06/09/2012 Daily Politics


06/09/2012

Jo Coburn is joined by Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips to discuss the latest political news, including proposed changes to planning rules.


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Good afternoon. Welcome to The Daily Politics. Planning a

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conservatory? Fancy a fancy car gadge? David Cameron and Nick Clegg

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hope you are. Also on the table, plans for more affordable homes. We

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will ask if it is enough. Labour don't think so, they have been

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talking about their own plans for economic growth this morning - roll

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on the wealth tax. They have flown the flag for Britain and inspired a

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nation. Have our Paralympians changed our opinions towards

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disabled people. Nicola Sturgeon will fly the flag for Scotland,

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hoping to win the argument for Scottish independence. We will talk

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to her later. Giles is enjoying the sunshine outside. I am. I am

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looking on the bright side. I am looking for economic growth. I will

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talk to three entrepreneur, that despite the recession, are leading

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the way. Who would have thought it - it was down to flooring, phone

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apps and fruit cakes. With me is the journalist and author Melanie

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Phillips. Welcome to the show. First today, let's start with a

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question - are burglars brave? Yes, brave! That is what a judge said

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yesterday when sentencing a burglar at Teesside Crown Court. He

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reportedly told the criminal it took a huge amount of courage to

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burgle a house, and he said that prison rarely does anybody any good.

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This morning the Prime Minister gave his reaction. It is a

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despicable crime. You know, I am very clear that people who

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repeatedly burgle should be sent to prison. I have not seen this

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specific case. Judges sometimes say things - you have to read the full

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context. It is not bravery, burglary is a hateful crime. People

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sometimes say it is not a violent crime, but if you have been burgled,

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you feel it is violent. This is high the Government is changing the

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law, to toughen the rules on self- defence, saying householders do

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have the right to defend themselves. We had a case the other day. I will

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have to look at what the judge said. Well the Prime Minister in no doubt

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about what should happen to burglars - what do you think about

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what the judge said? It was a comment so dafr you had to read it

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three times. As the Prime Minister said, burglary is never brave. One

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cannot imagine what was in this judge's mind. The judge was within

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his rights not to send the guy to prison. The sentencing guidelines

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allow him not to improz a -- impose a custodial sentence. He was

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impressed by the fact the guy has turned around his life, apparently.

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Well, the judge is entitled to his opinion, but the rest of us are

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within our rights to be cynical. Pretty damning about the whole

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prison service? For the hapless populous who is being burgled is it

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takes a burglar out of the environment. If he explained the

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burglary about this man being able to turn his life around, would a

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community sentence, a fine and being monitored ever be enough to

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substitute a jail sentence? cannot put wupbs in the position of

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the judge. He did set out those reasons to some extent. It is a

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matter of judgment. If you have a serial burglar, I am afraid I am

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cynical about someone turning their life around. Many people would

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agree with you. The other issue is self-defence. We had the other

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issue on intruders. The law says reasonable force can be used. Was

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that reasonable force? I believe so. Again one does not know the full

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detail, but as far as one could see the householder in question

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encountered burglars breaking into his house. He happened to have a

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shotgun. He used what came to hand to defend himself, his property and

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his life, as far as he was concerned, against intruders. That

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is a perfectly reasonable supposition for him to make that he

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was at risk. The law allows him to make that assumption. Therefore he

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did not commit a crime. Should he have been arrested and held?

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don't think so. I think that was a heavy reaction by the police, who

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seemed not to have understood quite what had happened in this

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circumstance. It obviously it stiblgs in the core for someone who

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has been -- sticks to the core for someone who has been burgled. The

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law is very clear - you must not assault, attack or fire upon a

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burglar, if for example he has turned his back and is fleeing,

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because that is revenge. If you genuinely think your life, limb and

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property are under attack you are entitled to take whatever

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reasonable defence is at hand. David Cameron and Nick Clegg want

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you to add a conservatory to your house. They want to boost it by

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easing planning. The Prime Minister and his deputy have been setting

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out the proposed changes. Under the new rules, homeowners would be able

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to make more changes to their homes without planning permission.

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Conservatives and other single -- conservatorys rather than

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Conservatives! They can be built four metres away

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from detached houses. From 2015 they will be doubled. Bigger

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extensions will be doubled though. The Government wants more new

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houses to be built. They are reducing obligations on some

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developers to build affordable homes. There'll be more money for

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the FirstBuy scheme. The aim - to kick-start the

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building of 75,000 new homes. The boost is needed because the

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construction sector is the worst performing part of the economy. It

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shrunk by 9% in the first half of the year. This is what the Deputy

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Prime Minister said this morning. What we are doing today is we're

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doing a bunch of things to create more homes, more affordable homes

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and more jobs. We are doing that by removing some of the bureaucracy

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and hassle - and getting house builders to put shovels in the

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ground. We are helping people with their first time mortgages. We are

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putting up �300 million to build up to 15,000 affordable homes to.

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Bring 5,000 empty homes back into use and really importantly, we are

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putting up �10 billion worth of Government guarantees to house

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builter sos they can lower the cost that they face and get them

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building again. Nick Clegg explaining the plans. Will it be as

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simple as the coalition hopes? The Government will find out changing

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the planning system does not always work as as plans. Eric Pickles is

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being taken to court by a council who says he has broken his own

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rules by letting local people say what gets built where. The site for

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a decisive battle between the war of the roses, now Teweksbury is

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fighting the Conservative Community Secretary. It is over proposals to

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develop a nearby village. Two different builters want to

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build two new developments, side by side, right here. Overall, it is

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about 1,000 new houses, a couple of offices, a community centre and

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some sport pitches. It it's all in the shadow of the highest point in

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the Cotswold. Locals are furious. There's been enough building going

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on here. It is time to put a halt on it. The village has grown so

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much over the past 20 years and the facilitys can not take any more.

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Objections like that led Teweksbury Borough Council to oppose the

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application last spring. The developers then won an appeal,

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which Eric Pickles backed in July this year. Now the council are

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going to the High Court to challenge the Government's decision.

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The case should be heard in a few months' time. Councillors didn't

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want to talk to us for legal reasons. The local MP was happy to

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vent his theory. I want to see it change so local people who know the

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area, who know how many houses are necessary, they actually have

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something to say. I thought we were going down that road. I think the

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Government indicated I wanted to go down that road. We have to push it

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in that direction. If Eric Pickles was here now, what would you say?

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would perhaps better not repeat it. There is the issue. The Government

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wants more stuff built, yet at the same time has told communities they

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have more power to stop things being built. Planning experts can

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see trouble on the horizon. I think a lot of people I speak to do

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realise you cannot just say, no I do not want any development, but

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clearly you will have NIMBYism, you will have banana build nothing and

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nothing near me any time. That is the problem. That is kind of what I

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found here. You know who the biggest bananas are here? The

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people who have moved into brand new houses which have just been

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built. We like that, "Banana." With me is Clyde Loakes, we are

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joined also by Stephen Littlechild from the Institute of Economic

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Affairs. Welcome to both of you. Starting with you, the planning

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process has been the block on building new homes? That is not so.

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We are a ten-year high with councils planning planning

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applications for new houses: We have 400,000 new homes ready to get

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off the blocks. We have enough for the next three years if we didn't

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do any more planning applications. Why aren't they being built?

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Developers are sitting on their hands. I think they are waiting for

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the Government to make the announcement, like today, where

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they can maximise and get more profit out of their schemes, rather

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than reflexing on the mixed, sustainable communities we at local

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councils want build. Is ate a myth that they have been the -- it has

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been a myth that they have been the block to reform. There will be a

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range of different reasons why they would not have been developed yet.

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We have in Britain one of the most complex planning systems you could

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design. In other European countries you can almost move from the

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drawing board to the first shovel in the ground in a number of weeks.

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Here it can take years. We have to be realise tick about the lands we

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have available. It is all right if you are on the property ladder, you

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are sitting pretty. If you are not on it there is not enough stock. We

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only have about 10% of the entirety of this country developed. We can

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do a lot more building without any worries that all our green and

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pleasant land is not destroyed. Isn't that the point, successive

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Governments have not built enough homes. Shouldn't there been a

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quicker planning process? We have a good planning process in this

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country. 400,000 plots ready to go. The real issue here is what

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developments are not doing. They are stalling. They are waiting to

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maximise profits. The issue is about the liquidity of the mortgage

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and finance markets that allow people to get that first step on

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the ladder. We are here, as local councils, long after the developers

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have gone. We know the sorts of developments we want to have built.

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We should have every justification. We are accountable to local people

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to make those decisions and take those schemes forward. We have a

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system which encourages nimbyism. It is rational to be a NIMBY, as in

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that exact. If you own a �500 million house you will be against

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the low -- �500,000 house you will be against it. The choice is not,

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do you want this field built on or not, it is, if you do we'll lower

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your council tax. We have to have a better compensation culture. What

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do you think in terms of a case of lack of demand, rather than

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planning - blocking the process, before we get on to the question of

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NIMBYism? Well, I think that planning laws may well need

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reforming, may need streamlining. I cannot really see that the planning

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issue is the key issue. As I understand it, as we have heard,

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there are many other issues which are preventing house builders from

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building. For example, the commitment they have to build

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affordable housing. It is a good thing? It may or may not. It is

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holding them up. The comparison with France - France is very

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ruthless, but France can afford to be ruthless. It is an enormous

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country. We have an overcrowded country. This lady in Teweksbury.

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Look at that wonderful scenery, look at that fantastic environment

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they have. There is a limit to house building beyond which one

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loses ameem knittys. We don't have enough homes because there are

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400,000 plots which have been designated for homes which are not

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built on. There is also brownfield development, which is not happening,

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:15:15.:15:17.

for a variety of reasons. Will this We are not going to see enormous

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GDP growth because a handful of people start building

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conservatories in their back garden. It smells of panic by the

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Chancellor. He is desperate to get the economy kick started. He

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doesn't want to take the moves he has to take to do that. So he is he

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is encouraging house building, a few conservatories will kick start

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house building, it is crackers. Even if people are able to build

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conservatories and extensions is the demand there? Is there a

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backlog of people saying, "We don't want to move, we want to invest in

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our homes?". There is a reason why permitted development is as it is

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and that's to protect the eye the amenity of neighbours. That's to

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ensure quality in the pllds and to stop -- bllds -- bllds and to stop

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our gardens being developed in a fluffy way. It is a naive view to

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suggest that's going to stimulate growth.

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The Government introducing the national policy framework this year.

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The fact that the new prosals are come come -- proposals are coming,

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is that an admission that didn't work? This is, I think for a

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Conservative dominated Government an extremely difficult issue. We

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have seen Tewkesbury, that's Tory heartland where the whole issue

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surrounding Heathrow and the third runway goes to the same issue. You

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have You have got two problems, it is not just that people don't want

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a load of building next to them, if we build the houses we need in the

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United Kingdom, you will see property prices fall. If you own a

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descent property, you could suffer as a result.

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That brings us to another point. The Bank of England is keeping

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interest rates at the same level at 0.5%. You just raised the point if

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outside London particularly in the South East, house prices start to

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fall, is it the right strategy of the Government to be encouraging

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first-time buyers to take on deposits even if they are getting

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help with paying mortgages for the first few years. If prices come

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down, these people could find themselves in difficulty? First-

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time buyers are in difficulties and that is an unfortunate fact and we

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need more affordable housing. We need ways in which first-time

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buyers can be encouraged to buy houses. Because the way people,

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families are splitting up. More people are living alone. What was

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one household becomes two or three households and there is the issue

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of immigration and all these things feed into this housing problem. You

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can't isolate housing problems. The lack of housing and say, "We just

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reformed the planning laws." You have a bunch of very controversial

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social policies wrapped up in this. I am going to have to say goodbye

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to you two. Thank you very much.

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Ed Miliband and the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, have been

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setting o out their ideas on the idea. They have been arguing that

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the recession demands a new look. This is what Ed Miliband had to say

:18:40.:18:50.
:18:50.:18:50.

earlier. It was harder for New Labour to be

:18:51.:18:56.

the party to reform it. And that is the key for us in the future. Today,

:18:56.:19:06.
:19:06.:19:07.

clear about the role of markets, we can more confidently with the

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people who see that the rules need to change. Urgent if we are to

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tackle the issue of redistribution. We We won't compete if we remain a

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low wage, low skill economy. Joining me now is Shadow Treasury

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Minister, Chris Leslie. This morning, we have been hearing terms

:19:30.:19:35.

from the Labour leadership about moving from redistribution to

:19:35.:19:39.

predistribution, what is that? you have got to look at it through

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the prism of the current environment we're in. We are in an

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economic climate where clearly growth is not coming to fruition.

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We are worried that we are not going to have the revenues coming

:19:53.:19:57.

into the exchequer in the way that they used to do and in those

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circumstances as Labour politicians, we want to create a fairer society.

:20:02.:20:06.

How do we do that? It won't be as simple as using tax receipts in

:20:06.:20:10.

order to distribute those to create a fairer society.

:20:10.:20:14.

So Labour are moving away from a tax credit system? No, we want to

:20:14.:20:19.

still do that. If we get a return to economic growth, we want to make

:20:19.:20:23.

society as fair as we can. The question we have to ask is - are

:20:23.:20:26.

there ways of looking at other aspects of society, for example?

:20:26.:20:32.

Descent quality skilled jobs that pay well. That have descent quality,

:20:32.:20:35.

circumstances for employees... Everyone wants that? They do.

:20:35.:20:39.

What are you going to do? What's the magic bullet that Labour has

:20:39.:20:43.

got? The point the leader of the Labour Party is making this morning,

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it is not just about the Government spending money, it is about

:20:46.:20:51.

industry. It is about employers changing behaviour, having a better

:20:51.:20:54.

relationship with their staff, and improving the quality of the

:20:54.:20:58.

workplace for example. Whether that will create jobs, I

:20:58.:21:01.

don't know, it sounds like Labour has come to the conclusion there is

:21:01.:21:05.

no money left to spend. Also you are considering a wealth tax on

:21:05.:21:07.

high value properties, very much the Liberal Democrats policy. What

:21:07.:21:13.

is a high value property? Where would you put it at? You are a few

:21:13.:21:19.

steps ahead. Vince Cable was speculating about whether we should

:21:19.:21:23.

have a mansion tax. Ed Balls says this is something you

:21:23.:21:26.

have sympathy. Ed was asked and we want to see the

:21:26.:21:30.

details. It is an interesting proposition. We don't have the

:21:30.:21:33.

details of whether it will be one off or whether it is something he

:21:33.:21:37.

thinks needs to think. The Shadow Chancellor would like it

:21:37.:21:47.
:21:47.:21:50.

to be a a permanent tax? Poor old Vince has various various lasus

:21:50.:21:54.

thrown around him. The Shadow Chancellor put an offer to Vince

:21:54.:21:58.

Cable, let's discuss these things. What do you like about it?

:21:58.:22:03.

thing we have got to do is recognise we would keep the 50

:22:03.:22:08.

pence top rate of income tax as a prefer rable way of having a fairer

:22:08.:22:11.

tax system. You would keen the 50 pence top

:22:11.:22:15.

rate of tax and you would be sympathetic to the idea of tax on

:22:15.:22:20.

unearned wealth? Because the Government have cut that 50 pence

:22:20.:22:25.

rate to 45p and they are looking to other people to pay the gap,

:22:25.:22:29.

pensioners and ordinary working people. And we think that's unfair.

:22:29.:22:33.

If the Business Secretary has got a suggestion about other fairer ways

:22:33.:22:39.

of raising taxes, well we'll hear what he has got to say.

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The suggestion is on properties above �2 million. Well... With the

:22:46.:22:49.

greatest respect, we don't know. Would that be palatable? We will

:22:49.:22:53.

look at the details, but there are disadvantages to sometimes looking

:22:53.:22:57.

at what you might called fixed assets. You can find people who

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have high value capital assets, but don't have liquid income in order

:23:01.:23:07.

to pay charges upon that. This was one of the arguments had about

:23:07.:23:11.

council tax banding. If you end up with circumstances where a widow

:23:11.:23:16.

who perhaps had a family background with great income, finds herself in

:23:16.:23:20.

a family property, but can't pay the tax, you have got to be

:23:20.:23:27.

sensitive to circumstances where some people... This is politically

:23:27.:23:31.

motivated. It looks as if you read it and this is an overt flirtation

:23:31.:23:36.

with the Liberal Democrats at a time Labour thinks the coalition is

:23:36.:23:40.

in trouble because you are not putting your money where your mouth

:23:40.:23:47.

is? We have put our money where our mouth is saying we want a bank

:23:47.:23:51.

bonus levy. We think it is wrong to have changed the 50 pence, if the

:23:51.:23:54.

Government ministers want to propose tax changes, put the things

:23:54.:24:03.

on the table. It is an odd way to make tax changes. Has Vince Cable

:24:03.:24:07.

had talks with Ed Balls? The phone is there. We are waiting to see

:24:07.:24:12.

what he has to say. So you have asked the department

:24:12.:24:17.

department to have the meeting with Vince Cable? I haven't, but the

:24:17.:24:22.

invitation is a very public one. There was good news for the

:24:22.:24:25.

coalition Government, the World Economic Forum World Economic Forum

:24:25.:24:29.

survey said the UK has risen from tenth to eighth in the terms of

:24:29.:24:33.

global competitiveness. It is an indication that the supply reforms

:24:33.:24:38.

are working? The evidence is scant. We saw the OECD change their

:24:38.:24:41.

prediction today about what the growth is going to be in the UK.

:24:41.:24:47.

They thought it was going to be plus... On a competitive... They

:24:47.:24:53.

are saying the economy is going to shrink by 0.7%. This is the biggest

:24:53.:24:58.

fall that they are predicting of any developing country.

:24:58.:25:01.

It would be dangerous when the figures come out? The Government

:25:01.:25:04.

will try their best to find evidence to the contrary. The facts

:25:04.:25:08.

are that the economy is in recession and that we really need

:25:08.:25:11.

action now. They are blaming the planning planning system. They are

:25:12.:25:15.

blaming other changes, but the stimulus that we need now to the

:25:15.:25:21.

economy that's missing. It is interesting to to hear Chris

:25:21.:25:27.

Leslie saying that the tax system is not right way of redistributing

:25:27.:25:32.

wealth. That they are looking at the idea of a wealth tax?

:25:32.:25:37.

Government is correct, they are all over the shop and there is

:25:37.:25:41.

incoherence. But I am confused about where Labour is at the moment

:25:41.:25:44.

because they seem to be trying to argue different things at the same

:25:44.:25:49.

time, but the thing that leaps out, whether it is redistribution or

:25:49.:25:53.

predistribution or tax credits or a wealth tax, Labour is still hung up

:25:53.:25:58.

on this business of fairness, equalling taking money away from

:25:58.:26:01.

people who are wealthy, or wealthy to people and giving it to people

:26:01.:26:06.

who are poorer. I am in favour of a fair society, but for a fair

:26:06.:26:12.

society, everyone starts at the same level. The problem is they

:26:12.:26:17.

don't all start at the same level and we don't have a fair society.

:26:17.:26:22.

The problem our country faces is we need wealth to be created and I

:26:22.:26:25.

can't hear from the Labour Party at the moment how they're going to

:26:25.:26:28.

help create that wealth. I can't hear it from the Government either

:26:28.:26:32.

actually, but I want to hear it from the Labour Party.

:26:32.:26:35.

When Vince Cable returns the call do let us know.

:26:35.:26:41.

After a summer of Olympic glory, we're revelling in the success of

:26:41.:26:44.

our Paralympic champions who've been raking in the gold medals and

:26:44.:26:48.

changing the way we view disability - well that's the hope. But should

:26:48.:26:50.

the achievements of Paralympic athletes change the way we approach

:26:50.:26:53.

the cuts to disability benefits? Susana Mendonsa has been finding

:26:53.:27:01.

out. They are impressive achievements that have been

:27:01.:27:10.

transforming perceptions. Britain's gold rush brought questions about

:27:11.:27:14.

cuts to benefits. They have been able to fulfil their

:27:14.:27:17.

aspirations. Without these, who knows what could have happened.

:27:17.:27:22.

People need to understand that the people they are seeing on the front

:27:22.:27:27.

of papers or on the TV screens are just one group of disabled people.

:27:27.:27:33.

People would just think anyone can be the next whoever wins the

:27:33.:27:36.

athletics. Around this table in a South London

:27:36.:27:39.

cafe, a group of people with muscular dystrophy are here to

:27:39.:27:44.

debate the changes. First up, Incapacity Benefit. Over two

:27:44.:27:47.

million people who used to claim that have been getting reassessed

:27:47.:27:51.

for the employment and support allowance which you only receive in

:27:51.:27:54.

full if you are deemed unfit for work. The estimated saving �2

:27:54.:27:59.

billion a year. Those assessments led to protests like this one

:27:59.:28:07.

outside the IT firm, ATOS, 38% of people who appealed had their fit

:28:07.:28:11.

for work assessments overturn. There are concerns about who is

:28:11.:28:15.

conducting the assessments. Isn't it right that people who can

:28:15.:28:19.

do some work should be encouraged into work which is what the

:28:19.:28:24.

Government wants to see? Yes. If disabled people can work, they

:28:24.:28:27.

should work and that should be something that's encouraged, but it

:28:27.:28:34.

is making sure that the transition procedure is right.

:28:34.:28:39.

It has got to get a good approach to get people to work if they can

:28:39.:28:46.

and that's the crucial word, "If they can." Because many disabled

:28:46.:28:49.

people need assistance. The other change will be to the

:28:49.:28:53.

Disability Living Allowance which will be replaced by the Personal

:28:53.:28:57.

Independence Payment at an estimated saving to the Treasury of

:28:57.:29:01.

�2 billion. An issue the Prime Minister was questioned about at

:29:01.:29:05.

PMQs this week. His decision to cut Disability

:29:06.:29:09.

Living Allowance will prevent disabled people participating in

:29:09.:29:12.

sport and threaten the legacy of the London Games.

:29:12.:29:16.

We are not cutting the money that's going into supporting disability.

:29:16.:29:20.

We are reforming the system and replacing Disability Living

:29:20.:29:24.

Allowance with a Personal Independence Payment and it is

:29:24.:29:27.

about recognising people's needs. We know it will be more means-

:29:27.:29:32.

tested. The burden of disability shouldn't be on everyone around

:29:32.:29:36.

them. It almost stops people from wanting to be successful.

:29:36.:29:39.

Now the Disability Living Allowance has been around for 20 years,

:29:39.:29:44.

unchanged. The cost has trebled during that period. Isn't it right

:29:44.:29:48.

that the Government should replace it with something more affordable?

:29:48.:29:52.

Cost is going to increase and due to the natural increase in

:29:52.:29:57.

population and numbers of disabled people. So it is not - that's not

:29:57.:30:00.

the right argument to bring down the cost.

:30:00.:30:04.

The Paralympics reignited the debate, but what will the legacy

:30:04.:30:11.

We're joined now by the Labour MP, Dame Anne Begg. Welcome to the

:30:11.:30:14.

programme. Do you think first of all, watching the achievements of

:30:14.:30:24.

Paralympians has changed people's I hope so. I hope it will be long-

:30:24.:30:29.

lasting. We've all been amazed at the abilities they have shown. I

:30:29.:30:33.

think, because there has been an increase in disability hate crime

:30:33.:30:37.

over recent years, that those sort of things, the assumptions made

:30:37.:30:44.

about disabled people, they must be scroungers and must not be trying

:30:44.:30:49.

are dissipated. I hope they see the person beyond the disability.

:30:49.:30:55.

a taboo subject - disability and benefits? I think it has given the

:30:55.:31:00.

people a vow cab bri to use. One problem was people were making sure

:31:00.:31:07.

they would not offend anybody and were rendered inarticulate. The

:31:07.:31:12.

Channel 4 coverage has busted a lot of those kind of myths. It has

:31:12.:31:17.

allowed people just to talk to people with disabilities and say

:31:17.:31:24.

the sort of things, they could say to a blind person, gosh, you should

:31:24.:31:34.
:31:34.:31:35.

have seen that, or stay to someone who cannot walk, "Step over here."

:31:35.:31:41.

Do you think that? I hope so. I think it has changed people east

:31:41.:31:46.

perceptions in a very dramatic way. I think that most people had no

:31:46.:31:51.

idea that very seriously disabled people could be capable of such

:31:51.:31:58.

feats of strength and courage and achievement. And as Anne says, I

:31:58.:32:04.

think it certainly for the period of the Paralympics it has enabled

:32:04.:32:11.

people to talk about disability. Once the Paralympics, whether this

:32:11.:32:16.

mood fades away, we'll have to see. What about it makes people think,

:32:16.:32:21.

well look at these people achieving these amazing things in sport, they

:32:21.:32:28.

don't need that much help? I think that is an absolute danger. On the

:32:28.:32:33.

other hand there is an element of truth in it. It is a danger because

:32:33.:32:37.

many, if not most disabled people could do those things. I could not

:32:37.:32:42.

do those things. The Paralympians themselves, one forgets they live

:32:42.:32:47.

with appalling levels of hardship, frustration and physical infirmty.

:32:47.:32:54.

But on the other hand it does tell us that with the will to overcome

:32:54.:32:59.

the demoralising belief that we are victims of life rather than taking

:32:59.:33:03.

life by the horns and we can make something of it, it does tell us

:33:03.:33:07.

that with the right attitude it is possible in certain circumstances

:33:07.:33:12.

to overcome that. And through that prism the Government may be

:33:12.:33:16.

struggling to sell its message then on disability reforms, but seeing

:33:16.:33:21.

it the way it has just been outlines there, are they as

:33:21.:33:28.

controversial as some people say? It is more than attitudes, it is

:33:28.:33:35.

physical barriers. So David Weir - I don't know if he gets Disability

:33:35.:33:40.

Living Allowance - he is qualified for it. He needs an adapive car. He

:33:40.:33:45.

still cannot get on to most of the London Underground. He has an

:33:45.:33:49.

adapted house. All that costs money. It is not cheap. The fear for most

:33:49.:33:53.

disabled people is the money they get now which allows them to travel

:33:53.:34:01.

to the training grounds, that money will stop. When it stops, their

:34:01.:34:05.

independence stops. It is so emotive... It is all about the

:34:05.:34:12.

assessment, isn't it? That is right. Even Paralympians have needs that

:34:12.:34:15.

cost money. The position the Government come from is they are

:34:15.:34:19.

troubled by people who don't have that degree of need and

:34:19.:34:22.

nonetheless... Are we talking about a lot of people here? Are we

:34:23.:34:28.

talking about that many people? think a lot of that - the fallacy

:34:28.:34:32.

around disabled people, things like Disability Living Allowance is paid

:34:32.:34:37.

to those out of work and some of the confusion comes with the

:34:37.:34:39.

employment support allowance, which is the benefit changing at the

:34:39.:34:44.

moment which has caused a great deal of anger. In that case it is

:34:44.:34:51.

often the assessment. I had a constituent who had motor neurone

:34:51.:35:00.

disease, lost his job and then was assessed as being fit for work.

:35:00.:35:05.

That is why many feel persecuted, they think the system is there to

:35:06.:35:09.

take the money away from them. All the talk about cuts makes them

:35:09.:35:14.

think the Government is coming after the benefit they depend on to

:35:14.:35:17.

lead an independent life. That is the group of people there is focus

:35:17.:35:22.

on in terms of taking away potentially some of their

:35:22.:35:27.

allowances on the basis of an assessment, where there are clearly

:35:27.:35:32.

mistakes being made because of the types of people carrying out the

:35:32.:35:36.

assessments don't have the qualifications. What are you asked

:35:36.:35:41.

to do to find out if you are eligible? The last thing it does is

:35:41.:35:45.

assess your capability for work. That is done by a work provider if

:35:45.:35:49.

you are found you are fit for some work. That is where it gets

:35:49.:35:56.

complicated. You talk about the different groups. But it's -

:35:56.:36:00.

despite changes the Government claim to have put in place, it is

:36:00.:36:07.

still very musm a tick box. It -- much a tick box. It asks if someone

:36:07.:36:12.

can move an empty box across a distance. Therefore in the

:36:12.:36:16.

assumption if you do it once you can work 40 hours a week in a low-

:36:16.:36:19.

paid job. The two don't go together. That is part of the problem. It is

:36:20.:36:24.

not assessing people's ability to get work, hold down a job and be

:36:24.:36:29.

employed. Because employers very often discriminate against people

:36:29.:36:33.

as well. Thank you for joining us. We have now been joined by viewers

:36:33.:36:40.

in Scotland who have been watching First Minister's questions from

:36:40.:36:44.

Holyrood. The Scottish political editor joins us now. It has been

:36:44.:36:49.

reshuffle up in Scotland too, hasn't it? And new bills brought

:36:49.:36:53.

in? The legislative programme announced including a bill for a

:36:53.:36:57.

referendum - the legislation will go ahead. The referendum will be in

:36:57.:37:04.

2014. It is that which has caused controversy. Nicola Sturgeon moved

:37:04.:37:08.

from health to infrastructure, with a remit on the constitution and

:37:09.:37:12.

questions to the First Minister today, it was said to be

:37:12.:37:19.

downgrading the economy. It was an obsession of the SNP. Salmond

:37:19.:37:24.

taking a different tack, saying the economy was the number one priority

:37:24.:37:27.

for every single member of the Government, but at the same time,

:37:27.:37:32.

within that, they believed it was legitimate to argue economic

:37:32.:37:37.

priority is advanced by going down the road to independence. In terms

:37:37.:37:40.

of the economy, George Osborne, the Chancellor, I understand, is

:37:40.:37:44.

speaking to the CBI in Scotland this evening. What sort of

:37:44.:37:48.

reception will he receive? I think good. The CBI are saying in a

:37:48.:37:50.

statement, that they are issuing this afternoon, that they believe

:37:50.:37:55.

that independence will be damaging, that the very fact of a debate

:37:55.:38:00.

taking place they would regard as an aspect which causes worry and

:38:00.:38:04.

concern to business. I am sure George Osborne will emphasise that

:38:04.:38:08.

point as well. He will face some criticism and question marks over

:38:08.:38:12.

his own conduct of the economy - a point that Alex Salmond was keen to

:38:12.:38:16.

draw. He is saying to Labour, who were challenging on the business of

:38:16.:38:20.

independence, saying what is so wonderful about the situation in

:38:20.:38:24.

Scotland? Claiming the Scottish Government had claimed to mitigate,

:38:24.:38:29.

in his view, some of the damaging aspects and arguing they could do

:38:29.:38:33.

more if they had full control of the economy. Alex Salmond, as you

:38:33.:38:37.

say may want to focus on the economy at the moment, but we've

:38:37.:38:40.

had the latest in referendum talks, haven't we? Nicola Sturgeon has

:38:40.:38:49.

just come out of those. Have we any news? Nicola Sturgeon meeting Mr

:38:49.:38:53.

Mundell. A statement says they were construction, there was momentum

:38:53.:38:56.

and further talks next week between the Secretary of State and Nicola

:38:56.:39:01.

Sturgeon. My guess is we are heading towards a deal where there

:39:01.:39:07.

is a single yes or no to independence. I guess that is the

:39:07.:39:12.

situation. My belief is it is only that that the Government will give

:39:12.:39:19.

sanction to. Having another question on the ballot paper.

:39:19.:39:23.

you very much. I believe we can talk now to Nicola Sturgeon, who in

:39:23.:39:27.

the reshuffle, has been given the job of heading up that independence

:39:27.:39:33.

campaign. Can you hear us here? can hear you, yes. You have come

:39:33.:39:40.

out of talks with David Mundell is one question agreed? We have not

:39:40.:39:43.

got to the point of agreeing anything yet. We had good

:39:43.:39:46.

discussions this morning. I will meet next week with the Secretary

:39:47.:39:50.

of State for Scotland. I hope we'll make further progress in those

:39:50.:39:54.

discussions to pave the way for a meeting that we hope will take

:39:54.:39:57.

place between the first minister and the Prime Minister in the next

:39:57.:40:00.

few weeks. I am very confident that we can reach agreement. I think

:40:00.:40:04.

there is a will on both sides to get the process issues out of the

:40:04.:40:08.

way so we can get on with the debate that really matters. That is

:40:08.:40:11.

the debate about why Scotland would be better off as an independent

:40:12.:40:16.

country. Is it right that in that meeting the argument now has been

:40:16.:40:21.

criticised that if you agree to one question on the ballot paper, then

:40:21.:40:25.

you will get that legal basis that you need to hold that referendum

:40:25.:40:30.

and make it binding. That is the argument. If you agree to that it

:40:30.:40:33.

is sorted? With respect. I am not trying to evade your question. I

:40:33.:40:38.

will not go into the detail of the negotiations under way live on

:40:38.:40:41.

television. That would be discourteous and not helpful to the

:40:42.:40:47.

process. Give us a hint of where it is going? We are focusing on issues,

:40:47.:40:51.

for example issues around the timetable that we would require to

:40:51.:40:54.

agree for a section 30 order to go through. Both Parliaments, there

:40:54.:40:57.

are issues around the franchise. There are issues around the timing

:40:57.:41:04.

of the referendum. So we are discussing all these issues,

:41:04.:41:07.

including issues around the question or questions. So, all

:41:07.:41:11.

these things are being discussed. We have always been very clear that

:41:11.:41:16.

a fundamental principal is that there should be no strings attached

:41:16.:41:19.

by Westminster. Referendum should be made and built in Scotland. But

:41:19.:41:23.

I was pleased with the nature and the tone of the discussions this

:41:23.:41:28.

morning. I look forward to continuing to pick up the pace of

:41:28.:41:31.

these discussions, make further progress and pave the way for the

:41:31.:41:34.

meeting between Alex Salmond and David Cameron. It sound from your

:41:34.:41:37.

tone at least, even if you cannot tell us about the negotiations,

:41:37.:41:41.

that some progress is being made. One of the other issues is giving

:41:42.:41:46.

the vote to 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland. Now, the signals over the

:41:46.:41:51.

summer in the papers that Westminster were alive to that - is

:41:51.:41:55.

that true? Well, again I was very pleased with the nature of the

:41:56.:41:59.

discussion. So it is a yes? It is one of the issues we are making

:41:59.:42:04.

progress on. I have to be clear that nothing, as yet, is agreed. It

:42:04.:42:08.

would be wrong for me to go into the detail yes, that is one of the

:42:08.:42:12.

issues where I think we are making progress. We have always argued

:42:12.:42:16.

that 16 and 17 year olds should be able to vote, not just in this

:42:16.:42:20.

referendum, but all elections. you have any doubt about taking

:42:20.:42:25.

this job. If you lose the referendum, you'll have to quit?

:42:25.:42:28.

believe for my entire adult life that Scotland should be an

:42:28.:42:31.

independent country. If we are to have a strong economy we need

:42:31.:42:36.

access to resources F we are to make people more prosperous, we

:42:36.:42:39.

need to have control over the levers that determine that. To

:42:39.:42:43.

tackle poverty we need tax and benefits. I am thoroughly looking

:42:43.:42:47.

forward to this. The key part of my responsibilities is economic

:42:47.:42:50.

recovery. There is a big link between getting our economy growing

:42:51.:42:55.

and the powers we have as a Parliament. We are talking about

:42:55.:43:01.

the Paralympics. Did you feel proud to be part of Team GB? I thoroughly

:43:01.:43:06.

enjoyed watching and cheering on team bb. The debate about

:43:06.:43:13.

independence -- Team GB. The debate about independence is not just

:43:13.:43:17.

about identity. I thought it was all about identity. The social

:43:17.:43:22.

union between Scotland and England is beyond any doubt. This is a

:43:22.:43:25.

debate about the economic and political powers that we need in

:43:25.:43:29.

Scotland to have a stronger economy, to be more prosperous and to be a

:43:29.:43:34.

fairer society. That is what the debate is about. The SNP and Alex

:43:34.:43:40.

Salmond and you have always framed your arguments in this idea of

:43:40.:43:47.

identity. This idea - wasn't that dented by the idea that Sir Hoy and

:43:47.:43:56.

Andy Murray draped in the Union Jack,? I don't think they... I am a

:43:56.:44:00.

proud and patriotic Scot. I believe two things - I believe you can be a

:44:00.:44:04.

proud Scot and not support independence. I believe you can

:44:04.:44:08.

feel British and support independence because independence

:44:08.:44:12.

is about political and economic powers. It is about forging a

:44:12.:44:15.

relationship of equals between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

:44:15.:44:19.

That is the debate we'll have in the next couple of years. I am

:44:19.:44:24.

determined it will be an honest and positive debate, an upbeat debate.

:44:24.:44:30.

I am thoroughly looking forward to it. Which can tell. Enjoy your new

:44:30.:44:34.

job. In terms of what the Government wants to do, in terms of

:44:34.:44:37.

defending the union, do you think they have a difficult job? They may

:44:37.:44:43.

be making it easier if the SNP is going to put its money where its

:44:43.:44:46.

mouth is and have a question on the ballot paper. Something they have

:44:46.:44:51.

tried to avoid. They feel given the choice independence or no, the

:44:51.:44:57.

Scots will say "No." What a lot of inco-her rant rubbish from Nicola

:44:57.:45:00.

Sturgeon. She is proud to be Scottish and British. The whole

:45:00.:45:04.

point about the SNP is they wish to divide Scotland from England. They

:45:04.:45:09.

wish to dissolve the union of Scotland and England. That is what

:45:09.:45:15.

Britain is. So they want it both ways. They cannot potszable in

:45:15.:45:20.

today's climate bring -- possibly in today's climate bring themselves

:45:20.:45:24.

there - it is rubbish. It is complete nonsense. My overall point

:45:24.:45:28.

is, the underlining point was not brought up, obviously by Nicola

:45:28.:45:33.

Sturgeon, is it's not simply for the Scots, the right of the Scots

:45:33.:45:38.

to vote on independence - English voters should. What they will vote

:45:38.:45:42.

on is not independence for Scotland, it is the break-up of the United

:45:42.:45:46.

Kingdom. Well, we have a another couple of years to talk about this.

:45:46.:45:50.

The Government wants to build its way out of recession. Labour thinks

:45:50.:45:54.

a wealth tax might do the trick. Some businesses are doing very well

:45:54.:46:04.
:46:04.:46:11.

We spent so much of our time trying to get time trying to get out of

:46:11.:46:18.

politicians how to stimulus growth. Your company makes phone apps and

:46:18.:46:22.

has a fantastic bakery and you restore floors. You started your

:46:22.:46:32.
:46:32.:46:32.

place, what is it sex million downloads a -- -- six million

:46:32.:46:37.

downloads. We felt the the smartphone market

:46:37.:46:41.

was booming, even though the economy was in downturn, the phone

:46:41.:46:45.

market was in upturn. It has been a great experience.

:46:45.:46:49.

What's the secret to setting something like that up? Was it the

:46:49.:46:53.

fact that you had experience of industry, but you hadn't done it

:46:53.:47:00.

yourself or was it this is a country where entrepreneurism is

:47:00.:47:03.

fostered? Every experience is a good experience. You just need to

:47:03.:47:09.

have the bravery and the courage to take your ideas and believe in your

:47:09.:47:14.

concepts and push it through. It is to have the courage to set-up

:47:14.:47:19.

on your own. You are so busy baking cup karks,

:47:20.:47:25.

it is -- cakes, it is almost, "Recession, what recession?".

:47:25.:47:30.

were always busy from almost day one and we didn't realise there was

:47:30.:47:34.

a recession. It sounds silly. We were always busy.

:47:34.:47:39.

With a �5 million turnover, that's successful stuff. Of the other two,

:47:39.:47:43.

you are employing a huge number of people, that's 120 people. Every

:47:43.:47:50.

time you put on a new shop, you can say, "I'm generating employment. ".

:47:50.:48:00.

Each new shop will have 0 to 5 new -- 20 to 25 new hires.

:48:00.:48:04.

There is nothing like the employment on that scale? No, we

:48:04.:48:09.

have five people that we employ, but we've reached our capacity. We

:48:09.:48:13.

have grown over the last couple of years. We are at that stage now

:48:13.:48:19.

where we need to make the next step up. Is that where your business is

:48:19.:48:23.

or is the climate as such that means you couldn't employ more?

:48:23.:48:27.

it is a bit of both. We are taking on as much work as we can do. It is

:48:27.:48:30.

not because there is not work out there. It is because we have

:48:30.:48:35.

reached our capacity. We are at that stage where we need to look at

:48:35.:48:38.

employing more people. You played a lot of football and

:48:38.:48:42.

then you went to university and you set-up a flooring company. As you

:48:42.:48:52.
:48:52.:48:54.

Yes. Do you think this country is somewhere that fosters entra

:48:54.:49:03.

present entrepreneurism? I think so. Where are this? It is looking at

:49:04.:49:06.

the risk and getting help with the finance.

:49:06.:49:12.

Is that because we have created a climate where the risk is dangerous

:49:12.:49:16.

and real or we are fairly cautious? There is a little bit of concern

:49:16.:49:23.

and it is funding. It takes a a lot of money to start a business, but

:49:23.:49:27.

the more the Government can help will be beneficial.

:49:27.:49:34.

One thing the Government can do for someone like you that would make

:49:34.:49:37.

life easier? Business rates are really, really high if you have

:49:37.:49:41.

shops. What about you two, National

:49:41.:49:47.

Insurance Contributions? We employ a small number of people. There is

:49:47.:49:51.

employers National Insurance Contributions we have to pay every

:49:51.:49:55.

time we take on a new member of staff. We have to factor that into

:49:55.:50:00.

our budget. Because we deal a lot with the consumer, is the level of

:50:00.:50:07.

VAT at moment. Would you agree VAT is a problem? It is. NI is

:50:07.:50:13.

important. I think small companies should have no NI for companies

:50:13.:50:19.

with less than ten people. Good growth stories. Good messages

:50:19.:50:23.

to politicians about what they can. We are not awash with cup cakes and

:50:23.:50:29.

that's because somebody forgot! Never mind, Jo.

:50:29.:50:32.

After the excitement of the reshuffle died down, in the House

:50:32.:50:36.

of Commons ministers started getting their feet under the table

:50:36.:50:40.

and got down to business in their new departments. Patrick McLoughlin

:50:40.:50:43.

the new Transport Minister was in position yesterday for a Labour-led

:50:43.:50:46.

debate on rail fares. For nearly 20 years he has been a whip and by

:50:47.:50:49.

convention, whips don't speak in debates so he finally got to break

:50:50.:50:59.

his silence. The rising cost of rail travel is now adding to the

:50:59.:51:03.

financial pressures facing many households, that's a fact. I would

:51:03.:51:06.

hope there can be agreement on that. It is something we are all hearing

:51:06.:51:14.

from our constituents. I also hope that we can agree on a second basic

:51:14.:51:18.

proposition the level by which rail fares increase should not be left

:51:18.:51:24.

to the private train companies to determine. It is why we have

:51:24.:51:30.

regulated and unregulated fares o those tickets which most people

:51:30.:51:35.

rely having their annual increase capped, but the reality is the so-

:51:35.:51:40.

called cap on annual fare rise isn't a cap at all. When the

:51:40.:51:44.

Chancellor stands up as he does and says that fares won't rise by more

:51:44.:51:49.

than 1% above inflation or whatever percentage it might be, he can't

:51:49.:51:53.

deliver that chitment in ticket -- commitment in ticket offices

:51:53.:51:57.

because the cap is an average and train companies have the

:51:57.:52:02.

flexibility as they like to call it to increase fares by up to 5% above

:52:02.:52:05.

the called cap. I would like to tell the House what

:52:05.:52:10.

a great honour and privilege it is to return to the dispatch box in a

:52:10.:52:13.

proper speaking role after some 18 years.

:52:13.:52:17.

Although I have to say to the honourable lady, I haven't expected

:52:17.:52:23.

to make my first transport speech quite so quickly. Can I add one

:52:23.:52:25.

thing to the list of things he should worry about and think about

:52:25.:52:30.

which is the fact that often we think of commuters as being wealthy

:52:30.:52:33.

people going in and out of the commuter districts outside London

:52:33.:52:38.

to jobs in banks. Many in my constituency are actually people on

:52:38.:52:46.

the minimum wage and for them, the �5.10 or �5.20 maybe prohibitive

:52:46.:52:50.

for them going to work. Can you work with the Department of Work

:52:50.:52:53.

and Pensions to make sure those people have a real opportunity to

:52:53.:52:58.

work? I will accept that there is a lot of people who commute in are on

:52:58.:53:02.

small wages and the transport part of the cost of transport is a very

:53:02.:53:08.

large part of their income. And we do have to bear that in mind. The

:53:08.:53:12.

honourable member is, of course, supporting a motion today which

:53:12.:53:19.

would remove the flexibility of rail prices for the rail companies.

:53:19.:53:24.

How confident is he that the Government will be able to electify

:53:24.:53:28.

more of the railways than the nine nine miles managed in three

:53:28.:53:32.

parliaments previously? honourable gentleman must not under

:53:32.:53:34.

estimate the achievements of the last Government. He said they

:53:35.:53:38.

electified nine miles. He is wrong. They electified 13 and I am coming

:53:38.:53:44.

on to that a little later on in my speech. I wonder what he would say

:53:44.:53:50.

to one of my constituents who told he had to give up his job in London

:53:50.:54:00.
:54:00.:54:00.

because he could no longer afford the rail fare to get there. More

:54:00.:54:06.

people are using the railways than at any time since 1929 as I said on

:54:06.:54:10.

a lesser network. But the honourable lady is right to express

:54:10.:54:13.

those concerns and I am concerned about people who are having to

:54:13.:54:16.

spend so much of their income on their transport costs and it is

:54:16.:54:24.

something which I hope we can look at and hopefully in some areas see

:54:24.:54:33.

some improvements in due course. Yes, I wonder how Patrick

:54:33.:54:43.
:54:43.:54:47.

McLoughlin will enjoy his new job. We're joined now by the Green MP,

:54:47.:54:49.

Caroline Lucas and by the Conservative MP, who also spoke in

:54:49.:54:51.

the debate, Brian Binley. Your constituency is Northampton South.

:54:51.:54:54.

What's the annual cost for somebody coming into London? It is just

:54:54.:54:58.

under �6,000 if you take in the annual rail fare, the Underground

:54:58.:55:03.

addition and the parking fee. Of course, many people will have to

:55:03.:55:07.

park at the railway station before they get on to a train. The train

:55:07.:55:13.

will go to the villages. That's in many cases over 25% of their

:55:13.:55:17.

disposable income. It is high. If the fares go up

:55:17.:55:22.

another 11%, what effect will have that? It will have a massive effect.

:55:22.:55:26.

The Government want us to build more houses to cater for those

:55:26.:55:29.

people who can't afford houses in London and the South East. That

:55:29.:55:32.

means people who haven't got a great deal of money.

:55:32.:55:37.

So should they cap the fares? drive out inefficiency in the rail

:55:37.:55:44.

services. It is not only a case of consumer or taxpayer, McNulty made

:55:44.:55:48.

it clear there was a lot of inefficiency that we haven't driven

:55:48.:55:52.

out and the franchising process has helped them increase fares rather

:55:52.:55:55.

than drive them down. The idea is to increase fares to

:55:55.:55:58.

pay for improved services. Is that happening? I don't think it is

:55:59.:56:02.

happening and it is interesting to listen to Brian because we agree

:56:02.:56:05.

about the problem, the high fares that are pricing people off the

:56:05.:56:09.

railways and making it difficult for people to find jobs, but when

:56:09.:56:12.

Brian says the solution is to make private companies more efficient,

:56:12.:56:17.

it is the privatisation process which has become inefficient. Lots

:56:17.:56:20.

of money has been drained out of the system in profits and in

:56:20.:56:26.

dividends and come complexity. Are there certain operators that

:56:26.:56:29.

are worse than others? It is across-the-board because of the

:56:29.:56:33.

nature of the privatised system that you have to have so much back

:56:33.:56:43.
:56:43.:56:47.

room process. The back room costs have gone up 56%. If you look at

:56:47.:56:51.

train companies they are putting the profit into the business.

:56:51.:56:55.

Why are there foreign State owned railways being able to take profits

:56:55.:57:01.

out of our system and plough them into our own? I thought your

:57:01.:57:04.

comments were eloquent yesterday, but you have got a problem because

:57:04.:57:07.

that's part of the problem of the European Union and the very open

:57:07.:57:15.

market. May I say something? It is raised

:57:16.:57:20.

that the EU wouldn't let us do it. As long as you allow other train

:57:20.:57:26.

companies use the tracks, you certainly can have your railways in

:57:27.:57:32.

100% public ownership. The Dutch are doing it. The irony is on this

:57:32.:57:35.

issue we are, you know, stopping ourselves from having a really good

:57:35.:57:39.

rail system. We are allowing other companies from other countries to

:57:39.:57:44.

get the the profits out of our system.

:57:44.:57:50.

Do you think we should put it back in public ownership? Of course not.

:57:50.:57:57.

The EU liberalisation programme introduced in 2010 was based very

:57:57.:58:01.

much on the British privatisation programme and that's where

:58:01.:58:07.

Caroline's problem lies. I go with McNulty. We have allowed through

:58:07.:58:15.

the franchising process to allow franchiseees to increase prices

:58:16.:58:19.

higher than they should have been increased and I want to see the

:58:19.:58:22.

Government drive inefficiency out and have the prices lower.

:58:22.:58:26.

I'm going to have to stop you there because we have run out of time. We

:58:26.:58:30.

didn't have time to give you the answer to Guess The Year yesterday.

:58:30.:58:40.

The year was 1971 and the winner chosen at random is Andrew Ellmore.

:58:40.:58:47.

Congratulations, Andrew. Thanks to all our guests.

:58:47.:58:50.

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