Jo Coburn has the top political stories of the day. Money saving expert Martin Lewis gives advice on student tuition fees.
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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. New Prime Ministers
in Italy and Greece bring relative stability to the Eurozone but what
damage has all the uncertainty done to the UK economy and is there
anything the Government can do about it? At the moment, they are
predominantly white and male. So, should women and ethnic minority
candidates be favoured in the selection of our senior judges?
Unemployment is set to rise over the coming months we are told today
but is a good workout what the long term jobless need to help them get
back to work? Students were back on the street again last week
protesting about higher tuition fees. The internet's money saving
expert is here to tell us they All that in the next half hour. And
with us for the whole programme today is Nikki King, who is
managing director of Isuzu Truck UK. Later we will have Martin Lewis of
Money Saving Expert on the programme to talk student tuition
fees. If you have any questions about what the new system means for
students please e-mail us at [email protected] and we
will try to put them to Martin. Now, first it was monarchs, now it is
top judges. The Master of the Rolls - the most senior judge in England
and Wales - has said he sees no problem with women being favoured
for top legal jobs. Lord Neuberger said that if there are two equal
candidates in line for a job he has no difficulty with it going to a
woman or ethnic minority candidate. Currently, only one of the 11
Supreme Court judges is a woman. In the Appeal Court, only four out of
37 judges are women. What do you think? We are not Green spotted
frogs. We are 50% of the population. Positive discrimination is a
mistake. We need to be much more flexible than the way we employ
women so they do not have to give up their jobs during a very
important part of their career. still do not represent all reflect
the community at large in the top echelons of industry. What was your
experience? It was pretty good. Once you are at a certain level,
you actively encouraged. The tough part is when your children are
small, your parents are ill. It is always the women who have to make
the sacrifices in their career. If we are more flexible and more
sympathetic and allow homeworking, flexible working, we can keep our
women and encourage them to get to the top. You said your experience
was pretty good but you are told she could not run a fleet cells
caused because you were a woman and they were men. Was that true?
Absolutely true. You did come across prejudice. I did. It was
very easily and quickly dealt with by me. I think positive
discrimination will lead to a certain amount of resentment within
the workforce. It is not a good idea. Do see a defence with there
being two equal candidates and they're saying, we will give it to
the women, rather than the discriminatory policies where, if
the woman is less qualified, she would get the job? If that is
ridiculous. Any sort of discrimination is wrong. You need
to encourage people in the workplace, at the same time as they
are looking after families and other things. If women decide to go
part-time, is their career path stored? Absolutely not. Why not?
am a woman myself. Many of my staff had to -- had started working full-
time - part-time from home and part-time in the office. Nobody has
to work in the office all day these days. A lot of jobs can be done
from home or half from home. We have to chuck out the chintz and
think outside the box. We have children coming to the office if
they are not that six. Why not? We have now got a whole team of 17-
year-olds and 18-year-olds who can operate holiday cover for us.
must ask if they were let us bring our children in there! Now it is
time for our daily quiz. The question for today is... Which
former European Prime Minister, did Conservative MP Patrick Mercer
reportedly compare David Cameron unfavourably to? George Papandreou,
Silvio Berlusconi, Herman van Rompuy or shacks Santa, who had the
same honour in Luxembourg? At the end of the show, Nikki will give us
the correct answer. If you flick through the financial pages this
morning, there is a sense that the Eurozone is out of intensive care
but there is no doubt that its condition remains critical. What is
more we are beginning to learn how the crisis is affecting the real
economy. First, let's have a look at the good news. Italy and Greece
have new Prime Ministers. And the cost of Italy's debt has come down
slightly, after hitting a record high last week. Meanwhile major
stock markets in Asia finished up overnight, while European markets
have seen some gains this morning. -- drops. And what about here in
the UK? Well, the interest rate we are paying on our debt has also
dropped, hitting a record low last week. But now the bad news. New
data out today shows the UK job market is facing a slow, painful
contraction. Meanwhile, other new figures out today show banks are
still failing to meet targets for lending to small businesses,
although overall lending is ahead of target. But, since 2007, lending
to small businesses has shrunk by about 10% a year. On Wednesday the
Bank of England is expected to downgrade this year's growth
forecast for the UK, from 1.5% to 1%. With us now is Labour's Chris
Leslie, the Shadow Financial Secretary, and the Conservative MP
Reports of the �50 billion infrastructure investment programme,
does that represent a Plan B or Plan A Plas? It is really important
for pension funds to find very long term investments. As I understand
from the reports in the papers over the weekend, the Chancellor is
tokamak making it easier for pension funds to invest in those
kinds of projects. -- talking about making it easier. It is very
sensible to be thinking about, for a pension funds, at a time when
they are looking for really good, long-term investments, the value
that infrastructure can play in that particular problem -
investment problem. At the moment, long-term interest rates will
government bonds are extremely low. A lot of pension funds are looking
for investments that give them a stable yield. It is a PFI project
essentially. That is what they are encouraging. It will not be on the
balance sheet but that is what cities. There are lots of different
approaches around the world. It is worth seeing whether we can use the
big pools of capital that up in pension funds in the UK to see
whether there is a way in which we can find investments to match
liabilities. This is the sort of thing you would welcome, these
sorts of projects filling the gap being left by public-sector cuts.
Anything is better than nothing. I wish they would get on with it. We
have had a m economy flat lining for more than a year. -- and
economy. The idea of bringing forward capital projects, that is
one of the five points we suggested. We do not know any details. We have
the Autumn Statement. The Chancellor will probably as a --
outline what he is planning. said the Chartered Institute for
personal development are predicting a slow and painful contraction for
jobs. This is an incredible -- incredibly important time. They
really need to get on and pull out all the stops. Is Labour still
really saying the Government is cutting too far and too fast?
Absolutely. I can explain why. It is very simple. If you look at all
the data, you cannot simply use the eurozone as an alibi for action. If
they believe all our woes are down to the eurozone, that is incredibly
worrying. You do not accept the reason we have so low rates on
interest repayments it is because of the strict deficit reduction
plan. I do not accept that. must be the only person who does
not accept that. I was in the City last week speaking to bond traders
in very big banks. We have our own independent currency and our own
Central Bank. The reason why people are fleeing from the eurozone is
that we have those independent arrangements that were established
well before the Dublin came in. Very low bond yields are a sign
that people are predicting interest rates will never change because the
economy is so weak. It cuts both ways. If the Government is only
targeting yields and Barnes, rather than jobs and growth Macro, that is
a flawed strategy. The Government is not stepping up to the plate.
Only 40,000 private-sector jobs have been created. The approach by
Labour is completely... What you going to do about the big gap
between private sector growth and job creation? We have to get the
private sector growing. They cannot bear a sells out of a debt problem.
-- bail ourselves out. You are having to fund unemployment and
benefits. About cutting corporate taxes, it is extremely important.
Creating enterprise zones across the country, at regional gross
funds going into was to share and other parts of the country. The
regional growth fund used to be twice as high. Can I just bring in
Nikkei at this point? Would you like to see public money being
spent to kick-start the economy? I would not. If you do not have the
money, you cannot spend it. Business is supporting the idea
that the fact the austerity plan means Britain is in a better
position. The position they are in now is the better one. In your
industry, you are looking at exports and imports. Various
factors underpin growth. Exports have been pretty good for the
eurozone recently. We struggle with investment from the Government.
Consumer demand is low. What would you do to boost consumer demand?
Increase confidence. All this is about lack of confidence.
Government has invested over �100 billion. Businesses are investing.
I do believe that confidence is important. The economic statement
will be playing a very important part. It is a sign of confidence.
It has not instil confidence in the public. Do you accept that the
austerity plan, will there it has worked in the markets, it has
choked off consumer demand? Put it on its head and ask what would be
happening if we were now following a credible plan which the IMF
believes in and everyone else believes him. Of course it is
important to have a credible plan. If you are so stubborn as to
neglect all those people who are unemployed. In my constituency
youth unemployment has doubled. If you do nothing about the economy,
we will continue to flat line and possibly reverse. That is what we
are facing. Our company is doing quite well. We took the pain in
2007, 2008. A lot of my friends who run companies are having a similar
experience. We lack the confidence for next year saying we need to
start using funds and start growing and taking on more people. What
we're doing is keeping our overhead as fluid as possible because we
might have to turn it off tomorrow. How helpful is it for the
Government to continually blamed the eurozone crisis? It is making
life very difficult here. The Labour have said the difficulties
started before the eurozone crisis. This is creating a chilling effect
on our economy. The real problem is the problems we had from be
previous government. We had one had and �20 million a day interest. --
�120 million. Wire countries outside the eurozone growing much
faster? -- wide our countries? were given a terrible economic
legacy from the previous government. You are blaming the previous
government and the eurozone crisis. You are being left in paralysis. Do
you think the Government has Bell to come forward with a
comprehensive plan? The economy needs to be put on a longer term,
stronger footing. No one said coming out of the debt crisis would
be an easy economic recovery. glad that Harriet is confident. I
hope she is right. All the evidence suggests that things are going into
really dangerous territory. The eurozone is worse but we are
fragile. I wish the Government would take responsibility for the
current state of affairs. I wish we had an opposition that was
constructive. We should be putting and repeating a bank bonus levy so
we can get affordable housing and jobs for young people. We should be
putting national insurance contributions stand for small
employers. We have a five-point plan. I am asking for a hearing
from the Chancellor who is sticking, regardless of the evidence in the
economy. What would you like to hit The idea of a bank levy tax is
ridiculous. I'm talking about the bonuses.
One of the problems is we have is this concentrating for shareholder
value. They are looking at.
If I was Prime Minister I would make it a rule that all heads of
all major companies in the UK would commit to stay for ten years and
that stops two year plans where you get your bonus because you've cut
costs, you don't care what's going to happen in two years. "I have May
made more -- I've made more money for the company. I'll get my bonus.
I'm off.". Talking about confidence is one thing, there are no
specifics in terms of how to create it. All the things that we are
doing and the bond markets show that investors have confidence in
the UK's plan. Investors are seeing the UK as a safe haven in in
troubled times across Europe and those low low interest rates are so
important because it means mortgage rates are lower. People are not
having to pay as much every month and that over time will give an
economic recovery. The one thing Government could do,
rather than giving small amounts of money under tremendous conditions
to business, if they would guarantee loans to the banks it
would make a hell of a lot of difference.
I am looking forward to hearing about that in the autumn statement.
There are predictions today that unemployment will rise in the
coming months and on Wednesday, youth unemployment could reach one
million. Private companies running the Government's work programme in
Britain are looking at ways of getting some of those without jobs
It sounds like an idea from the manifesto of the Nasty Party, you
put the unemployed into the hands of a PE instructor who makes them
do press-ups until they have got a job, but the reality for these
unemployed people in Plymouth is different. Working links, which is
a company rolling out the Government's work programme here in
the south-west, has started a voluntary group, The Friday Club.
Today, they are going for a walk in the rain in the city centre. A lot
of it is routine, it is about getting them doing something. It is
taking them them outside their comfort zone with help from myself
to sort of nurture them through a little, just getting them them back
into a normal routine. Once you are comfortable, it is easier to get
back into work. Martin has been in the group a
while. Leanne is 22 and never had a job. This is Teanna and has her
first day. Walking in the rain might seem pointless, but this club
is getting people into work. Leean and Martin have both got jobs.
Having a personal personal trainer helped them to break the mould and
have a little bit more confidence in themselves.
I'm 22 stone, I'm overweight. I have been told if I don't change my
way, I will have died by the time I'm 30. One of my con consultants
from Working Links say they do a fit club every Friday. It turned my
life around. Having a personal trainer for the
unemployed is a waste of money. is getting results. I mean, the
work programme which is what we are delivering here in the south-west
is payment by results. The majority of the funding comes once we have
successfully placed people in long- term work. So it is for us to
speculate if you like or to invest money in schemes that might help
people move into work. If it doesn't work, then it is at our
cost. I came to to Plymouth expecting to
fin people forced out of bed and forced into track suits. They are
not, that will come as a disappointment to some of you. This
shows a few walks in the rain can What do you think about that? Is it
going to be the answer to helping young, unemployed people back into
work? No, I don't think so. It will make them them feel better. We
should be harnessing businesses and providing mentors. We should be
providing, maybe the Government should be giving assistance to
companies to bring in young people on work experience.
Paid work experience? Paid work experience, but maybe paid for by
the Government than rather by us. The education system has let down
industry and young people. For you, is it the calibre and the
quality of students come nothing the workforce? What are they
lacking? They lack commitment. They think it is OK to come in and go
out at lunch time and not come back. That might teach them commitment,
just the sense of training and discipline and all the rest of it?
My experience is we do a lot of work experience with young people.
One of the things I find is that they are fed-up with school and yet
when they come to work, they really enjoy it. I think the more they get
the experience of work, and increase increase their parameters,
I think that's really the most important thing we could do.
Are you hiring? Yes, but not young people, sadly.
You are hiring better qualified, older people? Yes.
What would per said you you to hire a young person? Putting aside the
fact that you think the calibre isn't that great? Because they are
not experienced in work, because very little in their education
teaches them to be experienced in work, I haven't got time to spend
two years training a young person. You mention planning is a problem.
Is it because you are unconcern about the economy? Yes, they link
together. I would happily welcome young people in to give them work
experience and encouragement because it is about confidence. If
you have small parameters and no confidence, then work becomes a
drag. When you come to work and find you enjoy it and you have a
mentor who shows you that you can achieve mountains, that's what we
should be doing. Now, if you are an English sixth
form student you might be starting to feel nervous, not just about how
well you are going to do in your A- levels, but what impact higher
university tuition fees will have on you. In a moment we will speak
to Martin Lewis, he is heading a taskforce. First David Thompson
spoke to sixth-formers this morning. Hello welcome to LadyWell, South-
East London. Now, first of all, can I ask you,
how many of you are plan to go to to university next year? Good luck.
Did the prospect of paying increased fees put any of you hauf
or make -- off or make you think about going to a cheaper
university? Now, I know I'm going to live at home. I wanted to go off
campus, now I'm not going to have enough money to do that and the
thought of having debt is scary. Do you think you were given enough
information about how the system will work by the Government
wasn't until I started going to university open days that I learned
about how much feesI need to pay, about the student loan system,
about when I need to start paying the money back and how much you pay
back with interest. I think that everyone is aware that
we're going to have �9,000 tuition fees, however, other things such as
living costs and interest rates, people aren't that aware about.
How many of you think you know when you have to start paying the money
back? I think once we are earning around �21,000 a year or over then
we have to start paying back. What do the Government have done to
have explained the system system better? Probably something on TV.
As teenagers, we watch a lot of TV, so if there was to be more
advertisements, maybe posters then we would be more aware overall.
Martin Lewis joins us now. Do you think people are concerned
about the new fee that is will be introduced next year? People are
right to be concerned about the change, but a lot of people have
been scared off for the wrong reasons. The language that we use
of fees, we talk about it as a debt in many ways and we are talking in
England here. It is important to say that.
Yes, it is. This is in many ways more like a
tax than a debt. You pay it through the payroll. It is proportionate to
the amount you earn. You only repay it if you are earning �21,000.
There are no debt collectors. It lasts 30 years. And you pay pay 9%
of everything you earn earn above �21,000 until you have repaid what
you owe plus interest or 30 years and then it stops. If you said to
parents your kids if they are successful would you pay it off for
them. We have to think about the finances of this rather than the
politics of this. You say in that sense, it is mot going to be paid
back until you start earning a certain amount of money, but is
there a sort of pinch-point, let's say if you are a teacher and let's
say you are earning between �22,000 and �30,000, you are paying a large
large percentage of your income and you are paying it for years and
years? People pay 9% of everything above �15,000. Starters in 2012
repay �540 a year less than current graduates. The the impact on your
pocket is improvement in the new system, but because you are
borrowing more, because you are repaying less and because the
interest is higher, you are likely to be repaying longerment many
people will not repay in full over the full 30 years which means they
are going to think it is, I go back to my starting point, it is like a
tax you repay on top of the other taxes for most of your working life.
"If Most of the loans will never repaid and the liability on the
public purse will be billions and billions.". It is not most will
never be repaid, it is many will never be repaid.
The Government gives universities �6,000 and it gives the student
�3,000 to pay the university which it gets money back. In the new
system, it loans the student the whole amount. If they get a smaller
proportion of the loans back, because it is all a loan, it still
gets more back than it does. I'm not saying I'm in favour of the
system, but it is misexplained and the political Spittle in the House
of Commons over this demonised a system that is going to do more
damage than the new fees. When you talk to kids from non-traditional
university backgrounds. The middle- class kids will go, but the bright
kids are the ones much debt averse because of the language we use.
Do you think the Government explained it well either?
that's why I got involved in this independent taskforce. We have only
only been going a few months and we get paid peanuts, but we get to
come on television talk about it. The mistake was made in 1998 when
we introduced loans which you pay through the tax system. In
Australia they call this a graduate contribution. Here, we call it a
debt and the language and the fact that everyone is too scared because
it would be called spin if we changed it, but it is not a loan.
It doesn't go on your credit file. You as a business person will
understand what Martin says? Martin is right. Maybe it is too late to
go back, but some more explanation and if anybody can do it, Martin
can. We have to make everybody
understand it and once they understand it maybe it is time to
change the language. Thank you very much. There is just
time to fin out the answer to our quiz.
The question was which which former European Prime Minister did
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer reportedly compared David Cameron
Unemployment is set to rise over the coming months we're told today - but is a good workout what the long term jobless need to help them get back to work?
Students were back on the streets again last week protesting about higher tuition fees - the internet's money saving expert Martin Lewis will join us to say they shouldn't panic.
If you have any questions about what the system means for students, email us at [email protected] and we'll try to put them to Martin.
And with Jo for the whole programme today is Nikki King, managing director of Isuzu Trucks UK.
We are back tomorrow at noon, but it's a short week as Parliament then goes into recess, and we will be back on air next Monday.