26/10/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. On the show today:


Fancy being a teacher? The Government's about to make it that


little bit harder by demanding aspiring teachers take a test in


maths and English before they start training.


After the good economic news yesterday, Tory MPs are warning of


a backlash against cuts to child benefit due in January. We'll talk


to one of them. Should the European Parliament stop


its monthly trek from Brussels to Strasbourg? We'll report on the


latest campaign by MEPs to keep the Parliament in one place.


And it's the great Government sell- off, as Francis Maude announced the


sale of Admiralty Arch in central London for �60 million. But what


will become of it? We'll reveal all All that in the next hour, and with


me for the first half hour today, we've got some top talent from


Fleet Street. They're the new Sonny and Cher of daytime TV - it's Anne


McElvoy of the Economist and Philip Collins of the Times. Don't worry,


you won't have to sing. Let's start with the news this


morning that people who want to become teachers will face tougher


tests in English, maths and reasoning before they start their


training. The Government says it wants tests to be more rigorous to


raise the quality and standing of teaching. Charlie Taylor is the


chief executive of the Teaching When you look at the most


successful education systems across the world, Finland, South Korea,


Singapore, they set the bar very high in terms of the people they


allow into teaching and teaching is a high-status job. What these tests


do is to say, we want to get the very best people into teaching.


And we've been joined by Alice Robinson from the Association of


Teachers and Lecturers. You must welcome this? I think all teachers


will welcome anything that will help raise standards. I'm not sure


tests of these nature will achieve that. Because they will be too


simple? No. There are a huge range of issues over becoming a graduate,


people have demonstrated that they have GCSEs, they've then completed


their degree. I think the Government, one of the things they


said they would do was reduce bureaucracy. They've now introduced


another level of assessment. They have demonstrated they don't trust


the GCSE results, they don't trust A-level results, and now they are


saying they don't trust the universities. You have to make sure


they can read and count. I'm fairly certain the universities would have


insisted on that before they granted firsts, honours degrees and


so on. You can get that in Latin but you don't have to be able to


read English. These are exams where there's a 98% pass rate. If someone


can't pass an exam with 90% of the rest of people, they don't deserve


to be a teacher. You have to ask the question, why do you need this?


Why don't we have a tougher exams on maths, the basics of maths and


English and reasoning on top of the degree before you get into


teaching? The reason why places like Taiwan and Finland have such


strong education systems is because they pick the best and brightest.


That is not completely the case. is in Finland. In Finland, they


give teachers a huge amount of autonomy, significant pay...


honours graduates. They don't have to do an additional test. I think


people will be amazed, every reform Labour or Conservative governments


try to make, the teaching unions always oppose it. This is simply an


attempt to make sure... I can insure -- a sure you, we employ


them. People come out of university and they don't know good spelling


or gram and they don't write very well. Why should we not ensure that


teachers have that ability? Right. If that is the case, why has


Michael Gove said that teachers in academies and free schools don't


have to have Q T S? One of our issues is around there's not any


consistency. You're against it because everybody is doing it.


Would you be in favour of it if he said everybody had to do it. Her I


would have welcomed consultation. You would still be in favour?


not true. The union I represent... If the Government have based this


evidence on a report produced by head teachers. I represent head


teachers. I am an assistant head. Actually, the people who do the


monitoring, the people who do the mentoring of student teachers, our


classroom teachers who do pick up on things. In a small number of


cases where people are not as numerate or literate as they should


be, they are picked up on and told it is not good enough. There are


issues around that. There are a huge number of entry pathways into


teaching now, teach first, P G C, a graduate training programme. There


is a myriad of entry... slightly flabbergasted by this. I


can't see what is wrong with saying to people who are going to educate


our children, in primary school or for sophisticated skills, that you


must have as half -- high-standard of rudimentary maths and English. I


have seen reports where I've wanted to put a red pencil around the


grammar of the teachers. This happens because we let it go. As a


system we let it go. Not only the teaching unions are responsible,


but they are to some extent. Successive governments didn't pick


it up. We are now right on it and Charlie Taylor is right to be


saying lots of other countries... I do a lot of comparative work about


education systems. In most countries this would not be in


issue. I agreed with that. We will get on better than Sonny and Cher!


In the air years. Thirtysomething else. The best systems also have a


very rigorous -- rigorous aptitude test for teaching, which is a skill


in itself. The best systems make it very hard to get into teaching, but


quite easy to get out. If you've got a teaching certificate in some


countries, that is sort of -- thought of as a very distinguished


thing to have. If it doesn't work out for you, people going to very


good professions because that is a badge of honour. Anything that can


help us move towards that has to be a good thing. I entirely agree with


what you've just said about attitude and that is one of the


issues around a lack of consultation on this very basic


test. Being a good teacher is around having a passion, a real


understanding and an ability to communicate verbally with your


students on a level they can understand. It is around aptitude.


We would welcome somebody sitting down and saying, let's look at how


we can best screen students, graduates, going into teaching, to


demonstrate a wide range of skills, not just picking on one thing.


Probably ban the phrase around aptitude to start with. It is


slightly baggy language which goes around process and structures. That


language hides what is going on and a lot of the education debate is


affected by it. We have to raise the level of what we do in


education and anything that gets under way... They are supposed to


have great degrees, but there's a big problem about what universities


are doing in education. There are too many pathways, we don't know


what is good, bad and indifferent, and the elite universities are too


far away from training teachers. You have a status problem. You will


be allowed to fail these exams three times and still be a teacher.


Coney 98% of those who apply, not everybody. -- Only. So Statistics!


If there's a 98% pass rate on GCSEs on the ones they are trying to do


to the level that is required, and even if somebody wants to be a


teacher who fails to reach his pass rate the first time, as part of the


to do so that did not get it, they can sit it again and again. Most


people would say actually, to become a teacher, the tests should


be tougher. We want a proper consultation about the whole range


of how students are selected to become teachers. You love


consultation in these unions rather than a system that will give kids


the best possible chances. Her that is what teachers want. Really?


Certainly. I was an assisted head and what I wanted in my school was


to employ the best possible teachers. In it would surely


increase the status of teachers if you had a really tough test that


had a high barrier. That would be good for teaching. Not want that is


just introduced on a very narrow set of issues. The Government


proposes a lot of things that never see the light of day!


Now it's time for our daily quiz. Nick Clegg met the President of the


European Council, Herman van Rompuy, yesterday. But what language did


And we'll give you the answer a little later in the show.


After yesterday's good news on the economy, there's going to be some


less welcome news for thousands of families next week as the


Government prepares the ground for another cut to benefits. If you are


lucky enough to earn more than �50,000 a year and have children,


you'll get a letter from the taxman you'll get a letter from the taxman


next week along with 1.3 million others. But it might not make happy


reading. It will tell you that you have a choice either to surrender


your child benefit altogether or that you will have to repay part of


the benefit, or all of it if you earn over �60,000, when you fill in


your end of year tax return. The Treasury thinks that the change


will save them around �2.5 billion a year. But it will also mean an


extra 500,000 people filing self- assessment tax returns. And a


number of Conservative MPs have expressed their concerns, warning


that the system will be "fiendishly complicated". But the Government


claims that taking benefits from the rich as well as the poor will


show that "we're all in this together". Well, this policy was


first announced at the Conservative conference way back in 2010. Let's


remind ourselves how George Osborne remind ourselves how George Osborne


tried to sell the idea to his party. A system that taxes working people


at high rates only to give it back in child benefit is very difficult


to justify at a time like this. It is very difficult to justify taxing


people on low incomes to pay for the child benefit of those earning


so much more than them. These days we've really got to focus the


resources on where they are most needed. We've got to be tough, but


fair. That is why we will withdraw child benefit from households with


a higher rate taxpayer. When the debts left by Labour threaten our


economy, when our welfare costs are out of control, this measure makes


sense. APPLAUSE that was the Chancellor in 2010.


There was a bit of a backbench -- backlash even at the conference.


With us now is the Conservative backbencher Mark Field. Welcome


back to the Daily Politics. MP for Westminster. I am indeed. You've


got a mixed constituency. You've got a lot of people on average


incomes, and a lot of well-off people. Is there ahead of her steam


building? There is, partly because there's some have confusion because


the policy has changed. I believe in getting the deficit down. As a


moral case as well as any economic case and I have always supported


any measures that we have that will reduce public spending. We need to


be wise before the event. We know there are some big institutional


problems with this policy. Looking at the practicalities, the Way We


Live Now is very different. People have consultancy incomes. They


don't know what they're going to earn during the year. This policy


will mean that anyone in a household where you earn �50,000 a


more will see a tapering away off that child benefit. If they earn


�60,000, they will have nothing. You'll have perverse invoices --


incentives to put invoices in later. You have divorcing couples.


Wouldn't it be easier to say if you on the 40% tax band you don't get


child benefit? One of the easy things might have been to say you


will only get child benefit for a certain number of children. But you


couldn't do that with those on existing child benefit. Iain Duncan


Smith was saying we would like this to be the case for future parents


of families, not for two. He is. That will not save much. I would


not be too surprised if these policies were co-ordinated in some


way. The worry with this policy, we've talked about raising �2.5


billion, a huge amount of money will go into administering this


system for up to you don't think the saving will be 2.5 billion? You


will have to write off a lot for the reasons I've set out. It is


almost a tax on aspiration. If you are on �40,000 a year, you aspire


to earn �50,000, and you might lose something. If you have three


children and you earn between �50,000.60 �1,000, for the tax


could be 65%. The Government says we are all in this together. It has


cat housing benefit for those on the low end of the income scale. It


is making it harder for people on welfare benefits, forcing them to


look for work. They are making it tougher. They are also looking for


another 10 billion of cuts in welfare. Surely your traditional


supporters, who are probably in these income groups, they will take


some of the pain. Some title lead I think there is a very strong case,


and I totally agree with George Osborne, trying to get this deficit


down at for moral reasons... understand that. You're not


prepared to go along with it, the saving, because nobody is going to


start as a result of this change, nobody is going to be homeless.


don't think it will be two-and-a- half billion. We also see the other


concern, problem, which is stay at home mothers are being distance and


devised in the sense that if one person is being earning 60,000,...


That was the original complaint. have more sympathy with a laugh


complaint which is terrible. It sends a terrible signal to women


from the party. I can't see a reason why this benefit exists for


people earning quite well. Although it's very complicated, to get rid


of an entitlement, but I thought we were trying to change the way we


look at the welfare state. I can't really see the principle. I'm


surprised to see that you don't see it actually not a good idea to have


this idea of benefits as pocket money given to certain groups,


unless they are in need. You need to bite the bullet on that. There


is not well between two different ideals and the welfare state. The


last word you'd used was need. The welfare state has become the


welfare state of need. Contribution, as you contribute, you should get


something out. It's absurd at a time when we haven't got any money


as a country, we are transferring money to the state to people who do


not need it. That's bizarre. If we save 2.5 billion, as its measured,


there we go. It is future entitlement as well. You don't want


to take the pain it now. I have got 16 and a half more years with my


young daughter. The other issue is this. 40 years ago, when this


benefit came in, it used to be a tax allowance, the state making a


stall -- small statement saying its good for children to be invested in.


The money was going to be in hands of mothers exclusively. I want to


get the deficit down. There's been a lot of controversy about this and


I think it will raise far less money than we think. Wouldn't a


radical conservative government raised the threshold where the 40%


clicks and, because, in real terms, it was meant for very well-off


people, now average middle-class people, raise it and say, you are


going to keep more of what you earn, if you are aspiring, but the child


benefit has gone? You could do this. The argument about earning at a


particular level were applied and part of the difficulty is that, in


trying to raise money, it's all very well the rich having to pay,


but there are very much more middle earners. Is it going to happen?


sense is it might be delayed. The sensible thing would to started in


at the next tax year. He needs the money. Come back if it is delayed


and talk to us. Thank you. He has got his daughter outside now,


putting a child benefit in a top pocket. How old is she? Six months


old. She's already spending the money! Get your bookings in early.


The iconic Admiralty Arch, it's at the end of the Mall leading to


Trafalgar Square, is being turned into a hotel after the government


flogged it off for �60 million. There it is. It was billed only 100


years ago. No, it's not part of a government policy to make sure


super-rich tourists have enough places to lay their heads. But part


of a reorganisation of property that's paid for by the tax payer.


Here's our Adam, who's hoping for a job as a chambermaid.


Who would live in a house like this? Admiralty Arch was built 100


years ago in honour of Queen Victoria and has been a crucial


prop in that state occasions ever since. It's also been a home for


Sea Lords, and a prime ministerial strategy unit, but no longer, as a


news conference, the buildings 99 year lease has been sold for �60


million to a property company who will turn it into a hotel. It's


about the restoration, bring it back to life, the genius design the


original architect built exactly 100 years ago. The idea is to bring


up to life. We were given a rare access. Obviously it offers amazing


views, when you can see them with Buckingham Palace on one side and a


Trafalgar Square on the other. But inside, it's a Hamas to civil


service drabness. With a dash of glamour and the odd mist. Political


obsesses me want to think twice before they book a room here


because you can't stay in the flat where John Prescott used to live


where he used to serve shepherd's pie to Tony and Gordon to make them


see eye-to-eye, because that's a completely different building and a


corner. The sale is part of a big reorganisation of government


property. We are getting out of quite a lot of properties. We have


raised about �640 million in total so far by selling buildings, but


our main business is just to get out of under-used property. In


Bristol, for example, central government occupies one and and 15


different buildings which is insane. It's expensive. -- 115.


aircraft carrier Ark Royal was sold for scrap for �3 million. A bid to


turn it into a casino was turned down. This betting organisation was


sold for �265 million though the Government had to share that with a


horse racing industry. And what about this for a big price tag? A


Channel Tunnel rail link was sold for more than �2 billion. But the


buyers of his British icon still have to get planning permission so


they can't give a date for when the first guests will be checking in.


Adam Fleming reporting. Looks pretty imposing. And we've been


joined by the Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith. It says


welcome back to the Daily Politics. Have you been with us before?


recently, no. Not in the past 100 years, in other words. It's going


to become a hotel, right? You have sold it on a lease. We have sold


and 99 year lease hold for �60 million, which means it's a


particularly good deal for the taxpayer because not only do we get


that peace in the meantime, but in due course it reverts to the public.


This is part of a process also I'm told you want to raise �6 billion


doing this. What is next? The decisions are being taken across


the Government property portfolio, that's for sure. This is one


particularly good example and represents a really cracking deal


for the taxpayer, in fact, but we are taking those decisions across


property with a view to getting good value for money and a view to


using space sensibly. Do we know what could be the next iconic


building that could be on the block? I don't think there is a


shopping list. You have got a lot to go because the barely raised 600


million so far. The 640 million saved, according to the Government.


10 times that to go. Will a lot to be sold? It's not only a question


of selling, it's important to note, there's a number of things you can


do with property. You can make sure space is used sensibly. This


building was used for office space for a short while and it's not


really meant for that. It has been empty recently. What do you say to


people who say this is an iconic building at the heart of the couple,


the gateway between Buckingham Palace at the end of The Mall into


Trafalgar Square, and there should be a national monument? A National


Building, a museum, an art gallery? Why wouldn't you do that? Do the


key point is, the public can get into it for the first time ever.


Think about we are going from a set of shabby office space in disrepair


which costs �900,000 a year running costs, while stenting, to something


the public can access. I think that's part of it being a good deal.


As long as you can afford 20 quid for a cup of tea because it will be


a posh hotel, won't it? There will be bars and cafes in it and


interestingly, it will be won a best viewpoints in London. It's a


great asset open to the public. What else can you see? Buckingham


Palace, that would get a ton of money, wouldn't it? The Queen


doesn't own it. I'm sure the Queen that would have something to say


about that. The but she doesn't own that. Lease it back to them for 99.


Andrew, perhaps you would like to put that forward. I just have.


you talk to the Queen about it? official response. You did a famous


interview on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman. How do you feel about that


now? Well, all I can say is, Andrew, you're far more pleasant person to


sit opposite, and I'm sure the BBC prides itself on the quality of its


presenters. Do you think you've had the last laugh on Newsnight?


continue in my life having a good laugh,. You must have a quiet


chuckle at what's happened to the programme since then? It a good


moment for the BBC to reflect. The Jimmy Savile allegations are


shocking, and I don't think too many people are laughing about


those on the whole. Will you come back and see us? I would be


delighted. Perhaps we can have a cup of tea. Maybe in the new hotel?


Are you all right with this? Yes, I am all right with it. There are so


many dead buildings. Somerset House, the revenues Santon there for so


long. There is more access to the public. Michael Portillo said he


couldn't even remember he owned it when he was a minister. William


Morris wrote a book where he suggest the House of Commons be


sold off and turned into a storehouse for manure. That might


be the next one. No change there. Thank you for joining us. Thank


goodness it's Friday. Always the end of a long political week.


Perhaps the perfect day for a ministerial resignation. And why


would you want to fall on your sword at the beginning of a crisis


when you can stick it out to see whether your fate improves? I'm not


suggesting Andrew Mitchell clung on his handle bars until the bitter


end just a week ago. But ministers sometimes do. Indeed, as followers


of The Thick Of It will know, it is hard for our our top dogs to know


whether or not resignation is the honourable thing to do.


This is going to be about the inquiry. I'm thinking I should


resign now. No one shaves your lion's mane of. I am not a lion. A


man died because of a policy I signed upon. I should take the


dignified way out. No, you have missed the dignified exit,


straightaway, basically. Sometimes it's a documentary. It's


not comedy or fiction. And we've been joined by the Independent


newspaper's parliamentary sketchwriter, and former


Conservative MP, Michael Brown. Former. Are you so ashamed of it?


Welcome back. I've not seen you for ages. Two ministers resigned too


much or too little these days? think there's too much of it,


frankly. When you look back at the Thatcher resignation, I looked at a


list today, Lord Carrington, Michael Heseltine, Nigel Lawson,


Geoffrey Howe, all on matters of principle, Nicholas Ridley had to


resign, because of the Germans. I just read his article today. How


right he was. They were resignations on the real issues. He


was right about the Germans also I think he had to resign. Edwina


Currie resigned and was unfairly treated. Everything she said turned


out to be true. These days, we are resigning over bits of trivia. I


mean, David Laws, it's arguable whether he needed to resign a


couple of years ago. On my Twitter account, they all hate him. The in


the end, it doesn't come down to the issue but whether the public


perception, and short backbench colleagues, most of them are


usually driven out. I have another list here. Tim Smith. Oh no! Neil


Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken. didn't have much support on the


back bench, did they? Up exactly, what tells at the end of the day is


when you have support on the backbenches. I resigned as a


government whip over a sex scandal in 1994. But the thing is, they you


are, most of them are easily forgettable. Ian Gow resigned as a


minister. Keith Speed? I don't even know who he is? Secretary of State


for Scotland? How dare you! He was the parliamentary private secretary


to Margaret Thatcher who was $:/STARTFEED. Andrew Mitchell's


resignation has already been forgotten. Ary Nieve was the other


Conservative close to Mrs Thatcher who was also assassinated. Just


after the election, I remember that one. Two terrible days. Do you have


a list of those who should have resigned and didn't? Right at the


top of my list is Jeremy Hunt. I think Jeremy Hunt should have


resigned a few weeks ago. It is arguable whether Grant Shapps


should really be in post. Really? After what the Guardian has


suggested. You can't pretend to be somebody else all the time. That


wouldn't be like being a politician at all! I would say immediately


there are far more questions about those two staying. But they are so


close to the Prime Minister that there resignation affects him.


we too keen on the media to form a lynch mob? Are you going to resign,


minister? When are you going to resign? A notice that this week,


the BBC reporter was chasing after the Eid Director General of the BBC.


Some day it must happen, a victim must be found. We go down the list


as soon as somebody gets into trouble. I do think we should


sometimes stand back. You have to allow operators is to find out --


play out. You rarely find out what was going on. Liam Fox was a


classic, embarrassment about his relationship with his aide and it


got out of the way. I would rather find out what happened and come to


review. We don't have any criteria for resignation. Key if you look at


the textbooks, there are long disquisitions about the principles


for resignation and they have gone. The lynch mob howls and howls and


keeps on howling until you get to the point where the backbenchers


say we have lost confidence in you. That becomes the pretext for the


resignation. We've forgotten what the pretext was. We have data from


the LSE that shows that of the 12 resignations that have taken place


as a result of sex scandals from 1906-2006, 11 were Conservatives.


Any theory of that? It always used to be said that if it was money, it


was Labour MPs, if it was sex, it was Tory MPs. Cut it is the thing


they can't get otherwise. It's Cecil Parkinson came back from a


sex scandal. Tim Yeo came back from a sex scandal. A long list, thank


you. Earlier we set the guests a little quiz. What language did Nick


Clegg and Herman Van Rompuy his speech yesterday when they met?


What is the correct answer? Dutch. German. The correct answer is Dutch.


A huge glass of champagne waiting? He speaks about five languages.


It's just gone 12.30, and it's time to say goodbye to my two guests of


the day, Phil Collins and Anne McElvoy. And don't forget, if you


can't survive the weekend without your regular politics hit, do join


me for the Sunday Politics on BBC One at noon, when I'll be


interviewing the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. --


it's at 11 o'clock! You get an extra hour's sleep before you have


to watch us! This week, Members of the European


Parliament have been meeting in Strasbourg for their regular


plenary session. So what have they been getting up to? Here's Susana


with our guide to latest from The scene is set for a showdown


after MEPs rejected a position of all 27 National MEPs voted for a


rise of 6.8%, the governments want to limit any increase to 2.8%, but


the commissioner for budgets said they were ignoring reality.


can't endorse the councillors decision to cut by more than 5


billion our proposal. Her three appointments have a Luxembourg


central banker to the all-male board has angered those who want to


see more female candidates for the job. Ever struggled to get


compensation for a delayed flight or lost luggage? MEPs agree with


you and they have adopted a resolution, calling a passenger


rights to be endorsed across the UK. The BC has backed a commission on


the Robin Hood tax. The you couldn't get all 27 members to


agree, but the 10, including France and Germany, want to carry on


And with us for the next 30 minutes, I've been joined by Fiona Hall MEP.


She's the Lib Dem leader in the European Parliament. And Paul


Nuttal MEP - he's the deputy leader of UKIP. Let's take a look at one


of those stories in more detail. The European Parliament vote


against the appointment of a man to the ECB executive board. This is a


complaint which Europe has been talking a lot about, there are so


few women on top boards. Where do you stand on this? I think we did


the right thing on the vote on the ECB. It has been established that


companies are much better, that they perform much better, if they


don't just have men on the board. Duvet? What is the evidence? There


was a survey done recently. In the UK, over the last year we have


voluntary measures on getting women on to boards since the Davies


report and there's been spectacular progress. The ECB is overwhelmingly


male. It is largely made up of the existing central bankers and they


are probably all male. Is there a female central banker in the


eurozone? Originally there was one and she left. Germany is on record


as saying it was always understood that they should be won. But our


objection in Parliament was not that the new appointee Wasserman,


but simply that there wasn't even a woman on the shortlist. We thought


that was taking it too far. We are you on this? I believe in a


meritocracy. If you are good enough, it doesn't matter if you are a man


or woman. What is interesting is that Angela Merkel has swung behind


this man to get a job. The last time I looked, she was a woman.


Sarkozy didn't always think that. If you are saying it is a


meritocracy, it therefore follows, given that the boards on the ECB


are dominated by men, it follows from your argument, logically, in a


meritocracy, that it is all men because the women are too thick. I


don't think many people would accept that. Is that right? Across


the world, women are in leading positions. The head of the IMF is a


woman. The Chancellor of Germany is a woman, Hillary Clinton, Margaret


Thatcher. Why no woman in the seedy? The women were not as


qualified as the men. It shouldn't matter what sex you are, at the


best person should get the job. clearly does matter because they


are all men. Half the population is women, there are more women


graduates than men and there's something that is a barrier at the


moment. The ECB takes decisions that have effects on household


budgets and living conditions which often women bear the brunt of.


Exactly. You can get a very narrow view of the world. That is why


there take women on board find that they prosper more, they share price


goes up, they perform better. Surely it is demeaning to women.


You wouldn't want to be the token woman on the board thinking you


were only there because you are a placement. UKIP is the party that


believes women should be cleaning... Nonsense. They may have moved out.


-- moved on. So the stage is set for more


fireworks over the EU's budget and there's lots at stake. First - this


week, the EU Commission asked member states to stump up another


�6 billion to help fill a �9 billion gap in the EU's finances up


billion gap in the EU's finances up to the end of the year. Next, the


European Parliament voted for a 6.8% increase in the budget for


2013, rejecting a lower budget increase put forward by member


states. MEPs and the Council of Ministers now have three weeks to


try to reach a compromise. And finally, there's the arguments over


the total budget for 2014-2020, the so-called "multi-annual framework".


It is how much they will spend between now and 2020. MEPs and the


European Commission are gunning for a big budget increase to the MFF,


which would mean total spending up to 2020 would add up to over 1,000


billion euros. But member states have a veto over this, and David


Cameron has said he will use his to block any real-terms rise in the


overall budget. European leaders are due to meet in late November to


agree a plan, but the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said


the summit should be scrapped if Mr Cameron doesn't withdraw this


Let's talk now to the Spanish MEP Salvador Garriga Polledo, who sits


on the European Parliament budgets committee.


It looks like you have a lot to resolve for this year, next year


and the next six years. Will you get a settlement on all of this, do


you think? It is going to be difficult. We started today with 20


12th's remaining budget and we have two weeks to come to an agreement


on 2013. At the same time, we are still awaiting developments for the


coming negotiations. It is going to be a very busy three months.


think a lot of people watching will wonder why the European Union


should be getting any increase when their governments are they live


under are having to slash their spending like mad. It is happening


in Britain, it has happened in France, even with President


Hollande and his austere budget, it is happening in your own country.


National governments are having to cut so why should the European


government, if I can call it that, get an increase? It depends on the


idea about Europe, that different politicians have. The idea that


even though they are slashing budgets, we concede that the


European budget should incorporate the European added value. Money is


spent in 27 member-states. think the money spent more


effectively at a European level than a national level? The EU's


accounts have not been approved for about 13 years now. How can it be


more effective in spending than the Madrid, Paris or London


governments? We truly believe that, and expenditure will be more


effective, especially because we are dealing with coalition policy,


innovation, development, European Social Fund. Many things are spread


between 27 member states. It will produce a better effect. I'm asked


say that the European budget is neutral. -- I must say. We don't


want the member states to spend more money. We want to transfer


some kind of spending to the European budget. Thank you. What


should the British Government's strategy... What should they be in


this European budget formation? think it is a mistake to say at the


beginning that we might walk out. There are a lot of negotiations


ahead and that is not the way you normally go into negotiations. I


agree that in this time of austerity, we shouldn't be looking


at a budget rise. But we also need to be looking at other aspects of


the Budget. We need to make sure there's a review, because we know


we are beginning to come out of recession and in a couple of years,


that will be the moment to invest. We also have to make sure that the


money we've got is spent more efficiently. At the moment you are


not allowed to swap money between different... That is stupid.


agree that the Budget should be frozen in real terms, if not for


all of the 2014-2020 period, or maybe for 14, 15 and all 16?


part of a package where we look at these other aspects and make sure


we get a proper efficient use art of the money we have. If I could


just say... Briefly. The accounts being signed off. The countries of


Europe, countries like the UK who are responsible for that, it is the


Department of Work and Pensions who have never had their accounts


People do have doubts that money is being spent wisely at European


level, let alone British level. This is completely indefensible


when we have cuts in our own country and are living in times of


austerity. The European Parliament has voted to increase our


contributions by �2 billion a year, something we can't afford, and


something the people of this country would not like. What should


they do? Rejected completely. I would like to see the Budget


reduced significantly. I think Cameron will go into negotiations.


He got on the train a few years ago at St Pancras and said, "I'm going


to Brussels and I will be the hard man." By the time he got there, he


would he accept the 2.5%. If there is no deal because they want to


avoid a British veto, as Angela Merkel is suggesting, this year's


budget is automatically rolled over with a 2% increase, is an there is


no veto on that. Would that be a sensible strategy? Cameron has got


to play hardball, and if he has to walk out, I believe he should. The


budget will go forward anyway. At the European Parliament wanted to


be 6.8% increase which would take a contributions to over 16 billion.


didn't get an answer. You have got to play hardball otherwise it won't


play in this country at all, but if you play to add, you get rises you


didn't want in the first place. are hugely benefiting from this


particularly when you look at research programmes. Newcastle


University has got 116 at research programmes at the moment. We are


net contributors. No, we are not, on research. I understand point. I


don't quite understand the point of the argument because, if we didn't


make a contribution at all, and decided as a democracy not to, we


could give that money to Newcastle University anyway. We wouldn't be


in the single market if we did that. The average tax payer pays 8p a day.


Poor Norwegian tax payer, he pays almost as much for the privilege.


In the end, although it sounds like big money, when you driller down,


per capita, it's peanuts. Actually, the contribution is quite


significant but, beyond that, the money it takes to comply with EU


directives. We give �16.3 billion a year to the European Union and get


under half of Babak and then they will tell us how to spend our own


money and that is not acceptable and it is wrong. A we have to move


on. Plenty of time between now and Christmas to discuss it. Endless


summer it's coming up now. David Cameron's air miles will be quite


amazing if he carries on like this. Now, how many homes do you think


the European Parliament has? I'm sure you know. Well, you might be


surprised to find out that it actually has two. One in Brussels


and another in Strasbourg. The moving between the two has been


dubbed the travelling circus. And in these austere times, many are


questioning if it's sensible or affordable? Jo Coburn packed her


bag and set off to investigate. Brussels may be more famous for its


chocolate and a beer, but it's also home to the European Parliament.


Most of the time, anyway. Once a month, 754 MEPs and 3,000 staff


trek to London 20 miles to their other home in Strasbourg. The


official seat of the European Parliament. This tale of two cities


is often referred to as the gravy train, and it could be about to hit


the buffers. At the time of crisis, the campaign for a single seed for


the European Parliament has been gathering speed. Its supporters


claim the monthly shuttle costs 180 million euros a year. A round trip


by car and train can take up to eight hours, and it produces 19,000


tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The public see this


travelling circus as an example of the EU waste and incompetence. The


members themselves want change. We recognise what the public feel. We


are responding to that by saying, come on, governments, stop forcing


us to meet in Strasbourg. He British MEP Edward McMillan-Scott


is leading the fight for a single seed based in Russells and support


is growing. 74% of MEPs backed the call for change it -- Brussels. But


the decision as a huge historical significance. The city is on the


border with Germany. And, for many, it represents the close links


between the two countries after two world wars. For us, Strasbourg is a


symbol of peace and reconciliation with Germany and France, so it's


very strong for us and for Germany or so. -- also. The view of the


French is backed up by European law, which states that the parliament


meets in Strasbourg 12 times a year. Changing where European


institutions are based requires treaty change, agreed by all 27


member states. History has proved how difficult that can be to


achieve. Then the question is, how do you deal with, as it were,


buying off the French? You have to give them something to compensate.


You have to work out ways of using the historic value of Strasbourg in


different ways. Making Brussels the only destination for Europe's MPs


could be many years away. For now, I'd better book my ticket to come


back to Strasbourg next month. Jo Coburn reporting. She actually


got the train to the south of France! Are you against the


situation? It indeed. It's crazy. It's the thing most people regard


as the example of what is not efficient. We need to change it. It


doesn't make sense from a money point of view. Your carbon


footprint is enormous. Terrible. It made sense after the Second World


War. This is the 21st century and we have got to make the EU work for


the 21st century. Even if the whole parliament was United 100%, putting


aside the Strasbourg MEP, who wouldn't be, it won't happen.


quite simply, it shows you how powerless MPs are in this issue


because we will basically be told it is written into the treaties and


can't happen. There is a parliament was mothballed in Luxembourg which


has two debating chambers which have never been used and the


offices were done up at �800 million and there are 300 staff


there. I was interested to learn of the French don't have another


major... On French soil, they don't have another major European


institution. If it was to stay in Brussels, wardens of Brussels have


to sense something big down to Strasbourg to fill the gap? They


had been at many good ideas which it used to be put to a building, a


technology institute. A hotel like a naughty arch? Even though its


right that MEPs can't do anything about it, it's in the coalition


agreement with the support of both government parties. -- Admiralty


We need to put it on a table. both have been in favour of


reforming the Common Agricultural Policy together, too. Watch this


space. I will, but I won't hold my breath! Now it might look like


David Cameron and his ministers are endlessly shuttling between London


and Brussels for make-or-break meetings with their EU counterparts.


I know it certainly does to them! It's tough for us just to watch it


and cover. But lots of the groundwork is done in advance by


civil servants who are based in what's effectively Britain's


embassy to the EU. Adam's been to see them in action for the latest


in our series, the A-Z of Europe. In amongst the grandeur of the


capital of Europe, where can you find our man in Brussels? Well,


here in between a bar and a pharmacy. This is home up to the UK


Permanent representation to the EU, known as UKREP. And the man in the


middle with the blue folder full of secrets is power UKREP, our


ambassador to the EU, John Cunliffe, the 10th person to have the job. We


caught up with him prowling the corridors and lifts of power with


his French opposite number. He grunted as a rare interview. We are


responsible for all that associations which take place


within the EU. When you think of it, we deal with a whole range of


issues. I start the morning meeting the French ambassador and we


discuss the agenda, where we are on particular positions, and then I


think I'm meeting another couple of ambassadors this evening. My job is


to make sure the UK's voice is heard and interests are promoted


and are protected. And then he was off to the meeting of ambassadors


from the other 26 member states. Here they do much of the EU's day-


to-day work. On the agenda, next year's budget, Syria, Iran and


immigration. UKREP is a team of people, 150 civil servants from


across Whitehall, who spend between two and four years here at the time


and do the really did tell me decisions. They also help out


British guests when they pop over to Brussels. Here, guiding the


minister through the complex world of the European Parliament. Critics


of this place say it is full bureaucrats who are enthralled to


Brussels. The kind of people who will do any deal rather than the


real deal Number Ten would like to see. While they say they simply


negotiate within limits, set by London. And there is some glamour


to UKREP after all. It turns out our man in Basil gets a residence


here on ambassador's role. I suppose he needs somewhere grand


for his dinner parties. How does he know that? Adam Fleming


reporting. Fiona Hall and Paul Nuttall are still with me. Does


UKREP to a good job representing Britain in Brussels? I don't agree


with what they do. Britain represents 12% of the population of


the EU but only 4% of the staff within the EU are British. They are


meant to go sit on our behalf. I'm not going to criticise the civil


servants but they are taking their lead from the Foreign Office and


quite frankly the Foreign Office has sold us down the river over the


year. They report to the foreign office. What is the important thing


they do for the UK? They don't just report to the Foreign Office but


across the board to departments. Detailed piece of legislation. I


think they do a good job and I work closely with them. High quality


people? Yes, we had a gap when we stopped fast-tracking people but we


are doing so again and that's very important. Are they work on the


detail and have their hands tied behind their back because they


don't get the full support of UK MEPs because some of them pocket


their salary and don't actually do their detailed work. Names? Paul


Nuttall has only once been in the environment committee in the last


two years. I don't want to go down that road. We, even if you got your


way, we still need a UKREP for the EU? If it still existed after we


left, of course. I just up answer this question by not turning up. I


would rather have a MEP like myself who votes in favour of Britain and


against any sort of legislation but transfers power from the UK to


Brussels. That's what I do and why I am good value for money. You have


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