02/11/2011 Daily Politics


02/11/2011

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Morning folks. This is the Daily Politics. The Government has made

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an improved, possibly last, offer to union leaders on its proposed

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changes to public sector pensions. to be announced, but they are

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largely technical. We'll bring them to you as soon as we can. Union

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leaders are discussing the proposals right now. They're angry

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about plans to raise workers' contributions and the pension age.

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We'll be asking, will the latest offer be enough to avert another

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strike planned for later this month?

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Carry on camping - we take the mood box to St Paul's. The reason for

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this demonstration is why I came to London for my holiday. You came

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here on holiday because of this? Yes. The Greek Government is

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teetering on the brink of collapse, but we'll be talking to one former

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union chief who believes Britain should still think about signing up

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to the euro. And Cheggers will be here putting

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the Government's new happiness test to the test.

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All that and more, including Prime Minister's Questions, coming up in

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the next 90 minutes. And with us for the duration we have the Mr

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Happy and the Mr Grumpy of political thought, International

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Development Minister, Alan Duncan, and Shadow Leader of the Commons,

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:02:01.:02:02.

Hilary Benn. I really have no idea which is which. I just read the

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autocue and get paid a modest amount for doing it. Welcome.

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you. Now, let's turn our attention again to events at St Paul's, where

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it appears protesters will not be moving in the forseeable future.

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Today the Archbishop of Canterbury waded in on the debate, backing

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calls for a new tax on financial transactions. I doesn't know he was

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an expert in international finance. I should consult him more on

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religious matters. He said it would advance the protesters' moral

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agenda. So should they stay or should they go? We sent Adam down

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with the mood box. We've brought the balls to St Paul's. Do people

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here think it's time for the protesters to go home or should

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they carry on protesting? I think we'll hear from a few protesters as

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well. Are awe visitor or a protester? A protesting visitor.

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Why are you going to carry on? Because this corrupt system of

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banking has cast a blight on the whole world. I'm a visiting

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protester. Does a bunch of tents make much of a difference? It does

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when they are on a global scale, with 2,300 tented cities like this

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one around the world. Does this should not have a big impact on

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your job or your study? No, I've gone to all my lectures and

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seminars as usual. Grab a ball... would rather grab a man. Especially

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you, I fancy you, dear. Why is that? I've come back to my country

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after 40 years and I'm horrified that England has sunk into the

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sewer. In if this is a peaceful demonstration, you should go in

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peace. How long are you going to carry on for? I have to be back in

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Cornwall in January. I used to be a trader, so I know the greed and

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avarice and envy that runs the City. The reason for this demonstration

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is why I came to London for my holiday. You actually came here on

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holiday because of this? Yes, I wanted to see it. I can't go to New

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York to see the protesters on Wall Street, because I come from Belgium,

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because it is too expensive. This is an extra holiday treat. Thank

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you! Is this racist? How can it be racist? Are awe racist? Not to my

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knowledge. Do you work for a racist organisation? No. Who did you work

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for? The BBC. The BBC! Hardly anyone is saying it is time to go

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home. That may be a product of the fact that a lot of people who feel

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this don't feel comfortable showing this in this environment. Put a

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ball in. I can't. It is not my job. So I went round to the other side

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of the Cathedral, where views were definitely more mixed. Ultimately

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this is a place of worship. I think they have made their point, around

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the world. The genuine protesters are great, but according to the

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paper and various things, and also I go past it every day at the

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moment, there seem to be more and more unsavoury elements there and

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they are spoiling the protest. Thank you very much. I never

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understood why Guy Fawkes was Guy Fawkes. It had nothing to do with

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capitalism. How do you think this is going to end? Hopefully they'll

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get burnt and moved on! Well, after equal time spent in two locations

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let's see the final result. It looks like a majority are still

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supporting the protest carrying on. You could say that's for whom the

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ball tolls. He's paid by the cliche. Adam there

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proving his balls around St Paul's. Well, we're joined now by Ian

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Chamberlain who's hot-footed it from the protest at St Paul's.

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Welcome. I know the group there doesn't necessarily have a united

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front on what you want to achieve, but can we get a flavour of what

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you stand for? For example, do you want to nationalise the banks?

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think we are united by growing concern at the increasing economic

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inequality. That bit I get. I understand that. I'm trying to work

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out what you would like to do about it. I've heard a lot of people are

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worried about inequality, I understand that, and it's been made

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worse in recent years. I'm trying to work out how you would address

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it as opposed to other groups. Would you nationalise the banks?

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Would you take them into state control? I think it is important to

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explain what's happening at St Paul's. This isn't about a group of

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people with predetermined ideas about how to improve the economic

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crisis. It's a space where people with articulate alternatives to the

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austerity of the Government. It is a democratic process. We are

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releasing statements. We started off with an initial statement which

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set out our basic values and with ongoing debate and discussion we

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want to get to a stage where we can start forming policy. So, you talk

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about inequality, would you for example have a much higher tax on

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those who earn big salaries than the current top rate of 50 %?

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things that I can talk about, because they have been discussed at

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the camp, because I'm not here to represent myself but to capture the

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spirit of what's going on at the camp. People are talking about

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things like the Tobin tax and better regulation of the banks.

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Everybody is talking about better regulation of the banks. They are,

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but we've always realised that there are a lot of good ideas out

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there already but there isn't the political imp tulings us to

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implement them. We believe that -- impetus to implement them. In the

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end, I've lived through many movements. I remember the movement

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of the '60s. In the end that's all they were - movements. I'm just

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trying to work out what you, not as a firm manifesto, I understand

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that's not the purpose, but just as a general mood, the kind of changes

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that you would like to see. So, what would you do, if inequality is

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your major concern, what would your single biggest step be to narrow

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that inequality? Well, again I say, if you look at the civil rights

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movement in America, it was about people meeting in public spaces, in

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churches and things, and discussing, they had obviously aims in common.

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And out of that process... civil rights movement had a clear

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agenda, and that agenda was equality between black and white,

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it was to end seg gaigs in the South, it was to pass major civil

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rights Acts through Congress and to make sure that voter Reg station

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was fair. They were all specific policies. That's what I'm trying to

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do fu. Don't want to go down this road I will stop now. The civil

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rights movement didn't last two weeks. We've only been there a

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short time. We see this as the beginning of a movement. We see

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this going on not necessarily in term of the occupation but as a

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movement going on many years, developing and articulating

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policies. After two weeks I don't think we can be expected to have a

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full manifesto of things for you. lot of people have been there for

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agitation and agitprop before. Does it concern you that in a protest,

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which as I understand it is basically to challenge capitalism

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and to change capitalism in unspecified ways that the main

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victim so far has been the Church of England? Well, I personally

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believe that what's happened is that we've identified people within

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the Church who really support our aims and values. That's been a

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really empowering thing for us, because it demonstrates this

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rainbow coalition within our movement. It is not just anti-

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capitalist or people on the hard left. It is people within the

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Church. We had on Sunday all different faith and community

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leaders come down to speak to us and articulate very similar views.

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As a party of the centre left, should your strategy be to coopt

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these people to bring them into a left-wing party? Or to distance

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yourself from them? I don't think it's either of those, Andrew. The

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first thing I would say is that movements can change minds. You

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referred back to movements that you've seen throughout your

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political life. They can have an impact. People have an absolute

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right to protest. Whether it is the same as the right to camp in the

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front of St Paul's is a different point. I think the Cathedral has

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been put in some difficulty in trying to respond to people who

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turned up who they hadn't anticipated. It is a difficulty of

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its own making at times as well. fairness yes, because closing the

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Opening it again Hard to see what the health and safety issue was. I

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agree with you. What is being articulated and what you said today

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is a concern about the way things have been run, and a feeling, as

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yet not fully expressed, that things need to change. So why don't

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you coopt them, if this is an unformed feeling to which you are

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sympathetic, here is your chance to bring it on board and give this

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feeling, since you are the professional party, some policy

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shape? Well, let me give you two examples of how we are doing

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precisely that. One is, on international financial transaction

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fax, we were proposing that in 2009. We wanted it to cover as many

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countries as possible. It should be on the agenda of the G20 this week.

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The second is the bankers' bonus tax, to give young people a job and

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build 25,000 homes. But the Government doesn't agree with it.

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The European Union, you don't need to be camped out St Paul's to be in

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favour of the Tobin tax. Should they be moved? I'm not in favour of

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tented cities moving around the country, be it from Dale form to

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Parliament Square to the edge of St Paul's. When they are blocking a

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pavement, yes, there's a problem. Ian and I were having an

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programme Many respects she not probably what people were expecting

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as a representative of the St Paul's protesters. There are some

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massive problems with people who've moved money around and then the

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House of Cards collapses. Some of the best brains in the world are

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working thon and they can't work out how to solve the problem, along

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with the euro crisis. We have to leave it there. Ian Chamberlain,

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thank you for being with us. Now, should a woman have the right

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to know if a new partner has a history of domestic abuse? Should

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someone under 18 receive a mandatory prison sentence if they

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use or threaten with a knife? Both proposals are up for debate this

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afternoon. And we have two of the people behind the amendments in

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Central Lobby, Labour MP Hazel Blears, and the Conservative MP,

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Nick de Bois. Hazel, you want people to be able to find out

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information in about their partners, did you know or think that people

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want to do that? Is there a demand There was some polling done, and I

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think it was 91% of people thought they ought to know the history of

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their partner. This followed a case where some body was stalked,

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harassed and murdered by their partner. It turned out later that

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he had a whole history of such offences. And that poor young woman

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had no idea about his history. If she had known, she could have

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decided that she would have nothing to do with him. Does that mean

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you're in favour of the right to know, or it is up to them to ask?

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I'm going to be saying that somebody should be able to ask the

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Chief Constable, that there should be a presumption in favour of

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disclosure. At the moment, that information will be shared amongst

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all the agencies, and yet the person involved in the relationship

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does not have that information. That seems to me to be a ridiculous

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state of affairs, and there are two women every week murdered at the

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hands of their partners. If we could just save a few lives through

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this, it would be worthwhile. advice would you give to Hazel

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Blears on this one? I would say persistence and stubbornness, if

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you think your cause is right and can build a coalition around it,

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which I think Hazel Blears is doing, that is probably the best advice.

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In terms of your cause, up to 1,400 extra teenagers could get custodial

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sentences because of your amendment, that's a lot of young people with a

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criminal record. We should be looking at it from the other end of

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the telescope. It is absolutely vital that what I call the early

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stages of getting into the cycle of knife crime violence, which can

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lead to serious or fatal stabbings, that we need an effective deterrent,

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as well as a range of other measures to help discourage people

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from brandishing a knife in a threatening this is. We are not

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talking about carrying a knife, we're talking about pointing

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something and using it in that fashion. So, I'm optimistic, I

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think part of the strong message which will come out from creating

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this law, that will act as a way of keeping people out of prison.

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you both of you. Alan Duncan, this amendment being put forward by Nick

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de Bois, it is not going to be cheap, is it? If you're thinking

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about cutting is prison places, then this will not help. When I was

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Shadow Prisons Minister, we went through a lot of calculations about

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reforming people, rehabilitating them, as opposed to putting them in

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prison. But crimes of violence are the ones on which we ought to be

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the toughest. When a teenager has no respect for authority of any

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sort, and is wielding a knife in a threatening way, that is the sort

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of crime on which we ought to be tough. So you would support the

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extra cost. It is wrong just to look at cost on these things.

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Government has been saying that cost is a big issue. Of course,

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particularly in the warm third or so of prisoners who are very poorly

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educated, they have got no job, no savings, no family life, the merry-

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go-round of those, and those are the ones who need to be

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rehabilitated, is where the greatest cost hits the country.

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think we should do all we can to discourage people from carrying

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knives and retain people. But you have to be quite careful with

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mandatory sentences, because the courts in the end need to be able

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to take account of circumstances. On Hazel Blears' amendment, it

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would seem to me she has a strong case, because if other people get

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the information but a prospective partner does not, then you have got

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some difficulties. The Government has been coming up with some new

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proposals to try and appease the unions who are planning to strike

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on 30th November. In the last hour both sides came out of a special

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meeting in the Cabinet Office to try to safeguard a deal. Jo has the

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latest on this story. Yes, in 2010 the Government said it was

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:18:38.:18:39.

the Government said it was committed to saving � 2.3 billion.

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This means pension schemes will need to find huge savings. Unions

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are currently balloting members about a nationwide day of action on

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30th November. The results are due out over the next couple of weeks.

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Earlier I spoke to the general secretary of the Association of

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Teachers and Lecturers union, and asked her if she would accept the

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asked her if she would accept the Government's proposal for more

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generous rates. It is a very interesting position

:19:07.:19:12.

that the Government is taking. It is their first serious change from

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their previous position, which was, that's your offer, take it or leave

:19:17.:19:20.

it. So it is worthy of consideration. What it will mean in

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each scheme will be different things, so it needs to be looked at

:19:24.:19:28.

closely. You're going to be meeting with your union colleagues - this

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is being painted as the Government's final offer, so in a

:19:31.:19:36.

sense, it is make up your mind time, isn't it? We will have to see. The

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Government told us nine months ago that they had given us their final

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offer, and now they have listened to the weight of argument and made

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a change. The accrual rate is one issue. But there are also lots of

:19:49.:19:54.

other issues which this does not address - the retirement age, the

:19:54.:19:58.

increase in pension contributions, for example. So we have to look at

:19:58.:20:01.

this in the round, and for each scheme, to see what it actually

:20:01.:20:08.

means. You must accept now that in the current economic climate,

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particularly when you look at the deal that private sector workers

:20:11.:20:16.

get, paying more into their pensions and getting less out...

:20:16.:20:20.

There is a real problem with private sector pensions. They lack

:20:20.:20:27.

transparency and the fees are very high. But let's are just scotch the

:20:27.:20:33.

myth that private sector pensions get no help from the taxpayer. In

:20:33.:20:39.

the last year for which figures are available, private sector pensions

:20:39.:20:45.

got �37.5 billion in indirect tax relief, which was �12.5 billion

:20:45.:20:49.

more than was paid out in public sector pensions. So, private sector

:20:49.:20:52.

pensions are very expensive, they lack transparency and they need to

:20:52.:20:56.

be reformed. We have looked after public sector pensions better.

:20:57.:21:00.

you do admit that private sector workers will pay in more and get

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out less. Absolutely, but that is an issue with the way their

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pensions are run. It does not have to happen. In other countries, they

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do much better, Denmark for example. What about the negotiating position

:21:14.:21:20.

- do you see yourself on strike at the end of the month? I hope not.

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We went on strike for the first time in more than 100 years in June,

:21:24.:21:28.

and we do not want to have to do it again. We will look at the offer

:21:28.:21:32.

seriously. What about Labour's position, are you expecting more

:21:32.:21:37.

support from Ed Miliband? I have given up a bit on that, really. I'm

:21:37.:21:42.

not relying on the Labour Party to come to our aid or even to talk

:21:42.:21:48.

much sense about pensions at the moment. Hillary Benn, she has given

:21:48.:21:53.

up on the Labour Party. I think that was a trifle unfair, given

:21:53.:21:56.

that we have been saying from the beginning of this that the

:21:56.:21:59.

Government had to negotiate seriously. Why has it taken to this

:21:59.:22:02.

late stage for the Government to come forward and make an offer? We

:22:02.:22:12.
:22:12.:22:15.

have not seen the details yet, obviously. I think we have given

:22:15.:22:19.

every support in arguing for a negotiated settlement and a serious

:22:19.:22:23.

offer on the part of the Government, which they have failed to do up

:22:23.:22:28.

until now, because they have just imposed changes. And now, at this

:22:28.:22:31.

late stage they have come forward with something. Why have you taken

:22:31.:22:37.

so long to come up with an improved offer? It is a process of

:22:37.:22:41.

negotiation. Getting this right has been an essential component in our

:22:41.:22:44.

international reputation. If we were not tackling this problem in

:22:44.:22:47.

the way that we are, we would have enormous pain for people up and

:22:47.:22:51.

down the country, with higher interest rates. I hope this will be

:22:51.:22:57.

a sensible, grown-up negotiation between both sides. I thought the

:22:57.:23:00.

demeanour of Brendan Barber coming out of the Cabinet Office was very

:23:00.:23:03.

encouraging. I know there will be a statement later this afternoon

:23:03.:23:07.

which I hope can avoid confrontation. We do not want to be

:23:07.:23:12.

like Greece, Italy and France, full of strikes all the time. We want

:23:12.:23:17.

people to know where they are. On the pensions side, no-one within 10

:23:17.:23:21.

years of retirement will be affected. All the very poorest will

:23:21.:23:27.

be protected. And those are two very important principles. So you

:23:27.:23:34.

do not see it as the final offer? There's a process of announcing if

:23:34.:23:38.

the trade unions are happy with it or not. I'm not doing the

:23:38.:23:44.

negotiations. What I think we have seen this morning are what looked

:23:44.:23:50.

like some very fruitful encounters, which is encouraging. We are facing

:23:50.:23:55.

enormous economic dangers in Europe. Fortunately, we are in a better

:23:55.:23:57.

position than most European mainland countries, and we want to

:23:57.:24:02.

keep it that way. We had growth figures yesterday which were better

:24:02.:24:06.

than expected, but let's keeps steadily going forward and not risk

:24:06.:24:10.

collapsing in the way that our neighbour countries are. But there

:24:10.:24:17.

comes a stage when Labour, having seen the Government's offer, has to

:24:17.:24:22.

tell us, that's the best we are going to get, we should accept it,

:24:22.:24:26.

or you back the unions going on strike. We have not got to that

:24:26.:24:32.

point yet. It depends on how the negotiations go. Either there will

:24:32.:24:35.

be agreement or not, and you will have to take a judgment on which

:24:35.:24:40.

side to support. And we will do that on the basis of what we know

:24:40.:24:44.

at the time. But negotiations have not been completed. We have always

:24:44.:24:48.

urged that there should be serious negotiations, and the Government

:24:48.:24:52.

has got round to it very, very late in the day, having tried to dictate

:24:52.:24:56.

to the unions what should happen to the pension schemes. The feeling I

:24:56.:25:00.

was given was that the changes are quite technical and marginal, the

:25:00.:25:07.

main principles of the reforms are still in place, so, are you ready

:25:07.:25:12.

for a confrontation with the unions? We do not want a

:25:12.:25:16.

confrontation, that is not a question I want to answer. That's

:25:16.:25:25.

why I asked it. I would rather see no confrontation. It is hardly an

:25:25.:25:32.

unreasonable question, even by my standards. Final-salary pensions

:25:32.:25:37.

have all but disappeared in the private sector. We are seeing very

:25:37.:25:40.

difficult numbers in the public sector, where costs have gone up by

:25:40.:25:45.

50% over the last few years. You have got people possibly on �34,000

:25:45.:25:50.

a year getting pensions of �20,000 - you do not get that in the

:25:50.:25:56.

private sector. We want to see a sustainable system for the decades

:25:56.:26:01.

ahead. We want a system which will last, rather than Labour, who made

:26:01.:26:11.
:26:11.:26:11.

tons of promises and left us in a state of financial collapse.

:26:11.:26:20.

for something completely different. The lights in the studios come up.

:26:20.:26:24.

The producer is waiting at his microphone to speak his last word

:26:24.:26:32.

to the artist. The controllers are ready on vision and sound. The

:26:32.:26:42.

vision and sound are on, the station goes on the air. Yes, dog,

:26:42.:26:50.

television is 75 years old today. Don't adjust your sets. I like it

:26:50.:27:00.

black-and-white. Back then, the BBC had an audience of 20,000. We can

:27:00.:27:03.

only dream of figures like that on The Daily Politics. There have been

:27:03.:27:07.

some great TV moments over the last 75 years, but The Daily Politics

:27:07.:27:10.

has given the world perhaps the greatest prize in television

:27:10.:27:20.
:27:20.:27:22.

history, yes, The Daily Politics Mug. To get your hands in on one,

:27:22.:27:28.

you will have to or enter our Guess the Year competition. Let's see if

:27:28.:27:38.
:27:38.:27:48.

# No-one to talk with, all by myself. These are the first of the

:27:48.:27:58.
:27:58.:28:02.

Hungry silkworms are eating heartily, producing silk which will

:28:02.:28:12.
:28:12.:28:19.

# Poetry in motion... We do not want the book to fall into the

:28:19.:28:29.
:28:29.:28:32.

hands of unsuspecting people, who # Gone with the cold wind that

:28:32.:28:39.

swept into my heart... # Gong with the lovers who let

:28:39.:28:49.
:28:49.:29:05.

Everybody is guessing here in the studio. Send your answer to our

:29:05.:29:13.

special quiz e-mail address. You can see the full terms and

:29:13.:29:23.
:29:23.:29:24.

conditions for the competition on It is coming up to midday. Let's

:29:24.:29:28.

take a look cap Big Ben, that can only mean one thing, Prime

:29:28.:29:33.

Minister's Questions is on its way. And by absolutely no public demand

:29:33.:29:39.

a tall, Nick Robinson, the BBC political editor. A we have been

:29:39.:29:45.

talking about the G20. What a fine mess they have got us into. We are

:29:45.:29:49.

about to have a Question Time in which the Prime Minister will look,

:29:49.:29:54.

I fear, like a spectator at world events, rather than central to them.

:29:54.:29:58.

There is an argument that that is in fact better, because you could

:29:58.:30:03.

be Greece or Italy. But I think there is a sense that huge events

:30:03.:30:07.

are going on, the French are effectively trying to put pressure

:30:07.:30:15.

on the Greeks, with regard to this referendum. And also being told, we

:30:15.:30:20.

will take IMF money off the table if you dared to vote no. That is

:30:21.:30:27.

all happening as we speak, as the leaders had to Cabinet. On the

:30:27.:30:32.

economy, it feels to me like it is almost a holding session. Is it

:30:32.:30:36.

getting so serious in Europe that Britain may be asked to contribute

:30:36.:30:42.

directly? Again and again, they say, in the Treasury and in Number Ten,

:30:42.:30:50.

we are not doing that, we will not contribute in that way. We are a

:30:51.:30:59.

shareholder in the IMF, about 4.5% of that fund its so we contribute

:31:00.:31:04.

in that way, but when it comes to direct help via the EU, the message

:31:04.:31:09.

from the Treasury and Number Ten is absolutely unequivocal, no, we will

:31:09.:31:18.

not do it. I suggest that the Government has no better idea what

:31:18.:31:22.

is going to happen now than we do. I gather they learned about the

:31:22.:31:26.

Greek decision on the television. And when they called the Greek

:31:26.:31:30.

ambassador, he was not there. Indeed, the Prime Minister clearly

:31:31.:31:35.

thought the deal was done, when it This morning I had meetings with

:31:35.:31:38.

ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in the

:31:38.:31:42.

House I shall have further such meetings later today.

:31:42.:31:47.

With the average of-year-old living ten years longer than in the 1970s

:31:47.:31:51.

reform of the pensions is essential. Will he ensure that it is fair to

:31:51.:31:55.

my constituents in temporarys of the taxpayer and public sector

:31:55.:31:57.

workers? My honourable friend makes an important point and the Chief

:31:57.:32:00.

Secretary to the Treasury will be making a full statement to the

:32:00.:32:03.

House. It is vital that we do something that is fair to taxpayers

:32:03.:32:08.

and also fair to public sector workers. The costs of our public

:32:08.:32:12.

sector pensions system is up by a third in the last decade. It is not

:32:12.:32:16.

fair to go on as we are. But the new arrangements must be fair to

:32:16.:32:21.

people who work hard in the public sector and on whom we are all

:32:21.:32:25.

relying. Can I tell the House that low and middle income earners will

:32:25.:32:29.

get more from their public sector pensions. Everyone will keep what

:32:30.:32:33.

they've built up so far. Anyone within ten years of retirement will

:32:33.:32:36.

see no change in their pension arrangements. At the end of this

:32:36.:32:41.

people in the public sector will still get far, far better pensions

:32:41.:32:45.

than people in the private sector. Ill really it is time that the

:32:45.:32:48.

party opposite was clear they do not support strikes later this

:32:48.:32:56.

month. THE SPEAKER: Ed Miliband.

:32:56.:33:01.

Mr Speaker, does the Prime Minister believe that growth of 0.5% over

:33:01.:33:06.

the last year and unemployment at a 17-year high point to the success

:33:06.:33:12.

or failure of his economic plan? Obviously everybody wants the

:33:12.:33:17.

British economy to grow faster. That's what everybody wants. But I

:33:17.:33:21.

have to, I have to, I have to say to the honourable gentleman,

:33:21.:33:24.

yesterday's figure of 0.5%, which was better than many people

:33:24.:33:31.

expected, isn't it noticeable that he cannot even bring himself to

:33:31.:33:38.

welcome news like that! The key issue, I think we all have to

:33:38.:33:44.

address, is this. There's a global storm in the world economy today.

:33:44.:33:48.

And it is in our interests to help others confront that global storm,

:33:48.:33:52.

but we have also got to keep the British economy safe. We won't keep

:33:52.:33:58.

it safe if we add to our deficit, add to our debt and put interest

:33:58.:34:02.

rates at risk. Mr Speaker, first he blamed the Labour Government, then

:34:02.:34:09.

he blamed CHEERING

:34:09.:34:14.

First he blamed the Labour Government then he blamed Europe.

:34:14.:34:18.

Yesterday he was apparently blaming his Cabinet colleagues for the lack

:34:18.:34:21.

of growth in our economy. The truth with this Prime Minister is when

:34:21.:34:27.

things go wrong it is never anything to do with him. Now, let's

:34:27.:34:32.

ask about another one of his flagship policies. The business

:34:32.:34:36.

growth fund. Launched nine months ago with the banks. Can he tell us

:34:36.:34:41.

the number of businesses that the business growth fund have made

:34:41.:34:48.

investment in? First of all the problem, the problem, the problem

:34:48.:34:54.

with, the problem with pre-scripted questions is he doesn't listen to

:34:54.:34:58.

the first answer. I didn't actually in my first answer blame the last

:34:58.:35:03.

Labour Government. But if he would like me to I can start right now,

:35:03.:35:08.

because it was the last Labour Government that left us record

:35:08.:35:10.

debts, the record deficit. And it is this Government that is having

:35:10.:35:14.

to deal with that. He asked about the business growth fund. This is

:35:14.:35:20.

one of the schemes to ensure that banks are lending alongside the

:35:20.:35:23.

Merlin scheme, which is actually seeing an increase in lending to

:35:23.:35:26.

small businesses. That is the record we can be proud of and

:35:26.:35:31.

something he didn't achieve. THE SPEAKER: Ed Miliband.

:35:31.:35:36.

Mr Speaker, we all know by now with this Prime Minister that when he

:35:36.:35:40.

blusters like that at the dispatch box, he is either too embarrassed

:35:40.:35:43.

to answer or he doesn't know the answer.

:35:43.:35:47.

So let me help him. The business growth fund was announced nine

:35:47.:35:55.

months ago. It has five offices, 50 staff, how many investments a grand

:35:55.:36:01.

total of two. And, Mr Speaker, it's becoming a pattern with this Prime

:36:01.:36:05.

Minister, fanfare announcement then radio silence. He said in March,

:36:05.:36:10.

I'm going to watch those banks like a hawk. And make sure they deliver.

:36:10.:36:15.

So what is he going to do to get the business growth fund moving?

:36:15.:36:20.

These are if banks he completely failed to regulate year after year.

:36:20.:36:28.

Yes, yes, and these... (Interruption) THE SPEAKER: Order!

:36:28.:36:33.

The House is getting... Order! Mr Campbell, calm yourself. The House

:36:34.:36:39.

is getting far too excited. It is onlyle 6 minutes past. Order! Both

:36:39.:36:45.

the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition must be heard. It

:36:45.:36:49.

is called democracy and free expression. Prime Minister.

:36:49.:36:52.

Speaker, let me give him the figures forewhat's happened under

:36:52.:36:57.

the bank lending schemes of this Government. We have �190 billion of

:36:57.:37:02.

new credit this year, up from 179 billion last year. That is a huge

:37:02.:37:07.

increase. There is 76 billion of this for small and medium-sized

:37:07.:37:11.

enterprises. That is up 15% on last year. We are seeing more bank

:37:11.:37:15.

lending under this Government, but we are also seeing the bank levy so

:37:15.:37:18.

that people in the banks are helping to pay to deal with the

:37:18.:37:25.

deficit that his Government created. Mr Speaker, a totally hopeless

:37:25.:37:32.

answer, one of his own schemes, one of his own schemes, the business

:37:32.:37:36.

growth fund. They trumpeted the announcement and have not got a

:37:36.:37:42.

clue what is happening to their own scheme. Business is struggling but

:37:42.:37:46.

one group is doing very well indeed. Over the last year, when many

:37:46.:37:52.

people have seen their wages frozen, directors' pay rose by 49%. The

:37:52.:37:55.

Prime Minister expressed concern about this last Friday. But the

:37:55.:37:59.

public want to know what is he going to do about it? Let me tell

:37:59.:38:03.

you exactly what we are doing about it and will do about it. It is this

:38:03.:38:07.

Government that introduced the bank levy. More raised in one year than

:38:07.:38:11.

the bonus tax that they created. It is this Government that has

:38:11.:38:14.

increased the fees that non-Doms have to pay. It is this Government

:38:14.:38:21.

that has had an agreement with Switzerland and with Liechtenstein

:38:22.:38:26.

to get hold of people with money overseas. This Government has seen

:38:26.:38:30.

lower bank bonuses. I think the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks for

:38:30.:38:34.

the whole country when he says statistics unacceptable in a time

:38:34.:38:37.

of difficulty when people at the top of our society are not showing

:38:37.:38:42.

signs of responsibility. It is this Government that is now consulting...

:38:42.:38:45.

It is this Government that is consulting about proper measures to

:38:45.:38:51.

make sure we get transparency in terms of boardroom pay, proper

:38:51.:38:54.

accountability, more power for shareholders, all of those things

:38:54.:38:59.

we are doing. I have to ask him, if he is so keen on this agenda, got

:38:59.:39:04.

he do for the last 13 years? I will tell you what we did, Mr Speaker,

:39:05.:39:08.

we introduced the 50p rate of income tax that he and chiz

:39:08.:39:12.

Chancellor want to abolish! I'm glad we agree something needs to be

:39:12.:39:16.

done about top pay. Last... Conservative members should calm

:39:16.:39:22.

down, follow the Prime Minister's advice, just calm down. Last March,

:39:22.:39:27.

last March, his fair pay review, which he set up, recommended that

:39:27.:39:33.

the Government should require by January of 2012, next year, that

:39:33.:39:39.

every top company should publish how much the highest earners get

:39:39.:39:43.

compared to the average earner that. Type of transparency is the least

:39:43.:39:49.

we can expect. Can he confirm that this will happen from January 2012,

:39:49.:39:53.

yes or no? Unlike the last Government, we are consulting on a

:39:53.:39:56.

series of steps to bring responsibility to the boardroom.

:39:56.:40:03.

But very to say, Mr Speaker, we are a little bit, we are a little bit

:40:03.:40:08.

wary about accepting lectures from a party that told us they were

:40:08.:40:13.

intensely relaxed about everyone getting filthy rich, a party that

:40:13.:40:18.

had a capital gains tax system so people in the City paid less tax

:40:18.:40:22.

than their cleaner. I know he's forgotten these things but we

:40:22.:40:25.

remember them and we've done something about it. Mr Speaker,

:40:25.:40:32.

another report to Government, another failure to act. The truth

:40:32.:40:36.

is, he has sat on Will Hutton's review upon the 9 months and done

:40:36.:40:40.

nothing about it. That's why the recommendation isn't going to be

:40:40.:40:43.

implemented. Mr Speaker, that's the truth about this Prime Minister. He

:40:43.:40:48.

says we are all in it together but he lets the top 1% get away with it

:40:48.:40:53.

while the other 99% see their living standards squeezed and lose

:40:53.:40:56.

their jobs. That's why people are increasingly saying this is a Prime

:40:56.:41:00.

Minister totally out of touch with their lives.

:41:00.:41:06.

I to say, in the week when the Labour Party has hired a former tax

:41:06.:41:10.

exile to run their election campaign he's got a bit of nerve to

:41:10.:41:14.

lecture us on that. 13 years they had to regulate the banks. They did

:41:14.:41:18.

nothing. 13 years they had to deal with bank bonuses. They did nothing.

:41:18.:41:22.

And now in opposition their message to business is, give us some money,

:41:22.:41:28.

you can run our election. THE SPEAKER: Jason McCartney.

:41:28.:41:32.

Thank you Mr Speaker. Cable theft that cost the rail industry �43

:41:32.:41:38.

million over the last three years. And they've even drafted in Gurkhas

:41:38.:41:42.

to patrol the network. Homes and churchs are being pilfered of their

:41:42.:41:48.

lead and copper. In the past month one church yard in Huddersfield has

:41:48.:41:53.

had 169 memorial plaques stolen. Will the Prime Minister join me in

:41:53.:41:59.

saying now is the time to legislate to stop these stolen metals going

:41:59.:42:03.

to merchants? My honourable friend makes an extremely important point.

:42:03.:42:08.

The theft of metal, particularly from war memorials, is a sickening

:42:08.:42:10.

and disgusting crime. We are workering with the Association of

:42:10.:42:13.

Chief Police Officers to put in place an action plan to deal with

:42:13.:42:17.

this. It does involve looking again at the regulation of scrap metal

:42:17.:42:19.

dealers. We are determined to do that to put a stop to this

:42:20.:42:24.

appalling crime. People in my constituency in north

:42:24.:42:27.

Belfast and right across the country are desperately worried

:42:27.:42:31.

about the increasing costs of gas, electricity, home heating oil, how

:42:31.:42:36.

they are going to keep their homes warm this winter. What can the

:42:36.:42:40.

Prime Minister tell the country he is going to do to help people in

:42:40.:42:44.

this situation? In particular, will he reverse the cuts to winter fuel

:42:44.:42:47.

allowance, which hits senior citizens, it is not good enough

:42:47.:42:51.

surely to say he's following the plans of the opposition. He's done

:42:51.:42:54.

so many things differently from the opposition. Why isn't he going to

:42:54.:42:58.

do something different with the winter fuel allowance? On the issue

:42:58.:43:02.

of winter fuel allowance we've kept the plans set out by the last

:43:02.:43:05.

Government. I think that's the right thing to do. On the cold

:43:05.:43:08.

weather payments we've taken the increase ma was meant for one year

:43:08.:43:12.

and we've maintained that, so if there is a particularly cold

:43:12.:43:16.

weather they'll get that help. We are making sure that energy

:43:16.:43:18.

companies give people proper information in about the lowest

:43:18.:43:22.

tariffs they can get, and yes have proper reform of the energy market.

:43:22.:43:27.

Again, something that the party opposite has suddenly started to

:43:27.:43:30.

talk about but did absolutely nothing about in Government.

:43:30.:43:33.

Speaker, public sector pension reform should be achieved through

:43:33.:43:37.

negotiation and compromise. Does the Prime Minister agree that it is

:43:37.:43:41.

wholly irresponsible and down right destructive for senior politicians

:43:41.:43:45.

of any political party to support strike action while negotiations

:43:45.:43:49.

are ongoing? My honourable friend is right. This

:43:49.:43:53.

I think is a very fair offer to hard-working public servants to say

:43:53.:43:57.

that this is a strong set of pension reforms that will give you

:43:57.:44:02.

pensions that are still better than anything available in the private

:44:02.:44:07.

sector. To have a Labour frontbench that is silent on this issue, with

:44:07.:44:12.

their education spokesman encouraging teachers to strike is

:44:12.:44:16.

the height of irresponsibility. Speaker, my constituents Alan and

:44:16.:44:21.

Linda Eastwood have a son who has been serving in our nation's armed

:44:21.:44:27.

forces in Afghanistan. In common with with Royal British Legion Mr

:44:27.:44:36.

and Mrs Easton regard the Prime Minister's decision to abolish the

:44:36.:44:41.

post to be a betrayal. This is a very important issue and I have

:44:41.:44:48.

discussions with the British Legion about it it as I know the Lord

:44:48.:44:50.

Chancellor has as well. The point about the Royal British Legion,

:44:50.:44:57.

this issue, is that the current proposal for the chief crone tore

:44:57.:45:00.

the establish wood involve spending that we think the money would be

:45:00.:45:04.

better spent on improving all coroners service across the country.

:45:04.:45:09.

We are listening carefully to concerns expressed in both houses

:45:09.:45:12.

of Parliament about this issue. Are we going to improve the performance

:45:12.:45:16.

of our coroners? That is what service families want. That is what

:45:16.:45:26.
:45:26.:45:28.

I want and that is what we will Public sector workers in my

:45:28.:45:30.

Public sector workers in my constituency work extremely hard to

:45:30.:45:33.

deliver essential public services, and I know that my Right Honourable

:45:33.:45:37.

Friend will agree with me that we value these services tremendously.

:45:37.:45:40.

Can my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister reassure these

:45:40.:45:43.

workers and confirm that the Government's reforms, very

:45:43.:45:48.

necessary that they are, are sustainable and remain among the

:45:48.:45:54.

very, very best? I would certainly do that. He makes an important

:45:54.:45:58.

point. The cost of supporting public sector pensions has gone up

:45:58.:46:02.

by a third in the last decade. We are now spending something like �32

:46:02.:46:07.

billion, it is a major item of public spending. And we're taking

:46:07.:46:10.

taxes off people, including in the private sector, to pay for that

:46:11.:46:15.

pension provision. But I believe it is a fair scheme. For instance, a

:46:15.:46:21.

teacher retiring on a salary of �37,000 would actually retire on a

:46:21.:46:26.

pension of �25,000 in future, more than the �19,000 that they would

:46:27.:46:32.

currently get. This is a fair set- up changes. The low paid in the

:46:32.:46:35.

public sector will not have to pay increased contributions. I think

:46:35.:46:44.

the whole House of Commons should get behind it. Mr Speaker, when the

:46:44.:46:47.

Prime Minister goes to the G20 meeting, will he try and persuade

:46:47.:46:51.

his colleagues of the urgency of coming up with some detail on the

:46:51.:46:56.

eurozone settlement reached last week? It is not at all clear how on

:46:57.:47:00.

earth Greece will get out of its difficulties, even if this

:47:00.:47:05.

referendum passes. The European banks will lead shoring up well

:47:05.:47:08.

before next summer. And as for the rescue fund, it does not actually

:47:08.:47:17.

exist. The G20 need to show the same urgency that it showed two

:47:17.:47:23.

years ago when it met in London. think the Right Honourable

:47:23.:47:26.

Gentleman is absolutely right in what he says about the urgency of

:47:26.:47:30.

this G20 meeting, and the necessity of its agenda. I think some

:47:30.:47:33.

progress was made at the European council meeting a week ago when

:47:33.:47:37.

actually, for the first time, they did accept a proper write-down of

:47:37.:47:42.

Greek debt, which has to be part of the solution, also, a proper

:47:42.:47:45.

recapitalisation of Europe's banks, done to a credible test, rather

:47:45.:47:49.

than the incredible tests which we have had in months gone by. The

:47:49.:47:55.

final element he refers to, rightly, needs to have more substance added,

:47:55.:47:59.

and that is to make sure there is a proper firewall to stop contagion

:47:59.:48:03.

in the eurozone. The need has got even greater. We cannot involve

:48:03.:48:06.

ourselves in Greek domestic politics, but it has become even

:48:06.:48:10.

more urgent to put meat on the bones of these plans, to show that

:48:10.:48:14.

we are removing one of the key obstacles to global growth, which

:48:14.:48:17.

is the failure to find a proper plan to deal with the problems in

:48:17.:48:20.

the eurozone. According to the Government's own projections,

:48:20.:48:26.

Britain's population is set to increase from 62 million to 70

:48:26.:48:30.

million by 2027, with two thirds of this being driven by immigration.

:48:30.:48:34.

Will the Prime Minister commit to stem this increase by breaking the

:48:34.:48:38.

almost automatic link between foreign nationals who come to work

:48:38.:48:43.

here subsequently been granted citizenship? We are committed to

:48:43.:48:49.

doing exactly that. He is right to raise this issue. I think proper

:48:49.:48:52.

immigration control and welfare reform are to sides of the same

:48:52.:48:55.

coin, and this government is committed to controlling

:48:55.:48:58.

immigration properly but also putting British people back to work.

:48:58.:49:03.

I can tell him that today, we have announced, in terms of the illegal

:49:03.:49:07.

immigration coming through the student route, that more than 450

:49:07.:49:10.

colleges will no longer be able to sponsor a new international

:49:10.:49:13.

students because they were not actually properly established to do

:49:13.:49:16.

that. These, just could have brought in more than 11,000

:49:17.:49:20.

students to the UK to study each year. That is just one example of

:49:21.:49:23.

how this government is living up to its promise to get a grip on

:49:23.:49:28.

immigration. Does the Prime Minister agree with the vast

:49:28.:49:33.

majority of people that smoking should be banned in vehicles where

:49:33.:49:43.

there are children present? I do think it is right, I have to admit,

:49:43.:49:46.

as a former smoker, and someone who believes strongly in Liberty,

:49:46.:49:51.

someone who did not support it at the time, it has worked, I think

:49:51.:49:55.

the smoking ban is successful. I'm much more nervous about going into

:49:56.:50:00.

what people do inside a vehicle. I will look carefully at what he says,

:50:00.:50:06.

but we have just think seriously about it. The Prime Minister will

:50:06.:50:10.

be aware of a report issued yesterday on green energy

:50:10.:50:15.

investment in Scotland. Does he agree with me that this report ably

:50:15.:50:19.

demonstrates that the benefits of green energy in the UK are only

:50:19.:50:24.

unlocked by combining Scotland's renewable potential with large-

:50:24.:50:28.

scale investment made possible by the UK? Does he agree that a drawn

:50:28.:50:32.

out independence referendum would be a serious distraction from that?

:50:32.:50:37.

He makes an important point. A major financial institution warned

:50:37.:50:40.

yesterday of the dangers of investing in Scotland while there

:50:40.:50:43.

is this uncertainty about the future of the constitution. It is

:50:43.:50:49.

important that we keep our United Kingdom together, and stressed that

:50:49.:50:51.

when it comes to vital industries, like green technology, the

:50:51.:50:55.

combination of a green investment bank, sponsored by the United

:50:55.:50:58.

Kingdom government, and the many natural advantages in Scotland, can

:50:59.:51:03.

make this a great industry, but we will only do it if we keep the

:51:03.:51:06.

country together. The Prime Minister said that his government

:51:06.:51:10.

would be the greenest ever, does he still take that statement

:51:10.:51:15.

seriously? If so, will he personally intervene to sort out

:51:15.:51:19.

the appalling chaos which is resulting from the slashing of

:51:19.:51:24.

feeding tariffs in six weeks' time, leading to substantial job losses

:51:24.:51:33.

and chaos in the industry? It is this government that has set aside

:51:33.:51:36.

�3 billion for a green investment bank, much talk about in the past,

:51:36.:51:42.

never done. This government has put in place a carbon price floor, one

:51:42.:51:45.

of the first governments anywhere in the world to do that. We have

:51:45.:51:50.

put aside �1 billion for carbon capture and storage. This is a very

:51:50.:51:56.

green government, living up to our promises. It would the Prime

:51:56.:52:00.

Minister join me in congratulating the pupils and staff at Whitchurch

:52:00.:52:04.

High School, a foundation status comprehensive school in my

:52:05.:52:13.

constituency, the former school of Sam Warburton, of Gareth Bale, both

:52:13.:52:16.

outstanding sports people, and also Geraint Thomas, the gold medallist,

:52:16.:52:24.

who will be receiving the award as state school of the year? It is a

:52:24.:52:27.

very impressive list of sports personalities who have attended

:52:27.:52:32.

this School, I don't know what they put in the water! But I would join

:52:32.:52:34.

My Honourable Friend in congratulating such an excellent

:52:34.:52:41.

school. In the past four years, six children and two adults have been

:52:41.:52:46.

killed in dog attacks, and some 6,000 postal workers are attacked

:52:46.:52:51.

each year. We need to tighten up the law in this area. Would the

:52:51.:52:53.

Prime Minister take a personal interest and make sure that

:52:53.:52:57.

legislation is brought forward? Honourable Lady makes an important

:52:57.:53:03.

point. Legislative attempts at this in the past have not always been

:53:03.:53:07.

successful at capturing the breeds that need to be captured. I will

:53:07.:53:14.

certainly take a personal interest in this. Following the Prime

:53:14.:53:19.

Minister's answers a moment ago, and given the huge anger about the

:53:19.:53:23.

pay for the top 100 directors, can he give me a personal assurance

:53:23.:53:30.

that he is committed to the transfer of power overpay from the

:53:30.:53:35.

boardroom to the shareholders of our companies? I want to see that

:53:35.:53:39.

happen. I think the answer to this is much more transparency about the

:53:39.:53:42.

levels of pay, much more accountability and strengthening

:53:42.:53:48.

the hand of shareholders. And there is something else we need to do, to

:53:48.:53:51.

make sure that non-executive directors on boards are not the

:53:51.:53:55.

usual rotating list of men patting each other's backs and increasing

:53:55.:53:59.

the level of remuneration. I want to see more women in Britain's

:53:59.:54:09.
:54:09.:54:19.

boardrooms. Order! The House must come down, I want to hear

:54:19.:54:24.

MrDavidLammy. The Prime Minister has described his work programme as

:54:24.:54:30.

the biggest such programme since the 1930s. But there are 6,500

:54:30.:54:36.

people unemployed in Tottenham, 28,000 on out-of-work benefits, and

:54:36.:54:40.

only 150 vacancies - what is his work programme going to do about

:54:40.:54:44.

that? As the Right Honourable Gentleman says, this programme

:54:44.:54:48.

plays a key role in preparing people for work, which is

:54:48.:54:52.

absolutely vital. It also brings employers in to offer jobs to those

:54:52.:54:56.

people. I have looked specifically at the issue of Tottenham. When I

:54:56.:55:00.

visited his constituency with him, I know that there is a shortage of

:55:00.:55:03.

vacancies in the borough of Tottenham itself. But we have got

:55:03.:55:06.

to encourage people living in London to be prepared to travel

:55:07.:55:13.

more widely to look for work. I think that is absolutely vital. Pot

:55:13.:55:20.

of the work programme should be aimed at addressing exactly that.

:55:20.:55:24.

Rural fire services attend more primary fires and more road traffic

:55:24.:55:28.

accidents than those in urban areas, and yet receive less funding. This

:55:28.:55:32.

is typical of rural services across the piece, where residents pay more

:55:32.:55:38.

and receive less. Will the Prime Minister meet with me and other MPs

:55:38.:55:41.

representing rural areas to get a fairer deal for those in rural

:55:41.:55:48.

areas? I'm happy to meet with My Honourable Friend. It is important

:55:48.:55:52.

that we have a fair deal for rural areas. There are very big

:55:52.:56:02.
:56:02.:56:02.

difference is particularly in the use of Retained firefighters.

:56:02.:56:06.

nine months, the Government's Business Growth fund has invested

:56:06.:56:11.

in precisely two companies. At a time when the economy is flatline

:56:11.:56:15.

ing, is that good enough? This Government has cut corporation tax

:56:16.:56:20.

for every business in the country, has introduced enterprise zones to

:56:20.:56:24.

help employment, has actually increased the number of

:56:24.:56:28.

apprenticeships by 250,000 over the life of this Parliament. They

:56:28.:56:32.

criticised the Regional Growth Fund - there was no Regional Growth Fund

:56:32.:56:38.

under Labour, that's the point. We inherited an economy with the

:56:38.:56:42.

biggest budget deficit in Europe, and it is this government which is

:56:42.:56:45.

helping our economy through the international storms to make sure

:56:45.:56:55.
:56:55.:56:57.

we remain safe in the UK. This week marks national Adoption Week. We

:56:57.:57:01.

must continue to do all we can to support children in the care system,

:57:01.:57:07.

and also to encourage prospective adoptive parents to come forward.

:57:07.:57:11.

My Honourable Friend makes an extremely important point. We need

:57:11.:57:16.

more parents to come forward as potential adopters, and also has

:57:16.:57:19.

potential foster carers, because there was a huge build up of

:57:19.:57:21.

children in the care system who will not get that help unless

:57:21.:57:24.

people come forward. But it is important that government makes the

:57:24.:57:27.

pledge that we will make the process of adoption and fostering

:57:28.:57:32.

simpler. It has become too bureaucratic and too difficult, and

:57:32.:57:36.

as a result, that is putting people off. I am determined that we crack

:57:37.:57:43.

this. It is a sense of national shame that while there are 3,600

:57:43.:57:47.

children under the age of one in the care system, there were only 60

:57:47.:57:50.

adoptions last year. We are publishing information on every

:57:50.:57:54.

single council, so people can see how we are doing in terms of

:57:54.:57:59.

driving this vital agenda. This week, yet another military academic

:57:59.:58:03.

has called for the reopening of the defence review, and a leading

:58:03.:58:06.

military think-tank has said that Britain is now cutting military

:58:06.:58:10.

equipment which might prove vital in the future. Will the Prime

:58:10.:58:14.

Minister finally listen to the voices of the defence community and

:58:14.:58:19.

reopen the deeply flawed defence review? We had no defence review

:58:19.:58:24.

for 10 years, and now they want two in one go. It is typical of the

:58:24.:58:28.

opportunism of the party opposite. I think this is a day, as

:58:28.:58:31.

hostilities in Libya are coming to an end, that we should be praising

:58:31.:58:38.

our brave armed services. Schools in rural Northumberland were

:58:38.:58:42.

largely ignored by the previous government. With the school's

:58:42.:58:49.

budget rising from �35 billion to �39 billion in 2015, will the Prime

:58:49.:58:55.

Minister welcome the progression in my constituency? I will. It is

:58:55.:59:00.

important to note that as we are protecting the per pupil funding,

:59:00.:59:04.

even at a difficult time, it means the education budget is going to be

:59:04.:59:08.

rising and not falling. As ever, the Shadow Chancellor is wrong even

:59:08.:59:15.

when he is sitting down. He talks even more rubbish when he stands up.

:59:15.:59:23.

I digress. As well as the extra investment in the school's budget,

:59:23.:59:26.

there is also the opportunity for free schools, which I think will be

:59:26.:59:34.

a major reform in our country to bring more school places. Perhaps

:59:34.:59:38.

when the Shadow Chancellor attends one of the schools he will then a

:59:38.:59:44.

few manners. Some people are going to burst, they're getting so

:59:44.:59:51.

excited. Will the Prime Minister listen to the campaigners outside

:59:51.:59:57.

Parliament today, and the 80,000 people who have written to him in

:59:57.:00:01.

recent weeks, regarding the introduction of a Robin Hood tax at

:00:01.:00:05.

the G20 summit, and make sure the Revenue is earmarked for

:00:05.:00:10.

sustainable development and the growing climate crisis? I think

:00:10.:00:17.

there is widespread support for the principles behind such a tax, but

:00:17.:00:26.

it has to be adopted on a global basis. We must be careful that we

:00:26.:00:31.

do not allow other countries, including some European countries,

:00:32.:00:35.

to use a campaign for this tax, which they know is unlikely to be

:00:35.:00:39.

adopted in the short term, as an excuse for getting off their aid

:00:39.:00:43.

commitments. We can be proud of the fact that we are meeting our aid

:00:44.:00:47.

commitments - don't let others use this tax as a way of getting out of

:00:47.:00:52.

things they had promised. The world population went past 7 billion

:00:52.:00:58.

people this week. The UN predicts that over the next 40 years, world

:00:58.:01:04.

demand for food will increase by a 70%. That should be good news for

:01:04.:01:10.

farmers. But since 1990, Britain's capacity to feed itself has fallen

:01:10.:01:13.

by a fifth. Will the Prime Minister bring forward a credible strategy

:01:13.:01:18.

to grow Britain's farming industry to feed us all in the future?

:01:18.:01:21.

Honourable Friend makes an important point. It is true that we

:01:21.:01:25.

have seen our own food security declining, as well as food

:01:25.:01:28.

production being severely challenged. It is important to

:01:28.:01:31.

remember that farmers are businesses, and they need things

:01:31.:01:36.

done, as other businesses do, in terms of the regulation, a

:01:36.:01:39.

predictable income, and all of those things. This government is

:01:39.:01:49.
:01:49.:01:53.

committed to making that happen. September 2010, when asked if this

:01:53.:01:56.

government would be building more homes per year, the Housing

:01:56.:01:59.

Minister replied, yes, building more homes is the gold standard

:01:59.:02:05.

upon which we shall be judged. In which year it does the Prime

:02:05.:02:09.

Minister expect his gold standard to be achieved? We have said that

:02:09.:02:13.

we are going to expand the building of homes for social rent by

:02:13.:02:17.

actually increasing and reintroducing the right to buy,

:02:17.:02:21.

which the last government so scandalously ran down. We're also

:02:21.:02:25.

going to make available government land so that builders can get on

:02:25.:02:28.

and build without having to buy that land, and only have to pay

:02:28.:02:32.

when they have actually delivered the House. So, we want to see an

:02:33.:02:36.

extra 200,000 homes built in that way. That will give us a far better

:02:36.:02:46.
:02:46.:02:47.

record than the government which he A couple of developments have been

:02:47.:02:51.

happening in the outside world. We are told that the Government's new

:02:51.:02:57.

offer to the unions on pension reforms includes a proposal that 1

:02:58.:03:03.

million public sector workers due to retire in the ten years from

:03:04.:03:08.

April next year will not be affected by any of the changes

:03:08.:03:13.

currently being discussed. I think Danny Alexander is making a

:03:13.:03:17.

statement in the Commons about that. We'll come back to that.

:03:17.:03:22.

While on air, a technical matter, but it could be a harbinger to come.

:03:22.:03:30.

There's been a spike in the yields bonds pay. This is a sign perhaps

:03:30.:03:36.

of the fear of the contagion coming out of Greece, first of all hitting

:03:36.:03:42.

Italian bonds this week and now French bodies. There's a real worry

:03:42.:03:47.

in France that it would lose its AAA credit rating. Prime Minister's

:03:47.:03:51.

Questions didn't get into much of that at all. It was only when

:03:51.:03:54.

Alistair Darling got to his feet that the matter of the eurozone and

:03:54.:03:58.

Greece and the referendum and if bail-out plan, which Mr Darling was

:03:58.:04:02.

not convinced by, only did did the Commons turn itself to the main

:04:02.:04:06.

matter of the day, the week, the month, the year. Until then there

:04:06.:04:11.

had been no discussion of it. Let's hear what you had to say about

:04:11.:04:14.

Prime Minister's Questions. Viewers I think are reflecting their

:04:14.:04:17.

frustration that the seriousness of the global situation which you've

:04:17.:04:23.

been talking about should be dealt with in what they see is a partisan

:04:23.:04:26.

way. They want solutions. And there was quite a lot of criticism of

:04:26.:04:32.

David Cameron. Many viewers think he is not answering the questions.

:04:32.:04:35.

Ellis King, when David Cameron was new to power, blaming Labour was

:04:35.:04:39.

effective and true. However with the problems we face abroad and in

:04:39.:04:43.

our country, to merely blame the previous Government appears weak

:04:43.:04:47.

and holds the nation back. Anne says Cameron is blaming

:04:47.:04:52.

everyone but the himself. When will he take responsibility for his

:04:52.:05:00.

Government's policies? And Ed says Ed Miliband totally smashed David

:05:00.:05:04.

Cameron. Damien from Manchester says Ed Miliband, who was in power

:05:04.:05:11.

for 13 years, who spent every penny we didn't have, so before he plays

:05:11.:05:16.

the cheap opportunist card maybe he should look at his own record.

:05:16.:05:20.

Martin says Labour are returning to type. Their attack has moved on to

:05:20.:05:25.

the them and us opportunism. Miliband's pathetic attempt to talk

:05:25.:05:32.

about the 99% versus 1% is old- style jealousy and spite, not a

:05:32.:05:37.

credible policy agenda. Alistair Darling's question, the former

:05:37.:05:39.

Chancellor. James says the first sensible question from the other

:05:39.:05:44.

side. Careful, this may catch on. Nick, there's a sense in which

:05:44.:05:50.

British politics is on hold at the moment. Until events outside our

:05:50.:05:57.

control unravel, develop, come to some kind of finality? I think what

:05:57.:06:01.

Ed Miliband was trying to do as Labour leader is say look, there

:06:01.:06:05.

are problems in the British economy that are due to British policies

:06:05.:06:10.

not the eurozone. I know he believes that, in the short term,

:06:10.:06:14.

this eurozone crisis is politically, and I stress the word politically,

:06:14.:06:20.

is convenient for the Government. Of course it is not welcome to what

:06:20.:06:26.

it does to our economy. In the short term, what Labour want to say

:06:26.:06:31.

is snow, a lot of the poor figures we are seeing now predated the

:06:31.:06:35.

eurozone. It may make it harder, it may mean there are headwinds.

:06:35.:06:38.

That's the argument he was trying to get going I think at Prime

:06:39.:06:42.

Minister's Questions. But it had the slight feel until Alistair

:06:43.:06:46.

Darling stood up of feeling irrelevant compared to what's going

:06:46.:06:52.

on. Other than urging and cajoling, but get any impression from the

:06:52.:06:56.

background briefings about the G20 coming up in the south of friend

:06:56.:07:03.

tomorrow, and Friday, the two days, 3rd and 4th November, do we have a

:07:03.:07:07.

strategy? Do we matter? Well, the answer I think to most of that is

:07:07.:07:16.

no. Of course we matter. Remember the G20, we are a member of the G20.

:07:16.:07:20.

But in a sense what's happening is that a summit that was planned to

:07:20.:07:26.

begin tomorrow lunchtime and go through to Friday is starting this

:07:26.:07:30.

afternoon. Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy of France have

:07:30.:07:33.

summoned the Greek Prime Minister to come. He's not a member of the

:07:33.:07:38.

G20. No, Greece shouldn't be at this event, but as a result of his

:07:38.:07:41.

call to the referendum he's been summoned. There is going to be a

:07:41.:07:45.

meeting involving the President of the commission, Jose Manuel Barroso,

:07:45.:07:52.

the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, and others, trying to

:07:52.:07:55.

strengthen the eurozone package that looks like unravelling,

:07:55.:08:00.

despite the fact it is only a few days old, so that the whole of the

:08:00.:08:06.

G20 meeting isn't taken over with a panic about what to do in the face

:08:06.:08:10.

of the Greek decision which could mean the eurozone bail-out deal is

:08:10.:08:16.

torn to shreds in January when a referendum is held. It is quite

:08:16.:08:21.

clear, Hilary Benn, that Alistair Darling, who knows a thing or two

:08:21.:08:24.

about these matters, isn't convinced that the bail-out deal as

:08:24.:08:30.

it stands is a winner. Everyone is very anxious about it. Clearly the

:08:30.:08:33.

decision of the Greek Prime Minister ratified by his Cabinet in

:08:33.:08:37.

the early hours to hold this referendum has created a lot of

:08:37.:08:41.

uncertainty The end the broke have to determine their own way of

:08:41.:08:46.

deciding whether to support it or not. But, this is a very dangerous

:08:46.:08:50.

time for everybody. I think Nick is also right. There are two things

:08:50.:08:53.

going on. There is the eurozone crisis. If that goes wrong is going

:08:54.:08:57.

to affect every economy. And there is the crisis of domestic economic

:08:57.:09:01.

policy, which is the failure of the Government's economic plan to work.

:09:01.:09:06.

That's why the economy's grown by 0.5% in a year. There are things

:09:06.:09:10.

the Government could do but they are refusing to do them. Of course

:09:10.:09:13.

it's the opposition's job to point out how the Government could be

:09:13.:09:17.

running the economy doctor, from its own point of view. But when the

:09:17.:09:23.

OECD as it did this week predicts that the eurozone will grow by only

:09:23.:09:27.

0.3% next year, including Germany, the whole of the eurozone, which

:09:27.:09:32.

frankly means it could go into recession, because economists use

:09:32.:09:36.

decimal points to show they have a sense of humour. They have no idea

:09:37.:09:43.

if it is going to grow by 0.3 or minus 0.3, then the British

:09:43.:09:47.

economy's performance looks par for the course. So in that sense we are

:09:47.:09:51.

all in it together! Clearly the British economy, as every economy

:09:51.:09:55.

in Europe, is going to be affected if the eurozone crisis gets worse

:09:55.:09:58.

and that comes to pass. But you have to look at what the Government

:09:58.:10:02.

is doing in terms of the plan they put forward when they came into

:10:02.:10:07.

office. If it simply in not working. It inherited a growing economy and

:10:07.:10:13.

growth is now flat lining. LAUGHTER You may laugh, Alan, but it is the

:10:13.:10:17.

case, as you know. And therefore it could take action to stimulate

:10:17.:10:21.

demand, because in the end we know already that the Government is

:10:21.:10:25.

going to have to borrow more than they were planning and they are

:10:25.:10:33.

going to have to downgrade their forecast. I think Alistair

:10:33.:10:37.

Darling's one question outshone Ed Miliband's six. He is a serious guy

:10:37.:10:42.

asking a serious question. It is astonishing that a day before G20

:10:42.:10:45.

the leader of the Labour Party doesn't ask a serious question on

:10:45.:10:49.

the global economy. We were talking about this earlier, Britain is in a

:10:49.:10:51.

different position from the European mainland. Thank goodness

:10:51.:10:55.

we are in the in the euro that. Vindicates what we've been arguing

:10:55.:10:58.

for over a decade. We also have low interest rates and are urgeing

:10:59.:11:02.

forward. We are not on the brink of collapse, like agreements The

:11:02.:11:07.

danger is that if Greece on the back of this referendum were to end

:11:07.:11:11.

up having a total default, that would smack the French very hard,

:11:11.:11:15.

which is why their bond yields have suddenly spiked this morning. And

:11:15.:11:19.

the European mainland would be in a very difficult position. Hillary,

:11:19.:11:23.

one of the reasons we keep on saying look, Labour governments

:11:23.:11:27.

always run out of money and they made a mess, is the effect of doing

:11:27.:11:30.

so lasts for the very long term. You can't flick a finger and go

:11:31.:11:34.

back to growth. You can't flick a finger and employ people just like

:11:34.:11:38.

that. The pain that we are suffering are labour pains because

:11:38.:11:42.

you spent too much money, said vote for me, I'm going to spend lots of

:11:42.:11:46.

money, and, as we are seeing with the pensions challenges, then of

:11:46.:11:50.

course the Government always lets people down. Let me try and bring

:11:51.:11:56.

you back to the exact moment. I'm genuinely puzzled at the Labour

:11:56.:12:00.

policy position at the moment. I would be grateful if you could

:12:00.:12:04.

explain it. At a time when too much debt is clear through real problem

:12:04.:12:09.

for Greece at the moment. It can't service it. When worries about

:12:09.:12:13.

servicing Italian debt have taken bond yields to over 6%, when

:12:13.:12:19.

worries about financing Spanish debt have taken it to over 6%. And

:12:19.:12:23.

worries about French debt are now producing these kind of spikes in

:12:23.:12:30.

bonds, how can you credibly argue that you would increase by an even

:12:30.:12:34.

faster rate British debt? Well, the Government is going to have to

:12:34.:12:37.

borrow more anyway because its economic plan isn't working. That

:12:37.:12:46.

is already very clear. That is the case. But you want more?

:12:46.:12:50.

borrowed less... Let him finish. The Government is going to have to

:12:50.:12:53.

borrow more, and therefore it is how you strike the balance. What's

:12:53.:12:56.

happening at the moment is unemployment is rising. When people

:12:56.:13:01.

lose their jobs they stop paying tax, you start paying out JSA, it

:13:01.:13:05.

costs the Government money. We were told a year and a bit ago a this

:13:05.:13:11.

plan was going to work. Private sector jobs would be created to

:13:11.:13:17.

outweigh the jobs in the punt sector. If the plan doesn't seem to

:13:17.:13:20.

be working then Government should be revisiting their approach. I

:13:20.:13:24.

think that's very sensible advice. I think the time has come for the

:13:24.:13:28.

Chancellor to do precisely that. Your sentence, the Government is

:13:28.:13:33.

having to borrow more, is not a logical sentence. It's a fact.

:13:33.:13:36.

we are having to finance and fund the deficit which we were left. But

:13:36.:13:43.

you can only do that as best you can. Yes we put up VAT, we are

:13:43.:13:47.

trying to maximise revenues. If there's a hole you have to full the

:13:47.:13:52.

hole. You want to add to that by paying out of a mortgage with a

:13:52.:13:55.

bigger mortgage. That's lunacy. immediate question David Cameron

:13:55.:14:00.

will face is what does he say to what President Sarkozy is saying to

:14:00.:14:04.

the Greeks? It is pretty tough. Hef said how shocked he was and how

:14:04.:14:08.

shocked Europe was. I understand he's effectively said to the Greeks,

:14:08.:14:12.

you should treat there referendum like an in-out referendum about

:14:12.:14:18.

membership of Europe. If you vote to get out, bang goes all the IMF

:14:18.:14:22.

loans. This will be seen as quite a threatening stance. The question

:14:22.:14:25.

then, at the moment Downing Street have had nothing to say about those

:14:25.:14:28.

comments. They are tending to say that's a matter for eurozone

:14:28.:14:31.

countries not us, but there'll be pressure on the Prime Minister to

:14:31.:14:35.

express a view. It have to be an inout referendum, because there is

:14:35.:14:38.

no bail-out deal formulated to put to the Greek people. Alistair

:14:38.:14:42.

Darling would be the first person to tell up. There are too many

:14:42.:14:46.

unknowns to put it to a vote. You are off to the G20 now, are new

:14:46.:14:49.

this second. The Prime Minister goes tomorrow morning. I'm going as

:14:49.:14:55.

well. The south of France? I've checked the temperature, 18 degrees.

:14:55.:15:02.

It's a hard life. Bring us back a stick of rock. I don't think they

:15:02.:15:07.

do rock in Cannes! Sit different from Blackpool? I will talk about

:15:08.:15:12.

it later with you. Now, here's a radical idea for you - Britain

:15:12.:15:14.

should consider joining the euro. That's what the former leader of

:15:14.:15:18.

the TUC, John Monks, thinks. Given the state of the eurozone, you'd be

:15:18.:15:21.

forgiven for thinking he's gone mad. But does he have a point? Here's

:15:21.:15:31.
:15:31.:15:40.

I favoured joining the euro at the start. In the hope that it would

:15:40.:15:47.

better shape. It might seem crazy to many, particularly at the moment,

:15:47.:15:51.

but I think it's important that Britain is prepared to reconsider

:15:51.:15:57.

its attitude to joining the euro, provided the present crisis is

:15:57.:16:01.

resolved satisfactorily. If the eurozone survives the current

:16:01.:16:05.

crisis it is inevitable that the 17 members will have to work more

:16:05.:16:10.

closely to get on a range of economic issues. If Britain stays

:16:10.:16:14.

outside, then it risks losing influence both in Europe and in the

:16:14.:16:24.
:16:24.:16:34.

I know that many of my compatriots want to reduce the role of Britain

:16:34.:16:39.

in the EU, not to enhance it. But I believe it is important to keep up

:16:39.:16:43.

Britain's influence on the single market, and on trade and relations

:16:43.:16:48.

with our neighbours across the North Sea. Except that now is not

:16:48.:16:53.

the time to join the euro currency. But at some stage in the future, if

:16:53.:16:57.

the euro comes through the present crisis, then I want to see the

:16:57.:17:01.

debate reignited, that Britain should consider whether or not it

:17:01.:17:07.

joins that currency. John Monks, who now sits in the House of Lords,

:17:07.:17:10.

is with us. It has probably an understatement to say that this is

:17:10.:17:15.

a minority view, particularly at the moment. Timing is not too good,

:17:15.:17:23.

yes. Admittedly, you gave a caveat, saying, this is not the time. But

:17:23.:17:28.

while on earth are you talking about this now? It is partly

:17:28.:17:32.

because various people I think have been saying that perhaps it was a

:17:32.:17:37.

good thing we did not cut will the euro. Before, perhaps they were

:17:37.:17:40.

concentrating on the fundamental reasons why we might consider

:17:40.:17:44.

fixing our currency into the euro system. The key ones for me are

:17:44.:17:49.

that the British economy, since the war, has rested on devaluations

:17:49.:17:53.

against neighbours across the North Sea, Germany, the Netherlands and

:17:53.:17:57.

some others. It seems to me to be crucial that we remember all the

:17:57.:18:01.

time, inside or outside the euro, that we have got to remain

:18:01.:18:07.

competitive with them. We have had two bonanzas, the North Sea and

:18:07.:18:11.

financial services, there is not going to be a third one. The

:18:11.:18:14.

competitiveness of our economy, with those neighbouring economies,

:18:14.:18:19.

is crucial. You're not advocating it now, so what kind of timing are

:18:19.:18:29.
:18:29.:18:34.

you thinking of? In the immediate crisis, it is not desirable, but we

:18:34.:18:38.

would be in the bottom half of the league, we would be with the

:18:38.:18:42.

Mediterranean countries, I fear, at the present time. Our fundamental

:18:42.:18:45.

problem is that we're not in the first division of European

:18:45.:18:52.

countries, with Germany, the Netherlands, even Denmark, which is

:18:52.:18:57.

not in the euro but pegs its currency to the euro. I want to see

:18:57.:19:01.

Britain in that particular league, not in the Second Division. There

:19:01.:19:05.

are fears that if there is closer fiscal integration amongst the

:19:05.:19:12.

eurozone countries, that Britain will be to some extent left out

:19:12.:19:15.

checks do you see that happening? It is inevitably likely to be the

:19:15.:19:23.

case. The Prime Minister and George Osborne are urging the eurozone to

:19:23.:19:27.

move in certain directions, and so I think it is inevitable that

:19:27.:19:32.

Britain will be pushed towards the margins, reduced to comments from

:19:32.:19:35.

the touchline, and I don't think that is a particularly good

:19:35.:19:39.

position for Britain and the long- term. What do you say to that? It

:19:39.:19:45.

is a fear that has been expressed, the worry that Britain will be left

:19:45.:19:51.

on the sidelines? He has a good argument, in one sense, when we

:19:51.:19:56.

have a budget deficit, we escaped that deficit through devaluation.

:19:56.:20:01.

The solution is not to join the euro, it is not to have that budget

:20:01.:20:06.

deficit. Everyone said join - if you meet the convergence criteria,

:20:06.:20:11.

we are all the same and we can swim together. But nobody asked what the

:20:11.:20:17.

criteria for divergence were. People have not shown a united

:20:17.:20:20.

budget discipline, fiscal discipline, and that is why the

:20:20.:20:23.

system is never going to work, because you have got sovereign

:20:23.:20:26.

countries not following the rules, and the whole thing comes apart,

:20:27.:20:30.

and thank goodness that we are out of it. We should stay out of it,

:20:30.:20:37.

but have the sort of discipline which you rightly say we need.

:20:37.:20:43.

Labour Party's policy seems to be slightly unclear at the moment. At

:20:43.:20:46.

one time Tony Blair advocated joining the euro, but it did not

:20:46.:20:53.

happen. But Major, have you ruled it out forever? We were right not

:20:53.:20:55.

to have joined, and that was a decision we took when we were in

:20:55.:21:00.

government. I cannot see in the foreseeable future circumstances in

:21:00.:21:05.

which it would be the right thing to do. We are pragmatic Europeans,

:21:06.:21:11.

as opposed to ideological Europeans, and the argument has always been

:21:12.:21:15.

about what is in our national self- interest, and that's a perfectly

:21:15.:21:19.

proper way to look at it. Nobody can argue that it is in our

:21:19.:21:24.

interests at the moment. For the euro as a member states, they have

:21:24.:21:30.

got to find a way of making the eurozone work. It is true that the

:21:30.:21:38.

absence of that has created some of the difficulties. I want to get you

:21:38.:21:43.

to comment on something else. While we have been on air, the Chief

:21:43.:21:45.

Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has been speaking to the

:21:46.:21:50.

Commons on public sector pensions. This is what he had to say. This

:21:50.:21:53.

generous offer should be more than sufficient to allow agreement to be

:21:53.:21:57.

reached with the unions, but it is an offer that is conditional upon

:21:57.:22:01.

reaching agreement. I hope on the basis of this offer, the trade

:22:01.:22:05.

unions will devote their energy to reaching agreement and not to

:22:05.:22:12.

unnecessary and damaging strike action. You have been through many

:22:12.:22:14.

negotiations - do you get a sense that we're heading for

:22:14.:22:22.

confrontation on this one? I thought these concessions were

:22:22.:22:25.

going to be mainly technical, but one of them is quite big, taking

:22:25.:22:29.

one million workers out of the reforms altogether. Will it be

:22:29.:22:33.

enough? There has been a lot of work going on. I know that Brendan

:22:33.:22:37.

Barber has been in the middle of all sorts of things. I very much

:22:38.:22:43.

hope they have got something, but I do not know the details. Nobody has

:22:43.:22:52.

rushed to the microphones. People are thinking about it, I'm sure.

:22:52.:22:56.

has cost �2 million, it has taken a team of researchers months and

:22:56.:22:59.

months to devise, many of us are not even sure what the point of it

:22:59.:23:05.

is. What am I talking about? The coalition's new happiness test.

:23:05.:23:09.

Here's what the Prime Minister said about it. From April next year we

:23:09.:23:13.

will start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our

:23:13.:23:18.

economy is growing, but by how our lives or improving, not just by

:23:18.:23:23.

standard of living, but by a quality of life. I think this is

:23:23.:23:27.

something which is important to our goal of trying to create a more

:23:27.:23:30.

family friendly country. It is something I have been calling for

:23:30.:23:36.

for a long time. The Office for National Statistics has come up

:23:36.:23:42.

with a list of 10 indicators of well-being. I wonder how long that

:23:42.:23:46.

took them. They're launching a consultation before publishing a

:23:46.:23:49.

finalist in three months' time. That will keep them in a job. We

:23:49.:23:53.

thought it was our public duty to put it to the test first. Who

:23:53.:23:58.

better to help us than a man who has always had a smile on his face,

:23:58.:24:07.

take it away, Cheggers! We have done a snapshot of some of the

:24:07.:24:12.

questions. For both of you, I want a score from one to 10, and short,

:24:12.:24:16.

succinct answers, otherwise I will just throw you off the show. For

:24:16.:24:24.

you first of all, here's the question... 10 out of 10 for my

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

question... 10 out of 10 for my husband! 10 out of 10, too. Oh, no,

:24:35.:24:38.

husband! 10 out of 10, too. Oh, no, hang on. Do you have a job and are

:24:38.:24:46.

you happy with it? We have not got you happy with it? We have not got

:24:46.:24:49.

the graphic for that one. Yes, I do, and 10 again, if we're allowed.

:24:49.:24:59.

what about yourself? Definitely 10, I'm a happy Minister. They're such

:24:59.:25:05.

liars! Next question - are you satisfied with your income? I would

:25:05.:25:14.

be mad if I said no, so, 10 out of 10, yes! Ditto, I'm not complaining.

:25:14.:25:24.

And finally, do you trust politicians and your local council?

:25:24.:25:30.

Yes, I do. We need our politicians to deal with the problems of the

:25:30.:25:39.

world. The politicians I work with, not everybody, but the colleagues

:25:39.:25:44.

on my side, yes, I do, and I would give them a 10. Funnily enough, I

:25:44.:25:49.

would have exactly the same view, but equal and opposite. And my

:25:49.:25:55.

local Conservative councils are local Conservative councils are

:25:55.:26:00.

great. Four tough questions for you. I don't think that was honest.

:26:00.:26:03.

think it shows the problem of trying to measure happiness, it is

:26:03.:26:09.

really quite difficult. Have you not just hauled below the waterline

:26:09.:26:18.

the Government's happiness index? By not answering truthfully?

:26:18.:26:25.

you not actually try and do this under Tony Blair in 1995? I could

:26:25.:26:30.

be wrong. I do not know, to tell you the truth, but I think it is

:26:30.:26:35.

quite a hard thing to measure, in the way that they are seeking to do.

:26:35.:26:38.

At the moment, facing economic difficulties, a lot of people will

:26:39.:26:44.

be very anxious. That will affect their happiness. They might not

:26:44.:26:51.

feel secure in their job. Why is the Government spending our hard-

:26:51.:26:54.

earned cash to find out whether you're satisfied with your husband

:26:54.:26:59.

or wife? What has that got to do with you? Not an enormous amount, I

:26:59.:27:07.

suppose. Can you turn it the other way around and look at it from the

:27:07.:27:11.

public's point of view? As a member of the public, I do not want to be

:27:11.:27:17.

rude, but I think politicians become slightly cocooned when they

:27:17.:27:20.

are in power. Also it is quite nice for them to feel what the nation is

:27:20.:27:25.

feeling. It would not be a good idea to find out what the public

:27:25.:27:31.

really do think about education, health, the economy. There is a

:27:31.:27:38.

value in this. This is a new technique to get to some of the

:27:38.:27:40.

underlying feelings about what people really think about their

:27:40.:27:43.

life, their country, their circumstances, which

:27:43.:27:50.

straightforward polling does not really get. And so, I'm unhappy

:27:50.:27:55.

with my partner, unhappy with my job, with my income, and I do not

:27:55.:28:04.

trust politicians - what are you going to do about it? Not me!

:28:04.:28:10.

you do that and still stay in the government? I don't think so.

:28:10.:28:13.

People contact politicians all the time, and we get not a bad sense of

:28:14.:28:21.

how people are feeling. The task for us is, what are we going to do

:28:21.:28:27.

about it? How do we make sure the people get jobs? You could be

:28:27.:28:33.

marriage guidance councillors, in your next job. Well, having got

:28:33.:28:39.

absolutely nowhere with that... you happy, Andrew? I'm happy this

:28:39.:28:45.

Presented by Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn.

The Greek government may be teetering on the brink of collapse, but former leader of the TUC, John Monks, explains why he believes Britain should still think about signing up to the euro.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has backed calls for a new tax on financial transactions which could advance the protesters' moral agenda. Adam Fleming tested the reaction with the mood box.

Keith 'Cheggers' Chegwin puts the government's new happiness test to the test.

Plus, International Development Minister Alan Duncan, and the Shadow Leader of the Commons, Hilary Benn, help Andrew and Jo review PMQs.


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