Conference Special Daily Politics


Conference Special

Andrew Neil with the latest political news and interviews from Westminster and the Liberal Democrat conference, including Jeremy Browne and deputy party leader Simon Hughes.


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Transcript


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Afternoon, folks. Welcome to our first Liberal Democrat Daily

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Gategate rumbles on. Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell returns

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to the gates outside Number 10 to apologise but still refuses to say

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what words he actually used. I am very clear about what I said and

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what I did not say. I did not use the words that have been attributed

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to me. The Liberal Democrats continue their autumn conference

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shindig in Brighton. Today it is the turn of Vince The Cable to wow

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the party faithful. We will ask Lib Dem bigwigs Jeremy Browne and Simon

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Hughes why they want to tax the affluent until the pips squeak. And

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we will test the mood of the party's foot soldiers. Are they

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ready to forgive and forget? I am sorry if. I am of so, so Surrey

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bus-stop -- so, so sorry. All that in the next hour. And, with us for

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the duration, Miranda Green. She's a journalist who used to be press

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secretary to Paddy Ashdown when he was Lib Dem leader. That does not

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make a bad person. Let's start of the row over what Andrew Mitchell

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did what did not save two police officers in an incident over

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bicycle rage. The Sun says it has seen a police lock confirming that

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Mr Mitchell did swear at the officers. It does confirm, they say,

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he used the politically toxic word, peps. The Chief Whip denies using

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that language. We were told Mr Major would be making a statement

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at those very same Downing Street gates. He ditched the ministerial

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car for a Polo. Much smaller but German. What exactly did you say to

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those police officers outside Downing Street? First of all, a

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want to reiterate the apology I made last week after the incident

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on Wednesday night in Downing Street. It had been the end of a

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long and extremely frustrating day. That is not an excuse. I did not

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show the police the amount of respect and should have done. They

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do an incredibly difficult job. I have apologised to the police and

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the police officer involved and he has accepted my apology. I hope we

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can draw a line underneath it. police a clear about what was said.

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You do not seem to be. I am clear about what I said and what they did

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not say. I did not use the words that have been attributed to me. I

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am going to get on with my work. What did you say? Did that achieve

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anything? I think he fluffed it badly. Yesterday, it seemed the

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heat was living off this slightly. It seems to have stoked the fire

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once again. -- was moving off this slightly. Can Downing Street be

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advising him? If they are, why would they let him do that?

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Chief Whip is supposed be an invisible figure. The Chief Whip

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visibly it is an embarrassment to the Government. One I would anyone

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advising him think, getting out of that car and speaking for about a

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minute, saying what he said, was going to do any good for him

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whatsoever? It just gives it legs and everyone more material to roll

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with for another 24 hours. I do think this question of the key word,

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what attitude does it expose? speak to Tom Newton Dunn, the

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journalist who broke the story and Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror.

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Have you seen the police contemporaneous account - the

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police statement - of what they said happened? Yes, we have. Well,

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I have. It was a full report filed by the main police constable. It

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was a WPC to begin with and a male PC afterwards, who stepped in to

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help pad his embattled female colleague. The male constable wrote

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down everything of the exchange. He used both his note in his pocket

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Burke and the contemporaneous note in the pocket book of his WPC and

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father report to his supervisors. He said the reason why he filed it

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is because he was worried about what Mr Mitchell was going to do as

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a result of this. The final words to him were, you have not heard the

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last of theirs. You are saying it is a policeman and a police woman

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involved. I'll be saying that Mr Mitchell swore at the police woman?

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-- are you saying? It is not entirely sure that Mr Mitchell did

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swear at the police were month. It is not reported that he did. -- the

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Police woman. The police women said she could not open the gates. The

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Mail PC came over. From that moment onwards, he did start swearing and

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the insults. -- the male policeman. According to the record of the

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police, it shows that he used the word, plebs. It is a bit more

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colourful than that. No aspect of blushes with the Anglo Saxon word

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that came before it. By roughly get it. I am of a gentle disposition. -

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- I roughly get it. When you hear what Tom has said and what The Sun

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has done, can you see what the point is that of the appearance by

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Mr Mitchell at 8 o'clock this morning? Only if it was to make it

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worse. Probably the worst apology since Ron Davies was out in words,

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it said to be out to encounter a man and he said he was looking for

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badgers in broad daylight. It was absolutely crazy. He has to say,

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did he call them plebs or not? He said he did not use the words

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attributed to him. What were they? We want to know. He needs to come

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back out and say what he said. He has evaded it. People will reap the

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very worst into a performance by him today. -- read. Do you think we

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can see a facsimile of the notebook? Anything like that?

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leave it for the moment that we have seen it? I took a verbatim

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note of it in my notebooks. We have the pull transcript. My short hand

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is so bad, it is worse than a vending you with Anglo Saxon

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language. A want to get on to the Lib Dems was up -- offending youth.

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Where does the story go from here? It is not going to go anywhere from

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here. It is not going to go away. What we were expecting this morning,

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our colleagues back in Westminster in the lobby, was for the spokesman

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of the Prime Minister to say the Cabinet Office and the Cabinet

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Secretary have risen to calls from very senior policemen and Yvette

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Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, to actually tried to look into this.

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They have talked to the police, anything to try to get to the

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bottom of he says, she says. That is where we are now. What I find

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staggering is that the spokesman for the Prime Minister has said,

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move on, there is no story here. The Prime Minister believes the

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account of Mr Mitchell. That is saying I believe the camp by Mr

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Mitchell over the words of some of the best offices the Met has. --

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the account. I think the Prime Minister has made an enormous error

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in doing that. Are the Lib Dem delegates buying the economy from

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Mr Clegg and the bash the rich rhetoric? Is that allowing him to

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live another day? Did they think at some stage we will have to ditch

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him? I think they know it is over for him. Privately, he may feel

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that as well. Conference is a very tribal affair. All the rhetoric is

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against the Conservatives. It is almost as if Labour does not exist.

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All the fire is focused on the coalition partner. It is very hard

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to get on and work closely with the people you have spent the week

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slagging off in very colourful terms. How do you read it? There is

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no leadership challenge this week. You can confirm that, I think. What

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happens after that? It is a bit like the Tories. And the fortunes

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of Cameron to a lesser extent. If the economy starts picking up and I

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get decent growth results for the next quarter, two months of growth

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by the end of January, pressure might alleviate a bit. If it does

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not go anywhere, Norman Clegg is in the same position next year as the

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ship, he will be in enormous Thank you for joining us from

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:12:14.:12:18.

It is clear the strategy of Mr Clegg. This has come on the eve of

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the conference. There is a lot of bashed the rich rhetoric coming out.

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Will it work? -- bash. There is a move to try to move on into a new

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phase with the apology. The idea that over the summer something that

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was put to bed was the dream of House of Lords reform. Saying they

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will not thank the boundary changes for the House of Commons. That is

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very messy and unpleasant. Both sides got nothing for nothing.

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is behind us. Now they are saying they need to move forward and make

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it absolutely clear they are concentrating front and centre on

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the economy. Everything this week is about the economy. That is right

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and proper. Putting that reform agenda behind them with it -- with

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the economy - a rubber Withey apology. Whether that goes over

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with the public, that is another matter. -- behind them with the

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apology. Now it is time for the daily quiz. Which Lib Dem has not

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been texting Ed Miliband and other At the end of the show, the Randa

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will have the correct answer. Now the theme of this party conference

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is to put a bit of yellow water between the Lib Dems and their

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Conservative coalition partners. Nick Clegg has dug his heels in

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over extra cuts in public spending. He has said he will not allow any

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more up to the end of the next spending round. He is concentrating

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on taxing the rich further. Mr Clegg wants to bring in more money

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by targeting the better off. He made a thinly veiled strike at

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George Osborne, saying they will not allow some of the wild

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suggestions from the right of politics that all the savings will

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come from welfare. He plans to target the top 10% - that means

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anyone earning over �50,500 a year before tax. Plans for a so-called

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Pensham property scheme, whereby savers could use lump sums in

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pension pots to guarantee part of the mortgage taken up by children

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or grandchildren. Some estimates suggest about 12,000 people would

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take up the offer. People over 55 can already cash up to 25% of their

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pension pot tax free. Vince Cable will announce today plans to set up

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any business bank. He will save 1 billion has been found to help set

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up the bank, which it is hoped will increase lending to small and maybe

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a medium-sized businesses. It is unclear where the Treasury has

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banned this money, nor has any private funding been pledged to

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Joining me now from Brighton is the Liberal Democrat Home Office

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minister Jeremy Browne. Grew to see you. We are missing New Delhi here!

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I am missing you, too. -- We Are Missing You. Anyway, your leader

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once more taxes on the most affluent 10% of the country and he

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wants that before the election. What sort of taxes does he want on

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the top 10%? There has been some misrepresentation about this in the

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media today. The Daily Mirror said Nick Clegg is targeting the poor.

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The Daily Mail said Nick Clegg is targeting the rich. The reality is,

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he is explaining that we as a country are in a big hole, we have

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a big deficit still, and to use a slightly dated terminology, we need

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a collective effort to make sure that we get national finances back

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on track. I understand that but let me ask my question again. I

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understand all of that. But Nick Clegg said he wants the top 10% to

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contribute more so I ask you again, in what way should the top 10%

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contribute more? We have had some changes, you will remember at the

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last Budget one of the announcements that was made, it did

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not get as much attention as some of the others, was stamp duty on

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more expensive properties. There have been changes on capital gains

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tax. But he says he wants more. I know what has happened... What does

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he want? I know what he has done. Please tell the viewers, what more

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does he want the 10% to do? I have never in my memory in politics seen

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announcements about budget measures made at a party conference on a

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programme like yours. There will be an autumn statement in a couple of

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months' time, there will be a budget, and what will be at the

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heart of that budget is a Lib Dem commitment that we will get to

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grips with the terrible public finances but we will make sure that

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the people who have a means to make a contribution are asked to make a

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contribution rather than that burden falling on the poorest

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people who have the least ability to make their contribution.

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understand that. You know I am not asking you for a Budget statement.

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I am not even asking for the Autumn Statement, which will come first. I

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am simply asking you, since your leader has at the top 10% needs to

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do more, what ways with your party do more? Let me help you. Let me

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ask a question. The top 10% in this country of income earners account

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for 55% of all income tax paid. The top 10% account for 55% of all

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income tax paid. Should they pay more? Well... I don't dispute the

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figure. The point I am making is that there are a number of ways

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that the most affluent people can make a greater contribution. You

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have used one crude measurement based on income tax. We tend to say

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as a party that we want people to be incentivised to work and to keep

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a reasonable proportion of their income. We would rather the burden

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of taxation fell in a different place than penalising enterprise

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and endeavour and hard work. I don't think the party is

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instinctively drawn... I imagine you are talking about the basic

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rate and upper rate of taxation but this will be in the Budget. There

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are a number of ways that people can pay more tax. I have given you

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a couple of examples. A you have not given me any examples.

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government increased capital gains tax. Should it increase it more?

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introduced a stamp duty for the most expensive homes. That fell

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disproportionately on the most affluent as well. There are tax

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measures where you can, without changing income tax levels, get

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some additional revenue from people who are most able to make a

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contribution to make a bigger effort to try and have this huge

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project of national renewal, which is that we are borrowing and

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billion pounds every three days... I understand that. Nick Clegg is

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not saying that this can all be achieved by taxing the rich and

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that everybody else needs to stand back and let the richest people in

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society sort the problem out. That is not the solution. Everybody is

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going to have to realise that we are in a deep hole as a country.

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understand that. But Nick Clegg is saying that the people at the top

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will have to be asked to make a contribution... I understand that

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but I can't get you to tell me what it means. Let me try you again in a

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different way. If I can't tell you what will be in the Budget. We will

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go round and round. I am asking what your party things. Nick Clegg

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has called for the top 10% in our society to do more. The top 10%, in

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terms of income, includes primary- school Deputy Head Teachers, police

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inspectors and senior nurses. Should they be contributing more?

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am not sure he did say top 10% in terms of income. I think the figure

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in terms of income... That was how the media chose to interpret it.

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What is it then? There are very wealthy people who have very modest

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incomes. This is the debate we have with Mitt Romney in the United

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States of America, who has a lot of wealth but his income for income

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tax purposes is a relatively modest, so people have wealth without

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necessarily earning large amount of income, so there are a number of

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ways that the government could look at how we can have additional

:22:21.:22:26.

revenue from the most affluent people to try to make sure that...

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OK, all right. To try to get down the deficit. Enlighten us, Mr Brown.

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If he is not talking about the top 10% of income earners, what 10% is

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he talking about? The point I am making, I have just made it but I

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will try to make it again, that you can be a wealthy person without

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necessarily earning that much income. You could have inherited a

:22:54.:23:00.

lot of wealth, for example. That is why we changed the rate of taxation

:23:00.:23:07.

for capital gains tax from 18% up to 22% earlier in the parliament. I

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think there are a number of ways that the Treasury can look, at the

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Autumn Statement and in the Budget, to have the public expenditure we

:23:19.:23:23.

need and the revenue we need to address the deficit. But there is

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no magic alternative plan. People in newspaper columns talk as if

:23:28.:23:32.

only Ed Balls were Chancellor tomorrow we would have growth and

:23:32.:23:37.

no unemployment. The truth is, whoever is in government, we have

:23:37.:23:45.

got to get to grips with the fact that we have a problem with the big

:23:45.:23:49.

deficit left to us by a Labour, which will mean that people with

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the greatest of means will make a contribution to eradicate that

:23:52.:23:58.

deficit. Thank you for joining us. Whether he will buy me a drink

:23:58.:24:01.

after that is another matter! So as Nick Clegg's bruised and

:24:01.:24:03.

battered party troops wander round the rain-soaked conference centre

:24:03.:24:06.

in Brighton, are they their usual happy-go-lucky selves? Or is their

:24:06.:24:09.

mood a little more despondent? Down? Depressed? Nick Clegg tried

:24:09.:24:13.

his best last week to cheer them all up by apologising for his

:24:13.:24:17.

tuition fees pledge. A move which led to a remixed version set to pop

:24:18.:24:22.

music entering the charts at number 143. It is a bit like their poll

:24:22.:24:27.

ratings. But are the Lib Dems in a forgiving mood? Our Adam has taken

:24:27.:24:30.

the Daily Politics mood box to the seaside to find out.

:24:30.:24:36.

All the talk is about Nick Clegg saying sorry over tuition fees, but

:24:36.:24:41.

are the delegates are ready to forgive him? Yes or no?

:24:41.:24:48.

Do you forgive him? Yes. Why is he deserving of forgiveness? Because

:24:48.:24:54.

he said it from the heart. It is a mission of how he feels. I feel

:24:54.:25:02.

that. -- it is an admission. We had no apology for Iraq. We have had no

:25:02.:25:06.

apology for the mess the last government left us with financially.

:25:06.:25:12.

And they were huge! I do for give him but I cannot forgive him for

:25:12.:25:16.

the fact he made that promise and went against it. That is the number

:25:16.:25:20.

one barer a politician can make. The press should be asking

:25:20.:25:25.

forgiveness for all the students to put off going to university by

:25:25.:25:29.

misrepresenting the policy. I think he was right to apologise but he

:25:29.:25:37.

should have done it two years ago. Am I ready to forgive him? Yes, and

:25:37.:25:45.

know. Too little, too late. -- yes, and no. Somebody has said to me

:25:45.:25:49.

that quite a lot of people quit the party over tuition fees so they are

:25:49.:25:57.

not even here to vote no. # I'm sorry, I'm sorry #.

:25:57.:26:01.

# It is very hard to say that I'm sorry #.

:26:01.:26:07.

You have saved me 79p. Thank you very much!

:26:07.:26:13.

Do you think it has done damage? Definitely. That is why an apology

:26:13.:26:18.

was needed and was welcome. All of us have learnt things from this

:26:18.:26:23.

episode. I said the other day, we are a party that prides itself on

:26:24.:26:33.

integrity. Nick said sorry. Do you forgive him? Yes! Anything you want

:26:33.:26:38.

to apologise for? I would echo his apology on a pledge that we made

:26:38.:26:43.

but sadly could not keep. I would have forgiven him if his apology

:26:43.:26:48.

had been accompanied by his letter of resignation. What do you say to

:26:48.:26:53.

the people who do not want to forgive him? We are not in North

:26:53.:26:58.

Korea. We are a Liberal Party in one of the most liberal-minded

:26:58.:27:04.

countries in the world, not everybody is required to agree.

:27:04.:27:13.

Have a look at what I have just That will be a collector's item!

:27:13.:27:20.

Miranda Green is still with us. Am I right in getting a sense that at

:27:20.:27:26.

this conference, the Lib Dems are kind of talking to themselves, and

:27:26.:27:31.

they have to? I think that is absolutely right. It is quite an

:27:31.:27:34.

inward-looking week for the Lib Dems and they don't have much

:27:34.:27:39.

choice about it. This journey they have been on in the last two years,

:27:39.:27:44.

and coalition has turned out to be even more painful than they

:27:44.:27:47.

anticipated, they really need to have a very hard think about not

:27:47.:27:53.

just positioning but fundamental questions, who are we for and to do

:27:53.:27:58.

we appeal to in the next general election? Those people on the soft

:27:58.:28:02.

left, who always used to be drawn to the Lib Dems, are not

:28:02.:28:07.

necessarily coming back. The whole thing coming out of the Lib Dem

:28:07.:28:12.

conference has been, let's find ways to tax the affluent. Nick

:28:12.:28:18.

Clegg used the figure of the top 10%. But Mr Brown was unable to

:28:18.:28:23.

give me one example. That does not stand the test. If you can do the

:28:23.:28:28.

aspiration but not give the detailed, what is the point?

:28:28.:28:32.

think they are very conscious that George Osborne's decision to lower

:28:32.:28:38.

the top income rate in the Budget has turned out to be very unpopular.

:28:38.:28:43.

They did not want it to happen so they have to position themselves as

:28:43.:28:47.

the party in a coalition who will ensure that as austerity goes on

:28:47.:28:54.

for much longer than anybody thought... I totally agree, there...

:28:54.:28:58.

If they are going to go into negotiation with George Osborne and

:28:58.:29:02.

say, you want to cut welfare benefits and freeze the payments?

:29:02.:29:09.

You will have to do these things to the most affluent. Whoever it is.

:29:09.:29:14.

But they have to have a shopping- list of decent proposals.

:29:14.:29:16.

Earlier this morning, conference debated how to generate growth and

:29:16.:29:21.

jobs in a time of austerity. There have been grumblings by some party

:29:21.:29:24.

members that the current coalition policy isn't working and that it is

:29:24.:29:34.
:29:34.:29:39.

time to do something different. The UK economy is not a solace at

:29:39.:29:45.

auction room - a mechanism - it is a seething mass of hopes and fears,

:29:45.:29:50.

where government decisions shape the behaviour of millions of

:29:50.:29:55.

workers and savers and consumers. Government needs a dynamic, not a

:29:55.:30:03.

book-keepers model. The Governor is telling Mr Osborne not to be

:30:03.:30:11.

obsessed with simple arithmetic. We need intelligent policy makers.

:30:11.:30:16.

want, in particular, the Chancellor to stop attacking green industries.

:30:16.:30:24.

He must choose between sustainable and predictable framework. The

:30:24.:30:28.

Government needs to choose between be sustainable economy this party

:30:28.:30:33.

has argued for four decades or right-wing Tory Party dogma. They

:30:33.:30:40.

need to choose between a work strategy that works or Mr Osborne.

:30:40.:30:45.

No longer can deficit reduction, by means of cuts in public spending,

:30:45.:30:51.

beat the top priority. The priority must be boosting the economy and

:30:51.:30:55.

reducing cuts or spreading them over a longer period. Let me say

:30:55.:31:01.

one last thing. When spending begins to rise, the private sector

:31:01.:31:08.

will regain its confidence. It is the poorest who can always be

:31:08.:31:15.

counted to spend every penny they have. Forgive the rich tax cuts.

:31:15.:31:20.

They will often not spend that money but invest it in foreign

:31:20.:31:24.

investments. The poorest will spend all I have because it is the only

:31:24.:31:29.

way they can try to maintain a reasonable standard of living. The

:31:29.:31:34.

very worst way to boost our economy is to cut the benefits for the

:31:34.:31:39.

poorest and to give tax cuts to the rich. I think the point of this

:31:39.:31:46.

debate is about saying, what are we for as Liberal Democrats? I know

:31:46.:31:53.

what I am for as a Liberal Democrat. I am for fairness. I am for social

:31:53.:31:57.

justice and I am for a war on poverty. Danny Alexander does not

:31:57.:32:04.

want us to be timid. Colleagues, neither do I. Can we stand by in

:32:04.:32:09.

the vain hope that more liquidity will slosh around the banks and

:32:09.:32:14.

find its way to the real economy? That is not enough. They cannot

:32:14.:32:20.

afford to stick to a broken ideology. There are those in this

:32:20.:32:26.

room who think that any deflection away from the Plan A will lead to a

:32:26.:32:31.

massive spike in borrowing costs. We will become the next Greece or

:32:31.:32:35.

Spain. That is patent rubbish. David Hall-Matthews, the chair of

:32:35.:32:43.

the Social Liberal Forum, is in Brighton. You supported an

:32:43.:32:47.

amendment calling on the coalition to adopt further measures to help

:32:47.:32:56.

the economy. What Buddy's further measures? We need to introduce

:32:56.:33:02.

wealth taxes and use those to pay for further investment in jobs. --

:33:02.:33:08.

what are these further measures? We have a deficit and the recession.

:33:08.:33:12.

The recession has been going on far too long and the deficit reduction

:33:12.:33:18.

plan is worsening it. It is time to tackle the recession by focusing on

:33:19.:33:25.

employment, jobs and growth. We need to distinguish ourselves from

:33:25.:33:31.

George Osborne. He is going down the wrong track. What you mean by a

:33:31.:33:38.

wealth tax and how much will it raise? -- what do you mean? We need

:33:38.:33:42.

to tax Mansions, land and the houses that pub built on it. We

:33:42.:33:48.

need to look at ways to increase inheritance tax. -- that are built

:33:48.:33:57.

on end. We need to increase capital gains tax further. On top of the

:33:57.:34:05.

28% it has been raised to? Do you have any idea how much it would

:34:05.:34:12.

raise - all of it? I cannot give the precise figures. If we added it

:34:12.:34:15.

altogether, you would be getting close to the 10 billion that George

:34:15.:34:19.

Osborne wants to save by cutting benefits to the very poorest and

:34:19.:34:25.

most vulnerable. It is important to first target the most affluent. The

:34:26.:34:31.

most vulnerable have been hit hard enough and the pips have already

:34:31.:34:36.

squeaked. In a 1.5 trillion pounds economy, it your big idea is an

:34:36.:34:43.

extra 10 billion in taxes too then invest in jobs. It is pretty

:34:43.:34:49.

marginal, isn't it? To then invest. George Osborne was top of that - as

:34:49.:34:53.

a good talking about taking 10 billion out of the welfare budget.

:34:53.:34:58.

-- George Osborne was talking about. He began this interview by saying,

:34:59.:35:05.

you take all this extra money from wealth taxes. You would take all

:35:05.:35:09.

this extra money and invest it in the country, not music to stop

:35:09.:35:17.

cutting the welfare bill. You said you would spend it. -- not to use

:35:17.:35:25.

it. There is the Bank of England... It has money saved. The Government

:35:25.:35:30.

is selling bonds effectively to itself was up there is money

:35:30.:35:35.

sitting there, which could be used to invest directly in the economy.

:35:35.:35:43.

-- to itself. It is time for the Government to start stimulating in

:35:43.:35:47.

the old fashioned Keynesian way because we're not going to get out

:35:48.:35:54.

of the recession. You have a vicious circle we need to turn into

:35:54.:35:59.

a virtuous circle by releasing government funds, which were then

:35:59.:36:04.

unlock the private sector. You may be right, you may be wrong

:36:04.:36:09.

economically. Politically, you are not get any of that from the

:36:09.:36:12.

Conservatives. You're in the wrong coalition with the wrong party. Why

:36:12.:36:17.

don't you go into coalition with Labour? They agree with everything

:36:17.:36:27.
:36:27.:36:30.

you have set foot stuck it is not up to me. -- everything you have.

:36:30.:36:35.

It is self- evidently have a different approach to the economy

:36:35.:36:42.

from the Conservatives. -- self evident that we have. We need to

:36:42.:36:45.

recognise as Liberal Democrats that the way things are going are not

:36:45.:36:51.

the way they should be. The planning is not working. It is not

:36:52.:36:55.

producing the results and the deficit is not coming down very

:36:55.:37:01.

fast and we are in recession. As Liberal Democrats we need to say

:37:01.:37:05.

that and argue for that in public and in private. The more we say it

:37:05.:37:09.

in public the more likely we are to get things at of the Conservatives

:37:09.:37:15.

and the more the public will realise that is what we believe in.

:37:15.:37:23.

-- out of the Conservatives. Thank you for joining me from Brighton.

:37:23.:37:27.

Most people want things they were never get from the Conservatives.

:37:28.:37:32.

Everything he has listed will not happen with Mr Osborne and Mr

:37:32.:37:36.

Cameron that could happen with Labour. They must think they are in

:37:36.:37:42.

coalition with the wrong party. There are two answers to that. The

:37:42.:37:46.

activists who come to conference are not the same as the membership.

:37:46.:37:52.

The membership is not the same as the voters. Not everyone who is

:37:52.:37:55.

drawn to the Liberal Democrat party would agree with that set of

:37:55.:38:02.

priorities. It queues up a -- at it flags up a key problem. They need

:38:02.:38:07.

to negotiate a Spending Review compromised to differentiate the

:38:07.:38:12.

two parties in the lead-up to the general election. It needs to

:38:12.:38:17.

fashion a coherent programme to go through to 2016, in terms of tax

:38:17.:38:22.

and spending are what you do about the deficit and the debt. They're

:38:22.:38:29.

trying to fashion a narrower correct economic coalition plan

:38:29.:38:36.

with a lot of the activist parties out of step. Two parties in one

:38:36.:38:40.

government with radically different philosophies on tax. Sounds like a

:38:40.:38:43.

recipe for confusion, at best. But that's what we've got with the

:38:43.:38:47.

Coalition. Is it possible to blend the Lib Dem and Conservative

:38:47.:38:50.

approaches to the pound in your pocket and, when it comes to tax,

:38:50.:38:53.

do politicians of whatever party actually go after the right things?

:38:53.:39:02.

Here's David Thompson. The city many gallery of the British Museum,

:39:02.:39:05.

a fascinating history of the stuff that makes the world go round and

:39:05.:39:09.

Harry tried to keep it out of the clutches of others. For as long as

:39:09.:39:14.

there has been money, there has been tax. Politicians are very keen

:39:14.:39:18.

to get their hands on our cash. This government is much the same,

:39:18.:39:24.

except for this - there are two parties in it with different ideas

:39:24.:39:29.

on what to tax and who should pay. George Osborne has been right in

:39:29.:39:35.

terms of getting the deficit down. 80% has to be down to savings and

:39:35.:39:41.

reductions in public spending and only 20% on tax rises. Otherwise,

:39:41.:39:48.

the real risk of putting taxes up his the take may even come down.

:39:48.:39:53.

Maybe not. The Tories basically have a view you need taxes as low

:39:53.:39:58.

as possible. In my view, the Duke of Liberal Democrats, you need a

:39:58.:40:05.

decent rate of tax and a fair rate of tax to have a civilised society.

:40:05.:40:10.

We want a fair tax. The Tories have an instinct that says, of the less

:40:10.:40:16.

we can be taxed, the better. According to the experts, that

:40:16.:40:23.

Disconnect matters. If you look at the last Budget, there was an

:40:23.:40:26.

increase in the personal allowance and the cut in the top rate of

:40:26.:40:34.

income tax. That left a hole. More money needed to be found. Frankly,

:40:34.:40:38.

they made a muddle of failing that whole with pasty tax and doing

:40:38.:40:44.

things to the pension or allowance. It was seen as a quick-fix way to

:40:44.:40:49.

fill a hole and put the two policies together. Overall, they do

:40:49.:40:54.

not have a policy or strategy for the tax system. Nor did the last

:40:54.:40:58.

government. It is more obvious when you have to coalition partners

:40:58.:41:03.

trying to do the same things. it comes to tax, politicians of

:41:03.:41:07.

whatever party are more scared of us than we are of them. It is very

:41:07.:41:11.

easy to make a case to say the rich will pay more. There are very few

:41:11.:41:16.

rich people. It is the middle- income, middle-class people, of

:41:16.:41:21.

whom there are so many. You can bring in some quite significant

:41:21.:41:26.

numbers. They make up the floating voters who determine any election.

:41:26.:41:30.

That is the reason why there has to be a worry that, if you to maximise

:41:30.:41:35.

that element of the tax take, he will pay a heavy political and

:41:35.:41:39.

electoral price before too long. They still managed to hit us where

:41:39.:41:45.

it hurts, where they were Lib Dem, Tory or a Time Lord, it seems tax

:41:45.:41:48.

will always be taxing. David Thompson reporting. We're joined

:41:48.:41:51.

now by Labour's Chris Leslie. He's the Shadow Financial Secretary to

:41:51.:41:57.

the Treasury. When you hear the Lib Dems talking about the top 10%

:41:57.:42:05.

making a bigger contribution, a mansion tax, changing the onus of

:42:05.:42:09.

inheritance tax so it falls on recipients and other ways of

:42:09.:42:14.

increasing taxes on the rich, the mass think this is a party we can

:42:14.:42:19.

do business with? If you believe them. If you believe that they want

:42:19.:42:24.

to see a fair tax system, that is not the experience we have seen. In

:42:24.:42:32.

the Budget in March, we saw Nick Clegg happily cut the tax on

:42:32.:42:39.

earnings over �150,000. He did not do it happily. That is a

:42:39.:42:43.

misrepresentation. We do not know other than his actions. There are

:42:43.:42:49.

lots of words in this conference today. It is quite clear they are

:42:49.:42:52.

lobbying the Conservatives to raise taxes on the better off. Do you

:42:52.:42:58.

agree with that? We will see whether they will do it. They may

:42:58.:43:03.

well be lobbying them. We have said we disagree with the reduction in

:43:03.:43:08.

the millionaire's tax. That was a fundamental dividing line. Which

:43:08.:43:15.

you put the top rate back up to 50%? In this Parliament, of course,

:43:15.:43:19.

that was the wrong choice for them to make. There are other choices.

:43:19.:43:26.

Let me mention one thing... Of Bankers bonus levy. How much would

:43:26.:43:33.

that raised? I think we said �2 billion. That would prioritise

:43:33.:43:37.

construction for social housing and give money for a youth jobs

:43:37.:43:44.

programme. What about the mansion tax? Are you in favour of that?

:43:44.:43:48.

is almost a dance of the seven veils we're getting from Vince

:43:48.:43:55.

Cable. Are you doing your own work on that? We have heard they are

:43:55.:44:03.

talking about its, the Labour Party. His Ed Balls looking at the mansion

:44:03.:44:10.

tax or not? We have a five-point plan for growth. So, is he not

:44:11.:44:15.

looking at the mansion tax? We are happy to look at whatever the Lib

:44:15.:44:24.

Dems put on the table. It is just hot air. If they say it will be on

:44:24.:44:29.

houses over �2 million and on a particular timescale, we want the

:44:29.:44:34.

details. How can we, as an opposition, react to the tax plans?

:44:34.:44:39.

They do totally the opposite of what they say and even improve

:44:39.:44:46.

things behind the scenes. I am not talking about the Lib Dems. You are

:44:46.:44:52.

the opposition. In opposition, you have to have a look at a range of

:44:52.:44:56.

policies. Are you looking at the mansion tax as a possible policy

:44:56.:45:02.

for the next manifesto? We have talked about how much money we want

:45:02.:45:07.

to raise in our five-point plan for star of IUD looking at the mansion

:45:07.:45:15.

tax or not? -- in our five-point plan. Are you looking at the

:45:16.:45:21.

mansion tax or not? If Nick Clegg persuades George Osborne they will

:45:21.:45:27.

float more detail about this that we will look at it then. Ed Balls

:45:27.:45:34.

was quoted... I am trying to find a way you may be able to do business.

:45:34.:45:39.

Ed Balls was quoted in September saying, at the likes of a mansion

:45:39.:45:45.

tax needs to be on the table of. is not on the table. There is a

:45:45.:45:50.

headline. You up on the Labour table. You could say, why do we not

:45:51.:46:00.
:46:01.:46:02.

make this a six. Plan? We have said where we meet to have many come up

:46:02.:46:12.

on new house building. -- we need to have money - on new housing. It

:46:12.:46:22.
:46:22.:46:22.

The Lib Dems want to move the inheritance tax to the recipients

:46:22.:46:26.

because it is harder to get around that. At the moment, it falls on

:46:26.:46:31.

the person who is leaving the money behind. The Lib Dems say you should

:46:31.:46:35.

tax the people who receive it, because that way it is much harder

:46:35.:46:41.

to get around it. Do you agree? That is a false distinction. Of

:46:41.:46:46.

course the person who is requesting it will not be taxed because they

:46:46.:46:52.

are no longer around -- bequeathing it. The person who receives it is

:46:52.:46:56.

paying it. Again, where is the detail? Is this fantasy politics

:46:56.:47:06.
:47:06.:47:06.

from the Liberals? They should put it in a song. You got that lining!

:47:06.:47:14.

-- line in. Vince Cable has been speaking to conference. We were

:47:14.:47:19.

waiting for some coded messages about the leadership!

:47:19.:47:26.

I am a realist, but deep down an optimist. We cannot recreate this

:47:27.:47:31.

false paradise of the pre-crisis era but we are perfectly capable of

:47:31.:47:37.

sustaining growth in this country. And to that end, I believe we need

:47:37.:47:41.

an industrial strategy, which is a positive, ambitious vision built

:47:41.:47:47.

around long term investment in innovation and skills and science.

:47:47.:47:53.

We are so good at so many things in this country. But for far too long,

:47:53.:47:59.

the mirage of growth based on property speculation and financial

:47:59.:48:02.

gambling has hidden the heart of virtues of making things

:48:02.:48:12.
:48:12.:48:12.

productively. APPLAUSE. So we have got to get behind successful

:48:12.:48:19.

British-based firms, in vehicles and aerospace, life sciences and

:48:19.:48:23.

creative industries, and world- class scientists at University. I

:48:23.:48:29.

have been working to make that happen. Despite spending cuts, we

:48:29.:48:34.

have increased apprenticeships by over 60%. We have launched German-

:48:34.:48:38.

style innovation centres so that British industry can access the

:48:38.:48:43.

newest technologies are in advanced manufacturing, by geosciences,

:48:43.:48:47.

sustainable energy and digital. We are bringing lost supply chains

:48:47.:48:51.

back to Britain. The Green Investment Bank is getting up and

:48:51.:48:56.

running, to finance the green industries of the future. We have

:48:56.:49:02.

had some real successes. That is working with the American Chiefs of

:49:02.:49:07.

General Motors, and British trades unions, to save thousands of a

:49:07.:49:17.
:49:17.:49:21.

Working with the Indian owners of Jaguar Land Rover to create a

:49:21.:49:25.

global hub in the West Midlands for design and vehicle engineering.

:49:25.:49:31.

APPLAUSE. And boosting research to keep Britain as the second

:49:31.:49:35.

Aerospace economy in the world, and working with Siemens and others to

:49:35.:49:41.

develop offshore renewables engineering in Hull, a key local

:49:41.:49:47.

and Industry. There are some common threads to this. One is an

:49:47.:49:54.

understanding that it markets fail and that governments can and should

:49:54.:50:00.

sensibly intervene. The other is the will to fight the British curse

:50:00.:50:10.
:50:10.:50:15.

of short term-ism. The strategy can only work if fine and supports

:50:15.:50:23.

business investment and growth and currently it does not. -- only work

:50:23.:50:29.

if government supports. Our leading banks to traditional banking

:50:29.:50:35.

relationships out and sold useless and dodgy derivatives instead, and

:50:35.:50:42.

useless insurance. And public anger at the greed and stupidity in this

:50:42.:50:49.

industry will continue for a long time. But I want to look forward. I

:50:49.:50:59.
:50:59.:51:00.

want to work with a new generation of sensible... To support the

:51:00.:51:07.

economy. We must now influence the pioneering possibility of splitting

:51:07.:51:11.

investments banks from mainstream personal banking, as in the figures

:51:11.:51:21.
:51:21.:51:23.

report. -- Vickers report. Without Liberal Democrats in government,

:51:23.:51:30.

you can be absolutely sure this would not have happened. APPLAUSE.

:51:31.:51:37.

But there is still so much to do. Four years ago, a massive taxpayer

:51:37.:51:42.

bail-out stopped RBS from dragging the whole economy over a cliff, and

:51:42.:51:49.

two years ago there was even talk of an early sell-off. That is

:51:49.:51:56.

history. It is now getting more shipshape and it needs direction

:51:56.:52:02.

from us, after all, we own it, to get it off steam and lend more to

:52:02.:52:10.

British businesses. This is no time for the state to be stepping back.

:52:10.:52:17.

APPLAUSE. We need a new British business bank with a clean balance

:52:17.:52:21.

sheet and an ability to expand lending rapidly to the

:52:21.:52:26.

manufacturers, the exporters, a high-growth companies that power

:52:26.:52:32.

the economy and I can announce today that we will have that.

:52:32.:52:35.

Cable, speaking to the Lib Dem Conference in Brighton just a few

:52:35.:52:39.

moments ago. He also said he thought coalition government of

:52:39.:52:43.

some sort was here to stay, that the British people would not choose

:52:43.:52:48.

one party at the next election to run the country. Some people

:52:48.:52:54.

thought it was a big "come on" to the Labour Party, and an active

:52:54.:52:58.

role for the state. And we can talk now to the Lib Dem deputy leader,

:52:58.:53:02.

Simon Hughes. He was texting away there just before he came on air,

:53:02.:53:07.

probably sending a few messages to Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. Just

:53:07.:53:14.

teasing! The government is only putting a billion pounds into this

:53:14.:53:18.

state bank. We don't even know where that money is coming from and

:53:18.:53:23.

it won't even start for 18 months. It will do nothing for small

:53:23.:53:29.

businesses in the recession. Correct? You are correct it will be

:53:29.:53:33.

a billion pounds government down payment, it will be matched by

:53:33.:53:38.

private finance. The idea is it will produce about 10 billion and

:53:38.:53:41.

it is specifically addressed so that in this parliament, the

:53:41.:53:45.

problem that has bedevilled small and medium businesses, which is

:53:45.:53:51.

getting money from the banks, will be dealt with. It is the second

:53:51.:53:55.

initiative because we have already started and Investment Bank

:53:55.:54:02.

specifically for green products. -- an investment bank. You are going

:54:02.:54:07.

to ask the taxpayer to guarantee funds. They will go into small

:54:07.:54:12.

businesses that have already been turned down by the commercial banks.

:54:12.:54:16.

What collateral will we get for these loans? The bank will work out

:54:16.:54:21.

a way of doing it that so despise them, and for the government that

:54:21.:54:26.

it is a viable lending proposition -- that satisfy his them. How can

:54:26.:54:32.

we be sure you will not lose their money? You can never be sure, of

:54:32.:54:39.

course. When a vet any bank lens, the state needs to take actions to

:54:39.:54:47.

protect the taxpayer -- went any bank lents. But we thought we

:54:47.:54:52.

should have some influence in what the banks do. From my experience in

:54:52.:54:57.

south London, it is no different to anywhere else in the country, that

:54:57.:55:01.

small businesses that have a good record struggle to get the lending

:55:01.:55:07.

they need. Most people in Britain do not work for big businesses. We

:55:07.:55:12.

need to make sure that sector continues to grow. It has already

:55:12.:55:18.

created 900,000 jobs since the recession began. Jobs are going

:55:18.:55:23.

down obviously in the public sector. We have now got the Vince Cable

:55:23.:55:29.

Bank but we will not have it for 18 months. We have got the green bank.

:55:29.:55:34.

How much has that loaned to people so far? I don't know the answer to

:55:34.:55:38.

that question, perhaps I should. The answer is nothing because it is

:55:38.:55:43.

only now up and running. How much has the "big society" bank loaned

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

to people? Again, this is like a quiz programme, Andre's. -- and

:55:53.:56:00.

drugs. The Yuki creating banks that don't do anything! -- Andrew. You

:56:00.:56:05.

keep creating banks that don't do anything. The "big society" was

:56:05.:56:09.

about volunteering and the charitable sector. I assumed to be

:56:09.:56:14.

Greenbank had started to lend but we only just passed the legislation.

:56:14.:56:18.

The whole idea is to make sure places like the north-east get the

:56:18.:56:22.

support for the renewable energy industry, we make sure got a blog

:56:22.:56:31.

we know what it is meant to do. The answer is, we are a committee...

:56:31.:56:35.

The plan is to make sure there is Public Investment without

:56:35.:56:42.

penalising the taxpayers to stimulate the economy. There will

:56:42.:56:46.

be the ability for people to use their pension pots to help the

:56:46.:56:49.

children and grandchildren to have the Investment and security to get

:56:49.:56:55.

on the housing ladder. Vince Cable says he wants the bank to

:56:55.:57:00.

concentrate on lending money for people to make things. Can I give

:57:00.:57:04.

you a brief history of this? British Leyland, British

:57:04.:57:10.

shipbuilding, Phoenix. These were great successes, weren't they!

:57:10.:57:15.

remember those, as you do, but you also know the great debate last

:57:15.:57:20.

year was why we did not support our companies to get contracts for the

:57:20.:57:24.

railway industry's when it is self evident that other countries within

:57:24.:57:31.

the EU were able to do that. We have a more robust attitude on this.

:57:31.:57:35.

You are not allowed to unfairly state-subsidised to distort

:57:35.:57:42.

competition but you are allowed to persist if you play by the rules.

:57:42.:57:46.

We need to make sure that wherever possible we support companies, not

:57:46.:57:50.

that are going down the plughole, but those industries, like the

:57:50.:57:59.

motor industry and the aerospace industry, with a very good record.

:57:59.:58:04.

We have run out of time, thank you of every match. The answer to the

:58:04.:58:12.

quiz? I assume there is none Dublin on.

:58:12.:58:17.

It has been cruelly exposed by the newspapers -- there is none going

:58:17.:58:24.

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