09/02/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, folks bs welcome to the Daily Politics. In a few


minutes, we expect to hear that interest rates are on hold yet


again for the 36th month in a row and that the Bank of England is


going to print yet more money to buy up Government debt, all in the


hope of stimulating growth. If or when it happens, you will be the


first to know. Fabio Capello resigns as England


football manager, the Football Association is holding a press


conference right now. Should his replacement be an


Englishman? Ken Livingstone is no stranger to


controversy but now he's gone and said the Tory party is or was


riddled with gays. There's outrage. Yes, there is


outrage! Is any of it genuine?


And politicians love their bikes and now there's news from France


that cyclers there will be allowed to jump red lights. What's new? Is


that the sort of thing you would like to see her?


-- see here? Drivers jump red lights in Paris,


why shouldn't cyclists. cyclists do here anyway. All that


in the next hour of public service broadcasting at its finest.


With us for the duration, the leader of the UK Independence Party,


Nigel Farage. Welcome to back to the programme. Thank you.


comments or thoughts or just got nothing else to do and you want to


say something about what we are going to discuss, you can tweet


your comments. # DP. Most of you watching yesterday will


remember that the Prime Minister is currently wrapped up at a Nordic


summit in Sweden. Now what he said there this morning is that he was


looking for measures to accelerate the number of women working for top


British firms, saying he wants a target of around 30%. He's also


said he won't rule out quotas as a way of getting there. But not just


yet. A good idea, Nigel Farage? It's not his idea, of course. The


yarpblt voted for this in principle and legislation, we are told, will


be brought forward shortly. The 30% quota won't be a Government


decision but something imposed on us from Brussels. Is it a good idea


though? No, I don't believe in quotas. While it may seem unfair


that fewer women reach FTSE company, the fact is that there are not as


many women who want to do the very demanding sfen day a week jobs. A


lot of women have children and it's difficult in the corporate jungle


to get to the top if you have to take time off two or three times in


your career. If you look at parental leave and flexible working


hours and flexible pay in other countries, that would make it


easier? Yes, they have a different approach and the state is very


happy to kfr all of the Cos for maternity believe and things like


this -- cover. The point is, I talk about the corporate jungle. The


people that get to the top utterly dedicate themselves to these jobs


year after year after year and if you take six months off, you are


disadvantaged. It's just as simple as that. So the status quo would


change if there weren't these quotas and you say that would be


fine because it's too difficult? Not because it's difficult but lots


of women make other life choices. How many female UKIP MEPs are there


in your party? We have two. The party director is female. Indeed on


our assembly list for London for the elections in May we have got


female barristers and brokers, but I don't believe in quotas and


certainly in UKIP, if people get on, they do so on ability. The Prime


Minister says it would help the economy, there is an economic


reason to have the quotas? I don't know where he gets that from.


say the Government figures that say... He's spouting the EU line.


This is what the recommendation in the European Parliament that we


voted for. I didn't vote for it, but that is what it said.


Now, while Jo was doing that, we have discovered the Bank of England


has frozen interest rates. They are still at 0.5%, that's not


surprising. It's also extending its programme of what is called


technically quantitive easing, basically the creating of the new


money. It will be �50 billion. A little less than the City thought.


They were thinking maybe up to �75 billion. It began with �75 billion,


it got up to �200 billion, then did another �75 billion, it's now added


another �50 billion, that takes total printing of money up to �3 25


billion. We've never had that before, Jo.


No. Thank you for setting out the No. Thank you for setting out the


firs. The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee cut


interest rates to 0.5% in March 2009, a record low. Since then they


haven't shift ford almost three years. The bank began its programme


of quantitive easing at the same time, creating new money to buy


financials a setss with the - QE has been increased at several


stages to �275 billion in October last year and now with a further


�50blt announced today, creating new money and keeping interest


rates down would be expected to cause inflation.


At a time when the Consumer Prices Index is well above target at 4.2%,


you might wonder why the bank is sticking with the programme.


The reason is the continuing problem facing the economy. It


shrank by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of last year. But whilst


low interest rates might help the economy and people with big


mortgages, they're bad for savers. In one recent poll, just 23% of


people said low rates are good for their personal finances compared to


36% who said they are bad. Thanks Jo. We are joined by the


Conservative MP, Matthew Hancock, he's a former economist at the Bank


of England so maybe he can tell us why out of the last 68 forecasts of


inflation they got 59 wrong. He was the adviser to Chancellor George


Osborne and then became an MP. We are joined also by the Shadow


economic secretary to the Treasury, Chris Lesley who I don't think has


made any forecasts on inflation. Matthew Hancock, do you accept that


one of the main consequences of QE is to transfer wealth from savers


is to transfer wealth from savers to borrowers?


No, I don't think that's one of the main points. It keeps interest


rates low? Yes, but we manage our macro economy by altering interest


rates and of course it has different impacts on different


people. The most important impact of QE is to try to make sure this


de-leveraging in the banking system goes at a pace that doesn't damage


the wider economy more than the difficulties that we are trying to


get through. We've always had this position. We've got these debts,


we've talked about them around this programme a lot, and our argument's


always been, you want fiscal responsibility and monetary


activism where the monetary side keeps the economy going once you do


the difficult stuff. But it's difficult to finance the debt?


the Bank of England is, well it's not technically printing money but


it's carrying out quantitive easing. Hold on. The Government issued �17


billion worth of gilts in October last year, the bank bought �17


billion worth of gilts in November the government issued �12 billion


worth of gilts and the bank bought �24 billion worth of gilts. In 2012


so far, the Government's issued �16 worth of debt, the bank's bought


�24 billion. You are monetising the debt? What was wrong with what I


said there? The key point in that is that the Bank of England is


independent and what's crucial is that in these very difficult


economic times when we have got the debt deficit we need to deal with -


some people don't agree with that - we do, we have also got to keep the


economy going and when rates get close to 0p%, the way you help the


economy is more quantitive easing. It's difficult, I understand that,


but the consequence of this is to help keep the economy going. As we


saw, inflation is still above target but it's coming down.


Manufacturing figures this morning 1% growth in December, that's good.


Our trade deficit is at its smallest since 2003. So there is


some good news. You say the Bank of England is independent. George


Osborne cheerleads the bank in doing this, he's invented this


phrase dtion monetary activism". -- "monetary activism". I come back to


the point that you are monetising the debt. You are borrowing money


paid for by money printed by the bank? Absolutely not. The bank is


independent. Monetary activism. Doesn't matter whether they are


independent or not, they are buying the debt. Of course it matters, you


don't want politicians setting interest rates. What monetary


activism means is you give the Bank of England the space to manage the


economy by having a credible fiscal plan so everybody knows that we


have the political will to deal with our debts as a country. Chris,


I suspect if Labour was in power, you would be doing the same?


not sure that we'd be in this particular hole. We are following


the system set out by Alistair Darling. You have had a fair run


now, Matthew. Do you support this? Anything that can support the


economy. So you do? My point is, I don't think there's an ability to


continue printing your way out of this particular hole. It's pretty


desperate stuff when you end up having to have the Bank of England


bailing out the Chancellor for his failure on growth and the key thing


I think is this, Matthew says well printing money has a small effect


on interest rates. As you said, it's absolutely the determinate of


the low interest rates you've got printing your way to low interest


rates is not a sustainable way forward. The difficulty with this


point about saying the Bank of England are independent, well yes,


they choose the amount of quantitive easing, but the


Chancellor has to sign off the policy as well. Expecting the Bank


of England to do all the heavy lifting on saving our economy and


getting growth done, it's t not going to work. You are pushing on a


string. Mr Hancock? I have o to respond to the partisan point. The


system for ensuring that the Bank of England has the independence to


take these decisions was set up by independence by Gordon Brown and


then the independence over QE by Alistair Darling and that hasn't


been changed. But that's been signed off by the Chancellor?


Chancellor's always, whether Alistair Darling or George Osborne,


has always signed off... A very important point. I'm not saying


there isn't a place from time to time for quantitive easing, but the


key they think is this. When we first had to do this back in 2009,


George Osborne said that printing money was "the last resort of a


desperate government". You were his Chief of Staff at the time. Did you


advise him to stay that? We were in a desperate situation. Nobody


really cares what he said then. was quite important. I don't care


and I ask the questions. OK, well I care. As a Conservative,


meant to encourage people to save, to build up their own property, a


party that aspouzs a property- owning democracy, are you


comfortable as a Conservative with a policy which is effectively


state-imposed negative real interest rates? -- aspouses.


state always has a role in the level of interest rates... Are you


comfortable? The rates are not imposed by the state but the bond


market, whether we like it or not. This is all level economics we are


trying to teach you. Hardly. Do I think it's good that we have long-


term interest rates at record lows? Yes I do because it's the biggest


stimulus our economy could get and it would be under threat if we gave


our... It's not stimulating the economy, we had �75 billion in


October and our economy went into reverse in that quarter. You left


us in a great big hole. Let me bring in Nigel Farage. Where are


you on this? I understood why back in 08-08 09, QE was used because


there was a real serious scare about the banks which has now gone.


The savers are getting a rotten deal and the real problem is we are


not dealing with the size of the debt. I know it's difficult, but we


are not having any serious groth in the UK economy. They are the real


problems that need to be addressed -- growth. You have some people


saying we are cutting too fast, some people saying we are stum


lating the economy. We are not cutting. -- stimulating. Some say


you are not cutting enough, some say you are cutting too much. If


you are criticised from both sides, you are normally in the right place.


We are borrowing more than we are earning every year. Which must mean


you are all wrong. We have an extreme over here, one over there


and we are broadly down the middle and I feel comfortable in that


place. Are you comfortable? Are you comfortable with Government


spending, yes or no? No, no Government spending. Can I just


point out that the several months ago, the Bank of England snuck out


in small print of six point type that the effect of its quantitive


easing so far had been to raise inflation by anything between 1 and


2.6%. I think we can take it that it's closer to the 2.6 because the


bank wanted to downplay the real effect. Are you comfortable with


that? Inflation hits the poorest so you are squeezing savers in Middle


England and hitting the poorest by putting that up? That's not what


the Bank of England report said. I don't know whether you have read


the report. Of course I have. showed that it boosted the economy.


It also said it put up inflation by up to 2.5%, the same as the


increase in VAT? So do you want the Bank of England not to manage the


economy or do you want the Bank of England to manage the economy?


want you to answer my question. These are difficult trade-offs. You


can't ignore the debt. The same report was instructive because all


the claims about low interest rates being caused by George Osborne was


blown out of the water when the Bank of England said that around 1%


of that low interest rate was caused by the printing of money.


Printing of money, does it sound sustainable to you? We'll leave it


there. The distinguished economic Editor of the Scotsman says this


morning that the bank may end up I am going to leave with you now


because Jo is about to do a story of which I have no interest! I am


glad you stated your position there, Andrew. Was the England football


managerks Fabio Capello right to rescission? I am an -- resign. I am


an expert on this. This morning David Cameron said he was sorry to


see Mr Capello Go, but the Sports Minister sounded less optimistic.


The FA had no option, but to strip John Terry of the captaincy, not to


prejudge the court case, but because it would have been


impossible for him to discharge his responsibilities as captain of the


England team with that hanging over him. It is a great shame that Fabio


Capello has acted in the way that he has. If a player in his team had


behaved in the way that he has behaved to the FA, he would have


taken the toughest possible action and I'm delighted that the FA


agreed with him that he should no longer be manager.


David Thompson is in the House of Commons. David.


Well, look forget about deficit reduction, what MPs want to talk


about, who should be the next England manager and I am joined by


Damien Collins, and Sir Bob Russell, Lib Dem and keen football fan.


Damien, in a sense you have been part of this process and you were


one of the first people to say that you thought that John Terry should


be stripped of the captaincy while the court case was pending, are you


happy with where we are now? Well, it was Fabio Capello's decision to


resign. If he couldn't accept that John Terry's position had become


untenable, it was right for him to go. Footballers and football, they


are part of society. It is not just a sport. The England manager, just


like the England captain is a public figure and we expect things


of them and where we are maybe regrettable to many fans, but it


has become inevitable and it was Capello's decision.


Whatever the rights and wrongs of that case, we are four months away


from a major European tournament without a manager. Have the FA


handled this well? The FA don't handle anything well. The Football


Association in this country is pretty useless and the way they


have handled the last two England managers and this affair in


particular, establish and confirms that the FA are a useless bunch.


What should they do? They should never have had a foreign manager in


the first place. The FA are not up to the job.


OK. Do you think now that given we have had Svens and Fabios, do you


think it is time for the manager to be if not English, from the British


Isles? Their job is to a coach who has developed his career through


the English coaching system. That would be a good thing. Someone who


should understand the culture of football in our country maybe


better than a coach brought inside particularly one that has never had


any managerial experience in the UK. We need an English manager, we have


got coalition consensus on something at least. Over to you.


Consensus, I don't know, I'm moving on. Is that good or bad? I don't


know. Consensus, what about you, do you think it should be an


Englishman? I was astonished when this chap Capello was appointed. He


earnt �24 million quid and he couldn't speak the English. Why


don't we have somebody English running the English football team?


Nobody could have done a worse job. I think Redknapp will be the next


man, and good. OK, we have consensus. Everyone


wants Harry, I think! Our guest of the day, Nigel Farage


is the leader of the UK Independence Party still. He gave


up the job for a bit when he stood against the Speaker John better cue


at the -- Bercow at the last election. His successor wasn't seen


as a runaway suck success. Who could we send to investigate, Giles,


of course, our own Nigel looky Even before Nigel Farage first


became leader of UKIP in 2006, a party he was involved in founding


in the early 90s, people whispered the party was something of a one


man show. As they built themselves to a regular feature of the


political landscape, they, he would argue however flattering it is not


true. A one time party candidate, now a Conservative MP disagrees.


There is a cult around Nigel Farage and always has been for the last


ten years. They follow him. They think he is a charismatic leader


and his approach and manner is something that appeals to them.


It is a reality, UKIP have become an electoral thorn in other parties


sides. Nigel Farage led them and UKIP got the highest share of the


vote. His attacks are praised and damned. You have the charisma of a


damp rag and the appearance of a low grade bank clerk. The question


I want to ask - who are you? I never heard of you. Nobody in


Europe heard of you. He stood down as leader to fight


the general election in John Bercow's seat. The leadership


election show cased five candidates no one heard of and who Nigel


wanted, Nigel gets. Only one of of them is a serious credible


candidate and that's Lord Pearson. A year later he failed to win the


Parliamentary seat and by enough to make some question his judgement.


He was involved in an accident that shook him and fired him up for


taking the leadership back. I have survived an aeroplane crash and if


before that you thought I was bold, well I'm fearless now. I'm up for


it, I want the job again. He won. His job will be to keep


UKIP a political force in the face of growing Conservative scepticism.


In the 90s they had serious thinking people on board who were


trying to get an issue on the agenda in a sensible way and didn't


see UKIP as a long-term project, saw it as a short-term thing.


Their opponents may snigger, but there are people in UKIP who are


smart and people who are charismatic and people who know how


to stay on the right side of being a professional politician. The fact


that Nigel Farage can do all three at a time when the party might be


under pressure means they probably need him more than ever.


No, thank you. I'm always told I Come to think of it, you don't.


So you are a one-man band? Absolute nonsense.


No one heard of anyone else in the party? Last week one of your guests


is in UKIP. I was looking this morning...


not a politician. He bankrolls you. He used to bankroll the Tories.


He bankrolled William Hague. When people like that take on senior


roles, it says we are far more than a one-man band. We have women and


women, barristers, shipbrokers, professional and competent people.


There has been a change in UKIP. How many are standing in the


elections? 25 in all. I'm confident that on our message,


jobs and growth interestingly, we are so ham strung by EU law that we


are not able to go out there and create jobs that we will do well.


Giles said, "A party under pressure." Look in 2011 we made a


lot of progress in the opinion polls. We started off at 2.5% to 3%,


we finished at 7% to 7.5%. Public sees and you rate quite well


in the polls as a leader, but the public sees you as a one-man band


leading a one issue party? Well, that's unfair. I think... That's


how they see you? There are people like my deputy who is only 34, a a


Scouser who is is beginning to appear on more and more BBC


programmes. There is three our four names.


But not the younger ones in the party? Well, you know, get him on


and we will get people elected to that London Assembly who are bright


and young. You said in 2011 that had been


amazing year and you went through your successes. What's the target


for 2012? What will be another amazing year for you if you achieve


what? Well, the thing we have to do this year, we have to win seats in


the London Assembly. If we fail to do that, then 2012 will have been a


failure. That's the big objective is to get people elected there. We


will be continuing to fight by- elections, local elections, and you


know, in Barnsley last year, we came second in the by-election in


in Barnsley and I would look for that trend in the opinion polls to


continue. We were up until the summit, where Cameron was thought


to have vetoed something, we were running neck in neck with the Lib


Dems and I I expect that trend to continue and I think we will get


past them. Even The Greens have their MP in


Brighton, you haven't managed that? Our support is is spread across the


country. We don't have... Aren't the Greens spread across the


country thinly? Absolutely not. The Greens do well in three or four


big cities and poorly everywhere else. We tend to do respectively


everywhere. We have got to built up -- build up a local base. There are


areas where we have district and county councillors and those are


the areas we have to work on. Like the Greens and the Lib Dems,


you have to build that up from the ground up, that's more difficult?


It is a heck of a job and I'm not pretending it is easy, but we are


making progress. Let's look at the policy and beyond


the one that you are famous for. What of an English Parliament? The


Scots have a Parliament. The Welsh have a Parliament, what about an


English assembly? Absolutely. We said we as a party believe in an


English Parliament and I believe in a federal structure for the United


Kingdom. Where would you put the English


Parliament? It should be in the House of Commons. That's the


British Parliament? I don't see any need for Scottish or Welsh or


Northern Irish MPs to debate things that are English only issues and


most of the business that is conducted there, tends to be on


Irish only issues. We need to have a separate Parliament and the


country if it stays a United Kingdom after the Scottish


referendum, comes together in Westminster which will be the


imperial Parliament for the UK? proposal that we are debating, it


is not party policy is the House of Commons would be the English


Parliament and the House of Lords which is in need of reform would


become a union Parliament. That's the way we're going.


Wouldn't it be good for regional policy if you put it in York?


don't think there is there is appetite for yet more buildings and


more MPs. What about High Speed Two, are you


in favour of that? I am opposed to T it is a ridiculous price and it


is the wrong route and it is astonishing that all three parties


support it. I know this was agreed to in Brussels many, many years ago.


I would have thought we could spend a fraction of the money upgrading


the existing lines. Come the Scottish referendum if the


question is along the the lines of do you think Scotland should be


independent, how will you advice advice your supporters to vote?


There has to be a debate in Scotland. Alex Salmond got away


with murder. This idea that Scotland could be independent and


part of a European Union, let's have that debate.


How are you going to vote? I don't want the United Kingdom to break up,


but I want it to change. Right, but you are the United


Kingdom independence party, so you must be in favour of the United


Kingdom? I am in favour of devolved powers. I don't see any


inconsistency with that. The geny is is out of the bottle.


We have more to discuss including Ken Livingstone and gays.


We welcome viewers to BBC Scotland, they have been watching First


Minister's Questions and they join the Daily Politics and we can bring


you the news that in London, Ken Livingstone caused outrage. In an


interview New Statesman magazine. He has been talk being the


Conservative Party's attitude to Great English! The best English, Mr


Livingstone. We get your drift. Well, it's caused a row, as many


things Mr Livingstone says. We are joined by Labour's Chris Bryant and


the Conservative Mike Freer. Mike Freer, you first, he says it was a


joke, he's known for shooting from the hip, you maybe make a mistake


if you take him too seriously? Let's hope London doesn't make that


mistake twice. On BBC this morning, he was asked did he use the wrong


word. The local London talk station? Yes. Other than "riddled"?


Yes. People always said "riddled with what". But on LBC he said no,


he wouldn't change the word, he stood by the word so he didn't


misspeak, he wasn't shooting from the hip, I think he knew exactly


what he was saying. Chris Bryant, what's your take on it? The word


"riddled" is pretty daft. I've read the full interview and it reads


oddly. I'm not sure whether he's talking about hypocrisy riddling


the Conservative Party in relation to... Or If you read it, he does


mean gay. He actually says when people came out, they became


ministers and that was great. He says that. I'm not a fan of this


word "riddled" at all. It's unpleasant. However, I would say


there is a bit of Fawkes outrage here because Mike was banging on


yesterday about how terrible this was. I remember when Boris Johnson


said that if two men should be allowed the marry, why not three


men or for that matter three men and a dog. Mike Tweeted to said


that was Ken that said that, it wasn't, it was Boris. I didn't say


that's what condition said, I said it didn't sound like Boris --


that's what when said. We are talking about Boris. What Boris


said is that he said he doesn't care that the state determines what


marriage is, basically he said two men, three men, one man and a dog,


he doesn't care. How offensive is that. Homosexuality is the same as


beastiality. He's saying he doesn't care. If Boris made these remarks


of Ken, there would be a lot more outrage? Mike, you are a hypocrite


because you are not prepared to own up to the fact you got this wrong


yesterday. But what about this point? Boris said the Tory party


used to be riddled with gays in the closet, if he said that, what would


you feel? I dislike the word "riddled", however it's true that


there were, I think it was horrible for many years in the Conservative


Party as a gay man, we know that there are several men who've now


come out who weren't able to do so, had to pretend to be something


different and some of those have subsequently said they had to vote


the wrong way against what they wanted to. Is that true? That was


hypocrisy. The difficulty is, if you are a gai MP, previously as a


Conservative, it was difficult. The Conservative Party couldn't run


apart from gay men, it practically ran for Central Office, so there's


a bit of let's balance the books. That's a bit suggestive. Chris is


very good at standing up and accusing other people of homophobia.


I want him to stand up to the home Phoebes in his own party, starting


with Ken Livingstone. Livingstone is not a home Phoebe. I


disagree with Ken using the word requests riddled" but he's not a


home Phoebe. He's battled for LGTB rights for years, even when it was


- he's been there all the way through. Can I put a wider point to


you that, almost every time a politician on the left or the right


now goes kind of off piste in their language, they get slapped down.


They get dragged on to this programme by you. We haven't got


any of them on. Riddled or dragged, not too sure, just be careful. The


point I'm making is if we carry on like this on the left and the right,


we'll end up with politicss who sound like I speak your weight


machines. You have heard that from either of us this morning have you?


I'm tired of, if one of my party says something stupid, I'll stand


up and shout them down, but the Labour Party expect them to be


sacked, you know. That's a lie, that's a direct lie. Yesterday, you


were saying that can't have been Boris that said about the equating


homosexuality with beastiality. But you didn't then reply, did you?


me bring in... I wonder whether voters in London are having this


furious debate. They'll say, it's Ken Livingstone, he's been saying


silly inoffensive things since the '70s. I think Ken likes to shock,


offend, there's no need phone an argument. Isn't the truth that Ken


Livingstone is wrong on both accounts, that just because you


came out as lesbian or gay, you did not automatically get a job. That's


definitely wrong as you will know. And although undoubtedly there were


gay MPs in the Conservative Party who felt that they couldn't be


openly gay, the party, to use his unfortunate word, wasn't "riddled"


which implies 80-90% were gay, there were a minority and times


were difficult for them so he's factually wrong on both. It's the


contagion of riddled. We all don't like riddled. Shall we end on that


agreement then? I don't think he was intending to shock anybody.


Listen, he's looking at... going to give Mike Freer the final


word because he's been the quitest. When the world is looking at London


for the Olympics, the Paralympics, world pride, do we need


Sanctimonious. I'm not, I've let you speak. Do we give a stuff what


Ken Livingstone says outside London? I don't. Boris is the real


homophobic one. Thanks for joining us and I think we should move on.


Do you think that row would drag on, to use that unfortunate phrase?


I don't think that got us anywhere, but it was good. Pretty much every


local authority in the country is having to tighten the purse strings


and find savings. But the BBC's found that many of them are also


forking out millions in fines because they've missed their


European targets on recycling. It's bin day on this estate in


Worcester. Last week, it was recycling. This week, there's only


one place the city's rubbish is heading. The landfill site on the


edge of town is home to 180,000 tonnes a year.


But growing mountains of rubbish like these are costing the councils


dear. All local authorities have to pay landfill taxes, essentially a


Government fine to encourage them to hit European recycling rates.


The problem is, despite the fact our councils are throwing less to


landfill, the fines are rising. Even though more and more of us are


recycling our rubbish, it's not enough to keep Brussels happy.


you just look at the headline figure, you will see we are paying


more tax there so we must be failing, but we are not, we are


actually on track, we are managing to wean ourselves off it. The waste,


it's a long-term plan, you can't change the system overnight but


need to have a clear and positive strategy which we are working to


year on year. And with budgets under more and more pressure, the


landfill tax is proving a real headache. In the financial year


2005-0106, Worcestershire County Council sent 262,000 tonnes to


landfill and paid �3.4 million in tax.


In 2010-2011, that waste fell to 127,000 tonnes, but the fine shot


up to �5.8 million. At the same time, Shropshire paid �4.2 million


and Gloucestershire, �7 million. The figures have caught the eye of


MEPs on the continue net. It should be a matter for the Westminster


Government and not for Brussels. We should be able to spend our money


in a meaningful way and not be fined by the EU.


But the reality is, if we are going to reduce our carbon emission and


catch up with your European neighbours, the answer doesn't lie


with holes in the ground. If people had understood earlier


the drivers behind sustainability and taken on the Green Party


message a bit more, then we could have avoided a lot of the pain of


landfill tax. Whilst most agree landfill isn't


the way forward, unless our councils stop burying rub Nish the


ground, then they'll continue to throw away good money after bad.


Natalie Bennett is a Green Party member and a journalist and she


joins us now. It's the fines isn't it, in a time like this when there


are massive cuts, should councils be paying fines if they miss their


targets? The massive cuts are absolutely dreadful, that's hitting


social services and those issues. So they shouldn't be fined? But the


issue of waste is a separate issue that simply has to be dealt with.


The situation is, it's the UK Government that decided what level


these fines should be at and it's the UK Government that has to deal


with this problem on a national level. We are going to run out of


landfill spaces in eight years' time, there's nowhere to put it, we


are using an area the size of Warwick to dump waste on which is


great for seagulls but not humans. What we have also got to do is, the


councils have to do better. they've made big improvements,


they've been successful at reducing landfill which begs the question


should they face fines of �64 a tonne, rising to �80 a tonne in


2014. Worcestershire County Council faced a fine of almost �6 million


last year, people will say at a time when libraries are closing,


that is not a good use of money? But that council and the others


with it have a chance to do much better. The councils being fined


are the ones doing very poorly generally. There is a huge Sarah


yoution between the council doing best with 66% and the worst at 14%,


so the councils have a lot of this in their hand -- huge variation.


What is the point of it all? This legislation was brought in to deal


with the landfill question in areas like Belgium and the Netherlands


which were in many cases below the water table. That's why the


legislation? Brussels was put into place. It was never relevant or


popt for the UK. -- appropriate. When we are going to run out in


eight years? There are plenty of landfill sites out there, no


mistake about that. What's happened is, because of the threat of fines,


we have put people on to fortnightly bin collections across


most of the UK and if we don't use landfill, we move towards


incinerators which people will object to even more strongly.


to your point that there isn't a need for it in the UK. Does this


mean that there is? We can argue about how much landfill sites there


are. Even if they came from Europe or the UK, surely they have to do


something to reduce the amount of waste? The point is, this


legislation was designed to deal with water table problems in the


low countries, we are applying it to the enth degree, it isn't


relevant to the UK, we should say to hell with it. We have a picture


behind us at the moment, not sure viewers can see what a landfill


looks like. It's an unpleasant nasty place good for seagulls, not


humans. We want to reduce waste, that is a good target to have, it


will improve our lives, no reason why we shouldn't be saying improve


things. Fines are the way? We have to look also at a plastic bag tax.


More taxs? And forcing the supermarkets to reduce the


wonderful packages, where you get a piece of meet with plastic and


container and more wrapping. You have to change the way we do those


sorts of things and reduce to a lower waste. Thank you very much.


I'm presuming you wouldn't support that either? No, I wouldn't. Funny.


The Government Bill to reform the NHS in England is still causing


ministers sleepless nights. For the lazier ones, it's causing them


sleepless afternoons. Yesterday there was another defeat in the


Lord's and if you were watching Prime Minister's Questions, you


THE SPEAKER: Ed pland Miliband. Speaker, isn't this interesting


because he says this is all about reform. The Tory reform group has


come out against these proposals. I have to say, Mr Speaker, it comes


to something when even the Tories don't trust the Tories on the NHS.


Let's look at the figures. 100,000 patients treated more every month,


4,000 extra doctors since the NHS, the number of clinical staff up,


the level of hospital acquired infections down, the number of


people who are in mixed sex wards down by 94%. That is what is


happening because you have got a combination of money going in and


reform. He knows in his heart of hearts


this is a complete disaster this Bill. That's why his aides are


saying the Health Secretary should be taken out and shot because they


know it's a disaster. I've got to tell him, the career prospects for


my right honourable friend are a Nik Darlington speaks for the Tory


reform group and he joins us now. Mr Lansley seems like a man


clinging to a timebomb that he can only not hear ticking? I didn't


publish the article. The article was written by an independent


contributor to the blog which I edit.


You published it this then? Miliband miss represent that had


article, -- misrepresent that had article. The article which was


written by Craig Barratt is is pro reform.


It said it was a timebomb where Mr Lansley couldn't hear ticking?


believe in debate. Any party will have different opinions and it was


right to put it on the blog. We have a disclaimer over the blog


saying that the opinions of the individual contributors are not


those of the Tory reform group. We released a statement saying we are


pro reform. We want to introduce more competition to the NHS and


Labour had 18 years to reform the NHS and did nothing. Ed Miliband


misrepresented the article and misrepresented the Tory reform


group's position. So you can say anything you want on


the blog and it is not anything to do with the tOrm or the re-- Tory


Party or the reform group? They are not the opinions of the Tory reform


group. We want it there for a forum for debate. That happens in any


party. I want people to have their opinion. I think that opinion


deserved to be heard. Did you really flag it up as this,


"Was not the view of the Tory reform group.". Yes.


Where can I find out where the views of the Tory reform group?


TRG is in favour of reforms. We support David Cameron and the


coalition coalition and we were the first group to express support.


I was looking on your website and I couldn't find it. I could find the


attack, but not the support? attack was made by an individual


contributor. . Where is the support bit? We we


haven't had any reason to run anything on it in the month leading


up to it. How many members has the Tory


reform group got? I don't have that information with me.


I thought that's who you represented? I am the editor of the


Tory reform group blog. You don't know if it is thousands


of people or a man and a dog in a back room in Battersea.? I can


assure you it is not a man and a dog.


Two dogs. It is a sizable organisation.


I would suggest you send Mr Miliband a crate of champagne


because you have had publicity? has been an interesting day. It


shows the power of plit political blogs. I can't say it was


comfortable to see it used in that forum, but I defend the right to


publish it and I think that people have a right to be heard in a free


debate. If other people in the Conservative Party don't want


debate then they shouldn't criticise people like like Ken


Clarke. Maybe you will get more members.


There has been speculation about whether Andrew Lansley will end up


paying for this with his job. Mehdi Hasan joins us now. Is it wise to


misrepresent in that way on a subject that Labour Labour seems to


be doing well in? Not at all. It led to a great line about the


Tories not believing the Tories on health. Let's talk about NHS


misrepresentation in debates. David Cameron misrepresented Labour's


position on private income for hospitals. He said waiting lists


were down when they are up. It is fair game? It is understandable


game. What about looking at Andrew


Lansley, the Government gets its Hillary Clinton Bill through,


patched -- Health Bill through, patched up and with its amendments


and there is a reshovel. Is there - - reshuffle. Is there any point of


getting rid of Andrew Lansley? there is a point.


If your argument is that Lansley has done badly because he hasn't


communicated this is the line in the briefings take him out and


shoot him, you could argue it doesn't make sense because the Bill


is through. But if you think the problem is the Bill and the chaos


that it is going to bring to the NHS, the only way you can try and


have some fresh start when the problems start kicking in from


increased bureaucracy, from closing hospitals and people complaining


about postcode Lottery, the thing is to get rid of the man who


authorised the Bill. If it is about a lack of


communication, that doesn't mean that the Prime Minister doesn't


support the essence of the Bill and the essence of reform. I put to you


again, I know what you think, but it is not worth David Cameron


sacrificing his Health Secretary when he agrees with the essence of


reform? If this Bill creates chaos as some suspect it will, in the NHS,


then the Prime Minister, he is at his most ruthless and decisive when


he is saving his own skin. I think he will get rid of Lansley. Health


secretaries don't have long life expectancy.


Nigel Farage, let's go back to the Bill. Is there there going to be a


U-turn. Everyone says we have gone too far, do you agree? I think they


will continue with this reform, whether it is good or bad, I'm not


sure. I think we need a bigger debate about the NHS, about the


fact that since Labour came to power and made the increases in the


increase in money, we put more money, we haven't got an increased


service and I wonder whether the real debate we need is whether it


is time for us to move towards an insurance based system.


The real terms increase is eroded and whether it will be a real terms


increase is yet to be seen over the years... We don't know that yet. It


is about money in the sense that we are trying to squeeze �20 billion


in efficiency between now and 2015 and at that time, you are carrying


out a costly �3 billion reorganisation which you said you


wouldn't. On the point about U- turns, the Health Service Journal


editor who came out against this, says he hears from senior civil


servants they are considering a Plan B, something that has not been


written down. If there is a Plan B, the man who identified Plan A,


condition be the -- can't be the one who pushed it out. I can't see


Andrew Lansley being the man carrying out Plan B.


The European Central Bank kept interest rates at 1% too. So no


change there either. The same with the Bank of England keeping ours at


0.5%. What is it about politicians and their bikes? It is a beautiful


day for a bike ride. So was yesterday, I thought.


# I'm going to ride my bike until I get home


# I'm going to ride my bike until I get home #


Yes, there is not much that stops the Prime Minister as he whizzes


down Whitehall, pedestrians diving for cover. Every politician wants


to enhance their fitness and green credentials by being at least


photographed with one! There is news from Paris that cyclists are


going to have freedom that none of this lot dreamed of. They will be


allowed to skip red lights completely. Well, with me now Tony


Armstrong from Living Street a charity that stands up for


pedestrian rights. And the London editor of the Telegraph, a keen


cyclist, Andrew Gilligan. Given most schoolists I see, what's


the change? It is recognising reality, isn't it? Cyclists go


through red lights. I go through them. I went through a couple on


the way here. I I hope you crawled through.


zoom through a couple, but only when there is no pedestrians.


How did you know there wasn't a car coming? Well, because you can see.


You look before you cross. Many said that and ended up in the


hospital. It is safer in lots of cases to go through red lights if


you are a cyclist because you don't get caught up in the crossing


traffic. Isn't there a danger of hitting a


pedestrian stood on the road and across me comes a cyclist through


the red light. And that's wrong. I wouldn't do that if it was a


pedestrian. You don't always know when they are


stepping out. What do you think Just because it


exists at the moment, doesn't make it right to officialise it and


institutionalise it. The fear for pedestrians is something that is a


major concern. Lots of our supporters get in touch and say


they feel fearful about crossing the streets because cyclists just


zoom. On the way into work this morning, I was cycling and a


cyclist went past three through a pedestrian green man phase. It is


not in the name of safety, but purely because they can't be


bothered to stop. I dispute that. If you are caught


up in traffic from a red light and you are a cyclist and you are small


and vulnerable. If you go ahead of the light then you are not caught


up in that traffic. So you would like to see a trial... I would love


to see a trial of what happens in Paris and what the reason the par


Parisan authorities, they recognise the safety arguments of cyclist


outweigh the dangers to pedestrians. You describe people being afraid.


There is little data on cyclist being hit by pedestrians who go


through red lights. Cyclists are more menaced by other vehicles than


we menace pedestrians. You are shaking your head.


I have to say, I'm irritated with cyclists. I live in a small country


lane on the North Downs it used to be lovely on Sundays, now we have


people wearing a colourful kit cycling around the place which is


fine, but they go two abreast in the road and think they own the


place and when you try and overtake them, they abuse you. I get a


feeling that cyclist in the country and in the town think they have a


different set of laws that apply to them and this would be the wrong


signal to send out. I think they should be tougher on cyclists and


the way they behave. You would be against a trial?


would be against a trial. Lots of things can be put in place to


improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists and this won't do this. We


need to bring manners and civil yilt on to our streets and people


just feel as if everyone is in it for themselves. What about


pedestrians going through the red man? If you are on a vehicle, if


you are on a car, you have more responsibility if you are moving at


speed. What about going through a red man?


It is about respect. Everyone should look where they are going.


Should people be prevented from doing that? People on foot aren't


travelling at speed, whereas people on vehicles are. We need to re-


educate people on cycles and motor vehicles as well.


Where would you dot best? I would have a rule if a pedestrian


crossing was red and there were no no pedestrians crossing and you


could do it. The prench did in -- the French did it in Strasbourg and


Nante. What is it about these capital cities, "not many, dead, we


shall try it.". On a road near me, some of the of the traffic lights


shouldn't be there. There are pedestrian crossings when there are


no pedestrians crossing. Time to put you out of your misery and pick


a winner for yesterday's Guess the Year competition. 1953 was the


answer. Nigel, make somebody's day, they will win a mug.


Lucky them. Lucky, lucky, lucky. It is Richard Batstone from


Warrington. . You win a Daily Politics mug!


That can't be bad, can it? We thank all our guests. Thank you to Nigel


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