06/02/2013 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks. This is the Daily Politics. They have been arguing


about it all week. Last night, MPs voted to allow gay men and women to


get married. So is that the end of the story? Or will those who


disagree fight on in the committee stages and the House of Lords?


What went wrong with our health service in Staffordshire? We know


that thousands of patients received appalling standards of care.


Hundreds died. Why? We will bring you the results of the official


investigation. We meet the man who wants to rip up


the rules about building houses and see an end to buy-to-let landlords.


The decibel level is far too high. The Prime Minister should not have


to shout. Just how noisy is the Chamber


during PMQs? We will have the results of a special Daily Politics


experiment to find out. All that in the next hour and a


half. Joining us for the duration, Business Minister Michael Fallon


and Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan.


But first - the big vote last night. If you have been watching the Daily


Politics this week, you will know that MPs on both sides of the House


have deeply held beliefs about gay marriage. David Cameron has always


said that he believes people should be able to marry their same-sex


partners, not despite being a Tory, but because he is a Tory. Which has


not quite convinced a major chunk of the Tory party. Last night when


MPs had their first vote on the issue, more Tory backbenchers voted


against than for it, and a large number abstained.


This bill is about one thing. It is about fairness, it is about giving


those who want to get married the opportunity to do so whilst


protecting the rights of those who do not agree with same-sex marriage.


The definition of marriage is based on the definition of sex. In the


19th and did three Act, it is impossible, absolutely impossible,


to shoehorn in same-sex marriage and to provide equality -- 1973 Act.


We have discriminated against Catholics, women, people from


ethnic minorities, but very gradually, not always completely


but perceptibly, this House has passed legislation to remove such


discrimination. Is this not another example to do so? Are the marriages


of millions of straight people about to be threatened because a


few thousand gay people are permitted to join? What will they


say? Our marriage is over, Sir Elton John has just got engaged to


David Furnish. If the government is serious about this, take it away,


or abolish the civil partnerships Bill, abolish civil marriage, and


create a civil union bill that applies to all people, irrespective


of their sexuality or relationships, and that means brothers and


brothers and sisters and sisters and brothers and sisters.


cheeses are I know was born illegitimate, a refugee, with eight


death warrant on his name -- cheeses that I know. That is why it


is right for those to vote on this bill -- Jesus I know.


Well in the end, there was a huge Parliamentary majority in favour of


gay marriage on this, the first vote on the matter. David Cameron,


Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all voted in favour. But 136


Conservatives, 22 Labour and four Lib Dem MPs did not follow their


leaders into the division lobbies on a free vote. Michael Fallon was


one of them. Why could David Cameron not persuade you? It was a


free vote, it was not political. That is the point of the a free


vote. It is up for each member and Minister to vote according to their


own conscience. But he spoke openly and consistently in favour of gay


marriage, wanting to encourage as many Conservative MPs to follow him.


What was it about the issue that could not persuade you? You would


have been pretty scornful to announce a free vote and then 95%


of Conservative MPs went into the lobby behind him. But David Cameron


will be disappointed. There are divisions in the party about this


and in the country. If you are coming to redefine one of the


central institutions in society, you probably need to do so on the


basis of a lot more concerned than exists at the moment. But the


majority of people in parliament voted the other way, I was wrong,


and we have to accept that. Do you think people in your party who


voted in favour listened to you and your colleagues concerned? Yes, we


had a passionate e-mails from each side and if I may say so I think


the debate yesterday should parliament at its best. Some very


powerful speeches on both sides. I think a reasonable amount of


respect from each side. You do? Some people clearly feel very


strongly that we should not discriminate against gay people.


Other people think there is something special about marriage


that needs to be protected. But it is not over yet. This does not mean


that a gay couple can go out next weekend and get married. No. I am


pleased that society can recognise love and relationships. The entire


Shadow Cabinet had a free vote and 85% voted in favour. It has to go


to committee upstairs, then it comes to report stage and a third


reading and then it will go to the House of Lords, so it will be a


number of months before it is finally through parliament. What


will happen a lot in the parliamentary road? Will you and


your colleagues tried to amend the bill? Or your colleagues in the


House of Lords? I certainly won't. It was a massive majority, as Sadiq


Khan has said. We have to respect the view of the House of Commons.


Maybe other colleagues will quibble about the details of the


legislation. It is important that the protections for the Church are


robust and violet. Then, don't forget, there is a second phase in


parliament -- robust and valid. The Commons has spoke and I think those


of us to oppose the bill need to respect the majority who were in


favour. The do you think there will be any attempts to amend the bill


in the House of Lords? I am sure there will be attempts to amend it,


just like you have people bringing frivolous cases in the future that


will not succeed. The key thing is to try to have as many mechanisms


in the bill to respect religious freedom, article 9 in the European


Convention. We need to make sure that there is faith groups are


protected from their believes not being compromised. On that issue,


you spoke of protections. As a Muslim, did you come under any


pressure from Muslim faith groups to say, the Sadiq Khan, don't vote


for this? I am an MP who is Muslim rather than a Muslim MP. Might


consist it -- constituents are Catholics, Jewish people, Anglicans,


Methodists, Hindu... I had communication from all sides. On


all issues, not just this one. Should David Cameron have spoken in


this debate, bearing in mind he has said such a lot about this issue?


You are suggesting he should have been trying to bully his own


ministers and members into following into the lobby. Would we


not have expected to have heard from him? If you are the leader of


the party and you have made this famous quotes of saying, I support


gay rights because I am a Tory. He might have wanted to emphasise that


during the debate or even listened to it? I think it is to his credit


that he did not make this a party issue. There will be people who on


matters of conscience would expect that from parliament. I don't think


it would have sweet individual members and ministers for us. --


would have swayed. People have very strong views on this. I don't think


it would have made that much difference. Thank you.


While we were talking we are just getting word of what is in the


Francis report into the scandal of what happened in their mid-


Staffordshire Hospital Trust in 2005 up to 2008. We understand the


report calls for zero tolerance to poor standards of care. He says


hospitals which failed to comply with this fundamental standard


should be forced to close. He has made 290 sweeping recommendations


for health care regulators and possibly a hospital inspectorate.


He attacks the local health authorities and the trust board


although he does not name any one individual and organisation for


what he describes as the disaster at Stafford Hospital. If you


remember, between 401,200 people died and at this hospital's trust


care -- between 400 people and 1200 people died. The patients were


forced to drink water from vases, lying in their own excrement,


relatives forced to come in to look after them themselves. A long-


running scandal in the NHS. We are just getting the report now. We


will bring more as we get it and of course a statement by the Prime


Minister to the Commons at 12:30pm. We will bring you that statement


and reaction to it. Jo has the background.


The yes. The public inquiry has investigated


how managers and those charged with overseeing the NHS failed to do


anything about the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust. In 2009


the Healthcare Commission, the predecessor of the current Care


Quality Commission, reported that at least 400 more patients died at


Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009 than would have been expected,


as a result of what it called That led to the government setting


up an independent inquiry, chaired by Robert Francis QC, which looked


at what went wrong more closely. So in 2010 he reported shocking


details of how patients had been mistreated. There was a wholly


unacceptable standard of hygiene, and deficient food. He also found


there had been a chronic shortage of staff and that nurses had often


been dismissive and uncaring. Robert Francis's second inquiry,


which is what we are getting today, looks at the failures of management,


oversight and regulation and will recommend changes to the structure


of how NHS hospitals are monitored. The government has said it already


wants a new duty of candour. Hospitals which tried to cover up


bad care could be fined or even shut down. Francis is also likely


to recommend establishing a new post of chief inspector of


hospitals for England. And many here at Westminster will be looking


at what he says closely to see if there is any criticism that can be


laid at the door of the previous Labour government.


The report is being published around now. For the latest, we are


joined by Phil Mackie from outside We already know from the previous


reports just how shocking big hair was that went on here between 2005


and 2009 -- just how shocking the care was. I spoke to a woman whose


daughter was complaining for 18 months of stomach pains. She picked


up so many different infections, C difficile and MRSA, it eventually


killed her. That lady said she did not want heads to roll. She wanted


reform to the NHS. That is what it is hoped the Francis report will


bring for the many campaigners who have been hoping for various things,


including allowing whistle-blow was more freedom to speak out, stopping


gagging clauses, paying more attention to patients, and


admitting more openly when things go wrong. But fundamentally to


start at basic levels of care. Things that went on at Stafford


Hospital were going on elsewhere in the country and probably still are.


That is acknowledged in this report. This is why the report is seen as


being so significant. We are just getting more from this report on


the Mid Staffordshire Hospital NHS Trust. Fundamental rights denied,


appalling and unnecessary suffering, lack of care, compassion, humanity


and leadership. The words of Francis QC, who has


led this latest report. His second report into what happened.


We are joined by Mike Farrar, the chief executive of the NHS


Confederation, which represents hospitals and other organisations


This is probably the worst record of care in the NHS since it was


founded in the 1940s. Why have there been no criminal charges, no


sackings, nobody struck off by the GMC? I would echo your view that


this is one of the worst days in the NHS's history. As somebody who


came into the service to do good things, I'm ashamed of what


happened in Staffordshire. The actions against individuals of


other regulatory bodies. Robert Francis is going to look at how


this regulatory bodies are working. Why have there been between 400 to


1200 people died, were killed in effect, because of inadequate care?


At the very most, at the very least, institutional manslaughter. Why


have there been no criminal charges? It's really a question of


what the regulatory regime allows us to do. I'm very interested in


not just what punitive action and accountability needs to be taken


for what happened, I'm really thinking of the way in which the


patient that your correspondent mentioned said what we need to do


was make sure this doesn't happen again. I know that's what you want


to talk about, but let's look at what has happened. Why have only


three of the doctors involved, why have only three been called now


before the General Medical Council on fitness to practise? Why has


nobody been struck off? I don't represent the General Medical


Council's views. I think they have to think very seriously about this.


If they want to reassure the public that they can have confidence in


the NHS, then they need to take action, if appropriate, they need


to act. It is for them to determine. Why is it the case that the chief


executive of this hospital, who was in charge at the time and appointed


by the man who is now the chief executive of the NHS, he left with


a pay-off and now has another job in the health industry - why?


is a big issue for Ross. People who are deemed to have been failing to


the extent where they have not upheld the values of the health


service, we shouldn't have a system whereby people are working again.


But there are many cases where understanding what went wrong is a


question of helping people explained and trying to put things


right. You know as well as I do that rather than criminal charges


and people being struck off, most of the people involved in the mid-


Staffs spag bol have either taken pay-offs and disappeared or been


moved around the NHS. Do you accept that it is perfectly possible,


perhaps not in the grand, horrific scale of made it Staffs, that what


happened there is happening now and other hospitals? I do believe it's


lessons, we've got to think this is not just about one hospital. I


don't think it's widespread and I don't think it's on anything like


the scale. But there are issues in other hospitals where the culture


of those organisations is the kind of thing we saw in mid-


Staffordshire. What we need to do today is absolutely learn these


lessons and be as honest and open as we can. We know that among


doctors, clinicians and even medical students there's a list of


hospitals that they wouldn't want to go to themselves or send friends


or family to. Do you know that list? I do. I know a list not where


people shouldn't go, but I know the list that describes the variation


in performance between hospitals. Can we have that list? It should be


made available. When I was in the north-west, my previous job, that's


what we did. We published the variation in standards of care.


What that did, importantly, was not only get the public access to


understand that, but it was an incentive for the clinicians to


improve their services. So you are confirming there is a secret list


know within the NHS to which they themselves would not wish to be


treated at, but we, the people who paid �2 billion a week for our


services, we are not allowed to know that list. What I'm not saying


is, there is not a secret list about where people want to be


treated, but there is information within the service about the


variability of performance. If we are to learn the lessons from its


stature, we need to make it more public. The public need to see more


about the variations. The case we've been making for change to


improve our outcomes relies on the public understanding that


variability. This is very important. This is a chance to open up and


make sure the NHS, which belongs to the people,, we provide that data


for them to see that variability. how could Labour have let this


happen? It's shocking. The report that is coming out today, there


will be nothing new in relation to the lack of care provided a full


patients, we know from the first inquiry that the level of care


inquiry was shocking. You boasted about being the party of the NHS.


This was when you were in power, and you were travelling the amount


of money spent on the NHS. This isn't the normal Tory cuts


narratives. This happened on your watch when he was stuffing money


into it. No excuses for Mid Staffordshire. But to extrapolate


from Mid Staffordshire that the entire NHS has a problem, or that


all the money invested in extra nurses and doctors was a waste of


time would be wrong. Nobody is saying that. No one is saying that


the entire NHS is like Mid-Staffs. Don't set up on and Sally on that.


But what Mr Fallon has conceded is what is happening at Mid-Staffs


could still be happening and has happened in other parts of the NHS.


The reason why it's more likely to happen than not is because one of


the lessons from Mid Staffordshire, in the emergency units there were


50 % less doctors and nurses than they should have been. Another less


that could lead to problems. We also know there are cultural


problems where the management... results in patients having to drink


water out of farce as. The report says there were less than half the


levels of doctors and nurses in the indie than they should have been.


I'm not using that as an excuse, and explaining the facts uncovered


today by Robert Francis. Why didn't you have a public inquiry when you


were in government? Andy Burnham ordered an inquiry. The important


thing was to get the lessons quickly. Within five months, France


has produced his first report. This public inquiry has taken two-and-a-


half years. Not belittling the lessons learned today, but two-and-


a-half years was too long. The man who was chairman of the Strategic


Health Authorities under which Mid- Staffs came, and is strongly


criticised in the Francis report, is the man who will point to the


chief-executive to the Mid Staffs Hospital. He's now the man under


your government who is the chairman of the NHS commissioning Board. How


did that happen? He is, yes. We will have to see the report as to


what level of responsibility Mr Francis attracts to him. But he


wasn't the one running the hospital. He was supervising it. We need to


be clear what this report says. It's one thing to say, how did


Labour allow it to happen? If it emerges that it was Labour have


encouraged it to happen through the target obsessed culture that all of


these trusts were under, if that emerges today then we are certainly


looking for an apology from former Labour ministers. Andy Burnham and


Alan Johnston have both apologised. If it emerges that the results of


the inquiry are that less regulations lead to catastrophe, as


the minister in charge of reducing regulation, one of the downside of


having been up regulation for managers is you can have this sort


of problem. Managers who are doing an appalling job leave the trust,


get a pay-off and go somewhere else within the organisation. It's


important to point out there on reforms already on the way, partly


as a result of the first report. Will any of these reforms address


what happened at Mid Staffs? Most patients are checked hourly to make


sure they are being fed properly, they are not dehydrated. But the


crucial... It's not a target, that's a practice. To say patients


should be checked hourly is a target. It's a rule. From April,


GPs, if they are not happy but the hospital they preferred their


patients to, they will be in the driving seat from this April and


will be able to stop sending patients to a hospital like


Stafford and transferred them elsewhere. For the first time, GPs


will be properly in charge. Do we need an external hospital


inspectorate, like a schools inspectorate that can go in, and if


they discover even a shadow of what was happening at Mid-Staffs they


say, either improve or you close? There's a very important point


about the extent to which you rely on external regulation and


inspection, for what is partly a job of the culture within that


organisation. Because we've lost some of the public confidence,


there is a strong argument about improving our regulatory system.


What about an inspectorate? Staff gave great care when they feel


really valued, not really inspected. We have to have a situation inside


hospitals where people take ownership. That is incredibly vague.


We don't know what the culture is until we are in hospital and are in


no condition to argue about the culture. We are hoping at the very


least we may get a glass of water and some decent care that we paid


for through our taxes. Do we need an inspectorate to ensure that we


don't end up in a hospital like Mid-Staffs? We already have


inspection in the Care Quality Commission. Robert Francis will say


it has not worked properly we need to look carefully at that. If we


simply think this is about better regulation outside of the hospital,


we miss the point of it. The NHS does 1 million consultations every


36 hours. We can't expect all of that. You rely heavily on the staff


at the bedside showing care and compassion, and you get that


because you have a good culture in those hospitals. Inspection back


that up but it starts with people inside the hospital do. We are


going to go to PMQs at noon today. The Prime Minister will be making a


statement. It is not the Health Secretary that is making a


statement, which is indicative of the severity of this matter. The


Prime Minister himself will make the statement on the Frances report.


We will bring you part of that. In the run-up to PMQs, we always have


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Daily Politics mug, send your answer to our special quiz e-mail


address which is on screen now. You can see the full terms and


It is coming up to midday. Let's take a look at Big Ben. It means


only one thing. Prime Minister's Questions. Steve Richards of the


Independent is here. Welcome back. The Mid-Staffs is the Big story,


not just of the day but of the week, may be of the month. It's a service


we all use and depend on. This is yet another appalling report on it.


Because the Prime Minister is making a statement at 1230, am I


right in thinking the leader of the opposition will not go on this at


PMQs? Absolutely. He will be responding to David Cameron. It is


fascinating that David Cameron has decided he is making the statement,


on about 10 different levels. He will avoid that at PMQs. My guess


is he will avoid gay marriage as well, because they agreed. There


will probably be a joke about the division in the Tory parliamentary


party, but I don't think you will go bit of that. On the banks, they


are broadly in the same place at the moment. My guess is he would


choose something else on which there is a big difference, welfare


reform or something. The economy. If in doubt, use the economy. There


will be a few jokes, but they will both be fully aware that the news


story to emerge in the next hour or so will be their exchanges on Mid-


Staffs. He and Cameron will be relatively relaxed about what


follows in the next half-an-hour. Perhaps that will affect the mood


of the house as well. That they know that following PMQs, there's


something very serious about hundreds of lives that were lost,


about a problem in the service that we are also proud of. It's a


massive story. David Cameron obviously recognises the severity


of the story. Clearly, every act is multi-layered. He sees some


political advantage in making the statement. It happened under


Labour's watch. But it's a really interesting story because in


opposition, David Cameron would always say to me, if there's a


problem in a single hospital, we will say, this is not a government


problem, we have localised health care, it's their problem. He's


doing the exact opposite and saying, look, I'm taking responsibility for


this. He's done this kind of father of the nation at what the Bloody


Sunday inquiry. He did it with Hillsborough. He was thought to do


very well with both of these and be seen to speak about party issues.


Were he tried to do the same with this? Tonally, perhaps, but this is


also highly political. Everything to do with the NHS is. It's also to


do with the present debate. I think he will part the use it to say,


look, this is why we felt the need to reform the NHS. Unlike those


previous statements, which he did brilliantly about past events,


there's a political dimension to this one. It isn't clear to me how


the Government's reforms, they made the right or wrong, but it's not


clear how they would impact directly on the midst of City


Whitton. I'm sorry, I asked that question and I can't take the


I thank my right honourable friend for the answer. Having given my


right honourable friend notice of my question, which he may find


useful in the sense that it is transparent and also very modern...


Can my right honourable friend say that in response to the many


concerns expressed in yesterday's debate, which he ensure that civil


partnerships are open to heterosexual couples on an equal


basis with homosexual couples? very grateful to my honourable


friend for giving me notice of his questions. Frankly, I am a marriage


man. I am a great supporter of marriage. I want to promote, defend


and encourage marriage and the great thing about last night's vote


is that two gay people who love it sure there will now be able to get


married and I think we should be promoting marriage. Ed Miliband!


Speaker, I want to ask the Prime Minister about the bedroom tax.


Alison in Middlesbrough has 18- year-old twin sons in the army. The


bedroom tax means that while her sons are a way, she will be charged


more for their bedrooms. She says, I resent the fact that my sons are


serving their country and in return will not have a home to come home


to when they are granted their much-needed leaves. What is the


Prime Minister's answer to Alison? Let me make clear, this is not


attacks, this is a benefit. -- a tax. First of all, it all the time


that Labour was in government, if you were in a private sector rented


home and you were in receipt of housing benefit, you did not get


any benefit for empty rooms. That is important. It is only fair we


treat people in social housing the same way. If anyone is away from


home then obviously their earnings are not counted and therefore the


benefits of that person are likely to go up. SHOUTING.


I look forward to him explaining to Alison why her paying �25 a week


more from April is not a tax on her! And as for his point about the


private rented sector, I think he misunderstands the point of social


housing. Part of its purpose is to protect the most vulnerable and


according to the government's figures, two-thirds of the people


hit a disabled. Let me tell the Prime Minister about any mail I


received last week. It says, my wife has a degenerative condition


and is cared for in bed. Due to her illness and my own medical


conditions, I sleep in the spare bedroom.


A why is it fair for him and hundreds of thousands of others,


disabled people like him, to be hit by the bedroom tax? As with every


honourable member, if he wants me or the Department of Work and


Pensions to look at a specific case, of course I will. Let me make some


detailed points of. First of all, there is a �50 million fund to deal


with difficult cases. But let me also make the basic argument of


fairness that he seems to miss. If you are in private renting housing


and receive no housing benefit, you don't get money for an extra room.


If you are in private housing and to get housing benefit, you don't


get money for an extra room. So why should we be doing more for people


in social housing on housing benefit of their own people in


private housing on housing benefit? Another additional point that


frankly he has got to engage in. The housing benefit bill is now �23


billion a year! We know that he is against capping welfare, we know he


is against restricting welfare to below the rate of increase in wages,


we know all the things he is against. We are beginning to wonder


what on earth he is for! He is spending more than �8 billion more


than he planned on housing benefit because of his economic failure


during this parliament! And I just say to him, the whole point of


social housing is to protect families including the disabled. He


does not sound like he will do anything for military families or


the disabled, but let's talk about a group of people he Eva's -- he is


moved by. I have a letter sent on his behalf by the Conservative


Party treasurer about the so-called mansion tax and it says this: "we


promised that no homes tax will be introduced during the course of


this parliament. To keep the taxman out of your home, please help by


donating today and supporting the no homes tax campaign". Can the


Prime Minster explain what is it about the plight of those people


that he finds so much more compelling than those hit by the


bedroom tax? If he is in favour of a mansion tax, why didn't he


introduce one in the 13 years in government? If he is so passionate


about social housing, why didn't he build any when he was in


government? If he thinks we are spending too much on housing


benefit, why does see a POS each and every attempt we meant to get


the Welfare Bill under control -- why does he opposed? The fact is,


we are on this side of people who work hard and want to do the right


thing! All he can ever do is spend more money! I do say to the Prime


Minister, he should not get so het up. After all, he has got nearly


half his parliamentary party behind him! CHEERING. Mr Speaker, and the


policy is not just unfair, it is not going to work either. In Hull,


4700 people are going to be hit by the bedroom tax and there are just


73 council property is for them to move to. Can the Prime Minister


explain how exactly that is going to work? What this government is


doing it... We are building more houses and controlling welfare


bills but frankly the question is one he has to answer, too. If he is


against the welfare cap and restrictions on increased welfare,


if he opposes reform or disability benefits and each and every welfare


change we make, how on earth is he going to get control of public


spending? A clue is in the title, a prime minister's Quincy -- Prime


Minister's Questions. He is opposed to answer the questions. I thought


he might say move to the private rented sector because there are not


enough council properties, but this is where... But this is where... I


would like him to say what those people should do! The policy is


supposed to save money and this is where it is not going to work out.


Another woman wrote to me and said, my rent for my family home...


SHOUTING. I don't know why they are groaning, Mr Speaker. Thousands of


their constituents will be hit by this! Another woman who wrote to me


says "my rent for my family home is �65.68 whereas a one-bedroom in the


private sector would cost over �100". How can it possibly makes


sense to force people into a situation where they cost the state


more, not less, by moving to the private rented sector? The his


government is building more homes! If he supports that, perhaps he


will tell us he supports the changes to the planning system,


their new homes bonus, the things that will get more homes built and


more people into jobs? We have 1 million extra people working in the


private sector. That is what he has got to engage in. He has got


absolutely no suggestions for how to get on top of well-fed, get the


deficit down and get the economy moving -- get on top of welfare.


Today we discovered he has not even got a clue about his own policy


that he will introduce in April and his answers remind us what his


party and the country are saying about him. The only people he


listens to our small group of rich and powerful people at the top.


That is why he has come up with a policy that is unfair. He is a


prime minister who is weak, incompetent and totally out of


touch! Totally pathetic scripted rubbish that we get used to every


Wednesday. On the issue of who listens to whom, I have a very


clear idea of who he listens to, because we heard it in the LSE


lecture by Len McCluskey! Len McCluskey said this. He said, oh I


met Ed Miliband and he asked me this question, this is the question


he asked Len McCluskey. If you had three wishes, three things you


would like us to do if we got back into power, what would you like


them to be? Len McCluskey's answer: Trade union freedom, trade union


freedom, trade union freedom. That is who he was to be fairy godmother


to! James Arbuthnot! At the time of the strategic defence and security


review, two-and-a-half years ago, my right honourable friend is said


my own strong view is that this structure will require a year on


year real terms growth in the defence budget in the years beyond


2015. Does that remain his view? As he heard any similar view expressed


by the leader of the opposition? -- has he heard? It does remain my


view but I am the only party leader who believes that in the use be on


this parliament, we should be increasing defence spending -- in


that the years beyond this parliament. But the good news is


that it is actually agreed government policy that the defence


equipment programme does need real terms increases after 2015, and


that is very important for us to be able to plan the exceptional


equipment programme that we have to give us some of the best-equipped


armed forces anywhere in the world. Mr Speaker, the Budget Office


responsibility, the Office for Budget Responsibility rather...


Laughter... Tells us that the bankers will spend �500 million


less in the bank has tax than the Prime Minister promised last year,


yet in April he will inflict a �500 million cut in the poorest through


the empty bedroom tax. How can he justify taking from the Paul and


giving to the rich? Robin Hood! the poor. We think the bank levy is


a better answer than a one-off bonus tax and the bank levy will be


paid every year and so it will raise considerably more than a one-


off bonus tax and what the Chancellor has done, when the bank


levy has not come up to the figures that we require, is to increase the


bank levy to make sure that it does. Can I remind the House of my


declared interest? Tomorrow the Prime Minister will go to Brussels


to rightly argue for a reduction in CAP funding. Will he ensure that


any reduction applies to farmers right across Europe and not just in


the UK? Will he make sure he does not fall into the trap fallen into


by his predecessor in 2005, that when pressing for cuts ended up


with a cut to the one part that everybody thinks is worth well,


which is cut to the environment and the World Development Programme?


right honourable friend speaks very knowledgeably about this. These


will be extremely difficult negotiations and obviously our aim


is what the significant cut I have spoken about, but the point about


agriculture is important, particularly about the flexibility


we required to make sure things like that rural development


programme can continue to succeed. We know the Prime Minister has met


lots of millionaires. But has he ever met anyone who will lose their


I have RAF Brize Norton in my constituency, so I have many forces


families living there. But what they say to me is they want a


government that is on the side of people who work hard and do the


right thing. They support the fact that we are capping welfare, we are


getting on top of immigration and clearing up the mess left by her


party. Today is the United Nations International Date of zero-


tolerance to female genital mutilation. Does the Prime Minister


agree with me that Britain should be doing all it can to combat this


dreadful abuse of the Human Rights of Women and girls, overseas and


here in the UK? I completely agree. She is right to raise this. The


government has made progress on this, chairing a forum looking


right across the piece, including what we do overseas in terms of our


aid programme and trying to prevent the horrific female genital


mutilation, but also to make sure here that the Crown Prosecution


Service and others are aware of the law on to everything they can to


make sure it is properly prosecuted. Can the Prime Minister confirmed


that Atos have declared that much of the third is fit for work? --


Richard III. That is not a constituency case that has come my


way. All I can say is I hope it's going to engender a great


historical understanding of these events. I hope it will be a great


boost to the great city of Leicester. This week's announcement


that the work of the Stockton Insolvency Service is moving to


Newcastle is the latest in a long series of similar announcements


affecting the Tees Valley, including the closure of


Middlesbrough's HMRC office by the previous government. Will the Prime


Minister look to bring extra work to the HMRC office in Stockton and


to moving another public-sector agency to the Tees Valley? I will


look carefully at what my Honourable Friend says. Of course


we want to make sure that public sector jobs are fairly distributed


around the country. But we have to be frank, the real need for our


economy is a rebalancing with a growth in the private sector to


make up for the fact that public sector jobs have declined. As we


look over the last two-and-a-half years, the million extra private


sector jobs has more than offset the decline in public sector and


employment. That is why we can see unemployment falling around the


country. The Prime Minister may not be aware of an opinion poll by the


BBC in Northern Ireland which shows that in all of the six counties of


Northern Ireland there is now a clear majority in favour of the


Union. Because people right across Northern Ireland recognise that


when it comes to being part of this United Kingdom, we are better off


together. I sometimes try and avoid opinion polls, so I haven't seen


that one. It looks like one that will lift the spirits of almost


everyone in this house, because we believe in the United Kingdom and


we believe in Northern Ireland being part of that UK. Can the


Prime Minister reassure this house that he still believes in


increasing spending on the NHS, making sure that those funds go to


the frontline doctors and nurses at the frontline of our service?


give him that assurance. That is why we are committed to increase


NHS spending during this Parliament for each year in this Parliament.


We are on course to do that. But we do want to make sure the money goes


to the front line. That is why the number of managers and


administrators in our NHS is right down and the number of clinical


staff is right up. Was it the double-dip recession, the slowdown


in deficit reduction or the projected 60 % increase in national


debt over the next five years that led the Prime Minister to state


that he had full confidence in his Chancellor? Why have confidence in


the Chancellor, the deficit is down 25 %. Deraa 1 million extra private


sector jobs. We are cleaning up the mess made by the party opposite.


Dover, plans are moving forward for the building of a new hospital,


after a decade in which local hospital services were decimated.


Can I, too, say the need to increase investment in the NHS and


ensure real focus on the frontline. On this day particularly, when we


are back to discuss what happened at the Staffordshire Hospital, it


is a day to talk about the importance of care in our health


service, the importance of the frontline and the have porters,


above all, of really looking at quality and listening to patients.


Under this government, of course resources have been constrained,


for all the reasons we have discussed across the despatch box


as week in week out, but we did make a conscious choice to put more


money into the NHS and to get back to the front five. That is why


there are 5900 or doctors and there are 19,000 fewer non-clinical staff.


The money is going into the frontline of the bloggers needs to


be on the quality and patients. -- but the focus needs to be on the


quality and the patience. Is the Prime Minister concerned about


suicide levels in our society? Will he assure me and his party of the


Government's support to raise awareness of the issues and work


with devolved administrations to tackle the scourge across all of


the UK and Northern Ireland. And I commend the Honourable Gentleman


and Democratic Unionists for bringing this issue forward. The


whole issue of suicide is one we often don't talk enough about in


our society. I think it is absolutely right to do so. It is a


shocking statistic that in Northern Ireland, almost six times the


number of people killed in road traffic accidents of lost to


suicide. Raising awareness of this and making sure there's a proper


Cross Government's strategy to help people deal with this is vitally


important. As a result of the financial mess the Labour


government left the country in... Local councils... Order, a house


must come down. I intend to get through the questions. Local


councils have raised as tough a budget settlement as most other


government departments. Does the Prime Minister share my dismay that


Manchester City Council is choosing to close libraries, leisure centres


and the Mersey Valley warden service, while at the same time was


happy to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on an Alicia


Keys concert, and leave 100 million reserve sitting in the bank?


makes an important point. Of course councils face difficult spending


decisions. But if you look at the level of spending on the level of


grant they are still getting in many cases, it is equivalent to


what we were getting under the last government. Obviously the economy


has declined since then and so we have to cut our cloth accordingly.


But they should be held accountable for the decisions they make. In


some cases they can be little doubt that councils are making high-


profile cuts to try and make a point, and they shouldn't be


damaging people's livelihoods, they should be doing the best for their


cities. Would the Prime Minister confirm for the record that thanks


to his cuts to the childcare element of the working tax credit,


families with children are losing up to �1,500 a year? What has


happened and have a child tax credit is we increased it by �390


in the early budgets of this government. If you look at the


benefits for Ade two parent, two child family, they will be getting


over �1,500 extra this year, that's �30 a week, compared to 2010. The


Honourable Gentleman is wrong. the Prime Minister paid tribute to


the new President of Somalia, whose government has made remarkable


progress over the last few months? Although there is still a long way


to go, would he agree with me that the Somali and peace process is a


really good example of Britain combining aid and development with


energising the neighbouring states and the diplomatic community


worldwide? Can he tell the House, what role does he envisage here in


the UK? He makes an important point. Anyone wondering the relevance of


Somalia to hear in the UK, we have to remember that this country has


been the author of huge amounts of problems, from terrorism, piracy,


mass migration. Even to the most hardy sceptic of our aid budget, I


would say this is a really good case where engagement, aid and


diplomacy can help that country to mend itself for the future. In


terms of the diaspora, I hope they will give full support to the new


President, who is demonstrating huge grip in his country at mending


that pop -- mending the problems that have devilled that country for


so long. The Prime Minister's Korea probably peaked when he was a


backbench member of the Home Affairs Committee in 2005. Can he


revived his progressive courage at that time when he looks at the


report from the all-party group about the awful problems of new


drugs that on the market but are not controlled in any way? I am


grateful for his view of my career trajectory. I won't ask him about


his. I think that the Home Affairs Select Committee that I work on, I


did learn some important lessons from that. The priority we should


give in terms of tackling drugs, to education and treatment. Those of


the absolutely key arms of what needs to be done. Then I don't


believe we should be legalising any drugs that are currently illegal.


In terms of current legal highs and problems relating to the last


question about things like CAT, we need to look at the evidence of


what will work best. In Solihull, over 80,000 people have benefited


from our policy of raising the threshold at which people start to


pay tax. This morning, the IFS confirmed that this policy is right,


and those who have the broadest shoulders are bearing the greatest


burden of tax. In the light of this, will the government commit to


raising the threshold at which people pay tax to �10,000 in his


Budget? She is absolutely right. Raising the threshold before which


people start to pay tax has been absolutely right. What it has meant


is someone on minimum-wage, working full-time, their tax bill has been


cut by half. That is a huge change to help people who work hard, who


want to do the right thing. It is this government that is rewarding


them. She mentions the Institute for Fiscal Studies Green Budget out


this morning, I haven't had that much time to study it. But on the


issue of fairness it says this. The whole set of tax and benefit


changes introduced between the start of 2010 and 2015-2016 hit the


richest hardest -- households hardest. The leader of the


opposition asked the Prime Minister a simple question to which he gave


no adequate reply. I will ask it again. What is the difference


between a bedroom tax on the disabled and a mansion tax on


millionaires? I don't accept that the bedroom tax is a tax. It is an


issue about benefit. As a country, we are spending �23 billion on


housing benefit. We have to have a debate in this country. The last


government said we had to have a debate in this country about


getting on top of housing benefit. Indeed, it featured in the Labour


manifesto. The manifesto on which they were all elected. But since


they have moved to the opposition benches, they have given up all


pretence at responsibility at all. Can the Prime Minister reconcile


his recent comments on the need to accelerate major infrastructure


projects that the Government's decision to postpone forming a


policy on airports until after the next general election, and what he


reconsider and bring back review for what? -- bring that review


forward? It looks at what how would Davies has said in terms of his


review, he has said this is a very complicated issue that merits


proper examination that will take time. We need, as a country, to


make major decisions about airport and airport capacity. We should be


aiming as far as is possible to try and make these decisions on a


cross-party basis. I hope that the report will help that to happen.


Last night's vote on same-sex marriage is widely regarded as a


historic vote. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that it is a


tribute to all of the people down the decades, in all parties and in


no party, behind the scenes and in public, who have worked for such


equality? And does the Prime Minister agree with me that the


vote proves that the Ark of history Ben's slowly, but it bends towards


justice? I agree. I think last night's vote will be seen not just


as making sure there is a proper element of equality, but also


helping us to build a stronger and fairer society. I thought many of


the speeches made last night were very moving, very emotional and I


would pay tribute to all of those people who actually made this case,


some of them for many years, saying that they want their love to count


the same way that a man and woman's love for each of accounts. That is


what we have opened now in this country. That is why I'm proud that


its this government that has brought it forward. For years,


young people in cool and break have enjoyed some of the lowest per


pupil school funding in the country. This has become critical for Caddis


such as the East Riding of Yorkshire. Can the Prime Minister


look closely at the East Riding of Yorkshire and the lower level of


per pupil funding they receive? will look closely at what he has


said. I would make a couple of points. Within the education budget


we have prioritised the per pupil funding, so there hasn't been a


reduction in that. I think it's very important schools can see


forward to future years, the sorts of budgets they will have given the


role of children coming to the school. The second thing we've done


is to the Academy programme. To encourage the devolution of more of


the school budget to the school's director. I still think there's


Why was a motion to strengthen patient and public involvement in


the new patient watchdog rejected by the government in the other


place last night? We do want to see patients have a stronger voice in


the NHS and we are about to debate in some length about how that is


down. One of the most important ways will be making sure that the


mandate of the NHS commissioning board has at its heart quality


nursing and the voice of patience. We also need to look at how health


watch is going to work to make sure it is truly independent and we have


to understand that some of the ways we have tried to empower patients


in the past always with good intentions, from governments of


both sides, we have to listen to what Francis says when he says it


just has not worked. With more women in work then ever before,


with more men in work than ever before, with more jobs created in


the private sector, with the Prime Minister not agree with me that the


Chancellor's plan is not only working but the economy is


beginning to turn the corner! think we should listen very


carefully to what the Governor of the Bank of England said, who said


of course growth is slower than we would like that the economy is


moving in the right direction, the rebalancing is taking place, the


things that need to be fixed in our economy in terms of bank lending


and housing supply, they are being fixed. That is what the


Government's is determined to do. One of my constituents has learned


that when the bedroom tax is introduced, she will have �24 a


week to live on. She is so anxious about how she is going to manage.


She is having cognitive behaviour therapy. But her anxiety is totally


understandable. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that those


who should be receiving a cognitive behaviour therapy are the ones,


namely his ministers, who think she could live on �24 a week! The party


opposite does have to address the fact that for 13 years in


government, they were perfectly content to have a housing benefit


system for people who lived in private sector housing where there


was no extra benefit for empty rooms and I cannot understand why


they can't see it is unfair to have one all four people with the


benefit of social housing and another rule for people in private


housing. Week after week, Labour MPs come here opposing benefit


changes and everything we do to deal with the mess they left and to


fill in the deficit they left us and until they can learn they have


to take some of the responsibility for the mess they left, no one will


ever listen to them. Prime Minister's questions ends but


we will stay here to hear the beginning of the Prime Minister's


statement on the mid- Staffordshire Trust.


Mr Speaker, I have a deep affection for our National Health Service. I


will never forget all of the things that doctors and nurses have done


for my family in times of real difficulty. I love my our NHS. I


think it is a fantastic institution. It says a huge amount about our


country. I always want to think the best of it and I have huge


admiration for the doctors, nurses and health workers would dedicate


their lives to caring for our loved ones, but we do them and the whole


reputation of the NHS a grave disservice if we failed to speak


out when things go wrong. What happened at the Mid-Staffordshire


NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009 was not just roll, it was


truly dreadful. -- not just roll. Hundreds of people suffered


appalling neglect and mistreatment. Some patients was so desperate for


water they were drinking from flower vases. Many were given the


wrong medication and left to wet themselves and lie in their own


urine for days. Relatives were ignored was met approached when


they pointed out the most basic things that could have saved their


loved ones from pain and death. We can only begin to imagine the


suffering endured by those whose trust in the health service was


betrayed at their most vulnerable moment. That is why I believe it is


right to make the statement today. There was a Healthcare Commission


investigation into 1009, the first independent inquiry in 2010, and


long before that the testimony of bereaved relatives, like Cure The


NHS and Julie Bailey, who laid bare the most unspeakable catalogue of


failures at the Trust. Even after these reports, some really


important questions remain unanswered. How were these


appalling events allowed to happen? How were they allowed to continue


for so long? Why were so many bereaved families and whistle-blow


was ignored for so long? Could something like this happen again?


Basic questions about wider failures in the system, not just at


the hospital but right across the NHS, including its regulators and


the Department of Health. That is why the families called for this


public inquiry and that is why this government granted one and I am


sure the House will want to join me in expressing thanks to Robert


Francis and his team over the last three years. The inquiry finds that


the appalling suffering at Stafford Hospital was primarily caught by a


serious failure on behalf of the trust board, which failed to listen


to patients and staff and failed to tackle an insidious negative


culture involving a tolerance of poor standards and a disengagement


from managerial and leadership responsibilities. But the inquiry


finds that the failure went far wider. The Primary Care Trust


assumed others were taking responsibility and made little


attempt to collect proper information on the quality of care.


The Strategic Health Authority was "to remote from the patients it was


there to serve and failed to be sufficiently sensitive to signs


that patients may be at risk". Regulators, including the then


Healthcare Commission, failed to protect patients. Too many doctors


kept their heads down instead of speaking out when things went wrong.


The Royal College of Nursing was ineffective, both as a professional


organisation and as a trade union. The Department of Health was too


remote from the reality of the services that they oversee. The way


Robert Francis chronicles the evidence of systemic failure means


we cannot say with confidence that failings of care are limited to one


hospital but let us also be clear about what the report does not say.


France's does not claim any specific policy. -- France's. He


does not blame the last Secretary of State for Health. He says we


should not seek scapegoats. Looking beyond the specific failures that


he does clearly catalogue, I believe you can identify three


fundamental problems with the culture of our NHS. First, a focus


on finance and figures at the expense of patient care. He says


that explicitly. This was underpinned by a preoccupation with


Anne Owers set of top-down targets, as you to the exclusion of patient


safety -- with a set of Top Gun targets. Second, there was an


attitude that patient care was always someone else's problem. In


short, no one was accountable. He speaks about defensiveness and


complacency. Instead of facing up to date to which should have


employed a real cause for concern, Robert Francis finds that there is


a culture of only explaining the positives rather than any critical


analysis. Put simply, Mr Speaker... The Prime Minister making a


statement on the Francis Report into the mid- Staffordshire


Hospital Trust. Those who wish to see that in full can switch to be


busy parliament and probably BBC News will run more of it and we


have as well. He went through a catalogue of failures,


institutional failures, that the inquiry identifiers. Above all it


blames the Trust bought, for tolerance of poor standards. The


Primary Care Trust and the strategic health authority, Monitor


and other regulators, seeming to accept sub-standard care. The Royal


College of Nursing is, described as ineffective. Add that together and


you have what the Prime Minister and the report calls "systemic


failure". I think David Cameron got to the essence of it when he said


no one felt accountable. There was blurred lines of accountability and


that one body thought another body was responsible and they thought


somebody else was responsible. This has been a problem with the NHS all


the way through. It was a problem to some extent with the Blairite


reforms introduced by the previous Labour government in terms of, here


is and national funded body but should politicians be responsible


for the delivery of it? Not fully answered. That is not fully


answered by the Andrew Lansley reforms. This is the problem. In


PMQs, David Cameron says one of the other themes was we had been trying


to empower patients and the mechanisms of empowerment simply


have not worked. How you answer these things are massively


complicated. But the problem is clear. It is a running theme, with


the BBC, the police and all the other reason things. Who is


accountable to whom? This is not clear enough in his publicly-funded


services. It is a big, big political issue. Both this


government and the last government have tried to empower patients but


every time governments do, the Royal Colleges, the NHS elite,


people with a vested interest, the NHS trade unions, they down every


change as a threat? They claim any kind of private and market


mechanism is the slippery road to a US-style private health system.


These very elites, as this report has just adumbrated, they are at


the centre of this. They failed. Patients in any event seemed to


deferred to experts, especially if you are not articulate and July


confidence. We had patients who were articulate and two were still


ignored. But even staff felt there was a culture where they could not


report for fear of reprisals. We have brought in legislation to


protect whistleblowers but there is still a culture, staff lack the


confidence to bring to management's attention some serious concerns


they had. Will there be a change in public attitude as a result of


this? When we stop fooling ourselves that the NHS is the envy


of the world? A claim for which I have seen not a scintilla of


evidence. Maybe the envy of the Third World. Not of the rest of


Europe. Will we start to change our attitude, which my parents had, we


are lucky to have it? And will we start demanding a lot more for the


�2 billion a week we spent on it? week ought to do that but I do


think you should be critical of the whole of the NHS. There are some


excellent practices and parts of the NHS and if you are very


seriously ill in this country you are with a better chance...


Depending on hospital you get into. There were too many of these bodies,


we can both agree on that politically, and nobody was in


overall charge and the people felt it was going wrong were not able to


do anything. We can try to give patients more information but the


best answer to this is to empower the clinicians who are closest to


the patients, the GPs, and from April onwards they will be able to


say, we are no longer sending patients to that hospital. We are


not happy with the cleanliness. We will send them to another hospital.


That is fine, Michael. There is regulation for doctors and nurses,


but what about the manager's? Who regulates them? Who is responsible


for bad managers being sacked? We had a chief executive who is now


running another energy as charity. That is the real issue. It is


saying GPs hold the power and the commissioning staff and the


budgets... There were too many managers. So systemic failure is


coming from the management in this They might not have known about


what was going on in Stafford hospital. They might have continued


sending patients there, which raises another huge issue. It's


about information as to what's going on inside these institutions.


Mike Farrow said earlier that this is absolutely key. The whole thing


needs to be opened up. Whenever a light is shone on public funded


institutions, you then get upgrades to urgency, we've got to reform


this. And as to this broad political question. Where do we go


from here in terms of major reform? It's my sense that Labour has no


grand plan in the making for reforms of the NHS, they tried that


when they were in power. The Conservatives, we saw what happened


to them when they tried to reform it, they are not going to go there


again either. I think there will be consensus that further change is


required. There needs to be a debate on what form the change


takes place in. The debate in Britain has been simplistic. Reform


bursars and to reform, as if there's only one set of reforms


that are acceptable or Status Quo. We've got to get beyond that, to


have a much subtler and more intelligent play. There's a chance


of that happening in the light of these revelations. A sombre mood in


the chamber for the Prime Minister's statement on the


hospital and the report to date. It's not always like that. If you


were watching the programme on Monday, you will have seen as


talking about how loud it gets in the chamber during Prime Minister's


Questions. The Speaker, John Bercow, has been complaining that its


louder than a deep purple rock concert from the 1970s. But how


loud is loud? If I start talking to you like this in a little whisper,


then I'll be speaking at a level of 30 decibels. If I revert to my


normal, loud, speech pattern, the decibel levels are around 60. But


maybe it's a bit more. Prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85


can cause damage to your hearing. If you are Maria Sharapova or...


The undisputed queen of tennis grunts, she hits the scale at a


massive 101 decibels. Watch out if you are the ballboy! A rock concert


can be around 120 decibels. Two of the MPs they were talking to about


noise in the chamber kindly agreed to take their mobile phones and


iPad into the chamber, having downloaded and app that reads the


noise levels. The Conservative... How high to the reading go? It was


quite disappointing. I got to about 94. But it was a very sombre, very


subdued session. I don't think I've ever been to such a well-behaved


Prime Minister's Questions. Alan Cairns, did yours read any higher?


I got 98 at the back. I think that came from the laughter on the


question on Richard III. Because of the statement we were expecting and


the seriousness of that, everyone was quite subdued. That was also


after last night's vote, where there was some tension. People were


may be using it as a time to take stock. It's funny that you think


that is quiet. I suppose half an hour once a week isn't going to do


any damage, but 90 and 98 is still very loud. I stand by everything I


said on Monday about it being awful, really bolstered on the whole it is


extremely Walkers. It is just a Yelling match. It is not very


attractive. I'm going to carry on taking this wonderful gadget in


week after week, give it another couple of weeks and we will be


massively up. If it reaches 120 decibels, you are in deep purple


concerts territory. I'm sure that last week it did. Last week was


probably the loudest I've experienced. I asked a question in


it last week, and it is the most intimidating environment, where


people are shouting as you are trying to concentrate and hold your


own in terms of projecting your voice and remembering your words at


the same time. How can the grunting tennis player be as loud as a rock


concert? It is the pitch. It's the pitch at which she grants. It is


incredibly noisy. Below the gangway on both sides is quite loud. It can


be incredibly noisy. If you are asking questions, you literally


can't hear the questions are asked. I'm not so sure the opposite is a


good idea, it completely sterile Have you ever been told off by the


Speaker for speaking out loud? By both of them! A miscarriage of


justice. Millions of young people are priced


out of buying a home on their own. Millions more are hoping house


prices remain high to prevent a slide into negative equity. Ross


Clark has been looking at this for his new book, in which he


emphasises how unprecedented the Houses like these in Mitcham, south


London, enabled a million families to become homeowners in the great


building boom between the two walls. When these houses behind me were


built in the early 1930s, they cost between �315.530 pounds, which in


today's money is between �18,000.30 �1,000. Yet one of these houses


just down the road is now for sale for �335,000. And that is after a


suppose it crash. House price inflation has made a fortune for


some people but but others it has frustrated their dream of ever


owning a home. Yet none of the political parties has any credible


scheme for helping frustrated would-be homeowners. The


coalition's says it wants to increase housebuilding by listening


the planning system. We certainly need more houses, but that is only


This newly built two-bedroomed home is the equivalent of the 1930s


homes just down the road. But the difference is that this property is


quite likely to be bought as a speculative investment. We are


returning to a Victorian social structure in which a large class of


tenant's rent their homes from a small class of landlords. One


solution could be to place restrictive covenants on most new


homes, to say they could only ever be used as owner-occupied


properties. People are actually going to live in them, they could


not be bought by speculators. Also, we could reduce the cost of


building new homes by doing as post-war government did with the


new towns. Compulsory purchase and development land at his land use


valley, and in its planning permission and then selling it on


to housebuilders at much lower prices than they currently have to


pay for their land, taking just enough profit to pay for local


infrastructure. Houses may never be as cheap again as they were 80


years ago, but there's no reason why they cannot be a price which


allows young people to do as they're great grandparents did,


take the big step from tenants to homeowners.


Ross Clark is with us now. Michael Fallon, home ownership has fallen


for the first time since records began 60 years ago, Britain has the


lowest rate of new home construction in almost a century -


what are you doing about it? How many more homes have been built


since 2010? Over 113,000 in the first year. We have plans for


175,000 affordable homes. We've simplified the planning system, we


are unlocking some of the rules that have prevented affordable


housing being built, because these agreements were signed at the top


of the boom when prices were much higher. We've got a Bill going


through Parliament to unlock that now. You will see more houses being


built. That is one side of it. are still not affordable for very


many young people who cannot get the deposit to put down on buying a


home. Do you agree with the assessment that there is now this


generational gap between people who own their own homes and those who


will never be able to own their own homes and will be tenants forever?


That's too pessimistic. Some of the money we've made available through


the funding for lending scheme is not getting through into the


mortgage markets. I think you will find a better supply of mortgage


finance coming through. I accept they've got to raise a higher


deposit and perhaps our generation had to raise. Self-certified


mortgages, some of those rules have been tightened. What do you do


about house prices? Which government in its right mind is


going to do anything to either freeze house prices where they are


or bring them down? You can't control house prices. There are


things you can do. The can increase supply. Michael, I hope you are


right in relation to the figures to give but, frankly speaking, the


experience of my constituency is very different than yours. I knock


on doors where three generations are living in the same households,


no prospect of getting up to �50,000 deposit required to buy a


property in London. Our obsession with owner-occupiers is detracting


from the fact there aren't enough properties to rent at affordable


rates. Interest rates are low, so if you can't afford a mortgage with


these interest rates and you can't afford to rent because of high


rates of rent from private landlords, what are you going to


do? Do you have any confidence that the situation will change


dramatically? A Meikle talks about affordable housing. Affordable


housing is a word which really refers to housing either for rent,


for shared ownership, it's usually shared ownership property which


gets the name affordable housing. I don't think people really want to


buy half a house. When they set out on their career ladder, they want


to buy a whole house not half a house. The point was made, does


home-ownership matter? We've got this obsession with home ownership.


This is an argument with turns to the advanced by people who already


own their own property. It's not an argument I've ever heard for made


by people in their 20s, trying to get on the housing ladder. These


aren't benefit claimants, these are people in good jobs, well-paid jobs


who 30 years ago would have had absolutely no problem in buying a


property at all. One thing about buy-to-let, because you raised this


issue about ending that sort of speculative market, which certainly


boomed under Labour's time because capital gains tax came down. Would


you back an option like that? buy-to-let market is reviving again


now. A is that a good thing? yes, we do need people to build


more properties. We are making it easier to change use, to convert


from commercial premises or offices and to get that converted into


housing. That is one of the answers in the very overcrowded and expense


of inner-cities. A few people owning lots and lots of houses,


some of our colleagues do that, but housing is affordable to all,


whether to rent or own. The problem now is the supply side, it happens


towards the end of our time in government... You can't sell off


all the social housing... We are going to do Guess the Year. The


year was 1974. Let's see who has You win the Daily Politics mug.


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