it train building industry in the UK. What do you accept on


the socio-economic argument, not only would jobs be lost at the


Derby-based, Bombardier there will be an knock on effect to the skill


set in that area and the supply chain of companies where there will


also be redundancies? It will have a huge impact. It is regrettable.


British-based companies have to put in competitive bids. It is right we


have an open procurement system and it is right they have to compete


with the best of what is on offer internationally. But I think there


are a lot of things we can learn from the way that process happened.


Jeremy Hunt is blaming Labour for the way the system is set up, but


it was difficult for the Government to do anything about. Labour has


said they should call in a review, but they can't can make? They could


have pause the contract and that was set out in the Comprehensive


Spending Review last year. What we have in Parliament today is the


1,400 Bombardier workers who were laid off and a city of Derby led by


the Tories, now considering whether to do its judicial review. You do


admit this is a system set up by Labour? The it was, and we are only


at the preferred bidder status so there is a question from Chris


Williamson and Margaret Beckett, the contract has not been finally


awarded. It does take the biscuit that somehow blame is being


attached to a Tory council for this. This is a procurement process.


is extraordinary a Tory Government is using taxpayers' money. We need


to have modern infrastructure. What benefit would there be in pausing a


process if the performance for process was set up to make it


difficult or impossible to make any other decision than the one we made.


We need to move forward and make sure we learn lessons going forward.


There is also a point that Jeremy Hunt did make an this is a


competitive tender. Companies bid from right across Europe. If you


look at the figures, a large proportion of British companies win


French and German contracts and only a small percentage of foreign


companies win British contracts. That is just the way the cookie


crumbles, you cannot complain about every bit that does not go


Britain's way? They have been thousands of jobs done in Derby and


a cross the supply chain. This is when the Government's thrust


towards growth is about rebalancing the economy and we fail to see how


this decision does that. Looking ahead to Cross Road, are you


confident and hope for it there will be tenders that will be


That is why we want to change these processes. We can have a better


discussion that we are having with Mary. She accepted there were


mistakes in the process and they are unfortunate mistakes and we


regret those. It is incredibly difficult and exactly the wrong


time in terms of what we are trained to do with the economy. But


there was little else if we -- we could have done and the way forward


is to say, how can we do this better in the future?


Do win wonders for the German economy, production rose by 4% in


July. -- it is doing wonders. No doubt the people in Derby will be


celebrating that! We can be masters of our destiny," or at least that's


what the Chancellor George Osborne told an audience in the City of


London last night. He gave a very gloomy prognosis for the British


economy, but insisted that there was no alternative to his deficit


reduction plan. So how can economic growth be promoted? Well, writing


in the Financial Times this morning, 20 leading economists have called


on the Chancellor to scrap the top 50p tax rate, which they say is


hindering Britain's competitiveness. But it is a sticky political as


well as economic issue. Here's Jo. The 50p tax rate, which is paid on


earnings above �150,000, was introduced by Labour and came into


force just before the election in. April 2010. -- in April 2010. The


Conservatives did not pledge to scrap it, they thought to do so


would allow Labour to claim they were favouring the rich. George


Osborne has said he regards it as a temporary tax, but he also said in


the 2010 Spending Review, "Those with the broadest shoulders bear


the greatest burden." However, there is currently a review as to


whether the tax raises money, or actually does economic damage.


Today's letter to the Financial Times from 20 economists makes that


point, arguing that it makes the UK less competitive internationally


and less attractive as a destination for both foreign


investment and talented workers. But in a Com Res poll published


yesterday, 57% were against abolishing the 50p rate. Many


Conservative MPs would support scrapping the 50p rate, but if it


was to go, many Liberal Democrats would want another form of wealth


tax on the most expensive land or property. We had hoped to be joined


by a signatory of that letter, but he has not made it, probably on the


same train as the man from Siemens! Good job we have two guests or we


would be talking to ourselves! The Chief Secretary to the Treasury,


Danny Alexander, he says the scrapping the 50p rate is, cloud


cuckoo land. Do you agree? cannot afford to do it. The


economists talk about the long-term damage and we agree and have always


said it is a temporary measure. But we have always said when dealing


with this incredible economic mess we are in, we have to do it in a


way that is fair and everybody has to play a part. So we have to be


careful thinking about these measures to do so anyway that


continues to maintain public support for a very tough set of


economic policies. So it is a very fine judgements. I understand you


will not do it now, back which you are implying you wish you do not


have it -- but you are complying. Do your Liberal-Democrat Coalition


partners agree? We all agree weenies competitive tax rates.


does not mean anything. -- we need competitive. Is 50p at a long-term


competitive rate? The Chancellor said it is temporary


and we believe it needs to be. you Liberal-Democrat partners agree


it is temporary? Danny Alexander and George Osborne are an the


Treasury and the need to do things to make further UK economy more


competitive and make sure up the tax burden is fairly sped, they


have to make that judgment. I am not asking for a judgement. I have


not seen his senior Liberal Democrat member of the Government


say it should only be temporary -- a senior. Have you? What you have


seen them say is there is a very strong case for moving the burden


of taxation it from earned income to unearned income. -- of taxation


from. Capital gains tax, those kinds of things. That is an old-


fashioned description. Nobody has described it as that for ages! The


Tories got rid of that description! So working hard and saving money


and getting a derisory rate of interest, that is unearned income?


You are asking me what the Liberal Democrats are saying. You have used


the phrase. That is what some have said. There is an understanding in


Liberal Democrats circles that we need competitive and fair rates of


taxation but how we do it is a matter for the Chancellor. We have


our economist in another studio now. Is it... Up I know you would keep


the 50p tax rate, but as Labour envisage this rate stays


indefinitely? -- I know. It we want a progressive taxation policy that


leads to a balanced and prosperous economy and it is clear the 50p


rate has to stay. That is the policy at the moment. Do you change


it? Until the recovery is secured. The figures we saw last night, at


the recovery is not secured. I what policy is about a tax cut for part


-- for families. The VAT rise has taken �450 out of people's pockets


and if you give that to middle income families, they will span


that on the high street which is where we need to see jobs created.


Well, joining us now is one of the signatories to that letter, Michael


Ben-Gadd, of City University. Real wages are in decline, inflation it


is rocketing, manufacturing is contracting, High Street is in


meltdown, the eurozone is in crisis, why would you make scrapping the


50p tax rate the priority? I do not know if it is the priority. But to


follow what on what was said, at a do not understand the moral


imperative on insisting those people already paying 24% of income


tax that they should be punished further. Beyond that, this happens


to be a tax that if anything, it is counter-productive. According to


all the theoretical and Imperial models, it raises no extra revenue,


it just punishes people. Let me make it very clear, and not one of


those people who think lowering taxes is ever self financing. I am


not making an argument in favour of reductions in taxation, it is a


necessary evil and if government spending is as high as it is, it


has to be financed. But this particular tax not only does not


raise revenue, but it lowers the size of the economy. Or we do not


know that yet because we will not know what the revenue implications


art of the rate until all the self- assessment has happened -- we do


not. People in higher brackets are in the self-assessment category A


and we do not go -- not get those figures in until January so we do


not know what the revenue implications have been on the 50p


tax rate. We have a theoretical models of human behaviour. And when


you raise taxes, you get lower economic activity. That is not


controversial. But at what point our taxes so high? This is not just


about 50p book that on top of National Insurance contributions


that brings the effective marginal tax rate to something in the order


of 64%, not counting all the rest. It is an enormous disincentive to


walk -- to work and all the previous experience we have does


suggest it brings no extra revenue. But Chancellors have to deal with


priorities and if he had money to spare, would it be more sensible


for him to take people out of the 40% tax bracket who are now in


there, heads of English departments at comprehensive schools, they need


more relief than those on those -- than those on the 50% rate? It is


not about if they need relief and I will put aside the moral argument,


but I suggest this is one of the rare instances. I do not believe


you can expand government consumption because of some


multiplier that you will get higher output to pay for it, I do not


believe that cutting taxes pays for itself. It may make the economy


bigger, but it will also make the deficit bigger. This is unusual


because the rate has been set so high that it is not going to have


any effect and it will improve the overall performance of the economy.


Professor, I am glad you made it. If the figures come out in January


and show the 50p rate has not raise more revenue, what would your


attitude be? I do not think we should rely on the figures, I would


like to see the Independent office for but it responsibility looking


at this. But the Professor said it is an enormous disincentive to


work... But they are doing that taxing come up why can these


figures not be reliable? It is a macro-economic framework we are


looking that. And am not talking about that. The idea if you are on


a 140,000 and if you get 150,000 you are not going to work, that is


nonsense. What would the. Be of a 50 p rate if it did not raise


revenue? -- what would the purpose be. Mack that is a good question


and is important, but we need to make sure that taxis and system is


fair in tough times. -- the taxation system.


Now, we're delighted that Mary and Jeremy decided to grace our sofa


rather than the Strictly Come Dancing dance-floor. There are many


perks to coming on the show. But I'm afraid the only winners here


will be you, the viewers. Sorry, guests. It doesn't matter how well


you do, you won't be winning one of these.


We'll remind you how to enter in a minute, but let's see if you can


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 42 seconds


Of I now are open colder Hall, of Britain's first atomic power


To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug, send your


answer to our special quiz email address - that's [email protected]


And you can see the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year on


our website. Put we got the year, didn't we? --


we got. We did, unusually.


That was Eisenhower. It's coming up to midday here, just


take a look at Big Ben, and that can mean only one thing. Yes, Prime


Minister's Questions is on its way. We have not had one since the


second week in July. And that's not all, James Landale is here. Good to


have you here, I do not know where to begin. If you were briefing Ed


Miliband this morning, where would you start? So much has happened!


would say you have to talk about the economy, it is the only issue


that has matters, a lot has changed since Parliament last discussed


this. Regardless of the ammunition David Cameron has got, he has to


say what Labour says about it and test the position of the government.


Which you agree with that, Mary? can see George Osborne brief think


the Prime Minister as we sit and look at the chamber. -- briefing.


But the other interesting question is what have the backbenchers been


talking about. What are we going to say about riots? What about


planning comic Europe? Those other issues. It will be interesting to


see what we get about that today. And the Liberal Democrats, they


seem to be on the strategy of being in government but a bit semi-


detached now. It is differentiation, loyal


differentiation. That is my own phrase for it!


Liberal Democrats! LD! We are a few weeks away from the Liberal-


Democrat common -- conference and they have to recover from that


awful elections in May and have had to repair ground, and they are


doing that by appealing to other voters, particularly those who felt


abandoned by the Liberal Democrats and one of the ways they have done


that is by saying that three schools, it is not a nasty Tory


policy but will help the disadvantaged in society, and bail-


out differentiation t take place by doing that. Getting scratchy in the


Coalition? I think that is a good phrase, we


can be loyally different and also head for the same goal. If we had a


Cabinet meeting yesterday and there was a good sense of camaraderie and


a sense that some of the things are not totally representative. Let's


In Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Paul Watkins. Corporal mark Palin. James


Wright. Lieutenant Daniel claque. Sergeant Barry Western Front kilo


company. We should also remember a senior


aircraft meant James Smart who died in a road traffic accident in Italy


on 20th July whilst supporting operations in Libya. I pay tribute


to their outstanding courage and selfishness. -- selflessness. They


have given their lives serving our country and made our world safer


and secured. Our thoughts and deeper sympathy will be with their


families, friends and colleagues. This week sees the 10th anniversary


of 200 macro so we should remember all of those who lost their lives


that they and those who died in pursuit of a safer future


throughout the last decade. I had meetings with ministerial


colleagues and others and in addition to my duties in this house


I will have further meetings today. The whole House will agree with the


tributes the Prime Minister just made to members of the armed forces


who made the ultimate sacrifice defending the country. Earlier this


week the Government pushed through legislation which says terror


suspects must be given access to mobile phone as an the internet and


which ends relocation orders so they cannot be kept out of London


in the run-up to the Olympics, or the Queen's Jubilee without


emergency legislation. Well decent law-abiding people out there will


be shocked to discover he is weakening protection for him whilst


pushing through what people think is a charter of rights for would-be


terrorists? I don't agree with that. We consulted very carefully with


the police and security services in order to try to get to a better


position. Control orders didn't have the confidence of the public,


they didn't work in too many cases and the arrangements we have put in


place will keep this country safe and have greater public consultants


-- confidence. Can I thank the house and all of my


Hexham constituency for the messages of support whilst I was in


hospital. I am now recovered, thanks to the outstanding care of


the NHS and its hard-working doctors and nurses. Would the Prime


Minister agree with me, as many doctors and nurses did it must be


our mission to improve and reform the NHS so the service we so


cherish will improve with the challenges we face ahead?


Can I say how good it is to see him back in his place and fully


recovered. He is right, the point of our health reforms is to put


doctors in charge, dish patients greater choice, heal the divide


between health and social care and I believe will lead to a stronger


NHS and better outcomes for patients.


Ed Miliband. Can I stop by joining the Prime Minister by giving our


condolences to the servicemen who All of them demonstrated tremendous


bravery and courage in the line of duty and we send our deepest


condolences to their family and friends. Let me also joined the


Prime Minister in remembering all of those who died in the terrorist


attacks of September 11th, 2001. We all said at the time we would never


forget, and it is right we pay particular attention on this, the


10th anniversary of September 11th so for the victims and their


families, we show we are true to the words we spoke in the aftermath


of those terrible attacks. Let me also, as the House returns, thank


the police service he did such a tremendous job in the riots over


the summer. It is on the subject of policing I want to start my


questions to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister wants to hold


his elections for police commissioners, not alongside local


elections as a resolute -- originally intended, but in


November next year. How much extra money does he expect this to cost?


It will cost an extra �25 million. This money won't be taken from the


police budget. Mr Speaker, he is making about policy worse by


wasting money. He could easily have decided, if he wanted to postpone


these elections, to have them in 20th May 13. And indeed, subsequent


elections will be held in 20th May 16. Can the Prime Minister tell us


why he has decided to waste this money in this way? It is important


to get this policy right and make sure it works. First of all, why is


the party opposite so frightened of an election? What have they got to


fear? And on the subject he called it, the Right Honourable Gentleman,


called it that policy. Let me tell him what his own shadow policing


minister said. He said this, only direct election, based on


geographic constituencies will deliver a strong connection to the


public which is crucial. Why is he so frying have having an election


and proper police accountability? We know what the public know, this


is the wrong priority for the country. What did we see during the


riots? We saw visible, effective policing. The Prime Minister tells


us the country cannot afford the current police budgets. We have got


to cut the number of police officers by 16,000. But he tells


the country it can afford �100 million and more as a result of his


decision to waste money on 42 elected politicians earning over


�120,000 a year. Mr Speaker, that could pay for 2000 extra police


officers. Isn't the truth this is the wrong priority at the wrong


time for the country? As ever he has got his figures are wrong.


Because, the police authorities that only 6% of the country have


heard of will be abolished and that all save money. Let me put it to


him again, why is he frightened of direct elections so the police


become accountable? He was responsible for the last Labour


manifesto and this is what the last Labour Prime Minister said "the


Home Secretary will bring forward proposals for directly elected


representatives to give local people more control over policing".


Why the U-turn? Mr Speaker, we know he has got the wrong priorities on


the police and he is refusing to back down. He hasn't just got the


wrong priorities on the police, but on the health service as well. Can


the Prime Minister tell us, Mr Speaker, why the number of people


who have had to wait more than six months for an operation has gone up


by more than 60% since he came to office? I am not surprised he want


to change the subject, because on policing he was having his collar


felt because he has done a U-turn on the policy he used to be


committed to. In our health service, as I said some moments ago, what we


are seeing is more cancer patients getting treatment, more doctors in


the NHS, fewer bureaucrats, a reduction... I know they don't like


hearing. Order. There is too much noise and what is beginning to


sound like orchestrated heckling. It should stop. The Prime Minister.


The trouble is, they don't like hearing good news about what is


happening in the National Health Service. And the fact is, if you


look at the waiting times for outpatients, they have fallen since


the last elections. Ed Miliband. is a complete non- answer, he


cannot even answer the question. Mr Speaker, we are talking about


people up and down this country who have been waiting longer for their


operations. And the Government chief whip, he should care about


these people who have been waiting longer for their operations. Let me


tell the Government chief whip and the whole front bench what we are


talking about. The number of people, 20th June 11, 20th June 10 the


number of people waiting for operation for over six months, up


by 20%. Those waiting for a heart operation, up by 62%. Those waiting


for orthopaedic operations, of Price 72%. Those waiting For I


surgery, the country and I asking for a simple explanation from the


Prime Minister, why as he happen? The amount of time people are


waiting for an out-patient operation has gone down. That has


what happened. We have targets for 90% of people to get their


treatment at within 18 weeks and those targets are being met. He may


not like the truth, but that is the truth. I have to say to him, that


is why you now see the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College


of Physicians, the Royal College of Nurses all supporting our health


reforms. He even C Lord Desai, the former health minister supporting


our health reforms. Labour have got themselves in a position of


reposing all reforms on the NHS. Speaker, a figure Prime Minister is


on another planet. He had his holidays interrupted, fair play to


him, but it took time off his holiday to tell the morning News,


the whole health profession is now on board for what is being done. Mr


Speaker, does he read the newspapers? Only on Tuesday of this


week, the BMA, the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of


midwives all rejected his bill, and that was this week. The truth is,


under this Government we are seeing reckless and needless


reorganisation of our public services. Police numbers down and


waiting lists up. Under Labour quasar police officers up and


waiting lists down. Why doesn't he do the right thing for the future


of our public services and scrap both of these dangerous plans?


Isn't it interesting he does not dare, in six questions mention the


economy. And when it comes sue the health reforms, when it comes to


our health reforms, let me quote him at what the man his governments


at plucked from the NHS to run the Department of Health, Lord Darzi


says about these reforms "proposals for the NHS reform have ACAS this


in the right direction and are to be welcomed". So now you have


people working in the health service supporting the changes we


are making and Labour wanting to cover the money and also cut the


reform. Isn't it's no surprise the health minister said this "it is a


tough fact of life, that what Labour says matters less almost


more than what anybody else says". I could not have put that better


myself. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that building


stronger families and stronger communities is absolutely essential


and key in dealing with anti-social and delinquent behaviour? She is


absolutely right. I think this is important and I'm sure there will


be all-party agreement on this, as well as a tough response from the


criminal justice system to the riots, some exemplary sentences and


the doubt by the court system and by praise or those who have been


involved in speeding up the justice system. At the same time we need to


do more to strengthen communities, strengthen families, increased


discipline in schools and make sure the welfare system supports


responsible behaviour. We will be bringing forward proposals along


those lines and I hope they will have support from everyone in this


house. Before the summer the Prime


Minister took part in a TV documentary which highlighted crime


and anti-social behaviour in my constituency. In his assessment,


would he expect crime and anti- social behaviour on that estate and


across Leicester to increase or decrease when he cuts 200 police


officers from the Leicestershire I want to see crime and anti-social


behaviour go down. And today, on the one in 10 of police officers


are on the beat at one time. There are 25,000 police officers in back


office jobs and not on the frontline, so we all have a


responsibility to get the budget deficit under control. His party


has committed to a �1 billion cut in the police, but we have to


recognise it is about getting officers on the front line, and


that is the debate we should be engaged in. In the way of the riots,


can I commend the government and the mayor of London's support for


communities like Enfield that were badly hit. Is this not a good time


to support a global day of prayer that will take place in Wembley in


London? I pay tribute to what the Mayor has done and to what the


Department of community and local government has done to make sure


money is available to rebuild communities. And the good thing


about the high street support scheme of �20 million is 29 local


authorities have already registered for VAT and I hope the money will


be spent quickly to rebuild the high streets. -- for that. Does the


Prime Minister support the closure of local police stations? It is up


to Chief Constable has to work out how best to police their areas. But


what I am finding from talking with police constables across the


country is they want to put resources into visible policing on


the streets. And they have the support of a government could sink


the paperwork, outperforming pay and pensions, taking be difficult


decisions to make sure we have more police on the streets than we what


under Labour. Will the Prime Minister join me in sending a very


clear message to the travellers at the a legal Dale Farm site that we


all hope they move off peacefully it to avoid an unforced affection,


but be in no doubt that the Government fully support Basildon


council and Essex police in reclaiming this green belt land on


behalf of the law-abiding majority? -- illegal. I give my support to


the Essex police and to all the county and district councils that


have been involved, and I pay tribute to the honourable member


for the hard work he has put in on this. This is a basic issue of


fairness. Everyone in this country has to obey the Lord, -- obey the


law, including that law about planning permission and building on


green belt land. When this has been done without permission, it is an


illegal development and those people should be moved away, and I


agree with the way he put that question. The Prime Minister oppose


Labour's and T gangs laws and the riots happened and he is backing


them. Now he wants to scrap we location powers, what happens


before he admits them mess he is replacing them with his putting


national security at risk? -- the mess. I do not accept that. When we


looked at control orders in the review, we listened carefully 2am I


five, the security services, the Metropolitan Police and all those


involved -- we listened carefully to MI5. We make sure we had a


system that was illegal, because the courts on picked so many of the


last changes, that the public can have confidence end and there are


safe. On the day when 200 people from Bombardier in Derby are here


to see if we can change the arrangements for the Thameslink


contract, can the Prime Minister give hope about future contracts


and changing the tender arrangements? Ms we were left in


from the last government! -- of the mass. -- the mess. I want to help


Bombardier, that is an excellent company that employs people in


Derbyshire and has done a brilliant job in this country for so many


years. But before people shout from the party opposite, let me remind


them, this procurement process was designed and initiated by the


previous government and it is no good them shuffling off their


responsibility, it is their responsibilities. Why does the


government cannot agree with the police that children as young a


seven it should be banned from having shotgun licences,? -- as


young a seven. We should and forced proper laws and if they need


toughening, I will look at that. Speaker, the Liberal Democrats make


up 8% of this Parliament but seem to be influencing the free school


policy, many issues like health and abortion. Order, order! The


question from the honourable lady will be heard! Does the Prime


Minister think it is about time we told the Deputy Prime Minister who


is the boss? -- he told. I wanted to hear the question, but I want to


hear the Prime Minister's answer! know the honourable lady is


extremely frustrated about... Maybe I should start again! I am going to


Thank you, Mr Speaker, having scrapped the future jobs fund and


BMAs, at young people not in education and employment and


training is at a record high of 18.4%. When, Mr Speaker, when of


things going to get better for our young people? -- when of things.


This is a difficult situation in terms of young -- of youth


unemployment, a situation getting worse during the economic good


times, and there was a 40% increase in youth unemployment during the


last government. There is now are a disturbing increase in those not in


education and employment and training over 18, under 18 it is


coming down. The steps we are taking on to improve schooling, to


raise the participation age to 18 and increase the level of


percentage -- of apprenticeships for to 380 this year. And we are


introducing a biggest back-to-work programme that has taken place in


this country since the 1930s and will be made available to young


people in danger of being left out of employment, education and


training. I have been working with local businesses, my councils and


other organisations to help promote the economy. Given the economic


background, it is imperative that we grow both the local and national


economy. Can the Prime Minister tell us what new measures the


government will introduced to help promote such growth? -- will


introduce. I enjoyed seeing first- hand what is happening in Cumbria


to get the local economy moving. The action we are taking improve --


includes cuts in corporation tax, Enterprise Zones, but specifically


for Cumbria, the money we are investing for super-fast broadband


will help that county, at the degree the more it -- particularly


the most rural areas, to make sure everybody can benefit. CCTV played


a vital role in the arrest of many people in the riots cannot why is


he undermining best and the protection of freedoms Bill? We are


not! When the Prime Minister comes to consider next week's vicars


report on the banks which have been rescued with fantastic amounts of


taxpayers' money, would he have no truck with the argument that the


banks cannot be reformed to prevent another crisis because they are


struggling to cope with the crisis they have already created? Never


again should British taxpayers have to bail out banks too big to fail!


He is right that this Government must take action to reform the


banks and that is what we are doing. We have set out how we are getting


rid of the tripartite structure that failed under the last


government, we are putting the Bank of England back in charge, and we


are making sure we cannot have these catastrophic bank failures


that cost the taxpayer in the future. We look forward to


receiving the report. There are two things to a Secure, the safe and


secured banking system, and also proper bank lending to small


businesses particularly, and that is what government policy will aim


for. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister will be aware that


his government are consulting on their changes to housing benefit


claims under the criteria of under occupancy, this will adversely


affect 450,000 disabled people, 33,000 in the north-east alone his


stand to lose an average of �607 per year, a substantial number in


my constituency. How does this meet the government's fairness test?


This is a specific exclusion to deal with people who have careers


living in the home, -- but we have to reform housing benefit. Housing


benefit was one of those budget items that was out of control. In


London, we had some families claiming �80,000 of housing


benefits just for one family. So this doesn't need to be reformed. -


- does need a. He says, how many? Frankly, too many! It is no good


for the party opposite to complain about every reduction to public


spending when they left us with the budget -- with the biggest budget


deficit in Europe! The Prime Minister has listened to Liberal-


Democrat colleagues by delaying the police elections until next year.


Will he now listen to Conservative colleagues and take that


opportunity to hold a referendum on Europe? That is an ingenious way of


putting the question! As a explained yesterday, I want us to


be influential in Europe about the things that matter to our national


interest, promoting the single market, pushing forward for growth,


getting low energy prices. But I do not see the case for a referendum


on Europe. We are in Europe and we have to make it work for us! Does


the Prime Minister agree with his Housing Minister that because of


the economic policies of the government, we now have a great


crisis? And when he does a U-turn, it will he cut VAT, which has


Labour's policy, will he give tax cuts to the rich? -- will he cut.


He obviously had time to read this, which says that increasing VAT was


the policy of Labour in the last election. He should focus on the


fact the person responsible for Labour's economic policy at the


lack -- at a last election said it had no credible policy. And nothing


has changed for Labour! Will the Prime Minister join me in


congratulating members from both sides of this House in both houses


of this Parliament for their generosity in responding to the


letter from Mr Speaker and the Lords be kept in supporting a gift


for her Majesty the Queen for her forthcoming died end -- Diamond


Jubilee from this Parliament? delighted to join the honourable


gentleman in praising everyone who contributed to this very


imaginative and I think sensible gift for her Majesty's Diamond


Jubilee. And perhaps I can pay it a particular tribute to him, if


because he has worked so hard to make this work. -- because. To have


a Diamond Jubilee is an extraordinary think we will be able


to celebrate this lifetime. With electricity and gas bills going up


by 20%, and 6 million families in this country now facing a fuel


poverty, does the Prime Minister still think it was right to cut the


winter fuel payments to pensioners by �100? We are going ahead with


the winter fuel payments set out by the last Labour government in that


budget. At the same time, we are increasing the cold weather


payments on a permanent basis. So this Government is being more


generous than the last government! In looking to address the economic


recovery, is it better to help those who have as little as �100 a


week of tax, but those who take home more than 10 times that amount


after tax? Let me point out two things we have done. One is to lift


�1 million -- �1 million out of income tax, a Coalition agreement.


-- 1 million people. We have increased in over two years by �290


the tax credits that code to the poorest families in the country,


and that is why we have taken difficult decisions -- that go to.


But we have not had an increase in child poverty. In better economic


times under the last government, child poverty went up. Bringing


Siemens manufacturing wind turbines to the Humber is vital for jobs and


a breakthrough on renewable energy and hopefully increasing the UK


industry in this area. Local councils and businesses are doing


what they can to attract Siemens to the area, but we face strong


foreign competition. Will this Government do what the last


government did and back this? Will the Prime Minister do everything he


can to secure this? I agree with this, it is vital for the future of


the economy and for the future of the area she represents. I met with


Mum -- with members of parliament from Humberside to discuss this and


have spoken to the head of Siemens about the importance of this


investment, we are carrying on with this extra money to go into the


development of this industry and we packet all the way. At the meeting


this morning with organisations working dent the Horn of Africa,


representatives expressed their gratitude that the British


Government has been so generous -- in the Horn of Africa. That famine


is getting worse, will this Government continue to provide


international leadership to help the people in East Africa? I can


certainly give the honourable lady that assurance. The response of the


British public has been remarkable. These are difficult times, but they


have shown an incredible generosity and led the world in the


contributions they have made. And because this Government has made


the decision to fulfil a pledge of reaching 0.7% of national income


going into aid, we are leading the world in the amount of money we are


putting into the Horn of Africa back to vaccinate children, to save


lives and to recognise this is an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Does


the Prime Minister agree with me that his Housing Minister is an


absolute star? In the face of declining planning permissions for


new build homes, in the face of the lowest number of new homes being


built at this year in 12 months, lower than any year of Labour's


administration for house building, his Minister's great idea is to ask


councils to build more moorings for houseboats! Fantastic!,. I thought


he was doing so well until he got all political! -- I thought. House


building is too low in this country and it is a shocking statistic that


the typical first-time buyer is now in their mid-thirties. So we do


need to change and more houses to be built, and I think my Housing


Minister is doing a first class job! While much attention is being


paid to the military activities in Libya over the summer, will the


Prime Minister join me in congratulating captain Steve Norris


and the crew in the work they are doing to combat drugs in the


Caribbean? They intercepted �50 million of cocaine over the summer


and have been helping humanitarian affects after hurricane Irene.


is an important point. We should focus on and praise the incredible


work our services have done in Libya and Afghanistan, there are


the ongoing tasks like trucks in the West Indies, protecting the


Falkland Islands, the work took prevent piracy off the Horn of


Africa, all these tasks people are giving a lot of time and effort to


and we should praise and thank them Neighbour leader, Ed Miliband went


on elected police leaders. And then on to waiting lists where there are


some figures we will look at in a minute. The dog that did not bark


was the economy, even though it is on everybody's minds at the moment.


Wondering whether there will be any growth this quarter in the British


economy. We speculated, and many of you have speculated on Twitter that


Labour could not go on the economy because this is the day Alastair


Darling's book comes out. It did not happen and we will hear from


our experts in a minute. But we want to hear from you first.


Matt in Highgate said David Cameron wrong-footed Ed Miliband on


policing and the NHS. I would have thought questions on the economy


would have been a more productive area for the leader of the


opposition. For example the cuts seem to have snuffed out growth.


And of a handsome and Al says it was a win for Ed Miliband. The


Prime Minister could not answer the questions put to him and at the


same time sacking 16,000 police officers. The silence on the Tory


benches on that one was clear. This comes from Steve in Wiltshire,


saying belabour are two-faced when it comes to wasting money when it


was there party that got this country into this mess in the first


place. This on a says that they are making


police redundant, so much for not affecting frontline services.


Police stations are being closed and others downgraded.


There was also this from David in Hexham about the elections for


police commissioners. The Prime Minister asked why Ed Miliband is


so frightened of an election it sounds as though the Prime Minister


is intending these to be political. On waiting lists we had a few.


Chris Kelly said what a joke, one side says waiting lists have gone


up, one side says they have gone down. My mother had to wait six


months for eye treatment and it seems like a long time for me.


Andy from East Sussex says I will have waited 36 weeks for my knee


operation if it goes ahead in September.


This came from a Freedom of Information request in earlier in


the year. We will try to get more recent ones, but hospital waiting


times have increased by 60% over the last year, with patients having


to wait several months for vital tests. And hundreds of patients


have waited more than 13 weeks to find out if they have cancer or


heart disease. Let me ask you both this. Why, six


years after it has been founded and 100 bn the year being spent on it,


why do we have a health system where everybody has to wait six


months? I think we need to reform the NHS and bring down those


waiting times. If I may say it was a very selective use of statistics


by Ed Miliband. He picked on one particular elements were waiting


times may have gone up, but there are other elements where they may


have gone down. But with the NHS, we are meeting the target to treat


90% of people within 18 weeks. The reason for that is we made a very


big call to protect spending on the NHS at a time of massive cuts


elsewhere. At a time when the Labour Party went into the last


election saying there were cuts pending on the NHS. Ed Miliband's


Polar Sea he stood on at the last election means the situation would


have been a whole lot worse. both parties have been in power for


long periods of time. You have both always said the health service is a


priority. And you had both spent a lot of money on it as well. And we


have a health system, and I don't think it is true in France and


Germany, and if you have insurance it is not true in the United States,


people are waiting six months to have scams, tests. It is very


worrying. You need these things right away. Under the Labour Party,


the average waiting time was below under 18 weeks. It was 18 months


when we came into power. It was 10 weeks on average when we left power


in 20th May 10. What we have seen this year is a huge disruption of


the NHS, a reorganisation of the NHS and people worrying about their


jobs and being made redundant. Standards are slipping, but it is


waiting times in A&E or on waiting lists for operations. Prior


understand that, he said it is running it better than you, you


said you run it better than they are. What is it about our health


service that still has people, people who are distraught, worried


and have nowhere else to go because they cannot afford to go deprive it,


having to wait six months for quite crucial medical procedures? If I


could just make the point that I think we will both agree on. When


you do international comparisons with other systems in other


countries, the NHS does very well. He does very well across a range of


indicators. One of the most important things about the NHS is


it is one of the only Systems in the world where people on lower


incomes are less likely to get the treatment they need quickly.


sadly disrupted. The answer to your question, Andrew is it is an


ideological playground. The Conservatives have come in what the


marketing of services and have created disorder and uncertainty.


That is impacting on frontline patient services. So, the Alastair


Darling book is so toxic, that for a while Labour won't be added to


talk about the economy? I think Ed Balls will have a thing or two to


say about the economy this afternoon. They have an economic


policy, they have something to say about the 50 pence debate which is


mainly if there is going to be a review of it is should be carried


out by the Op Art and not be HMRC. But clearly the Alastair Darling


Baulk means any questions to anybody to the Labour Party must


begin with the question, do you agree with Alastair Darling your


economic policy at the moment is not credible. Do you agree with


that? I don't agree with that. The have a very clear policy. We went


into the last election saying we would halve the deficit. You never


told us how? We didn't, and we went in Government. What one major thing


would you cut? The Government has cut too far, too fast and that


means... We have been clear about some of the things we would do.


What one major thing would you cut? We are not in Government at the


moment. I'm not asking for 20, just one would be night. The talked-


about 12% Police cuts and we think the 20% Police cuts the Government


is doing is too much. But we agreed 12% is feasible. We were looking at


the Welfare Reform and we would have been able to make savings in


the NHS. Because we wouldn't have been undertaking a �2 billion


restructuring of the NHS, we would have had a stable NHS where we


could have squeezed greater efficiency. Within the Labour Party


there is a debate about how they earned the right to talk about the


economy, do they talk too much about the past? There's an argument


the next election won't be about cutting and the rates as it is, but


what is fascinating is what process they go through to reach that point.


It is very much a live debate within the party at the moment.


other thing we saw happening is because of Nick Clegg's policy as


you have called it, Royal difference elation, something like


that. The Tory backbenchers are saying if he can do that, we want


some of that. We saw a reflection of that on the floor just now. It


is an issue now for party discipline. If you talk to MPs,


Conservative backbenchers, they will say, if the Chief Whip said


you do not raise it, then you do not raise it. But so many Liberal


Democrats are wanting difference policies talked about, there's no


restraint on the backbenches. It allows all the latent issues will


be more vocal about it. I've been Europe is one of them. Rumbling on


the backbenches? The to normal for any Government. If we had won the


last General Election, it is how Westminster happens. The Cabinet is


united and we recognise we need an enterprise economy and that means


having competitive tax rates. But it has to be done fairly, we have


to carry the country with us. We agree completely on that. We will


have to leave it there. Are you going to the party conferences?


will be. The Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, but not in that


order. I can tell you can't wait!


I am looking forward to it, that is how sad I am.


It is the highlight of the political year.


The highlight of my life. It you live in the flightpath of a


major airport you're probably not a fan of airport expansion. There was


a plan to build a third runway at Heathrow but it was scrapped as the


result of an election pledge from the Conservatives. Now, no new


runways are planned in the south- International air travel is the


lifeblood of multinational companies. And despite advances in


video-conferencing, that face-to- face meeting is vital and demand


for that is growing. Heathrow is operating at 98% capacity at the


moment. The government has ruled out runway three as an option or


any increase incapacity in the south-east, so the prospects for


business travel of frankly week. The government is doing a good job


of looking at how to make airports better rather than bigger in the


south-east. But the truth is that 68% are stacking above our heads


and the problem comes back to capacity again. Another proposed


solution is high-speed rail, a great idea for joining up the north


and south of the country, but it only releases 4% of capacity at


Heathrow, so worth having, but not a gain changes. -- a game change of.


Long-term, there are various proposals for new airports, the


Thames estuary, Birmingham, but for business, those solutions will not


come soon enough. One argument against increasing capacity or is


climate change concerns and the Government is right to put pressure


on airlines and airports to do as much as possible to combat carbon


emissions. But we have to recognise if you cannot fly out of London,


people may fly out of Frankfurt. The government could look at


unpopular solutions like making plane tickets on affordable to


family and friends and allowing businesses to take those tickets,


but I think the government should look again at expanding airport


capacity in the south-east. Otherwise, we risk business being


done in Frankfurt or Paris instead of London.


And Baroness Valentine is here. On your last point about risking


losing business to Frankfurt for example, is their hard evidence --


hard evidence London has lost business to other European capitals


as a result of not having deferred runaway? People expect companies


will move from say Paris -- from London to say Paris or Geneva,


teams are being put together our offshore. 50% tax is not helpful,


immigration tax as well, so the issue of being open to business,


for the UK to be seen to be open, is driving people offshore. But it


is difficult when people here, if they are losing business if that


has not happened specifically because of a third runway, and also


that does not seem to be much support for this Heathrow expansion.


The Coalition parties opposed a third runway, Boris Johnson is on


board, you have a local authorities and environmental bodies, is this


argument dying a death? We are all worried about the economy. The UK


is a global trading nation and our links are the lifeblood of that


global trade. Heathrow is running at 98% capacity. And that is


thoroughly unhealthy now, but when demand doubles by 2050, it is set


to double, it is constraining fat demand and it is not helpful to the


economy. But you do not have support, politically,


environmentally, nobody is backing your case. That is not entirely


true. Many people understand the economic argument that you need the


National -- international air links to make future international


relationships, and build relations with emerging economies and all the


economies. So there is support from business saying we need this. You


would have to ask other people. We are concerned the government does


not avoid this. It seems the Government and the opposition are


avoiding this. Looking at the environmental aspect, one of the


big push us by the campaigners when they opposed the third runway, --


one of the big issues. There could be unsafe for nitrogen dioxide


levels, it is claimed, what do you say to that? One is carbon-dioxide


and won his local noise. There are different arguments around each.


There is a trade-off between what you do with cars running around


Heathrow and what you do with the air, and you can offset depending


on what you do. Can I put the economic argument to you? The


government's message and priority at the moment is promoting growth,


you of boosting jobs and trying to get economic productivity and no to


a third runway that would do exactly that. Baroness Valentine


makes a good point about the importance of thinking about growth,


but it has to be sustainable growth. I do not think it is sustainable to


keep on expanding Heathrow. Where is the capacity going to go? We --


we want the economy to grow over the next decade and the question is,


is it sustainable to keep adding lanes to the M25 or keep growing


Heathrow, do we look at something else? You sped -- she said high-


speed rail would reduce the need for flights by 4%, but look at what


happens to Japan. Way you have a fully developed high-speed rail


network, it has a massive impact on the number of domestic flights --


way you have. Look at the air travel between Tokyo and Osaka, it


has been massively affected. Will high-speed rail be enough to absorb


that extra capacity without expanding an airport in the south-


east? I do not say it would be a panacea that deals with the entire


problem, there is a trade-off. We have other airports in London and


we have to find a sustainable way of dealing with the pressures at


Heathrow and I do not think a third runway would be sustainable. If you


ruling out a third runway in the south-east? We want to try more


imaginative ways to tackle the problem. The maximum it would


replace from Heathrow is 4%, domestic flights. It has nothing to


do with our connections to the rest of the world and even if you took


out 4%, you will be talking about about 94%. Other airports run to


75%, so that is not the solution. Labour supported a third runway and


you are now reviewing the policy, are you going against it? It is


under review and we want to make sure if there is airport expansion


in the south-east, it is compatible with our obligations two emissions.


We need to make sure that it is hoped sustainable and carbon


emissions, we have a big issue with air quality in London, particularly


with the Olympics coming up where we could face large fines from the


EU. We have not ruled out and put expansion in the south-east, not


unlike the Conservatives. With high-speed rail, a lot of


Conservative MPs are fighting against it. It is not a short-term


solution and will not be ready by 2024 stop only to Manchester, I


mean Birmingham. -- by 2020. Only to Manchester, I mean Birmingham.


The Japanese started then network in 1964, so it takes a very long


time. -- the network. Is the Government doing have a long term


think? A long-term thing is to have a shift from air travel to rail


travel and that is what we are doing. No time for another


question! Now the moment the Culture


Secretary has been waiting for. It's his big idea and he won't be


knocked off course by trifling matters like the phone hacking


scandal or decisions about the ownership of one of our major


broadcasters. Because Jeremy Hunt has identified what the British


public have been crying out for - local city-based TV stations of the


kind common in the United States. Here is David Thompson with a sneak


preview of what we've got to look forward to.


We cut to ABC news channel, a weekday mornings. -- welcome to.


Sadly, which almost certainly will not have meteorologists called


Casanova, but if Jeremy Hunt gets his way, we will get local


television stations like they do it in the USA. The Culture Secretary


wants to see as many as 20 news stations, with the first starting


by 2013. The project would be funded by a �40 million chunk of


the TV licence fee but would be self financing after that. Are in


the morning, breaking news is crucial... Fans say it will hold


local politicians to account and give community is a bespoke news


service, so local news for local people. -- communities. Opponents


claim it many places will not get a station because of signal problems


and that it might not be financially viable. Local TV has


been tried in this country but has yet to succeed as it has in the USA


and Europe. Whatever the rights and wrongs, however, Jeremy Hunt


probably does not want to see this. Obviously, the people who live here


are not satisfied with this explanation. White, so what do you


want now? -- the right. If I have to teach you have to be a reporter,


I will do that later. Do that later, but the lady expressed herself and


I am here, is there a question you would like to ask me? I would give


you lessons in how to be a reporters. I will give you lessons


in how to be an editor, because I was once you're past. For you were


ones, but what happened? -- I was once you're past. -- your boss. You


were ones, what happens. Local newspapers are closing in droves,


why it local television stations? The need to adapt their model and


people are passionate about what is going on in their area -- they need


to. Local papers and radios are popular, why are we won of the only


countries that does not have good local television? What are local


television stations closing all the time if they are so popular?


have never had a model before that brings down the cost sufficiently


and the model does not cover the whole country, but unfortunately,


because we are working with existing transmitters. It covers


60%, most of the local -- of the major towns, and it is, but we can


bring down the Costa around the cost of running a local newspaper.


-- bringing the cost. I would expect them in larger places to do


a lot of broadcasting. People are never going to know when


the and-a-half of broadcasting is. That is a condescending view of the


world. The what is wrong with that?! -- what is. It depends on


the assumption that only broadcast by Andrew Neil at the BBC are worth


watching! What is wrong with that?! Under these plans, on that hour and


a half a day, that is 30,000 additional broadcast hours of local


news that we do not currently have. Local news is under threat already,


a regional news on the BBC networks and on the ITV network, why


shouldn't -- shouldn't we be use that instead? The issue is cost and


quality. -- should and we increase that instead? Is this going to be


sustainable and is the amount of advertisers out there to support a


local television station Alba and where will they be? It is unlikely


to be out in wild Scotland or wild Wales. I am very surprised Labour


is against this. We are not against it! We are asking questions. Let me


finish, look at the general election last year, that was


transformed by those leaders' debates, couldn't we have that in


our country for local democracy? Speaking of local participation, if


you can get the winner. It is John Stevens, the winner.


Do not give the address. He is only the media Secretary! The year was


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