06/12/2012 Daily Politics


06/12/2012

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with the latest political news and reaction to the chancellor's Autumn Statement with a panel of MPs.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 06/12/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. It really is bleak

:00:53.:00:56.

mid-winter. And don't expect any jingle bells until 2018. George

:00:56.:00:59.

Osborne says austerity is now here to stay until 2018. That's getting

:00:59.:01:02.

close to a lost decade. And it includes some cold, hard medicine

:01:02.:01:05.

to swallow on taxes and benefits. We'll be asking, is Britain really

:01:05.:01:10.

still a AAA bet? Amid all the gloom, the Chancellor gave his strong

:01:10.:01:13.

backing for fracking. But is shale gas the answer to all our energy

:01:13.:01:17.

problems? Environmentalists aren't so sure. What's the point of

:01:17.:01:20.

reshuffles? A parliamentary committee has been asking just that

:01:20.:01:26.

question. Apart from keeping the Daily Politics in work, do they

:01:26.:01:34.

actually achieve anything? And, hark, the MPs sing! Here's a

:01:35.:01:39.

Parliamentary Ding Dong Merrily on High you just can't afford to miss.

:01:39.:01:45.

Yes. All that and more coming up in the next hour of public service

:01:45.:01:48.

broadcasting at its austerity best. I think you'll find that this

:01:48.:01:51.

programme's AAA status is not under threat. But then we never had one

:01:51.:02:01.
:02:01.:02:02.

in the first place. And with us we have the A Team. From Labour, we're

:02:02.:02:04.

blessed by their Treasury spokesman, Chris Leslie, and from the Liberal

:02:05.:02:06.

Democrats, Stephen Williams, who chairs his party's backbench

:02:07.:02:14.

Treasury Committee. And the Tory? There is no one. They could not

:02:14.:02:17.

give as anyone for the top of the programme but they promised one

:02:18.:02:27.
:02:28.:02:30.

will come later in the show. We can hardly wait. Now, first this

:02:30.:02:33.

morning, let's briefly talk about the West Coast Mainline, because

:02:33.:02:36.

Virgin Trains has been confirmed as the operator of the West Coast main

:02:36.:02:40.

line for the next two years. The company had lost the franchise to a

:02:40.:02:42.

rival but the bidding process was scrapped after serious flaws were

:02:42.:02:50.

found in the system. The transport secretary asked Sam Laidlaw to

:02:50.:02:54.

produce a report on the process and today he gave his response. I do

:02:54.:02:59.

not hide from the seriousness of his findings. They make extremely

:02:59.:03:04.

uncomfortable reading. They caused serious problems for the bidding

:03:04.:03:10.

firms, including first group. They must and will be acted upon. The

:03:10.:03:13.

department will ensure that all future franchise competitions are

:03:13.:03:18.

delivered with a clear timeline, rigorous management and the right

:03:18.:03:24.

quality assurance. We shall also create a simpler and clearer

:03:24.:03:30.

structure for rail franchise competitions. They announced a two-

:03:30.:03:36.

year contract with no competition goes to Virgin. It is that fair?

:03:36.:03:41.

suppose they have no choice. Someone has to run the trains. I'm

:03:41.:03:48.

not sure what they could have done. how much they have been paid in

:03:48.:03:52.

order to continue that process. fare money is going to the tax

:03:52.:03:59.

payer and not virgin. What tax payers will be worried about is the

:03:59.:04:04.

cost of the problems over the bid. Can we really afford that kind of

:04:05.:04:10.

mistake? I hope someone will be accountable, whether ministers or

:04:10.:04:14.

officials in the Department of Transport. Someone has to be held

:04:14.:04:19.

to account. It has had a knock on effect in other parts of the

:04:19.:04:25.

country. I represent Bristol. Our franchise is up for renewal. That

:04:25.:04:28.

has been stalled while the Department looks at the whole

:04:28.:04:35.

franchise programme. There is great uncertainty. He deplane? Much is

:04:35.:04:42.

made of the civil servants. -- who do you blame? The that is why we

:04:43.:04:48.

need someone else to look into it. I'm not chairing a particular

:04:48.:04:53.

inquiry. I do want to buy Dec who is to blame. Someone needs to hold

:04:53.:05:00.

their hands up. No one ever seems to hold their hands up these days.

:05:00.:05:06.

I want to ask you about the Labour policy and whether they will

:05:06.:05:11.

nationalise the railways. Ministers decided to change the franchise

:05:11.:05:17.

policy. Do you think ministers should hold their hands up? It is a

:05:17.:05:22.

different team of ministers since the decision was made. Maybe the

:05:22.:05:26.

ministers who made that decision should appear before the relevant

:05:26.:05:30.

parliamentary committee and a camp for themselves. Her eye it agreed

:05:30.:05:39.

with that. -- and account for themselves. I do agree with that.

:05:39.:05:43.

You have Theresa Villiers and Justine Greening. The extent to

:05:43.:05:49.

which they were involved in this massive cock-up, witches Of

:05:49.:05:56.

phenomenal cost to the tax payer. We need to hear from them as well.

:05:56.:06:01.

Nationalisation or not? There are no plans to do that but we need to

:06:01.:06:06.

get a grip of the situation. We have seen what has happened in the

:06:06.:06:12.

past with the East Coast main line. We need to squeeze every pound of

:06:12.:06:17.

tax payers money. Back to the economy and the fall-out from

:06:17.:06:22.

yesterday's Autumn Statement. Let's turn without further ado from that.

:06:22.:06:32.
:06:32.:06:33.

It felt more like a winter statement. Jo has the economic low-

:06:33.:06:37.

down. Yes, Andrew. The OBR downgraded its forecasts for

:06:37.:06:39.

economic growth. They now think that the economy will shrink by

:06:39.:06:43.

0.1% this year with only modest growth of 1.2% next year. Then 2%,

:06:43.:06:46.

2.3% and 2.7%. On borrowing, there was one bit of positive news for

:06:46.:06:54.

year than it was last year. But, ignoring special one-off factors,

:06:54.:06:58.

they now think the country will have to borrow more than they did

:06:58.:07:00.

when they published their last forecast in March. �120 billion

:07:00.:07:03.

this financial year, falling to 112 billion next year, and then lower

:07:03.:07:07.

again in each subsequent year. And, on debt, the OBR says the

:07:07.:07:11.

Chancellor will miss his target of having net debt, as a share of GDP

:07:11.:07:18.

falling by the end of this Parliament. It will peak in 2015/16

:07:18.:07:23.

at 79.9% and will only start falling in the following year. That

:07:23.:07:33.
:07:33.:07:36.

has led the Fitch ratings agency to The credit rating is important, as

:07:36.:07:41.

is the market. That matters because, if you do not have credibility -

:07:41.:07:46.

you cannot show the world you can pay your way - interest rates go up

:07:46.:07:50.

for the Government and taxpayers have to pay more to fund the debt.

:07:51.:07:55.

Interest rates in the economy go up, as do mortgage rates. One thing we

:07:55.:07:59.

have been able to do as a government is keep those rates very

:07:59.:08:04.

low because the world has confidence in us. Of course you

:08:04.:08:09.

need to have tax rises and spending restraints. If you do that too

:08:09.:08:14.

quickly, it will backfire. What we learned yesterday was our economy

:08:14.:08:20.

has contracted this year. It has not grown at will. George Osborne

:08:20.:08:25.

is borrowing more. The national debt is going up. His plan has

:08:25.:08:29.

failed. I think if you are in a deep hole, you should stop digging.

:08:29.:08:32.

Well, joining us from College Green, are two of Britain biggest economic

:08:32.:08:35.

brains - Larry Elliott from the Guardian and City AM's editor,

:08:35.:08:45.
:08:45.:08:53.

Will Britain lose its AAA rating? Does it matter? Let's take these as

:08:53.:09:00.

two separate questions. We could be going back into a dip in the 4th

:09:00.:09:04.

quarter. That will be the time we will probably lose our AAA rating.

:09:05.:09:11.

I think probably early next year. There is a good chance we could see

:09:11.:09:16.

a double-dip recession. The economy could shrink again. There are two

:09:17.:09:21.

or three really important factors. The OBR forecast for growth in the

:09:21.:09:28.

next four, five years are too optimistic. There will be a

:09:28.:09:32.

resurgence -- it is based on a resurgence of gross but I think

:09:32.:09:38.

that is wrong. If my forecast is right, the national debt will be

:09:38.:09:44.

even higher and deficits even higher. We are bound to eventually

:09:44.:09:50.

you -- you lose the credit rating. Without the Bank of England pushing

:09:50.:09:53.

down artificially the cost of government borrowing, the debt

:09:53.:09:58.

would be much higher and much higher in the years ahead. It is

:09:58.:10:03.

quantitative easing that has saved the AAA rating up until now. That

:10:03.:10:13.
:10:13.:10:13.

will not go on for ever. I think we will lose it. What is your for you?

:10:13.:10:19.

I think there is a very good chance we will. -- ate your views. George

:10:19.:10:23.

Osborne said he would get the economy growing. He said he would

:10:23.:10:28.

get on top of Britain's debts and he would safeguard the AAA rating.

:10:28.:10:34.

He has failed on the first two. The economy has flat lined and a

:10:34.:10:38.

deficit reduction programme is of course. Yesterday's figures showed

:10:38.:10:43.

only 50% of it well. The third element, maintaining the AAA rating

:10:43.:10:53.

- he is hanging on to that by the merest of threads. Prospects for

:10:53.:10:59.

the economy are quite bleak. Does it matter if we lose the AAA

:10:59.:11:03.

rating? I would suggest that France has lost it and it still seems to

:11:03.:11:08.

be there. America has lost its rating and is financing its debt.

:11:08.:11:14.

Does it matter? I do not think it matters any more. Credit agencies

:11:14.:11:19.

have been discredited in recent years. I do not think it matters to

:11:19.:11:24.

match. It matters psychologically and shows the Chancellor has failed

:11:24.:11:30.

to get control of public finances. We need to go through a wasted

:11:30.:11:35.

decade when it comes to growth. I do not think it was inevitable. The

:11:35.:11:38.

Chancellor could have booked through policies to really

:11:38.:11:43.

transform the economy and boost competitiveness. Unfortunately,

:11:43.:11:49.

that has not happened. We still have increasing national debt and a

:11:49.:11:56.

very high government spending share of the economy. All these negative

:11:56.:12:02.

factors are tracking down gross. Also the zombie companies which are

:12:02.:12:07.

kept alive by very low interest rates and quantitative easing. The

:12:07.:12:12.

Government has not taken the right measures. The overall picture is it

:12:12.:12:17.

inherited a terrible situation from the previous government. Does it

:12:17.:12:23.

matter? If it means that interest rates go up and the value of gilts

:12:23.:12:30.

therefore goes down, that will affect banks balance sheets?

:12:30.:12:34.

think D'Arblay is the new AAA because so many other countries

:12:34.:12:44.
:12:44.:12:45.

have been downgraded. -- AA. I do not think it matters one jot

:12:45.:12:52.

whether Britain has a AAA or AA rating. Politically, it will matter

:12:52.:12:56.

a great deal because the Chancellor has almost made this a fetish of

:12:56.:13:01.

his time at number 11. It would be a very significant blow to the

:13:01.:13:05.

Chancellor. I do not think the economic impact would be as great

:13:05.:13:10.

as people think. The Chancellor had the choice yesterday. He could have

:13:10.:13:15.

increased the austerity programme in the short-term to insure the AAA

:13:15.:13:21.

rating was met. He said, rather than raise taxes or cut spending by

:13:21.:13:28.

an additional 17 billion, which she would have had to do to bring down

:13:28.:13:34.

debt on track, it would have been total economic madness. Final

:13:34.:13:39.

question to both of you. It was a complicated autumn statement

:13:39.:13:43.

yesterday. Partly because of the jiggery-pokery about borrowing and

:13:43.:13:47.

deficits. Now you have had the night to go through the figures,

:13:48.:13:51.

what has jumped out to let you which was not immediately apparent

:13:51.:14:00.

when it was unveiled yesterday? -- jumped out at you. I am very

:14:00.:14:06.

suspicious that deficits have gone down. It has become much harder to

:14:06.:14:10.

compare it like for like. The Chancellor has fallen foul of the

:14:10.:14:14.

disease that contaminated the previous Chancellor which was due

:14:14.:14:21.

constantly change the rules. I think that is very disappointing.

:14:21.:14:27.

There is over ambitious growth forecasts. I think the forecast is

:14:27.:14:32.

wrong. Without that, you do not have the revenues and deficits.

:14:32.:14:37.

Everything collapses. You end up with much bigger problems they will

:14:37.:14:43.

realise. Constantly pushing back austerity, it used to be a seven-

:14:43.:14:49.

year programme and now is a four gear programme. That is not

:14:49.:14:58.

plausible. -- it four a year programme and now is a seven-year

:14:58.:15:05.

programme. What has jumped at it you in the light of day? Two-and-a-

:15:05.:15:09.

half years ago, George Osborne said that 92% of the recovery work on

:15:09.:15:15.

the deficit would be done in this Parliament. Today it is only 52%.

:15:15.:15:21.

There is an awful lot of pain still to come. That was not be easy to

:15:21.:15:27.

sell at the next election. In the OBR report, in their scaled down

:15:27.:15:30.

forecasts, they have pursued consumers will get into more debt

:15:31.:15:37.

over the coming years. That seems a very optimistic forecast. I think

:15:37.:15:41.

consumers are debt saturated and want to pay down their debts. The

:15:41.:15:45.

chances of consumers borrowing their way back to prosperity are

:15:45.:15:55.
:15:55.:16:02.

With us now is the Treasury Minister, Sajid Javid. I am glad

:16:02.:16:09.

you made it. Was this a budget for growth

:16:09.:16:15.

yesterday? Yes, it was, it deals with a biggest problem, the size of

:16:15.:16:20.

its deficit. The government is still dealing with that challenge,

:16:20.:16:25.

the deficit is still coming down which is important, to keep on

:16:25.:16:30.

creating jobs. How come, the official and unofficial estimates

:16:30.:16:40.
:16:40.:16:41.

say it will add 0.1% in 2013, another 0.1% to growth in 2014?

:16:41.:16:48.

Those forecasts, the these are our independent. They say anything done

:16:48.:16:55.

yesterday will add 0.1% to growth next year. That is a Budget for

:16:55.:16:59.

growth? It is. You have to think about the alternative. If this

:16:59.:17:04.

government didn't deal with this problem of deficit, we would lose

:17:04.:17:10.

confidence. If interest rates went up by just 1%, the average mortgage

:17:10.:17:18.

payment would go up by �1,000 per annum. But we have lost our triple-

:17:18.:17:26.

A status. You have made deficit reduction and

:17:26.:17:30.

cutting the amount of borrowing the centre of your economics - G.

:17:30.:17:38.

Absolutely. In June 2010, you told us in the five years afterwards,

:17:38.:17:46.

until 2015, you would borrowed a total of �22 billion. Do you know

:17:46.:17:55.

the figure? Now, you are going to borrowed �539 billion in these five

:17:55.:18:04.

years. That is �217 billion more than you envisage only two years

:18:04.:18:14.
:18:14.:18:17.

ago. You are planning to borrow 67% more than you said you were

:18:17.:18:21.

borrowed 2 1/2 years ago, expect again how you're dealing with

:18:21.:18:26.

borrowing? First of all, before you can deal with a stock of debt, you

:18:26.:18:32.

have to deal with a rate of borrowing. The deficit in two years

:18:32.:18:37.

is already down and will keep falling in cash turns and as a

:18:37.:18:43.

percentage of GDP. You mentioned 2010. Let us look back. Since that

:18:43.:18:49.

time, the independent report said the assessment of the shape Britain

:18:49.:18:58.

was in has turned out to be a lot worse. The recession the country

:18:58.:19:04.

faced in 2009 was a contraction in GDP, the worst since the Second

:19:04.:19:11.

World War. An on going euro crisis. And a peak in oil prices in 2011.

:19:11.:19:17.

Britain is a global trading economy. The IMF downgraded forecasts for

:19:17.:19:21.

every single country and Britain is not exempt. However tough it is,

:19:21.:19:27.

this government is dealing with the challenges. If there was a plan by

:19:27.:19:33.

an alternative government that was going to mean even �200 billion

:19:33.:19:37.

more of borrowing, spending and debt, how would that change your

:19:37.:19:43.

numbers? You have put borrowing at the heart of your strategy. How can

:19:43.:19:48.

you credibly claim to be getting on top of borrowing when you are

:19:48.:19:53.

planning to borrow �200 billion more than you said you would 2 1/2

:19:53.:19:59.

years ago. It is out of control, five had and �39 billion you will

:19:59.:20:05.

borrow. Because we are dealing with a deficit. You need to deal with

:20:05.:20:13.

the rate. When this government came to power, that deficit was �159

:20:13.:20:18.

billion, the highest of any industrialised country. That was

:20:18.:20:25.

then, you said you would get on top of that. Instead you are borrowing

:20:25.:20:28.

over �100 billion more than Alastair Darling had said.

:20:28.:20:34.

we're getting on with cutting the rate of borrowing. A I will try one

:20:35.:20:39.

more time. I don't understand how you are cutting the rate of

:20:39.:20:44.

borrowing when you just added City 7% to the map you said you would

:20:44.:20:52.

borrow? I can explain, the deficit, the amount you borrowed every year,

:20:52.:21:01.

that was �159 billion. It was �121 billion last year. This year before

:21:01.:21:09.

cost is �108 billion. It is over �120 billion if you account on a

:21:09.:21:19.
:21:19.:21:22.

like-for-like basis. You can selectively take what you want. The

:21:22.:21:27.

report... It shows if you take these things out. I think you're

:21:27.:21:31.

missing the point. The budget deficit is falling. That means the

:21:31.:21:37.

rate of borrowing is falling. would suggest that, given the shed

:21:37.:21:42.

loads of dosh which have been borrowed by his government, for

:21:42.:21:48.

Labour to credibly say you would borrow even more is absurd. We have

:21:48.:21:53.

got to deal with the borrowing situation. But, ultimately, the

:21:53.:21:59.

government is failing. What is the alternative? He talks about his

:21:59.:22:04.

priorities. Ours would be growth. It is a fundamental truth the

:22:04.:22:09.

government seems oblivious to, if you don't have a healthy economy

:22:09.:22:14.

generating new revenues for the Treasury, reducing welfare costs,

:22:14.:22:21.

you'll see borrowing getting higher. But, you would borrow more?

:22:21.:22:27.

debt will increase. But you would borrow more. There are certain key

:22:27.:22:32.

short-term investments necessary to stimulate the economy. We talked

:22:32.:22:42.
:22:42.:22:47.

about for achieve revenues -- 4G. We could talk about the E E banker

:22:47.:22:56.

bonus Levy, pay restraint, which is necessary. The �3 billion giveaway

:22:56.:23:06.
:23:06.:23:12.

to the wealthiest and people. is a propaganda tool you are using.

:23:12.:23:16.

When you look at what is happening, the Minister has made a decision

:23:16.:23:24.

about what he regards as the Ellesse dusty of taxation. --

:23:24.:23:34.
:23:34.:23:36.

elasticity. One quick point, if you'll let me. They have been

:23:36.:23:40.

against every spending cut this government has introduced. They are

:23:40.:23:44.

against every tax rise. Somehow they think by some miracle they

:23:44.:23:50.

will balance the books. Of course we need to make adjustments. We

:23:50.:23:57.

have said topper cent. With Yorke NHS cuts, I suppose? How much is

:23:57.:24:00.

the Home Office budget going to be going down as a result of your

:24:00.:24:05.

extra borrowing? You must be glad you joined this coalition, it is

:24:05.:24:12.

going well for you!? Actually, what joins us together, there are things

:24:12.:24:16.

we disagree about, it is the central purpose of getting the

:24:16.:24:23.

country back on track. If you are comparing a forecast with actual

:24:24.:24:29.

figures. The forecast has been blown completely off course. But

:24:29.:24:35.

the actual trajectory of the budget is coming down. We are no closer to

:24:35.:24:43.

borrowing the books -- balancing the books. Are you any closer to

:24:43.:24:50.

balancing the books? Yes. Absolutely, we are. You said that

:24:50.:24:57.

the deficit would be �60 billion by 2013. That was a forecast. A You

:24:57.:25:03.

are now telling us it is �112 billion, twice as big. The nation

:25:03.:25:06.

is still borrowing less than the year before and the year before

:25:07.:25:16.

that. You can't say it is dodgy. can. Including that capital receipt

:25:16.:25:24.

from the auction which is happening next year, that is entirely normal

:25:24.:25:33.

in accounting turns. I can state a few more minutes. Let us move on,

:25:33.:25:42.

do not go away. The shall we carry on? The report

:25:42.:25:48.

says the economy will decline again in his 4th quarter. We all know

:25:48.:25:57.

that in January. The OBR can be wrong, usually more optimistic than

:25:57.:26:07.
:26:07.:26:11.

pessimistic. If you look at what the Chancellor said in 2010, he

:26:11.:26:17.

said, he would be judged by meeting his debt reduction target by 2015.

:26:17.:26:21.

That has been abandoned. He said he would get the structural deficit

:26:21.:26:29.

into balance by 2015. That has been abandoned. He said that he would

:26:29.:26:34.

maintain our triple-A credit rating. I would suggest on the basis of

:26:34.:26:40.

history that will soon be abandoned as well. I do not agree with your

:26:40.:26:44.

overall analysis. I take your general point which is all linked

:26:44.:26:51.

to a slower rate of growth. You are surely not suggesting a government

:26:51.:26:57.

controls its growth rate. We have a huge influence on growth but we are

:26:57.:27:03.

open economy, 50% of our exports are with the EU. We are impacted by

:27:03.:27:09.

the rest of the world when they have problems. We have got to deal

:27:09.:27:14.

with the challenges we face, confront them head on. You can be

:27:14.:27:17.

like the previous government and hope everything goes away. You talk

:27:17.:27:22.

about fiddling the figures, Gordon Brown set his targets and then he

:27:22.:27:29.

came up with his own figures. learn from the best. You learned

:27:29.:27:33.

from the master. Are you challenging the independence of the

:27:33.:27:43.
:27:43.:27:45.

OBR? I am challenging its competence. Is Chris challenging

:27:45.:27:53.

it? I don't think so. The you can ask me any question you want. Also,

:27:53.:27:58.

we have talked about the growth figures and deficit. Ordinary

:27:58.:28:04.

people what they want is jobs, over 1.2 million private sector jobs

:28:04.:28:10.

have been created in the last two years. In the last 10 years of

:28:10.:28:16.

Labour, do you know how many were created under Labour? It was about

:28:16.:28:23.

600,000. The private sector has created more jobs than Labour

:28:23.:28:27.

created in the last 10 years. wanted to ask if he was in the room

:28:27.:28:31.

with the Chancellor when he decided to look at the statistics on

:28:31.:28:39.

borrowing this year and post that revenue at 3.5 billion, to also

:28:39.:28:48.

post in the profit from the banks in public ownership, to also posed

:28:48.:28:56.

in -- poster in... Let me finish. I want to know the answer. If I would

:28:56.:29:04.

said -- it if I said I was there, it would be a fiction. This

:29:04.:29:10.

fictional meeting. Chris knows full well the OBR has to credit all the

:29:10.:29:17.

decisions made by the government. The way government gives these

:29:17.:29:23.

statistics... Are you happy that the benefits including working

:29:23.:29:29.

benefits on people below average income has, will rise at below 1%

:29:29.:29:34.

when inflation is double. And the things these people have to spend a

:29:34.:29:40.

big chunk of their income on, food, heating, will rise by a lot more

:29:40.:29:47.

than 1%, are you happy with that? Of course I am not happy with that.

:29:47.:29:51.

These are difficult things. When you go into politics, you don't

:29:51.:29:57.

think your life will been spent making easy decisions and to take

:29:57.:30:01.

difficult decisions over all in the best interests of the party --

:30:01.:30:11.
:30:11.:30:16.

That is what the Conservative manifesto of 2010 said. The Liberal

:30:16.:30:21.

Democrat manifesto said we would have a broad tax perk for people in

:30:21.:30:29.

work. That is what the coalition government is doing. The only tax

:30:29.:30:36.

cuts Conservative support up for the very rich. Do you believe that?

:30:36.:30:46.
:30:46.:30:49.

We thought the tax cut for Middle Britain was the way forward.

:30:49.:30:54.

that would you believe? That is what a lot of his colleagues would

:30:54.:30:57.

still like us to believe. Because they're not in a coalition, they

:30:57.:31:02.

cannot do it. I do not own whose name the press release was issued

:31:02.:31:12.
:31:12.:31:13.

in. It was actually issued as a mistake. It had to be withdrawn.

:31:13.:31:19.

Why will Labour not tell us whether they will support a 1% rise in

:31:19.:31:28.

uprating of benefits? We have not seen the bill yet. Hold your

:31:28.:31:37.

horses! When you look at what the Chancellor is doing, it is a

:31:37.:31:42.

political trick. He is trying to say that Labour tradition a cares

:31:42.:31:50.

about the poorest in society. -- traditionally carers. They are

:31:51.:31:56.

going to say, how do you feel about real-terms cuts? You must vote

:31:56.:32:04.

against it. I have a very bitter taste in my mouth. You must vote

:32:04.:32:08.

against it. How can you be called the Labour Party and vote for

:32:08.:32:16.

something like that? I accept it is very distasteful, what they are

:32:16.:32:22.

doing. Excuse me. We have already done what they are doing. If it is

:32:22.:32:27.

that distasteful, will you vote against it? If we see the bill, we

:32:27.:32:33.

will vote against it. Can I ask about what is in the Bill? We have

:32:33.:32:43.
:32:43.:32:49.

run out of time. We have run out of time. Next time I'll get you the

:32:49.:32:59.

proper press release. Some Prime Ministers use reshuffles all the

:32:59.:33:01.

time to shake things up. The politics of promotion and demotion

:33:01.:33:04.

can cause big problems though, perhaps, that is why David Cameron

:33:04.:33:07.

held off for more than a year before moving his ministers around.

:33:07.:33:09.

Today, the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee are

:33:09.:33:12.

asking how effective reshuffles actually are. In a moment, we will

:33:12.:33:15.

be hearing from Chris Mullin, who has been giving evidence. But,

:33:15.:33:24.

first, here's a flavour of the wonderful world of reshuffles.

:33:24.:33:34.
:33:34.:33:50.

morning. Are you ready for a new Music Sign O, the hokey pokey. -- #

:33:50.:34:00.
:34:00.:34:10.

Good to be back, Mr Mandelson? Third time lucky. A lovely day for

:34:10.:34:15.

a walk around Whitehall. I am honoured and very much rigging

:34:15.:34:25.
:34:25.:34:27.

forward to getting on with the job. And the former Labour MP, Chris

:34:27.:34:35.

Mullin, is with us now. What is the point of reshuffles? There are too

:34:35.:34:41.

many of them. I was the 6th African minister. There were nine in 13

:34:41.:34:48.

years. There were 13 Europe ministers. There were eight Work

:34:48.:34:50.

and Pensions Secretary has been 10 years. That is quite a complex

:34:51.:34:55.

subject to get your head around. Health and education has been

:34:55.:35:01.

turned inside out on an annual, biannual basis. It is not good for

:35:01.:35:07.

government. In terms of policy, if you are looking for consistency and

:35:07.:35:11.

stability, the figures you have just reeled off, you get neither.

:35:11.:35:15.

It is destabilising and demoralising for those concerned.

:35:15.:35:19.

The present government has been more sensible. I have only met the

:35:19.:35:23.

Prime Minister once since I left Parliament, about six months after

:35:23.:35:31.

the election. There is only one piece of advice I would offer due -

:35:31.:35:37.

the Prime Minister - and that was not to have annual reshuffles. He

:35:37.:35:45.

waited two years to have his first reshuffle. Let's welcome viewers

:35:45.:35:49.

from Scotland who have just joined the Daily Politics. They are

:35:49.:35:55.

talking about reshuffles. When reshuffles happen, it is not

:35:55.:36:00.

because there is a change of policy, it is usually because it is forced

:36:00.:36:04.

upon prime ministers politically - either someone has done something

:36:04.:36:09.

and you have to get rid of them and that forces a reshuffle. Do you

:36:09.:36:17.

think it is forced upon a leader? Sometimes it is. An individual

:36:17.:36:20.

Secretary of State gets himself into trouble, like Liam Fox, and a

:36:20.:36:27.

mini reshuffle has to be held. You do not have to throw all the pieces

:36:27.:36:33.

into the air and sea where they land. Unfortunately, in recent

:36:33.:36:40.

years, they have got into the habit of annual reshuffles. The media

:36:40.:36:49.

stars to speculate months and weeks in advance. What is that like for

:36:49.:36:53.

ministers' careers? There is lots of briefing about who will go and

:36:53.:36:57.

unbearably it does not happen the way the press predicts. How

:36:57.:37:02.

destabilising is that? Very destabilising. If you are presiding

:37:02.:37:07.

over a big department, you need to get to know the subject. If you are

:37:07.:37:11.

only going to be there the year, you have just reached a point where

:37:11.:37:18.

you might be useful when the man in Downing Street says, you are gone.

:37:18.:37:23.

Often the department has to start all over again. That seems

:37:23.:37:27.

ridiculous. There are subjects which are pretty difficult and the

:37:27.:37:32.

Treasury is one of them - getting a head around all those figures. We

:37:32.:37:39.

do say people should stay for at least two of to three years? I was

:37:39.:37:49.

first reshuffled 11 years again. -- ago. I was told to walk up Downing

:37:49.:37:54.

Street. I went into the office of Tony Blair. He was doing the

:37:54.:38:00.

reshuffle. By the time he had got to the junior level, he said, I

:38:00.:38:06.

would like you to go to the Cabinet Office. I said, thank you very much,

:38:06.:38:14.

Prime Minister. He said, actually... I said to him, everyone will say

:38:14.:38:19.

that, when they? He said, you are one of the only people who has said

:38:19.:38:25.

they will take what they are given. People do actually argue with the

:38:25.:38:30.

Prime Minister as he is trying to grapple with his dozens of

:38:30.:38:38.

appointments. It shows that prime ministers are either week when

:38:38.:38:42.

giving news they do not want to here or there are ministers who

:38:42.:38:45.

fight their corners. There were reports that Iain Duncan-Smith did

:38:45.:38:50.

not want to move when the Prime Minister wanted him to move. Is it

:38:50.:38:56.

hard to tell colleagues they are out? I think Tony Blair got quite

:38:56.:39:01.

experienced at it. He used the phrase, Surrey, Chris, I am going

:39:01.:39:06.

to have to let you go. I'm sure he said that to everyone. I actually

:39:07.:39:12.

turned down my first offer. He said, it is only for a few months and

:39:12.:39:19.

then I will find you something more in the Home Office of Foreign

:39:19.:39:25.

Office. I fell for that. Do you think it would be better if people

:39:26.:39:29.

were experts? In other countries, you do need some expertise before

:39:29.:39:35.

you take on health or education. Do you think there should be a level

:39:35.:39:39.

of qualification before you are given a ministerial post?

:39:39.:39:45.

painful lesson we have all learnt is it is not a meritocracy. It

:39:45.:39:49.

depends how friendly you are with your party leader as to whether he

:39:49.:39:56.

picks up the phone or not. I do not think the Prime Minister goes

:39:56.:40:00.

through everyone's CVs and says, this person has done this and

:40:00.:40:04.

spoken on that while in opposition and they should go there. That is

:40:04.:40:08.

how business with work but not politics. With the Liberal

:40:08.:40:11.

Democrats come up we have fiftysomething. They are turning

:40:11.:40:21.

them all through. Everyone gets a go. That is probably good for

:40:21.:40:26.

pensions, it is it not? I am afraid at this point we have to reshuffle

:40:26.:40:36.
:40:36.:40:38.

you out of the studio. It has happened the fog but I will come

:40:38.:40:45.

back. -- happened before. He went in to resign and David Cameron said,

:40:45.:40:50.

you're doing a great job, thank you for coming to seamy and he walked

:40:51.:40:59.

out. I said to Tony Blair, he said, we are not very good at this, are

:40:59.:41:09.
:41:09.:41:11.

we? I thought, who is the week? Some good news, energy giants have

:41:11.:41:21.
:41:21.:41:28.

found a cheap ways of supplying electricity. A nice big fracking

:41:28.:41:31.

plant might well be coming to a town, village or slice of green and

:41:31.:41:34.

pleasant land near you. I can hardly wait. Giles has been to

:41:34.:41:37.

visit a village who are a little less pleased. Underneath the arches,

:41:37.:41:41.

a dream of gas is under way. Not far from this viaduct, near the

:41:41.:41:44.

village of Balcombe in Sussex, there happens to be a 20-year-old

:41:44.:41:46.

oil drill shaft, which drilling company Cuadrilla has planning

:41:46.:41:49.

permission until September next year, to survey for shale gas and a

:41:49.:41:52.

test frack. To nearly all the residents of Balcombe, that does

:41:52.:41:55.

not smell right. It is not so much that this Sussex village is sitting

:41:55.:41:57.

on a goldmine of shale gas. That is what the drilling company wants to

:41:58.:42:01.

find out. The community has had to come to an opinion about a fairly

:42:01.:42:09.

new process that many others know The process involves underground

:42:09.:42:12.

explosive fracturing of rock strata and, if suitable gas pockets are

:42:12.:42:15.

there, driving that gas out, by pumping water in, lots of water.

:42:15.:42:18.

What has sent shockwaves through this village is, when it was tried

:42:18.:42:23.

in Blackpool last year, it caused two earthquakes. The Government

:42:23.:42:28.

halted test fracks as a result. Now they seem keen to lift that ban.

:42:28.:42:36.

Balcombe is worried. The increased risk of pollution, the increased

:42:36.:42:42.

risk of traffic which were becoming past my house. The risk to the

:42:42.:42:46.

environment. The risk of earth tremors. Generally, I am very

:42:46.:42:51.

concerned about it as a whole. in the US, shale gas extraction is

:42:51.:42:56.

transforming their energy dynamic. The UK Government may want the same.

:42:57.:43:03.

We are not America. We are a watery country. Just to have something

:43:03.:43:07.

like fracking, it seems that a last resort for the Government to go

:43:07.:43:16.

ahead with this. I cannot believe we have not be searched any other

:43:16.:43:19.

alternatives. -- researched. Balcombe is a blooming traditional

:43:19.:43:22.

English country village. You would be forgiven for thinking they would

:43:22.:43:26.

be upset if you asked to build anything near - or under them.

:43:26.:43:30.

is an issue that affects the whole of the UK. People do not realise

:43:30.:43:34.

how serious a problem this is. Cuadrilla say Balcombe should not

:43:34.:43:37.

flap. Their focus in on Lancashire and have no current plans to test

:43:37.:43:44.

frack. Balcombe stresses the liquid nature of the word current. And, as

:43:45.:43:48.

other areas may well be perched on shale beds, they seem to have built

:43:48.:43:51.

a platform as campaigners not against a development but a whole

:43:51.:43:58.

technology. I really pity people in other countries. They have had

:43:58.:44:05.

lives ruined. Whatever engineers and geologists say, some have these

:44:05.:44:09.

companies are ruining people's lives. Are you prefer that not to

:44:09.:44:15.

happen in the UK. -- I would prefer. For those in Balcombe, and nearby,

:44:15.:44:18.

the hunt for cheaper gas is a bridge too far. Joining me now is

:44:18.:44:21.

the Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, and Dan Lewis, who is energy

:44:21.:44:31.

adviser for the Institute of Can we go back to the big picture,

:44:31.:44:41.
:44:41.:44:47.

we import 49% of our gas, forecast to rise up to send the cent. -- 70%.

:44:47.:44:53.

The nuclear programme is off to a very slow start. We needed to buy a

:44:53.:44:59.

lot of gas. Do we actually wanted to buy it at a premium from abroad,

:44:59.:45:04.

or exploit our own revenues, get some tax revenues and regional

:45:04.:45:10.

development opportunities? It is posing the wrong dilemma. If we go

:45:10.:45:18.

down another dash for gas, we will see higher energy bills, we all

:45:18.:45:25.

seek our climate emission reduction targets busted. The actual question

:45:25.:45:30.

is whether we go for a big investment in offshore wind, or gas.

:45:30.:45:35.

A report this week showed if you went down the offshore wind route,

:45:35.:45:43.

we would get 70,000 more jobs, look -- we would have lower fuel bills,

:45:43.:45:50.

and emissions. Why has the dash for gas not resulted in higher prices

:45:50.:45:55.

in the United States, they are now a third of Europe's? They let me

:45:55.:46:00.

correct one thing, George Osborne is making up facts as he goes along.

:46:00.:46:10.

It is not the gas -- not the case, gas prices have doubled in the US.

:46:10.:46:16.

Not natural gas prices. Yes, they have. They are falling in the

:46:16.:46:20.

United States, I promise you. That is why industries are relocating

:46:20.:46:30.

there. If you listen to the chief executive of Bloomberg, he is

:46:30.:46:35.

saying gas prices have come down. Irrespective of that, in the UK, it

:46:35.:46:40.

is the case a big investment in offshore wind would get our bills

:46:40.:46:45.

done much more effectively without the negative side effects. Can we

:46:46.:46:50.

really import what has happened in the United States? If you take

:46:50.:46:57.

North Dakota where one of the big shell gas fields are, if you look

:46:57.:47:04.

at North Dakota, it has 10 people per square mile. In England, 1,000

:47:04.:47:09.

people per square mile, often more. Can you really do in this small

:47:09.:47:17.

island what they have done in a Continent? We are not going to do

:47:17.:47:22.

anything on the same scale. On natural gas prices, it depends on

:47:22.:47:28.

your starting point. Prices four years ago were the same as the UK.

:47:28.:47:33.

They Arnaud three times lower. The starting point which Caroline chose

:47:33.:47:37.

at the beginning of the year, they have doubled, but they are still

:47:37.:47:47.
:47:47.:47:47.

three times lower than here. cannot try to compare the US price

:47:47.:47:53.

system two hours. We need to look at prices in the UK. If you look at

:47:53.:47:59.

our overall energy bills, gas is driving up bills which is why they

:47:59.:48:06.

are so expensive. Not just me, CBI, a butcher bank, they are all say it.

:48:06.:48:11.

If I could come back on that, we need to do the same thing as

:48:11.:48:17.

America were in large amount of Shell Gas is de coupled from

:48:17.:48:25.

natural gas and oil prices. what about climate change, we are

:48:25.:48:29.

forgetting this, we will bust our legally binding emission reduction

:48:29.:48:36.

target. It doesn't matter what is happening in America. The UK has

:48:36.:48:45.

legislation. Let us concentrate on the UK. The committee on climate

:48:45.:48:49.

change cut abruptly said if we go down this route we will not meet

:48:49.:48:58.

the targets in our legally blinding -- binding legislation. My response

:48:58.:49:04.

is to get the moratorium lifted and find out more. A serious point is

:49:04.:49:12.

this is an economy in trouble. Incidentally, you are going to have

:49:12.:49:22.
:49:22.:49:22.

used yelled -- going to have to use a shell gas... We are going to have

:49:22.:49:26.

to go. Thank you very much for that. I have never felt more redundant in

:49:26.:49:36.
:49:36.:49:41.

my life. The Chancellor has got this shale

:49:41.:49:46.

gas bit between his teeth. He really thinks this is important.

:49:46.:49:52.

And he has overcome the objections of the Liberal Democrats, am I

:49:52.:49:57.

right? I think he has. It was interesting to hear this debate

:49:57.:50:05.

that went on. We needed to get away from just focusing on just what

:50:05.:50:09.

alternative energy is. Wind energy plays an important role but if we

:50:09.:50:15.

have a supply of gas using the new technology available, to use our

:50:15.:50:23.

own resources, to try and bring down the price of gas,... So you

:50:23.:50:31.

are in favour? I am, yes. And your party lost the argument? A over

:50:31.:50:36.

wind, there has been an argument between the Secretary of State and

:50:36.:50:46.

Ed Davey and his junior David -- junior minister. But, you hit the

:50:46.:50:50.

nail on the head by saying we need to be wary of fracking. In North

:50:50.:50:55.

Dakota, there is plenty of land where you can risk perhaps

:50:55.:51:00.

contaminating the water table. In Cumbria, you would have to be very

:51:00.:51:08.

careful. There will be lots of protests.

:51:08.:51:14.

Does Labour have a policy on Shell Gas? We recognise we always have

:51:15.:51:19.

some gas in the mix. You have to try to grow the renewable side of

:51:19.:51:26.

things, we were disappointed they dropped that target... Are you on

:51:26.:51:32.

fracking? There are safeguards, the toxicity of Chemicals plant into

:51:32.:51:39.

the ground, watching the water table, model train what happens. It

:51:39.:51:44.

will cause structural change to the earth beneath. With proper

:51:44.:51:52.

safeguards, which should go without saying. You would be in favour?

:51:52.:51:55.

safeguards are a critical point. We need at least a year to measure

:51:55.:52:01.

what is happening in the ground before obtaining a licence for

:52:01.:52:11.
:52:11.:52:11.

fracking. A report did say that this was a red herring. 125,000

:52:11.:52:16.

fracks in the United States last year. The environmental protection

:52:16.:52:23.

agency says that not one has contaminated the ground water.

:52:23.:52:26.

we have our own environmental standards which I would hope are

:52:26.:52:35.

quite high. Now, enough of the doom and gloom. Let's have a little bit

:52:35.:52:39.

of Christmas cheer. Because, last night, there were lords a leaping,

:52:39.:52:44.

and some melodic sounding MPs. Yes, Parliament's Got Talent, you know!

:52:44.:52:47.

But don't worry, they're not gearing up for the next reality TV

:52:47.:52:50.

show. The Parliament Choir, yes, Parliament has a choir, has been

:52:50.:52:54.

singing its heart out at its annual carol service. And we sent Susana

:52:54.:53:04.
:53:04.:53:04.

to St John's Smith Square to see if they were any good. # Ding Dong

:53:04.:53:13.

merrily on high. Recognised them? These are parliamentarians united

:53:13.:53:20.

in song, with a conductor as chief whip. We are under the control of

:53:20.:53:29.

the conductor. Her there is a great deal of solidarity about what we do.

:53:29.:53:35.

They come from all sides of the political spectrum, about one third

:53:35.:53:40.

are at MPs and peers. A time of year when they like to get into the

:53:40.:53:46.

Christmas spirit. 12 years since the choir started, it can pull in a

:53:46.:53:50.

decent crowd. If we have come a long way from the

:53:50.:54:00.
:54:00.:54:03.

days when we used to basket with a few mince pies. -- busk it. I am

:54:03.:54:10.

doing a duet with a Tory! Bernard Jenkins. That is a bit weird. It is

:54:10.:54:15.

quite nice. The thing about music is it just brings everybody

:54:15.:54:21.

together, and lifts everybody's soul, however bad your day, however

:54:21.:54:25.

angry you feel about the Chancellor's Budget, this is an

:54:26.:54:30.

occasion to saying, to enjoy, to the Christmas tree. Come on then,

:54:30.:54:40.

give us a song. A contender. But who is the best sinner? Bernard

:54:40.:54:45.

Jenkins has a fantastic Boyce, we all turned around to listen to him.

:54:45.:54:50.

He is a member of her own party, is buried party-political reason?

:54:50.:54:56.

is simply perhaps more rehearsed. Time for the scores now. A I would

:54:56.:55:03.

probably give Bernard nine out of 10, he is pretty good.

:55:04.:55:13.
:55:14.:55:15.

Carol line is a very strong sinner. -- singer.

:55:15.:55:25.

Lord german? He leads the choir so I had better give him eight! Let us

:55:25.:55:32.

hear him then? You know the words but I am going to sing the third

:55:32.:55:37.

first and I did remember the words. A likely tale. Here is the real

:55:37.:55:47.
:55:47.:55:56.

thing. Doesn't it make you want to roast a chestnut!

:55:56.:56:03.

We're joined now by Alexander L'Estrange, who is a choir master!

:56:03.:56:09.

Do you think they are any good? sounded pretty nice, what did you

:56:09.:56:14.

think? I thought they surprisingly sounded quite good. What would you

:56:14.:56:24.
:56:24.:56:26.

give them? Some definite sevens. Would you like to have a go

:56:26.:56:33.

conducting them? It would be a lot of fun. Which of the individuals

:56:33.:56:41.

did you like the best in turns of their voice? I rather liked Lord

:56:41.:56:51.
:56:51.:56:57.

German. Our Ranya view in this quiet? -- Are any of you in this

:56:57.:57:07.
:57:07.:57:16.

choir? Then I was in my school choir. Her

:57:16.:57:20.

you were talking about your colleague, Bernard Jenkins, who has

:57:20.:57:25.

a lovely voice. He has an excellent voice. His sister was a

:57:25.:57:32.

professional singer. Bernard was a constituent of mine for a while. He

:57:32.:57:39.

certainly has a great voice. I thought David was excellent as well.

:57:39.:57:44.

For could this be the key to more cross-party harmony if they sang

:57:44.:57:49.

together more regularly. Music is a metaphor for politics and everyone

:57:49.:57:59.

coming together. Singing in community choirs is great. Lots are

:57:59.:58:09.
:58:09.:58:10.

doing stuff they are learning by beer -- ear.

:58:10.:58:20.
:58:20.:58:27.

You could put the Autumn Statement to music! A bleak midwinter!

:58:27.:58:31.

Thank you very much. That's all for today. Thanks to our

:58:31.:58:36.

guests. The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now. I am

:58:36.:58:39.

on, after Question Time, talking about the royal baby, and social

:58:39.:58:41.

mobility, with Tony Parsons. Discussing reinvention with

:58:41.:58:44.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS