20/10/2011 Daily Politics


20/10/2011

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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics, live from

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Westminster, where the whiff of rebellion is in the air. The Prime

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Minister is trying to stave off a rebellion in his own ranks on

:00:35.:00:37.

Monday's vote in the Commons on a referendum about our relationship

:00:37.:00:41.

with Europe. Around 60 Tory backbenchers seem ready to mutiny

:00:41.:00:48.

and vote for such a referendum. Meanwhile, the eurozone crisis

:00:48.:00:50.

heads to its climax, President Sarkozy rushed to Berlin last night,

:00:50.:00:53.

missing the birth of his child, as the chances of France stitching

:00:53.:00:56.

together a comprehensive response to the sovereign debt crisis began

:00:56.:01:06.
:01:06.:01:08.

to recede. Compared with that, the Commons vote is a sideshow. But, if

:01:09.:01:15.

Europe falters, will the eurosceptics be emboldened? We will

:01:15.:01:19.

be looking at whether or not to get rid of stamp duty. Now the house

:01:19.:01:23.

price boom is over. Has it become a tax that is putting a brake on the

:01:23.:01:26.

British economy? And, we'll find out just how close I managed to get

:01:26.:01:36.
:01:36.:01:38.

to George Clooney at last night's And joining us for the duration the

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Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies - Paul Johnson. So, the big

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story today is Europe - both the economic crisis abroad and the

:01:47.:01:51.

political rebellion brewing here at home. David Cameron seems

:01:51.:01:54.

determined to make a show of strength over Monday's vote on

:01:54.:01:59.

whether to have a referendum on Europe. There would be three

:01:59.:02:03.

options. Staying in, pulling out or staying in but with a substantial

:02:03.:02:05.

repatriation of powers from Brussels, which I seem to remember

:02:05.:02:15.
:02:15.:02:16.

was the Tory policy at the last Paul Johnson, how much of our taxes

:02:16.:02:26.
:02:26.:02:38.

We are spending something like 12 billion a year - gross

:02:38.:02:43.

contributions to the EU. That is going up over the next few years.

:02:43.:02:48.

We get a fair chunk of that back. A few years ago, our net contribution

:02:48.:02:58.
:02:58.:02:59.

was about 3 billion. That is rising fast over the next few years.

:03:00.:03:04.

our net contribution is beginning to rise. That is the money that is

:03:04.:03:08.

going out of the country in net terms. Is that down to the fact

:03:08.:03:15.

that, unlike France and Italy and Spain, we do not get much out of

:03:15.:03:19.

the Common Agricultural Policy? get a lot less out of it than other

:03:19.:03:24.

countries, given the scale of what we put 10. Early in the 1980s we

:03:24.:03:32.

negotiated that rebate. -- put in. That is because the rebate is going

:03:32.:03:36.

down. �10 million is a lot of money. The EU budget is only 1% of

:03:36.:03:43.

national income. We spend 40%. The EU budget is one 40th the size of

:03:43.:03:48.

an ordinary national budget. Euro-sceptic case is not on the

:03:48.:03:54.

cost of membership. There are other things they are not happy about.

:03:54.:03:57.

There are a whole range of other things that being in Europe is

:03:57.:04:02.

about. There is the cost of membership for the UK. We make

:04:02.:04:07.

contributions to other countries across the EU. It is the other

:04:07.:04:11.

stuff. 4 billion would be a rounding error in national accounts.

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In terms of money spent, it is relatively small money. This debate

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on the referendum was going to be next Thursday but the powers-that-

:04:19.:04:21.

be moved it forward so David Cameron and William Hague could

:04:21.:04:31.
:04:31.:04:39.

attend. Leading Tories say there is a panic. If the Commons did vote to

:04:40.:04:42.

have a referendum, and it looks highly unlikely that it will do

:04:43.:04:46.

that, just because of the arithmetic, even if they did, it

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would not be binding on the Government. It would ramp up the

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pressure on ministers to become much more Euro-sceptic. Just give

:04:55.:05:01.

us the background. In 1975, but Bay City Rollers were topping the

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charts. Jim began fixing it, the Tories chose a woman to lead their

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party and Britain embraced Europe in a referendum. That asked whether

:05:09.:05:14.

we should remain part of the Common Market which we joined a few years

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earlier. Back then, 67% of Brit said yes. Jump forward to 2006 and

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the Conservative leadership promised a referendum on the Lisbon

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Treaty. It change the constitutional framework of the EU.

:05:28.:05:31.

By 2009, the treaty had been ratified across Europe and the

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Tories dropped the pledge. Thereafter, David Cameron promised

:05:35.:05:39.

a referendum lock - were crying a referendum on any future transfers

:05:39.:05:48.

of power. -- requiring a referendum. The Lib Dems promised an in are out

:05:49.:05:57.

referendum on EU membership. Monday's debate motion calls for a

:05:57.:06:01.

referendum by May, 2013, with three options but the public. Keep the

:06:01.:06:06.

status quo, leaving the EU on reforming the terms of the UK

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membership of the European Union. Joining us now is James Landale.

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Support is growing for the summer as Conservative MPs, isn't it?

:06:16.:06:20.

is. The issue of Europe has been pretty quiescent throughout much of

:06:20.:06:26.

the leadership of David Cameron. By and large, by trying to keepers of

:06:26.:06:30.

the front pages and trying to enjoy the fact that many Conservative

:06:30.:06:34.

Euro-sceptic MPs have had different issues. Some are concerned about

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repatriating powers, others are more concerned with issues such as

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the Human Rights Act and the European Court of Human Rights.

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What this court next Monday does is, it allows the coalescence of all

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the Euro-sceptic concern to come together on one issue and one vote,

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I think that is why the Government is so concerned about it and that

:06:57.:07:01.

is why they're trying to head it off as much as they can. Is it wise

:07:01.:07:06.

for David Cameron to make it a show of strength? That is what he has

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been advised not to do. We do not know how hard the Government will

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order its MPs to back the Government's position on Monday.

:07:15.:07:21.

That is quite fluid. They are saying they expect MPs to back the

:07:22.:07:25.

Government. There is a lot of mainstream Conservative MPs who

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think that one option for the Government would be to ease off the

:07:29.:07:33.

whipping. It is a backbench issue and it was raised through a

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backbench procedure. There was a petition asking for a debate. Leave

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it in that context and say to ministers and others within

:07:41.:07:45.

government, if you are concerned about it, just do not turn up on

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the day. There is a lot of many of them in -- manoeuvring going on.

:07:51.:07:56.

What a bad arrangements in the other parties? We know the Labour

:07:56.:08:05.

Party will oppose the motion. -- about other arrangements in other

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parties? There will not be a vote in favour of the whole house of

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Commons calling for a vote on membership of the European Union.

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The question is, how many Conservative MPs feel they can

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oppose the Government on this because they feel so strongly about

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it and constituents feel so strongly about it and they feel it

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really needs to happen. We are now joined by Emma Reynolds, who speaks

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for the Labour Party on Europe and Andrew Rossendale he stood up

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yesterday at Prime Minister's Questions, telling that the British

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people are crying out for a referendum. About understanding the

:08:49.:08:54.

Labour position, when it comes to this vote, what will Labour do? Is

:08:55.:08:58.

there a three-line whip to vote against? There is a three-line whip

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to vote against having a referendum on our membership in the European

:09:03.:09:08.

Union. It was not in our manifesto, nor in the manifesto of the

:09:08.:09:14.

Conservative Party. It was a new once promised by the Lib Dems.

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other kind of Lib Dem promise is there? It is normally sitting on

:09:20.:09:24.

the fence! We think it is a distraction. The economy is that

:09:24.:09:34.
:09:34.:09:35.

lies in, -- flats lining. People should not be concentrating on

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theirs. Our front bench will not defy the three-line whip. Some well.

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You have some rebels. A small minority of Labour MPs, I think,

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will vote for the nation. Andrew Rosenfeld Kite you have lost pretty

:09:52.:10:02.
:10:02.:10:03.

heavily. -- the motion. This is a fundamental issue facing our

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country. It has gone on for years. The British people deserve the

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right to have their say in a referendum. I do not understand why

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it keeps whipping politics apart. We should be allowed to had a --

:10:17.:10:24.

allowed to have a say on this. agree with you but she used -- but

:10:24.:10:29.

you should not be able to determine that. Have the Lib Dems told to how

:10:29.:10:35.

they will vote? I have not spoken to the Lib Dems. What a do know is,

:10:35.:10:39.

however the House of Commons votes, deep people of Britain want to

:10:39.:10:45.

decide the future of this country. -- the people. I believe that David

:10:45.:10:52.

Cameron is doing the right thing for Britain. His heart is the same

:10:52.:10:58.

as the rest of us. He has a three- line whip against you put up his

:10:58.:11:05.

heart is no Rennie yours. If he pledges at some point the British

:11:05.:11:10.

people have the chance to vote, he will satisfy many British people.

:11:10.:11:15.

Is it Labour policy on Europe to repatriate any powers? We have said

:11:15.:11:24.

our membership of the European Union is a vital matter of national

:11:24.:11:29.

interest. We need to make sure we have the strong voice in the

:11:29.:11:34.

European Union to make sure that whatever comes out of this crisis,

:11:34.:11:39.

our businesses and jobs depend on the eurozone. Whatever comes out of

:11:39.:11:45.

it, we still have our vital national interest protected in

:11:45.:11:49.

Europe by further deepening beat single market. Her I understand

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that. Where do you go after this? - - I understand that. The interest

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will be the size of the rebellion you can muster. The eurozone is

:12:01.:12:07.

meeting this weekend. Signs do not look good to me for any deal being

:12:08.:12:10.

done. Otherwise Nicolas Sarkozy would stay and watch the birth of

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his child. Where do you go after this? At what point does the

:12:15.:12:19.

British Parliament allow the British people the right to decide

:12:19.:12:25.

their own destiny. It has gone on for decades and decades. The House

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of Commons needs to allow the British people to make a decision

:12:28.:12:32.

about our long-term future. It is not just about the crisis at the

:12:32.:12:37.

moment, it is about the long-term position of the United Kingdom with

:12:37.:12:41.

regard to the European Union. The option of trade and co-operation is

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what the vast majority of people want. I want trade and co-operation

:12:46.:12:54.

- a sensible relationship that suits Switzerland. As I understand

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it, the third option is not a Swiss position. Switzerland is not a

:12:59.:13:04.

member of the EU. The third option is, we stay in that have a more

:13:04.:13:08.

arm's-length relationship. Can you clarify that? Be third option has

:13:08.:13:16.

to be discussed as to what bad exactly means. So, the third option

:13:16.:13:23.

is not staying in? We have to change our relationship

:13:23.:13:28.

fundamentally. This is new. I want to get this right. As I had

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understood it and BBC has been reporting, the options and his

:13:31.:13:35.

referendum would be a vote to come out, vote to stay in on the

:13:35.:13:42.

existing arrangements, Status quo, will vote to stay in or having a

:13:42.:13:49.

substantial repatriation of powers? If we can achieve that, fantastic.

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There is only one other option. That is the problem. Why have a

:13:55.:14:00.

referendum when you know you cannot deliver? We promised a referendum

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on the constitutional treaty. We had negotiations, I was working in

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the Foreign Office at the time... If we have the political will to

:14:14.:14:20.

achieve this, then we can achieve it. We cannot give up before we

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start. If we leave, we will need to go through an arrangement of trade

:14:26.:14:30.

co-operation. That would be no different you a third option. I

:14:30.:14:37.

want to come back to run important point on Labour policy. -- an

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important point. It is now conservative coalition policy to

:14:42.:14:48.

urge the eurozone to go full fiscal integration - made to transfer of

:14:48.:14:55.

payments from north to south and fall economic policy to be

:14:55.:14:59.

controlled from the centre. What is the policy of Labour? George

:14:59.:15:04.

Osborne has said for the eurozone to be successful, they need some

:15:05.:15:09.

kind of fiscal integration. That will only be the eurozone 17

:15:09.:15:15.

members and not the wider European Union. I did not know that but I'm

:15:15.:15:20.

grateful to find out, as you and your government are urging, that

:15:20.:15:24.

changes the whole dynamics of Europe. Britain will be on the

:15:24.:15:30.

wrong side of the block of 17 that will always vote together. That is

:15:30.:15:35.

why, if our membership is being questioned, that weakens our boys

:15:35.:15:40.

in the European Union. I am in favour of us still retaining the

:15:40.:15:44.

relationship we have. You just said you are in favour of the position

:15:44.:15:52.

of Osborne of the deepening fiscal integration. Of the eurozone 17.

:15:52.:15:56.

is a 17 Boat block. There are differences on the single market

:15:56.:16:06.
:16:06.:16:11.

The crisis is the real news at the moment, there is a real problem

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going on and that is where the focus of UK and European attention

:16:14.:16:19.

should be. If that is not sorted out... The EU is by far and away

:16:19.:16:23.

our biggest trade June -- trading partner and if they meet real

:16:23.:16:27.

trouble, our economies won't be far behind.

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You don't think there is going to be a solution by Monday?

:16:30.:16:37.

I think the signs are not good. Mr Sarkozy would not even stay for the

:16:37.:16:42.

birth of his child, which shows you how bad things are.

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Last night saw the premiere of George Clooney's latest film, The

:16:45.:16:55.
:16:55.:16:58.

Ides Of March, a dark thriller It says we are going to help people

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get an education, create national unity, treat them a trade and get

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them out of debt for their college loans. Where does that fail? That

:17:06.:17:10.

is exactly right, but if you're going to do it, it do it. Make it

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mandatory, not voluntary. Mandatory. Everybody who turns 18 or graduates

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high school gives two years of service to his or her country, and

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for that your college education is paid for. The beauty of it is that

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everybody over the age of 18, or pass the age of eligibility will be

:17:29.:17:38.

for it. And all of the others? Can't vote. Too young. For proof

:17:38.:17:42.

policy, there. The man who wrote the film with George Clooney is

:17:42.:17:48.

Beau Willimon, he is in the studio. I saw the film, it was great. It

:17:48.:17:52.

was also really dark, politically, showing what happens behind the

:17:52.:17:57.

scenes. Is it really like that, or was this a more cynical take?

:17:57.:18:01.

really is like that. We are keeping our focus on the darker side of it,

:18:01.:18:05.

but I have worked on a number of campaigns over the years, going

:18:05.:18:11.

back to a Senate race in 1998, Bill Bradley in 2000, Hillary Clinton,

:18:12.:18:16.

Howard Dean. I based my writing of the play and the movie on all of

:18:16.:18:21.

those experiences and things I saw first hand, or variations of first

:18:21.:18:25.

hand. I suppose everybody presumes there is a little bit of dirty

:18:25.:18:30.

tricks that goes on on the campaign trail. That's understandable. This

:18:30.:18:36.

went a stage further. The moral that I took away is that you cannot

:18:36.:18:40.

be a nice guy in politics, only the bad boys won. A lot of people would

:18:40.:18:45.

see that as a cynical attitude but I see it as a realistic one. In

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America, we want diametrically opposed things from politicians. We

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want them to be bastions of moral integrity but also looked to be

:18:55.:19:05.
:19:05.:19:08.

effective -- effective leaders. To be effective leaders, you have do

:19:08.:19:11.

sometimes be abhorrent. When you have someone who is willing to

:19:11.:19:16.

break the rules, or the law, to get something accomplished, and we want

:19:16.:19:19.

to praise them for their ability to get things done, and on the other

:19:19.:19:23.

hand, we want to destroy them, because they have not projected

:19:23.:19:27.

that image of moral integrity on to the wild, we are being hypocrites

:19:27.:19:31.

as an electorate -- onto the world. As much as they are being

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hypocrites as people. You are saying that leaders have to be

:19:34.:19:38.

flawed, if they are prepared to go and stop at nothing to get the big

:19:38.:19:44.

prize? They are human beings like the rest of us. If you are married

:19:44.:19:48.

and in a long-term relationship, the statistics are that you have

:19:48.:19:57.

cheated, or you will. Those are the odds. When a politician does that,

:19:57.:20:00.

we suddenly find them unfit to lead. One could argue that we should hold

:20:00.:20:07.

them to a higher standard than we told ourselves, -- hold ourselves,

:20:07.:20:11.

but we need to see that we are also because, all contradictory. They

:20:11.:20:15.

have a great deal of power but they are human beings. Those campaigns

:20:15.:20:19.

you work on, were there different levels of taking that to the nth

:20:19.:20:23.

degree? Was some of the guys you worked with worse than others when

:20:23.:20:28.

it became too behaviour in terms of ethical behaviour? -- when it came

:20:28.:20:34.

to behaviour. It focuses on those behind the scenes, and because they

:20:34.:20:37.

are not in the public light, they have more latitude to do things

:20:37.:20:46.

that are wrong, or illegal, or ethically tenuous. Politicians find

:20:46.:20:52.

themselves in that position all the time. Good politics is about Pope

:20:52.:20:56.

compromise -- about compromise at the end of the day. Every time you

:20:56.:21:03.

do that on an ideological landscape, you are redrawing the line in the

:21:03.:21:08.

sand. That sort of behaviour can pleat into your personal life and

:21:08.:21:12.

sense of moral integrity -- bleed into. So that the redrawing of the

:21:12.:21:16.

line becomes a habit. People I have worked for have been great

:21:16.:21:20.

candidates like Howard Dean, Bill Bradley, Hillary Clinton. They are

:21:20.:21:26.

great leaders. Do I have first-hand experience of any of them doing

:21:26.:21:34.

incapacity things, no. I have to interrupt, sorry to do this. We are

:21:34.:21:38.

getting reports from Libya that Colonel Gaddafi has been wounded

:21:38.:21:47.

and captured by the rebel forces in Libya itself. This is coming out of

:21:47.:21:50.

the National Transitional Council. They say they have Colonel Gaddafi

:21:50.:21:56.

in Libya. These reports are unconfirmed. They are being

:21:56.:22:01.

reported by a Reuters. We are getting other reports, we have not

:22:01.:22:08.

yet got it confirmed. We will bring you this as soon as we get it.

:22:08.:22:14.

He is captured and winded in both legs, taken away by ambulance --

:22:14.:22:18.

and wounded. But it is not confirmed. But it looks like

:22:18.:22:25.

something is happening. Sorry to interrupt with that news. If you

:22:25.:22:30.

were watching, Jo was boasting about how she was going to speak to

:22:30.:22:34.

George Clooney. I was cut off before I finish that

:22:34.:22:38.

sentence! This is how close she got. Look at

:22:38.:22:42.

this. Can't you see me?

:22:42.:22:51.

The closest she got was, George! I am over here! Thank you very much.

:22:51.:22:56.

Thank you so much. Our guest of the day is Paul Johnson from the

:22:56.:22:59.

Institute of Fiscal Studies, which published a report on the number of

:22:59.:23:04.

areas of taxation it thought right for reform. One of them was stamp

:23:04.:23:09.

duty, a relic of the 17th century. A bit like us. It was only meant to

:23:09.:23:15.

be temporary, just like income tax. Damn you, William Pitt. Was it the

:23:15.:23:21.

younger all the elder? Who brought in income tax. A cash-strapped

:23:21.:23:25.

Treasury isn't keen on giving up its big earners.

:23:25.:23:29.

If you are lucky enough to be able to afford one, it is just something

:23:29.:23:33.

you have to pay when you are buying a house. But have you ever thought,

:23:33.:23:37.

what the hell is stamp duty? It is a weird one. Like many taxes, it

:23:37.:23:43.

was brought in to fund the war, in 6094, William and Mary's reign, a

:23:43.:23:49.

war against the French -- 16 at 94. It was only meant to come in for

:23:49.:23:54.

four years. All these years later, it is still there, because like

:23:54.:23:57.

most Chancellors, they think, this is quite nice, we will hang on to

:23:57.:24:02.

this. Best estimates suggest stamp duty land tax let's the Treasury

:24:02.:24:12.
:24:12.:24:16.

hang on to �6 billion a year. But Raised a lot of politicians out

:24:16.:24:20.

there accept the fact that stamp duty and the way it is levied is

:24:20.:24:25.

well past its sell-by date. Maybe not get rid of it but they need to

:24:25.:24:32.

be substantial reforms. The charge is three form. -- threefold. If you

:24:32.:24:39.

buy a house that is �1 over 250,000, you will pay 3%, not 1%. At �1

:24:39.:24:44.

could cost you �5,000. That can't be right. What we are saying, there

:24:44.:24:49.

should not be that slapper approach. It is a disincentive. You should be

:24:49.:24:59.
:24:59.:25:02.

looking at it in the same way. -- Regional differences mean half the

:25:02.:25:06.

stamp duty revenue comes from a quarter of transactions that in --

:25:06.:25:09.

are in the south-east. And it is an extra financial burden on first-

:25:09.:25:14.

time buyers, which taken altogether, suggests leading stamp duty as it

:25:14.:25:17.

is is bad for the housing market. Trouble is, with a cash-strapped

:25:17.:25:21.

government, it seems now is not the time to cut such a big source of

:25:21.:25:25.

revenue. The Treasury is raising the tax is and we need those to pay

:25:25.:25:28.

for public services. If we were looking at anything, it would be

:25:28.:25:31.

help for small businesses, those parts of the economy that will

:25:32.:25:36.

create growth. The Treasury's position is that any and every tax

:25:36.:25:40.

cannot always be under review. And all of them could be up for reform.

:25:40.:25:44.

In the current economic climate, having spoken to officials and a

:25:44.:25:48.

Treasury Minister, it is fair to say, stamp duty reform is not, at

:25:48.:25:55.

the moment, top of their agenda. We are joined by the Tory MP

:25:55.:26:03.

Is it realistic to get rid of stamp duty in any way, given it has

:26:03.:26:08.

become a huge money-spinner for the Treasury? No but two reforms are

:26:09.:26:13.

possible. I have been pushing to see stamp duty paid by people

:26:13.:26:20.

selling the very expensive houses. If a company is not carrying on

:26:20.:26:23.

business, if it consists of a single property, when it is sold,

:26:23.:26:29.

it should be taxed as... That is a London problem. Yes, but it would

:26:29.:26:34.

bring in a lot of money, and we need to extend capital gains tax to

:26:34.:26:37.

non-residents. That would make people at the top pay a fair share.

:26:37.:26:43.

The other issue is the one that you said in your clip, above 250,000.

:26:43.:26:48.

In my constituency of Rochester and Strood, many family detached homes

:26:48.:26:53.

are worth 250, 300,000, and it is very difficult to sell those. Many

:26:53.:27:00.

people have to take a prize at 249995, because of this economic

:27:00.:27:04.

cliff -- a price at. Do you get the indication that the Treasury is

:27:04.:27:07.

interested in any of that? Potential it. I think the Treasury

:27:07.:27:12.

would want to do that in a revenue neutral way, charging a bit about

:27:12.:27:19.

1% on those immediately below 250,000. I also think the Treasury

:27:19.:27:22.

appreciates these taxes tend to reduce transactions. When Labour

:27:22.:27:25.

put in the big increases, the property market was booming. Given

:27:25.:27:29.

the difficulty of transactions in the property market, if you cut

:27:29.:27:34.

rates temporarily, it could lead to more transactions and revenue, and

:27:34.:27:40.

house sales feed into the wider economy. It is a very damaging tax,

:27:40.:27:45.

it reduces the number of transactions, it increases rather

:27:45.:27:49.

than reduces volatility in prices. The approach is absurd because it

:27:49.:27:53.

makes it very difficult to sell. There was a report earlier this

:27:53.:27:57.

week worrying that too many people occupied houses too big for them.

:27:57.:28:02.

One reason, it was so expensive to sell the house. The whole housing

:28:02.:28:07.

tax system needs reforming. It is unfair and regressive and the way

:28:07.:28:12.

it impacts on people. I don't see tax reform being high up the

:28:12.:28:16.

Government's agenda, but I live to be surprised. We have depict the

:28:16.:28:22.

guess the year when a bomb yesterday. -- we have to pick. From

:28:22.:28:32.
:28:32.:28:33.

Roger Langley from Ipswich, the mud is yours. That is it, thanks to all

:28:33.:28:39.

of our guests -- the mark is yours. Thanks to Paul Johnson. I will be

:28:39.:28:46.

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