26/11/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, welcome to the Daily Politics. Much of England is


under water, vast areas of the south-west and north-east are knee-


deep in floods, and there are alerts in Scotland and Wales.


Should we worry when we hear that talks between the government and


insurers are on the brink of collapse?


Nigel Farage will be talking about the decision in Rotherham to remove


three children from a foster family because the parents were members of


UKIP - he is not pleased, to put it mildly.


And after the highs of the Olympics, are attempts to get us all doing


more sport coming a cropper because of a lack of local facilities?


All that in the next hour. With us today is the legendary athlete and


member of the House of Lords Tanni Grey-Thompson, welcome. If you have


any thoughts or comments on anything we are discussing you can


send them to [email protected] or tweets


your, and using #bbcdp. -- tweeted your comments. There has


been misery as flooding and torrential rain hit this weekend.


More than 800 homes were deluged and more is under way as the rains


keep coming. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for North


Wales and the north-east of England. The Environment Agency says there


are currently 204 flood warnings on their website. Scotland is at risk


and it has emerged this morning that some people may find their


homes uninsurable as talks between the government and the Association


of British Insurers have failed to reach agreement.


The Government is committed to improving flood defences and in


return insurers are obliged to provide cover for high-risk


properties. This morning Nick Starling of the ABI said it was not


about tax payers footing the bill. We've had two years since the major


flood summit held by the Government, two years to sort this out. The


industry has put a lot of work and money into creating a model and it


is not right to say it would burden the taxpayer. The model develops a


fund, and into that front go a high risk premiums and the small levy.


In circumstances where there is a major flood and not enough within


the fund to pay the claims, we ask for a temporary overdraft to be


paid the next year. It is wrong to say it is a burden on the taxpayer,


it is an elegant solution enabling us to move on and it would be a


world leader in flood insurance. We are joined now by Richard Benyon,


the minister in charge of tackling floods. Can we pick up on that, has


the Government rejected a deal that would ensure that those at high


risk of flooding would continue to get affordable premiums? We are not


in the deadlock position which some people are reporting. That is not


what he says. There was a very good meeting towards the end of next


week and -- last week and we expect more meetings in the next few days.


I must register disappointment that it has been done and the backdrop


of pretty tragic floods in large parts of the country. I don't think


it is the time to raise it, although it is an important issue


for households. Households want to have certainty, those people living


in high-risk areas, that there is some sort of deal that means they


can get affordable premiums. Whether you are in a deadlock, or


you don't see it that way and the insurers do, is very deal that can


be do in the next few months? -- is there a deal that can be done in


the next few months? We want universal insurance for Flood Risk


Homes, which is not done at the moment, and the key would be at an


affordable level for households on low incomes. Premiums will have to


go up? At the moment there is no measure in the current agreement


that says anything about premiums or excess charges, which is a big


worry for householders. We want to bring that into the arrangement


that will follow one from the statement of principle which ends


in June next year. We are representing the tax payer and it


is really important we have a good deal for households who have many


burdens on their incomes, we want something affordable, but most of


all we want to concentrate at the moment on dealing with floods right


up and down this country, in some cases they have had tragic


consequences. Finally, there is a specific issue of a guaranteed


overdraft which is what being so it -- the Association of British


Insurers is talking about. Will you agree to provide a guaranteed


overdraft to fund any emergencies in the first two or three years,


while the scheme is being built? would be wrong for me or any


minister to be negotiated over the airwaves. We have had good meetings,


and will continue to have good meetings, with the insurance


industry and I will simply not do that in public, it would be quite


wrong. We are representing the hard-pressed taxpayer to make sure


we are getting the best deal for them for households that are really


worried about this as quickly as possible. Tanni Grey-Thompson, what


do you think? It sounds as if the row was going on about whether a


premium should go up, the insurers wanted to go up to cover these


emergencies, do you think it should? They probably have to,


which is quite unfortunate. For people trying to pump water out of


their houses, it is almost impossible to associate. I think


the public expect there to be support for these people


experiencing really difficult times. One of the things are flood


defences themselves, what do you say to residents in Worcestershire


who were flooded despite a �1.7 million flood defence system which


failed to work? I feel desperate for them. That money was wasted?


it failed because a pump did not kick in. Somebody has been sitting


overnight to make sure it did. I think it is a pity that people have


concentrated on one scheme that failed, one of a 26,000 homes, as


of last night, were protected by a recently built flood schemes that


have worked. I feel desperate for those people. I think it is


important that we concentrate on the many thousands of homes that


have not bloody its because really good, well-thought-out schemes of


taxpayers' money have been spent properly. Should there be more of


them to prevent the people who have been flooded, who will be dishing


the water out? We are spending �2.17 billion in this period on


building new... Produced will see those endless images of people just


being devastated. -- but you still see those endless images. There are


5.2 million homes at some sort of bloodless, we want to concentrate


on those most at blowed was, communities who get up every


morning, they see it raining and they worry. We have got another �72


million on what we are spending from other schemes, trying to get


these up and built. Our insurers being a bit irresponsible


discussing this in public? -- our insurers being? We are disappointed


it has been discussed today when people are wading about in wet


houses. We are working with them and we want a solution, that is


what people want. This morning two of the main


political stories concern UKIP. It emerged over the weekend that


officials working for Rotherham council removed three children from


foster parents because the parents were UKIP members. The director of


Children's Services at the council, Joyce Thacker, said these children


are from EU migrant backgrounds and UKIP has very clear statements on


ending multiculturalism. Rotherham Council is Labour-controlled


Lambeth council has ordered a report into the case, which


apparently they are looking at as we speak. Joining me from Rotherham


is the BBC Yorkshire political editor, Len Tingle. They are


discussing Match report and I heard you say there has been a meeting


between Joyce Thacker, the leader of the council, and the Chief


Executive? That ended about half- an-hour ago. Literally two minutes


ago, popping into my Inbox here was a statement from the council. Tries


Back came out of this meeting, walked right past us, I asked if


she felt under pressure, whether she thought she was still in a job.


-- Joyce Thacker came out of this meeting. A couple of minutes later,


the Labour leader of the council... You will probably hear behind me we


are in the middle of a by-election, everything happening at once. I


don't think it is entirely coincidental that Respect have


pulled their truck up behind me. But as far as this particular she


was concerned, we are hearing from the council in their statement that


they have ordered a further inquiry, they are not talking about any


disciplinary action against any members of the council. They want


to know more. They say the interest of the children is paramount, they


are sending a report to the Secretary of State and that is as


far as they have got this morning. They are not expecting the council


to give a statement. The leader of the council said this is probably


one of the councils with more Labour councillors on it than any


other in the country. I think there are only four councillors that are


not Labour. The leader, a veteran leader, walked past us without


making any statements are tall. sounds the nobody is talking at the


moment. -- without making any statement at all.


Thank you, Len Tingle. Elsewhere, the Conservative Party


vice-chairman Michael Fabricant has called for an electoral pact with


you coup. He thinks David Cameron should promise to hold them in-out


referendum on the youth -- on the EU if UKIP promises not to stand


against Conservative candidates and 2013. He said it could mark the


final rapprochement between warring brothers. The UKIP leader tweeted


in response, Olympic and Paralympic Games Task and Finish Group. We


will hear from Michael Fabricant a little later, but I am joined by


the UKIP leader Nigel Farage. You wants heads to roll? What has


happened is an outrage, I think that is shared by the vast majority


in the country. These couple have fostered for seven years and done


an impeccable job. But on the basis of their views, that they support a


party that thinks we should not be in the EU and we should control


migration into Britain, this has been done to them. I want them to


be pardoned, I want the children to be returned, and heads should roll.


Whose heads? Joyce Thacker? Without a shadow of the doubt, she should


go. This is not the first time that Rotherham have done badly in


protecting children. What is the party policy on multiculturalism?


We don't want to spend state money encouraging further division in


society, which is what we did for 40 years in pursuing


multiculturalism. Trevor Phillips on the Prime Minister now agreed.


We think if people come here legally, we have to make sure they


all speak English and integrate. You don't like councils promoting


the idea of multiculturalism? As an observer, what is your reaction to


the stir the -- story, looking at it from a human perspective? That


the children were taken away apparently on the basis of them


being members of UKIP. headlines are very stop and


worrying. The children need to be protected. If there were concerns


about the family, the children should not have been there in the


first place, that is terribly disruptive. I don't think being a


member of a party should be a bar to fostering, it should probably be


encouraged because they are more understanding about society. I


would like to see if there is any more behind it rather than just


being a member of UKIP. Joyce Thacker, who defended their


position at the weekend, has said that the children, who were from EU


migrant backgrounds, had been removed to protect their cultural


and ethnic needs from UKIP's strong views and apparent opposition to


multiculturalism. She says she is legally obliged to fulfil that


requirement. We don't buy that. What did you buy? She was


backtracking. Initially the couple were told the children were being


removed because UKIP was viewed as a racist party, that is what they


were told and why the children were removed. Joyce Thacker is now


backtracking slightly 4th of the truth of his it -- truth of it is


these three children were singing nursery rhymes in their native


language and doing the same in English, surely that shows they


were in a very good environment indeed? Just that there,


backtracking or not and rightly or wrongly, feels that she is only


during what she proposed to do legally -- Joyce Thacker,


backtracking or not. Judges in sit -- insist that children from ethnic


minority backgrounds are placed in homes to promote ethnic and


cultural minorities, which UKIP does not believe in. The children


were not being told to forget their background or give up their


language, far from it. But can you understand it Joyce Thacker's view?


It might be wrong, as far as you see it, but a logical train of


thought is this family were not right because they would not want


to promote those things because it is not what UKIP believes in?


and everyone has moved on it recognises that the way we were


doing it was a mistake. -- virtually everyone has moved on and


recognises. So what has Joyce Thacker done wrong? Sent officers


in and removed three children from a loving environment on the basis


that they were members of a racist party. She was wrong. You say you


want the children removed -- disciplinary action will take place.


What are you going to do? children have been uprooted again,


the couple are in limbo, heads will clearly not role. I am worried that


the inquiry is just kicking the camp down the road. If we will not


get redress from the council, we will have to consider other members


like the legal route. On the basis... That they have been


discriminated against. You could argue that whoever the official was


in Rotherham is not the only person to be disparaging about UKIP. In


2006, David Cameron said that members of UKIP, mostly, but not


all, where fruit cake alone -- fruit cake and rubies and closet


racists. On Saturday from Ed Miliband to Michael Gove we saw


virtually every one say it was wrong because UKIP is not racist.


Joyce Thacker said she thought UKIP was not a racist party on Radio 4,


more backtracking. The only person that chose to abuse UKIP and imply


that somehow it was racist was David Cameron again, and we are


appalled. What would you say? What would you do? I think that links


into the next story, Michael Fabricant has an idea that somehow


they will buy us off by offering me a job and UKIP will pack up its


tents and go wrong. The trouble is, Mr Fabricant, it is very difficult


for us to believe anything David Cameron says, because he gave us a


cast-iron guarantee, if you remember, that we would have a


referendum, and it has not happened. I mentioned earlier that the


Conservative Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant had written a


report calling for a pact between his party and UKIP at the next


I spoke to Michael Fabricant earlier and I asked him about it.


Apart from some action on Twitter last night, with Nigel Farage, I


have had absolutely no dealings with UKIP. This is an internal


discussion document. I have published it because I think it


deserves full debate. If we ever chose to implement it, and that


would not be my decision, that would be done in 24 months' time.


Guess, but it would be an electoral pact. You are saying you would not


put UKIP candidates up in areas where Tories are standing. That's


right. We are living in an era of electoral pacts and coalitions. Who


would have thought that the Conservatives would have entered


into a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats? But they did


that after the result, not as part of a packed beforehand. So, it


looks as if you are worried about the result of the 2015 election,


you do not think you will get an overall majority unless you get


into a packed with UKIP. exactly. I do not know what the


situation will be like in 24 months' time. It could be that we


could win an election outright, and in fact I am pretty confident that


we might do just that. What I am doing is saying, but we should have


a number of strings to our bow, and this might be one of them. It all


comes about because it was Nigel Farage who said in his party


conference speech that he would entertain such a pact. I know that


last night, on Twitter, he said, no, we are at war with the


Conservatives. I gather this morning he was coming back from


that a little bit. I understand that you have got him on the


programme possibly, and you will ask that question. But this is not


a bed -- this is not a debate that we will be having with UKIP until


possibly 24 months from now, and that debate might not be necessary.


But if he is saying, this is war, you are left with egg on your face.


But he keeps changing his mind. He said he would do it at the party


conference, then he said last night, this is war, and I gather this


morning, he is saying, there is a possibility. At the end of the day,


we should all keep our powder dry. I do not make up strategy. That


will be the decision of Number Ten Downing Street in 24 months' time,


or whatever, if they choose to explore this further. In the


meantime, I just want to get a debate. What could you promise him,


to entice him back? You say he is vulnerable to changing his mind, so


what could you offer him in terms of government? It would not be me


for a start.. But could you see Nigel Farage in Cabinet? It would


be a decision for David Cameron. I think Nigel Farage has got a lot of


talent. We bring in people from other parties to do things in


government. But that will be a decision for David Cameron and


George Osborne, and those who make up a strategy. I still say that if


people want a good deal in Europe, they would be better off voting


Conservative. The problem is, they do not always do so, they vote UKIP,


and that can cost boat's. Do you agree with Nigel Farage that David


Cameron has lost everybody down on the issue of a referendum on


Europe? -- that can cost votes. Not at all. There has been a great deal


of deception about this issue. David Cameron said that if the


Lisbon Treaty were not put -- was not endorsed, was not made into a


full treaty by the time of the last election, we would have a


referendum on whether we signed it. A lot of your colleagues feel they


have been marched to the top of the hill and then straight back down


again. I don't think so at all. David Cameron made it very, very


clear that if the Lisbon Treaty were already signed by the time we


got in, it would be closing the stable door after the horse had


bolted. What are you promising UKIP, if they did agree not to put


candidates up against the Conservatives, what are you


promising them? What I am saying is that we would have to give, and


this is based on Nigel Farage's speech, a cast-iron guarantee that


after the general election, there would be a straight referendum, in-


and out, or Europe. Is that actually achievable, to give a


cast-iron guarantee? Nigel Farage said it would have to be signed in


blood. If we feel in 24 months' time that we want to deal with UKIP


- and as I said, it may not be necessary, it may not be


advantageous - I will donate a pint. Good for you. But Downing Street


have distanced themselves from you today, having called for an


electoral pact with UKIP. Number 10 Downing Street said, Michael


Fabricant does not speak for the party on this issue. Quite right.


They say really, you should shut up on this issue. Mine is a discussion


document, and I wanted discussed. I do not want it discussed yet with


UKIP, as I say, it is something which might have to be decided in


24 months' time. That decision will be made not by me, but by David


Cameron and George Osborne and their advisers. Should David


Cameron retract his statement about some UKIP members being loonies and


closet racists? I heard the interview yesterday on the BBC


website. It was an interview which was done back in 2006. The truth is,


some UKIP members are. I will be very controversial and say, I think


some Conservative members might be, and some Labour members and some


Lib Dem MPs. But David Cameron has not said it about Labour and Lib


Dem MPs. He has specifically said it about some UKIP members - should


he retract that? I heard the interview, I do not think it needs


retraction at all. Nigel Farage is an intelligent man. He will do what


he thinks is best for the country in its relationship with the


European Union. Let's see what happens in two years' time, if it


is necessary. In the meantime, I have got the debate going. Let's


put it to Nigel Farage - are there any circumstances in which you


would sign up to an electoral pact? I did say in our conference that if


Ed Miliband or David Cameron were to make a clear promise that the


country would have a full referendum about the continued


membership of the European Union, and wanted to come and talk to us


about that, and about how the election should be managed, we


would sit and talk around the table. The difficulty of course is how we


could trust any such promise. a good enough deal, I suppose, for


you, that it might be worth trusting them. You could save


yourselves all of those lost deposits. We would need to believe


that it is actually going to happen. But what has changed over the


course of this weekend is that it is all well and good speaking about


the 2006 interview, in which Cameron was abusive about UKIP, but


he did it again on Saturday. In the wake of this Rotherham scandal, he


did it again. It is very difficult to see how you could do a deal with


somebody who has consistently rude about you. Do you think they should


be considering deals and contract like this? That is a really


difficult one. I am not sure. I think for people interested in


politics, this is all quite amusing. There was a bit of navel-gazing, to


be honest. For people on the outside, they were just think this


is politicians going on as they usually do. I do not see the point


of having a discussion document when they are not actually


discussing with UKIP. It seems like a bit of hot air, to be honest,


delaying any decisions on Europe. He is sort of saying that they


would offer me some kind of position, and the rest of the party


would pack up its tent and go home. Is there something you would like


in government? Yes, I would really like for there to be the most


enormous all-night party, after we get the result, and Britain has


left the European Union, and we are back governing our own country.


That is what I am in politics full. You are cross with David Cameron,


so which potential Conservative leader would you trust? Well, this


means that Cameron would not be leader of the party. Because he is


the major obstacle. If he went, who could you do business with?


Cameron went, and somebody pragmatic, grown-up and sensible,


like Michael Gove, was leader, then you might think, we could sit


around the table and have a discussion. Have you spoken to


Michael Gove privately about these things? No. But he would be the


kind of person? Yes, open-minded, does not throw abuse around, thinks


things through, he would be the right kind of person. Because there


are things which you have in common, even beyond the question of the


referendum? Not really. We support grammar-school, they do not.


They're obsessed with covering the country with windmills, we are not.


The list goes on. I did not say we would sit down, -- we would stand


down, I said we would sit around a table and have a conversation.


do you need in order to be persuaded that you could trust the


Conservatives? It is going to be very difficult if David Cameron is


still the Prime Minister, to believe that he would keep that


promise. One issue which concerns me would be a referendum on Europe


- do you feel it is something which the people would like to see?


would be quite concerned about having a referendum, because I do


not think most of the British public understand enough about


Europe, about what it means to be there. I think a referendum at some


point would be a good idea, but I think there needs to be an awful


lot more education. Would you like a straight referendum on in or out,


or would it be something else? think ultimately, it would have to


be in or out, but at the moment I would not agree to have one,


because people do not know enough. But it is not difficult - do you


wish to govern your own country or be governed by Herman Van Rompuy?


It is not difficult? You have a very firm stand point... That is


the classic view that I here in Westminster. When we are canvassing


and campaigning, every single small business in Britain knows exactly


where their laws come from. based just saying they would like


to have a look at the relationship? -- are they just saying? They


understand that Europe is not just an economic debate, something which


happens in Brussels - it is something which happens in this


country and affects people's lives. Many people do not believe in it,


but to say that people are not ready to have a referendum, I do


not agree.. As we mentioned earlier, there is a by-election taking place


in Rotherham this Thursday, and you can read a full list of the


candidates on the BBC Sheffield and South Yorkshire website. It was


quite a summer. The Olympics helped lift the gloom and made us all feel


a bit proud to be British. But have we managed to turn that golden


feeling into a lasting legacy, not just for sport, but also for that


sense of community which we enjoyed just a few short months ago.


Interest in sport is on the up, and this programme has learnt that the


police are hoping that some of the volunteers who made the Olympic


Games happen might become special constables. But long-term, are we


doing enough to make sure the spirit survives? David Thompson


An unforgettable summer. Quite simply, Britain at its best. The


Olympics did not just change our view of London, it changed the way


the whole country looks at itself. Some said it was a living example


of the Big Society, with thousands of people coming together to make


the Olympic Games work. It is the feel-good factor still with us, and


has the enthusiasm for volunteering been harnessed? For many people,


the real stars of the show were the Gamesmakers, an army of 70,000


volunteers who made everything tick. In fact, they were such a striking


example of public spirit that I understand the Metropolitan Police


is considering trying to sign some of them up as special constables.


But has it really inspired others? The Olympics has had a significant


effect on volunteering for our organisation. We have had the


numbers of inquiries more than doubling, since the Olympics, up to


the current day, and it seems to be holding up. I think the reason is


that it has suddenly raised volunteering into consciousness..


And it looks as if our summer triumphs have given sport a boost


as well. British Cycling say their membership is up 50% since the


heroics of the summer. Bookings for beginners' courses have doubled in


fencing, and in archery, novice classes are also booked up into the


new year. But it is not all good news. Research found that while the


Olympics had inspired almost 80% of young people questioned to take up


some kind of exercise, less than a quarter had actually been able to


In disadvantaged areas there are not enough sports opportunities,


and where there are they are often at the wrong style, praise or


location to suits need. So there is a problem about a lack of


opportunity. The sports and recreational


alliance surveyed almost 500 clubs in the UK and found many were


expecting more people to take up some form of exercise as a direct


result of the Games, but almost three-quarters said the Government


had not done enough to create a sporting legacy for the public.


In a time of austerity, how should ministers keep the flame burning?


Up and down the country there are really good quality local delivery


projects for sports at the right time, place, style, price. They are


on the doorstep of youngsters who say they want to get involved but


don't know how. I think it is finding ways to invest in them and


empower them and that then take forward to the legacy spirit.


are pretty good of closing ceremonies, too. The trick now is


to make sure this was the end of the games and not the end of the


dream. -- the end of the Games. Councillor Stephen Castle from the


Local Government Association joins me, he is chairman of the Olympic


and Paralympic Games Task and Finish Group. And Paralympic gold


medallist Tanni Grey-Thompson is still here. You said and our


programme at one stage that you were worried that the fairy dust of


the Olympics and Paralympics might disappear. I don't think it has


gone but it has definitely pushed back. Everybody talking to each


other on the true bad games time has disappeared, but it was never


going to completely change the culture of participation. It has


encouraged people to go to sports clubs, which we expected, but we


have to do more. There are some issues with local sports provision,


it is a postcode lottery. Local authorities are under pressure,


some are closing sports facilities because it is not seen as a


priority. We have to come back to physical education in schools,


sport is a perfect opportunity to signpost young people into being


physically active and unless we get it right we have missed a huge


opportunity. Taking the point about the schools,


do you think the Olympic dream has not really harnessed a generation


in that sense? It was there and it has gone? It was never going to.


Many politicians felt it would undid should. All the statistics


from previous games have shown it is like the Wimbledon effect, you


get a spiking participation but there has to be something behind it.


For me, we could look at women. 80% of women don't do enough physical


activity to be healthy, which has massive implications on society.


Mums are much more likely to encourage their sons to play sport


than their daughters. What would encourage women to do more sport?


If having of local, accessible, not making it frightening going into a


gym. -- having it local, accessible. A is it possible when there are


cuts? Local government has had a tough time, as has the entire


public sector. But I think the Government has taken the magic dust


of the game's end used it to build partnerships, to get new


organisations involved in supporting sport and delivering


opportunities that tied together clubs and local authorities and


schools. The health agenda is an important one in bringing funding


into sport. With a new public health responsibility given to


local government there is a huge opportunity to tire that into


delivering sporting opportunities. Jessica Ennis's home town of


Sheffield is looking for a 20% reduction in the swimming pool and


leisure budget. Sheffield has some of the best sporting facilities in


the country. In places like Essex, where historically we did not have


had... Did not have, we have used the magic dust of the Games to bend


budgets to make things happen. Seven to local authorities have


closed at least one sporting facility and 126 have reduced


provision. Looking at Basildon, they have close two or three very


ageing sports facilities and invested money in a world class


pool and gymnastics centre up. Basildon is one of the most


deprived parts of Essex and participation is going up. I get


the impression that money is being put into sport but these are big,


showcasing Olympic arenas or stadiums that are not going to


persuade women who live in the local area to go to be gym? They


are part of what is going on in Essex. We did not have world-class


sporting facilities. Now we are seeing the athletes who got medals


in the Olympic Games From Basildon gymnastics club are inspiring


youngsters in Basildon to see what they could achieve. Lord Moynihan


said he wants new laws to force councils to ring-fence money for


leisure provision, do you agree? Yes, because it is that just about


elite sport, which looks after itself, but having a fitter and


healthier nation. If we don't do something now, we will spend more


on the health budget. I would like to see the Department of Health,


DCMS and the Department of Education get together and work


closely. I don't think council budgets should be ring-fenced. What


councils are really good at is working out what is good for their


locality. Dame Tanni is right, the big spenders are local government,


education and potentially health. If the Government can send a clear


message, diving Jeremy Hunt in health, there was a big supporter


of the Games and the School Games, could get investment in sport and


physical activity. We do a great job with Sport England, working at


the DCMS, but the departments of health and education, we could do


more with them locally. The austerity era could last until


2018 if the economy does not pick up soon, according to a leading


think-tank. The Institute of Fiscal Studies warns that the Government


may miss its target of starting to reduce the national debt by the


time of the next election. Gemma Tetlow is from the IFS. Thank you


for joining us. Why is this important? It is very important


that the UK gets its public finances back into balance over the


medium term. At the moment we spend far more than be raised in tax


revenue and can't continue with that indefinitely because we would


be left with debt rising inexorably. Over the medium term we need to get


back to a position where tax revenues are sufficient to cover


spending needs. Over the last few months since the Budget, the


outlook for economic growth has become somewhat worse than was


thought in March and tax revenues are coming in more weekly than the


OBR expected in March. If these are permanent rather than temporary,


that could mean the Chancellor would need to announce further


fiscal austerity, possibly in the next Parliament, to get the public


finances back into balance. What sort of figures are you putting on


that? If the weakness we have seen over the last six months or so is


permanent, and that is one possible scenario, he could require around


�23 billion of tax increases and spending cuts to come in by 2017/18.


That is a very big figure. Do you say that the Government has not get


a credible plan to deal with the public finances, the deterioration


of them? Buyers of the March Budget, the Chancellor has set out a plan


consistent with meeting both fiscal targets. He has won fiscal mandate


requiring up by the end of the forecast to rise in taxes should be


sufficient to cover non investment spending after adjusting for


temporary ups and downs of the economic cycle. His supplementary


target requires that there should be falling as a share of income


between 2014/15 and 2015/16. 0 last few months, we have seen it looks


like borrowing this year will be higher than forecast in March. That


could be sufficient to mean that, without further action, he could


miss his supplementary target. However, the supplementary target


in itself is not particularly good at insuring public finances are


Roma sustainable course in the medium term, so the Chancellor


might be better advised to abandon that target rather than employment


policy to continue meeting it. I've been joined by the rest of the


show by the Labour MP and a Reynolds, Liberal Democrat Stephen


Lloyd and the Conservative Crispin Chubb. Welcome to you all, a pretty


grim precursor to the auction's the Autumn Statement? The IFS is a


respected body but like the rest of us it does not have a crystal ball


or know what is in the forecast. But it is clear that we face


difficult economic times. The eurozone challenge means export


markets are not as good as they could be, so we have to deal with


that. But the fundamental that people who lend us money every day


will look at is the direction of travel. International creditors are


prepared to lend us money at a low rate of interest, meaning the man


in the street, the mortgage holder or small businessman, has to pay


less in mortgages and loans. By the end of the air, borrowing may be


higher than this time last year and the Chancellor should maybe just


admit he will miss his target for debt to fall as a share of national


income between 2014 and 2015. Should he do that? We have reduced


the deficit by a quarter in two years under difficult circumstances.


But should he abandon it? Let's see what he says in a week or so.


The IFS report says that if the current tax receipts are permanent


the chance there will need another �23 billion of tax rises or


spending cuts. Which would Labour choose? We are not agreed with the


overall debt targets set out, but he is clearly missing his own


targets. It is very worrying that the reason they are missing the


debt target over the longer term is because the economy is not growing.


Successive business organisations have said that the Government need


real policies to get the economy back on track. That should be the


priority. The IFS says even if there is growth, it is likely to be


weak, it would still lead to at least �11 billion worth of by the


tax rises or spending cuts. What would you rather Labour went for?


If there were to be that rise, we would rather that those with a


broader shoulders bear the heaviest burden, but this Government is


doing the opposite. The cuts are falling on the lowest and middle-


income earners harder than anyone else at the same time as they are


giving a tax cut to the millionaires in the country of


about �40,000 next year, they are making it harder for pensioners and


those on low incomes to make ends meet. The IFS says if you take the


amount that needs to be cut it would be equivalent to increasing


the main rate of VAT from 20% to 25%. Already standards of living


are dropping because of the rise in the cost of living, so why do not


think we would advocate that. you agree that at the moment lots


of the costs of -- cuts are falling on those who can't afford to pay?


It is nonsense. The middle and lower incomes are best protected,


more money has been taken from the rich by this Government than the


previous. I checked the bond markets when I was coming up this


morning. We are the second lowest bond interest rates in the EU after


Germany. It is difficult and the IMF conclusions are disappointing,


but even their report says there is a worst case and a best-case


scenario, we have to see what the numbers are in the next few days.


Do you think the policy has been too narrowly focused unsatisfying


credit rating agencies? If we did not satisfy the bond markets and


credit rating agencies, people would be paying more. If we don't


keep interest rates low, we would fall off a cliff, no doubt. Even if


the IFS has said the deterioration in public finances may mean that


you will have to go into the next election saying there will be


austerity to the tune of �23 billion to 20 a team? If that


happens, because we have had the worst recession since the late 20s,


if that is the reality then so be it. We have a million new jobs, the


lowest interest rates, highest employment since 1971. The path is


working and the people out there know that. The IMF has said that


the reason interest rates are low is primarily because growth


expectations are so low. The idea they have created low interest


rates is farcical. The OECD also say that unless we are prepared to


take our medicine early, we will have to swallow a bigger and harder


pill later. The Labour policy is still to borrow more and more and


more. You have not learned from your mistakes between 1997 and 2010.


We have seen by the failure of this Government that without growth you


cannot bring the deficit down anyway.


look at the political stories on the radar over the next week.


After washing all his own shirts, I'm sure, the Prime Minister faces


Commons to report back on the EU summit. And the failure to agree a


seven-year budget. On Tuesday a new clause is expected


to be introduced into the Crown Court Bill to fulfil the Justice


Secretary's promise to give householders the right to deploy a


disproportionate force in defending their homes.


On Wednesday consultation paper will be launched to give a


framework about introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.


On Thursday, Lord Leveson finally publishes his report on the role of


the press and the police in the phone hacking scandal.


And on Saturday there is the final of I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of


Here, but we have just learned that Nadine Dorries, the MP, who was


voted off first, has already packed her bikini and arrived back at


Heathrow, no doubt to be welcomed We can speak now to Isabel Hardman


from the Spectator, and Kevin Maguire, from the Daily Mirror.


Kevin Maguire, David Cameron is in a tight spot, as everybody


positions themselves, before Lord Leveson publishes his


recommendations, and he has said he will accept those proposals? Yes,


he is certainly in a tight spot, caught between a rock and a hard


place. A sizable proportion of his party is against any statutory


regulation of newspapers. Michael Gove and William Hague has spoken


out publicly, and David Cameron has got Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg on


the other side of the argument, seeming to want to embrace whatever


Leveson comes up with, so it is really difficult for the Prime


Minister. The only set that inquiry up because he was in a very


difficult position, with Andy Coulson having been his press


secretary. But he must regret creating the hearing now. What can


David Cameron do on this? I think this is the most difficult issue


which David Cameron is facing at the moment. It does not denigrate


the other issues, it just shows how difficult Leveson is. The main


problem is that his party is split. There is actually 70 MPs who are in


favour of some kind of independent regulation. They would join Labour-


run the Lib Dems in any vote. So, it could be extremely difficult for


him if the House votes in favour of statutory regulation. I suppose the


option for him defeat to maybe backed the proposals from Lord Hunt,


the chairman of the PCC, a kind of beefed-up self-regulation, with


powers to investigate some of the areas which the PCC did not have


before. So, he could go for that, with the threat of statutory


regulation hanging over the newspapers if they do not clean up


their act. What do you say to that, Kevin Maguire? This idea that the


papers cannot be trusted, or the industry cannot be trusted to


regulate itself, however much it protests otherwise, and actually,


the problem with the Press Complaints Commission was that it


and therefore did not have to abide by the code? Yes, Richard Desmond


did not sign up to it. As an investigator with body, it failed


abysmally, when it did not really look into what happened at News


International, and phone hacking. You get even newspapers like The


Guardian and the Independent, which have been exposing the phone


hacking, warning against a statutory control, because it is


the thin end of a big wedge, but there is a huge argument to be had,


and David Cameron knows it will be tricky for him. We are told he will


make a statement to the House of Commons at about 2:30pm on Thursday,


after the Leveson report is published. You cannot keep playing


for time. Harriet Harman, the Labour Deputy Leader, is looking


for statutory regulation. She has spoken about tabling an amendment


to the communications bill as a way of forcing the issue. It will end


up as one hell of a political fight. On her -- on a fight of the


difficult nature, Nadine Dorries, who has arrived back at Heathrow.


think the problem for Nadine Dorries, and for the leadership, is


that there is a lot of personal tension between Nadine Dorries and


Cameron. Even though there could be a very good case for disciplining


her, in the same way that you discipline a naughty child in a


class to stop the rest of the children going back, actually, they


need to be very careful. This could look like a personal backlash from


Cameron. Is that not the point? You have got to be pretty sensitive,


because it could backfire quite badly, couldn't it, on the


leadership, not just because of the history which but -- which Isabel


Hardman is talking about, but also, in not wanting to be inconsistent


in the way you deal with naughty MPs? Absolutely, I'm sure the Home


Secretary, to Reyes a May, will be sacked for allowing her back into


the country, and not having the border staff turn her away! Some


MPs get longer to go on business trips, to do legal cases, people


who are lawyers and so on. She will make that case very hard. If she is


going to be disciplined, I suspect Downing Street will wanted to be


done by her local party in Bedfordshire. If she is going to be


kicked out of parliament, she will want -- they will want them to


disown her. But you could not even discussed the possibility of her


tottering off to UKIP. What do you think Nadine Dorries will do when


she gets back? She has already started tweeting a list of MPs who


have spend more time away from the Commons then she has, to go on I'm


A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!. I think we will probably see lots of


newspaper and television interviews, and she has already given a radio


interview about why she went on the programme. I think if they come


down to her than her -- too hard on her, from the point of view of the


leadership, it could become quite unpleasant. She has got friends in


Parliament who could support her and who could say some


uncomfortable things for Guess the Year. Thank you both of you. We


will be feeling that this afternoon. -- uncomfortable things for Cameron.


This is going to be very difficult for Jaffa. Having spent vast sums


of public money on the Leveson Inquiry, surely the Prime Minister


has got to accept the recommendations? Let's see what he


says. There have been suggestions that it will be a monster report,


which will take quite a bit of reading. But on that point, having


set it up, having responded to questions that unless it is bonkers,


he will accept those recommendations, does he not have


to do exactly that? Well, he has to read it and then make a decision.


He set up the inquiry and he will look at its conclusions. My


personal view is that I am uncomfortable with any form of


statutory regulation. We have not had that in this country for the


press for about 300 years. It seems to me, what we really need to do is


to beef up the PCC, which everybody accepts has failed. We need to give


it powers to fine, which is what Lord Hunt recommended. It needs to


be able to impose real penalties on newspapers.. Is that really going


to do it? We have heard time and time again, when you look at the


stories, like the McCann family, or Christopher Jefferies, is this


really going to prevent that happening again? No, I do not think


it will make the slightest bit of difference. It is interesting about


the statutory regulation. The press have gone crazy about it, loss of


freedom and all of this. In Denmark, they have an independent regulatory


framework, and it works perfectly well, and nobody has told me that


Denmark has been taken over by the politicians. The politicians are


not the issue. The problem is that sections of the press have behaved


disgracefully. Nearly Dowling, the John Obi Mikel family, the list is


endless. It will keep going on unless there is some proper,


independent regulation. -- Milly Dowler in, -- Milly Dowling and the


McCann family. There are already laws about hacking, about driving


public officials, but that is why senior journalists now find


themselves inside police stations more often than they would like. I


do not think going down the route of regulating the press, inhibiting


its freedom to do proper, investigative journalism, which


could be the outcome... This is not what we want. You could put in a


particular cover, which says, investigative journalism in the


public interest should be allowed under any circumstances. It is very


important that we really look closely at what the people opposing


this are the same, and what the press are saying. There is no


reason we cannot have an independent regulatory framework,


with a particular clause written in, which says, if it is for the good


of the nation or of the public, then it can be done. It is terribly


important. Do you agree that if there is some kind of statutory


regulation, there is a risk that content could be interfered with,


that there will be that pressure on newspapers? Not necessary. If you


have an independent regulator, like you have in many other professions


- lawyers, doctors - that does not mean that there will be political


interference. I think the truth is that the Press Complaints


Commission has failed spectacularly to stop the hacking scandal, to


prevent the media intrusion which we still see in some people's lives.


So, we need a much better system, which is mandatory and independent.


It is hard to see how we would have that without some kind of statutory


underpinning. So Labour's position is too wholeheartedly accept the


Leveson recommendations, if he proposes an statutory underpinning?


Yes, and if his proposals, as Ed Miliband has said in The Guardian


today, are reasonable and proportion. -- proportionate. If


that is the case, then, yes, we want to work on a cross-party basis.


We do not want this to be a political issue. But you have got


Michael Gove, Eric Pickles and others are saying, they must not be


any statutory regulation of the press. We will only have cross-


party agreement if we are on the same lines. You cannot set up an


inquiry like this and then ignore its recommendations. There is


cross-party agreement that regulation may be the wrong way to


go. David Blunkett is leading up to 50 members of parliament across the


divide in Westminster, saying that regulation is not the way to go.


They are saying that the proposals of Lord black and Lord Hunt are the


best way to go. What about regional media, do you think they will be


affected? I do not think they should be. The newspaper in the


West Midlands did not do anything wrong. They did not have anything


to do with giving the police backhanders. West Midlands police


did not doing anything wrong. -- did not do anything wrong. These


are lessons which need to be learned by the national press, and


it has nothing to do with the regional press. Are you pleased


that Nadine Dorries is back from the jungle? I will not be rushing


to Heathrow to pick up her bags, because she is capable of doing


that by herself. She is a force of nature. She certainly is, by going


to the jungle. She did not last that long, but was it a good idea


for her to go? I would not have done it myself, but as Kevin said,


I agree with the Daily Mirror on this issue, it is a matter for her


local association to decide what should be done. Should she not have


gone? I would not have gone and I do not think she should have gone.


It is a matter for her local association to decide the best of


the action. Lots of MPs go on lovely trips to the Maldives, paid


for by the taxpayer - what is wrong with this? It is an absolute


disgrace. She showed contempt for her constituents. And I would say


that whatever party she was from. But Kevin is right that the Prime


Minister probably needs this like a hole in the head, so I do have


sympathy for David Cameron. But her behaviour was disgraceful. Was it,


really? What about the idea that she would be broadcasting to people


who would never be interested in politics? What about the people who


elected her? This was not a visit in which she was doing any politics


or representing her constituents in any way. She was on some celebrity


programme which had nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with


representing her constituency. Two of her neighbouring MPs had to take


her surgeries for her. And now she is bragging that she was not a way


that long, but it is only because she was kicked off early. It is


ridiculous. She will have made lots of your colleagues very angry, I


think. MPs across the board think this is not the way for MPs to


behave. She did get permission from the then Chief Whip. But I gather


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