20/02/2012 Daily Politics


20/02/2012

Jo Coburn presents the latest political news, interviews and debate, and looks at the future of the NHS and the economic woes of Greece.


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Transcript


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. Half term is over

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and it's back to work we go. The Prime Minister and his Health

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Secretary, Andrew Lansley, are heading to Downing Street. In an

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hour's time, they are hosting a health summit. So why haven't they

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invited the main doctors and nurses groups?

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What about British manufacturing? We have heard it's been on its

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uppers for so long you'd be forgiven for thinking there is

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hardly any of it left! But is it actually doing rather well?

:01:05.:01:08.

Should head-teachers allow kids to go off on holiday during term-time?

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At the moment they have got some discretion. But the government

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doesn't like the effect it has on overall attendance rates.

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And a new Sun rises over Wapping. But will Rupert Murdoch's new paper

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receive a warm welcome here at Westminster?

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All that in the next hour. With us this afternoon is Nikki

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King, managing director of Isuzu Trucks. Welcome. If you have any

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thoughts or comments on anything we are discussing, you can send them

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Let's start with Ed Balls and yesterday's call from Labour for

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big tax cuts in next month's Budget. We are imposing an austerity which

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is self-defeating. There is a big problem in growth in jobs. The

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government has borrowed 158 million more than they planned. George

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Osborne says there is nothing he can do. I say it is complacent and

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irresponsible and he should act. Let's debate how we can act. I have

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proposed a temporary VAT Act. The Lib Dems say raise personal

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allowance. David Davies says cut personal gains tax. We need

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stimulus to get jobs back. It is the only way to get the deficit

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:02:45.:02:49.

down. Nikki King, do you agree? Is it time for tax cuts? Is a good

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time to raise the tax threshold at the bottom end? If this was wartime,

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the media and the opposition would be shot because there is a lot of

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good news. Why is it not coming through them? You said you have had

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a good deal and that business is booming for you but why is that not

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filtering through? The trucks industry is the first industry to

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go into recession and normally the first to start coming out because

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when the high street is quiet, nobody buys trucks any more. We are

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in the middle of February and we have done 60% of our sales target

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for the year already! Everybody I talked to is having a reasonably

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good time. Why is that not see it should be no national figures that

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show that growth is flat lining -- why is that not coming up in

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national figures? Why it is the economy not showing that those

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times? Retail was 0.9% up in January. There are signs of growth

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in the market. Why are we not celebrating that. There are green

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shoots of stock do you think -- green shoots. Do you think that you

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need to stimulate the economy, do you not think it would boost

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consumer demand? No, confidence will boost consumer demand.

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Confidence will boost businesses to grow and employed people. We need

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to know green shoots are coming, there is light at the end of the

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tunnel, and it is not coming out in the media. Would any tax cuts help

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your business? No. Sorry. Fair enough!

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David Cameron and Andrew Lansley are holding a summit today at

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Downing Street in a bid to get the Health and Social Care Bill off

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It's a select meeting. The chairs of the emerging GP-led

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commissioning groups have been invited. But organisations like the

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BMA and Royal College of Nursing won't be there. And critics say

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there is not much point having a health summit without the doctors

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and nurses. But groups like the BMA oppose the plans to give GPs and

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other clinicians more responsibility for spending the

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budget in England and increasing competition, saying the bill still

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presents unacceptable risks to the NHS.

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But are they too late? The 151 Primary Care Trusts, which are

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losing control of the NHS budget to GPs under the plans, have already

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been merged. And the ten Strategic Health Authorities, which

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effectively kept an eye on the system, have also joined forces to

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create four super-hubs. However, research published this morning by

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the London School of Economics suggests that forcing NHS hospitals

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to compete with one another can A little earlier this morning,

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before he headed off towards today's summit, the Health Minister

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Simon Burns explained why some groups have been invited and some

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have not. This is an ongoing series of meetings that the Prime Minister

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and the Department of Health have had across the last 20 months with

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interest groups, with people who work in the health service, and to

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have a meeting with those who are constructively taking part and

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helping to implement the modernisation programme.

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Norman Smith joins us now from Downing Street. Are we hearing

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there are not any plans to meet the groups that have not been invited

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today? Apparently nothing has been pencilled into the Prime Minister's

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diary in terms of possible meetings with those health groups that are

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critical in terms of reform. Number 10 seems to think these groups are

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by no means representative of all doctors and nurses and that their

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influence is perhaps exaggerated. Secondly, there is perhaps a view

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that the time for whether to go ahead with reviews his past. The

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aim now is to speak to the groups who will carry out the

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implementation of the reforms. It looks a bit like slamming the door

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in the bunker and waiting for the storm to pass but my sense is, the

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government hoped to convey the idea that a sizable number of health

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professionals do support the reforms and thereby get the public

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on board, because if we are honest, most people do not understand the

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nitty-gritty of all of the different health boards, clinical

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senatess, etc, and most people will probably form their views by seeing

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what they GP does and there are no stars, so the health professionals

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in that context are critical to winning the argument -- what then

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nurses do. The debate really just need to get this through in

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whatever form and moved on? reminds me of polar explorers

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heading south. They have gone so far that it doesn't matter how

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bleak the way ahead is, they have to press on. It is to late to go

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back and push Andrew Lansley down a crevasse. They have to soldier on

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with him. The light at the end of the tunnel for them is that they

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hope once the reforms are in place, by and large life will continue as

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normal, people will not notice the NHS having radically changed and

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people will forget. The danger is, if things do go wrong, if there are

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difficulties because perhaps of reduced funding, people will say,

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that is all because of government reforms. Although the hope is

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people with and it is OK, it is possible things will go wrong and

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they will blame it on these government reforms. Norman Smith,

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thank you. With us now is Dr Jacky Davis, a

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consultant radiologist, who is a founder member of Keep Our NHS

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Public. And the Conservative MP for Ipswich, Dr Dan Poulter, who still

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works as a medical practitioner from time to time. Will come to

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both of you. Do you know how many clinical commissioning groups are

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supposed to have replaced PC TVs and are up and running? -- PCTs.

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Three-quarters of the country will be putting doctors and health care

:09:17.:09:22.

professionals in charge of running the NHS, which is a good thing.

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There is good evidence from Cumbria that this works, that it improves

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patient care, and that is what these reforms are about. Do you

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think it was a cock-up? Not inviting the main groups that

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represent doctors, midwives and nurses? The people that engage with

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reforms... What about the BMA and Royal College of Nursing? The BMA

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opposed the formation of the NHS in the first place and every

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consecutive government... I am a member of the BMA. What about the

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PR aspect of having a health summit and not inviting health

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professionals? They were consulted over an 18 month period. Some of

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those groups have come out in outright opposition to the Health

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Bill, that is their right, but the vast majority of doctors, all the

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people engaged in these reforms and wanting to improve patient care and

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work with the government are represented today. You have heard

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the case there and also from Simon Burns. We are such a long way down

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the line. The process is almost complete in terms of commissioning

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groups being set up. It is time to go along with it, isn't it?

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argument that GPs have formed commissioning groups and therefore

:10:48.:10:53.

support the Health Bill is like saying that people going into a

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lifeboat is supporting a ship sinking. Most people did not have

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any choice. To interpret that as if they support it. And to argue that

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you are in a mess and to justify going further with that mess is

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nonsensical. This can be stopped. This can be reconfigured. It is

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important that it is stopped. To argue that we have to go on because

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we are in a mess is inappropriate. Do you think Bickleigh Nichols

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groups should be stopped or GP commissioning? -- do you think the

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clinical groups? A lot of GPs are already doing commissioning. I know

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GPs in Cumbria and they do that very well. The legislation has to

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be stopped because it does not do what it says on the 10th.

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Cumbria, GPs are running services and it is that model that the

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government wants to run out and that does not happen elsewhere in

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the country. We need to put the best people who could act in the

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best interest of the patients in charge of the service. That will

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free up �5 billion that is listed in bureaucracy. I think it is

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disingenuous to say the reforms are a mess. The principles... A be

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legislation is a mess. I am not sure people are saying all of the

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reforms are a mess but you must accept that there difficulty,

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because the government even cannot get people to agree to it -- there

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is difficulties. We need a service that puts money into patient care,

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that reduces bureaucracy, that have doctors and nurses running the

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services, and that we have a health service commission from the

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community and focuses on preventive health care, and the focus of

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funding is on delivering... Do you agree with the principles as they

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are being set out? Which the legislation aside. -- put the

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legislation as side. His Cumbria a good role model? This Bill does not

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do what it says it is going to do. This argument will put power in the

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hands of GPs. 90% of doctors are against this because they see their

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GPs are being set up to fail. 20 billion in cuts will be made. The

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other reason they are being set up to fail is that in London the

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commissioning process has already been handed over to private

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companies in London, for example to a company who has put in put into

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this Health Bill. GPs have not been consulted about this, bringing in

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private companies to support them doing commissioning and that

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support will constitute an awful lot of the commissioning process so

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the idea GPs will be doing this is simply wrong. The use of private

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companies in the NHS is actually under legislation by the previous

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Labour government that has allowed this to happen. We are in a

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situation where the Labour Party has accepted that private

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healthcare companies, where they can been added to improve patient

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care, actually can bring value to the NHS... Just one more point.

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What the real discussion, one minute you are saying Cumbria is a

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good thing, the next you say it is a bad thing, and it is

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fundamentally a good thing because doctors and nurses are the best

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people placed to actually understand the needs of their

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patients and the best people to provide quality patient care.

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are looking at this from the outside. Does it sound like it is

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something the government should be embarking on? As a Lehmanns, all I

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can say is procrastination is a dangerous thing -- Lehman. We all

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know the NHS has to change. Treatment is getting more expensive,

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we are living longer and something has to be done. Anything that makes

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it carers start to run the NHS is good. My experience of the NHS is

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that the worst thing is government interference and it has lost its

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humanity. Top-down. It is time we brought humanity down back into the

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NHS. Their two. I will have to leave it there. -- thank you.

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Relations between the West and Iran seem to be getting worse and worse.

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Last week President Ahmadinejad showed off the latest developments

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in Iran's nuclear programme, and yesterday the country's oil

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ministry announced it was stopping shipments to Britain and France

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ahead of new sanctions which were scheduled to come into force in

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July. But today in the Commons, MPs will discuss a motion calling for

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the government to rule out the use of force against Iran and reduce

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tensions by redoubling diplomatic Our correspondent is in the House

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of Commons, with two MPs who will be taking part in the debate.

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That's right. That debate kicks off in a few hours' time. I'm joined by

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two of the protagonists. First of all, John Baron, can I just ask you,

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can you give me an example of a time when sanctions without the

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threat of military force actually work? What we do know with regards

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to Iran is that the policy of the West, of sanctions and sabre-

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rattling, has clearly failed. These are yesterday's policies. Iran is

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not going to give up its nuclear programme, it is about time we

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accepted that. What my motion does is actually to say, let's take off

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the table the use of force, which everybody says would be a disaster,

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let's reduce tensions, bring us back from the brink of war, and

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redouble our diplomatic efforts. Military intervention should always

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be the last resort, and we have not reached all other avenues yet.

:17:09.:17:14.

your time as Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, what is it that makes

:17:14.:17:21.

you believe that the threat of military action is even credible?

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agree with the overwhelming majority of what John Baron said,

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we really do need to avoid a military outcome to this crisis. It

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is how you do that. The naive notion that some kind of CND-minded

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approach, dealing with someone like Iran, actually helps, I think is

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exactly wrong. What is naive is pursuing a policy which is clearly

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failing. What women -- what we must do is to realise that we must

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better engage with Iran. We are keeping on the table the option of

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force, and this is illogical. We are pursuing a policy which

:18:05.:18:09.

everybody accepts would be a disaster, against a country that

:18:09.:18:13.

chooses to ignore it, and yet the policy Haydn's tensions and reduces

:18:13.:18:18.

the chances of a diplomatic, peaceful outcome. It is a complete

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nonsense. Isn't it really all about Israel, you want sanctions to be

:18:25.:18:30.

given time to work so that Israel does not act unilaterally, and you

:18:30.:18:34.

want them to know that Britain and America will actually support them,

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so they will not have to go it alone - is that fair? Well, I

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believe we should offer Iran implicit recognition of its

:18:43.:18:48.

regional superpower status, we should do what Nixon did in the

:18:48.:18:53.

1960s and 1970s, with China, and actually accept the might of China.

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We should accept that we created this regional superpower in Iran,

:18:58.:19:02.

through our misguided war in Iraq, which fundamentally altered the

:19:02.:19:06.

balance of power in the region. We need to accept that it is a

:19:06.:19:10.

regional superpower, offer this new relationship and try to reduce

:19:10.:19:14.

tensions that way, which, at the end of the day, would be in

:19:14.:19:18.

Israel's best interests. Ainsworth, do you accept that one

:19:18.:19:24.

day Iran will have nuclear weapons? An awful lot of people have tried

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to do exactly what John says, Jack Straw had real initiatives with

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Iran, Barack Obama has reached out the open hand. We are dealing with

:19:36.:19:41.

a religious dictatorship there. It is more worried about its own

:19:41.:19:45.

people than anything else, and it is behaving in very strange ways.

:19:45.:19:49.

They are not ready to assume the role that we all know they are

:19:49.:19:54.

capable of assuming, and we all want them to assume, which is as a

:19:54.:19:56.

very important part of the international community. But with

:19:56.:20:00.

the kind of regime they have got in place, they are never going to do

:20:00.:20:05.

that. This is a paranoid police state, with the panoply of

:20:05.:20:09.

religious Islam as a disguise to that basic fact. Thank you both

:20:09.:20:13.

very much indeed for that. As you can see, a very complex question,

:20:13.:20:18.

for which there would seem to be no easy answers, and no consensus in

:20:18.:20:21.

the House of Commons, for the moment. That debate taking place

:20:21.:20:24.

later this afternoon. Recent statistics about British

:20:25.:20:27.

manufacturing show that some parts have been hit by the recession, but

:20:27.:20:34.

other areas, such as car production, are growing well. Are government

:20:34.:20:38.

efforts to rebalance the economy towards manufacturing what

:20:38.:20:48.
:20:48.:20:51.

businesses actually need? We visited a company and Rochdale.

:20:51.:20:55.

There is an idea that British manufacturing is somehow in

:20:55.:21:00.

terminal decline, from world leader to life-support in 30 years. Like

:21:00.:21:04.

all legends, there is a spark of truth, some firms have gone to the

:21:04.:21:08.

wall, people have lost jobs, certain products we once made and

:21:08.:21:11.

sold to the world are now made to the rest of the world, and we buy.

:21:12.:21:16.

But it is not the whole story. Parts of UK manufacturing are very

:21:16.:21:20.

far from ready to lie down and expire. Granada Material Handling

:21:20.:21:24.

have been building lifting equipment for about 30 years, but

:21:24.:21:28.

whilst everyone was going through a recession, they branched out,

:21:28.:21:31.

taking something of a risk, into the niche market of making lifting

:21:31.:21:35.

equipment for offshore wind farms. And it seems that British

:21:35.:21:40.

manufacturing is not really dying, but those that are small, able to

:21:40.:21:45.

adapt, are the best equipped to survive. The figures tend to hide

:21:45.:21:50.

this evolution, but signs of improvement are there. According to

:21:50.:21:54.

the Office of National Statistics, manufacturing output fell by. Take

:21:54.:21:57.

coffee in the last quarter of last year, however, it bounced back in

:21:57.:22:07.
:22:07.:22:11.

December, increasing by a 1%. -- fell by 0.8% in the last quarter.

:22:11.:22:17.

The key to rebalancing the economy would seem to be exports. The worst

:22:17.:22:21.

part was October, November, when businesses really battened down the

:22:21.:22:25.

hatches, mainly because they were worried about the eurozone. Now,

:22:25.:22:30.

there are tentative signs that the storm cloud is moving away. Granada,

:22:30.:22:36.

and companies like them, are keen to explore new markets, design new

:22:36.:22:40.

products, and above all, feel positive. They are the best hope

:22:40.:22:46.

for UK manufacturing. Can the state help foster that? There's a lot of

:22:46.:22:50.

businesses out there which are looking to government to help them

:22:50.:22:54.

get over the hurdle of diversifying, getting into new industries. There

:22:55.:22:59.

is also an area of lethargy in British manufacturing - you have to

:22:59.:23:03.

get out there and, to a certain extent, do-it-yourself. There is

:23:03.:23:07.

plenty of work out there, you have just got to go and get it, it is

:23:07.:23:14.

out there. The question that should be rattling politicians is, is the

:23:14.:23:24.
:23:24.:23:25.

help they are actually offering what firms actually need? Is the

:23:25.:23:27.

government responding quickly enough in a rapidly changing

:23:27.:23:31.

economic landscape? So, is the Government doing the right thing

:23:31.:23:36.

for British business, to rebalance the economy? We are joined by the

:23:36.:23:42.

head of Isuzu Trucks UK, Nikki King, and we are also joined by a former

:23:42.:23:46.

science minister, from the last Labour government, Lord Drayson,

:23:46.:23:50.

who now runs his own company. How much help should the Government

:23:50.:23:55.

give to manufacturing? The state needs to recognise that

:23:55.:23:58.

manufacturing has to go a lot faster, to compensate for the

:23:58.:24:02.

shrinking public sector, and the shrinking financial sector. We

:24:02.:24:06.

already have a strong manufacturing sector, but it needs to do even

:24:06.:24:10.

better. Should it be doing so more on its own, that's the point? Does

:24:10.:24:13.

it come back to the question about picking winners, which has always

:24:13.:24:18.

been dangerous, for the Government, to say, we're going to invest in

:24:18.:24:22.

this car manufacturer, it is going to create such and such a number of

:24:22.:24:26.

jobs. No government should pick winners, but the Government should

:24:26.:24:30.

be identifying, what other things which are stopping growth, and what

:24:30.:24:34.

can government do to remove those? One of the most important right now

:24:34.:24:40.

is the need for investment. We have an opportunity to capitalise on the

:24:40.:24:43.

strong growth which we are seeing in certain sectors, but it is being

:24:43.:24:51.

held back by a lack of finance. That finance is needed to invest in

:24:51.:25:01.

reedack, to invest in plants, which the companies need. The banks are

:25:01.:25:04.

not providing enough financed a manufacturing business. This needs

:25:04.:25:14.
:25:14.:25:14.

to be addressed quite urgently. Do you agree with that, that the

:25:14.:25:17.

investment should come in some form or another from the government, if

:25:17.:25:22.

the banks are not going to provide it? Yes, absolutely, I think the

:25:22.:25:26.

government ought to be offering guarantees at least to businesses.

:25:26.:25:32.

It is a big issue not just in manufacturing, but overall call for

:25:32.:25:36.

-- but overall. It is a fact of life that the banks are not lending

:25:36.:25:43.

money. But how do you pick those businesses? It is such a dangerous

:25:43.:25:53.
:25:53.:25:53.

game, isn't it, for governments? think we should have a balanced

:25:53.:25:58.

economy, we should be helping everybody. There's strong signs of

:25:58.:26:01.

lots of people starting small businesses, it is an overall

:26:01.:26:08.

situation, but the Government has to grasp. But should we go for the

:26:08.:26:11.

export-led recovery? Absolutely, we know where the growth opportunities

:26:11.:26:15.

are, we know that countries like Brazil and China are growing fast,

:26:15.:26:19.

and we have a good idea of what those countries want, so we can

:26:19.:26:23.

look at the sectors which the UK has real competitive advantage in,

:26:23.:26:27.

and say, if we invest in those sectors, provide the investment

:26:27.:26:32.

that is needed, those sectors can win for us. I agree with the

:26:32.:26:36.

principle, but having dealt for many years with the country 6,000

:26:36.:26:41.

miles away, I know that to grow businesses overseas takes a long

:26:41.:26:45.

time. It is a long-term strategy. You do not just suddenly get up one

:26:45.:26:49.

morning and say, I'm going to sell to Brazil. You have to develop

:26:49.:26:54.

links, partnerships, trust, all of these things. It takes a bit longer

:26:54.:26:59.

than just having a weak pound for a while. But the Government can also

:26:59.:27:04.

do things in small ways, which make a big difference. In my sector,

:27:04.:27:08.

high-performance engineering, motor sport, the UK leads the world, but

:27:08.:27:12.

we have a real shortage in skilled engineers, particularly systems

:27:12.:27:17.

engineers. Where do you get them from? So, we need more people

:27:17.:27:20.

studying these subjects at university. Frankly, the

:27:20.:27:23.

universities need to be directed by the Government to put on the

:27:23.:27:26.

courses that industry needs. We have this tragedy of youth

:27:26.:27:30.

unemployment at the moment. I graduated during a recession in the

:27:30.:27:34.

1980s, I know what it is like. I was lucky enough to study advanced

:27:34.:27:38.

manufacturing, and I have had a successful career. We do not train

:27:38.:27:41.

enough people in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, and not

:27:41.:27:44.

enough young people know that there are really good job opportunities

:27:44.:27:48.

for them in these areas. But it comes back to the issue of

:27:48.:27:56.

investment, doesn't it? Yes, and again, it is long-term investment.

:27:56.:28:00.

So, is it still the key to the recovery? It is not necessarily

:28:00.:28:03.

about spending more money, it is sometimes about shifting resources

:28:03.:28:07.

from one area to another. For example, that could mean

:28:07.:28:11.

identifying those courses, in pharmaceuticals, another great

:28:11.:28:15.

success story for UK manufacturing, there is a shortage of

:28:15.:28:19.

pharmacologists. So, universities need to train more, there are jobs

:28:19.:28:26.

for those people. Thank you both very much. So, we're back from

:28:26.:28:29.

recess, and we have got a packed week ahead. In a moment I will be

:28:29.:28:33.

joined by two of the brightest and best from Fleet Street. First, we

:28:33.:28:37.

can take a look at what we can expect this week. European finance

:28:37.:28:42.

ministers are meeting today to discuss the bail-out Greece needs

:28:42.:28:48.

to stave off bankruptcy. Some have doubted whether the deal will be

:28:48.:28:52.

enough to keep the country in the euro. On Wednesday, Labour are

:28:52.:28:57.

holding an opposition day debate on the NHS reforms. The debate will

:28:57.:29:07.
:29:07.:29:09.

centre on the publication of the NHS Risk Register & Report. And

:29:09.:29:13.

following the news that News International will be publishing a

:29:13.:29:19.

Sun on Sunday, we have found out that it will be published this

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

Sunday. I think you can just see the sun over their shoulder. Let's

:29:32.:29:36.

get a little response to the news, first of all, from Craig Woodhouse.

:29:36.:29:40.

The timing is interesting, for the launch of this new newspaper?

:29:40.:29:46.

it was only Friday when Rupert Murdoch said there would be a Sun

:29:46.:29:49.

on Sunday very soon, I don't think anybody thought that would mean a

:29:49.:29:53.

week on Sunday. But it has certainly centre bars around Fleet

:29:53.:29:57.

Street, at a time when we're feeling battered and bruised. -- it

:29:57.:30:04.

has certainly sent a buzz around Fleet Street. I have to say, I

:30:04.:30:09.

thought it was a bit cheeky on the part of Rupert Murdoch, just when

:30:09.:30:12.

some senior journalists are being investigated by the police, he

:30:12.:30:16.

comes in and announces, Right, far from hiding away, we're going to

:30:16.:30:20.

come up with something special, which we were not expecting. You

:30:20.:30:24.

have to hand it to him, amazing. is not holding back. Let's talk

:30:24.:30:31.

about the health reforms. You have written today, Jackie Ashley, that

:30:31.:30:34.

the bill is no longer really functioning, because it has had the

:30:34.:30:39.

guts ripped out of it. But we have heard that there are more than 200

:30:39.:30:42.

new commissioning groups in England, these reforms are happening anyway,

:30:42.:30:48.

aren't they? They are, but I would argue it is not too late to stop it.

:30:48.:30:52.

There is a sense of, we have made a mess of it, but we're going to

:30:52.:30:56.

carry on and make a worse mess of it. That is a great pity, I think.

:30:56.:31:03.

There are too many doctors, and lots of other people, who should be

:31:03.:31:08.

coming to this summit today, one not. If it is going to work, you

:31:08.:31:10.

have to carry the medical profession with you. That's not to

:31:10.:31:14.

mention the patients, who do not seem to have a voice in this.

:31:14.:31:24.
:31:24.:31:25.

They spent so long in opposition trying to convince people that the

:31:25.:31:30.

NHS would be safe in Tory hands and Labour have quite rightly jumped on

:31:30.:31:35.

this and every day with a negative headline is another day the voters

:31:35.:31:39.

will think, can we trust the Tories with the NHS? That could be fatal

:31:39.:31:44.

for the next election. Labour think they're on top of this issue and

:31:44.:31:49.

gaining ground but there are problems from the Liberal Democrats

:31:49.:31:55.

still. Simon Hughes effectively said that Andrew Lansley should go

:31:55.:31:59.

and the Lib Dems have their conference coming up where there

:31:59.:32:05.

will be calls to vote against part of the bill. Last year's Liberal

:32:05.:32:08.

Democrats' spring conference was dominated by this issue, it would

:32:08.:32:12.

surely Williams leading the charge, and I think we will get even more

:32:12.:32:19.

on this issue, but it seems to beat the All wrong way round to

:32:19.:32:26.

reshuffle Andrew Lansley after the Bill has been passed. Andrew

:32:26.:32:30.

Lansley should be reshuffled right now and somebody else can at least

:32:30.:32:33.

explain it better and except some of the amendments passed in the

:32:33.:32:39.

Lords and make this Bill a lot better. Moving on to their health

:32:39.:32:45.

of Ed Miliband's leadership. This seems to be Ed Balls's pre-Budget

:32:45.:32:54.

salvo on tax cuts. Economics aside, is this a clever wheeze in terms of

:32:54.:32:58.

trying to allow himself to the Tory Right and Lib Dems of raising the

:32:58.:33:03.

tax threshold at the same time? thought Ed Balls's intervention was

:33:03.:33:08.

fascinating. A lot of what he has already been saying he freshened up,

:33:08.:33:13.

and then allied with the Lib Dem call for the �10,000 income tax

:33:13.:33:18.

threshold. The question is, with people see him already have such a

:33:18.:33:22.

political animal and say, this is Ed Balls using politics but would

:33:22.:33:27.

it be good for the economy? What do you think? With heat and George

:33:27.:33:33.

Osborne to go for these tax cuts -- will he tempt George Osborne?

:33:33.:33:36.

will be difficult for George Osborne to do nothing because the

:33:36.:33:41.

argument everybody has put to him is without tax cuts, there will be

:33:41.:33:47.

no growth. Growth is the big worry. The Tory Right are calling for the

:33:47.:33:51.

50 pence tax rate to come down well made that and the Lib Dems are

:33:51.:33:54.

calling for more help from the bottom but I would be surprised if

:33:54.:34:00.

he did not do something. Thank you. Joining us for the next half hour

:34:00.:34:03.

or so to look forward to the political week is our panel of MPs,

:34:03.:34:06.

the Liberal Democrat, John Pugh. Labour's Theresa Pearce and the

:34:06.:34:14.

Conservative, Gavin Barwell. Welcome. On this call for early tax

:34:14.:34:20.

cuts, what do you think? The Tory party have always called for tax

:34:20.:34:27.

cuts. Unfunded tax cuts are not the right way to go. If we were to put

:34:27.:34:31.

Borodin up even further, that could have serious consequences for

:34:31.:34:36.

interest rates but I think there is a case if we can find a way of

:34:36.:34:42.

making changes to the tax system or other savings or a tax cut to help

:34:42.:34:47.

the economy and personally, my opinion is the priority should be

:34:47.:34:55.

those in work on middle and low incomes. Which bit of good balls's

:34:55.:35:01.

proposals -- Ed Balls? Would you target it directly? The coalition

:35:01.:35:07.

agreement has a clear commitment... Not now. The problem is Ed Balls is

:35:07.:35:11.

making these suggestions were that any idea of how they will be paid

:35:11.:35:19.

for. -- without any idea. Yes, tax cuts are not desirable if you have

:35:19.:35:25.

to borrow more. Labour's five point plan has been set out a number of

:35:25.:35:32.

times. We should be looking at VAT and collecting tax that is due.

:35:32.:35:36.

Rangers Football Club 040 it million pounds in tax. That is what

:35:36.:35:43.

we should be doing -- �48 million. Would you be happy to increase

:35:43.:35:47.

borrowing in order to have tax cuts? No, I don't think we should

:35:48.:35:52.

be increasing borrowing. You have a Labour MP who does not think there

:35:52.:35:56.

should be increased borrowing. Where would you make the cut

:35:56.:36:00.

squares that the Chancellor would have to look at how to arrange

:36:00.:36:05.

things. Whether there are changes to make him the tax system to make

:36:05.:36:10.

it their wrath. I want to see people on low to middle income has

:36:10.:36:15.

given a helping hand -- make it Sarah. We don't know if George

:36:15.:36:20.

Osborne has the head room to make any of these changes. It is

:36:20.:36:24.

certainly highly desirable that he does because it will boost consumer

:36:24.:36:28.

demand. Because you think all austerity measures have gone too

:36:28.:36:33.

far? Economics is an art and George Osborne is good at that. He needs

:36:33.:36:38.

to make the relevant adjustments in the right way. We don't need to be

:36:38.:36:44.

too bothered about loss of face, we need to get it right. But you agree

:36:44.:36:49.

with Nick Clegg that raising threshold now...? That is crucial.

:36:49.:36:53.

It is the one lever you can push which will have a definite effect

:36:53.:36:57.

on demand and will feed through into growth. What about mansion

:36:57.:37:04.

tax? I think we should look at that. The research on that is very poor.

:37:04.:37:10.

I think it would be highly desirable, to. Let's move to Greece.

:37:10.:37:13.

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting today and the big question

:37:13.:37:16.

is whether or not to authorise a second bailout for Greece worth 130

:37:16.:37:23.

billion euros. The deal follows months of wrangling, with the Greek

:37:23.:37:25.

parliament agreeing to ever tougher austerity measures and private

:37:25.:37:28.

holders of Greek debt effectively being forced to accept a 70% write-

:37:28.:37:32.

down. On the Sunday Politics yesterday, the Greek Minister for

:37:32.:37:34.

International Economic Relations, Constantine Papadopoulos, told

:37:34.:37:36.

Andrew Neil that Greece was committed to achieving its debt

:37:36.:37:40.

targets but it involved making major sacrifices. It has come to

:37:40.:37:49.

the crunch and don't underestimate what we did under the first

:37:49.:37:52.

memorandum. A lot of things were done but a lot more needs to be

:37:52.:37:58.

done. There is so much to do, it would be unrealistic to expect

:37:58.:38:04.

things to happen in a matter of two years. If it wasn't for the

:38:04.:38:09.

pressure from the financial markets, what we are aiming for would

:38:09.:38:15.

normally take something like five or ten years. That is how ambitious

:38:15.:38:19.

the programme Mears. But we are forced to do it in a much shorter

:38:19.:38:26.

space of time. The pain on the Greek economy. Do you trust the

:38:26.:38:31.

Greeks to make these reforms? sceptical about happy endings. I

:38:31.:38:35.

think it is quite likely that Greece will drop out of the

:38:35.:38:40.

eurozone and there needs to be a mechanism for doing that without

:38:40.:38:44.

damaging the other members. Greece is a drama between austerity and

:38:44.:38:50.

democracy. Austerity being demanded by the world and the people not

:38:50.:38:54.

have the with what they need to do. Because they don't think they will

:38:54.:38:59.

ever be competitive again? Because they are in between a rock and hard

:38:59.:39:05.

place. Should they stay or go? is a really difficult question and

:39:05.:39:10.

it needs to be a problem for the whole of the eurozone. There needs

:39:10.:39:15.

to be collective responsibility. I don't think the Germans are playing

:39:15.:39:20.

a long as they should do. My concern, it is like a giant game of

:39:20.:39:25.

gender. You pull one bit out and everything falls down. The eurozone

:39:25.:39:30.

is totally important to the UK recovery so it is something we need

:39:30.:39:35.

to look at carefully. It is a single currency. We have collective

:39:35.:39:40.

responsibility. It sounds like you would rather Greece stays in the

:39:40.:39:45.

eurozone. I don't think there is a simple answer, that is the problem.

:39:45.:39:50.

The least worst option is what we are looking at now. Is it in terms

:39:50.:39:57.

of Britain? George Osborne has made a lot of the fact that our fortunes

:39:57.:40:01.

have been as a result of what has gone on in the eurozone? Labour

:40:01.:40:06.

disagrees with that to some extent. Would it make a big difference if

:40:06.:40:11.

Greece went? The best option for the UK is a resolution.

:40:11.:40:17.

resolution is the bail-out. seems to me that the other members

:40:17.:40:20.

of the eurozone have dragged their feet about whether they are willing

:40:20.:40:26.

to provide the money because they are not convinced about the Greek's

:40:26.:40:30.

government's ability to repay. I was not in favour of Britain

:40:30.:40:34.

joining the single currency. I think the there is a problem with

:40:34.:40:40.

people having different interest rates with the same currency but it

:40:40.:40:46.

has to stop dragging on. There are elections coming up in April and

:40:46.:40:50.

that is the problem. Are you happy that Britain has contributed to the

:40:50.:40:56.

bail-out? We don't know that yet. The IMF is there to help countries,

:40:57.:41:02.

not the currency. But there is a grey area. Are you in principle

:41:02.:41:07.

happy with that? I think it is right for the IMF to help countries

:41:07.:41:12.

that are in need of assistance. The first responsibility has to be with

:41:12.:41:22.
:41:22.:41:24.

the eurozone, the he's ECB, I think -- and the ECB. You are looking at

:41:24.:41:28.

potentially a 20% fall in living standards for degrees, twice what

:41:28.:41:34.

this country went through in the Great Depression -- in Greece. I

:41:34.:41:39.

think Parliament will want to look at... This is politically

:41:39.:41:44.

unbelievable in the UK context. Ruling out joining the euro ever?

:41:44.:41:49.

don't think it is on the distant horizon at the moment. I think that

:41:49.:41:54.

eurozone needs to spend a fair amount of time sorting itself out.

:41:54.:41:59.

The ground rules are not there. Or working effectively. Time to move

:41:59.:42:03.

Now according to at least one newspaper this weekend, the

:42:03.:42:06.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is planning to ban parents in England

:42:06.:42:09.

from taking their children out of school during term time to go on

:42:09.:42:13.

holiday. At the moment, head- teachers have some discretion in

:42:13.:42:17.

this area and often let families sneak off for a couple of weeks.

:42:17.:42:20.

But ministers don't like the effect this all has on overall attendance

:42:20.:42:22.

rates. Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National

:42:22.:42:26.

Association of Head Teachers, joins us now from Brighton. What do you

:42:26.:42:31.

think of the idea from Michael Gove? Although I sympathise with

:42:31.:42:35.

people in a holiday crisis, education is more precious so I do

:42:35.:42:40.

think we need to do something serious to limit term-time holidays.

:42:40.:42:45.

A child has about 10 days a year off sick leave. If they take

:42:45.:42:49.

another 10 days off on holiday they have lost another 10 days of

:42:49.:42:53.

education and that is very hard to get back. Should it be that Dick

:42:53.:42:57.

tapped? Should it be up to head teachers themselves to make that

:42:57.:43:01.

decision was map we need to be very clear that it is not acceptable and

:43:01.:43:08.

I think it is a social issue rather than the choice of head teachers.

:43:08.:43:14.

There are what occasions where for important reasons, such as service

:43:14.:43:19.

personnel coming back, where you might want to grant that but there

:43:19.:43:22.

needs to be a general realisation that you take holidays in the

:43:22.:43:27.

holiday period. Parents would argue that we know that costs rocket in

:43:27.:43:31.

the school holidays and it seems to be extremely unfair and you may be

:43:31.:43:35.

talking about depriving some families off a break of any sort

:43:35.:43:39.

for the sake of a few days. Does it really have that much impact on

:43:40.:43:46.

their learning? Not two days but when it becomes a persistent habit

:43:46.:43:48.

and there of families that persistently take their holidays

:43:48.:43:53.

during term-time, including skiing trips and that sort of thing. Then

:43:53.:43:59.

I think we need to stop that. you not think it is ironic when the

:43:59.:44:04.

government is advocating free schools, free to put forward their

:44:04.:44:08.

own curriculum, so shouldn't they be free to decide whether they

:44:08.:44:14.

allow children to go on holiday in term time? They should be free to

:44:14.:44:17.

decide when their holiday periods should be and there is a lot to be

:44:17.:44:22.

done in terms of looking at the structure of our holidays. It's

:44:22.:44:26.

different areas had holidays at different times, that would even it

:44:26.:44:31.

out. If we had more holidays for shorter durations, that would take

:44:31.:44:34.

the pressure off the summer holiday, and I think that is what we should

:44:34.:44:41.

do. Russell Hobby, stay with us. That is interesting. Is it time to

:44:41.:44:45.

shake up the system and say, let's have holidays at different times?

:44:46.:44:51.

Parents want holidays at predictable times. I used to be a

:44:51.:44:54.

teacher and head teachers put downward pressure on parents who

:44:54.:44:58.

want to take holidays when the schools do not want them to. This

:44:58.:45:04.

has happened for a long time. But there are extenuating circumstances

:45:04.:45:10.

and there is the schizophrenia in Michael's attitude. At one stage he

:45:10.:45:14.

says head teachers need discretion, and then he is ending discretion in

:45:14.:45:19.

a sense. That seems wholly inconsistent. You can't just into

:45:19.:45:25.

be when you want to. That is the point. We have to see the detail.

:45:25.:45:35.
:45:35.:45:39.

There is an inconsistency here, isn't there? As Russell said, there

:45:39.:45:43.

is a problem with some families persistently taking children out of

:45:43.:45:47.

school. I imagine the Secretary of State is trying to send a clear

:45:47.:45:50.

message that it is not acceptable. We have already got the clear

:45:50.:45:55.

message, it has been around for generations. The effect on

:45:55.:45:59.

education is marginal, to be absolutely frank. The discretion of

:45:59.:46:04.

Head Teachers is an important aspect of the education system.

:46:04.:46:09.

am a parent, so I have sympathy, in terms of the cost of holidays. Just

:46:09.:46:13.

a couple of days is marginal, but you will know, if you look at the

:46:13.:46:17.

figures, within a families, there are some families for whom it is

:46:17.:46:22.

much more than a couple of days. you agree with the idea of a ban?

:46:22.:46:25.

No, I think it should be up to individual schools and head

:46:25.:46:31.

teachers. Although educationally it may not have a huge effect, I think

:46:31.:46:34.

it has a subliminal effect on children, about respecting the

:46:34.:46:37.

rules of the school. I think it is important for them to learn to

:46:37.:46:45.

respect teachers. This is why head teachers in general are very severe

:46:45.:46:51.

on this. But they do allow it, don't they? Well, they have to, in

:46:51.:46:55.

certain circumstances. I do not know how much effect it might have

:46:55.:47:02.

on lessons, on making sure that everybody is keeping up... If there

:47:02.:47:06.

were an absolute ban, do we expect that the attendance officer will be

:47:06.:47:10.

going round to people's houses? I don't think these things have been

:47:10.:47:16.

thought through. Do you think he should drop the idea? I want to see

:47:16.:47:21.

the detail first, but I think we are not talking about a ban, we're

:47:21.:47:29.

talking about headteachers... I think we are. Well, my

:47:30.:47:33.

understanding was that it would actually be unauthorised absence.

:47:33.:47:39.

Well, that is a ban, effectively. think there is an issue in terms of

:47:39.:47:43.

pupil attendance at schools, so I think Secretary of State is right

:47:43.:47:50.

to look at the issue. What about this issue of changing the holidays,

:47:50.:47:54.

this idea that we have so many weeks over the summer, is that

:47:54.:48:00.

practical, should the holidays be rearranged? I think if holidays

:48:00.:48:07.

were shorter, more spread out, it would be better, but what I would

:48:07.:48:10.

not want to see is different schools having different holiday

:48:10.:48:14.

periods, because some families have children at different schools, and

:48:14.:48:19.

that would be a nightmare. Yes, would it not be very difficult to

:48:19.:48:22.

administrate that idea of having a whole range of holidays, it would

:48:23.:48:28.

have to be consistent across the country, wouldn't it? It would have

:48:28.:48:31.

to become law within a local authority area. That would be the

:48:31.:48:35.

main thing, particularly if you have got one child at primary, and

:48:35.:48:40.

another at secondary. Beyond that, there is room for some variation

:48:40.:48:44.

across the country, I think. Members of parliament have just had

:48:45.:48:48.

a recess which is timed to fit in with the school holidays, for those

:48:48.:48:58.
:48:58.:48:59.

who have got children. So, the News Of The World is dead, long live the

:48:59.:49:04.

Sun on Sunday. But with police investigations and golfing the

:49:04.:49:10.

operations of the newspaper, can the new publication restore

:49:10.:49:13.

fortunes and reputations? Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former

:49:14.:49:17.

Director of Communications, thinks the new Sun on Sunday might

:49:17.:49:21.

struggle. I think it is fair to make the case that the closure of

:49:21.:49:31.

the News Of The World came at a moment of panic. I don't know the

:49:31.:49:34.

extent to which the proper preparation for the launch of a new

:49:34.:49:39.

Sunday title has been done. If it has been put together in a rush,

:49:39.:49:44.

then I suspect it will not be a success. In any event, they cannot

:49:44.:49:49.

assume that the daily Sun readers will automatically by the paper on

:49:49.:49:52.

a Sunday, and nor can they assume that former News of the World

:49:52.:50:02.
:50:02.:50:05.

readers will automatically buy this one. I am joined now by the

:50:05.:50:15.
:50:15.:50:15.

spokesman for the Hacked Off campaign. I think the question is

:50:15.:50:19.

not whether there is another Sunday paper, good luck to any new entrant

:50:19.:50:24.

into the Sunday market, it is a free market, and Mr Murdoch is

:50:24.:50:27.

entitled to publish a paper in this country, the question is whether

:50:27.:50:33.

the standards will be improved, whether or not News International,

:50:33.:50:37.

and the Sun in particular, has understood what is acceptable and

:50:37.:50:41.

what is not. It is not clear that that's the case, judging from

:50:41.:50:46.

recent events. Saying that, we have had all the revelations, it has

:50:46.:50:51.

been extremely expensive and embarrassing, the News Of The World

:50:51.:50:54.

closed, we have got the Leveson Inquiry - do you not have the faith

:50:55.:50:59.

that they will have learnt lessons from it? I'm fairly confident that

:50:59.:51:04.

they will not hack phones, but there is more to it than that. News

:51:04.:51:09.

International titles, not just the News of the World, were mentioned

:51:09.:51:14.

in the evidence of industrial scale data mining by many of the national

:51:14.:51:19.

newspapers, which was uncovered around 2002. News International, in

:51:19.:51:24.

their evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, have not accepted what the

:51:24.:51:28.

Information Commissioner says, that that was unlawful activity, the

:51:28.:51:31.

procuring of that information - mobile phone numbers, friends and

:51:31.:51:36.

family numbers, accessing vehicle registration numbers at the DVLA -

:51:36.:51:42.

they have not accepted that it was unlawful. So it is not clear that

:51:42.:51:45.

News International have yet understood the difference between

:51:45.:51:48.

lawful and ethical conduct as journalists and unlawful or

:51:48.:51:54.

unethical conduct. And it is the same with the police inquiry.

:51:54.:51:58.

Nobody is arguing that sources should be protected when they're

:51:59.:52:01.

whistle blowers, but there was a huge difference between a public

:52:01.:52:05.

official who was a whistleblower, and someone in the police force

:52:05.:52:09.

who's paid a retainer of �10,000 a year to systematically give

:52:09.:52:18.

information to a newspaper. Surely the test will be public opinion,

:52:18.:52:24.

whether people buy the paper or not. At has never been an effective test

:52:24.:52:27.

of whether the secret news- gathering methods used by

:52:27.:52:35.

newspapers are lawful, because of the News Of The World -- because we

:52:35.:52:39.

now know what was going on at the News of the World. I don't think

:52:39.:52:43.

anybody is arguing that if people buy it, anything goes. No, we need

:52:43.:52:49.

to make sure that not only the content, which I'm sure will be as

:52:49.:52:54.

edgy as the Sun, and there is nothing wrong with that, complies

:52:54.:52:59.

with the code, but at the same time, that News International

:53:00.:53:06.

demonstrates that it has understood what being ethical means. Will you

:53:07.:53:11.

buy the paper? Actually, I do buy papers which are personally

:53:11.:53:21.

disagree with, to educate myself. So, yes, I will see what it is like.

:53:21.:53:28.

What about in your area, John Pugh, will people be buying it? I am from

:53:28.:53:33.

the Lancashire area, and very few people by the Sun at all. But I

:53:33.:53:37.

would like to see Merga producing a newspaper which is a heck of a lot

:53:37.:53:40.

better than the Sun has been. you think people will buy it in

:53:40.:53:45.

your area? There is very little chance, given the history of the

:53:45.:53:53.

Sun and Hillsborough. Do you welcome this new publication?

:53:53.:53:56.

scandal we have had, and the Leveson Inquiry, have opened up

:53:56.:54:01.

some very important issues, but the tabloid newspapers are a very

:54:01.:54:04.

important part of the political process, in terms of holding the

:54:04.:54:09.

politicians to account, and I think at its best, the Sun can be a

:54:09.:54:19.
:54:19.:54:20.

strong voice for hard-working people. Incidentally, this is not

:54:20.:54:23.

just an issue for News International. But the point is,

:54:23.:54:26.

there will be no great test of whether or not they have learned

:54:26.:54:32.

those lessons. That's right. It is not a new newspaper we need, it is

:54:32.:54:36.

a new culture. The culture of any newspaper comes from the top, and

:54:36.:54:41.

it remains to be seen whether that has changed. So, has it come too

:54:41.:54:46.

early, do you think? I think it has, and this is not a new newspaper,

:54:46.:54:52.

really, it is just an extra edition of the Sun, on a Sunday. Alastair

:54:52.:54:56.

Campbell alluded to the fact that newspapers running six days a week

:54:56.:55:04.

are not always successful, so, why launch it now? That is a commercial

:55:04.:55:08.

decision for News International, it is a free market. But the test is

:55:08.:55:10.

whether or not we see an improvement in journalistic

:55:10.:55:20.
:55:20.:55:24.

standards. I think it is important, this cannot be just about News

:55:25.:55:29.

International producing another version of the News Of The World. I

:55:29.:55:32.

think there would be deep distaste from the public if that happens. If,

:55:32.:55:36.

on the other hand, it emerges as something completely different, a

:55:36.:55:40.

better newspaper, then I think people will appreciate that. Do you

:55:41.:55:43.

have faith that the Press Complaints commission, with its new

:55:43.:55:48.

head, will be more effective? particularly, no. We will have to

:55:48.:55:53.

see. I think there is a widespread cynicism on this, about self-

:55:53.:55:58.

regulation in general. I think we will just have to see what happens.

:55:58.:56:05.

But the ball is in the newspapers' court. People said the Press

:56:05.:56:09.

Complaints commission did not do the job it was supposed to do

:56:09.:56:14.

effectively - will it be any different this time? I am cynical

:56:14.:56:17.

about that, I think we need something completely independent of

:56:17.:56:27.
:56:27.:56:28.

the press. As the public, we are regulators, if you do not like a

:56:28.:56:34.

newspaper, do not buy it. We all have a part to play in this.

:56:34.:56:38.

Whitney Houston died, how many extra editions were put on that

:56:38.:56:41.

morning. We buy things which are salacious and unpleasant, and we

:56:41.:56:47.

have to look to ourselves, we get the press we deserve some times.

:56:47.:56:51.

The press are now in the media spotlight themselves, and it is the

:56:51.:56:55.

media who will keep them honest. Are you going to buy it on Sunday?

:56:55.:57:01.

No, I will probably look at their online content. That's cheating! I

:57:01.:57:06.

do not know how much it will cost. Will you buy it? I doubt it, it

:57:06.:57:12.

will probably be behind a firewall. I do not buy Sunday newspapers,

:57:12.:57:18.

life is too short. Why not? They fill the house, and I never get

:57:18.:57:23.

round to reading them. You said you hoped it would be a success - do

:57:23.:57:29.

you think it will be? I think the Sun and the News Of The World, at

:57:29.:57:32.

their best, performed a very important role. They broke some

:57:32.:57:38.

important stories, as well as the very and six -- as well as the

:57:38.:57:42.

unacceptable things which went on. So in that sense, I hope it is a

:57:42.:57:46.

success, yes. But do you think with the Leveson Inquiry going on, has

:57:47.:57:56.
:57:57.:57:57.

the whole story moved on, will people forget about this? You would

:57:57.:58:03.

hope that the Leveson Inquiry will set a new standard for journalism.

:58:03.:58:13.
:58:13.:58:14.

It might not be for another year or so. It needs to be a change in

:58:14.:58:20.

culture, and that culture comes from the top. But a new newspaper,

:58:20.:58:27.

something which keeps journalists in work, I welcome it. Thank you

:58:27.:58:37.
:58:37.:58:37.

Jo Coburn presents the latest political news, interviews and debate, and looks at the future of the NHS, the economic woes of Greece and whether parents should be allowed to take their children out of school during term time.


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