30/11/2011 Daily Politics


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30/11/2011

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn have live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions and the top political stories of the day.


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Good morning and welcome to The Daily Politics. 2 million public

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sector workers walked out in the biggest day of industrial action in

:00:28.:00:32.

a generation. Schools in England are closed, airports and hospitals

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are affected. They are striking about pensions. Has the Chancellor

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just poured or ill on the flames of the government's relationships with

:00:41.:00:45.

the public sector unions -- Port oil.

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Pain today, tomorrow and the day after. That was the message from

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George Osborne yesterday but should we just accept George's less than

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marvellous Medicine, what does Labour have a better cure?

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The coat of arms of the right honourable Mr Speaker, John Bercow

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to you and me, who explained what the 15,000 pound heraldic symbol we

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bought for the Speaker of the House of Commons really means.

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And in these austere times, should politicians still be intensely

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relaxed about the super rich, or does something need to be done

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about the widening gap between rich With us for the duration this

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morning, the Leader of the House of Lords, Tom Strathclyde. And we hope

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joining us soon, chukka and winner, he is probably soon -- Chuka Umunna,

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probably trying to get to grips with the Autumn Statement. We are

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told he is on his way. The estimated 2 million public sector

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workers are on strike today, only 13% of schools are expecting to be

:02:01.:02:04.

fully open in England. Hospital appointments have been cancelled

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and the Border Agency has warned of only slightly longer than average

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queues at airports. I am told at Heathrow, you would not know

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anything has happened, it is probably as miserable as ever. The

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government has said the action could cost the economy half-a-

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billion pounds, though that is just an estimate. It is not clear how

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they get to that. Today's strikes are about proposed changes to the

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pensions of employees in the public sector. The government say the

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offer on the table is much more generous than pensions available in

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the private sector. Many workers will be better off in retirement.

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They have condemned a strike which they say is taking place as

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negotiations continue. The unions say they have not met with the

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government for weeks and have been forced to take action to protect

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the pensions of some of the lowest- paid workers.

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The Chancellor further of curated the unions yesterday, announcing in

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his Autumn Statement that public sector pay increases would be

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capped at 1% for two years. That comes on top of a two-year pay

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freeze. A further squeeze on spending means there will be an

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additional 300,000 job losses in the public sector. The Chancellor

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also announced a consultation that is likely to end national

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collective pay bargaining. We might be able to speak to Len McCluskey

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from Unite later. I am delighted to say that the late

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Chuka Umunna has arrived. I am still alive! We will be the judge

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of that! Let's see if you still are by 1:00pm. I know Rachel Reeves was

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supposed to come, but she has duty in the house. Tom Strathclyde, we

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have got the strike today, some painful changes having to be made

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to public sector pensions. Why, given that, as the Chancellor,

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after yesterday, declared war on public sector workers? I don't

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think he has at all. We are operating against an extremely

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difficult economic background. We have seen more volatility and

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uncertainty than we have seen probably at any time since the

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Second World War. That is the background against which we are

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operating. I think what George Osborne was trying to do yesterday

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was give it a context, including working with the public sector,

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making sure we were going to invest in infrastructure and employment

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projects, to try to get us through what is undoubtedly going to be a

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very difficult period, not just for this country but the rest of Europe.

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I understand the broad picture. But this is the issue. Public sector

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workers, like most of us, will have to work longer. There have been

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changes in their pensions, they will not be as generous as they are.

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They have a pay freeze at the moment. You have now told them

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after the pay freeze, they will get a 1% pay rise, a maximum for two

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years, which in real terms will be another cut in their pay. Job

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losses are going to be over 700,000 in the public sector, not 400,000

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as you originally told us. And national collective pay bargaining

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is under threat. If that is not war, what would you call it? It is

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reality. It is being realistic and honest with the people of this

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country, and with the public sector. What we can afford and what we

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can't afford. The pain is going to come in certain sectors. What this

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government is trying to do is to protect the very worst of, which is

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why more money is going to go into education, we have protected the

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budget of the NHS. We are going to talk about that later. I am more

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concerned about the strikes at the moment, and what many will see as

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warn the public sector. Given the litany of things that the public

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sector will now have to suffer, you say you are spreading the pain, but

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it is a 1% pay rise following a freeze. It is a loss of hundreds of

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thousands of jobs, changing their pensions, it could be the end of

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national collective bargaining. What have you done with the banks?

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You have increase the bank levy from 0.075 per cent, to 0.88 per

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cent. Compared to what the public sector workers are going through,

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that is nothing. We are raising �2.5 billion out of the bank levy.

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That is nothing. We are not going to -- we were not going to achieve

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that march which is why the rate went up yesterday. The most

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important thing -- that much. The most important thing is how we are

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:06:47.:06:47.

There are many people who already believe that the tax taken in the

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United Kingdom is too big. We want to inspire growth which is why we

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have made some of the technical changes yesterday, which will be

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rolled out over the course of the next few years, to make that

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difference. But yes, people in receipt of good pensions, some of

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the best in the world, they are still going to receive very good

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pensions, better than the private sector. We are all going to be

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living longer and working longer and it is entirely right. You have

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not reformed pensions in Parliament. I think we have. Not by much. I am

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confused about Labour's position on the strike. In your party's view,

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should be struck be going ahead. Perhaps if I explain it like this,

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we are talking about people here. Wijk -- I have very close friends

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and family who are out taking industrial action today. I can't

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support the mass disruption it causes for constituencies whose

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children can't go to school today. I simply can't condemn it either.

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It is very revealing, the Commons Many of the arguments the

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government has been putting forward is the sustainability of public

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pensions going forward. All the has been talking about his deficit

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reduction. The thing that greets for public-sector workers is they

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are being asked to pay a 3% tax -- that grates. Because the extra

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monies are not going into the extra different schemes, it is going back

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into the general pot. Let's remember, if you look at the medium

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pension drawings for a public sector pension at the moment, it is

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not a lot of money. If you broke your leg on the way back to your

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car, Andrew, who is going to be wheeling you around? A member of a

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trade union. People talk about trade unions doing this and that.

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These are trade union members. We have people taking industrial

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action for the first time ever today. Given that, why don't you

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support it? Because I can't support the mass disruption it will cause

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constituents. Every time you say it, I don't support the disruption,

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people ask you three times, why don't you support it? I have said,

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we don't support the disruption but I am not going to condemn those

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people. I understand that, I know it is the party line. I strongly

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believe it. Haven't asked you to condemn it, I have just asked

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whether you have supported it or not, and you have answer that

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question, and I am grateful for that. Ed Balls has said that both

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sides need to give more ground. What grounds do you think the

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unions should give? There is a diversity of views around these

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things amongst the different unions. The PCS has a different view to

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other unions. Think there has got to be an acceptance that we are

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going to have to work for longer and contribute more in the long

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term. As to what the calibration of that is, that is something where

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the details will have to be handed out by government and the trade

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unions -- hammered out. You don't want a trade -- you don't want a

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government seeking to divide up society. The role of government is

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to seek a resolution to this dispute. If the NHS doesn't work,

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the transport system doesn't work, the different elements of public

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service to work, we can't function as a society. You are implying if

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it was a Labour government in power, you would have to continue the

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reform of public sector pensions as well. We started reform in

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government in any event. Look up the numbers of days lost to

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industrial action during labour's time in government. Proportionate

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Lee, the number of days lost to industrial action under this

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government is dreadful -- proportionally. You could go back

:10:35.:10:45.
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as far as you want! What about the We are grateful that neither of you

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is on strike, so we will continue. Let's come to the Autumn Statement.

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I think we can now talk to Len McCluskey in central London, can

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you hear us, the general secretary of Unite? Yes, I can. Just about, I

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think. I have a big, powerful voice, so I will use it. Chuck it women

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are from the Labour Party has just said that he can't support the

:11:15.:11:25.
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strike action -- the chukka and the What do you say? The only

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irresponsibility is the government's. They have had nine

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months to try to sort that out. The Government's is responsible for

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bringing teachers, nurses, care workers, people who look after the

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vulnerable people in our society, decent public sector workers, they

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are the ones responsible for bringing them out on strike.

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Workers don't like taking strike action, they do it because they

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feel there is a deep sense of injustice and nobody is listening

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to them. That is what the case is with this government. It is a

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question of laying the blame where this squarely lies, at the feet of

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the government. Rather than laying the blame with the government or

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them laying it with you, what about trying to reach some sort of

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negotiated settlement. You don't want to be on strike, the

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government wants to make a deal, we have just heard on the programme it

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is time for both sides to give ground. What ground will you give?

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The reality is, of course we would love to reach an agreement. That is

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what trade unions do. The media try to project as and the Tories have

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tried to project as as people who just want to have strikes all the

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time, that's nonsense. 95% of our time is spent with companies and

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governments, trying to reach agreement. You have a government

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that is totally in transient. How has it taken the Government nine

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months -- totally intransigent. Why did it take them that long? Because

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the government are playing games. They believe they have the public

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on their side, they are playing games with people's jobs, pensions,

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and they are decent people who serve our community, and it has

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backfired on them. The opinion polls are showing that. 60% of the

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public support the strike, 80% of Labour supporters. Which is why the

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Labour leadership need to listen. Instead of trying to sit on the

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sidelines... I know Ed Miliband has condemned the government, he won't

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condemn the strikers, that is the right thing to do. We want fairness

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and justice. Of course we want to get around the negotiating table to

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resolve our differences. Thank you very much.

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After delivering yesterday's Autumn Statement, which was more like a

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full-blown budget, as if to emphasise that the economic crisis

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stretches beyond our shores, the Chancellor went to Brussels again,

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to attend another meeting of European finance ministers, to

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discuss, you have guessed it, the Uruzgan crisis. The Office for

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Budget Responsibility said that if the euro falls apart, the impact on

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our economy would be unquantifiable. You may not be able to count it but

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we know it would not be good, and it could be disastrous. Even if we

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avoid that, the predictions of the forecast delivered by the

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Chancellor yesterday were grim, even without a eurozone meltdown.

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Yesterday, the Chancellor had to admit growth would be much lower,

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just 0.7% next year, and that he would need to borrow �111 billion

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more than expected over the next five years. And that the government

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won't meet its target of balancing the structural deficit until 2017.

:14:38.:14:42.

That is two years later than they had hoped. The Chancellor has

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blamed this deterioration in the blamed this deterioration in the

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public finances on three factors. External inflation caused by it

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rises in energy and commodity prices. The eurozone crisis, and

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that after the boom years, the bust was deeper than anyone realised,

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implicitly blaming Labour for how they had left the economy. Labour

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say the Chancellor's plan a has failed colossally, and Britain's

:15:05.:15:11.

tepid growth and spiralling deficit have been caused by the car -- the

:15:11.:15:15.

Chancellor cut into deep and too fast. They are warning of a

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borrowing bombshell -- cutting too deep. It means a lot more spending

:15:25.:15:35.
:15:35.:15:37.

Should we have a moment's silence for the death of plan? Certainly

:15:37.:15:42.

not. -- Plan A. It is only the media that have got so excited

:15:42.:15:47.

about plan and Plan B and what Ed Balls wants and all the rest of it.

:15:47.:15:51.

George Osborne -- George Osborne is entirely right to react about what

:15:51.:15:58.

is going on in the real economy. To react from the report from the OBR.

:15:58.:16:05.

He has been responsible and honest with the British people. That is

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the best way to be. The alternative which Ed Balls will explain his to

:16:12.:16:16.

go out and borrow even more money. But that is what you do. We're

:16:16.:16:21.

going to have to borrow even -- a little bit more money for. A little

:16:22.:16:31.
:16:32.:16:32.

bit? -- how much is it. Another �147 billion. You are going to

:16:32.:16:37.

borrow �110 billion more than you said he would, six months ago.

:16:37.:16:43.

Whichever way you cut it, adding �110 billion to the borrowing you

:16:43.:16:49.

intended in March of this year would seem to anybody else to be a

:16:49.:16:51.

failure of your budget consolidation strategy. Otherwise

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you would not be borrowing that amount of money. The figures that

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we based the forecast on were independently produced and they

:16:59.:17:03.

have been independently produced again. What did those people say?

:17:03.:17:06.

They said that there has been an increase in energy and commodity

:17:06.:17:11.

prices which has created higher inflation. They said that the boom

:17:12.:17:15.

in the 2007 was higher than anyone had anticipated and therefore the

:17:15.:17:22.

bust has been greater and deeper. We have had to adjust our figures

:17:22.:17:26.

because of these external changes. He has also warned that if the

:17:26.:17:33.

Eurozone crisis gets worse, then we really are in a pickle. But isn't

:17:33.:17:38.

it part of the plant that living standards would now stall for 14

:17:38.:17:44.

years? 14 years? It shows you the depth of the seriousness that we

:17:44.:17:48.

are now in. How did the markets react to what George Osborne was

:17:48.:17:56.

saying? Yields on UK bonds actually fell, not by much but I a -- but by

:17:56.:17:59.

a little bit. That is a better position than our neighbours and

:17:59.:18:07.

competitors are in. It is early days. Chuka Umunna, are you

:18:07.:18:11.

criticising the Government for borrowing more than it planned?

:18:11.:18:16.

we are. If you compare it to the forecasts from last year, they will

:18:16.:18:24.

be borrowing �158 billion more. Let me explain why. You're criticising

:18:24.:18:28.

them for borrowing more? Carry on. The reason is that the Government

:18:29.:18:33.

said that the sole test, and the mainstay of their ambition for

:18:33.:18:36.

their time in government is deficit-reduction. They said that

:18:36.:18:41.

by sticking to Plan A, that they would reduce the deficit and bring

:18:41.:18:45.

down our debt. That is a starting- point for their argument. Our

:18:45.:18:50.

starting point is jobs and growth. Unless you have jobs and growth,

:18:50.:18:56.

you are not able to reduce borrowing in the immediate future.

:18:56.:19:00.

With 2.6 million people out of work, that is people we are having to pay

:19:00.:19:04.

unemployment benefit to and who are not paying income tax. The best way

:19:04.:19:09.

to deal with fewer debts is to get people into work and you need

:19:09.:19:13.

growth. The problem was that in the wake of the Comprehensive Spending

:19:13.:19:18.

Review this time last year, and Bloomberg presented an interesting

:19:18.:19:23.

graph on this, sorry to mention another broadcaster. It's all right,

:19:23.:19:29.

nobody watches this! Confidence nosedived after that. Hold on. All

:19:29.:19:37.

of that may be right. But explain to me how you can criticise the

:19:37.:19:42.

Government borrowing more than it plans and yet still say that it

:19:42.:19:49.

should stay borrowing even more? First of all, the Government set

:19:49.:19:54.

this test, of saying that it was all about whether they reduce

:19:54.:19:56.

borrowing or 0. We're just scrutinising what they said they

:19:56.:20:01.

would do. The Government, let us get this straight. The Government

:20:01.:20:05.

is about to borrow �111 billion more than it said it would. You

:20:05.:20:11.

would borrow more than that. necessarily. I am not able... I

:20:11.:20:14.

would would say to you that we would have done things differently.

:20:14.:20:18.

The situation we would be in now would be different. If you're

:20:18.:20:22.

asking me... You do not know that you would have done it differently.

:20:22.:20:28.

Yes, I do. Can I remind you, by May of 2010, the British economy had

:20:28.:20:34.

been put on negative watched by the ratings agencies, and can you tell

:20:34.:20:38.

us what our bond heels were? can't give you a figure. But the

:20:38.:20:42.

bond yields were falling. They were higher than Italy's. He would not

:20:42.:20:48.

have been able to continue. You would have to have done something

:20:48.:20:53.

different. I am slightly puzzled by the logic. That is all. I do not

:20:53.:20:57.

understand the logical saying that the Government is borrowing more

:20:57.:21:02.

than it said, and that is wrong that, and by the way, if we were in,

:21:02.:21:06.

we would borrow even more. logic is the Government said

:21:06.:21:09.

measure asked, judge what we do against weather are not we are able

:21:10.:21:15.

to reduce our debt. They are also saying that in the context of

:21:15.:21:20.

borrowing �158 billion more despite going for her �30 billion more in

:21:20.:21:23.

cuts and �10 billion more in tax, they are in that situation. They

:21:24.:21:28.

said we should judge them against bad yardstick. We are not in

:21:28.:21:33.

government, which is a great shame. But what we're saying is that we

:21:33.:21:37.

would have done things differently because what we would have done

:21:37.:21:41.

would not have choked growth. will never know if that is true.

:21:41.:21:49.

Every other country has had choked growth. In Europe, only Greece,

:21:49.:21:54.

Portugal and Cyprus have grown slower. But you are talking about

:21:54.:21:58.

differences of 0.1 or 0.2% compared to the French economy and the

:21:58.:22:07.

Italian economy. It is so small. The decimal point is irrelevant.

:22:07.:22:11.

What cuts did the Government announced yesterday? What cuts

:22:11.:22:16.

would you support and what do you not support? In relation to the

:22:16.:22:20.

things announced, for example the police cut, that is the obvious one.

:22:20.:22:25.

The ones they announced yesterday. We are going through the detail. I

:22:25.:22:34.

have the OBR reports here. You've had time. What can't do you

:22:34.:22:41.

support? The chief secretary to the Treasury was asked on Newsnight, it

:22:41.:22:49.

is a BBC put -- it is a BBC programme. We have run out of time.

:22:49.:22:58.

I want to come back to this. Danny Alexander was not able to say where

:22:58.:23:02.

the cuts were coming from. Think about it, go through the book while

:23:02.:23:10.

we are doing it. You have got about 10 minutes! What better use of

:23:10.:23:16.

taxpayers' money in these austere times? The House of Commons has

:23:16.:23:20.

spent �37,000 on a work of art to grace the walls of the Speaker's

:23:20.:23:23.

grace-and-favour apartment in the Palace of Westminster. It is a

:23:23.:23:26.

portrait of the Speaker himself, Justin Case John Bercow forgets

:23:26.:23:30.

what he looks like. I would have thought a Mr Woods have done. I'm

:23:30.:23:34.

sure he has one of those. No portrait would be complete without

:23:34.:23:39.

an ornate wooden frame featuring the coat of arms of the subject. I

:23:39.:23:46.

have one just like it in my own home. No, I haven't. Rather

:23:46.:23:49.

marvellous, isn't it. The latter represents the Speaker's rise from

:23:49.:23:54.

lowly beginnings. The balls, his love of tennis. Four of them

:23:54.:23:58.

representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Very

:23:58.:24:03.

good. And the rainbow symbol of the quality, as he is a champion of the

:24:03.:24:08.

rights. Art critic Brian Sewell joins us. Can we start with the

:24:08.:24:13.

portrait? Would you be happy to have that hanging in your home?

:24:13.:24:20.

But then, I am not the Speaker. You have a problem here. In northern

:24:20.:24:28.

Europe particularly, Germany and England, to raise six centuries of

:24:28.:24:33.

painting portraits of people when they become important. There is

:24:33.:24:41.

also a tradition of inventing coats of arms and the rest of it for them.

:24:41.:24:45.

He is doing what has been done many times before. I do not think you

:24:45.:24:49.

should necessarily criticise him for doing that. There is some

:24:50.:24:53.

justification for criticising the painting. What do you think of it?

:24:53.:24:58.

I think it is a pretty poor painting for 37,000 quid. You think

:24:58.:25:03.

we have been fleeced? 15,000 would have gone the frame.

:25:03.:25:08.

This in a friends are important. -- gone on the frame. -- they say the

:25:08.:25:14.

frames are important. The further up the portrait painter's 3 you go,

:25:14.:25:18.

the more the fee will be. This is a young man climbing, and they have

:25:18.:25:24.

given him quite a push. If you were writing a headline. I would never

:25:24.:25:28.

write a headline. How would you title it if you were looking at

:25:28.:25:35.

that portrait? It reminds me of some of fumbling school master in a

:25:35.:25:41.

shambles of a public school trying to keep order. In essence, that is

:25:41.:25:46.

exactly what he is doing. There is a truth in that. It does not

:25:46.:25:51.

flatter him. I criticise most of all the clothes he is wearing. He

:25:51.:25:56.

looks as though he is wearing a school masters academic gown. He

:25:56.:26:05.

has a school masters tie on. He does not look a bit grand. Former

:26:05.:26:09.

speakers looked like speakers. does not look a park. You do not

:26:09.:26:14.

think he looks like the Speaker? looks like a bloke that you dug up

:26:14.:26:20.

from Essex. What is wrong with Essex? What is wrong with Essex?!

:26:21.:26:25.

Can I look at the coat of arms here? Again, what do you think? We

:26:25.:26:30.

have had the symbolism of the ladder and these knives are

:26:30.:26:35.

representative of where he went to university. There is a university

:26:35.:26:40.

in Essex? Yes, there is. You have learnt something new on the

:26:40.:26:44.

programme. What do you think of the coat of arms? I think that is

:26:44.:26:51.

pretty poor stuff. It would be Christmas game you could play, like

:26:51.:27:00.

Monopoly. You have a coat of arms, what do you think? One should never

:27:00.:27:04.

criticise someone else's autobahns. That is properly heraldic. Why did

:27:04.:27:10.

you have won? I have got absolutely no idea. These are very ancient.

:27:10.:27:15.

They are heraldic symbols, bears heads. His looks more posh than

:27:15.:27:24.

yours. That is a snob thing. The unforgivable thing is that the

:27:24.:27:30.

Speaker is perfectly ordinary. He has no lineage going back to 1066

:27:30.:27:38.

or thereabouts. He is not it sugar, he is not a Yorkshire or a

:27:38.:27:43.

Lancastrian. He is nothing. He comes from Essex. He is nobody. But

:27:43.:27:48.

he has the effrontery to say he is going to make himself equal.

:27:49.:27:54.

going to have to go. Thank you very much. On that note, John Bercow...

:27:54.:28:01.

You can read the e-mails after that. We have spared no expense on the

:28:01.:28:04.

Daily Politics. Our graphics department have spent almost all

:28:04.:28:08.

morning in between trying to make sense of yesterday's Autumn

:28:08.:28:14.

Statement preparing one of hour call to arms. Let us have a look. -

:28:14.:28:18.

- hour Court of farms. You can see the feral beasts of the media in

:28:18.:28:27.

there. Some snow leopards are in there. That is me. The Latin phrase,

:28:27.:28:37.

how do you pronounce it? It means guess the year in Latin. Big Ben is

:28:37.:28:40.

up there, showing a location, the Union Jack demonstrating a

:28:40.:28:46.

commitment to politics from all of the United Kingdom. And the Daily

:28:46.:28:53.

Politics mug is there as well. We will remind you how to win one

:28:53.:28:56.

of those in a minute but let's see if you can remember when this

:28:56.:29:06.
:29:06.:29:34.

# The finger of suspicion points at you. # Every Democrat voted against

:29:34.:29:44.
:29:44.:29:46.

us. # When you've got friends and neighbours, all the world is a

:29:46.:29:54.

happier place. # Friends and neighbours put a

:29:54.:30:03.

smile on the gloomiest face. The Tate is broken and so is the

:30:03.:30:13.
:30:13.:30:31.

To begin with a chance of winning, send your answers to a special e-

:30:31.:30:36.

mail address. -- to be in. We're going to go straight over to

:30:36.:30:46.

I am sure the whole House will wish to join me in paying tribute to

:30:46.:30:50.

Rifleman Sheldon steal from Fifth Battalion the rivals. He was a

:30:50.:30:53.

highly respected shoulder who achieved a great deal and showed

:30:53.:30:57.

much potential during his time with his army -- respected soldiers. Our

:30:57.:31:01.

thoughts should be with his family, friends and colleagues, his courage

:31:01.:31:04.

and dedication were never be forgotten by our dedication. This

:31:05.:31:08.

morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others

:31:08.:31:13.

and I shall have further such meetings later today. Can I join

:31:13.:31:16.

the Prime Minister in paying tribute to Braid serviceman who

:31:17.:31:21.

gave his life for our country. Our thoughts go to his family at this

:31:21.:31:28.

very, difficult time. My constituency has high unemployment

:31:28.:31:33.

with great potential, and would benefit greatly from a �200 million

:31:33.:31:36.

private sector led investment in motor sport. Can I ask him to

:31:36.:31:40.

provide support for enhanced capital allowances for enterprise

:31:40.:31:46.

zones in Wales, including Blaenau- Gwent, as well as in England.

:31:46.:31:48.

thank the honourable gentleman for that question. Can I congratulate

:31:48.:31:52.

him and the other 37 members who have opted to grow additional

:31:52.:31:57.

facial hair in this month of November. It is a very good way,

:31:57.:32:02.

for those who are capable of doing so, of raising the profile of this

:32:02.:32:07.

important of us, prostrate cancer. We are committed to providing

:32:07.:32:10.

enhanced allowances, discussions are ongoing with devolved

:32:10.:32:14.

administrations about enhance allowances within enterprise zones.

:32:14.:32:19.

We will do what we can in Blaenau- Gwent to help. We are electrifying

:32:19.:32:23.

the line to Cardiff, we are looking for improvements on the M4. One of

:32:23.:32:29.

the announcements made by my right honourable friend, the Chancellor,

:32:29.:32:31.

will have consequences for additional spending on

:32:31.:32:39.

infrastructure. I am confident that the Prime Minister, like me, would

:32:39.:32:42.

praised the courage and professionalism of the Portland

:32:42.:32:47.

search-and-rescue helicopter. I am also confident he will share with

:32:47.:32:55.

me the alarm, anger and disbelief of my constituents, and many others

:32:55.:32:59.

in this House, at that it is to be axed. Will he meet with me and the

:32:59.:33:04.

small delegation from South Dorset to discuss this urgent matter,

:33:04.:33:09.

before a disastrous mistake is made? I am very happy to meet with

:33:09.:33:15.

my honourable friend. I know how it is important that we have effective

:33:15.:33:17.

search-and-rescue services of our coast. The government is looking at

:33:18.:33:22.

the best way to deliver those services, including how they should

:33:22.:33:32.
:33:32.:33:34.

be paid for, and it is important Mr Speaker... Can I join at the

:33:34.:33:39.

Prime Minister in paying tribute to the riflemen from 5th Battalion the

:33:39.:33:45.

rifles. He served with huge commitment and courage and our

:33:45.:33:49.

deepest condolences are with his family and friends. In June at

:33:49.:33:52.

Prime Minister's Questions, the Prime Minister praised the head

:33:52.:33:58.

teacher of a first -- the school in Redditch for refusing to strike.

:33:58.:34:01.

Today she has closed first score. She says, this has been the most

:34:01.:34:05.

difficult decision of my professional life. The difference

:34:05.:34:08.

in the summer was that I had faith in the government. I have not seen

:34:08.:34:12.

any progress so I have decided to strike. Why does the Prime Minister

:34:12.:34:15.

think so many decent, hard-working public sector workers, many of whom

:34:16.:34:19.

have never been on strike before, feel the government simply isn't

:34:19.:34:26.

listening. The reason people are going on strike is because they

:34:26.:34:30.

object to the reforms that we are making to public sector pensions.

:34:30.:34:36.

But I believe those reforms are absolutely essential, and as the

:34:36.:34:43.

former Labour Pensions Secretary Lord Patten said he -- Lord Hutton

:34:43.:34:48.

said, it is hard to imagine a better deal than this. What I would

:34:49.:34:51.

say above all to people who are on strike today, is that they are

:34:51.:35:00.

going on strike at the time when negotiations are still under way.

:35:00.:35:03.

The right honourable gentleman refers to what was said in June.

:35:03.:35:11.

Let me remind him what he said on 30th June. "the strikes are wrong,

:35:11.:35:17.

at the time when negotiations are going on." Why has he changed his

:35:17.:35:27.
:35:27.:35:27.

mind? Mr Speaker... Order. I say to people who are engaged in

:35:27.:35:31.

orchestrated barracking, it is very tedious, from whichever side it

:35:31.:35:36.

comes. It is very juvenile, the public don't want it here it,

:35:36.:35:40.

neither do I, the leader of opposition will be heard, as the

:35:40.:35:50.

Prime Minister will be heard. Workers declared be gauche -- they

:35:50.:35:54.

declared negotiations at an end four weeks ago, they said they had

:35:55.:35:59.

made their final offer. And they haven't even met the unions for

:35:59.:36:04.

four weeks, since November 2nd. And what has the Prime Minister gone

:36:04.:36:10.

around saying to people? He has gone around saying, he is privately

:36:10.:36:15.

delighted the unions have walked into this trap. That is the reality,

:36:15.:36:20.

he has been spoiling for this fight. And the reason people have lost

:36:20.:36:25.

faith is he is not being straight with people. Will he admits that

:36:25.:36:31.

800,000 low-paid workers, one �15,000 a year or less, are facing

:36:31.:36:37.

an immediate tax rise of 3% on his pension plan? -- on 15,000. I know

:36:37.:36:43.

his entire party is paid for by the unions, but I have to say, it is

:36:43.:36:46.

extraordinary that what he has just told the House is completely and

:36:46.:36:54.

utterly untrue. The fact is, there were meetings with the trade unions

:36:54.:36:57.

yesterday, there will be meetings with the trade unions tomorrow,

:36:57.:37:02.

there will be meetings on Friday. These discussions, these

:37:02.:37:06.

negotiations are under way. Let me repeat again what he said in June.

:37:06.:37:10.

It is wrong to strike when negotiations are going on. And yet

:37:10.:37:16.

today, he now backs the strikes. Why? Because he is responsible,

:37:16.:37:26.
:37:26.:37:32.

left-wing and week. -- he is Mr Speaker, the difference is that

:37:32.:37:36.

unlike him, I am not going to demonise the dinner lady, a cleaner,

:37:36.:37:42.

the nurse. People who earn in a week what the Chancellor pays for

:37:42.:37:52.
:37:52.:38:01.

Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker... Order. Members on both sides of the House

:38:01.:38:05.

need to calm down. If there are senior members of the House to

:38:05.:38:08.

think it is a laughing matter, let me tell them that it isn't. The

:38:08.:38:12.

public would like to see some decent behaviour and a bit of

:38:12.:38:19.

leadership on these matters, and so would I. Mr Speaker, he is the one,

:38:19.:38:23.

and he didn't deny it, who went around saying he is privately

:38:23.:38:27.

delighted, because they have walked into his trap. And that is the

:38:27.:38:32.

reality. The truth is, it is not just public sector workers who are

:38:32.:38:36.

paying for the failure of his plan, it is private sector workers as

:38:36.:38:42.

well. Can he confirm that as a result of the cuts to tax credits

:38:42.:38:46.

announced yesterday, a family on the minimum wage, taking home �200

:38:46.:38:53.

a week, will lose a week and a half's wages? Let me be absolutely

:38:53.:38:58.

clear. I will answer his question. The Prime Minister's answer,

:38:58.:39:03.

however long it takes, will be heard. That is the principle of

:39:03.:39:06.

democracy. The Leader of the Opposition must be heard, and the

:39:06.:39:12.

Prime Minister must be heard. not welcome these strikes one bit.

:39:12.:39:16.

I think we have made a very reasonable, very fair offer to

:39:16.:39:21.

public sector workers, and that is why the former Labour Pensions

:39:21.:39:25.

Secretary says that it is hard to imagine a better deal. I don't want

:39:25.:39:30.

to see any strikes. I don't want to see schools closed, I don't want to

:39:30.:39:34.

see problems at our borders. But this government has to make

:39:34.:39:39.

responsible decisions. Let me just remind him, and the House, about

:39:39.:39:45.

the facts about the public sector pensions. Anyone earning less than

:39:45.:39:50.

�15,000 on a full-time equivalent salary will not see any increase in

:39:50.:39:56.

the contributions they have the make. In terms of the reforms we

:39:56.:40:03.

are making, a nurse, retiring on a salary of just over �34,000, today,

:40:03.:40:09.

she would get �17,000 pension. In future, she will get over �22,000

:40:09.:40:16.

pension. A teacher retiring on a salary of �37,000 would have got

:40:16.:40:24.

�19,000. She will now get �25,000. These are fare changes. I will tell

:40:24.:40:30.

you why. We rejected the idea you should level down public sector

:40:30.:40:35.

pensions. We think they should be generous. But as people live longer,

:40:35.:40:39.

it is only right and fair that they should make greater contributions.

:40:39.:40:43.

What we are seeing today is a party opposite that is in the pocket of

:40:44.:40:48.

the trade union leaders that have to ask their permission before

:40:48.:40:54.

crossing a picket line, and that take the irresponsible side of

:40:54.:40:57.

trade union leaders that have called their people out on strike,

:40:57.:41:01.

when negotiations are under way. Now let me answer his question

:41:01.:41:07.

about the low pay. Order! Order! Can I remind the Prime Minister

:41:07.:41:12.

very gently, there is a very large members -- number of members listed

:41:12.:41:15.

on the Order Paper, backbenchers who I want to hear. A brief

:41:15.:41:20.

sentence will suffice. I will wait until his next trade union-

:41:20.:41:26.

sponsored question and I will give my answer. I am proud that millions

:41:26.:41:29.

of hard-working people in this country support the Labour Party,

:41:29.:41:39.
:41:39.:41:40.

better than millions from Lord Ashcroft. The problem is, he

:41:40.:41:46.

doesn't understand his own policy. He doesn't understand they are

:41:46.:41:52.

part-time workers earning less than 21,000, who will be hit. 800,000

:41:52.:41:57.

low-paid, part-time workers, 90% of whom are women, will be paying more,

:41:57.:42:02.

and he denies it, but it is true. It is the reality. He sits there

:42:02.:42:10.

shaking his head, he doesn't understand his own policy. And of

:42:10.:42:17.

course, he couldn't explain, or justify what he did to everyone on

:42:17.:42:22.

low pay, with the miserable deal cooked up with the Deputy Prime

:42:22.:42:26.

Minister to cut �1 billion from tax credits yesterday in the Autumn

:42:26.:42:36.

Statement. They have no explanation for why they are doing that. Order!

:42:36.:42:41.

I say to the honourable gentleman, I don't require any assistance from

:42:41.:42:46.

him. The Leader of the Opposition will come to a question. What will

:42:46.:42:50.

unemployment be at the time of the next autumn statement on the OBR

:42:50.:42:56.

If you compare the end of this Parliament with the start of this

:42:56.:43:01.

pair but -- parliament, on the Office for Budget Responsibility

:43:01.:43:05.

figures, and let us remember the Office for Budget Responsibility is

:43:05.:43:08.

independent. When he was sitting in the Treasury the figures were

:43:08.:43:14.

fiddled by the advisers. That no longer happens. There will be half

:43:14.:43:17.

a million more people in jobs, 90,000 fewer people on the claimant

:43:17.:43:23.

count and the unemployment rate will be 7.2%, instead of 8.1. That

:43:23.:43:27.

is the OBR forecast. That is not fiddled, that is independent, that

:43:27.:43:33.

is what it shows. Let me answer his question about helping the poorest

:43:33.:43:37.

people in our country. It is his party, by the way, that got rid of

:43:37.:43:44.

the 10 p tax, the biggest attack on the working poor. This government

:43:44.:43:49.

has taken 1.1 million people out of tax, frozen the petrol tax, cut the

:43:49.:43:53.

council tax, introduced free nursery care for two, three and

:43:53.:43:57.

four-year-olds, and is putting up the child tax credit by �390 this

:43:57.:44:01.

year and next. That is a record to be proud of, instead of his

:44:01.:44:08.

appalling record of attacking the working poor. With child poverty

:44:08.:44:11.

going up as a result of the autumn statement yesterday. The truth is,

:44:11.:44:14.

he couldn't answer the question, because he is too embarrassed by

:44:14.:44:24.

the truth. The Education Secretary should calm down, Mr Speaker. He

:44:24.:44:32.

tells children to behave, why doesn't he behave himself? He is to

:44:32.:44:41.

embarrass, Mr Speaker. 2.8 million people out of work -- too

:44:41.:44:48.

He is another Conservative Prime Minister for whom unemployment is a

:44:48.:44:53.

price worth paying was an because he is failing on unemployment and

:44:53.:44:57.

growth, he is failing on borrowing. He told the CBI conference last

:44:57.:45:03.

year, no ifs or buts, by 2015, we will have balanced the books. Will

:45:03.:45:13.
:45:13.:45:13.

he now admits that on the central He complains about the level

:45:13.:45:17.

borrowing but his answer is to borrow even more. That is the

:45:17.:45:24.

illiteracy. Let me tell him what we're doing. Because we have a plan

:45:24.:45:28.

to meet the mandate and to meet the test set out by the Chancellor in

:45:28.:45:33.

his emergency budget, we have some of lowest interest rates in Europe.

:45:33.:45:38.

For every percentage point they went up under Labour, that would be

:45:38.:45:43.

another �1,000 on a family mortgage, another �7 billion out of business

:45:43.:45:47.

and another �21 billion on to our national debt. That is what you

:45:47.:45:51.

would get under Labour and that is why it is this government that will

:45:51.:45:58.

take the country through the storm. Mr Speaker, he is borrowing an

:45:58.:46:04.

extra �158 billion to pay for his economic failure. The truth theirs,

:46:04.:46:11.

his plan has failed. -- the truth is. He refuses to change course and

:46:11.:46:15.

he is making working families pay the price. At the very least, we

:46:15.:46:20.

now know that he will never, ever be able to say again "We are all in

:46:20.:46:26.

this together". Billy the of the Labour Party has taken sides today.

:46:26.:46:31.

He is on the side of the trade union leader but one strikes and

:46:31.:46:37.

not negotiations. -- that once strikes. He is on the DIS -- he is

:46:37.:46:41.

on the side of the people want to disrupt our country. And when it

:46:41.:46:45.

comes to borrowing, he cannot even bring himself to say that we are

:46:45.:46:52.

welcoming the fact that there are low interest rates. The Shadow

:46:52.:46:55.

Chancellor... Mr Speaker, they are all shouting in unison, or should

:46:55.:47:05.
:47:05.:47:05.

ISA, -- or should I say they are all shouting on behalf of Unison.

:47:05.:47:14.

I'm not quite share -- quite sure. Let me remind the House of what the

:47:14.:47:18.

Shadow Chancellor said about lower interest rates. "Long-term interest

:47:18.:47:22.

rates are the simplest measure of monetary and fiscal policy

:47:22.:47:28.

credibility". Mr Speaker, we are being tested by these difficult

:47:29.:47:33.

economic times. We will meet that test by getting on top of our debt

:47:33.:47:39.

and the deficit. He is being tested, too, and T showing that he is weak,

:47:39.:47:48.

left-wing and irresponsible. -- and he is showing. I assume government

:47:48.:47:52.

backbenchers have some interesting listening to Jo Swinson. I would

:47:52.:47:55.

like to associate myself with the words of condolence from the Leader

:47:55.:47:59.

of the Opposition. 10 years on from the military intervention, more

:47:59.:48:04.

than 3 million girls in Afghanistan are now in school. With the

:48:04.:48:06.

conference on Monday in Germany will the Prime Minister sent a

:48:06.:48:10.

clear message that the rights of those girls should not be traded

:48:10.:48:13.

away in a false choice between women's rights and security, when

:48:13.:48:18.

the evidence shows that women's involvement in post-conflict

:48:18.:48:22.

resolution is essential for stability? For us of all, can I

:48:22.:48:24.

wish my Honourable Friend and everyone in Scotland a very happy

:48:25.:48:30.

St Andrews Day. She is absolutely right to talk about women's rights

:48:30.:48:34.

in Afghanistan. Too often, we talk about security but without talking

:48:34.:48:38.

about some of the things that that security is making possible. In

:48:38.:48:42.

2001, there were less than one million children in school and none

:48:42.:48:47.

of them were girls. Today, there are 6 million children regularly in

:48:47.:48:52.

school, 2 million of whom are girls. If those who have been in

:48:52.:48:55.

Afghanistan and have met women MPs and other leaders in that country

:48:55.:48:59.

who want to stand up for women's rights know what I incredible job

:49:00.:49:05.

those people are doing. -- know what an incredible job. Half a

:49:05.:49:09.

million more people will be on the dole in 2013 than previously

:49:09.:49:13.

thought. A terrible human cost, but how much more will be lost in tax

:49:14.:49:18.

and paid out in benefits as a result of the his Chancellor's

:49:18.:49:26.

economic failure. The OBR shows that by 2015, we will have 500,000

:49:26.:49:31.

people more or in jobs, and a lower unemployment rate. The figures do

:49:31.:49:36.

show a sharp decline in public sector employment. That is shown by

:49:36.:49:39.

the figures. There is a bigger increase in private sector

:49:39.:49:42.

employment. I would say to the party opposite and everyone in the

:49:42.:49:47.

House, if you want to reduce the amount of unemployment from the

:49:47.:49:51.

public sector, you have to reform welfare, which they oppose, you

:49:51.:49:55.

have to freeze public sector pay, which they oppose, and you have to

:49:55.:50:00.

reform public sector pensions, where we are on the side of the

:50:00.:50:04.

irresponsible trade leaders. Is the Prime Minister aware that in the

:50:04.:50:09.

last financial year, taxpayers paid over �113 million to trade unions

:50:10.:50:15.

in terms of pay, staff time and direct grants? In the light of the

:50:15.:50:18.

disruption today to hospitals and schools, is it not time to review

:50:18.:50:25.

that situation? I think it is time. The idea of full-time trade

:50:26.:50:28.

unionists working in the public sector on trade union business

:50:28.:50:32.

rather than serving the public, I do not think that is right and we

:50:32.:50:37.

will put that to an end. It is absolutely the case. The evidence

:50:37.:50:43.

today makes that even stronger. Why is the Government raising

:50:43.:50:47.

working tax credit, which helps the lowest paid workers, including

:50:47.:50:52.

those whose rages -- those whose wages are too low even to pay tax,

:50:52.:50:59.

to make work pay? As the honourable lady will know, what we're doing

:50:59.:51:02.

with child tax credits, if you take this year and next year, there is

:51:02.:51:08.

going to be a 21 and �55 increase this year, the largest ever

:51:08.:51:15.

increase. -- �255. There will be a further �255 increase next year,

:51:15.:51:21.

and they think that is the right increase in terms of tax credits.

:51:21.:51:24.

In terms of helping families and generally helping people to stay

:51:24.:51:28.

out of poverty, helping with nursery education and to get low-

:51:28.:51:38.
:51:38.:51:41.

paid people out of tax. As the United Kingdom's Borders are being

:51:41.:51:48.

kept open today by patriotic volunteers, will the Prime Minister

:51:48.:51:52.

consider imitating the robust action of the late US President

:51:52.:51:56.

Ronald Reagan in relation to recalcitrant air-traffic

:51:56.:52:06.
:52:06.:52:06.

controllers? I want to thank all those people, including a number of

:52:06.:52:10.

people from Number Ten Downing Street, who were helping to keep

:52:10.:52:13.

our borders open and to make sure that Heathrow and Gatwick are

:52:13.:52:17.

working properly. Perhaps I could report to the House that so far,

:52:17.:52:22.

the evidence suggests that around 40% of schools are open, less than

:52:22.:52:26.

one-third of the civil service is actually striking. In the borders,

:52:26.:52:29.

the early signs are that the contingency measures are minimising

:52:29.:52:34.

the impact. We have full Ambulance Service cover and only 18 out of

:52:34.:52:38.

900 Jobcentres have closed. Despite the disappointment of the party

:52:38.:52:46.

opposite, it looks like something of a damp squib.

:52:46.:52:51.

Can I ask the Prime Minister if he came into politics to sack three

:52:52.:52:55.

quarters of a million Civil and Public surface -- public sector

:52:55.:52:59.

workers, most of whom are women and most of whom have family's? I came

:52:59.:53:04.

into politics to try and improve the welfare of people in our

:53:04.:53:10.

country. The fact is, at the end of this public sector pension reform,

:53:10.:53:14.

those people working in the public sector will have far better

:53:14.:53:18.

pensions than most people in the private sector who are contributing

:53:18.:53:23.

that money to them. I know you are paid to ask questions, you do not

:53:23.:53:31.

have to be paid to wave as well. That is the point. Give the money

:53:31.:53:39.

back to the unions and I will come down. -- come down. Will my

:53:39.:53:42.

honourable friend join me in condemning the have Ryder's attack

:53:42.:53:46.

on our embassy in Tehran yesterday and also join me in paying tribute

:53:46.:53:49.

to our diplomatic staff serving in such difficult environments with

:53:49.:53:54.

such distinction? I certainly join my honourable friend in doing that.

:53:54.:53:59.

I'm sure that a whole house would join me in praising the incredible

:53:59.:54:02.

devotion of our staff in the foreign and diplomatic Service who

:54:02.:54:07.

often face great dangers, as they did yesterday, in Tehran. I chaired

:54:07.:54:11.

a meeting of COBRA yesterday and another this morning and spoke to

:54:11.:54:15.

our ambassador about the safety of his staff. They should be our

:54:15.:54:20.

number one concern. Making sure safety and security are maintained.

:54:20.:54:25.

After that, we will consider taking tough action in response to this

:54:25.:54:35.
:54:35.:54:37.

appalling and disgraceful behaviour. Closed question, Mr Graham Allen.

:54:37.:54:41.

lead a committee of Cabinet ministers to look specifically at

:54:41.:54:44.

family issues including the importance of early intervention.

:54:44.:54:47.

It is central to what this government is trying to achieve and

:54:47.:54:50.

we believe that if you change the life chances of the least well-off,

:54:50.:54:53.

you have a much better chance of genuinely lifting young people out

:54:53.:54:59.

of poverty and keeping them there. I take a very close interest, as to

:54:59.:55:03.

my right honourable friends, the Education Secretary and Chancellor,

:55:03.:55:05.

in the work of the honourable gentleman and the very real

:55:05.:55:07.

difference he has made in terms of prioritising early intervention in

:55:07.:55:13.

our country. Can I thank all three party leaders for their consistent

:55:13.:55:17.

support for early intervention and their generous welcome for my

:55:17.:55:20.

reports? May ask the Prime Minister to make early intervention with

:55:20.:55:27.

babies, children and young people if the move for all departments in

:55:27.:55:29.

the next Comprehensive Spending Review so that not only will all

:55:29.:55:33.

children be able to make the best of their life chances, but also

:55:33.:55:37.

government and the taxpayer will be able to reduce the massive costs of

:55:37.:55:42.

failure, including educational under-achievement, the 120,000

:55:42.:55:45.

dysfunctional families, summers of discontent and many lifetimes

:55:46.:55:50.

wasted on benefits. The honourable gentleman makes a

:55:50.:55:53.

sensible suggestion. I think we can look at that in terms of the next

:55:53.:55:57.

spending round but, frankly, I do not even want to wait for the next

:55:57.:56:01.

spending round. That is why the family committee a lead which the

:56:01.:56:06.

Deputy Prime Minister sits on is looking at how we can make the

:56:06.:56:10.

intervention on the 120,000 most broken families effective.

:56:11.:56:14.

Governments spend a lot of money on these families. But we are not

:56:14.:56:18.

satisfied that money has been spent intervening in those families and

:56:18.:56:23.

trying to turn them around to solve the very real problems. We have a

:56:23.:56:26.

programme for doing that and I hope he will continue with his positive

:56:26.:56:32.

work. The Prime Minister will be aware

:56:32.:56:35.

that there remains 16 British overseas territories around the

:56:35.:56:42.

world where the Union Flag still proudly flies. Will the pledge that

:56:42.:56:48.

Her Majesty's government -- will he pledged that Her Majesty's

:56:48.:56:52.

government will protect, defend and cherish the loyal subjects of all

:56:52.:56:56.

those territories? I can happily give my honourable friend that

:56:56.:57:00.

guarantee. Let me add that the overseas territories will remain

:57:00.:57:04.

British as long as the people of those territories want to maintain

:57:04.:57:08.

their special relationship with us and the Union Flag will continue to

:57:08.:57:12.

fly over the governors residences. We are increasing our assistance to

:57:12.:57:16.

overseas territories. You will be familiar with what we're doing in

:57:16.:57:19.

SingTel and a with the airport. Next year, we will have the

:57:19.:57:28.

anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands.

:57:28.:57:32.

constituent, Jackie, contacted me to ask how she is going to marriage

:57:32.:57:37.

-- going to manage with a 3% tax on a pension, no pay increase until

:57:37.:57:43.

2013 and rocketing fuel Bills. How is she going to feed her family?

:57:43.:57:45.

Why is the Prime Minister making people like her pay for his

:57:45.:57:51.

Government's failure? The fact is, of a whole country is having to pay

:57:51.:57:54.

for the failure of the last government to get on top of the

:57:54.:58:01.

debt and deficit. What I would say is that we are trying to help.

:58:01.:58:07.

We're freezing the council tax, we are cutting the petrol tax, we are

:58:07.:58:10.

taking 1.1 million of the poorest people out of tax altogether. That

:58:10.:58:14.

is why we are increasing the child tax credit in the way that I said.

:58:15.:58:19.

And we will continue to take those steps. What I would say to her

:58:19.:58:22.

constituents, the most dangerous thing we could do right now is lose

:58:23.:58:26.

control of our debts and see interest rates go up. When this

:58:26.:58:33.

government came to power, our interest rates were the same level

:58:33.:58:38.

as Italy. Today, Italy's interest rates are 5% higher. If that was

:58:38.:58:41.

the case, we would see higher mortgage costs, businesses going

:58:41.:58:45.

bust, and we would have a real problem. That is the policy of the

:58:45.:58:52.

party opposite. What message does the Prime Minister have today for

:58:52.:58:55.

the thousands of people who run and work in small businesses in my

:58:55.:58:59.

constituency, who worked tremendously hard to keep those

:58:59.:59:03.

businesses and the local economy going, and who can barely afford in

:59:03.:59:10.

some cases to make provision for their own pensions? The honourable

:59:10.:59:13.

lady is entirely right, that this government is squarely on the side

:59:13.:59:17.

of people who work hard and play by the rules and want to do the right

:59:17.:59:21.

things for their families. To all those people, I would say to them

:59:21.:59:25.

today, thank you for what you do to contribute to public sector

:59:25.:59:29.

pensions that are far more generous than anything you are able to

:59:29.:59:32.

afford, but for our part, we promise to make sure that public

:59:32.:59:36.

sector pensions remain strong but are affordable. What is notable

:59:36.:59:40.

about today is the party opposite has taken the side of trade union

:59:40.:59:47.

leaders that once you actually disrupt our country. -- that want

:59:47.:59:53.

to. With attack bears set to pay up to �100 million to BAE Systems to

:59:53.:59:57.

make workers redundant, is the Prime Minister aware that �100

:59:57.:00:01.

million would pay for five new Hawk planes to be built for Red Arrows?

:00:01.:00:07.

Is that not a better use of �100 million. --? I strongly support

:00:07.:00:13.

British Aerospace. They have the backing of the British Government

:00:13.:00:17.

and an enormous order book from us in terms of the Strategic Defence

:00:17.:00:23.

Review. Also, massive backing from us in terms of selling aircraft all

:00:23.:00:27.

over the world to countries that need them. Clearly, there have been

:00:27.:00:30.

issues and difficulties and that is why we have put in an enterprise

:00:30.:00:33.

zone and we will do everything we can to help those people and that

:00:33.:00:38.

company. Does the Prime Minister share my belief that until recently

:00:38.:00:42.

-- and, until recently, the belief of the Leader of the Opposition

:00:42.:00:44.

that now is not the time to strike until negotiations had been

:00:44.:00:52.

completed? Just in case anyone did not get it the first time, the

:00:53.:00:58.

strikes are wrong, at a time when the negotiations are going on.

:00:58.:01:01.

Negotiations are going on so the Leader of the Opposition should

:01:01.:01:05.

think they are wrong. He does not think they are wrong because he is

:01:05.:01:13.

in the pocket of trade union leaders. Home-help, carers, nurses

:01:13.:01:17.

and teachers are on strike for the very first time in their life. Are

:01:17.:01:25.

these hard-working people... Well, we hear laughter, but it is not

:01:25.:01:29.

laughter for hard-working families. Are these hard-working people out

:01:29.:01:35.

of touch, left-wing trade union militants, as demonised by the two

:01:35.:01:38.

parties opposite, or are they men and women who are saying enough is

:01:38.:01:43.

enough to the Government? I know people steal strongly about this

:01:43.:01:48.

but we have a responsibility to deliver an affordable public sector

:01:48.:01:52.

pension system. We have rejected the idea of levelling down public-

:01:52.:01:56.

sector pensions. What we will deliver in terms of public sector

:01:56.:02:00.

pensions is a generous and fair offer which will give public sector

:02:00.:02:05.

pensioners, unlike others in our country, a defined benefit system.

:02:05.:02:09.

That is why Lord Hutton says this is an incredibly generous offer.

:02:09.:02:14.

What a pity that the party opposite has left reality and will not back

:02:14.:02:22.

The Prime Minister will know I recently held a small business

:02:22.:02:25.

event in my constituency and many of those small businesses complain

:02:25.:02:28.

bitterly about the red tape and bureaucracy they have to jump

:02:28.:02:31.

through to deal with public bodies. What messages can the Prime

:02:31.:02:35.

Minister sent to these businesses as we look to them to help rebuild

:02:35.:02:39.

the economy to get rid of some of this obstructive, bureaucratic

:02:39.:02:43.

nonsense? My honourable friend is right to raise this and that is why

:02:43.:02:46.

we have introduced the red tape challenge, so these roles are

:02:46.:02:50.

published online and businesses and individuals can tell us which ones

:02:50.:02:54.

can be scrapped without harming public safety. We have the one in,

:02:54.:02:58.

one out well, so that ministers cannot introduce a new regulation

:02:58.:03:01.

until they have scrapped an existing one. This government is

:03:01.:03:04.

determined to scrap unnecessary regulation and help small

:03:04.:03:09.

businesses to employ more people in our country. At the last spending

:03:10.:03:13.

review, the Prime Minister said the additional rise in child tax

:03:13.:03:18.

credits could help have an impact on the child poverty. Now he has

:03:18.:03:22.

taken away that rise and freezing working tax credit, can he say how

:03:22.:03:28.

many more children will be in poverty in the coming years? What

:03:28.:03:32.

we are doing in terms of the child tax credit, it will be �390 higher

:03:32.:03:37.

than at the time of the last election. That is a �255 increase

:03:37.:03:42.

this year, that is the largest ever increase in the child tax credit,

:03:42.:03:47.

and we are adding a further �135,000 next year, an increase of

:03:47.:03:50.

5.2 per cent. That is what is happening in terms of child tax

:03:50.:03:56.

credits. Let me make this point. If you increase the pension, QC child

:03:56.:04:00.

poverty figures go up under the definition used by the party

:04:00.:04:07.

opposite. I think it -- you see a You harm the life chances of

:04:07.:04:16.

Could I ask the Prime Minister to ensure that this House remains a

:04:16.:04:21.

free and democratic institution, accountable only to voters? Does he

:04:21.:04:24.

share my indignation that some members had to ask permission from

:04:25.:04:31.

the GMB to be here today. Order, order. There is a matter of basic

:04:31.:04:35.

courtesy here. The question from the honourable lady should be heard.

:04:35.:04:40.

I think she has completed her question. But it is a lesson for

:04:40.:04:43.

the future. When questions are being asked, they should be heard

:04:43.:04:47.

with courtesy, and when the answers are given, whatever members think

:04:47.:04:54.

of them, they should be heard with courtesy. I think it is genuinely

:04:54.:04:58.

baffling to people, that somebody who said they wouldn't back strike

:04:58.:05:02.

action while negotiations were under way, has come to the House of

:05:02.:05:06.

Commons today to speak on behalf of trade union leaders. I want to say

:05:06.:05:16.
:05:16.:05:17.

it is a flashback to Neil Kinnock, Does the Prime Minister think it

:05:17.:05:21.

fair that the Chancellor yesterday decided to take just 300 million

:05:21.:05:28.

extra from the banks, and 1.3 billion from working families in

:05:28.:05:33.

this country. Is that a fair distribution? If you look at what

:05:33.:05:38.

the Chancellor actually announced, he announced we will be taking �2.5

:05:38.:05:41.

billion off the banks, not in one year, because of a one-off bonus

:05:41.:05:47.

tanks, but every single year. -- bonus tax. This government is

:05:47.:05:53.

putting a tax on the banks and the party opposite year after year gave

:05:53.:05:57.

night at Steve Fred Goodwin, didn't we get the banks, didn't tax them

:05:57.:06:07.
:06:07.:06:09.

properly -- gave knighthoods took While I welcome the reduction in

:06:09.:06:12.

corporation tax, and I am sure that will encourage those businesses to

:06:12.:06:16.

expand, 90 per cent of the businesses in my constituency are

:06:16.:06:20.

not incorporated and will not benefit from a reduction. Will the

:06:20.:06:23.

Prime Minister ensure that in the spring Budget, these businesses are

:06:23.:06:28.

given similar tax incentives, so that they can ensure they will grow

:06:28.:06:31.

to their full potential, both in the economy and the communities

:06:31.:06:35.

they serve. Can I praise the honourable gentleman for the our

:06:35.:06:39.

doesn't specimen looking under his nose, and the efforts he has made.

:06:39.:06:44.

We are not going to wait for the Budget, in order to help these

:06:44.:06:48.

small businesses. We have already extended the rate relief freeze for

:06:48.:06:52.

small businesses, and the National Loan guarantee Scheme will help

:06:52.:06:56.

small businesses get access to credit, that will be up and running

:06:56.:07:06.
:07:06.:07:11.

A Minister's Questions has only just finished, the Speaker

:07:11.:07:15.

obviously enjoying himself, ticking off the House every three minutes.

:07:15.:07:22.

If he had kept in his seat, he would have kept in his -- on time.

:07:22.:07:27.

Bump -- predictably it was dominated by the strike going on in

:07:27.:07:31.

the public sector, with Mr Miliband saying he was proud for his party

:07:31.:07:36.

to be back and financed by working trade union members. And Mr Cameron

:07:36.:07:44.

saying he was, "are responsible, left wing and weak." is said that

:07:44.:07:49.

prize, so there is a chancy they believe it -- irresponsible. He

:07:49.:07:59.
:07:59.:08:09.

Mark from London said, the Prime Minister was rattled today and the

:08:09.:08:14.

Speaker was right, the organised barracking from Tory backbenchers

:08:14.:08:19.

has become tedious. Bernard says, people are struggling to make ends

:08:19.:08:24.

meet, people are worried about a dignified old age, what a

:08:24.:08:33.

ridiculous performance from both leaders. This one says, what is to

:08:33.:08:41.

gain from calling Miliband irresponsible, left wing and wick?

:08:41.:08:51.
:08:51.:08:53.

Jack Mason says, crocodile tears from Ed Miliband, does anyone

:08:53.:08:57.

remember the attack on private sector pensions when Gordon Brown

:08:57.:09:00.

took 5 billion out of their pensions? And this one says, is

:09:00.:09:04.

this not the worst-ever performance from the Speaker?

:09:05.:09:09.

We will leave that hanging in the air. I have had a tweet from

:09:09.:09:19.
:09:19.:09:23.

someone who has a Latin phrase for I don't know what it means, my

:09:23.:09:27.

Latin is a little rusty, but I don't think it is nice! I shall

:09:27.:09:31.

check my dictionary later. Nick Robinson is with us, we did not

:09:31.:09:36.

have time to welcome me before, because we have a run as usual.

:09:36.:09:42.

was the celebration of meritocracy that kept me off air. What do you

:09:42.:09:48.

make of it all? There was a lot of noise. Let me just say this, there

:09:48.:09:52.

is a lot more noise when you are in the chamber than we ever here on

:09:52.:09:57.

the television. Those microphones are designed to be direction of,

:09:57.:10:03.

there is a guy in the television gallery to make sure that only one

:10:03.:10:07.

microphone is on, it is much more noisy when you are there. When I am

:10:07.:10:10.

in the press gallery, I have to lean backwards. There is a speaker

:10:10.:10:14.

in my head rest, in order to hear. It is worth remembering that when

:10:14.:10:19.

you get irritated with the Speaker sometimes. That nice tells us

:10:19.:10:23.

something, both sides in the House of Commons knew this was a defining

:10:24.:10:26.

week. Both sides knew that the disaster for the government, of

:10:26.:10:32.

having to reveal how much more borrowing it was planned, could set

:10:33.:10:36.

the image of the government and the opposition. The Conservative

:10:36.:10:39.

backbenchers have set out to tribally defend their guy yesterday,

:10:39.:10:44.

they were very noisy against Ed Balls and they are trying to define

:10:44.:10:48.

Ed Miliband, in the words of that phrase that David Cameron used, as

:10:48.:10:51.

left wing and so on. That is what is going on, because they know

:10:51.:10:55.

these are moments, and there are not many at the moment, whether

:10:55.:10:59.

public engages with politics. A lot of the time, there is too much

:10:59.:11:05.

going on in people's lives for them to care very much. That is why

:11:05.:11:08.

Labour desperately needed to get the image in the public's minds of

:11:08.:11:13.

economic failure yesterday, and today the Tories are desperate to

:11:13.:11:16.

convince the public that Labour is a friend of the strikers in the

:11:16.:11:21.

pockets of the unions. Is it the government's expectation that today

:11:21.:11:26.

is just the start... Maybe not of a winter of discontent, but the start

:11:26.:11:32.

of a series of set-piece industrial action days, and if it is, do they

:11:32.:11:38.

think... Is it their calculation that it will rebound to the

:11:38.:11:43.

government's benefit? The answer is no and yes. No to the winter of

:11:43.:11:49.

discontent. They would insist, and I think they are right, you cannot

:11:49.:11:53.

get workers on strike, day after day, losing a day's pay, over a

:11:53.:11:57.

potential future loss of earnings. If you are about to lose your job,

:11:57.:12:00.

of course you are prepared to go on strike every day. If you are losing

:12:00.:12:05.

your pay, you are willing to sacrifice a day's pay. If this is a

:12:05.:12:08.

potential future loss, important though it is, people are very

:12:08.:12:12.

unlikely. The model the trade unions are looking at is much more

:12:12.:12:17.

targeted, region by region, sector by sector in future. The model is

:12:17.:12:20.

the dispute that has happened in Southampton City Council, which has

:12:20.:12:24.

been going on for weeks. For example, they take out the traffic

:12:24.:12:29.

wardens because it denies the council some cash. Other union

:12:29.:12:30.

members pulled together and compensate those traffic wardens

:12:30.:12:36.

for the money they have lost in earnings. Yes to the idea of a

:12:36.:12:41.

long-term dispute, but no to the idea of a series of mass walkouts.

:12:41.:12:45.

Do you agree with that? I agree with a lot of what Nick has said.,

:12:45.:12:49.

from the relative calm of the House of Lords, it always strikes me as

:12:49.:12:52.

extraordinary, the volume of the noise and the aggression between

:12:53.:12:58.

both sides in the House of Commons. Some of it no doubt artificial, saw

:12:58.:13:04.

it clearly well-meant and deeply felt. Agree that this is a decisive

:13:04.:13:09.

week, about different messages that the opposition and the government

:13:09.:13:13.

are trying to push out. I think David Cameron is right to try to

:13:13.:13:18.

talk about Ed Miliband being irresponsible. I think it is a

:13:18.:13:24.

theme that we will see more of over the next few weeks. It was part of

:13:24.:13:28.

this, his C supporting strikes or not? In June he said one thing,

:13:28.:13:33.

then he said another. -- easy supporting. Now they have said they

:13:33.:13:38.

don't support the strikes -- easy supporting. If they said that a few

:13:38.:13:42.

weeks ago, we might not be having the strikes were having today.

:13:42.:13:46.

think it is nonsense and we have to remember what we are talking about.

:13:46.:13:51.

The Prime Minister was to make this about unions and entities and

:13:51.:13:55.

particular leaders, but we are talking about real people. I think

:13:55.:13:59.

he tops -- he makes a catastrophic misjudgment in seeking to dismiss

:13:59.:14:03.

the things that Ed has been saying as irresponsible and left wing and

:14:03.:14:07.

what have you. If you look at the demographics of people who go on --

:14:07.:14:11.

are going on strike, they do not usually go on strike. These are

:14:11.:14:15.

people in different parts of public service to keep our communities

:14:15.:14:19.

going. To dismiss them as if they are somehow the other, I think is

:14:19.:14:23.

going to be, particularly now but in the long term, a catastrophic

:14:23.:14:27.

misjudgment. He is saying actually, you are not really relevant to us,

:14:27.:14:31.

you are this extreme lot over there, you can't really be complaining

:14:31.:14:37.

about your situation. As I said earlier, if you look at the

:14:37.:14:41.

drawings for a public service pensioner right now, it is about

:14:41.:14:45.

�5,500. I think he has to be very careful. As a Prime Minister, you

:14:45.:14:49.

are expected to be a bit of the father of the nation, a consensus

:14:49.:14:59.
:14:59.:15:03.

builder. The language he is using, I would argue, is a big misjudgment.

:15:03.:15:07.

Let me ask you a more fundamental question, almost trying to get away

:15:07.:15:10.

from the party... A lot of people after yesterday's Autumn Statement

:15:10.:15:16.

are actually quite scared. I really think they are worried.

:15:16.:15:22.

constituents say, I feel insecure. Can I ask the question? I am a bit

:15:22.:15:26.

scared about what will happen to this economy because we are on a

:15:26.:15:30.

knife-edge. The eurozone could tilt us over, and it would be like that,

:15:30.:15:36.

it would just go down like that. In the circumstances, don't we all

:15:36.:15:41.

have to rethink our positions and begin to say that the old party

:15:41.:15:46.

argument was kind of for the good times, when the Tories were talking

:15:46.:15:50.

about sharing the proceeds of growth, what happened to that? When

:15:50.:16:00.
:16:00.:16:00.

Gordon Brown said, there will be no In many respects, the reaction has

:16:00.:16:04.

been in anticipation of what people think the effects of austerity will

:16:04.:16:08.

be. Many of these cuts have not come through yet. The Eurozone has

:16:08.:16:13.

not fed through. That is worrying. I think one thing, in terms of the

:16:14.:16:17.

tone of debate. I share the commands that people make. I am

:16:17.:16:21.

probably unique in that I sit in the House of Commons, and we have

:16:21.:16:26.

got to change PMQs. In fairness to Ed Miliband and the Prime Minister,

:16:26.:16:30.

they have both said publicly that they think the thing needs to be

:16:30.:16:34.

changed. The problem we have got is, how do you do that? I often think

:16:34.:16:37.

what we have these debates and you see the shouting, people feel very

:16:38.:16:42.

frightened about what is going on and insecure. I had a constituent

:16:42.:16:48.

visit me who confessed that he had wept, he lost his job. He is a

:16:48.:16:51.

qualified accountant and he got to the stage the other week where he

:16:51.:16:55.

was just crying because he did not know what to do. I often stop and

:16:55.:16:59.

reflect and think, what would he think when he watches the debates?

:16:59.:17:03.

It is difficult because it is emotional. Partly when people going

:17:03.:17:06.

to the chamber, and you're bringing the views of your constituents and

:17:06.:17:10.

you have had somebody crying when they visited her surgery, you feel

:17:10.:17:15.

a sense of emotion, that you have to get the tone right. -- visited

:17:15.:17:24.

your surgery. Two things, you and I did the live Budget show yesterday,

:17:24.:17:27.

and one is that the living standards, which had been in

:17:27.:17:33.

decline, may continue to decline from start to finish, for a total

:17:33.:17:38.

of 14 years. The other figure that caught my eye on the OBR was that

:17:38.:17:47.

we are now expecting the economy to be 13% smaller by 2016 than we

:17:47.:17:51.

thought three years ago. And it will be a long while before it even

:17:51.:17:55.

gets as big as it was before the financial crash. We already

:17:55.:18:01.

declining economy overall. I wonder if these quite dramatic things that

:18:01.:18:05.

are happening to our country, if the political discourse will have

:18:05.:18:12.

to change to match the fact. Absolutely. 13% is hard to grasp.

:18:12.:18:17.

That is �1 in every �8, more than that actually, going from the

:18:17.:18:22.

national cake. Are we having a political debate about which

:18:22.:18:30.

pounded should be? -- pound it should be. This is the politics of

:18:30.:18:33.

distribution. When the cake is getting smaller, there is a natural

:18:33.:18:37.

fight. People say, well, they should pay and not me. We will see

:18:37.:18:41.

more of that. The argument about taxing and spending. It seems we

:18:41.:18:45.

are not seeing more fundamental questions. Each party has made

:18:45.:18:50.

promises and commitments that look extraordinarily generous, if not

:18:50.:18:55.

lunatic. The Conservatives, much to the frustration of the civil

:18:55.:18:58.

servants, and the wrong partners in the Liberal Democrats, promised to

:18:59.:19:04.

keep under pressure from the Labour Party, the �3 billion of spending

:19:04.:19:08.

on the winter fuel payment, on free bus passes, that go to the likes of

:19:08.:19:16.

Ken clerk, for example. You could argue that it is good and that it

:19:16.:19:20.

is a good thing, and that if you knew what you knew then, the Labour

:19:20.:19:23.

Party has made commitments. But when will this be questioned?

:19:23.:19:27.

Forgive me, if you have to find �8 billion of savings, after the next

:19:27.:19:34.

election, �8 billion of unspecified savings and another 15 on top of

:19:34.:19:38.

that. This is why the long term matters. We have been saying that

:19:38.:19:43.

we need a new economy. We need to restructure the economy to produce

:19:43.:19:48.

better and fairer outcomes. That recognises that we're not going to,

:19:48.:19:51.

if we do win the general election, have the same amount of money

:19:51.:19:56.

available. We have seen crises before and we will get through this

:19:56.:19:58.

one. Politicians need to be honest and realistic about what has

:19:58.:20:08.
:20:08.:20:10.

happened. Tonight, 9 o'clock, BBC Two, a serious programme. If you do

:20:10.:20:13.

not like politicians shouting at each other, you will see former

:20:13.:20:21.

Chancellor's share analysis about this question. -- Chancellors. The

:20:21.:20:25.

main interesting thing about this, I did not know they could talk that

:20:25.:20:35.
:20:35.:20:36.

civilly. 9pm, BBC Two. TV gold. Forget the plug! The money is

:20:36.:20:41.

already making its way to my bank account. He got his wallet out, and

:20:41.:20:50.

two moths just flew over. Keep your cash! Shall we continue.

:20:50.:20:54.

On the subject of redistribution of wealth, as the depth of the

:20:54.:20:58.

economic crisis becomes clearer, it is beginning to feel more like the

:20:58.:21:03.

1930s. Then, as now, the economic woes were blamed on speculators. As

:21:03.:21:13.
:21:13.:21:13.

now, politicians have struggled to keep pace with growing public anger.

:21:13.:21:17.

Here is Danny Gowling on why we need to do something about the gap

:21:17.:21:27.
:21:27.:21:28.

between the super rich and A few years ago, politicians did

:21:28.:21:32.

not want talk about inequality. Peter Mandelson said he did not

:21:32.:21:35.

care what the rich earned as long as they paid their taxes. Now

:21:35.:21:40.

everybody is talking about fairness. Inequality is hard to stomach when

:21:40.:21:50.
:21:50.:21:58.

In all of the OECD, there is only one other country that spends more

:21:58.:22:01.

on a smaller proportion of women's -- children's secondary education

:22:01.:22:09.

as we do, and that is chilly. In many countries, they spend more on

:22:09.:22:15.

those children who are left behind at school, not those who pass exams

:22:15.:22:20.

to go here, Westminster, Nick Clegg's old school. Profit is

:22:20.:22:24.

rising in Britain. At the same time, the 1000 richest people in this

:22:24.:22:27.

country saw their wealth caught up by an average of �60 million each

:22:27.:22:32.

last year. Are we allowing this to continue because we cannot do the

:22:32.:22:42.
:22:42.:22:44.

maths? Over one million people aged under 25 are unemployed. At the

:22:44.:22:48.

same time, we are spending �200 billion a year on our salaries

:22:48.:22:54.

compared to 1970. That is in real terms. If the best-of people were

:22:54.:23:00.

still best-of but not paid five or �10 -- five or 10 times more than

:23:00.:23:04.

their parents, that extra money could employ one million people on

:23:04.:23:14.
:23:14.:23:15.

the minimum wage 15 times over. 80 years ago, we faced a similar

:23:15.:23:19.

dilemma to today. There had been an economic crash and the country got

:23:19.:23:22.

poorer. It took our politicians four years to work out that we

:23:22.:23:30.

needed to share more. Let us see how long it takes this time.

:23:30.:23:35.

And Danny joins us. Picking up on that last point, governments have

:23:35.:23:38.

found it very difficult to redistribute wealth through

:23:38.:23:43.

legislation. What will change now? The question is, are we at the

:23:43.:23:49.

moment, like that moment at the end of 1929, where it took us about

:23:49.:23:56.

four years, to finally realise that we could not carry on having the

:23:56.:24:01.

rich having more and more. Conservative and Liberal

:24:01.:24:05.

administrations mainly made their gap between the rich and poor fall.

:24:05.:24:08.

There was increased taxation at the top but it fell in the Forties,

:24:08.:24:13.

Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. The last time we were as unequal as we

:24:13.:24:19.

are now was around that time. you're saying that the rich are

:24:19.:24:21.

getting paid too much, too many people with high salaries, and you

:24:21.:24:26.

could actually help you are on employment, how would you do that?

:24:26.:24:31.

Just tax the Ritz -- just tax the rich? It is more complicated and

:24:31.:24:36.

slower. The key thing that changed was attitudes as to what was decent

:24:36.:24:40.

and acceptable. Salaries stock rising and people stopped asking

:24:40.:24:44.

for more. That saved a lot of money. You think that might happen again?

:24:44.:24:50.

I look back at 2007, at some of the ways that people behaved. Bankers

:24:50.:24:55.

buying a drink for �10,000 to celebrate the deal. The super-rich,

:24:55.:24:58.

some of them are saying they would like to pay more tax. It is hardly

:24:58.:25:02.

a mass movement of people saying that they want to earn less. And it

:25:02.:25:09.

was hardly a mass movement at the end of that 20 Mac and '30s. -- at

:25:09.:25:14.

the end of the '20s. There was a generation of mass unemployment

:25:14.:25:18.

then. That is how it happened before, changing attitudes.

:25:18.:25:22.

Taxation matters but you have to say, it is wrong to have a few

:25:22.:25:26.

people paid enormous salaries and have one million people who are

:25:26.:25:30.

very young out of work. On Matt, is it wrong that a few people earn

:25:30.:25:34.

very high salaries and so many people do not? I agree with very

:25:34.:25:38.

little of what he has said, particularly the characterisation

:25:38.:25:42.

of the 1930s compared to today. We are infinitely wealthier than we

:25:42.:25:47.

were in the 1930s. We have a welfare system and pensions. We do

:25:47.:25:52.

not have people living in the streets on nothing. This is the

:25:52.:25:56.

brilliance of capitalism over the course of the last 80 years.

:25:56.:26:02.

everybody would accept... It has provided so much to us. Why have we

:26:02.:26:06.

gone back to the gaps of the Thirties? It is 20 years since the

:26:06.:26:11.

depths of communism. We have forgotten what happens in societies

:26:11.:26:18.

build on entirely -- built entirely on equality. Why is this debate

:26:18.:26:21.

about inequality or was about trying to make rich people poorer

:26:21.:26:27.

rather than poorer people richer? These other directions. I think he

:26:27.:26:31.

completely missed the point. It is because I have completely got the

:26:32.:26:35.

point. You are talking about the merits of capitalism and we're

:26:35.:26:40.

talking about distribution. We will end up with a more equal society,

:26:40.:26:44.

that is what you're saying but it is not the case. Why should the top

:26:44.:26:47.

people have to give up their salaries? That will not be the

:26:47.:26:51.

whole answer. I think there are two problems. We have a system where

:26:51.:26:54.

productivity increases have not fed through into wages and that is why

:26:54.:27:00.

we have had the squeeze on living standards. Secondly, we have had a

:27:00.:27:03.

development in highly paid jobs at the top and an insecure economy

:27:03.:27:07.

with low wages at the bottom. There is a hollow ring out of jobs in the

:27:07.:27:10.

middle. That is why we have to restructure the economy. Very

:27:10.:27:14.

quickly. If we tax people at the top, that would not sort out the

:27:14.:27:19.

problem. We have to work towards sorting out the middle. We need to

:27:19.:27:23.

do a whole problem on this -- programme on this!

:27:23.:27:31.

Let us see it live pictures than on the strikers. -- live pictures now

:27:31.:27:34.

of the strikers. This is central London, live pictures from our

:27:34.:27:43.

helicopter. Yesterday, it got lost on the way. Not huge numbers. The

:27:43.:27:48.

main demonstration will coincide with the strike in Birmingham.

:27:48.:27:58.
:27:58.:28:01.

London, being London, there will always be something happening. A

:28:01.:28:05.

hospital. A schools may be closed, but don't think that our

:28:05.:28:09.

parliamentarians are not sharing your pain. Some of the catering

:28:09.:28:11.

facilities and House of Commons have been closed because of the

:28:11.:28:15.

strike. We do not want our guests to go hungry so we have brought

:28:15.:28:21.

them an austerity packed lunch. Here you are. There is just one

:28:21.:28:24.

catch, do you know how much it costs.

:28:24.:28:34.
:28:34.:28:35.

If they shared... The sandwich costs? Probably about

:28:35.:28:45.
:28:45.:28:47.

150. �1 and 53p. Not bad. The answer to guess the year, Bannister

:28:47.:28:51.

breaking the four-minute mile. We do not have time to pick the winner.

:28:51.:28:56.

The year was 1954. We will give you there were no tomorrow. That is it

:28:56.:29:02.

for today. Thank you to her guests and special thanks to Tam and Chuka

:29:02.:29:04.

Umunna for being our guests of the day.

:29:04.:29:08.