28/11/2012 Daily Politics


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Good morning, Foulkes. This is Daily Politics. And it is time,


gentlemen please. Supermarkets might be banned from offering buy


one, get one free deals on alcohol in their attempt to cut binge


drinking. Will it work? Government says, yes, we will


protect the green belt, but we need to build millions of new houses,


and they have to go somewhere. We ask how they can do it. It is Prime


Minister's Questions in just half- an-hour. What has Ed got it up his


sleeve for the PM this time? And we meet the man who wants to cancel


Christmas. Buying somebody a gift often obliges them to buy back you,


and if they are skint, they can't afford it, that his pain, not joy.


What a cheery chap! I am still expecting a present from you.


already bought it! All that coming up in the next hour and a half of


public service TV at its finest. Joining us today, the Minister for


education and schools, Matthew Hancock. And the shadow Justice


Secretary, Sadiq Khan. David Cameron will be handed Lord Justice


Leveson's report into the standards of the press. Tomorrow he will


stand before the House of Commons and tell them what he plans to do.


It is a big moment for the Prime Minister, and you will not be able


to please everyone, even on his own side. The papers are universally


opposed to independent state regulation. The victims of phone


hacking of press intrusion are adamantly against the industry


being left alone to run its own affairs as it has so far. Many MPs


have already made up their minds. The Labour front bench a say that


pretty much nothing Lord Leveson says should be adopted, but they


haven't seen it. This morning, a letter is going around signed by


more than 80, mostly Tory, MPs, opposing any kind of statutory


regulation. We believe the statutory regulation should be an


absolute last resort. It would mean effectively state licensing of


newspapers. We moved away from that in 1695. On the table are sensible


proposals put forward by Lord Black to have a voluntary scheme whereby


all newspapers would sign up to it, where it could pro actively


intervene, levy fines, and its decision would be binding. That is


a much better way to proceed than introducing laws. Conor Burns MP.


We are joined by Lib Dem leader -- deputy leader Simon Hughes. Do you


believe that self-regulation has failed? Yes. And would you be


prepared to back state regulation, and new law? We have to be very


clear that people don't misunderstand, this is not


regulating the press so there is a body that tells the press what to


do. This is a regulation like we do for financial services or for fair


trade off for you, the broadcasters, which is allowing you to get on


with your job but having a statutory system which makes sure


that when there are complaints, there is a system in place.


hacked off campaign say that doesn't go far enough, and it won't


insure that the press carry out -- don't carry out the sort of


malpractices that have happened in the past. What you say to that?


Let's see what Lord Justice Leveson says. He has heard all the evidence,


including from the Campaign for the victims, Milly Dowler's family and


many others. They are clear that we cannot go on as we are. Things have


to change. The press have had the chance to put things right and have


failed. There is a poll in today's papers which show that that is


reported -- supported by the overwhelming majority of the


British people. So I think we have to wait to see exactly what Lord


Justice Leveson says tomorrow, but I am clear that the sort of


concerns that the victims, the Milly Dowler family for example,


have are redressed, because in the past they have not been able to


clear their name, to prevent abuse. We need to make sure there is a


right to redress guaranteed in the future. Are you worried about


reports that David Cameron and Nick Clegg could come out with different


views in response to Lord Leveson? All three party leaders agreed that


the Leveson Inquiry should be set up. There was consensus to do this


and who should conducted. I hope that when all three party leaders


have had a chance to read the report, there will be a consensus


about what we do, and that we will be a will to support the level some


recommendations. That is what I hope. But there are reports that


Nick Clegg is preparing a separate speech, that he could go into the


chamber after David Cameron's response to the proposals and say


something quite different. Liberal Democrats are an


independent party. This is not governed by the coalition agreement.


We will form our own agreement, our own opinion when we see the report.


We haven't heard yet where the Prime Minister is likely to land.


Whereas the Prime Minister going to land, Matthew Hancock? I imagine he


will read the report. Will he adopt the proposals? He only really fell


short of saying that he would adopt it unless it was completely bonkers.


Even if it included new laws and statutory regulation. He reads the


report for the first time, we understand, straight after PMQs. He


is allowed access from 12 o'clock, but I imagine he will be busy for


the first half an hour. Say you are saying he is likely not to adopt


the proposals? No, I am saying that he is likely to read it before he


decides. He will have had time to look at it by early tomorrow


afternoon. He has 24 hours. What you think you will do? I think he


will make a judgment based on what he has seen. What can I say? What


happens when you receive a report like that and you are the prime


Minister is that you have to consider it very carefully, and you


are given 24 hours in order to be able to think of your appropriate


response. But it might be observed for some people. It cost �3.9


million to set up, they have been 184 witnesses. It would be silly


for him not to adopt any proposals put forward. It would be absurd for


him to prejudge it. We have heard from the victims about what


happened. There are already legal case is going on, because one lot


of what happened is already illegal under existing law. It is not


surprising that he wants to wait and have a look at what is in the


report before setting out his position. It is not only


understandable, 80 has also very sensible. Do agree with some of


your senior Conservative colleagues warning that any new law to


regulate the press would require returned state licensing of papers.


I personally would need a lot of convincing that we need to have


stayed licensing, and statutory regulation. But I want to see what


the report says. The most egregious problems in the culture of the


press are already being prosecuted, and there are already laws around


what you can put in a newspaper. We will have to look at... But only if


you're a person with money. It is ME if you have means that you can


afford to take a newspaper to court. That is what would change if a new


law was passed. Let's see what laws are proposed. It is true that


access to lawyers is expensive. There are many ways to skin that


cat. Labour have stated what you want to do. You would support a new


system of regulation? We have not said we are going to give the


Leveson Inquiry a blank cheque. But unless the report is bonkers, we


would probably follow the recommendations. David Cameron has


formed a view, which is am less Leverton is bonkers, he will follow


the regular it -- and regulations. I have shared a platform with Simon


many times when I have agreed with him. Three things - they could be


an independent monitoring system for the press, it should be


compulsory, so that editors can't walk out of the PCC and refused to


play ball and there has got to be proper redress for victims of this


sort of stuff. If you have and nine-year-old Gill, sister of the


bereaved student who dies in a road accident, who was photographed


crying, in breach of PCC guidelines. A photograph lifted of a deceased


child from Facebook, published. It is not against the law, but it is


against the PCC guidelines. An example where by statutory


underpinning would help. Do you agree with that, Matthew?


certainly agree that redressed needs to be stronger. There is


enormous agreement over lots of things, but the question is how you


make it happen under the consequences of how you do that. As


Lord Justice Leveson has said, he is considering the evidence, he is


an extremely smart man, and no doubt he will consider all of these


questions. Matthew, you are a smart man as well. We have had many


select committee reports, enquiries, investigations. What you believe?


Are I believe I would like to look at the evidence before coming to a


snap judgment. Define bonkers. What would be bonkers? The system has


failed to regulate the banks. What makes you think it can regulate the


newspapers? Statutory underpinning is very important... Statutory


underpinning is regulation. What we are saying is that they need to be


independent, compulsion and redress. Nobody is accusing our judges of


being political hacks. Nobody is accusing solicitors... But there is


no democratic accountability of judges. We lobbied for... Not we,


you. Politicians. You lobbied. should wait and see what the judge


says. Before we go, newspaper editors are worried that in the end,


whatever his set-up, if it does have some sort of statutory backing,


if it is in law that they will have some may looking over their


shoulder on a daily basis, every time they write a story, it will


have to be checked, is that the reality of it? There is a


widespread campaign amongst the editors to try to have no change.


And I understand where they're coming from. They, like everybody


else, have to be subject to discussion by Parliament,


Parliament deciding what to do. We asked Lord Justice Leveson to help


us decide what to do. He's been Tia taking evidence and deciding what


to say. You are saying it would happen? I think he is highly


intelligent, a very robust report, I assume we will want to support


all that he proposes. I assume that, and I hope that that commands


general support across Parliament. Simon, then queue. The BBC can


reveal six copies of letters and were delivered to Downing Street


about an hour ago. He won't have time to read them, because Prime


Minister's Questions are coming up. Blockers are already offering


�1,000 for a copy! The Government are looking at


putting a minimum price on alcohol. It is already something the


Scottish government is trying to do, although it is the subject of a


legal challenge and an EU competition law. Could it turn the


tide on a culture of a responsible drinking? Jo Coburn has tottered


over to her podium. If that's libellous!


The Government is looking at banning buy one, get one free deals


on alcohol, and introducing a minimum price per unit of 45p. This


would mean that the price on the Public health experts wanted a


minimum of 50p per unit. A Sheffield University study said


this would see a dramatic fall in binge drinking, which they think


would fall by more than 10%. And they said that moderate drinkers


wouldn't be nearly so badly hit. People no harm themselves by


drinking to excess would have to spend another �120 per year to keep


up their habit. There are a million alcohol-related violent crimes, and


1.2 million at alcohol-related hospital admissions last year. Some


believe that a minimum Farkhod prize would cut hospital admissions


by nearly 100,000 over a five-year period, and help prevent something


like 3,000 early deaths. The Treasury could also suffer with a


reduction in tax revenue. When Canada introduced a similar minimum


price, they lost 8% in revenue. The Scottish government has already


opted for the 50p minimum price. The Bill completed its stages in


the Scottish Parliament, but is not yet on the statute books, as it is


Could this prevent some fools drinking themselves half to death?


Or is it a measure that will simply hit people who simply enjoy a


couple of quiet drinks and don't want to pay a fortune for it? Miles


Beale from the wind and trade spirit Association is with us, also


Eric Appleby, from Alcohol Concern. The government says alcohol-related


health problems and crime costs cost us �21 billion. Can we afford


not to do this? There's only real one model that is the evidence for


the government introducing a minimum unit price, and it's been


pretty heavily discredited. It won't work in real life. It's the


Sheffield University model. The report on Monday question the


underlying assumptions pretty heavily. We don't think it will


work. We also think it penalises most of us who are moderate


drinkers. We think there are plenty of other ways of achieving the


right result, which is to reduce consumption. We are making quite


good progress. In Canada, they introduced it in 2010, it reduced


alcohol consumption by 8%, including a 22 % fall in high-


strength beers, which are thought to be a cause of the chaos in our


town centres on a Friday and Saturday night. It's not really


comparable. There was provision there and they had a monopoly


provider. Not really the same background we have in the UK with a


free market. It's not a good comparison. Eric Appleby, the real


disposable income in this country is that it well below. People have


really had to tighten their belts. Electricity prices are going


through the roof, food prices are going through the roof, now you


want to slap alcohol prices through the roof - why? They won't go


through the roof. This is a targeted measure at particularly


groups of young drinkers and the very heavy drinkers, vulnerable


groups who are buying the cheap, strong those? The average drinker


will hardly feel the effect of this. It is targeted at dealing with the


problems and not the general population. It is a targeted


measure. It's not at all. Minimum unit pricing would apply to


everyone. If it came in at 50p, two thirds of the products you see on


the supermarket shelf would be affected, prices would go up. Even


at 45p it is over half. To give you an example, 50p minimum unit price


would put up a bottle of vodka from around �9 to �13.13, a pretty hefty


increase. What would you say to that? I don't know which


supermarkets he is going around, but the only ones to get that level


of impact would be the ones where they are piling high that she


bloggers and the cheap white ciders. If you walk around the supermarket,


you can see it's not going to impact on the vast majority of


products. And the important thing is it's not going to impact at all


and people going out for a drink in the local pub, it will have no


impact on pub prices. Matthew Hancock, you won a Home Office


minister in 2010 and said the government, quote, had no intention


of introducing minimum unit pricing. What changed? March, 2011? The


evidence is very strong. How do they find out where the costs are?


The costs are in our A&E units and police stations every weekend. It's


a consultation. It's a consultation on the price so that we can look at


the debate that happens and see where the appropriate price level


is. But this isn't a measure that will impact on those, wider than


those who won in the most vulnerable circumstances. For


instance, you joked about BBC One. Your taste in wine of far too


expensive to be affected. You've not seen the average price of a


bottle of Blue Nun! What is the price on average of wine sold in


supermarkets? It is �5. Which means a lot of people are buying wine for


less than �5. They will be affected by this measure. People who want to


have some wine on a table at the weekend, they can't afford a lot,


may be one of life's little luxuries. You are going to put the


price of, food prices up 30 %, energy prices up 20 % and now


you're going to put up the price on a bottle of wine - why? In terms of


a targeted measure on the strong ciders, the strong lagers and on


excessive consumption, then the impact... You've got to look at the


big picture and the impact of the cost of this, not only to


individuals but also to the state through the NHS. Why wasn't it in


your manifesto? We have ideas all the time. We've known about this


long before you wrote the manifesto. You look at the evidence and what


is working. The new New the evidence before you came to power.


The evidence is obvious in the streets of our cities every weekend.


Do you not get out? I represent Newmarket. It's not a great place


on a Friday night. This is... You've got to look at the evidence.


You've got to keep looking at it. That's why we consult on the


measure, not least because, as you say, there is a serious problem


here and it needs to be addressed. The idea that you shouldn't look to


Canada for ideas, I don't agree with it. The Prime Minister said,


it seems to me that what we should do is what we suggested before the


last Budget. Try to target the problem drinkers and problem drinks.


This is a blanket rise. You didn't have it in your manifesto, the Home


Office said two years ago that you weren't going to do it, you had no


intention. The Prime Minister said you should target rather than a


blanket. You are doing the opposite of all of that. And no, the Home


Office didn't say we weren't going to do it. What bit of no intention


of introducing minimum unit pricing dump I understand? They didn't say


they wouldn't, they said they had no intention. We looked at the


evidence. So the words are meaningless! No, they are an


accurate description of the situation. You have no intention of


increasing VAT to 25 %, is that meaningless because you could do


it? It's a ridiculous argument. When I say we have no intention to


do something, that means we have no intention to do something. When I


say we absolutely won't do something, that means we absolutely


will do something. No, you explained that. Any time a


politician says, we have no intention, we know not to take a


blind bit of notice. Labour opposed this measure in Scotland, which is


a little bit ahead of the curve. Are you going to increase drinks in


London, England? We agree there should be a minimum price on an


alcohol unit. I welcome the conversion from Matthew. For very


good reasons. The presentation talked about some of the challenges


we face. I think a minimum unit... He's changed his mind and you have


one policy for Scotland and one for England. No, we think it's a good


idea. The you opposed it in Scotland. A You can change your


mind. The Scottish Labour Party opposed it. We agree with what


Theresa May has announced today with the consultation and the price.


The minimum unit has already been decided by your government, last


March. Today is about the 45p. Quickly, final thought. It just


won't work in practice. I'm surprised that the Labour Party


supports it when it's clearly going to hit those on the lowest incomes


far hardest. The other thing worrying us is the idea you might


BAM the 3 ft to offers, which is penalising people for being


sensible shoppers. A final thought from you. It's not a blanket


measure. It is targeted. The evidence is irrefutable, which is


why doctors, nurses, police and local authorities want to see it.


After that, you probably need some kind of fortifying beverage!


Perhaps you are looking around for a wee dram of something. You know


that here on the Daily Politics, we like to help and we will send you a


Daily Politics mug that you can fill up are practically anything


you like. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate or, as some do, half a


bottle of Blue Nun. We will remind you had to end in a minute. Let's


see it you can remember when this I am not going to exploit for


political purposes my opponent's I fought and won 12 parliamentary


elections. I tottered it up. 329,000 people voted for a Labour


# We'll always be together, however far it seems.


The # We will always be together, To be in with a chance of winning a


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What ABBA terms and conditions? will tell them later. I've got them


just here somewhere. It's coming up to midday. Let's take a look at Big


Ben. Prime Minister's questions, so what's in store for David Cameron


today? Plenty of economic news this week which Ed Miliband could go one,


the Leveson Inquiry coming up tomorrow and Nadine Dorries, she's


back from the jungle, maybe she's planning an appearance. Let's not


forget there are thousands of people clearing up from all the


flooding, they might feel they deserve a mention because they're


going through a terrible time. Before... The Work Programme we


want to talk about, before we do, is there still a possibility that


Mr Cameron will go up and give his opinion on the Leveson inquiry


tomorrow? The mere threat of it will probably be enough to


concentrate minds inside Number 10. It is unlikely but yes, Nick Clegg


could say, I speak as a party leader, I speak as someone who has


a different view from the Prime Minister, who has failed to reach


agreement in government about what should happen. The Work Programme,


this was the idea that you would get companies... It was ramped up a


lot, you'd get companies to try and put people back to work. We seem to


have spent millions of pounds and hardly anybody is in a job after


six months. It's one of these pieces of news that the leader of


the opposition is likely to seize on. The top of politics is talking


about almost nothing else but the Leveson Inquiry. Surprisingly, the


truth is there is no point Ed Miliband asking about it now


because the Prime Minister will brush him off. I think it's likely


he does talk about economic news. One of the parts of bat bat will be


irresistible for Labour is to say, look, for two years, like we've


been warning about the failure of programmes for the long-term


unemployed, the figures show that They will say they need to finish


the programme and so on and so forth. But Ed Miliband will be able


to sing long time unemployment going up, this scheme does not work.


Nadine Dorries, heavy lobbying, I'm being told. Not necessary by her


but friends of hers to the Speaker, saying she has come out of the


jungle especially to be here today. Give her a chance to ask a question.


Will the Speaker fall for that, do you think? Do you think the speaker


is ever worried about inviting coverage of himself? He is a self-


effacing character, I don't think he will fall for that! Although the


Leveson Inquiry is dominating the media classes, we've got the Autumn


Statement next week as well. The leader of the opposition may want


to set things up for that. Exactly. He knows as well as the report,


some of the previews an interview shows will be looking ahead to the


Autumn Statement. In a sense, he wants to frame the debate and say,


actually, the debate is next week, he will claim it for Labour, it's


about government failure, failure to deliver on its economic targets,


failure to deliver its Work Programme. George Osborne and David


Cameron will not agree with that. Has Labour welcomed the new


Canadian central banker? What is interesting is Ed Balls had no


notice he was going to be appointed but he instantly welcomed him


warmly. He dropped in the statement that he knew him and obviously had


known him as sitting Minister and adviser to Gordon Brown. He had a


really widespread welcome. Let's go I am sure the House will wish to


join may in expressing our sympathies for the victims of the


flooding in recent days, and forgiving our praise to the police,


the fire service, the ambulance service, good neighbours,


volunteers, the Environment Agency, and all those who have done things


to help those in distress. Mr Speaker, I have had meetings this


morning with my colleagues and will do so later today. The whole House


will of course endorse the words of the Prime Minister in paying


tribute to our fantastic emergency services in responding to the


terrible floods and those who have been victims of it. Mr Speaker,


tomorrow sees the publication of the leather some report. Does my


right honourable friend agree with me that those should be victims --


those who were victims were treated unfairly, and that the status needs


updating? My honourable friend is exactly right. The status quo is


unacceptable and needs to change. This Government set up the Leveson


Inquiry because of unacceptable practices in parts of the media and


because of a failed regulatory system. I look forward to reading


the report carefully. I think we should try to work across party


lines on this issue, and it is right to meet with other party


leaders about this. What matters most, I believe, is we end up with


an independent regulatory system that can deliver and in which the


public will have confidence. Speaker, I associate myself


entirely with the Prime Minister's remarks about the victims of


flooding. All of my sympathies and the sympathies of this side of the


House go to those victims, and our thanks go to the emergency services


and Environment Agency for the fantastic job they do. I would also


associate myself with his remarks about the levels and report which


will be published tomorrow. -- the Leveson Inquiry report. This is a


once in a generation opportunity for change, and I hope this House


can make it happen. When the work programme was launched in June 2011,


the Prime Minister described it as the biggest and boldest programme


since the Great Depression. 18 months on, can he update the House


on how it is going? I can update the House. Over 800,000 people have


taken part in the work programme. Of those, over half came off


benefits, over 200,000 people have got into work because of the work


programme. But I think it is worth remembering that the work programme


is dealing with the hardest to work cases there are in our country.


These are people, adults who have been out of work for over a year


and young people who have been out of work for over nine months. And


on that basis, we need to make further progress, but it is the


right programme. But Mr Speaker, the scheme is aspires to create


sustained jobs for people, and in a whole year of the programme, out of


every 100 people, just two got a job. That is a success rate of 2%.


And the Government estimates... I don't know why the part-time


Chancellor is chuntering. He was telling of the Work and Pensions


Secretary in Cabinet yesterday for the failure of the work programme!


And the Government estimates that without the work programme, the


basis on which they did the tender, five out of every hundred would get


a job. Isn't the their historic first to have designed a welfare-


to-work programme way we are more likely to get a job if you are not


on the programme? I have to say to the Leader of the Opposition, I


listen carefully to what he said, and what he said was wrong. He said


only 2% of people on this programme got a job. That is not correct.


Over 800,000 people have taken part, and over 200,000 people have got


into work. If you look at the specific figure he was referring to


yesterday, which is those people continuously in work for six months


when the programme... He is only looking at a programme that has


been going for a year, and that figure is 19,000 people. He should


listen to the CBI. They say: The work programme has already helped


to turn around the lives of thousands of people. These other


people Labour left on the scrapheap. He should be apologising! I think


that is as close we get to an admission that I was right and he


was wrong, Mr Speaker. He boasted that his flagship policy, the work


programme, was about tackling the scourge of long-term unemployment.


Can he confirm that since the work programme was introduced in June


2011, long-term unemployment has risen by 96%? Let me give him the


employment numbers. 1 million more private sector jobs over the last


two years. Since the last election, 190,000 fewer people on out-of-work


benefits. Just in the last quarter, employment up by 100,000,


unemployment down by 49,000. And while we are at it, let's just


remember Labour's poisonous legacy. Youth unemployment up 40%, women


and employment up 24%, 5 million on out-of-work benefits. That's the


legacy we are dealing with, and we are getting the country back to


work. I wish for once, Mr Speaker, he would just answer the question.


I asked him a simple question about whether long-term unemployment had


gone up by 96% of, and the answer is yes. And while he is talking


about Labour programmes, let's talk about the Future Jobs Fund. Last


Friday, the Government introduced an interesting document. He spent


two years rubbishing the Future Jobs Fund. What do these documents


say? He said the scheme provided net benefit to participants, their


employers and society as a whole. In other words, it was a success.


And he rubbish the programme, and it helped 120,000 young people into


work. His work programme has only helped 3,000 people. They shout,


what does it cost? We cannot afford not to have young people in work.


Isn't the truth, he got rid of the Labour programme that was working


and replaced it with a Tory one that isn't? Once again, he is


completely wrong, and let me give him the figures. Our work


experience programme is in half of the young people taking part


getting into work. That is the same result as the Future Jobs Fund, and


it cost 20 times less. That is the truth. Our programme is good value


for taxpayers' money, is getting people into work. He wasted money


and left people on the dole. Speaker, the more he blusters, the


Reddin he gets, the less convincing years. We know in real time what


happened in yesterday's Cabinet. They were at each other like rats


in a sack. The Chancellor is blaming the Work and Pensions


Secretary. The Work and Pensions Secretary, he is blaming the


Chancellor for the lack of growth. And the Prime Minister, he is doing


what he does best - blaming everyone else for the failure. And


isn't this the reality? Their failure on the work programme is a


product of their failure to get growth and a failure of their whole


economic strategy? He worked in a government where the Prime Minister


of the Chancellor could and be in the same room as each other! Rats


in a sack doesn't even do it! Why don't we look at what he has


achieved on welfare this week. Once again, this week, Labour voted


against the welfare cap. Now today, they are asking us to vote on a


motion in front of this House on welfare. Last night, this motion


specifically said they wanted further reform of welfare. Today,


the motion has mentioned nothing about reform of welfare. The truth


is there regains the benefit cap, against a housing benefit cap,


against the work programme. They are officially the party have


something for nothing. I will tell him the reality, Mr Speaker... His


welfare programme is failing. His welfare reform programme is failing.


Because there isn't the work, and his economic strategy is failing,


and that is the reality. He has a work programme that isn't working,


a growth strategy that is not delivering and a deficit that is


rising. It is a Government that is failing, our Prime Minister that is


He just can't keep his cool when he knows he is losing the argument, Mr


Speaker. It is the British people that are paying the price they his


failure. What we can see is a leadership that drowning. This


Government has cut corporation tax, scrapped the jobs tax, backed the


regional growth fund, funded 1 million apprenticeships, is


rebuilding our economy, sees a million more people in private


sector work. We are putting the country back to work. Their party


wrecked it. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Will the Prime Minister join me in


congratulating the Milton Keynes based Formula One team on winning


the world championship for three years in a row? Another fine


example of British technological innovation. I am delighted to


praise and paid tribute to the Formula One team based in his


constituency which sadly beat the Formula One team based in my


constituency! But it is a remarkable fact that if you look at


all of the Formula One cars, wherever they are racing in the


world, almost all were built, designed, Engineer here in Britain.


It is an industry in which we lead the world, and we should be proud


of it. The Prime Minister must have studied his Government's own report


which shows that the Future Jobs Fund had a net benefit to


participants, employers and society, and given this report, and given


that youth unemployment is now higher in Leicester that it was at


the general election, why did he tell me a year ago that the Future


Jobs Fund provided a just and I quote, phoney jobs. Youth


employment went up 40% under the last Labour government. But the


fact that the Future Jobs Fund are these. If you take the figures for


Birmingham, 2% of the placement under the Future Jobs Fund were in


the private sector. The rest was in the public sector. And the cost of


the scheme was 20 times higher than the work experience placement which


is doing just as well. THE SPEAKER: Order! The right


honourable lady must be heard. Government is consulting on the


compensation people will get if HS2 goes ahead. It is critical for


people in my constituency. I ask the Prime Minister if he will give


me a personal undertaking that he will study the proposals for the


final package is the consultation and compensation and be sure that


those people whose homes, businesses and lives will be


disrupted by this scheme if it goes ahead are both fairly and


generously compensated. I will absolutely give that undertaking, I


will look carefully at the scheme. We are consulting at the moment.


The proposals were put forward are as good as the scheme that HS one,


and better than the compensation scheme for previous motorway


developments. There is an advance purchase scheme for property


purchase to simplify the process for property owners in the


safeguarded area. There is also a voluntary purchase scheme to allow


homeowners outside the area to have their homes purchased. Am willing


to discuss with her and others how we can make sure this scheme works


properly for people. On Monday, the police and crime commissioner Bob


Jones and the Chief Constable Chris Simms called for a fair policing


for Birmingham and the West Midlands. West Midlands arguably


has the highest policing needs outside London. How can the Prime


Minister hoped to build a one nation it areas like Birmingham and


the West millions -- West Midlands lose 800 frontline police officers,


and low crime areas like Serie get extra bobbies on the beat? Don't we


all deserve to live in Safe Communities? Yes, we have asked the


police to make funding reductions, and they have been able to do that,


keeping a higher proportion of bobbies on the frontline, which


actually has been effective, taking people out of back-office jobs, and


at the same time, crime has fallen and public confidence in the police


has risen. We are asking the police to take difficult decisions, but


they are delivering. I would like to congratulate the coalition


government on introducing regulation to protect the welfare


of wild animals performing in travelling circuses. Yet this House


voted overwhelmingly for a complete ban in 2011. While we wait for a


draft bill to be published, will the Prime Minister committed to


introducing legislation so that his ban can be introduced in this


Parliament? Just that, but I think my honourable friend is absolutely


right. We have changed the regulations even in advance of


legislation so that the will of this House can be met. Petrol


prices in this country are amongst the highest in the EU, and diesel


prices the very highest. Given that the Prime Minister is introducing


minimum limits on alcohol pricing, can he turn his mind to a maximum


limit on alcohol duty, and start reducing the price of petrol and


diesel for hard-pressed families? The honourable gentleman makes an


important point, and because of the changes we have made, petrol and


diesel are 10 p less per litre than they would have been. That is the


effect of this government, and we want to go on making that progress.


Could I thank my right honourable friend for visiting yesterday. My


constituency has been severely affected by the flooding. The


people want to know how they are now going to get insurance at


affordable rates for flooding, particularly given that many of


those homes have been blighted. Would he joined the impressing the


Association of insurers to stop grandstanding, get down to the


table, thrash out a deal so that my constituents can get the insurance


I enjoyed visiting his constituency with him yesterday, seeing at first


hand the appalling damage done by the floods. Speaking with local


people, the emergency services and the Environment Agency about all


the work that is being done to protect more houses in future. We


do need to address the insurance issue. Negotiations are under way.


I do want us to get a resolution so insurance companies actually


provide what they are meant to, which is insurance for people


living in their homes to want proper protection. I thank the


Prime Minister for his expressions of sympathy for the family of my


elderly constituent who died in the floods. I joined him in expressing


sympathy to all those, I think there are four people who have died


in the floods. But will the Prime Minister immediately reverse the 30


% cuts that he's made in flood defences in the past two years, and


what part will he play on the issue of flood insurance for those who


live in flood risk areas? Let me join the Honourable Gentleman in


paying tribute to his constituents who have had to bear some truly


terrible floods. The pictures from St Asaph aware of floods of


biblical scenes. I know the emergency service of have performed


extraordinary feats to rescue people. On the issue of flood


defence spending, the government is planning to spend over 2 billion


over the next four years. That is 6% less than over the previous four


years, but we believe that by spending the money better and by


leveraging money from private and other sectors, we can increase that


level of flood defence spending. There spending that is already


under way will protect an additional 145,000 homes between


now and 2015. But if we can go further then of course we should.


Over 3 million people a year fall victim to postal scams, telephone


calls and e-mails, making false promises of lottery wins come of


windfalls and inheritances. Is my right honourable friend aware that


�3.5 billion per year is lost by UK consumers, and will he commit to


working with the Home Office to amend existing legislation to


protect the predominantly elderly and vulnerable victims? It's an


important point. This is a growing area of crime and criminology that


is taking place and taking advantage of people using the


internet, but often people who are very vulnerable. That's why as part


of the National crime agency, we are setting up a new unit dedicated


to tackling this problem. It will work across agencies to catch


criminals and take the steps she speaks about. A moment ago, the


leader of the opposition asked whether or... Long-term


unemployment had risen by 96 % since the Work Programme was


introduced. He did not receive an answer. Is it a case that long-term


unemployment has risen by 96 % since the Work Programme was


introduced? I have given the figures for the Work Programme.


800,000 people taking part, 200,000 people getting work. And this is


against a background where over the last quarter, unemployment is


coming down, the rate of youth unemployment is coming down and


there are more people in work. That is a record we can build on. A free


press is a necessary counterbalance to a strong state. The British


people also have an inherent sense of fairness. Therefore we do not


need to restrict the press. We need to focus on redress when the press


Cross on an acceptable line. With that in mind, will the Prime


Minister look at the whole question of access to justice in this


country, so that the ability to use the law as we already have on LIBOR


and defamation are available to everyone, not just the rich and


famous? The I think my right honourable friend makes an


important point about access to justice. But one of the key things


that the Leveson Inquiry is trying to get to the bottom of is, how can


you have it strong and independent regulatory system so that you don't


have to wait for the wheels of the criminal justice system or the


LIBOR system to work? People should be able to rely on a good


regulatory system to get the good redress they want. Whether that's


prominent apologies, finds for newspapers or the other things that


are clearly some necessary. Department of Education is


proposing to close down its Runcorn site, with a loss of 220 jobs at


least. It is in the 27th most deprived borough in the country.


Can I ask the Prime Minister how this is going to help unemployment


and social deprivation in my constituency? It's a pity his


Secretary of State refused to meet me on this matter. I know the


Honourable Member has met the permanent secretary of the


Department of Education to discuss this, and I will certainly discuss


this with the Secretary of State. There will be consultation with


affected staff and other local MPs, but let me make this point because


it is important. We all know you have to try and find savings in


department overhead budgets in order to maximise the money that


goes into the schools. What this government has managed to do is to


maintain the per pupil funding. I'm sure that Honourable Members


thinking about it would think that's the most important thing for


our schools, children and education system. A last year, more than


10,000 men in Britain died from prostate cancer, the silent killer.


Survival rates have increased from 20 % to 70 % because of earlier


diagnosis and better drugs. Can I ask if he will join me in welcoming


the campaign this month to raise Mel -- male health awareness and


champion British leadership in cancer research? I not only joined


him in praising the campaign, but also praised his efforts that are


looking tentatively under his nose in terms of that regard. It is an


important campaign because it raises awareness about cancer, it


raises awareness about cancers including the one he mentioned that


sometimes people are worried about mentioning and talking about. Also


things like the cancer drugs fund, that makes sure we get the drugs to


the people that need them are also important, too. I once represented


a seriously injured car-crash victim who was hounded and put


further by an irresponsible press. When he set up the Leveson Inquiry,


the Prime Minister said, I accept we can't say it is the last chance


saloon all over again. We've done that. Will the Prime Minister, for


the victims, for the The Camp blue macro and the Dowlers, keep his


word? I think he is right, as is my Honourable Friend the Member for


Crawley, is saying that uppermost in our minds should be the victims


of the press intrusion and the invasions into privacy and the


appalling things that were written about them and their families. What


we owe them as a regulatory system that will work for them, that the


public will have confidence in, and that is what we hope the report


will produce. Leaving home before it is light, returning from work


when it's dark. Hard-working families in Rossendale and Darwen


have a gross household income of just �25,000. Does my right


honourable friend think it's right that their neighbours living on


benefits currently earn more? makes an important point mackerel.


Only this week we have yet again had a vote on our welfare and


benefits cap, which most people would see as generous at �26,000.


Once again, Labour have voted for unlimited welfare. We have long


memories. We can remember that under Labour, some families were


getting up to �100,000 of housing benefit. They did nothing about it


because they believe in something for nothing. Since the Prime


Minister announced aggressive tax avoidance as morally repugnant, why


is his own government now itself actively promoting aggressive tax


avoidance by cutting the tax on multinationals that open a finance


company in the tax haven from the current 23 % to just 5%? How can we


be one nation when the government is on the side of the tax dodgers?


I think he has misunderstood. We are introducing a general anti-


avoidance rule. Something which he, in 13 years of Labour government,


never managed to do. We will do it in three. We were all inspired by


the amazing London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. It gave an


incredible summer of sport. But it's so important to get people


involved in grass roots and community sport. Will the Prime


Minister meet with me, with the sport and recreation Alliance, the


Community Sports Partnership Network and Sport England, to


discuss the initiative, the first of which is receiving in my


constituency. I am happy to meet about this issue. I do think it's


important that we take the legacy of the Olympics and turn it into


increased rates of participation. Yes, working with the organisations


he is speaking about, but also recognising the many heroes and


heroines around our country who run the Saturday-morning football clubs,


rugby clubs, cricket clubs. I think it's those clubs that provides a


much of the answer for getting more sport into our communities and


schools as well. Will the Prime Minister, like me, welcomed the


ceasefire in Gaza last week and regret all those who died as a


result of the conflict, but also recognise that fundamentally the


future of the Middle East lies with peace and justice for the


Palestinian people, be they in Gaza, the West Bank or in refugee camps?


We have to recognise the Palestinian people. Accordingly,


tomorrow, will the British government cast our vote at the


United Nations in favour of Palestinian recognition without any


preconditions, such as suggesting they should not have access to the


International Criminal Court as an independent, recognised nation?


welcome the fact there is a ceasefire and that that conflict


has ceased. I don't go all the way with him on the rest of his


question. But the Foreign Secretary will be making a statement in a few


moments about it. I don't want to steal his thunder. But it is


important we use our vote to try to peace process that works is when


Israelis and Palestinians come to the table and talk through the


final stage issues, including Jerusalem, refugees, Borders. When


they did themselves. We can wish for all we want at the UN. In the


end, you've got to have direct talks between the direct parties to


get the two states solution we want. The Prime Minister will be aware


that on the order paper for tomorrow's business, there is a


debate in my name to mark the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of


agents by IED Amin from Uganda and their rival to the UK. Because of a


need for a statement on the Leveson Inquiry, it is likely that my


debate may not take place now. I and the community at large fully


appreciate the circumstances. However, would the Prime Minister


acknowledged the importance and the need for having such a debate and


also, would he do whatever he can to ensure that I am given another


debate as an as possible? I think the reaction of colleagues from


across the house shows that he speaks for the whole house and I


believe the whole country in wanting to speak up for the Ugandan


Asians who came to our country in the 1970s, who has made the most


fantastic contribution to our national life. It's very good to


see, I remember meeting his parents and how proud they are of him,


second generation coming to this country, sitting in the House of


Commons and speaking up so well on these and other issues. While I


don't have control of the House of Commons agenda, sadly, I very much


hope that the people that do will listen carefully to the point he


made and the schedule this debate as fast as possible. Can the Prime


Minister confirm that as a result of his part in the 50p tax rate,


8000 people earning over �1 million will next year gain an average of


�107,500. Whose side is he on? 45p, the top rate of tax will be


higher under this government than in any of the 13 years of the last


government. That is the fact. The richest in our country will


actually be paying more in terms of income tax in every year of this


government than in any year of that government. In Harlow, Comet has


made shop staff redundant and there are transport logistics staff at


risk. Many are suggesting there has been malpractice. Would he ask the


Business Secretary to investigate this and ensure that anyone who has


lost their job get the proper support and help they are entitled


to? I'm happy to look at what he says. What has happened at Comet is


a tragedy for those people who work there. I will talk to the Business


Secretary about it and see what can be done in the way that he suggests.


Last week, the Prime Minister told me and the House that the


government was investing an extra �900 million to combat tax


avoidance. In fact, as HMRC will confirm, no such investment is


taking place. It is facing a 15 % cut in its budget. Is the Prime


Minister guilty of fact avoidance or fact deviation? This government


has put 900 million into the specific measures of tax getting


hold of tax avoidance. All these schemes grew up under years of a


Labour government. They never did a general anti-tax avoidance. They


presided over a system where people in the city were paying less tax


than their cleaners. It took this government to sort it out. Can I


wore my right honourable friend not to be remembered as the Prime


Minister who introduced state regulation of the press. A free


press is an essential part of a free democracy. Would he agree with


me that state regulation of the presses like pregnancy. You are


just either pregnant or not pregnant, you have state regulation


or you don't. There is no alternative Third Wave. Where I


would agree with my Honourable Friend is that a free press is


absolutely vital for a free democracy. We should recognise all


the press has done and should continue to do to uncover


wrongdoing, to stand up to the powerful. This is vitally important.


Whatever changes we make, we want a robust and free press in our


The government is cutting child benefit to support... To 100,000


families who look after disabled children. Whatever our views on how


our economic problems were brought about, surely it cannot be right


that children who were the poorest and most venerable pay the most for


this economic policy? We think it is the right step to take because


those with the broadest backs should be bearing the greatest


burden. We have frozen child benefit but other families but we


have increased the child tax credit And that brings us to the end of


Prime Minister's Questions. It is all a kind of warm up for


tomorrow's Leveson Inquiry report. The exchange between the two front


benches was dominated by work, unemployment and by the various


schemes. Figures out for the Government on its work programme


are not that great, so Mr Miliband went on that, as Nick Robinson said.


Mr Cameron fought back by saying that the Future Jobs Fund, Labour's


scheme, had been expensive and not a great success either. A lot of


statistics thrown about there. First we will hear from you and


what you had to say. Lots of the males in response to the work


programme statistics. Even by his recent standards, that was a woeful


performance by David Cameron. His refusal to answer a direct question


only increases the public distrust. It is incredible how negative Ed


Miliband years. And this: Under Labour, it paid not to work, and


under Cameron's Conservatives, it pays to work. John Wakefield and


London says, David Cameron's future work fund may be cheaper than the


last government's policy, but at least the last government's policy


actually worked. Those being employed are mainly getting part-


time jobs only. And for those of you asking about why members of the


Labour front bench were wearing red ribbons, that was to mark worldwide


AIDS Day which takes place on Saturday. But they were wearing the


ribbons today? Yes, the fight against HIV campaign, running this


week. Nick Robinson, the Tories are ramping up the rhetoric on welfare


and on various things to do with that. Labour reads the polls, it is


a difficult subject. Mr Cameron called then the party have


something for nothing twice. Chancellor is probably about to


announce further welfare cuts, and then say to Labour, what do you


want to do? It seems likely the cap on housing benefit could come down.


They could be some reduction in the rate of increase of benefits.


Remember they go up in April, and usually at this time of year, the


Chancellor tells us by what rate they will go up. It is likely to be


less than the rate of inflation for those people out of work. So what


the Tories want next week to be about is a row about what future


cuts to make in welfare. What a Labour wanted to be about his, hold


on, you told us he would bring the deficit down, and you haven't.


Indeed. What will Labour do about welfare, Sadiq Khan? It is part of


the policy process as you do Europe towards 2015. I interviewed Liam


Byrne last Sunday. It is not yet clear the direction Labour wants to


going. We're in favour of welfare reform. Our welfare-to-work


programme, the New Deal, Future Jobs Fund, getting people out of


welfare and into work, making it a requirement upon somebody to get a


job interviews, making it incumbent upon you to do certain things. The


system is still not perfect, and that is why we support Universal


Credit. But we recognise that housing costs vary around the


country, so one-cap won't work. If you live in Rotherham, the cost of


your housing is far cheaper than if you live in Tooting. To have a


universal cap applying to both doesn't work. And housing benefit


recognises this by having different levels. So we agreed the need to be


a reform. The problem is the consequences of the Government's


plans, both of the transitional arrangements and the fact that


their IT system won't work... That's unusual! There is a big bang


approach, which is why you heard reports that Ed Miliband alluded to,


arguments between Iain Duncan Smith and George Osborne yesterday. Their


promise of the deficit going down hasn't happened because of long-


term unemployed and zero growth. Maybe you have more in common than


the debate would suggest. If only it were true. Saying you are in


favour of welfare reform is all motherhood and apple pie. When it


comes to a vote in the House of Commons about what we are going to


do, that is what matters in politics, and last week, again, it


was about the eighth time I have voted in favour of a cap on


benefits so that people who are out of work cannot take home more than


the average family takes home in work. I think it was about the


eighth time I had to vote in favour of that because Labour keep on


voting against it. It came back from the House of Lords, we had to


vote on it again. But Labour are putting up every possible barrier.


We are absolutely reforming welfare to make sure that work always pays.


We are piloting the Universal Credit. Of course IT is difficult,


but it is on track. And we are going to reform welfare so that we


don't have something for nothing culture. Everybody knows that,


under Labour, these things got worse and worse. I was going to


move us on to the Leveson Inquiry. I won't ask one thing. Excuse me, I


am in charge, and I have no intention of letting you be in


charge. Which probably means I will, under your language. This work


programme the Government has made so much off. Sometimes in PMQs, you


can get the figures wrong. Let's take the 14 month, the longer


figure, so we give you the benefit of the longer period. The figures


are that 800,000 people have gone into some kind of work under this


programme. But only 31,000 are still in a job after six months.


The Government had assumed that even with no programme, 5% would be


in a job after six months, so you had a better chance of getting a


job by not going into the program then going into it. That's not the


case. It is very difficult in politics, and unhelpful in the long


term, to base an argument on inaccuracies. So when Ed Miliband


said only 2% of people... Let me answer the question! He made a


mistake. I haven't. Answer my question. Let me answer the


question. A quarter of people have gone into a job. How many have been


in for six months is a growing number, but because the programme


only started 14 months ago, it takes time to get people in and to


keep them in work for six months. And that 31,000 figure you


mentioned has gone up in the last two months from the 12 month figure


to the 14 mother-figure, gone up much faster than earlier, because


when you get a programme of the ground, it takes time to get going,


but then it is rising more rapidly. But the key point is, should we


have a system to try to get people off benefit and into work that pays


a result? Of course we could. the key point is that only 3% of


people who have gone into this programme end up in a job that


survives after six months. That is the key point. And the cost of this


have been 475 million to date. It works out on average at �14,000 per


job. If we talk about the cost of it, the cost to the taxpayer per


job is just over �2,000. Because we pay by results, if the result of


poorer, the taxpayer pays less. That was the argument about the


Future Jobs Fund. Would we like youth unemployment... Is hasn't


worked, Matthew, just Fessey up! will come back to it when we have


18 months of figures, and we will see. We shall see the proof of the


pudding shall be in the throwing it away. A final word on the Leveson


Inquiry, Nick. The Prime Minister played an almost entirely straight


bat, but he did open the door to all-party talks. Miliband has been


talking about it. What will that actually mean, all-party talks?


There are certain areas in which all party talks have been a ruse to


make sure that nothing is done at all. Party funding, reform of the


House of Lords, nothing done. One exception has been the issues of


MPs' expenses, where there was a deal to set up this new independent


regulator. A couple of see ya folk on both sides of the House of


Commons put to me, do we really want a regulator for the press on


the model of the Parliament regulator for expenses? In other


words, someone who is recruited precisely because they know nothing


about the place they are regulating. That gives a sense of independence,


but can produce an arrangement that doesn't quite satisfy anybody at


all. We need to move on. Lord Justice Leveson unveils his


reported 1 o'clock tomorrow, and the Prime Minister will be in the


Commons by have passed two. He will be there for 90 minutes to take


questions from everybody. It is a very, very big moment in politics,


even if press regulation bores you at home. It is a defining time for


the relationship between politics and media. A Government Minister


has suggested more than 1,500 square miles of land should be


built on in England over the last 20 years -- next 20 years to meet


the demand for new houses. The Housing Minister, Nick bowls, says


we should increase the proportion of country we build on. Although he


insists we would protect the green belt and stop a whole load of what


he called pig ugly developments being stuck up by Lady builders. --


lazy builders. We are saying clearly that we are going to


protect the green belt, but if people want to have housing for


their kids, want people to be able to bring up their kids in a small


house with a garden, we have to build more on some open land.


much? Not a lot. We have in England about 9% of land is developed in


any way. So 91% is not. All we need to do is build on probably another


2% or 3% of land, and we will solve our housing problem. How many


houses is that? Over time, another one of 2 million houses. With us


now is John Hoad from the Campaign to Protect Rural England. He says


we need to build a 12% as opposed to the current 9%. That doesn't


sound too dramatic? I think it sounds very dramatic, actually. The


figures are problematic. Current urbanisation impact on around 12 to


13% of our land. And we are talking about the most pressured parts of


the country, south-east and south- west. If you throw-in National


Statistics, it doesn't sound so bad. Why are we talking about those


areas in particular? Is it the only place it could go? The pressures


the development for new housing, which are really there, are in the


South East and South West primarily. If you look at the North and the


Midlands, we have plenty of brownfield land. We have got enough


land to build 1.5 million houses at the moment, so why don't we use


that first? We have been given an assurance that green belt land will


not be built on. They mixed messages all the time. Can we


really protect greenfield and green belt land? I don't think so. Our


own research shows we have 80,000 houses being proposed on Green Belt


land at this point in time in local planning authority plans. Matthew


Hancock, mixed messages they? protection on the Green Belt will


stay, nick Bowles made out very clear. But the key point he was


making is that we have a shortage of housing in this country. And no


one disagrees with that. You have to follow that through to the


conclusion. If we need more housing, we need to build more houses. That


may sound like a statement of the obvious, but houses have to go


somewhere. But what about the pressure on houses in the south-


east and south-west? Weeny to make sure that our children and


grandchildren have houses they can afford to live in. We have to do


that in the same way as protecting what is best, for instance the


strengthening of areas of outstanding until Beauty and other


protected areas. One thing that hasn't had enough of an earring is


that the housing that has been built over the last decade, a lot


of it is too ugly. We needed to be in keeping and where local people


wanted. In my constituency, have one town that doesn't want more


housing, and I have to towns where it is widely accepted that growth


is good news. So we need to respond to what local people want, and say,


let's put a housing where people welcome it and not put it where


people don't want it, and have much more local responsiveness and more


I agree that that is what the planning system does. But why have


we got the planning minister rubbishing the planning system and


saying the solution is to release loads and loads of greenfield land,


when we've actually got existing sites sitting there waiting to be


developed? But it's the economy and the state of it that is stopping


that is happening. Why do we have these smoke and mirrors about


releasing green belt and greenfield land? Isn't that what everyone


says? The economy matters enormously. The guarantees from the


Treasury for housebuilders and the support for the finance to try and


unlock what we are planning has already been given is an important


part of it. But if we need more housing, and we are all agreed on


that, then housing does have to be built somewhere. Why not use that


first before going on to the green fields? We are working on doing


that as well, but is it enough over the next 20 years? The people are


right to be concerned about what Nick Boles will be singing in


Newsnight. There are mixed messages. You are against ugly buildings, we


all want beautiful buildings. Two months ago Dr Abril Matthew, you've


had an hour and a half. Two months ago you announced that homeowners


could build anything in their garden up to eight metres big,


Permitted Development. You wanted a revolution. Local councillors...


They will be ugly buildings, not beautiful. One of the reasons when


you speak to developers they are not building is because the


economic environment, they haven't got the confidence. You talk about


lecturing future grandparents about the importance of housing. Imagine


if you on a greenfield site. Once you've built on it it is gone,


there is no U-turn from that. It's a responsibility to make sure you


will build sensibly on brownfield sites and not on the green field


sites. Nick Boles has confused matters by lecturing these guys in


the sense you have to build on the 3% additional land, when there are


spaces in urban areas, there are under-used facilities, brownfield


sites. Not enough is being done to stimulate developers to build


Louis Walsh has won �400,000 from the Sun in his libel case. Let's


see if we can cheer ourselves up. The sound of Christmas. It's not


even December yet. All over Britain, people are stealing time from their


employers, pulling out their credit cards, which are already Max doubt,


logging on to buy their Christmas presents. Mothers will have to


think about getting the turkey ordered, dads will be stocking up


on cheap booze before the supermarkets run dry and the Tories


slap a minimum price on it. A festive season to look forward to


with lots of lovely presents under the tree. Political division and


economic division Wigan, we all look forward to it - we can't wait.


What is that? Bah humbug! Here is Is it time to ban Christmas


presents? Festive gift giving has lost its meaning. It risks doing


more harm than good. We can't prioritise our finances and leads


us all feeling obliged to buy a long list of packed for a long list


of friends that we know they will never used. Of course, this is


about changing culture not the law. It isn't a curmudgeonly Bar humbug


about getting rid of presents and a victory for the kids. It's about


the ever-widening circle of friends, family, colleagues and teachers


that we all must x4. -- must buy a four. I believe gift-giving


originally developed as a form of social banking., that marriage a


coming of age ceremonies. Then, older members of the community gave


gifts to people starting out in life. Then as they age they cycled


it back, focusing the cash to the people who most needed it. But with


Christmas, I give to you, you give to me - it doesn't do the job. I'm


sure some of you are thinking, Scrooge, what about the joy of


giving? Yes, that does exist. I'm afraid it can occasionally be just


a little bit selfish. Because buying somebody a gift often


obliges them to buy back four U. And if they are skint and can't


afford it, that his pain not joy. Finally, there's the risk of not


prioritising our finances. Imagine affluent Janyk here has spent �20


to buy her struggling cousin, John, this novelty Christmas hat. John in


return feels obligated to spend �20 to buy back these boots. It is a


zero-sum game. The net result is John has spent �20 of his money by


in this hat. He would have probably preferred to spend it paying off


his debts of beating his children. So for some this Christmas perhaps


the best gift of all is releasing them from the obligation of buying


for you. -- paying off his debts or feeding his children. You not just


want to put the atom bomb under them with the saying, don't buy


anything for Christmas. This message for me isn't for Christmas,


it's all year round. I've been talking about this since back in


2007. This isn't about stopping people spending money. This is


about stopping people spending money on a necessary things, on


tact, on the stress that people have at Christmas. One of the


biggest causes of debt, the number of people who cycle, they spent an


entire year getting out of last Christmas' debt, only to get in


Dead Again. Yes, by your presents for your kids and spouse. But when


it comes to feeling obligated about buying people stuff they won't use


and then obligated them to buy back for us when they don't want to,


isn't it time we gave it a break. If you want to spend the money,


grade, go to the high street but by something unique and will use, or


give the money to charities who are desperately struggling at the


moment. The best gift right now, if you are about to buy 20 people who


you know will never used you get something for Christmas, tell them


that you are not. Tell them you are putting it into a charity's coffers,


were you know it will make a difference. This is about


redressing the soul. What is the point of this gift-giving? It isn't


just a tick box in exercise. Given that this is a government that


wants to dictate the alcohol price two-bit shops and dictate what


offers they can make, this must appeal for you, BAM Christmas


presents... Or do you have no intention of banning Christmas


presents? We will never do that. Not whilst... I will never vote to


ban Christmas. I always think the Roman Christmas presents is you


should give something you'd like to deceive yourself. I don't like


receiving tatty presence. So get you a bra and knickers, you will


both be happy. Too much! I presume this doesn't apply to Labour


either? It doesn't. Do you have any friends? This time of year, people


are members of Christmas clubs, the number of those who go to loan


sharks close up, those who use pay- day loans goes up. Maarten's key


point is people borrowed disproportionate amounts at this


time of year and it is very stressful. And there is peer


pressure to give a good enough gift to somebody else. You have the


people who don't need the money who are saying, I'm affluent, I want to


help you, I'm going to give you a big present. But pride then


obligate sued to buy one back that you can't afford.Excluding


How many people in your kids' class do you give presents to? Your own


children? They will still have something under the tree? An orange,


maybe. We used to get a candle for Christmas. If it was really cold


and sometimes we would like it! only thing I have about giving


gifts for children is we have inflationary gift-giving going on


and peer pressure in schools. I sat in a cafe, I remember hearing a 16-


year-old talking to her aunt, asking to intercede with the


parents, because her parents wouldn't buy her a limousine trip


around London for her and all her friends. She said, it's only a


couple of hundred quid a head. It's that level of expectation. I think


we need to rein back. Yes, I can put you out of your misery and give


you the answer to Guess the Year. Do you know the answer? I think


It was 1984. I owe you that bottle of cheap fizz. I'm not an alcoholic,


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