14/11/2011 Daily Politics


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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


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