22/03/2012 Daily Politics


22/03/2012

Political magazine with Jo Coburn and Andrew Neil. A look at the impact of the Budget. Plus, Tim Collins discusses his bid to become an elected police commissioner.


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Transcript


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to The Daily Politics. So Wallace and

:00:41.:00:44.

Grommit are happy, but what do Victor Meldrew and his Missus make

:00:44.:00:47.

of it all. It's the morning after the night before and everyone's

:00:47.:00:52.

asking, is Boy George Robin Hood? Or the artful dodger with a grudge

:00:52.:00:57.

against pensioners? Yes, not all the newspaper headlines made pretty

:00:57.:01:01.

reading for the Chancellor this morning. Most have picked up on the

:01:01.:01:10.

so-called granny tax. One of the few bits of the Budget not leaked,

:01:10.:01:13.

there could be a lesson there. "Mugged", exclaimed one paper.

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We'll have all the analysis. Chancellor's confident the economy

:01:15.:01:19.

will avoid a double dip recession. We'll be looking in more detail at

:01:19.:01:29.

the economic picture and asking what business makes of it all.

:01:29.:01:31.

Osborne announced yesterday that we'll be saving over �2 billion in

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Afghanistan. But what should our exit strategy be? And we'll be

:01:35.:01:38.

talking to one army officer who wants to swap his colonel cap for a

:01:38.:01:48.
:01:48.:01:49.

All that in the next hour, and with us for quite a lot of it, to digest,

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to cogitate and to mull over the budget we have a panel of the very

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best. A kaleidoscopic panel, no less, of different political hues.

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The Conservative back bencher, Elizabeth Truss, the Shadow

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Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Owen Smith, and the Liberal

:02:06.:02:10.

Democrat Treasury Spokesman, Stephen Williams. Welcome to you

:02:10.:02:18.

all. Now, without further ado, let's get down to the Budget. In a

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:02:28.:02:28.

moment, we'll be looking at the detail. But first let's cast an eye

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over the post-Budget morning round of political interviews. If you

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take the changes this government has made, the tax changes we are

:02:36.:02:39.

talking about plus the increase in the basic state pension, they will

:02:39.:02:42.

be better off under this government. The policies of this government

:02:42.:02:47.

have made them better off because of a really big increase in the

:02:47.:02:50.

basic state pension. People don't have to take my word for it, and a

:02:50.:02:54.

couple of weeks they will see the pension come in and can see for it

:02:54.:02:58.

themselves. They have put the pension up because inflation has

:02:58.:03:02.

been run high over the past year. The pension is going up because

:03:02.:03:06.

dual is going up and food prices are going up. Pensions are worse

:03:06.:03:10.

off because of a tax rise on pensioners. Pensioners will also

:03:10.:03:17.

pay the extra fuel duty this August, the higher alcohol duty. There is

:03:17.:03:21.

no granny tax. No pensioner will have any money taken away from them

:03:21.:03:27.

that they currently have coming to them. They will be getting pension

:03:27.:03:33.

increases in April. That will be �5.30 a week on the state pension.

:03:33.:03:37.

Don't believe this new tag that has been coined in some of the papers,

:03:37.:03:43.

there is not a granny tax. There is a change in the future in the

:03:43.:03:47.

allowance is affecting a minority of pensioners, and for them, net,

:03:47.:03:51.

there will be better off, because the pension gives far more than the

:03:51.:03:57.

changing of the threshold takes away.

:03:57.:04:03.

Your breakfast table this morning. -- that is what was being said over

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your breakfast table this morning. For what will this Budget be

:04:06.:04:11.

remembered? I think it will be remembered as a Budget for work,

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for business, for making Britain competitive again. Before this

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Budget we had the highest income tax top rate in the G20. I think

:04:20.:04:24.

that showed business was not open in Britain, that we would not get

:04:24.:04:28.

investment into our country, other thing that is a vital change.

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Budget for business? I think it is important, a Budget for jobs, for

:04:32.:04:36.

getting more people into employment. I think raising the threshold on

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low earners will really help, give more people an incentive to work.

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am going to hold back until later. Owen Smith, what do you think this

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Budget will be remembered for? things. It will be remembered for

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giving a big tax bung to the wealthiest 1% in our society.

:04:58.:05:03.

�10,000 per man and woman, earning over �150,000. It will be

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remembered for paying for that by introducing effectively a stealth

:05:07.:05:11.

tax on pensioners. And the Lib Dem, Stephen Williams. I am a keen

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student of studying budgets, back to my degree in economic history.

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At Bristol University. There's a university, there? There is, one of

:05:22.:05:28.

the best in the country, I can assure you. This will be remembered

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for one of the biggest tax breaks in a generation. For 30 years, the

:05:32.:05:38.

largest rise in allowance, and a tax cut of over �500 for 24 million

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people. Finally, on the leaks, I understand the Speaker has allowed

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Chris Leslie to debate this morning. Do you think the Chancellor will

:05:50.:05:54.

have learned that if in the end, he looks everything except the bit

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that is controversial and is going to cause problems, he will end up

:05:58.:06:02.

getting the headlines he deserves. Which is what he got this morning.

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I think what we have seen under the coalition is a real debate about

:06:07.:06:11.

the kind of measures that should be in the Budget. Income versus wealth

:06:11.:06:16.

taxes, consumption tax, how do we make our country more competitive.

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I am talking about the leaks, why didn't he leak the bad bits as well

:06:21.:06:27.

as the good bits? I don't necessarily think... I guess it is

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an improvement on the day when Gordon Brown would not Lee go to

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the Prime Minister what was in the Budget. -- would not leak to the

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Prime Minister. We saw an arms race between these two last week, trying

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to get out of their version of events, until they got to the point

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where there was nothing left to leak apart from the bad news.

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will give you the last word since your side was doing most of the

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leaking. I think it is public negotiation. What the blue bits

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were in the Budget and the yellow birds... This is coalition politics

:07:03.:07:07.

and we better get used to it -- the yellow bits. Not the way that

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coalitions work in Germany, Italy, Sweden or Norway, but that is

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another issue. It is measures over your money and mine that have been

:07:17.:07:27.

creating the headlines. It's the first thing we look for,

:07:27.:07:29.

those all-important tax measures. Of course, the world's worst kept

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secret was that the top rate tax for those earning over �150,000

:07:32.:07:36.

will be cut from 50p to 45p from April 2013. The measure that both

:07:36.:07:39.

parties in the coalition are keen to take credit for is the rise in

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the personal income tax allowance to �9,205. The higher rate tax

:07:42.:07:45.

threshold, which is the level of salary you need to earn before

:07:45.:07:48.

being drawn into the 40% tax band, is to be reduced from �42,475 to

:07:48.:07:52.

�41,450, and there's going to be a new stamp duty rate of 7% for homes

:07:52.:07:56.

worth over 2 million, as well as new measures to clamp down on tax

:07:56.:08:06.
:08:06.:08:06.

avoidance. And finally there's the controversial measure that's been

:08:06.:08:08.

dubbed, granny tax. The extra tax allowance pensioners currently

:08:08.:08:11.

receive will be frozen until the personal allowances of those in

:08:11.:08:14.

work catch up, and the allowance will be scrapped altogether for new

:08:14.:08:20.

pensioners from 2013. Let's get the thoughts of Andrew Lilico from the

:08:20.:08:23.

Institute of Economic Affairs, who's enjoying the sun in

:08:23.:08:33.
:08:33.:08:33.

Westminster. The headlines say it all, this doesn't look pretty for

:08:33.:08:39.

George Osborne, with his granny I think the most important measure

:08:39.:08:42.

is the big rise in personal allowance. I think we have seen

:08:42.:08:48.

quite a profound shift politically, from a time in the late 1980s

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through to three or four years ago, went whenever you thought of

:08:51.:08:55.

cutting taxes and particularly income taxes, you were going to be

:08:55.:08:59.

cutting the basic rate. We had shifted decisively to a concert

:08:59.:09:03.

where if you want to cut income tax you raised people out of tax

:09:03.:09:07.

altogether by increasing the personal allowance. I think the

:09:07.:09:11.

government will be remembered for deficit-reduction and a rise in

:09:11.:09:15.

personal allowance. Do you agree that George Osborne did the right

:09:15.:09:20.

thing in terms of freezing allowances for pensioners? I think

:09:20.:09:23.

it is philosophically indefensible to have a lower tax rates for

:09:23.:09:26.

pensioners. I think they were introduced in a very different time

:09:26.:09:30.

when there were not really state pensions in the 1920s, when these

:09:30.:09:35.

ideas first came in. I think they are long obsolete and there was a

:09:35.:09:40.

very strong argument for increasing the basic state pension and also

:09:40.:09:44.

means-tested pension allowances, and taking away these tax

:09:44.:09:47.

allowances, which is what they have done. The mistake that the

:09:47.:09:51.

Chancellor made was not to face up for that but to bury it away in the

:09:51.:09:59.

detail. Looking at what he has done, there is a sort of unspoken rule,

:09:59.:10:04.

as Gordon Brown found out, that if you do anything that is viewed as

:10:04.:10:08.

heating, or reducing the benefits to pensioners, you run into trouble.

:10:08.:10:12.

That is absolutely right. He would have been better to have argued for

:10:12.:10:15.

it directly. I think he had a very strong case to make, that when you

:10:15.:10:19.

thought about the increases in the state pension and means-tested

:10:19.:10:22.

allowances, and also the ways in which pensioners themselves might

:10:22.:10:27.

have gained from other kinds of tax measures, they were gainers out of

:10:27.:10:31.

these measures overall. To make that argument he had to argue it

:10:31.:10:35.

directly. Instead, he has buried it in the detail which has allowed

:10:35.:10:40.

people do have a exaggerated notion of the granny tax. Much of the cost

:10:40.:10:45.

associated with this granny tax idea is the inversion in the rise

:10:45.:10:48.

of personal allowance, because otherwise they would have gained

:10:48.:10:58.
:10:58.:10:59.

Let's talk to our panel about the tax. Let's come on to what you said

:10:59.:11:03.

it was the real point in the Budget from the Lib Dem perspective, of

:11:03.:11:10.

raising the threshold to �9,205. There will be no tax for most

:11:10.:11:14.

people on the first sum that they earn of that amount. Were you aware

:11:14.:11:18.

that one of the prices for that would be that 300,000 people would

:11:18.:11:26.

have to be swept into the 40% tax One of the things I was advocating

:11:26.:11:32.

a few days ago, you said, how am I going -- how are we going to pay

:11:32.:11:36.

for the proposal and I said, one of the issues is clawing back on

:11:36.:11:42.

pension tax relief. Is this a price worth paying? That 300,000 very

:11:42.:11:47.

middle income people, with the families, who are not rich by any

:11:47.:11:50.

strength of the imagination, particularly if they live in the

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South East, where costs are much higher, were you aware that for

:11:54.:12:00.

them, their marginal rate would become 40%? What the government has

:12:00.:12:04.

done is precisely that measure, that we have wanted to make sure

:12:04.:12:08.

that the raising of the threshold, the majority of the benefit was

:12:08.:12:13.

failed by basic rate tax payers rather than at more exclusively

:12:13.:12:18.

higher rate taxpayers -- was felled by. Pulling back the threshold

:12:18.:12:25.

means higher rate taxpayers benefit but only to the same percent.

:12:25.:12:30.

you happy that a tax break which was originally set by Nigel Watts -

:12:30.:12:34.

- Nigel Lawson for the wealthy, is now faced by Derek middle income

:12:34.:12:38.

earners, by long-serving -- long- serving policeman, the head of an

:12:38.:12:41.

English department in a small comprehensive. Are you comfortable

:12:41.:12:46.

that these people should be paying 40% to pay for your threshold?

:12:46.:12:49.

Happy would be the wrong word. I am not in favour of heavy taxes on

:12:50.:12:54.

people who go out to work. That is what you have done. The philosophy

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is raising people out of income tax and giving a break to the people

:12:58.:13:03.

who do go out to work. Higher-rate taxpayers will benefit, it is just

:13:03.:13:09.

they will benefit at the same rate as basic rate taxpayers. Let's

:13:09.:13:13.

stick with middle earners. Under your skin, if you are earning

:13:13.:13:21.

between 50 and �60,000 -- under your scheme... In London and the

:13:21.:13:24.

South East, that is not an unusual income, and you are a family of

:13:24.:13:30.

three, what is your marginal tax rate going to be now? Be higher

:13:30.:13:40.
:13:40.:13:41.

than it was before any idea how Have you will have 42% tax and

:13:41.:13:46.

National Insurance, and 24.5% clawback from the child benefit.

:13:46.:13:54.

Let me finish. If you are earning between 50 and 60,000, every extra

:13:54.:14:02.

pound you earn between that gap, you will lose 66.5% of that �1. Are

:14:02.:14:08.

you happy with that? It is not ideal but we face a very difficult

:14:09.:14:12.

situation with the deficit. It is certainly preferable to the

:14:12.:14:16.

previous situation, which was a straight cliff edge that we faced

:14:16.:14:20.

just at the higher rate tax band. The people that may be trying to

:14:21.:14:25.

better themselves and get on well be facing a 66.5% marginal rate of

:14:25.:14:30.

tax? I completely agree that it is not ideal and in the long term, we

:14:30.:14:34.

should seek to sort these issues out. The fact is that we are facing

:14:34.:14:38.

a massive Budget deficit, we need to find the money to deal with that

:14:38.:14:47.

deficit. And that we have tapered the withdrawal of child benefit

:14:47.:14:52.

that -- in a way that hadn't been done before. The situation has

:14:52.:14:56.

improved. Is it right that we ask the people lower down the income

:14:56.:15:00.

scale, earning 20,000, to pay for the child benefit of people owning

:15:00.:15:10.
:15:10.:15:14.

Look at the time from �100,000 and upwards. There is a very high.

:15:14.:15:21.

There is nothing about that. point is... No. No. You made the

:15:21.:15:26.

point. I want to ask you, what is the justice of people on �50,000

:15:26.:15:35.

paying a tax rate of .66.5%, when those over �140,000 will be paying

:15:35.:15:40.

55%. Where is the justice? Those people earning over �150,000 will

:15:40.:15:43.

be paying more money on property. Only if they are selling or buying

:15:43.:15:48.

a house? Which is only 1% normally of the people in that bracket.

:15:48.:15:53.

That group will be paying more and we have seen the �150,000 tax rate

:15:53.:15:58.

didn't raise any money. The 50% tax rate... That's not true.

:15:58.:16:02.

It raised no money. We saw a 25% drop in the level of income amongst

:16:02.:16:05.

that group. Well, let's come on to that.

:16:05.:16:08.

It was a tax that didn't raise any money.

:16:08.:16:15.

No. No, you have had your say. Let me come on to someone else now. Are

:16:15.:16:19.

you comfortable that Labour's main critique of this Budget which Ed

:16:19.:16:24.

Miliband went on yesterday is the cut from 50 to 45 pence when HMRC

:16:24.:16:30.

and the OBR say it cost about �100 million a year? Well, let's look at

:16:31.:16:34.

the �100 million number. It is a number on which lots of the aspects

:16:35.:16:41.

of this Budget hang. It is calculated on page 52 of the HMRC

:16:41.:16:46.

report, table A2, the calculation shows that the HMRC anticipate

:16:46.:16:51.

getting �3 billion a year steady state from the 50 pence rate, but

:16:51.:16:56.

in the previous 51 pages of that document, in theoretical, under

:16:56.:17:02.

graduate style economics, it suggests that the basically

:17:02.:17:05.

principle would result in behavioural change that will

:17:05.:17:10.

realise �2.9 billion. That's where the �100 million comes from, but in

:17:10.:17:15.

the first year we netted �1 billion extra, not �100 million, �1 billion

:17:15.:17:21.

and they concede that going forward it would be �3 billion. They don't

:17:21.:17:27.

concede that? No, they do. They don't concede that. What they

:17:27.:17:32.

say is that the transitional arrangements mean that �100, maybe

:17:32.:17:35.

too low a calculation because people are ducking and diving, but

:17:35.:17:40.

that going forward, you would get nothing like �3 billion. Now for

:17:40.:17:43.

the sake of revenues... Well, if I can come back on that.

:17:44.:17:48.

What I really want to get to you, is it really Labour's policy that

:17:48.:17:52.

once again this country should have the highest top rate of income tax

:17:52.:17:57.

of the G20? Is that Labour's policy? We think it is right now,

:17:57.:18:02.

completely the wrong thing to do to cut the 50 pence rate.

:18:02.:18:09.

We think they could have kept it. They could have recouped �1 billion

:18:09.:18:13.

a year. And that would have been a fair way, but to use that money to

:18:13.:18:21.

use that money to give a big bung, �40,000 to 14 millionaires, 14,000

:18:21.:18:24.

millionaires, it is crazy. It is the wrong priority.

:18:24.:18:28.

The money is being recouped by property taxes on that group.

:18:28.:18:34.

it is not. Yes, it is. It is five times the amount raised by that tax.

:18:34.:18:42.

It is complete smoke in mirrors. You shouldn't even report this...

:18:42.:18:46.

When income is mobile that time to tax that is fruitless, it is better

:18:46.:18:51.

to put put those taxes on property and to reform our tax system in

:18:51.:18:56.

that way. Why is it that every other country in the G20, why is it

:18:56.:18:59.

that every other country in the G20 doesn't have a top rate as high as

:18:59.:19:04.

that? Are they all wrong? Are they all wrong? What is the answer to

:19:04.:19:10.

that question? It was a scorched earth policy. Let me answer it. The

:19:10.:19:12.

reality is yes, we have got a high top rate.

:19:13.:19:19.

You have got the highest? Yes, and what point does it kick in, at

:19:19.:19:25.

�150,000. At what point does it kick in in trance 72,000 euros. The

:19:25.:19:31.

top rate in this country was was only being levied on people earning

:19:31.:19:35.

over �150,000. That's a large amount of money and those people

:19:35.:19:40.

have been given a big bung. It is interesting to get a straight

:19:40.:19:44.

answer. The Government is banking on the private sector to get the

:19:44.:19:48.

economy back on track. Let's look at how they they plan to do it.

:19:48.:19:54.

George Osborne has been proudly trum trumpeting that his Bug has

:19:54.:19:57.

been designed to give businesses a helping hand. Let's look at the

:19:57.:20:02.

details, corporation will be cut -- corporation tax will be cut to 24%.

:20:03.:20:08.

By April 2014, it will be 22%. More enterprise zones are to be created

:20:08.:20:12.

in Scotland and Wales and there will be tax relief for video games,

:20:12.:20:16.

animation and so high end television productions. Good news

:20:16.:20:21.

for this programme! �130 million is to be earmarked for

:20:21.:20:24.

improving the rail network in the north of England and there will be

:20:24.:20:27.

a consultation on simpifying the tax system for small businesses. We

:20:27.:20:37.
:20:37.:20:38.

will all be able to shop until we drop during the Olympics with the

:20:38.:20:43.

relaxation of the trading laws. Joining us now is Dr Adam Marshall.

:20:43.:20:51.

Was it a Budget for business? it depends what size business you

:20:51.:20:56.

are. Many of the smallest, the one man bands will be happy about

:20:56.:21:00.

simplification of taxes, but there is a lot of solid citizen companies,

:21:00.:21:04.

small and medium sized companies up and down the country that would

:21:04.:21:09.

have looked at yesterday's Budget and said, "There is not a lot in it

:21:09.:21:13.

for me. No relief on business rates. No relief on investment allowances

:21:13.:21:19.

when a lot have plant and machinery they want to buy." No help to get

:21:19.:21:23.

young people into work. A lot of of those companies are scratching

:21:23.:21:26.

their heads and saying, "I think the Chancellor could have done

:21:26.:21:31.

more.". I spent the day with small and medium sized businesses in the

:21:31.:21:35.

Midlands and they echoed what you said. If the Government wanted to

:21:35.:21:40.

encourage us to take on new employees and want us to grow,

:21:40.:21:43.

there wasn't anything tangable enough for them? That's right.

:21:43.:21:49.

There is a huge number of companies up and down the country, some some

:21:49.:21:53.

with 50 or 150 employees, many will have been in business for

:21:53.:21:57.

generations and they will say, "This feels like a Budget for big

:21:57.:22:01.

corporations and the smallest of businesses." While companies will

:22:01.:22:06.

be happy to see the back of the 50 pence tax rate, while they will be

:22:06.:22:10.

happy to see corporation tax coming down, they wanted more immediate

:22:10.:22:15.

help on growth and more reassurance and confidence from Government

:22:15.:22:18.

policy. Business I spoke to yesterday were

:22:18.:22:22.

disappointed that not more was done by fuel duty. They were united in

:22:22.:22:28.

that? Abouts A bugbear for many companies particularly outside the

:22:28.:22:31.

South East where the car is the key mode of transport for so many

:22:31.:22:33.

people, not just for getting to work, but for conducting business.

:22:33.:22:38.

Fuel duty is a big issue and it reverberates across rural

:22:38.:22:41.

businesses communities and in many cities and towns outside the South

:22:41.:22:48.

East. Let's look at this business of

:22:48.:22:53.

corporation tax cut. It has been speeded up, it is down to 24%, the

:22:53.:22:59.

idea is to go to 22% by 2014 and a longer term goal of getting to 20%

:22:59.:23:05.

is the Government's position. What is the estimate of how much this

:23:05.:23:08.

cut in corporation tax will add to business investment?

:23:08.:23:18.
:23:18.:23:20.

Well, I don't know what the precise estimate is. It is 1% by 2016. It

:23:20.:23:26.

will increase business investment by 1% by 2014. What will that do to

:23:26.:23:32.

growth? What will that do to growth? It will add 0.1% to the

:23:32.:23:38.

national income. So what is the point? That's an estimate.

:23:38.:23:43.

Yes, it is the OBR estimate. Well, it is your office of budget

:23:43.:23:46.

responsibility, you set it up? rates are one way of helping

:23:46.:23:49.

businesses, but there are other things that we are doing in the

:23:49.:23:52.

Budget so the airport capacity in the south-east is very important.

:23:52.:23:59.

The reform to roads, roads tolling, moving tax, I hope, away from fuel

:23:59.:24:02.

duty in the long-term. But how much will business

:24:02.:24:07.

investment rise this year? Well, how much, we don't know at

:24:07.:24:14.

this stage? Well according to the OBR it will be 7% less than the

:24:14.:24:18.

original estimate. So it is 7%, it is growing by 7% less than it would

:24:18.:24:24.

have done only a year ago. So it is down by 7% this year and will rise

:24:24.:24:29.

by 1% by 2016, so where is the supply side breakthrough?

:24:29.:24:34.

Well, what we need to do, we need to do more on jobs, specifically,

:24:34.:24:37.

on exempting small businesses from employment regulations on those

:24:37.:24:41.

steps, we need to take forward and that is being consulted on by the

:24:41.:24:47.

Government at the moment. didn't mention for for jobs for

:24:47.:24:57.
:24:57.:24:57.

young people yesterday? Why did he not do that? All right let me ask

:24:57.:25:00.

your coalition colleague here. Do you believe this is a Budget for

:25:00.:25:06.

growth? Yes. The eurozone growth forecasts have been downgraded by

:25:06.:25:09.

the office for budget budget responsibility and the British

:25:09.:25:13.

forecasts have been upgraded. But that's a joke.

:25:13.:25:15.

But it is still going in the right direction.

:25:15.:25:20.

Actually, it is not because they have downgraded the forecast for

:25:20.:25:24.

2013. They have downgraded that? But still showing growth.

:25:24.:25:29.

No, if you add the growth this year and next year, according to the

:25:29.:25:33.

office of office responsibility it is flat? And unemployment falling

:25:33.:25:38.

throughout that period as well. I need to get awe copy of the red

:25:38.:25:44.

book. If If this is a Budget for growth, why has the OBR not changed

:25:44.:25:49.

the growth projections? The OBR is is showing stagnant growth this

:25:49.:25:54.

year. It has reduced growth for next year and it has kept it the

:25:54.:26:00.

same for 2014 and 2015, if it was a Budget for growth, why was the OBR

:26:00.:26:04.

not able to uprate its growth projection? You have to take

:26:05.:26:08.

account what is going on in the rest of the world. Our friends from

:26:08.:26:12.

the Labour Party for the last two years they have been predicting a

:26:12.:26:16.

double-dip recession. That has not happened. Our independent... So it

:26:16.:26:19.

is the eurozone's fault, is that what you are saying?

:26:19.:26:23.

Well, the eurozone has... And this is the same eurozone I believe that

:26:23.:26:28.

your party used to want us to join? Well, if you want to go back 13

:26:28.:26:32.

years and rehearse the arguments between 1997 and 1999 about whether

:26:32.:26:38.

it was right to join the eurozone, we can do that. What would Labour

:26:38.:26:44.

do to encourage business to invest? We would have introduced measures

:26:44.:26:48.

for small businesses, the NIC holiday, we have talked about would

:26:48.:26:51.

have stimulated the economy. It would have been something as we

:26:51.:26:55.

heard earlier on that would have helped small business take on new

:26:55.:26:58.

workers. We would have cut VAT across-the-board which would have

:26:58.:27:02.

been a stimulus to the retail sector. It would have been...

:27:02.:27:06.

Interest rates would have gone up? I don't think interest rates would

:27:06.:27:09.

have gone up. Really, don't you follow the bond

:27:09.:27:16.

markets? If we introduced a 2.5% reduction in VAT.

:27:16.:27:19.

A big risk? No, I don't think that would have been a big risk.

:27:19.:27:26.

Really? No, in the current climate? You can't guarantee that? I don't

:27:26.:27:30.

think most economists would suggest if you made a temporary cut to VAT

:27:30.:27:35.

you would see the bond market... Most analysts would say if the

:27:35.:27:39.

Government was to leave its deficit reduction plan.

:27:39.:27:42.

That's different. They are having to borrow more

:27:42.:27:45.

money as a result of more people being out of work. We know the

:27:45.:27:52.

truth it is �158 billion extra. OBR factored the measures in the Budget

:27:52.:27:56.

and it is projecting flat growth. We have to move on. We have a lot

:27:56.:28:01.

of ground to cover here, you know! I will be looking for a bonus. Oh,

:28:01.:28:04.

you are not allowed bonuses anymore! Let's hear what Mr

:28:04.:28:08.

Osbourne said about the economy. Yes the office for budgetary

:28:08.:28:12.

responsibility has been looking into its crystal ball. The growth

:28:13.:28:18.

forecasts for this year have been revised up. The forecasts for 2013

:28:18.:28:26.

is 2% and for 20 shrks the OBR thinks it will be 2.7%.

:28:26.:28:31.

Unemployment is forecast to peak at 1.67 million by the end of 2012 and

:28:31.:28:34.

it is thought inflation will fall during the rest of this year and it

:28:34.:28:42.

will be close to the 2% target by early 2013. Those borrowing figures,

:28:42.:28:52.

this year we are set to borrow �136 billion. It could be as low as �21

:28:52.:28:58.

billion by 2016/17. This will mean our total debt could be nearly �1.5

:28:58.:29:03.

trillion. Eye watering. We can speak to Allister Heath. Thank you

:29:03.:29:07.

for coming on the programme. Let's look at the borrowing figures. Only

:29:07.:29:10.

�1 billion than was forecast, disappointing for the Chancellor?

:29:10.:29:14.

It is not great news. For the first six or seven months of the year,

:29:14.:29:18.

the Chancellor spent a lot less money than he was expecting to and

:29:18.:29:22.

the figures look better, but suddenly yesterday, one of the

:29:22.:29:25.

additional figures that was released in addition to the Budget

:29:26.:29:30.

showed there is a lot of borrowing going on in February. It is not

:29:30.:29:33.

really improving at any faster rate. My big worry however is the growth

:29:33.:29:37.

figures. The growth figures for this year are probably realistic,

:29:37.:29:42.

but for next year onwards, they are hopeful and in four years time,

:29:42.:29:47.

they are optimistic. Anyone talk being 3% growth. That's a massive

:29:47.:29:52.

gamble on growth. You have this big problem which is all the forecasts

:29:52.:29:56.

rely on the large rebound in activity in three or four years and

:29:56.:30:00.

not enough on spending cuts at the moment. I don't think that the

:30:00.:30:03.

Chancellor did enough to boost growth in his Budget. There were

:30:04.:30:08.

some good measures like on cutting the top rate of tax and corporation

:30:08.:30:13.

taxks but too few people saw their marginal tax rates fall. Only 7% of

:30:13.:30:17.

the public saw their marginal tax rates fall and a lot of people saw

:30:17.:30:20.

it increase because of the way child benefit will be taken away

:30:20.:30:22.

from people. What do you think would be more

:30:22.:30:26.

realistic in terms of growth prospects? How much lower do you

:30:26.:30:31.

think they will be? It is impossible to gauge these things

:30:32.:30:35.

accurately. It is unrealistic to think that you will get such a

:30:35.:30:39.

rebound in growth. Anything could happen. The the eurozone crisis

:30:39.:30:46.

could continue. China could slow down. There is huge uncertainties.

:30:46.:30:51.

The whole of the long-term public finances of this country rely on

:30:51.:30:54.

growth forecasts and the Government has not done enough to achieve the

:30:54.:30:57.

growth forecast. There was good good stuff in the Budget when it

:30:58.:31:03.

came to growth. This was a Budget for growth, but a Budget for growth

:31:03.:31:05.

because he should have cut more things and cut more taxes.

:31:05.:31:14.

We are joined by viewers from Scotland, welcome to The Daily

:31:15.:31:19.

Politics. We have been asking questions about the state of the

:31:19.:31:29.
:31:29.:31:32.

economy. Let me come to you, Owen Smith. The coalition inherited a

:31:32.:31:38.

deficit of over 11% of GDP. By 2016, they will have got that deficit

:31:38.:31:44.

down to about 1% of GDP. That is a result, isn't it? If they achieve

:31:44.:31:49.

it. It is reliant on them achieving growth numbers that most people

:31:49.:31:57.

think are pretty heroic in their assumptions. These are the growth

:31:57.:32:00.

assumptions that Alistair Darling made in his four-year plan, they

:32:00.:32:06.

are no different from yours. That is not quite true. We were

:32:06.:32:09.

anticipating that the trajectory was going to be a lot fluttered

:32:09.:32:13.

towards the 3%, as opposed to where we are right now, having gone into

:32:13.:32:18.

a trough, anticipating this great big bounce back. There is a very

:32:18.:32:23.

big difference between the level of growth we were anticipating. Our

:32:23.:32:30.

economy was growing as we left office, at 2%. It is now growing at

:32:30.:32:34.

0.8%. That was before the eurozone crisis, where every economy has

:32:34.:32:41.

been downgraded. Absolutely true. I was at a business breakfast myself,

:32:41.:32:48.

business people don't feel this was a Budget for growth. I don't

:32:48.:32:52.

understand how your policy is any different from the coalition's. If

:32:52.:32:59.

you take a graph of how debt, which is a key motive... The Chancellor

:32:59.:33:04.

mixed up the debt and the deficit yesterday. If you take a chance --

:33:04.:33:08.

chart of how debt was to accumulate and Alistair Darling, it peaks at

:33:08.:33:16.

1.4 trillion by 2016. If you take this government's chart, it pizza -

:33:16.:33:20.

- it peaks at 1.4 trillion in 2016. Your trajectories are the same and

:33:20.:33:25.

I sometimes wonder what you are arguing about. We are going about

:33:25.:33:28.

the manner in which we would have tried to bring down the debt over

:33:28.:33:34.

all. You are not bringing down the debt. They are borrowing an extra 6

:33:34.:33:37.

billion this February versus last February. They are borrowing in

:33:37.:33:42.

order to pay for more people out of work and fewer people paying tax.

:33:42.:33:46.

If we were in power, I think we would have seen more stimulus in

:33:46.:33:56.

the economy. Is the Darling plan still Labour policy. Yeah. Yes, of

:33:56.:34:01.

course, we would be halving the deficit over this Parliament. The

:34:01.:34:07.

status of this economy that we are going to inherit is very different.

:34:07.:34:10.

What happened under the Labour government is that we saw a

:34:10.:34:15.

reduction in productivity, of growth that was fuelled by debt and

:34:15.:34:19.

public spending. We have had to put a stop to that. It was fuelled by

:34:19.:34:23.

public spending and now we have got a debt which is higher than it has

:34:23.:34:30.

ever been before. I think the point is, there is no magic bullet.

:34:30.:34:35.

had a pound bought some time -- every time somebody said that, I

:34:35.:34:39.

would be able to buy a magic bullet. Can you let your coalition partner

:34:40.:34:47.

speak? Having sat through umpteen debates for the last few years,

:34:47.:34:50.

every Labour backbencher who speaks opposes one aspect of what the

:34:50.:34:54.

coalition is doing, whether it is the VAT rise, changes in tax rates,

:34:54.:34:58.

what we are doing to reform the benefit system. There is no

:34:58.:35:02.

coherence amongst the Labour Party. Or what on earth they should do to

:35:02.:35:06.

tackle this deficit. You may say you want to reduce the deficit.

:35:06.:35:09.

Among still parliamentary colleagues, none of them support

:35:09.:35:14.

any of the measures that the government is doing. One thing we

:35:14.:35:18.

are clear and coherent on, it is the wrong thing to do yesterday, to

:35:18.:35:23.

cut pensioners' income in order to give a tax benefit... Their incomes

:35:23.:35:33.
:35:33.:35:36.

have not been cut. The allowances How do you feel about �10 billion

:35:36.:35:39.

more of welfare cuts? That is possibly going to happen towards

:35:39.:35:44.

the end of the parliament, or early in the next Parliament. But of

:35:44.:35:47.

course, we can have a major reform of the welfare system through

:35:47.:35:51.

Universal Credit, starting next year, in order to deal with the

:35:51.:35:55.

labyrinth of benefit entitlements that Gordon Brown has left behind,

:35:55.:35:59.

and to make it clear with tax reforms that being in work really

:35:59.:36:05.

does pay. I think we better leave it there. Plenty more to talk about

:36:05.:36:08.

in this Budget. The interesting thing for the newspapers will be

:36:08.:36:13.

not how bad it was today, but what it looks like at the weekend. Iain

:36:13.:36:17.

Macleod used to say that a Budget that was well received the day

:36:17.:36:20.

after would be trashed by the weekend, and warned that was

:36:20.:36:27.

trashed the day after would be well-received... We will see... If

:36:27.:36:32.

that maxim holds up. Thanks to all three of you. Now to Afghanistan,

:36:32.:36:36.

an issue that came to the fore at yesterday's PMQs. Lets take a look

:36:36.:36:43.

Following the Prime Minister's recent trip to Washington, we now

:36:43.:36:46.

know that the timetable for the withdrawal of British and other

:36:46.:36:49.

international combat forces in Afghanistan will be reviewed at the

:36:49.:36:53.

NATO summit in Chicago in May. The Prime Minister has previously set

:36:53.:36:57.

out a timetable that would see combat operations for British

:36:57.:37:03.

troops seized by the end of 2014. Given the recent statements by the

:37:03.:37:06.

US Defence Secretary and the French President about an accelerated

:37:06.:37:12.

timetable for their trips, can the Prime Minister confirm the British

:37:12.:37:16.

Government's position? -- their troops. What I had said absolutely

:37:16.:37:20.

stance which is that we will not be in a combat role in Afghanistan

:37:20.:37:24.

after 2014, nor will we have anything like the number of groups

:37:24.:37:28.

we have now. We will be performing a training task, particularly

:37:28.:37:32.

helping with the officer training academy. Between now and 2014, it

:37:32.:37:35.

is important we have a sensible profile for the reduction in troop

:37:35.:37:40.

numbers. That should be largely based on the conditions in terms of

:37:40.:37:43.

the three parts of Helmand Province that we are still responsible for,

:37:43.:37:53.
:37:53.:37:55.

and the transition that takes place. Can the Prime Minister tell us what

:37:55.:38:00.

his assessment of the significance of the Taliban suspending talks is,

:38:00.:38:06.

and does he agree that we owe it to our troops to be more focused on

:38:06.:38:12.

securing a lasting settlement. Since taking office, and the last

:38:12.:38:16.

government took this view as well, the British position has been put

:38:16.:38:20.

that we need to have the best possible solution for the people of

:38:20.:38:25.

Afghanistan. Britain has been pushing for reconciliation and

:38:25.:38:27.

integration and I had very productive talks with President

:38:27.:38:30.

Obama last week, because the American do is the same. They want

:38:30.:38:35.

to support that political process. Of course, the Taliban have said

:38:35.:38:38.

what they said last week. I would make this point. We are committed

:38:38.:38:42.

to handing over to the Afghan government, the Afghan military,

:38:42.:38:46.

the Afghan police, and the numbers of Afghan military and police are

:38:46.:38:50.

on track. We are committed to doing that at the end of 2014. We believe

:38:50.:38:56.

it can happen with a satisfactory outcome for the United Kingdom. It

:38:56.:39:00.

would be better for everyone concerned if it was accompanied by

:39:00.:39:06.

a political settlement. And joining us now for the rest of

:39:06.:39:09.

the programme is Colonel Tim Collins, who served in the Iraq War

:39:09.:39:13.

and is now a member of the Conservative party. Welcome.

:39:13.:39:17.

not a member of the Conservative Party. Thank you for correcting us,

:39:17.:39:22.

we will get rid of the researcher who put that down! Bid was probably

:39:22.:39:31.

And we're also joined by the Shadow Defence Secretary, Jim Murphy. Is

:39:31.:39:38.

it an exit strategy that you think will work? After a fashion. If --

:39:38.:39:42.

it is Afghanistan after all. The question is, is the government and

:39:42.:39:45.

military going to be more robust than the one that the Russians left

:39:45.:39:49.

behind? I think it will be. There is a great deal of effort going

:39:49.:39:56.

into training and I know it is the main focus of the I SFA if -- is

:39:56.:40:03.

You think you will be ready to handle their own affairs when

:40:03.:40:08.

combat troops leave in 2014? difficulty they have is there is a

:40:08.:40:12.

balance between people who have been professionalised and the bulk,

:40:12.:40:16.

as in large numbers of Afghan police. With some of those, the

:40:16.:40:21.

quality is not there but at the heart of it, there is quality. The

:40:21.:40:24.

difficulty is convincing the population do have faith in their

:40:24.:40:30.

armed forces and their police force -- convincing the population to

:40:30.:40:35.

have faith. Do you think the exit strategy is going to work from a

:40:35.:40:39.

timetable point of view? That the bulk of police and armed forces in

:40:39.:40:42.

Afghanistan will be strong enough to hold the country where it is?

:40:42.:40:50.

just don't know yet. We hope so but we don't know so. I agree with what

:40:50.:40:54.

David Cameron and Ed Miliband was saying. I thought David Cameron was

:40:54.:40:58.

a little cavalier when he said that we can leave without a political

:40:58.:41:03.

settlement. I find that really difficult to understand. If that is

:41:03.:41:07.

now the government's policy, it is quite a significant shift. When the

:41:07.:41:14.

Soviets left, it lasted three years. We have been in four was in

:41:14.:41:21.

Afghanistan, this is the 5th. point is, everybody is talking

:41:21.:41:24.

about politics and they have missed the point. Why go there a lot, I

:41:24.:41:28.

employ people there. It is not about politics. The Taliban doesn't

:41:28.:41:33.

exist. The Taliban is a blanket term. There are networks and groups.

:41:33.:41:38.

These people have become criminal entrepreneurs. We don't see any

:41:38.:41:42.

evidence and I work closely with the police, of anyone with any

:41:42.:41:47.

desire whatsoever to roll tanks and takeover couple like Saigon, there

:41:47.:41:52.

is no desire there. -- takeover Kabul. They would like the regime

:41:52.:41:57.

in place to continue them to make money and I think that would go on.

:41:57.:42:02.

In a sandwich in between, there are enough decent Afghans and decent

:42:02.:42:06.

policeman who want to tackle the crime. It is all about crime, not

:42:06.:42:11.

war but crime. Would they be in a position to deal with that? If

:42:11.:42:16.

warlords start taking over parts of Afghanistan... Why would parasites

:42:16.:42:22.

kill the beast they live off? you say there is no need for a

:42:22.:42:28.

political settlement... I am not saying that. Politics are not a

:42:28.:42:32.

higher priority in modern Afghanistan. Should they? Of course,

:42:32.:42:38.

but... What sort of political settlement should there be? If

:42:38.:42:41.

David Cameron is saying we could live without a political settlement,

:42:41.:42:50.

is it to cavalier? The Taliban, to use the broad term, and the various

:42:50.:42:54.

other smaller groups, criminal groups, they rank and file follow

:42:54.:42:58.

their leaders. The rank and file know what they are fighting against.

:42:58.:43:02.

They have no idea on earth what they are fighting for, there is no

:43:02.:43:05.

political aspiration. If we had a political aspiration, we could talk

:43:05.:43:09.

to them but they don't know what to ask for. There is a politics that

:43:09.:43:12.

tolerates the degree of corruption that you are speaking about and we

:43:12.:43:16.

have to make some progress in that. There is a politics that allows and

:43:16.:43:19.

governed space to develop again, where malevolent elements can

:43:19.:43:23.

strike against neighbours and others across the world, and that

:43:23.:43:26.

is why politics is very important. Not the Westminster Classic

:43:26.:43:33.

democratic model, none of us think it is that sort of thing. It still

:43:33.:43:38.

sounds very vague. It is a distasteful thing to say and we are

:43:38.:43:44.

not having the conversation with the public debt, but a degree of

:43:44.:43:46.

Taliban involvement in the government of Afghanistan now seems

:43:46.:43:51.

inevitable. How do we achieve that in a way that on us what the UK

:43:51.:43:57.

forces have been through in the past decade, -- a way that honours.

:43:57.:44:01.

Are we going there to take those people on, deal with Al-Qaeda and

:44:01.:44:05.

take those people on. That is absolutely the point. The criminal

:44:05.:44:08.

elements, the criminal entrepreneurs have been allowed to

:44:08.:44:14.

set the pace. The Taliban, and other groups, whatever they are

:44:14.:44:17.

called, need to have a political agenda that is other than someone

:44:17.:44:23.

else's agenda, other than the Pakistani intelligence services

:44:23.:44:29.

agenda. They need a Pashtun, or northern alliance agenda. That does

:44:29.:44:33.

not exist. I think we might have missed the opportunity to help them

:44:33.:44:39.

develop that. We have to move on, you have only got a few minutes

:44:39.:44:49.
:44:49.:44:51.

left. What is your response that Two this idea was put forward by

:44:51.:44:54.

the Labour government, that they want to look at the plan on carrier

:44:54.:44:58.

jets. Your viewers would have followed this in detail yet. When

:44:58.:45:02.

the new government came in, they inherited a plan of two aircraft

:45:02.:45:06.

carriers, the biggest in the Royal Navy's history, three times longer

:45:07.:45:11.

than a football pitch. That was the traditional thing that people will

:45:11.:45:15.

have seen, Harrier jump jets, vertical take-off and landing. The

:45:16.:45:19.

government said, let's go with an American-style, Top Gun traditional

:45:19.:45:24.

take off. They look as if they are going back to the original plan.

:45:24.:45:28.

What is the evidence they are looking at this again? They are no

:45:28.:45:32.

longer defending their own policy. The media was full of stories, a

:45:32.:45:36.

soft landing of a massive U-turn. It is a huge embarrassment,

:45:37.:45:41.

political hubris. A sense that they have wasted possibly hundreds of

:45:41.:45:46.

millions of pounds in coming up with a third policy, when there are

:45:46.:45:49.

rarely any two options. The difficulty here is they sold the

:45:49.:45:53.

entire carrier fleet. All 72 of those planes have been sent to

:45:53.:45:57.

America. How long have we got this period of time without question I

:45:57.:46:02.

asked for an urgent question today, it was not granted. I think it is a

:46:02.:46:05.

real worry that an island nation cannot put an aircraft carrier to

:46:05.:46:10.

see, because the one we have crashed into a tug last week.

:46:10.:46:20.
:46:20.:46:21.

Is this worrying? It is worrying. All three parties would like a

:46:21.:46:25.

European-style defence force as opposed to an expeditionary army.

:46:25.:46:30.

Does it leave us vulnerable? intention is to hide amongst the

:46:30.:46:36.

Europeans. That we would have an aggressive camping organisation

:46:36.:46:39.

like the other Europeans and when things went wrong, hiding in large

:46:39.:46:46.

numbers would protect us. We would have no cas pit why toe why -- pa

:46:46.:46:49.

pa passity to -- capacity to project power.

:46:49.:46:55.

We are not going to have aeroplanes flying off it. I keep saying you

:46:55.:46:59.

don't have to be a military strategist to know what aircraft

:46:59.:47:03.

carriers are meant to do. The jump jet would be more

:47:03.:47:10.

flexible? It doesn't have as much power. It doesn't have long legs,

:47:10.:47:18.

but it can land wherever you wish and the Government got involved in

:47:18.:47:22.

a Defence Review which was rushed. It seems after a lot of money and

:47:22.:47:25.

time, they have gone back to a more expensive option of what we had

:47:26.:47:29.

before. If you told the Speaker that he was

:47:29.:47:36.

going to ask a kaleidoscopic question he might have allowed it!

:47:36.:47:42.

Who would want to be a police commission sner. -- commissioner?

:47:42.:47:47.

Our guest, Tim Collins does! We sent Giles out to find out what the

:47:47.:47:49.

job intales. -- entails.

:47:49.:47:53.

Across the wide range of duties our police have, there is always that

:47:53.:47:57.

question of to hom are they accountable -- whom are they

:47:57.:48:00.

accountable when we are unhappy, a Chief Constable, a police authority,

:48:00.:48:04.

a mayor or a commissioner? In Opposition, the Conservatives

:48:04.:48:07.

propose add new role of elected police and crime commissioners in

:48:07.:48:11.

England and Wales. At the time it is fair to say it was hard to find

:48:11.:48:15.

people, including police, who would warm to the idea. Nonetheless, the

:48:15.:48:19.

post will exist and in November this year elections will take place.

:48:19.:48:24.

In 41 force areas outside London where the mayor is the PCC.

:48:24.:48:29.

Commissioners in the biggest force areas will receive salaries of over

:48:29.:48:35.

�100,000 to set priorities for their police force, oversee budgets

:48:35.:48:38.

and hire the Chief Constable. So far emerging candidates have

:48:38.:48:42.

something in common that begs questions. The main problem with

:48:42.:48:49.

this idea is that the risk that elected politicians will interfere

:48:49.:48:52.

in police operational matters and that's the big challenge and of

:48:52.:48:55.

course, what we have seen so far the majority of people who have put

:48:55.:49:00.

their name into the frame are, of course, politicians or perhaps past

:49:00.:49:02.

politicians. The Conservatives made it a

:49:02.:49:05.

political role and if you have political office, you have to be

:49:05.:49:08.

accountable. You have to be accountable to the public, but it

:49:08.:49:12.

is right to have accountability back to the party structures.

:49:12.:49:16.

Lib Dems will not be giving central party funding to their candidates

:49:16.:49:22.

who may wish to stand. They will not stop them standing, they will

:49:22.:49:25.

not support something they never supported in the first place.

:49:25.:49:29.

Labour are deciding to contest many of the elections because in certain

:49:29.:49:33.

parts of the UK they have a good chance of winning, but there is an

:49:33.:49:38.

elephant in the room. What we hope of course, that will happen, we

:49:38.:49:42.

have strong independent candidates who are not attached to a party,

:49:42.:49:47.

who may have a background that is relevant in terms of policing who

:49:47.:49:51.

may want to come forward. So far there is no real signs that

:49:51.:49:55.

happening and for some the party angle presents a dilemma for number

:49:55.:50:01.

five of the 1829 principles of the police, to seek and preserve public

:50:01.:50:07.

favour not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly

:50:07.:50:10.

demonstrating impartial service to law in complete independence of

:50:10.:50:14.

policy. Whoever wins the roles will need to demonstrate they can let

:50:14.:50:20.

police do that from Chief Constables to beat officers and

:50:20.:50:23.

preserve the manifestoes upon which they stood.

:50:23.:50:30.

Tim Collins is is hoping to stand as a Conservative candidate. Why

:50:31.:50:33.

aren't you a member of the Conservative Party? Because I have

:50:33.:50:36.

never been a member of any political parties.

:50:36.:50:39.

Don't you have to be a member of the Conservative Party? We will

:50:39.:50:43.

find out after the local elections in May whether the Conservatives

:50:43.:50:49.

want to nominate me as their candidate. They may not. They may

:50:49.:50:51.

have other members who are better candidates.

:50:51.:50:56.

Now, why do you want to do it? One would argue that you are going to

:50:56.:51:01.

come in at a time, presiding over severe cuts to a police force?

:51:01.:51:05.

I think, the first thing which is that, you know, I am not massively

:51:05.:51:08.

keen to do it, but I have been asked by a number of friends and

:51:08.:51:13.

rank and file policemen saying, "We are worried about this. Will you do

:51:13.:51:18.

it?" I said yes perhaps rather precociously. I was in Gravesend

:51:18.:51:23.

last week on one hand talking to victims of crime which I run a

:51:23.:51:27.

company that employees policemen and I was able to ask them what

:51:27.:51:33.

they would regard as would be without a doubt attempted murders

:51:33.:51:43.

or indeed for uninvestigated. In one case a man who was bitten and

:51:43.:51:51.

covered in is a in saliva. Policemen say that morale is very

:51:51.:51:54.

low and the policemen are not encouraged to do their job and

:51:54.:51:58.

there is no support. What sort of politician

:51:58.:52:02.

commissioner -- police commissioner would you be. There are references

:52:02.:52:08.

to you wanting to be like one of the New York-style commissioners?

:52:08.:52:12.

What I would like to see with myself as the chairman of the of

:52:12.:52:16.

the board, the Chief Constable getting on with doing the job

:52:16.:52:21.

without having to look over his shoulder with some bloated

:52:21.:52:24.

authority looking for statistics. What I would like to see and I grew

:52:24.:52:28.

up in Northern Ireland. We had an effective police reserve. I would

:52:28.:52:32.

like to see the specials turned into a police reserve. I would like

:52:32.:52:34.

to see more people coming from communities and volunteering to

:52:34.:52:39.

become involved in policing. Do you think the country needs all that

:52:39.:52:42.

concentration of policing power in the hands of another elected

:52:42.:52:46.

politician? The country doesn't. It is rejnal.

:52:46.:52:53.

It is -- regional, it is each police force. Do we really need

:52:53.:53:00.

that? As opposed to an unelected councillor. In Kent what we receive

:53:00.:53:04.

from our police authority is a glossy magazine which most people

:53:04.:53:08.

recycle and lots of statistics with any amount of photographs of the

:53:08.:53:12.

lady in charge. Does that do us any good? Independence, that's what

:53:12.:53:15.

Labour has been arguing about, why they don't think it is a good idea.

:53:15.:53:19.

Who would be scrute nidsing -- scrutinising you in that position?

:53:19.:53:24.

Who would be saying, "You have become too politicised." There

:53:24.:53:27.

wouldn't be a strong enough body to say that you overstepped the line?

:53:27.:53:33.

It is what we call democracy. It is the the voters who decide, whatever

:53:33.:53:35.

happens on the 15th November, you can be certain of this, the people

:53:35.:53:40.

of Kent and everywhere else will get the police force they deserve.

:53:40.:53:43.

Briefly, the cost, is it the right time to spend because it will cost

:53:43.:53:48.

a lot of money to run the elections, the pay the salaries of the police

:53:48.:53:52.

commission commissioners and the figures are out there that say it

:53:52.:53:56.

would fund 3,000 police officers? Well, what is going to happen to

:53:56.:54:01.

the police authorities. There are 16 people doing the job. I have

:54:01.:54:04.

said I won't accept a salary. I am Irish and my maths aren't great,

:54:04.:54:10.

but that looks like a saving! I haven't worked it out. Trust me,

:54:10.:54:13.

it is. When you meant the the Specials,

:54:14.:54:20.

you didn't mean the B Specials? will call them the B Specials if

:54:20.:54:26.

you like. We sent Adam Adam out to read the

:54:26.:54:32.

It is a case of bad headlines for the Chancellor. The Guardian

:54:32.:54:38.

calling his Budget scth cynical and deluded." The Daily Telegraph are

:54:38.:54:44.

furious about the granny tax. Could that headline be any bigger or

:54:44.:54:48.

angrier? They are angry about it in The Daily Mail saying that George

:54:48.:54:52.

Osborne picked the pockets of pensioners, but they are angry that

:54:52.:54:58.

he wasn't wearing a tie hours just before delivering the Budget. The

:54:58.:55:03.

Daily Mirror have have gone for a theft theme as well with George

:55:03.:55:08.

Osborne and David Cameron dressed up as muggers. The Sun have gone

:55:08.:55:12.

for humiliation, with the chancellor depicted as Wallace, a

:55:12.:55:16.

reference to the tax break he introduced for animation companies.

:55:16.:55:20.

The prize for best gimmicks goes to the Times. Not only have they got a

:55:20.:55:25.

50 pence with George Osborne and the taxes chainsaw massacre on it,

:55:25.:55:29.

but inside they have a monopoly themed explainer of the Budget and

:55:29.:55:35.

best of all, how the characters of Downton Abbey will be affected by

:55:35.:55:45.
:55:45.:55:53.

the Chancellor's decisions. We are joined by John John Pienaar.

:55:53.:55:59.

I can't remember in recent times a worse set of front pages for any

:55:59.:56:04.

chancellor than this morning? nor can I. You look at the Daily

:56:04.:56:08.

Telegraph, the Conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph by describes it as

:56:08.:56:11.

a Budget that Gordon Brown would have been proud of and no part that

:56:11.:56:17.

is meant as a compliment, they mean shifty, deceitful, full of tricks.

:56:17.:56:23.

My sense of this is they have spun themselves into a tangle. So much

:56:23.:56:30.

of the bUlght was leaked. A lot -- Budget was leaked. A lot came out.

:56:30.:56:33.

There was industrial leaking of the Budget. The bit they didn't leak

:56:33.:56:39.

was the bit about pensioners which amplified coverage of that story

:56:39.:56:49.
:56:49.:56:52.

and it was a big big enough story. There are Deeper currants at work.

:56:52.:56:58.

A lot of the attack from what you might call the Tory press or I

:56:58.:57:03.

think more accurately the Tory inclined press, has hostility to

:57:03.:57:08.

Cameron as well. The Telegraph, The Mail, they are not cheerleaders for

:57:08.:57:11.

Mr Cameron, they like an opportunity to give him a kicking

:57:11.:57:14.

as they have done this morning? There is a certain amount of that.

:57:14.:57:19.

The Sun as well? Include The Sun. There is a feeling on the righter

:57:19.:57:22.

end of Fleet Street that maybe the Government could be a bit more

:57:22.:57:26.

Euro-sceptic than it has been, that it could be more truly Conservative

:57:26.:57:30.

and we call them them Conservative supporting papers, they like to

:57:30.:57:36.

make them jump every now and again, especially this far out from a

:57:36.:57:40.

general election. But just now, you get an

:57:40.:57:45.

opportunity and a chance to... show you are independent.

:57:45.:57:53.

Just before we go, Chris Leslie, he is in front of Parliament almost as

:57:53.:57:56.

we speak, complaining about the leaks. He has been complaining.

:57:56.:58:01.

What do we make of that? He is complaining about the leaking of

:58:01.:58:06.

the Budget. I was watching this and remember the scene in Casablanca

:58:06.:58:10.

where the police chief says he is shocked, shocked to see there is

:58:10.:58:16.

gambling going on in here! It has always happened. It happened under

:58:16.:58:17.

Gordon and Tony and long before that.

:58:17.:58:22.

Tony Blair would have liked a few more leaks under Gordon Brown.

:58:22.:58:27.

wasn't told anything! "I'm Not telling you anything."

:58:27.:58:33.

John Pienaar, you too colonel. Thank you to our guests. I am back

:58:33.:58:39.

tonight with Michael Portillo and Alastair Campbell and Channel 4's

:58:39.:58:47.

Sarah Smith and David Gorman. Anyway we are on BBC One at 11.35pm.

:58:48.:58:52.

Presented by Jo Coburn and Andrew Neil.

What does the Budget mean for families, individuals and businesses across the UK? Plus, former British Army officer Tim Collins discusses Afghanistan and his bid to become an elected police commissioner.


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