25/10/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.


Happy days! The double-dip recession is declared dead after


the economy grew by 1% in the last quarter. So where does that leave


Ed Balls? We'll ask him. And the International Development


Select Committee say Afghanistan may never be a viable state. Is it


time to declare that 11-year And who is top dog in Westminster?


Dave? George? Ed? Nope. One of these fine mutts is Parliamentary


Pooch of the Year and will join us And with me throughout the


programme, the Director General of Saga, Ros Altmann. But first, that


rare thing, some good news. They're calling it the Olympic effect.


Between July and September, the economy grew by 1% - that's the


highest it's been since the third quarter of 2007. Compare that to


the previous quarter, between April and June, when the economy shrank


by 0.4%. These latest figures do, however, include ticket sales for


the Olympics and Paralympics, which may have boosted the numbers.


Nevertheless, it does officially bring to an end the double-dip


recession that lasted for the previous nine months. I'm joined


now by the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls. Welcome back. Unemployment


is down, inflation is down, retail sales are up, the deficit is better


than we thought, growth is bouncing back. This must be a distressing


time for you! It is good news. And about time. The economy has flat


line for a year, we are finally getting some growth, we should have


had a growth in the last two years. Let's hope we are stopping --


starting to move into a better phase. Is this just a blip or is it


the start of growth? Not spectacular growth, probably, but


growth. That is the question. is the answer? Is it going to be a


sustained recovery? Take out the Olympics, take up the bank holiday


effect... The Jubilee effect. The underlying position of this quarter


is weak, but it is positive. There is growth, but it is not good


enough. We will not get investment moving and living standards rising


1.3% gross. How do the next 12 months look? My worry is that


George Osborne and David Cameron will cross their fingers and hope


for the best. I think that is complacent. Look at the eurozone,


look at family budgets, the worry in the business world about


investing. I think it would be better to do a bit more to get this


recovery move big. That is why I am still concerned. The IMF is


predicting growth of just over 1% next year. It is not good enough.


If you strip out the special factors you mentioned in Q3, at the


Jubilee impact which was negative in Q2, the Olympics in Q3, the


underlying rate for Q3 would be 0.3%. It is consistent. It is


nowhere near good enough. In the last two years, George Osborne said


he would get 4.6% growth and he has got 0.6%. A 5th of the level of


Germany or America. Are we going to catch up? The reason the deficit is


going up is because of that weak growth. He needs to catch up that


lost ground. 0.3%, or 1% a year, will take us a generation to catch


up that lots ground. By you still claiming the Government is cutting


too fast and too quickly? -- are you. Going to the next year and ask


yourself, with the eurozone in real trouble, with China slowing down,


with all of these worries in the world, is this the time for Britain


to have the fastest attempt to get the deficit down we've seen in the


last 100 years? I've always said I thought that was foolish and risky


and a more balanced approach was more likely to work. Their approach


has not worked in the last two years and they are crossing their


fingers again. The IMF said exactly the same thing two weeks ago.


IMF said only change plans if you don't get any growth, but it looks


like phi are on track. Come on! The IMF said that 12 months ago. How


much growth have we had in the last 12 months? 0. If we had taken their


advice 12 months ago, we would not be having this anaemic recovery.


The IMF said the Government should only change policy of growth


doesn't return to the economy. Growth has returned so the IMF is


still banking on what the Government is doing. For the IMF


said that 12 months ago. If growth should fall significantly below


current projections, and it is only projecting 1%, countries with room


for manoeuvre like Britain should snoozed their planned adjustment


for 2013 and beyond. High growth hasn't fallen significantly below


the projections. When the IMF first said that, they were projecting


twice that level of growth. They've been downgrading their growth and


we've still been undershooting. Are you confident we will meet the


great figure next year? The Chancellor is not confident, the


Bank of England governor is not confident, the prime minister seems


deeply complacent. I think for cautious thing to do is to get on


and build some houses. Get young people back to work. Where is


George Osborne's plan? How much has overall government spending fallen


since Labour left power? It has gone up. Welfare spending is 20% up.


Overall state spending has fallen by �16 billion. 2.3% of total


expenditure. 16 billion cut in spending doesn't make that much


difference. Under the Alistair Darling clan, departmental budgets


were to fall to 0.2% a year, under George Osborne they are falling by


2.8%. I know you and Mr Osborne like to play at this huge


differences, when you drill into the figures, you are not that far


apart. For last time I came on can't cure viewing figures


plummeted so why were not getting to that debate about expectations.


We said two years ago, because of our Chancellor's decision, we would


have earlier and bigger tax rises and spending cuts, confidence


collapsed, the economy went into recession and we've not seen the


kind of investment we need. Quite a lot if those spending cuts and tax


rises are still to come. If you're a millionaire you will get a tax


cut, everybody else will pay more tax. If you earn a million you will


get a tax cut. Let me ask you... want to apologise. I didn't speak


correctly. If you are a person who earns �1 million next year, you


will get �40,000 back, you will pay �40,000 less. We've done that. I'm


glad you've taken the correction. Where's the fairness in that? They


will get quite a lot of money. It won't be you or me! It will not be


me and it will not be you. There's still this great Freya -- affair


that you just borrowed too much in the good years and spent too much.


You told Andrew Marr, your quote was, I don't think we have a


structural deficit as the boom years came to an end. Do you stand


by that? We discussed this many times and I've been very clear


about the position. Going into the downturn in 2006 and 2007, at the


Treasury figures and other figures from other economists were not at


that time, there was a structural deficit on the current account


excluding investment, and our national debt was low, what


happened subsequently with the financial crisis, in retrospect,


clearly there was a structural deficit at that time. Her few told


Andrew Marr there was no structural deficit in 2007. As perceived by


policy makers. At you were wrong. You told them that in 2011. You


said there was no structural deficit. I stand by that. There


was! No. Did Mervyn King, as coroner -- Governor, think Int 2007


there was a structural deficit? They didn't. Few told Der Andrew


Marr in 2011 that you didn't leave behind if the structural deficit.


didn't say that. Those were your exact words. "I don't think we had


a structural deficit then". We now know the structural deficit was


5.2% of GDP. You were �73 billion out. You and I have discussed this


many times and I have been completely consistent. At the time


in 2007,... Let's be clear. The charges in 2006/7, Labour was being


irresponsible given the figures available. The answer is that at


that time, there was not a structural deficit on the current


account. In retrospect, of course there was. I've never denied that.


You told Andrew Marr to -- for years after 2007 that there was


still no structural deficit. didn't say that. There was a �73


billion structural deficit. Wouldn't it be wise to say I was


wrong. You've got to not simply stick to the Tory briefing live.


Kaka I have not read the Tory briefing, I have not spoken to the


Tories. I have read the IMF document, deface say there was a 73


bn structural deficit, you told for Vadamar there was none. A year ago,


and I can give you the exact quote, I said... Of course in retrospect


there was a structural deficit, but did policy makers think there was


one at the time? Absolutely not. The whole world, including Britain,


got that wrong. Of course we did. Did I say something in 2011 to


Andrew Marr which I now need to correct? Absolutely not. I'm at a


loss as to why you do not need to correct it. I'm told you have to go


elsewhere and I have to go elsewhere. I would happily stay for


up we can talk about bank bonuses. The facts matter. If you don't have


to go, let me keep you. This is the exact quote. I don't think we had a


structural deficit at all in that period before the recession.


Exactly. That's right. We now know you had a structural deficit of 73


billion. Exactly. Both can't be right! Let me explain the economics.


I will give you the final word. 2007, was there at that time, as


policy makers straw -- for the world, has struggled of said? No.


His question to me was, should you have acted differently in 2007? At


the time, the answer is no. In retrospect, because we now know the


world was different, of course. had one and you didn't know? Yes.


What you told Andrew Marr was wrong but you didn't know? No. Was there


are structural deficit at the time as perceived by Pozzi makers? No.


Two heavy men are waiting to drag you away. K this goes to the heart


of the focus groups. They think you borrow too much. You told us there


was no deficit and there was issued structural deficit. It is quite


germane to Labour's positioning of the economy. That is why I've had -


- extended a conversation. In 2011, I said Andrew Marr exactly this.


Had we known in 2007 what was going on in the financial services


industry, had we acted with tougher regulation, we could have avoided


for structural deficit which turned out to be fair. That is something


you only know and in retrospect. Can you shed any light on this?


What you may have meant to say to Andrew Large -- Andrew Marr was I


didn't think there was a structural deficit, but you've been quoted as


saying you don't think. I've said this so many times, including on


your programme many times. You can always take a set of words and say


did he really mean to say this or that? I've been very consistent on


this and I'm very happy to defend my record. If George Osborne would


come on your programme, he could defend his record. Why doesn't he


come on? For that is the most interesting question of the day.


I'm looking forward to the Sunday politics for my third time. Why


doesn't the Chancellor, on? I have no idea. I would love it. Thank you


for coming in. Always fun, see you later. The Chancellor has been


talking about the growth figures, this is what he had to say.


There'll always one-off factors, but if you take the last two


quarters together, you can see underlying growth in the British


economy, but there are plenty of risks. Look at the data from the


eurozone this week. That shows us there still a difficult economic


situation in the world. If we stick with what we are doing, getting the


deficit down, creating jobs, fixing the deep-seated problems in the


British economy, I think you can see now that it is going to deliver


the kind of underlying prosperity The business minister joins us, the


economy is back where it used to be one year ago, do you want a medal?


No, this is good news but there is a long way to go. It comes on top


of the good news of falling unemployment and falling inflation


and that the deficit is down by a quarter, but it is a long, hard


road that we need to travel, and I think it shows we are on track but


that we should not underestimate what more needs to be done. As I


say, first of all, the economy is only the size it was around 2007,


not even back to where it was in 2008, and indeed it is only back to


where it was one year after you have been in power, so all we are


doing... We are not really growing, we are simply flatlining. He is


that right? I caught one of the interesting thing is that the ONS


stated this morning is that in the crash the economy shrank by about


just under 7%, and we are now halfway back from the low point of


2009. Some of that happened under Labour. Below point was in 2009, an


action in 2010... Some of the growth happened under Labour, not


you. We have taken over and are trying to get growth going on a


sustainable basis, of course we are. You have not grown at all in the


last 12 months. This is good news on a quarterly basis. Not to have


grown at all? It is good news on the quarter, but the thing is,


Andrew, are you telling me that life is difficult for many people


and that there is much more we need to do? If you are telling me that,


I completely agree, because it is not only about clearing up the mess


that Ed Balls left, but it is also up making sure that Britain can


compete in the future, you know, over my whole generation we are not


just going to be competing with Europe, as we were, but with China,


Indonesia, a global race, as the Prime Minister said. We know you


have been given a shortened version of the Prime Minister's speech to


bring on programmes like this, haven't you? It is critically


important... You have been given a short version of the speech to


repeat? I was given the full version! For the less bright


members of your party, it has been shortened and made into a bullet


points. I thought it was one of the best speeches... That is not what I


am asking you. Hasn't it? There are constant communications with MPs,


but the crucial point is not who said what when, but over the next


generation we are going to have a competition at the rising giants of


the world, it is true! The most interesting thing other than the


overall figure is that 1% is higher than expected, although it is clear


it is a one-off, nobody is claiming the economy is going to grow at 4%


per annum in the near future, which is what 1% might imply. Both at the


Conservative and Lib Dem conferences in 2011, and the


Conservative and Lib Dem conferences again in 2012, we heard


endless speeches about getting more infrastructure investment,


investing in this and that, and we discovered that in the third


quarter of this year, the construction sector decreased, fell


by 2.5%. What happened to that infrastructure investment? Well, we


have got to do it faster, I think. Take housebuilding. The planning


system is really slow in this country. I was in Suffolk talking


about the need to build a relief road, and the planning for that,


they told me, it was going to take seven years. We need to make that


much, much faster. That is why we are reforming planning. We have


made some reforms, and we need to make more. He promised a lot more


infrastructure, Mr Clegg as part of the coalition, we covered the


speech live in 2011, not 2012, planning more infrastructure, but


construction decrees 3% between the first and second quarters of this


year, and now by another 2.5%. -- decreased. The talk about


infrastructure is all hot air! fact that they finished building


the Olympics is a one-off, but I'm not using that as an excuse. If


construction needs to be made easier, we need to build more and


make it quicker, it takes much too long to get an idea and even the


funding behind it into turning it into bricks and mortar. I am just


suggesting... I accept the challenge that we should do more.


You should stop talking about it and actually do something about it.


We have a four-day growth and infrastructure bill which will make


the planning process easier, so I completely agree. -- we have put


forward a growth and infrastructure built. You are absolutely right


that we have to get infrastructure moving, and institutions are


billions waiting in the wings to invest. Where are the projects? You


could be cynical, from a political perspective, just potentially


saying, well, maybe the coalition does not need to worry now, the


election is not until 2015. They must make sure that growth happens


in 2014, so maybe next year we will see the big projects announced


which will get growth going. Does that sound right? It is a


possibility. If you look at growth this quarter, you have a 0.4% of


the growth from public spending, public consumption. That is not


austerity. 0.2% and was from ticket sales. You have got a long way to


go before we get the rebalancing of the economy that we are in the dock.


If you're anxious to cut the deficit, why is central government


spending 0.4% up this year? Are you talking about departmental


spending? Central government current spending, the whole lot.


Yes, so that includes... It includes the spending of


departments and also, more broadly than that, for instance, spending


on pensions, which went up sharply over the last year, because...


else does it include? It includes the interest bill. It does not,


actually. You are giving me the figures. You are the minister. It


does not include welfare spending. If you take at current spending, it


is 1.4% up this year compared to last. I thought you were cutting


spending. Is that in nominal terms. That is nominal terms. So in real


terms it is falling. He used a different figure with Ed Balls


because you were trying to... Obviously, I used the figures that


I think our strongest for whomever I am interviewing. The figures were


different because they were departmental figures that I used


with him. It is falling in real terms, and to argue that there is


not austerity going on is not reflected in the figures and in


real terms. I mean, that is clear. Government spending contributed


0.4% to that 1% of growth, so 40% of growth in that quarter was


government spending. Public borrowing has actually gone up. The


only reason that the numbers are lower is because you are the �20


billion from the Royal Mail pension scheme in there. If you cross that


out, public borrowing is higher than it was before. We tend to take


these figures out, because the Royal Mail thing does skewered.


When I used the figures, I do not use the Royal Mail. What is your


feeling, though? Obviously, these figures are good news, it would be


churlish to deny that, they are better than City forecasters


thought. But I think you and I can agree that the next quarter is not


going to grow by 1%, the economy is not going to grow by 4% next day,


but has broke returned? Is the worst over, in your view? Well,


growth has clearly returned in this quarter. You know that is not what


I am asking. I am not a forecast of. It is good that we have got the OBR.


Their forecasts... Their forecasts are always wrong. They are


independent. Independent but wrong! I used to be an independent


forecaster. You were making astrologers look respectable!


Something like that! We have to look through the individual


quarterly figures. That is what I was asking you. These are good news,


but when I go around the country off, I meet businesses are


expanding fast, who cannot get enough skilled staff, but I also


meet people who are struggling, and we have got to make it possible for


everybody to employ more people, the more prosperous and more


profitable, to compete in his global race. We are looking through


the quarterly figures for sustainable and long-term


prosperity. I do not normally shake hands with anybody on this


programme, but Ed Balls shook hands at me, so in the interests of


impartiality, fairness and even dealing, Matthew Hancock, thank you


of being on the programme. An interesting line from the Work


and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith this morning. He told the BBC


that the Government's proposed curbs on benefits for children


could be introduced for families with more than two children, that


is the first time we have had a number, and it is lower than many


people expected. Let's get more from Gary O'Donoghue. Tell us more


about this and what has happened. Well, they have floated this idea


before about limiting the number of children the state can support. At


the Conservative Party conference, the idea came up along with the


idea of cutting housing benefit for the under 25s. But it is the first


time we have had a specific number, and the argument is this. The


average family in Britain has 1.8 children. Therefore, it is in line


with what everyone else is doing. Their argument is also that people


in work have to make decisions about how many children they can


support and that the polling evidence suggests that public


opinion is on their side. It is more about changing behaviours and


money, because when you look at it, for example, if you take child


benefit, one of the benefits that is dependent on how many children


you have, it costs the state just over �1 billion per year for


children in excess of two. In other words, three and upwards, just over


1 billion for that portion of families. So it is not big, big


money, you might say, but it may change behaviour. The problem is


twofold. They have not run it as the Lib Dems, which may be a


problem! The second issue is how you address that moral argument


that says, what on earth can the unborn child who get brought into


the world, why are you penalising them? They had no choice in this


whatsoever. That is a really difficult moral argument to address


in this context. I am sure we will hear a lot more about that, thank


you for marking our car on that. What to make of it? It is a very


interesting one. I know Iain Duncan Smith is passionately committed to


reforming the welfare bill, to making families take responsibility


for themselves, for their lives, and for the way they live. But I


think Gary was right in his last command, you know, would we then be


punishing the unborn children of families who decide to have more? -


- comment. It is not as if you can live comfortably on the amount that


you get from child benefit, but I can quite understand that working


families, small families who decide they cannot afford more children,


will resent paying more to those who go on and have seven or eight


children. Maybe two is not the right number of. It is like the


Chinese one-child policy! That... That is what it struck me as, which


is democratically dangers. We need to encourage people to have three


children so you replace the population. As long as we are at


two or below, we still have an ageing population. We should make


it clear that the policy would not apply to those with children, more


than two children who are currently getting child benefit, and it would


only apply in future. But it still does smack a bit of the Chinese


one-child policy. It is a fascinating topic, I'm sure we will


hear a lot more about that, and the government will be under pressure


to flesh it out and tell us if they are really going to do this.


That is quite enough about trivial matters like children, benefits and


the economy! Time to focus on the important stuff, because today is


the annual Westminster dog of the year awards, and I understand we


A little later in the show, we would get the correct answer, I


suspect she does not have a clue what we are talking about! We are


going to meet the winner and his or her owner. All we can tell you is


that he or she is an MP... Should companies be compelled to address


the lack of women on their boards by new rules enforcing a quota for


women on company boards? 1 EU commissioner, Viviane Reding from


Luxembourg, has been pushing for an EU directive which would do exactly


that, setting a 40% Minimum for women on company boards, in other


words four out of 10 people on a board would have to be female. That


idea was rejected by the commission early in the week in Brussels, but


it is not dead, far from it, as our very own one woman on the board, Jo,


tells us, joining his live from glamorous Strasbourg.


Glamorous it is, missing a back in London, and you are right, this has


been a hugely divisive issue, not just for the European Commissioners


but also the member states of the European Union, but it has not


completely disappeared. It will be presented again next month, and


with me at two glamorous women to discuss the issue, a Labour British


MEP who was for the idea, and a Tory MEP who is against. Maria, can


I start with you? Do you accept there is a problem with under-


representation of women on company boards? Yes, of course I do, I


believe there is an under representation on company boards as


they are in many areas of women, so we should be looking to increase


women's imports, small businesses, $:/STARTFEED. I don't want European


quotas. I don't think Europe should be telling member states what to do,


they have to do what is right for their country, for their culture,


for the economy. He each member state can decide what is best for


them. Whether it is some form of voluntary quotas, no quotas. I


think the best way is to increase women's on the pathway towards


boardrooms. That is the point. Why should Europe dictate to member-


states when member states are perfectly capable of introducing


quotas themselves? Five EU countries already have quotas.


the rest don't. The point about this is that we do want to see more


women represented on company boards and another senior positions. I


honestly believe the only way you're going to do this is by some


measure of enforcement. We can talk about more women, we can have


voluntary measures forever, and we still won't get there. It is only


when thereon mandatory quotas that this will actually happen and we


will have true equality and parity. Talking doesn't place women on


those boards. We are moving forward. Voluntary measures are taking


effect. It in the UK we have increased by 5%. In Europe it is


1.9%. We find things such as the 30% club. They said at the end of


2010, the percentage of women on FTSE 100 boards stood at 12.5%.


is moving forward. If you enforce things, if you make companies


change their policies, it will not be successful, you have to carry


the company with you. I believe most people are looking towards


having more women born boards. I take up for 1.9 percentage you?


This was an initiative of the Commissioner, who is introducing


this. A couple of years ago, she wrote to many companies throughout


the EU and ask them to take voluntary measures, to sign a


pledge. That 1.9 increase was the increase she got in one year as a


result of these voluntary measures. If we do that up to 2020, we would


only see a 25% increase. We want a 40% increase by 2020. Come the go


back to how serious she was. It was put on a website and companies were


asked to sign up. Companies need to be approached and have it explained


to them. Her method was totally wrong. There is a case of leading


by example. The European Council President has said female under-


representation is blatant and then he backs a male candidate to go on


the board of the European Central Bank. Was that right? I think...


Yes or no? Or we need to look at the ability of. Pie would like to


come back to this question because it comes up all the time. Women are


just as capable as men. We know there are women who can fill these


route -- roles. A number of women have been identified. Women are


just as good as men and we need to make sure women get into the


positions. We will come back to this issue, it is being presented


again next month. Thank you. Andrew. Come back quickly from Trust Book -


- Strasbourg and bring us a present! It is quite near the Blue


nun vineyards. And some chocolates! When you look... Let's broaden it


out of the FTSE 250 big companies. It is quite remarkable how few


women of all these boards. There's a problem, isn't there? There's


definitely an issue and it would be much better if we do aim to have


more women, or I diverse range of backgrounds of people on company


boards. I'm not convinced that impose'a, especially one as high as


40%, is the way to go. You have to find the right women, bring them on


board, you have to look for diversity in other areas as well,


not just gender. I agree that we shouldn't have Europe dictating to


ask how many women we should have on particular boards. Yes,


encouraging, in sent advising, facilitating more women to


participate at the top of business would be great. Her they've been


doing that and it has not make much difference. I understand what


you're saying about being against the quota, but without something


that breaks the log jam, you will not get the step-change that many


people feel is required. If you want it next year, a quota is the


only way. If you've got time to wait, and I'm not sure what the


desperate rush is, I believe it will happen, I'm quite sure it will


happen. But you can't say exactly when, exactly how long it will take


and exactly what level we will reach. We will come To bat back to


this, I'm sure. Now, the Government's reform of


public sector pensions takes another step forward next week with


the Public Service Pension Bill's second reading in Parliament. The


controversial plan, which led to major strike action last year, will


see public sector workers paying more into their pensions and


working for longer. They'll also switch from the so called "gold-


plated" final salary schemes to ones based on career average. But


just how "gold-plated" have public sector pensions been? We sent


Susana Mendonsa to London's Gold-plated pensions, it is a


phrase that pops up time and again when the Government explains why is


changing public sector pensions, but is the private sectors offering


just plain silver by comparison? A trades union that represents


workers in both sectors says not. Her gold plenty pension is when a


chief executive gets six figures paid into their part. If you want


it in the private sector, maybe MPs' pensions qualify, but you have


to look at how much public service pensioners live on. If anyone


thinks if �6,000 per annum is gold- plated, well, I don't think anyone


would believe that. You can get a good look at what real life gold


plating is like here at this workshop. A bit of silver in the


liquid and you end up with the pricier looking bit of metal


without much gold on it. But just how much gold is there in a public


sector pension? Lord Hutton's report last year described the


average as being a modest �7,800 a year, but the National Association


of Pension funds says an equivalent pension in the private sector would


be about �330 less. But most of the private sector workers who pay into


a pension tend to be on a less glossy option. So-called defined


contribution schemes which invest the money you and your employer


paid in. They are usually worth less than the final salary schemes


many public sector workers have enjoyed, which are based on


earnings at the end of your career. The average pension pot within a


defined contribution scheme is something like �25,000. That would


give you an annual income of around �1,250. There's a big difference


there. Prospect says that is because private sector companies


have been chipping away at salary linked pension schemes. If there's


a difference, and there's a difference between pension


provision in the private sector and public sector in this country, it


because pension provision in the private sector has fallen behind


far too much and we don't want to race to the bottom. But the body


that speaks for workplace pensions says that that was done for good


reason. 10 years ago, 88% of pension schemes, defined benefit


pension schemes, would be open to new members. If people started with


a new employer, they would be in a defined pension scheme. Today that


figure is around 19%. You've seen a massive shift away from defined


pension provision. It is just unaffordable for the employer to


provide those pensions. Now public sector pensions are being dipped in


the same pool. The Treasury says the public service pensions bill


will save �65 billion over the next 50 years. But that is gold plated -


- that gold-plated tag remains disputed.


And Gail Cartmail, assistant general secretary of Unite, joins


me. Let me come to you first. Is it fair to describe public sector


pensions as gold-plated? I must admit, I do think they are very


generous, they are much more generous than those available to


the private sector. I wouldn't call them solid gold, but I think they


are hugely valuable. They are fully inflation-linked, they are


guaranteed by the taxpayer. And they are worth a significant sum.


Public sector workers, of course they deserve good pensions, but


they are getting good pensions. I hope they will appreciate them.


What do you say to that? John Hutton was asked to look at public


sector pensions in detail. He rebutted the allegation and that


they are gold-plated. He was very quick off the mark to say they are


not. Clive said you in the past, many women in the NHS retire on a


pension of �2,000 a year and less. An average pension for local


government workers of �4,000 a year. Her have they been working full-


time for a long time? Many people have many years of service, but


penchant is a portion of salary, often. And salaries are low.


still people contribute. Pensions is deferred pay. The pension scheme


member is contributing from their salary towards their pension pot.


We sometimes get plied signed it, there are so massive pensions in


the public sector. -- blind-side it. But there are plenty of public


sector workers who don't have big pensions, they are quite small.


They will need the state pension on top of their own occupational


pension to survive when they retire. There are two very big issues.


Whenever one talks about public sector pensions, you either get


enormous criticism from public sector workers saying don't attack


our pensions or enormous criticism from taxpayers saying we are paying


the port -- fortune for these pensions. If you talk about the


value of these pensions, if you went into the marketplace and by


one, you can't because it is government guaranteed, a �7,000 a


year pension is worth about �300,000. �300,000 is beyond the


wildest dreams of most private sector workers. They are getting


good pensions, they are worth a lot of money. The problem is because it


doesn't sound like much each year, it is not valued properly. What is


happening in the private sector is that individuals are having to take


responsibility for their own retirement whereas we are still


guaranteeing pensions for the public sector workers and quite


right, if they've served their country loyally, they deserve a


good pension, but there's a disconnect between what a penchant


actually will cost taxpayers and the value that the workers


themselves are placing on it. you made any progress with the


Government on trying to get it to a million -- median rate? One of the


concerns we have about the belt that is going to be put before


Parliament very soon is the lack of detail. A huge amount is reliable


regulation. I am worried about the role of Treasury being absolutely


in control, irrespective of what the schemes look like in any point


in time. We are worried about the automatic link between the state


pension retirement age, or the state retirement age, and the


scheme retirement age. We are going to have a lot of public sector


workers who do jobs such as ambulance paramedics on the


Government's own formula working until 70, potentially. We are


worried about those links, automatic links. What kind of


pension are you one? For I've got bits of pension from lots of


different places. If you've always been on the move. A That's right.


Unions give good pensions to their employees. Yes. Subject to


financial scrutiny by our elected executives. We are undergoing


reform in my own union. You have a good pension? Yes, thank you.


friends you very much! By -- thank you very much.


You're watching the Daily Politics, and we've been joined by viewers in


Scotland who have been watching First Minister's Questions from


Holyrood. But why should they be the only ones who get to see Alex


Salmond being put on the spot by MSPs? He has since sought any


advice on whether an independent Scotland would have to apply for


membership of the EU, he had said to the Sunday politics in March


that he had sought that legal advice. Here's a flavour of this


I would like to ask the First Minister a familiar question about


whether a separate Scotland would be a member of the EU. It is a


question Andrew Neil are stimp on March fourth. Have you sought


advice from your own Scottish law officers in this matter? Starting


his answer with the words, we have, yes, could do First Minister get to


know we haven't been 27 words? The 27 words that she refers to are


the words which were taken out of the Labour Party press release. So


I do not think it is a great argument to attack the probity of


government when you then remove 27 words from the press release, not


the most ingenious tactic, or even from the Labour Party. And yes, an


independent Scotland will be a member of the European Union.


Pretty lively stuff at there in Holyrood, and we are joined by


Scotland political editor Brian Taylor, who was watching all of


First Minister's Questions, he will mark our car. -- Card. It was a


real muddle, that is all your fault, Andrew. The wicked media generally


get a kicking,, it is all your fault for asking that question and


not picking up what Mr Salmond was saying. The argument he is making,


to be serious for a moment, is that all the statements by governments


contain a generic underpinning our legal advice. In other words, if


there is something dodgy, law officers will point it out, the


negative approach. You cannot say that, that goes against the law.


What is now being sought, definitely being sought by the


Scottish government, is specific advice on the issue of EU accession


post-independence. Mr Salmon says that when he was being interviewed


by you about the issue of legal advice, he was talking about that


generic stuff, referring to previous documents and debate and


statements by ministers. Now it is very specific legal advice that is


being sought. His opponents were not impressed by that argument and


said he could not be trusted. Ruth Davidson, the Conservative leader,


compared him to Del Boy from Only Fools and horses, to Bill Clinton,


and finally to Richard Nixon! Things going well, then, I see! I


think what puzzles many people who have been following this, and it


still puzzles me, there is that whatever the First Minister was


referring to when he answered my question, if there was no legal


advice, why did they then fight the information can listeners --


commissioners to stop that advice been published if it was a blank


sheet of paper? He points out that the code of practice for ministers,


and he has invited an independent panel on the code of advice to


check whether he has breached it or check generally at this episode has


been handled, but he points out that the code of practice for


ministers' covers not only that they should not publish legal


advice, but they should not disclose whether that advice exists


or not. He gave the example of Dominic Grieve saying pretty well


exactly the same thing in response to a question about his point. Alex


Salmond's argument was that he was defending the principle of non


publication. The way around that is to seek the permission of the law


officers to publish the fact that it exists or does not exist. Nicola


Sturgeon has now done that, and therefore the legal advice does not


exist at present, but is now seeking specific legal advice. Was


he publish that outcome? She will not, they say they are still bound


by the code. She referred to the fact that there was a court appeal


going that if they have lost that court case, it would have set a


precedent for other occasions of the Information Commissioner in


Scotland ordering the government to publish information about


government advice. I think they thought they would lose and


therefore backed down. You can ask the questions from now on! Thank


you for being with us. Cheers. has been 11 years since the start


of the war in Afghanistan, and in two years' time British troops will


be gone. The number of lives last has been significant, as we are


reminded today with the loss of two more British soldiers in Helmand


province. The life for civilians, particularly female ones, remains


dangerous. Today the International Development Select Committee has


published a report which doubts whether the country will ever


become a viable state and questions how effective our aid to the


country has been. The chairman of that committee joins me now.


Welcome to the Daily Politics. Many people might think that what your


committee has concluded his kind of what they felt in their gut, that


it was 11 years and we have not got that far. Well, I hope it is not


quite that. I think what we are saying is that we have spent an


awful lot of money and a huge number of lives, 435 British lives,


many more Afghan and our allies, and we have not created a viable


state, and the suggestion that we will leave on behind in 2014 is not


recognised by anybody. But we have, on the other hand, at a lower level,


delivered really significant progress for people in Afghanistan,


particularly women, and were anxious to say that we cannot walk


away at the end of 2014 and abandoned those women and indeed


the people of Afghanistan in the future. We have got to target what


we do so that it is more practical in what it can secure afterwards.


We have to be realistic about what we can achieve. Isn't there a great


danger that when the Americans are getting out in 2014, a weakened


state without the Americans, we are all getting out, some people who


know a lot more about Afghanistan than I do say, I don't know how


long to give the Hamid Karzai government in Carole once we have


gone, a week, a month? -- Kabul. It will be swept away, it will be like


Saigon in 1975. We are not the defence committee, but Hamid Karzai


is not standing again, he has said he will not, so it will be a new


government. You know what I mean. It is unpredictable. The government


will not be swept away and the Taliban coming back, arm raised the


-- almost nobody believes that. really? Security will be patchy,


good in some areas, in other areas gains will be harder. We have got


to accept that. We have already said as a government and a country


that we are committed to supporting post conflict, fragile states,


where it is hardest to deliver, where poverty is worst, and the


danger of slipping back into the worst poverty is most acute. We


have got not bad at it in places like Yemen and Somalia, because


although it is terrible, we have achieved some progress, and it


would be wrong to assume we have delivered nothing, not just as much


as we might have hoped. There is now talk about the number of women


going to schools, the number of young girls and so on. Isn't there


a danger that will be swept away once we have gone? There is a


danger, absolutely, and if we leave nothing behind... We know what


happens there brave little girl in Pakistan. Not only that, we have


our situations where schools have been closed in Afghanistan, where


teachers have been executed in front of the children, girls


machine-gunned on their way to school. But in other parts of


Afghanistan, 2.2 million are going to school, and in one province


girls are going to university in for increasing numbers. It is not


unified, it is a very disparate country. Real progress has been


made, and I think we have to walk beside those people we have helped


and tried to make sure we secured those games and take them forward.


That is what we are trying to focus people's attention on. You might


not build a viable state, but that is no excuse for letting it fall


apart. Was it worth the price of all the blood and treasure we have


lost? Had we known how difficult it would have been, I'm sure we would


not have done it in this way, although that some of us might say


if we had not been diverted to another war, we might have had more


success. The invasion of Iraq. is a personal view, not the


committee. We lost a lot of momentum at the beginning, and we


might have built a viable state earlier. But we're have made


serious gains. The majority of people in Afghanistan do not want


the Taliban back, and we have an obligation to work with them as


long as they need help. Thank you for coming in to discuss your


report. Now, the time for waiting is almost over, the smoke has risen


from the parliamentary chimney, and we have a winner of this year's


Westminster dog of the year! We bring you all the big prizes. We


asked earlier which of these had I have to ask you what the correct


answer is, I have no idea how you would know. I have not got a clue!


You said I was gutted telly, I assumed somebody would let me know!


-- I was going to tell you. How am I going to tell you? I know you


want to hear more of this story, because this prize is an honour for


the dog at least, not so much for the owner. It is worth remembering


that Andrew Mitchell won the first prize back in 2009! Three years on,


he is the one in the doghouse! Any moment, we will meet this year's


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 51 seconds


winner, but first a flavour of In a world exclusive, Charley Hull


Thake and his dog Star joins us now, the winners. -- Charlie Elphicke.


What are their special qualities? She is an extremely friendly,


outgoing kind of dog who one at the judges' hearts. Was the competition


tough? More entrance than I can recall, about 20 people and dead.


Did she get on well with the others? Was there any bitchiness


among the contestants? The Deputy Speaker of the house has a huge dog


that is one year old, and she tried to eat Star, but they ended up as


friends. She is looking hungry there. What price is there?


gets a plaque, a nice little plaque and some treats. You are allowed to


take a dog into the Houses of Parliament? Normally, not really,


it is discouraged and not preferred, because I think they worry that


they will start moving things around the place. Little note to


the Speaker, please call me! So they cannot keep you company in a


long sitting, sitting under the desk there, man's best friend.


Sadly not, she keeps the kids company at home. The earth does


graft Becker Next? -- Dowes crafts beckon next? One thing at a time!


would love to have a dog again, I had a golden labrador, she was


gorgeous. I have got four dogs. I have got a labrador and three


golden retrievers. Fabulous. I should have put them in. Star is


wonderful, look at these guys. What now happens to Star with this new


found fame? She has been on the Daily Politics, the sky is the


limit now. I think today is particularly good, though, because


it is a reminder, a non serious reminder that we are a nation of


dog-lovers and animal welfare really matters. You must hope you


do not end up in the duck house like Andrew Mitchell three years


later. Who knows what the future will hold?! I enjoyed our interview,


I wish you all the best, Star. One of the most intelligent interviews


I have had on this programme! Time to give you the answer to our ESTA


competition from yesterday. I overran, you did not get it, the


answer was 1995, you take your life in your hands and press the red


button. Do it now! We can find out who the winner is, Linda Ratcliffe


from County Durham, the Daily Politics mug is yours. Right,


thanks to everyone, special thanks, the One O'Clock News is starting


over on BBC One now. I am back tonight for this week, John


Sergeant will be looking at the BBC's troubles, Alan Johnson,


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