13/02/2013 Daily Politics


13/02/2013

Jo Coburn and Andrew Neil discuss the horsemeat scandal with Equalities minister, Jo Swinson and Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry. Also, Prime Ministers Questions.


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Good morning, this is the Daily Politics. Today's top story: It is

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not just the Romanians putting horsemeat in our burgers, two

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British companies were raided last night. The authorities are

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promising a, quote, relentless investigation - as they would! And

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politicians are talking about systemic fraud.

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We will be going to the House of Commons in half-an-hour for Prime

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Minister's Questions. Will Ed show some beef, will Dave get kebabed?

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The Bank of England says prices will continue to rise faster than

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the 2% inflation target for years to come. What will that do to our

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pay packets and our living standards?

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And in our weekly soap box, find out why the former BBC newsreader

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Alice Arnold says we simply don't have enough women on TV. I want to

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see two women on every panel, I want to see equal representation of

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women, meaning at least 50%. Speaking on behalf of the minority

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here today, all of that is coming up in the next hour-and-a-half of

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public service broadcasting at its finest.

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Joining us for the duration, the Business and Equality's Minister,

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big title, Jo Swinson, from the Lib Dems, and Labour's Shadow Attorney

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General, Emily Thornberry, -- Emily Thornberry.

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But news has broken from the High Court where Renault alliance of

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schools, councils and teaching unions have lost their appeal

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against the grading of last year's GCSE English exams. They have

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claimed that the raising of the mark required for a grade C between

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papers taking in January and June was unlawful. But the court

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disagreed. The regulators and the exam boards have been successful in

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maintaining that they put up the boundaries to protect standards.

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Did the high courts make the right decision? The court has made its

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decision. Do you agree? It shows why GCSEs needed to be reformed,

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which is what we are doing. Everybody feels for those pupils

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who had studied hard and got to the situation where they thought they

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would get a particular grade and did not achieve that, we all

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understand that and I understand why they went to court. But the

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court has made its decision. So you backed the decision to say that

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Ofqual and the exam boards could mark papers in a more tough way

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than they did in January? They have obviously had the advantage of

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looking at all of the issues and evidence put forward. They have

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come to that decision. I think the whole case underlines the problems

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that were inherent with the GCSE system of too much reliance on

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majority, all of which we are now changing to make sure standards are

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protected but there for there will be also more certainty for pupils

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and teachers preparing for those exams. So tough luck to those

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students who missed getting a C grade and will have got a D grade

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all our, they have missed their places at college and an

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apprenticeship courses. It is tough? I understand it is very

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difficult for them, but it is important that we have exams with a

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particular standard that employers can rely on, that they know when

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they take on somebody with a GCSE in English at a particular grade

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that it means a particular standard. That is why we need to sort out the

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GCSE system. The Government is doing that. Emily Thornaby -- Thom

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Berry, standards have to be maintained, the High Court back

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that? If they had a chase between simply taking the GCSE in January

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or again in June, they would get kids with two different standards.

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Or if they would to employ somebody from England as opposed to Wales,

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because in Wales they have let these kids have their GCSE grade C.

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I have not read the judgment yet, but from what I have learned, the

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court has said, first of all, they were right to take the case to

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court because there is a lot of uncertainty, and in the end they

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have taken the least worst option in terms of what to do. But it is

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extremely unfair on these kids, it is a baseline when it comes to

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getting a job or going further into education. What could have been

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done instead? The difficulty is about... Jo talks about majority,

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meaning you can do assessments during the time going up to a GCSE.

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We need to make sure there is a level playing-field for everyone.

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What should have been done in this case? If they had, as in Wales,

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said they would we grade those exams, that would have meant

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standards would have differed from the previous year and perhaps the

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following year? The social question is why there was a variation in the

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first place. Why was it that pickets take the exams in January...

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Why was it seemed more necessary to make it more difficult for the kids

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in June? -- why was it seemed to be one necessary? It is not fair to

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say it is about assessments. If we want to find out who is good at

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English and who is not, assessments are important. You need a mixture

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of assessments. I'm good at exams but it is not fair that other kids

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who are probably brighter than me who were not good at exams ended up

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with a worse grade. Why couldn't we have had a situation where Michael

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Gove said we would recreate the results? In Wales the Welsh exam

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board was ordered by the Welsh education minister to recreate the

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results. As an export, there was no easy and fair way to do this. -- as

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we explored. In January, papers were graded differently. To say to

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those January kids, you were graded too generously, that would not have

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seemed to be fair. But why did we not to regraded those people with C

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grades so that they do not lose out? It would effectively be unfair

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on people the following year. Because there was the problem in

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January, a genuine and dust -- injustice took place, there was no

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easy or simple way to deal with that. So the courts have come out

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with his judgment and they have been in a better place to look at

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the evidence. The more important political point is about

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politicising GCSEs. People need to have confidence in GCSEs. Michael

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Gove has undermined GCSEs, said he would introduce something else,

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then he has not. Mixed economic news this morning,

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the Bank of England has predicted that inflation, running at above

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its 2% target rate for months and months and months and a few more

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months will actually continue to do so for another two years at least.

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It might even hit 3% or more by the summer. Because this is much higher

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than the rate at which earnings are increasing in the public or private

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sectors, it means living standards will continue to be squeezed each

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and every year of this Parliament. The outgoing Governor of the Bank

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of England Mervyn King was more cheery than usual. He said there

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were grounds for cautious optimism that the British economy would

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manage a slow and steady recovery despite the disappointing negative

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growth figures of the last quarter of 2012. Growth is likely to be

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weak in the near term, but further out a continued easing in domestic

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credit conditions, supported by a one of the programmes of the Bank

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and the funding for lending scheme, together with a strong will global

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backdrop, underpinned a slow but steady recovery in output. The hour

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to cut -- the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England, he has a few

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more months before he is replaced by the Governor of the Central Bank

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of Canada. Jo Swinson, it looks like for every year this coalition

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is in power, living standards will have fallen every year? It is an

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incredibly difficult time for the economy, recovering from a massive

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economic recession where we saw more than 6% wiped off the value of

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our economy. It is a slow process to get back. But we want to build a

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stronger economy and a more fair society, which is where we have

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record low interest rates which is helping people struggling with

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mortgage repayments, it is important that we retain that. And

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also we need to create a fairer tax system. As Liberal Democrats we

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have prioritised a tax cut for ordinary working people, more than

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25 million of them, and the 2 million lowest paid people have

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been taken out of income tax altogether. Can you name any other

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major economy where living standards will have fallen for five

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years in a row, as they will have by 2015? I don't think it is milk

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and honey in other countries. you name another one? We have

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thankfully got unemployment coming down, lower unemployment than

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France, the eurozone or the United States. We have the same

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unemployment rate as the United States, don't get carried away. And

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let me bring you back to living standards, could you name and other

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major economy where living standards... They started falling

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in 2008 in the last two years of the Labour government, can you name

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another economy where living standards will have fallen for

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seven years in a row? I am not an encyclopaedia of inflation rates in

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every other country around the world, but I'm also not suggesting

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that this is not a difficult time for British families. That is why

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we are trying to help people with the cost of living, for example not

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having the planned increases in fuel duty, by cutting income tax on

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people on low and middle-income start but living standards are

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still learning. If you are on an average or below-average income,

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your living standards will have fallen relentlessly since 2007, and

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will continue to fall, if the Governor of the Bank of England is

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right, for the foreseeable future. The economy had a massive heart

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attack in 2008, there is no quick and easy way out of that. Following

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Labour plans would mean massive rises in interest rates and

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hundreds more pounds of with -- of mortgage repayments for people.

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There is no easy way out, whoever was in power would probably be

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presiding over a fall in living standards? There is not an easy way

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out, of course there is not. But I think there is a limit to what you

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can do when it comes to monetary policy. I think the Bank of England

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is doing their best, I think there is not much more to be done. I

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think the important thing is about fiscal policy, how much the

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Government is prepared to spend, what we will do about the

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infrastructure, how can we kick- start the economy and how can they

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be kick-starting the economy by giving a tax cuts to millionaires?

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It is nonsense. I don't understand why the Liberal Democrats after two

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years in government still don't understand what tax credits are,

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why they work and why it is that ordinary families are being

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undermined when they are in work because the taxman is not giving

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them as much as they were getting before in tax credits. We are

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cutting income tax bills for people on low and middle incomes. Emily is

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right on capital investment, investing in structure, that is why

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the Government announced at the Autumn Statement another �5.5

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billion of investment in things like schools, transport and

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science... Only one in five of the project has been started, why

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aren't doing it? Things don't begin overnight, Emily. Can you give an

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example of where substantial spending on infrastructure has

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kick-started growth? After a Second World War. Is that the best you can

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do?! It is a very big example. best thing you can do is a post

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Warwick Avenue, with no comparison to today! -- a post oil economy. It

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was not coming out of war when we were taking 40% of our GDP being

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spent on defence in 1945, we had a massive switch back into the

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defence economy. And we build homes... Give me a modern example.

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If you build homes you are giving someone somewhere to live. We have

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so many people in housing waiting lists in London and the south-east.

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Give me another example? Give me a modern example. You won't let me

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use the best example. We have to go back to 1945? Because it is the

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best example. Setting up the NHS, building homes. Have you got

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another one? No, take that one, it is then -- it is a good one.

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Government said something today, which you are both culpable off,

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one of the reasons why inflation is high is because of your policy

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which she supported and Labour, as did the Conservatives, to investing

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green energy, which the governors said was, quote, a self-inflicted

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goal in terms of the damage done to real take-home pay. At a time when

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living standards were under difficulty, fuel bills were rising

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because of world fuel prices, you make it even worse with you green

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:14:34.:14:45.

We have to govern for today and we have to govern for the future.

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though this middle-class obsession with comfortable living is raising

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energy costs for ordinary working people at the worst possible time?

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This is something that it will affect everyone if we don't deal

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with it. The report which was commissioned under the previous

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Government, should the costs of reacting climate change away the

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:15:22.:15:22.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 57 seconds

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How was horsemeat labelled as beef in Britain?!

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Last month, food inspectors and Ireland found traces of DNA in

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beefburgers bound for the UK. 10 million suspect burgers were taken

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of British and Irish shelves, including Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and

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Iceland. Last Thursday it was revealed that some Findus lasagnes

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sold as beef were found to contain up to 100% horsemeat. Comigel, the

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French supplier of the Findus lasagnes, said it had traced the

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source of the horsemeat to Romania. After meeting with food industry

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heads on Saturday, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson warned of

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an international criminal conspiracy. The next twist came

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closer to home last night, with the Food Standards Agency suspending

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work at the Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse. Both companies deny

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any wrongdoing. This is what the FSA said. We have found horsemeat

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produced at the plant in West Yorkshire being sent to a location

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:17:30.:17:30.

and wealth Wales. We entered the premises yesterday. We spoke to the

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staff and we seized the products and found that horsemeat had been

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used as though it was beef in kebabs and burgers at that promises.

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We can now speak to the political correspondent Chris Major -- Chris

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Mason and Central Lobby. Does the Government have control of

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this crisis? This is being asked not least because it is a problem

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here rather than a problem over there. Given the raids in West

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Yorkshire and west Wales. There are plenty, not least the shadow

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environment secretary Mary Creagh, trying to make a winning honours.

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She has given me some written parliamentary answers that she

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requested. Let's give you some insight into their scale of the

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horse meat slaughtering industry in the UK, 14,000 horses slaughtered

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at six registered abattoirs around the UK last year, and specifically

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on that haul row about the horsemeat and whether it is safe

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and whether any of this chemical could have got into the human food

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chain, we have found from a written answer from the Department of

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Health that it nine samples tested positive last year. It keeps the

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focus for the Environment Secretary, who is heading to a Brussels this

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year, there are plenty, not just in the Labour benches but some in the

:18:57.:19:00.

Conservative fold, wondering if he has been as proactive as he could

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ever been in handling the crisis. Will now joined by the Conservative

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member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. He spent

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many years as a farm and he should know about this. Before the weekend,

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government ministers were saying that one way to avoid this is to

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buy British. Is that still a way to avoid it? I think it is to buy Farm

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Assured Products, it is a shame that we still have this in

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Yorkshire and Wales. It is fair and proper that we can slaughter horses

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in this country. Some doing their slaughtering, provided the horses

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are healthy, are not acting illegally. It is the people who are

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taking this meat and processing as beef and stamping it as beef. One

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of the issues has been we have not been able to trace processed

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products properly, we have not known where it has come from and

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where and how it has been... You do not do the testing. It is not just

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the testing. One of the problems is that for years, 10 and more, it has

:20:10.:20:15.

only been a paper trail. I agree we need more testing but this is a

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wake-up call, not only about the testing but about what is on that

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:20:29.:20:37.

In 2012, under your coalition Government, at least 796 samples

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were tested for me to identification. Testing for other

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meat species. As part of the local authority sampling programmes. Some

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of the samples were unsatisfactory, but none had been tested for the

:20:52.:20:58.

presence of horsemeat. We have had evidence before the select

:20:58.:21:01.

committee and what the FSA have argued is, they have been acting on

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information and they did not have any information to say that

:21:05.:21:10.

horsemeat was there. I don't think they have tested for horsemeat,

:21:10.:21:17.

rightly or wrongly since 2003. Those putting the horse meat into

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the beef are not going to tell you! We need to do more testing. We need

:21:24.:21:29.

to be clear, it is not the people who are slaughtering the horses. It

:21:29.:21:33.

is the people doing the processing and acting illegally. That is why

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we are testing. I accept the opposition is only doing their job

:21:38.:21:44.

by bringing this to the forefront, but this is not happening overnight.

:21:44.:21:48.

It has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years. We know that

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under Labour, you didn't test for horsemeat since 2003? We also know

:21:55.:22:02.

that once this blot got in, they split the FSA into three and the

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past responsible for testing was put into the Department of

:22:07.:22:12.

Environment, and they did not do any testing. We raised this a few

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weeks ago... Labour and Conservative have a lot to answer

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for? Once we are alerted by the Irish, and is it unfortunate we get

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alerted by the Irish and not at home. David Cameron has not taken

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the issue seriously and has been talking about an international

:22:34.:22:40.

conspiracy and has not brought in the police. I believe the Secretary

:22:40.:22:45.

of State has got a grip of it. If you overplay this, you immediately

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create a food scare and that is in nobody's interest. Then there is a

:22:50.:22:55.

food scare. The food scare is the fact people have been eating horses,

:22:55.:23:00.

when they should have been eating beef. It is wrong. The bigger issue

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is making sure any horse meat that has entered was healthy to enter

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the chain. If you don't know it is there in the first place, how can

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you do that? In hindsight we can all be clever over this, but we

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have to put the situation right now. You don't have to be particularly

:23:20.:23:24.

clever to work out that it you are not testing for horsemeat, you

:23:24.:23:28.

won't discover horsemeat. You don't need to be the Brain of Britain to

:23:29.:23:34.

do that. In the last year, you have seen a collapse in the price of

:23:34.:23:39.

horsemeat and beef prices very high. That is where we were slow in

:23:39.:23:45.

working out the fact that perhaps people are substituting it. But

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they are acting illegally. It comes back to the decline in living

:23:49.:23:54.

standards. People on below average salaries are having to buy the

:23:54.:23:58.

cheaper things in the supermarket to put food on the table for the

:23:58.:24:06.

family. It is the cheaper stuff that has been most hurt by this.

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Would you eat processed meat at the moment? I have had some very

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recently. So you would? Yes I would. The issue about the labelling is

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the important one. People eat horsemeat happily in other

:24:21.:24:27.

countries. The problem is, people not knowing what is on the label.

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Problem is... If it has been snuck into the food chain. In France you

:24:34.:24:39.

can eat a horse steak in a restaurant, but that is up front.

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Because it has been done secretively, we don't know the

:24:43.:24:49.

province of these horses and what they may have been suffering from.

:24:49.:24:52.

And criminal acts of not having what is supposed to be in the

:24:53.:24:59.

product, what is on the label. I have a very serious nut allergy, I

:24:59.:25:04.

rely on labelling to keep rely. It does Demi there is not that

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confident. Winnie to make sure the people responsible are feeling the

:25:10.:25:16.

full force of the rule. Why did you cut 450 trading standard jobs?

:25:16.:25:21.

These are the people who do the testing? Local authorities make

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their own budgets. We have made sure there is regional and national

:25:28.:25:33.

co-operation. They can co-operate across authorities. There has been

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a 24% fall in enforcement visit since the cuts. We have had the

:25:39.:25:43.

discussion about the economy. I won't say there is some magic way

:25:43.:25:50.

where we can cut the deficit without there being any cuts.

:25:50.:25:55.

this is more dangerous than the result? Potentially? I don't accept

:25:55.:26:01.

this has to be the case. We are making it easier for national and

:26:01.:26:08.

regional authorities... There is no reason why we cannot produce a

:26:08.:26:12.

valued beefburger in this country. We have had people who have been

:26:12.:26:16.

cutting corners and acting criminally to make money. Let's be

:26:16.:26:21.

blunt about this. An assured Burger at a reasonable price is safe to

:26:21.:26:27.

eat and you have beef in it. It is a criminal elements in the

:26:27.:26:32.

slaughter industry that are to blame for this and we have to have

:26:32.:26:36.

it put right by the police. beef burgers are on you tonight?

:26:36.:26:40.

They are. Prime Ministers Questions coming up

:26:40.:26:44.

in just a few minutes. Which reminds me to tell you about a

:26:44.:26:46.

Valentine's Day treat tomorrow. Yes, don't bother booking a fancy

:26:46.:26:50.

restaurant and flowers. You can stay in and watch a five-hour

:26:50.:26:59.

special themed event night on BBC Parliament instead! For it is the

:26:59.:27:04.

50th anniversary of Harold becoming leader of the Labour Party. Ah yes,

:27:04.:27:12.

Jo remembers it well. And it is proving to be quite a controversial

:27:12.:27:14.

broadcast, with rumours swirling round Westminster that modern-day

:27:14.:27:16.

political correctness means there won't be any photographs of the

:27:16.:27:19.

great man wielding his famous pipe, just in case millions of

:27:19.:27:21.

impressionable teenagers are watching BBC Parliament on

:27:21.:27:24.

Valentine's Day and feel the need to race out and light up

:27:24.:27:34.
:27:34.:27:48.

There will be no pictures of Harold Wilson's smoking cigars, which he

:27:48.:27:52.

only did behind-closed-doors with brandy.

:27:52.:27:55.

And talking about cheap, political gimmicks it's time now to tell you

:27:55.:27:58.

how you can win our weekly Daily Politics mug! Yes, Harold had his

:27:58.:28:02.

pipe, Winston had his cigar, Maggie had her handbag. And I've got a

:28:02.:28:05.

cheap bit of porcelain with a sticker on it.

:28:05.:28:09.

We'll remind you how to enter in a minute, but let's see if you can

:28:09.:28:19.
:28:19.:28:46.

I don't think he will ever forgive any of us for leaving the party

:28:46.:28:56.
:28:56.:28:56.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 57 seconds

:28:56.:29:40.

To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug, send your

:29:41.:29:44.

answer to our special quiz e-mail address: And you can see the full

:29:44.:29:52.

terms and conditions for Guess The It's coming up to midday here, just

:29:52.:29:56.

take a look at Big Ben. That can mean only one thing! Yes, Prime

:29:56.:29:59.

Minister's Questions is on its way. And that's not all, Nick Robinson

:29:59.:30:09.
:30:09.:30:09.

is here. The Governor of the Bank has opened the door for Mr Miliband

:30:09.:30:13.

to come in and have a go at the Prime Minister on the economy in

:30:13.:30:17.

general and living standards in particular? Although the Governor

:30:17.:30:21.

is saying growth is coming, he is saying inflation will be above

:30:21.:30:27.

target over the next two years. What does that mean? A squeeze on

:30:27.:30:33.

living standards. It is and how most people experience the economy.

:30:33.:30:39.

They experience it in terms of what can we afford to pay for? The

:30:39.:30:45.

shrinkage in their real earnings caused by no economic growth and no

:30:45.:30:50.

pay increases. I think that will help Ed Miliband at Prime

:30:50.:30:54.

Minister's Questions. I think he will want to do it because he has a

:30:54.:31:00.

big speech on the economy tomorrow. I had meetings with ministerial

:31:01.:31:03.

colleagues and others and in addition to my duties in his house

:31:03.:31:08.

I will have further such meetings today.

:31:08.:31:12.

My constituent, Constable Philippa Reynolds is being buried this

:31:12.:31:17.

afternoon having been killed on duty with the PSNI in Londonderry.

:31:17.:31:22.

I am sure the House will join me in expressing sympathy to her family

:31:22.:31:26.

and acknowledging her dedicated service. A horsemeat scandal has

:31:27.:31:31.

not only undermined confidence in the safety of the food we eat, but

:31:31.:31:35.

threatens a very successful meat industry. Can the Prime Minister

:31:36.:31:39.

assure me this Government will follow every leader until each

:31:39.:31:43.

individual person or business responsible for any criminal or

:31:43.:31:48.

fraudulent act, has been called, exposed, prosecuted and then

:31:48.:31:54.

expelled from ever again having any part in the UK food industry?

:31:54.:32:00.

I support what he has said. Let me join him in praising Constable

:32:00.:32:04.

Reynolds. She died going about her job, keeping people safe in the

:32:04.:32:10.

community she loved. As well as wishing the two others injured

:32:10.:32:15.

officers a full recovery, I sent my deepest condolences to her

:32:15.:32:19.

colleagues and loved ones. On the issue of this appalling situation

:32:19.:32:23.

quickly bulk-buying beef products in supermarkets are finding out it

:32:24.:32:32.

could be horsemeat, let me say this, on 15th January it was, the Irish

:32:32.:32:36.

authorities identify problems in a number of beef products. On 16th

:32:36.:32:40.

January, I said to the house I had asked EFSA to conduct an urgent

:32:41.:32:46.

investigation. Now there has been more testing and tracing and has

:32:46.:32:51.

led to the results from Findus and others about not just contamination,

:32:51.:32:55.

but in some instances horsemeat been passed off as beef. It is

:32:55.:32:58.

unacceptable and that is why it is right the Secretary of State has

:32:58.:33:04.

led these meetings. We have agreed a tougher inspection regime and we

:33:04.:33:09.

have asked Hospital, schools and prisons to test their products with

:33:09.:33:13.

their suppliers will stop the police and the Ed Husain raided two

:33:13.:33:17.

premises, one in West Yorkshire, the other in West Wales. If there

:33:17.:33:21.

has been Criminal Law Act to the tee, there should be the full

:33:21.:33:25.

intervention of the last Tilstock we also asked for a meaningful

:33:25.:33:29.

tests from retailers and producers and those will be published in full.

:33:29.:33:39.
:33:39.:33:46.

I am delighted to discover that I now represent a Midlands

:33:46.:33:51.

constituency. Can we celebrate a county which touches both sides of

:33:51.:33:56.

the Scottish border by celebrating Cumbria day? I am looking forward

:33:56.:34:00.

to joining my honourable friend at the celebration of Cumbria day in

:34:00.:34:04.

the House of Commons. He is incredibly fortunate to represent

:34:04.:34:07.

one of the most beautiful and brilliant constituencies in the

:34:07.:34:11.

House of Commons. I remember particularly the time we spend at

:34:12.:34:17.

an outstanding poll been a very beautiful part of our world in his

:34:17.:34:25.

constituency. -- an outstanding Can the Prime Minister tell us

:34:25.:34:29.

whether, at the end of this Parliament, living standards will

:34:29.:34:32.

be higher or lower than at the beginning?

:34:32.:34:38.

What we are doing is helping working people by taking 24 million

:34:38.:34:42.

people and giving them a tax cut this year, and living standards

:34:42.:34:46.

will certainly be higher for those people on the minimum wage working

:34:46.:34:50.

full-time whose income tax bill has already been halved under this

:34:50.:34:54.

Government. A Mr Speaker, it was ever such a

:34:54.:35:00.

simple question and I just want a simple answer. In 2015, people will

:35:01.:35:07.

be asking, am I better off now than I was five years ago? What is his

:35:07.:35:11.

answer? The answer is people will be a lot

:35:11.:35:15.

better off than they were under Labour, with a record deficit, with

:35:15.:35:20.

an reformed welfare, with a busted banking system. They will have seen

:35:20.:35:23.

a government that has got the deficit down, cut income taxes,

:35:23.:35:27.

dealt with the banks. And as the Governor of the Bank of England

:35:27.:35:32.

said today, is on the road to recovery.

:35:32.:35:37.

Or he shows is how out-of-touch she is. He is even out of touch with

:35:37.:35:41.

his own Office of Budget Responsibility -- all he shows his

:35:41.:35:45.

heart out of touch he is. Those figures show that by 2015 people

:35:45.:35:50.

will be worse off than in 2010, because prices have been rising

:35:50.:35:55.

faster than earnings under him. Why is this happening? Because he told

:35:55.:36:00.

us the economy would be growing. He told us the economy would be

:36:00.:36:04.

growing, but the truth is it has been flatlining. Will he

:36:04.:36:08.

acknowledge that it is his failure to get growth which means we are

:36:09.:36:14.

having falling, not rising, living standards in this country?

:36:14.:36:18.

He's says prices are rising, I would remind him that inflation is

:36:18.:36:22.

low under this Government and we inherited from Labour, it has been

:36:22.:36:27.

cut in half from its peak. But it has question is, have you had to

:36:27.:36:32.

take difficult decisions to deal with the deficit, to get on top of

:36:32.:36:36.

the problems faced, to reform welfare and clean up our banks, you

:36:36.:36:41.

bet we have! But no one in this country is in any doubt about why

:36:41.:36:45.

we have had to take difficult decisions, because of the mess that

:36:45.:36:50.

he left. First of all, the deficit is going

:36:50.:36:56.

up, not down, under him, because of his economic failure. Secondly, we

:36:56.:36:59.

have a flatlining economy, this will be the question of the next

:36:59.:37:06.

two years, declining living standards as a result. Amidst

:37:06.:37:09.

falling living standards, there is one group for whom the good times

:37:09.:37:15.

will come as April. Mr Speaker, can he just remind us what the thinking

:37:15.:37:23.

was when he decided to provide an average tax cuts of �100,000 for

:37:23.:37:27.

everyone earning over �1 million in this country? He should be familiar

:37:27.:37:34.

with the figures. When he put the top rate of tax up to 50p,

:37:34.:37:37.

millionaires paid �7 billion less in tax. That is what happened under

:37:37.:37:42.

his plans. But I will tell him what will happen in April, every single

:37:42.:37:48.

taxpayer in this country, all 24 million of them, will see a tax

:37:48.:37:51.

cuts as we raise the personal allowance and get close to the goal

:37:51.:37:57.

that we have of being able to earn �10,000 without paying any income

:37:57.:38:01.

tax at all. The biggest tax cuts has been for the hard-working

:38:01.:38:06.

people on a minimum wage going out to work day after day, who have

:38:06.:38:11.

seen income tax bills cut in half. That is who we stand for and who we

:38:11.:38:14.

are helping. No matter how much he blusters,

:38:14.:38:20.

will be he knows the truth. He has cuts tax credits, raised VAT and

:38:20.:38:25.

people are worse not better off. Last week he attended the Tory

:38:25.:38:34.

party wins the ball. He auctioned off a portrait of himself for

:38:34.:38:44.
:38:44.:38:55.

�100,000... LAUGHTER. And then, Mr Speaker... JEERING. And then he

:38:55.:38:59.

declares that the Tories were the party of privilege no longer, with

:38:59.:39:05.

no hint of irony! You could not make it up! We are turning up --

:39:05.:39:10.

talking about people earning �20,000 a week. What is it about

:39:10.:39:15.

them that made him think that, this April, they needed extra help to

:39:15.:39:20.

keep the wolf from the door? May I remind him that this government has

:39:20.:39:25.

helped working people by freezing council tax, cutting petrol duty,

:39:25.:39:29.

cutting tax for 24 million people and legislating so they get below

:39:29.:39:35.

his tariff on energy bill. That is what we have done was having a top

:39:35.:39:41.

rate of tax higher than any year he was in the Treasury. He talks about

:39:41.:39:44.

important political events and speeches, perhaps he can confirm

:39:44.:39:48.

this. I have an invitation. He is going to make a major speech

:39:48.:39:54.

tomorrow, and I have the invitation. This is the invitation. Ed Miliband

:39:54.:39:58.

is going to make a major speech on the economy on Thursday. It won't

:39:58.:40:08.
:40:08.:40:10.

have any new policies in it. JEERING.

:40:10.:40:15.

Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker... Let me tell him, he would be most welcome

:40:15.:40:19.

to attend and you might learn something. And every week that goes

:40:19.:40:24.

by, the evidence mounts against him on the economy. There is a living

:40:24.:40:28.

standards crisis for the many, and all he does is stand up for review

:40:28.:40:33.

at the top. We have a failing Prime Minister, he is out of touch and he

:40:33.:40:37.

stands up for the wrong people. Once again, nothing to say about

:40:37.:40:41.

the deficit, nothing to say about welfare, nothing to say about

:40:41.:40:45.

growth. And now he will make a speech tomorrow which she kindly

:40:45.:40:49.

invites me to, but if there aren't any policies, what will be the

:40:49.:40:55.

point of coming? -- which he kindly invites me to. Let me refer him to

:40:55.:40:59.

his policy guru, the honourable member for Dagenham, responsible

:40:59.:41:03.

for the Labour manifesto. He says this, simply opposing the cuts

:41:03.:41:09.

without an alternative is no good. That is right, the whole friend --

:41:09.:41:15.

front bench opposite is no good. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The welfare

:41:15.:41:19.

state and the NHS are there to support our constituents when they

:41:19.:41:23.

call on difficult times -- fall on difficult times. Will you assure

:41:23.:41:28.

the House that he will not allow them to be abused by illegal

:41:28.:41:32.

immigrants and nationals coming here as benefit tourists? I think

:41:32.:41:36.

he makes a very important point. Britain has always been an open and

:41:36.:41:40.

welcoming economy, but it is not right to power systems are being

:41:40.:41:47.

abused, and that is why yesterday I chaired a Whitehall committee

:41:47.:41:51.

meeting which are the minister for immigration is leading, where we

:41:51.:41:56.

will look at every single one of our systems - housing, health,

:41:57.:42:01.

benefits. And to make sure that we are not a soft touch for those who

:42:01.:42:05.

want to come here. I think it is vital we get this right. There are

:42:05.:42:09.

many parts of our current arrangement which do not pass a

:42:09.:42:13.

simple commonsense test in terms of access to housing, access to the

:42:13.:42:17.

health service, access to justice and other things which should be

:42:17.:42:21.

the right of all British citizens but are not the right of people who

:42:21.:42:26.

just come here. If he is really serious about

:42:26.:42:29.

tackling and the serious problem of misleading labelling and the

:42:29.:42:33.

contamination of products, what possible future is there for the

:42:33.:42:43.
:42:43.:42:45.

future of his coalition with the The coalition must be clearly

:42:45.:42:49.

labelled at all points. But he references this important point,

:42:49.:42:54.

retailers, I think, beret real responsibility. At the end of the

:42:54.:42:59.

day, they are putting products on their shelves and they have to say

:42:59.:43:02.

that they are really clear about where the meat came from, what it

:43:02.:43:07.

was, who it was supplied by. It is up to them to test that, it is

:43:07.:43:14.

vitally important. Will he confirm that with the plans

:43:14.:43:18.

to cut social care bills at �75,000, we are finally starting to defuse

:43:18.:43:28.
:43:28.:43:30.

the ticking timebomb of residential care... MEMBERS SPEAK OVER HER.

:43:30.:43:33.

I think the honourable lady makes an important point and, frankly, I

:43:33.:43:37.

would have thought that every member of parliament has heard this

:43:37.:43:41.

from her own -- their own constituents and in groups with age

:43:41.:43:46.

-- in meetings with groups like Age Concern etc. It seems unfair that

:43:46.:43:50.

the fickle finger of fate can pick you out for dementia or Alzheimer's

:43:50.:43:54.

and you lose the house you have invested your lifetime savings in.

:43:54.:43:59.

It is not there. This government has come up with the money to put a

:43:59.:44:04.

cap on what any family has to spend. It is the biggest pro and HET --

:44:04.:44:07.

pro Inheritance move that any government has made in 25 years.

:44:07.:44:12.

The intention is not that people should have to spend �75,000, but

:44:12.:44:16.

because we have put a cap in place there should be a proper insurance

:44:16.:44:20.

market. I don't want anyone to spend anything, that is what these

:44:20.:44:27.

reforms will help achieve. The Prime Minister is right for a

:44:27.:44:30.

shock that many revelations that food products may contain 100%

:44:30.:44:38.

horse. Does he share my idea that, if tested, many of his answers

:44:38.:44:42.

contain 100% boar? It is a very good line, but this is

:44:42.:44:48.

a serious issue. I hope it... People are genuinely worried about

:44:48.:44:52.

what they are buying at the supermarkets and I think we have to

:44:52.:44:57.

get a grip rather than making jokes. I will think of another one by the

:44:57.:45:07.
:45:07.:45:15.

Does the Prime Minister take a dim view of people who say one thing

:45:15.:45:21.

and then do another question mark or a. We must hear the honourable

:45:21.:45:26.

lady. Like campaigning against greenfield developments and then

:45:26.:45:36.
:45:36.:45:39.

voting for it as the Liberal pulled Democrat candidate in Eastleigh has.

:45:39.:45:46.

All reporting to support fan ownership of football clubs while

:45:46.:45:51.

under minding the community buy-out with Pompey? First of all, can I

:45:51.:45:56.

wish her well in her campaign to help Portsmouth Football Club. On

:45:56.:46:01.

the issue of the Eastleigh by- election, and I hope all my

:46:01.:46:05.

honourable friends will be joining me on the campaign trail. What I

:46:05.:46:10.

would say, if you want a straight- talking candidate, that does

:46:10.:46:17.

exactly what it says on the tin, Maria Hutchins is a local mother, a

:46:17.:46:21.

fantastic campaigner and will make a wonderful member of Parliament.

:46:21.:46:26.

May I ask the Prime Minister for his help, because I have to say to

:46:26.:46:30.

the house, I am defeated in my attempts to get a response from

:46:30.:46:36.

south-west London NHS on behalf of my constituents, who has pulmonary

:46:36.:46:42.

hypertension, chronic lung disease and heart disease. There won't

:46:42.:46:47.

respond to my correspondent as to whether they will agree to look at

:46:47.:46:52.

allowing Professor Madden, in his prescription for his treatment. I

:46:52.:46:57.

can get no response and my constituents may die should he not

:46:57.:47:01.

get a decision. I am happy to take up the case she quite rightly

:47:02.:47:06.

raises. If she gives me the details I will see what I can do to get a

:47:06.:47:11.

better answer from the health authorities. Each year many dozens

:47:11.:47:14.

of my constituents have to sell their house in order to pay for

:47:15.:47:20.

social care. It is random and unfair. Would the Prime Minister

:47:20.:47:23.

agreed to proposals announced last week will start to mitigate this

:47:23.:47:30.

issue? He makes an important point. As he says, it is random who can

:47:30.:47:34.

end up suffering from dementia and then suddenly find because they

:47:34.:47:40.

could be spending five, 10 or even more years in a care home, it wipes

:47:40.:47:44.

out all of their savings they have carefully put away through a hard

:47:44.:47:48.

working life. To cap the cost for the first time is a major

:47:48.:47:52.

breakthroughs. It is a progressive move and it will help hard-working

:47:52.:47:57.

families that one to save and pass on their house to their children.

:47:57.:48:01.

It will be this Government that has made it possible. Since the

:48:01.:48:06.

coalition came to power, 350 libraries have closed. The

:48:06.:48:13.

community Secretary has dismissed those campaigning to save local

:48:13.:48:18.

libraries, those parents hoping to teach their children to read, those

:48:18.:48:23.

who want to study history and literature, as just a bunch of

:48:23.:48:31.

luvvies. What happened to the big society? I strongly support the

:48:31.:48:35.

libraries. In my own constituency, we were very hard to make sure

:48:35.:48:40.

libraries will be staying open, and they will be staying open. He asks

:48:40.:48:45.

about the big society, I think part of the answer to keep library is

:48:45.:48:49.

open is to tap the community to volunteer to keep them open. And I

:48:49.:48:53.

am sure that he will welcome the report this week that volunteering

:48:53.:48:58.

is up, charitable giving is up and I think the big society has a big

:48:58.:49:02.

role to play in keeping libraries are open, sometimes in the teeth of

:49:02.:49:08.

opposition from Labour councils. Saturday I spoke at an event in my

:49:08.:49:18.
:49:18.:49:19.

constituency organised by Clift -- charity gave. Would he agree we can

:49:19.:49:24.

do much more to combat this problem by encouraging countries to do

:49:24.:49:30.

their own assessment collection and also companies to be transparency

:49:30.:49:34.

of profits and taxes made in each country operation? He makes an

:49:34.:49:40.

important point. There were we have done or what some are less

:49:40.:49:43.

developed countries has seen their taxpayers sometimes as much as

:49:44.:49:50.

trouble. We need to do more in all these countries. It is a vital part

:49:50.:49:55.

of development. The issue he raises regarding tax transparency, I also

:49:55.:49:59.

agree with and that is why I we're putting it ahead of the G8 agenda

:49:59.:50:06.

for the G8 meeting in June in Northern Ireland. This agenda

:50:06.:50:12.

blinkers to go the developing and developed countries. -- brings

:50:12.:50:18.

together. The Prime Minister gave the house and update on the EU

:50:18.:50:22.

talks on the budget. The Prime Minister will know that a regional

:50:22.:50:27.

aid which comes on the EU plays an important role so some of the

:50:27.:50:31.

regional assemblies, when it comes to attracting inward investment.

:50:31.:50:34.

Can he give the house and up days on the continuation of regional

:50:34.:50:43.

aid? What I say to him, the outcome of the Budget leaves the overall

:50:43.:50:47.

regional aid Britain will be receiving, broadly similar to the

:50:47.:50:53.

last period at around 11 billion euros. There are changes in the

:50:53.:50:56.

definitions of regions because of the transition region that has come

:50:56.:51:01.

in. What we need to do is sit down as the United Kingdom and workout

:51:01.:51:05.

how best to make sure the money is divided between Wales, Northern

:51:05.:51:09.

Ireland, Scotland and England. There are transition regions in

:51:09.:51:13.

England looking to benefit. I'm sure we can have fruitful

:51:13.:51:19.

discussions and come to a good conclusions will stop his he amused

:51:19.:51:21.

the leader of the opposition and the Deputy Prime Minister are both

:51:21.:51:26.

trying to claim credit for his brilliant move to achieve a real

:51:26.:51:31.

tattoos cut in the EU budget? he hope there will follow his lead

:51:31.:51:37.

and both call for a referendum to be put to the British people?

:51:37.:51:42.

hope that first of all they will convince their MEPs to vote for the

:51:43.:51:47.

budget reductions. I think that it would be helpful. I hope we can

:51:47.:51:51.

make some progress on his referendum issues. The shadow

:51:51.:52:00.

chancellor, who is shouting as ever, was asking the question would

:52:00.:52:05.

Labour support any referendum. MPs said Carmel "it depends on how

:52:05.:52:12.

stupid we are". He went on to say, "we have not ruled out a

:52:12.:52:19.

referendum". But the leader said they do not want a referendum.

:52:20.:52:23.

According to a Freedom of Information and so there were 4,000

:52:23.:52:28.

fewer uniformed police officers on London's streets after the Prime

:52:28.:52:31.

Minister's first two years in office. With the percentage of

:52:31.:52:35.

crimes in London been sold down as up, why has the Prime Minister

:52:35.:52:40.

broken his promise to protect frontline policing? Crime is down

:52:41.:52:48.

by 10%, not just generally but specifically in his area in Harrow

:52:48.:52:53.

Community area. It is a greater reduction than for the whole of the

:52:53.:52:58.

Metropolitan Police area. The number of neighbourhood police

:52:58.:53:03.

officers is up to 3418 and there are few officers in back-office

:53:03.:53:11.

jobs. In 2010 the 1346 of them, and now there is less than 1004 Stock

:53:11.:53:15.

what we have seen is a reform agenda for the police, there have

:53:15.:53:25.
:53:25.:53:28.

been spending reductions but crime is down and visible policing is up.

:53:28.:53:34.

Up with Japan, of the eurozone and Switzerland all talking down their

:53:34.:53:41.

currencies despite the statements by the G7 yesterday, does my right

:53:41.:53:49.

honourable friend a Greek the most important aim of the G20 meeting in

:53:49.:53:59.
:53:59.:53:59.

Moscow this coming weekend, should be to establish means to prevent

:53:59.:54:07.

competitive devaluation. Which, in the 1930s... Aaron was

:54:07.:54:17.
:54:17.:54:28.

Which in the 1930s, as I can remember from my father's

:54:28.:54:32.

experience... Queers widespread unemployment and the protectionism

:54:32.:54:40.

that goes with it. -- career as the stock and would like to confirm he

:54:40.:54:45.

was not only alive in the 1930s, he was absolutely thriving.

:54:45.:54:49.

What he says is important. No one wants to see a string of

:54:49.:54:54.

competitive devaluations. What happen to sterling as a result of

:54:54.:54:59.

the deep recession here was a depreciation. I don't think you

:54:59.:55:03.

depreciate your way to growth, what other country you are. What you

:55:03.:55:07.

should do is use the benefit when there is a structural change to

:55:07.:55:11.

make sure you increase your competitiveness, and that is what

:55:11.:55:17.

Britain needs to do. Can I say to the Prime Minister in relation to

:55:17.:55:21.

care for the elderly, he cannot have it both ways down to delivery

:55:21.:55:27.

and quality, and at the same time council cuts. In Coventry, an extra

:55:28.:55:32.

28 million has to be cut from the budgets. Birmingham, 600 million

:55:32.:55:38.

plus an early 1000 jobs over a period of two to three years in

:55:38.:55:43.

Coventry. Can we have a fair deal for the elderly, and can we have a

:55:43.:55:48.

fair deal for Coventry? What I would say, at the start of this

:55:49.:55:52.

Government when we made the decision not to cut the NHS, we did

:55:52.:55:58.

put NHS money into adult social care in local Government. We

:55:58.:56:01.

recognise the importance of that budget will stop I would also

:56:01.:56:05.

argued the move this week to caps social care costs, of course it

:56:05.:56:09.

does not solve the whole problem, but if you can create a cap and

:56:09.:56:15.

more people will be charged, you can in -- a greater assurance

:56:15.:56:18.

market of people can protect themselves against a loan to UN

:56:18.:56:22.

cost of social care and that should see more money coming into this

:56:22.:56:27.

vital area. Will a Prime Minister John knee in a welcoming figures

:56:27.:56:30.

from the Council of Mortgage lenders which shows the number of

:56:30.:56:34.

first-time buyers has hit a five- year high? I'll certainly join Mike

:56:34.:56:38.

honourable friend of. It has been a problem that has dogged the economy

:56:38.:56:43.

over the last few years. No one wants us to go back to 110%

:56:43.:56:47.

mortgages we had during the boom times. But we need to make

:56:47.:56:51.

available to young people, the chance that both earning a decent

:56:51.:56:55.

salary, to be able to buy a decent flat or decent house with a

:56:55.:56:59.

mortgage that does not require a massive deposits. That has not been

:56:59.:57:04.

possible for people in recent years. The Bank of England moved on the

:57:04.:57:07.

refund for lending scheme is feeding through to the mortgage

:57:07.:57:11.

market and making available on mortgages at a decent, long-term

:57:11.:57:21.
:57:21.:57:27.

Further to the exchange by the leader of the opposition earlier,

:57:27.:57:30.

were the Prime Minister tell the house he will personally benefit

:57:30.:57:37.

from the millionaire's tax cuts to be introduced this April? I will

:57:37.:57:44.

pay all the taxes that are due in the proper way. The point I made to

:57:44.:57:49.

him is that all the years he sat on the side of the house, there was a

:57:49.:57:53.

top rate of tax that it was lower than the one we are putting in

:57:53.:58:01.

place for star I did not hear any grinning from him then. A typical

:58:01.:58:06.

council taxpayer in my constituency will pay �124 more than they did in

:58:06.:58:09.

2010, because the money made available to the was Government has

:58:09.:58:13.

been used by the Labour Government's in Cardiff to fund

:58:13.:58:19.

their pet project of the assembly. Does the Prime Minister share the

:58:19.:58:24.

concern that hard-working families in Wales a funding Labour bought

:58:24.:58:29.

policies in Cardiff Bay? On he makes an important point. This

:58:29.:58:35.

Government has made available money for its angst -- council tax freeze.

:58:35.:58:39.

People in Wales and know who to blame if they council tax is not

:58:39.:58:43.

for us and. It is the Labour Assembly Government in Wales. They

:58:43.:58:47.

are to blame and they are charging hard-working people more for their

:58:48.:58:55.

council tax. Last October we remember the Prime Minister

:58:55.:59:00.

promising to legislate to falls energy companies to put customers

:59:00.:59:06.

on the lowest tariff. Can he tell us why his energy bill contains no

:59:06.:59:10.

such commitment and why he has broken that promise? He is

:59:10.:59:14.

completely wrong, of the energy bill does exactly what I said in a

:59:14.:59:18.

house. It is legislating to force companies to give people the lowest

:59:18.:59:28.
:59:28.:59:29.

tariff. Up all do it, or duck. is discourteous opera-house to

:59:29.:59:39.
:59:39.:59:50.

I have called the good doctor, let's hear from him! Schools in

:59:50.:59:54.

Cambridge have been underfunded for decades by that government and the

:59:54.:59:58.

previous one. Pupils in Cambridgeshire get �600 per pupil

:59:58.:00:03.

per year less than the English average, the worst in the entire

:00:03.:00:12.

country. Does he agree that this is unfair? Will he plan to end this

:00:12.:00:17.

discrepancy in this Parliament? will look at what he has said.

:00:17.:00:22.

Obviously we have protected the school's budget so the per pupil

:00:22.:00:26.

funding is the same through the parliament, so headteachers come

:00:26.:00:30.

plan on that basis. By encouraging academy schools and free schools we

:00:30.:00:33.

are making sure that more of the education money goes directly to

:00:33.:00:39.

them. The IFS described the Chancellor's

:00:39.:00:43.

tax changes and benefit cuts as giving with one hand and taking

:00:43.:00:50.

away with many others. Does the Prime Minister think that this is

:00:50.:00:54.

fair on hard-working families where, at the same time, he is giving to

:00:54.:00:58.

millionaires with both hands? I don't agree with the honourable

:00:58.:01:03.

lady that that is what the IFS says. As I quoted last week, the ifs

:01:03.:01:07.

point out that the highest increase in terms of tax payments has come

:01:07.:01:11.

from the better off, and the changes the Government has made a

:01:11.:01:14.

particularly helping hard-working people on the minimum wage, who

:01:14.:01:19.

will see their income tax bill cut in half. That is what we are

:01:19.:01:24.

dealing. We won't forget the abolition of the 10p tax rate which

:01:24.:01:28.

helped every hard-working family in this country.

:01:28.:01:33.

I know the Prime Minister is a wet about the Community exchange

:01:33.:01:41.

happening on Friday, which is a meeting between 50 businesses and

:01:41.:01:43.

50 charities and community organisations -- I know the Prime

:01:44.:01:49.

Minister is aware about the Community Exchange. I know he will

:01:49.:01:54.

congratulate one company who have offered 150 hours of their time to

:01:54.:01:57.

help local charities. I hope the Prime Minister will really

:01:57.:02:01.

encourage all colleagues and ministers to initiate these

:02:01.:02:05.

proceedings in their constituencies, because it is the Big Society in

:02:05.:02:10.

action. I think my honourable friend was

:02:10.:02:14.

absolutely right. A very large parts of the Big Society was

:02:14.:02:19.

businesses coming to help voluntary groups and charities. I think it is

:02:19.:02:22.

excellent he is doing that good work, I pay tribute to those

:02:23.:02:27.

joining him. As I said earlier, it is good news that volunteering is

:02:27.:02:33.

up, charitable giving us up, the Big Society was getting bigger.

:02:33.:02:38.

he still eating processed beef? am following very carefully what

:02:38.:02:43.

the Food Standards Agency as saying, and what did Food Standards Agency

:02:43.:02:48.

say is there is nothing unsafe on our shelves. -- what the Food

:02:48.:02:53.

Standards Agency say. A review into the procedures at the northern

:02:53.:02:56.

Lincolnshire and Goole Hospital Trust is being carried out because

:02:56.:03:00.

of a high mortality rate. This is of considerable concern to my

:03:00.:03:05.

constituents. Can he assure them that whatever recommendations come

:03:05.:03:12.

out will be implemented in full? Certainly. It is important we get

:03:12.:03:17.

to the bottom of any hospital with an unnaturally high mortality rates.

:03:17.:03:20.

It is important these investigations are properly carried

:03:20.:03:25.

out and we all learned the investigations of the Mid Staffs

:03:25.:03:26.

inquiry report. Order.

:03:26.:03:31.

Prime Minister's Questions comes to an end. Ed Miliband went on exactly

:03:31.:03:36.

what this programme was talking about in the run-up to PMQs, the

:03:36.:03:39.

squeeze on living standards looks like continuing and therefore

:03:39.:03:44.

living standards by election year, 2015, are likely to be lower than

:03:44.:03:49.

in 2010. Mr Miliband questioned the Prime Minister Ahmad, and he had

:03:49.:03:53.

difficulty in answering. It turns out Mr Miliband is not the only

:03:53.:03:59.

person watching the Daily Politics. Apparently David Cameron watches it,

:03:59.:04:04.

because he quoted John credits from the Daily Politics saying that

:04:04.:04:08.

Labour can't just go on opposing cuts unless we have some

:04:08.:04:12.

alternatives, so it is good to see the Prime Minister and leader of

:04:13.:04:19.

the opposition taking note from us. We would expect no less! It was a

:04:19.:04:23.

difficult PMQs for the Prime Minister, because the living

:04:23.:04:26.

standards issue is difficult for the coalition government. There was

:04:26.:04:32.

much mention of the Eastleigh by- election coming up in February --

:04:32.:04:38.

later in February. A full list of the candidates appears on the BBC

:04:38.:04:45.

website. Gary Mitchell said, of course

:04:45.:04:49.

living standards are falling, it what happens when reality strikes

:04:49.:04:53.

after a decade of living high on the hard on borrowed money. Any

:04:53.:04:58.

suggestion that things would be different under Labour is laughable.

:04:58.:05:02.

But Jacqueline says, my standard of living has declined almost monthly.

:05:03.:05:08.

Food is ridiculously high, fuel is extortionate, I am cold for most of

:05:08.:05:12.

the day. Helen said, I could write Ed

:05:12.:05:16.

Miliband's major speech on the economy tomorrow, never allow

:05:16.:05:20.

Labour to govern the country again. And this e-mail, the Prime Minister

:05:20.:05:24.

said that every taxpayer would pay less tax from April, I won't be

:05:24.:05:30.

paying less tax because I am over 65 and there are no increases in

:05:30.:05:34.

age-related allowances. And this e-mail, the body language

:05:34.:05:39.

says it all. Ed Miliband addresses the questions directly to camera

:05:39.:05:42.

and looks at him. Cameron turns half sideways and does not address

:05:42.:05:46.

the question asked. He has done this for months, is he frightened

:05:46.:05:50.

of being stabbed in the back? I think he is frightened of being

:05:50.:05:54.

wonder by Ed Balls, who is always teasing him? Labour have talked

:05:54.:06:00.

about how he loses his temper and go as red in the face. This is a

:06:00.:06:05.

guess, but I suspect this is a technique. People forget that the

:06:05.:06:09.

House of Commons is very small. When you while the Prime Minister,

:06:09.:06:13.

the leader of the opposition is about as close as I am to Andrew, a

:06:13.:06:19.

small number of feet away. When at his side is Ed Balls, who shared

:06:19.:06:26.

start but what he does, is he does that. That is a flatline symbol. He

:06:26.:06:36.
:06:36.:06:38.

does it every week, and it annoys Enough from our independent

:06:38.:06:45.

observers, let's hear from Nick Robinson! We watch it on a very big

:06:45.:06:50.

screen. It is noticeable, he is stopping himself looking directly.

:06:50.:06:55.

Every time he is looking one way or the other because, frankly, I think

:06:55.:06:59.

it helps him to keep his temper and also to remember that he is not

:06:59.:07:04.

just talking to people in there, he is talking to people out here. When

:07:04.:07:07.

you're watching television, you forget that the microphones used

:07:07.:07:11.

are very direction or in there, meaning they pick up the sound

:07:11.:07:15.

around the microphone that is put on by the sound engineers, not the

:07:15.:07:19.

wall of noise. If you are standing at the dispatch box, it can feel

:07:19.:07:23.

like being at a noisy football ground at times. Sometimes you hear

:07:23.:07:27.

this because they lauded and you think it is not that noisy, but it

:07:27.:07:32.

is extraordinary. -- is sometimes you hear the Speaker say or do.

:07:33.:07:36.

There is a difference between what people think in the chamber and

:07:36.:07:42.

outside. I was looking at tweets, the view of my colleagues in the

:07:42.:07:45.

press gallery thought that can run effortlessly rode Ed Miliband's

:07:45.:07:53.

questions. -- thought that David Cameron effortlessly road. But the

:07:53.:07:55.

front page to of the Evening Standard tonight talks about the

:07:55.:08:01.

squeeze in living standards. That is very powerful for Labour to run

:08:01.:08:05.

with the. It gets away from deficits and growth figures, as it

:08:05.:08:11.

were, statistical things which people don't feel. I thought the

:08:11.:08:14.

Prime Minister was on the robes because it is hard to come up with

:08:14.:08:20.

a convincing reply to that. -- was on the ropes. I can't think of

:08:20.:08:24.

their time in modern politics including, even, post-modern, going

:08:24.:08:30.

back Emily's favourite, the Second World War, when a government was in

:08:30.:08:32.

power for five years and then went to the people with living standards

:08:32.:08:36.

are low at the end of the five years than at the start when it

:08:36.:08:40.

came into power. I think the Macmillan government in the 50s and

:08:40.:08:45.

60s, under Wilson, rising living standards, even the 70s were up and

:08:45.:08:49.

down but at the end of the decade standards were higher than at the

:08:49.:08:56.

start. You can argue, as I'm sure you will, that it is unprecedented?

:08:56.:09:00.

It is not easy, life is very difficult out there. People are

:09:00.:09:04.

struggling and it is not straightforward. There is no

:09:04.:09:06.

straightforward answer. It a different coloured government had

:09:06.:09:10.

been in power, do you really think that living standards would not

:09:10.:09:15.

have been squeezed? We will never know. It is hard for both of you.

:09:15.:09:19.

When we look at the PMQs discussion about the economical Thames and

:09:19.:09:24.

policies put forward by Labour, there is not really... And I can

:09:24.:09:27.

tell you if you want to hear! Borrowing a lot to put up interest

:09:28.:09:31.

rates does not help living standards more than the investment

:09:31.:09:34.

the coalition is making infrastructure and trying to keep

:09:34.:09:38.

income tax bills low. It is difficult when you have rising food

:09:38.:09:43.

and energy prices etc. If you look at other countries in the world,

:09:43.:09:47.

they face similar challenges. You just need to look at the eurozone.

:09:47.:09:52.

I think we would much rather be in the situation of the UK economy

:09:52.:09:56.

than in many others in Europe. not sure that German or American

:09:56.:10:00.

living standards have fallen over a five-year period. It is also not

:10:00.:10:04.

true in France, although we will see what Mr Miliband's friend

:10:04.:10:08.

Francois Hollande managers, because the French government is in trouble.

:10:08.:10:12.

The interesting thing for Labour, Your recent opinion poll was much

:10:12.:10:17.

stronger, they are where you would expect an opposition to be in mid-

:10:17.:10:20.

term with an unpopular government, but on the economic issue, your

:10:20.:10:25.

leader is not great. In some ways you are still behind. It may be

:10:25.:10:29.

enough in these unprecedented circumstances for the coalition in

:10:29.:10:34.

2015 to say it is terrible but it is now getting a bit better.

:10:34.:10:37.

don't think it will be enough, I don't think it will get better

:10:37.:10:41.

enough. I hope it does, but I genuinely think they are on the

:10:41.:10:44.

wrong course and I think the longer they are in government and the

:10:44.:10:47.

longer they do what they're doing, the more long-term damage they will

:10:47.:10:53.

do. You just need to look around and see what they are doing. They

:10:53.:10:57.

simply should not be bleeding were patient because the patient is

:10:57.:11:04.

lying on the ground. The more they do it, the worse it gets? You'll be

:11:04.:11:09.

improperly a loyal in front of the camera, but you and I know... --

:11:09.:11:13.

you are being properly or oil in front of the camera, but you and I

:11:13.:11:18.

know... I think it is an honest answer. There is concern in the

:11:18.:11:22.

Labour high command about Labour's economic position? There is real

:11:22.:11:28.

anxiety given that there has been no growth, why is it that the

:11:28.:11:31.

ratings and economic competence are about even Stevens in most of the

:11:31.:11:37.

polls? That is a real source of anxiety, one of the reasons the

:11:37.:11:42.

Labour leader is giving a speech tomorrow. It was not a Labour press

:11:42.:11:46.

release that said there was no new policies, but it is someone well

:11:46.:11:51.

connected with the Labour Party who has been a candidate and to pick

:11:51.:11:54.

that up behind the scenes and said there is an important speech but

:11:54.:11:58.

there are no new policies, it was linked to the Guido Fawkes block.

:11:58.:12:02.

But the speech tomorrow tells you something about selling anxiety

:12:03.:12:11.

which means weak -- about an -- about an anxiety. They have really

:12:11.:12:16.

struggled about this. The big political event before the summer

:12:16.:12:20.

is the Budget on March 20th, it went appallingly for the coalition

:12:20.:12:25.

last time. It was the turning-point in the polls, it became known as

:12:25.:12:29.

the omnishambles Budget. And the pressure is on the Chancellor not

:12:29.:12:35.

to look impotent in the face of bad economic situation. What is

:12:35.:12:39.

intriguing is when you look at what the Government's are saying, and

:12:39.:12:43.

the Governor of the Bank of England was saying, the figures are not

:12:43.:12:46.

showing it but the economy is recovering. There must be an

:12:46.:12:53.

argument in the Treasury, do you do nothing...? I covered and was a

:12:53.:12:57.

White House correspondents for the 1980 American presidential election,

:12:57.:13:04.

and what's was asked was this question, do you feel better today

:13:04.:13:10.

than you did in 1976? That won it for Reagan. Overwhelmingly, the

:13:11.:13:14.

Americans did not feel they were better off. That might be your

:13:14.:13:18.

problem and 2015. One of the statistics going in the right

:13:18.:13:21.

direction is unemployment, which really matters to people, whether

:13:21.:13:27.

they, their children and friends and family are able to be in work.

:13:27.:13:31.

But the question is overall, it worked for Reagan and it could work

:13:31.:13:36.

for Mr Miliband. In terms of the economy that is key to people's

:13:36.:13:41.

everyday lives. I think the other key question is would you trust

:13:41.:13:47.

Labour with the economy? And many people just don't. I think we have

:13:47.:13:50.

had difficulties over the last couple of years, and because we had

:13:51.:13:54.

a new government with a lot of interest in it being a coalition,

:13:54.:13:58.

let's see how they are doing, we got very little space to be able to

:13:58.:14:02.

put forward our alternative. During those two years the coalition did

:14:02.:14:06.

very well with this line, we are clearing up the mess left by Labour,

:14:06.:14:11.

which is simply a lie. There was an international crisis. We need the

:14:11.:14:21.
:14:21.:14:31.

time to put forward our case. We usually seen Nick Clegg sitting

:14:31.:14:36.

alongside David Cameron. But he has gone to Mozambique. Judging the

:14:36.:14:42.

reception he got during yesterday's buyout of Deputy Prime Minister's

:14:42.:14:47.

Questions, he won't be missing the Commons one bit.

:14:47.:14:55.

In May 2010, but there were 735 Peers. As of yesterday they were

:14:55.:14:58.

810 and the Deputy Prime Minister has indicated he wants to maintain

:14:58.:15:03.

the coalition agreements soon maintained a number of peers to

:15:03.:15:08.

vote at the next General Election tiles stop we had before was a

:15:08.:15:13.

proposal to make the House of Lords smaller and more legitimate which

:15:13.:15:17.

did not make progress. With all due respect to the Deputy Prime

:15:17.:15:21.

Minister, he is talking absolute rubbish that stop the second

:15:21.:15:25.

reading of the House of Lords Reform Bill got the biggest

:15:25.:15:30.

Parliamentary majority of this Parliament. It was because the

:15:30.:15:34.

Deputy Prime Minister did not want to put scrutiny through this House

:15:34.:15:42.

that he did not go on. It was his decision to abandon the Bill.

:15:42.:15:46.

know the big reforms the Deputy Prime Minister had plans have

:15:46.:15:51.

broadly failed. There are, across the country, numerous public

:15:51.:15:56.

servants there with the busier in trays and the Deputy Prime Minister,

:15:56.:16:03.

who had been laid off. With savings to the economy, isn't it time to

:16:03.:16:10.

mothball his department until he has something significant to bring.

:16:10.:16:16.

If we're going to rejuvenate the British economy, we have to breathe

:16:16.:16:19.

life back into local communities by letting go of some of the powers in

:16:19.:16:25.

Whitehall. We have to embark on political and economic or

:16:25.:16:29.

decentralisation, the likes of which the Labour Party did not do

:16:29.:16:39.
:16:39.:16:40.

in 13 years of Government. Nick Clegg is in charge of

:16:40.:16:46.

constitutional reform. The Lib Dems came to power in this pop Fenebahce

:16:46.:16:52.

coalition St, "we are urgently needs fundamental, political

:16:52.:17:01.

reform?. Labour puts paid to that stop we need changes to lobbying

:17:01.:17:05.

and transparency. The right to recall MPs when they had been

:17:05.:17:10.

accused of wrongdoing. We have proposals for electoral

:17:10.:17:14.

registration. And there has been some progress. What have you

:17:14.:17:19.

achieved? I would have much preferred to have changed the

:17:19.:17:25.

voting systems will we got a house of Commons people voted for and we

:17:25.:17:29.

had a Democratic elected House of Lords. We had one in 10 MPs in

:17:29.:17:34.

Parliament, so without the other parties, and in the case of the

:17:34.:17:37.

coalition sticking to the agreements and Labour sticking to

:17:37.:17:42.

saying what they want to achieve in terms of constitutional reform, we

:17:42.:17:46.

wouldn't achieve it on our own. What's a mark would you give

:17:46.:17:52.

yourself? I would give the Liberal Democrats 10 out of 10 were trying

:17:52.:17:58.

to push reform. There is still so much we want to achieve. In-house

:17:58.:18:01.

of Lords reform, you could not carry a coalition partners with

:18:01.:18:09.

that and Labour made it difficult. Creating fewer and more equal size

:18:09.:18:13.

constituencies. His is on the statute book so we could come in

:18:13.:18:18.

the next Parliament. Urinate on that. The power of recall for

:18:18.:18:26.

disgraced MPs. He is still being worked on. You lost the case of the

:18:26.:18:31.

alternative vote referendum? put it to the country and we live

:18:31.:18:34.

in a democracy but stock we are cutting income tax for people on

:18:34.:18:38.

low incomes, investing more money to help the poorest pupils in

:18:38.:18:44.

schools and kick-starting the Green economy with green investment banks.

:18:44.:18:47.

Some of the issues on constitutional reform, we have not

:18:47.:18:52.

been able to do. You could have done the boundary changes on the

:18:52.:18:57.

merits. You had the votes. You could have out voted Labour. Nick

:18:57.:19:03.

Clegg was talking about the broken scales of democracy. That is how he

:19:03.:19:07.

described the current bank redistribution to stop but in the

:19:07.:19:13.

end, you voted for the broken scales? We have a constitutional

:19:13.:19:17.

reform package and are conservative partners did not stick to their

:19:17.:19:23.

side of the deal. You cannot have one side deciding to run off and

:19:23.:19:27.

pick bits of it's an odd to the other bits without its being of

:19:27.:19:33.

consequence. It he said in November, there is no prospect of securing in

:19:33.:19:39.

real terms cut in the EU budget? You were going to tell me. You tell

:19:39.:19:45.

me, that is how it works. I don't know where the quote comes from.

:19:45.:19:50.

It's his Nick Clegg, now he is taking the credit Laurie real-terms

:19:50.:19:56.

cuts. The to be fair, the impact he has with his European counterparts

:19:56.:19:59.

in building relationships to get to the situation we did at the

:20:00.:20:04.

European Council, does not happen overnight. He said the Prime

:20:04.:20:08.

Minister had no friends. He said the Prime Minister had no friends

:20:08.:20:14.

in Europe. The deputy Prime Minister does have friends in

:20:14.:20:20.

Europe. So he deserves the credit? He has worked alongside many other

:20:20.:20:28.

countries. His Westminster, is its selling Nick Clegg or buying Nick

:20:28.:20:33.

Clegg? Liberal Democrats do not argue this, there has been a

:20:33.:20:36.

constitutional reform under this Government, but did not involve a

:20:36.:20:42.

law. It is called a coalition. As observers, we don't stop often

:20:42.:20:47.

enough and say, none of us predicted a coalition, and none of

:20:47.:20:52.

us predicted it would be stable. Whether you like it or loathe it,

:20:52.:20:57.

people who write political history and people who analyse politics

:20:57.:21:01.

will say, the coalition is probably here to stay as a feature of

:21:01.:21:07.

British politics. We had fixed-term parliaments, that is one

:21:07.:21:11.

constitutional reform. The reason nobody remembers it, there wasn't a

:21:11.:21:16.

debate. It just happens, like changing lightbulbs. Now, you may

:21:16.:21:19.

have noticed that our two guests of the day are both female. Does that

:21:19.:21:22.

matter? Is it a good thing? Or something we should be doing more

:21:23.:21:32.

Just under a quarter of MPs are women. The media and the BBC in

:21:32.:21:34.

particular, have been criticised for not having enough female voices.

:21:34.:21:37.

Alice Arnold was until recently, one of those voices heard reading

:21:37.:21:40.

the news or the shipping forecast on Radio Four. Here's her take on

:21:40.:21:50.
:21:50.:22:01.

why there aren't enough women on I play a bit of golf. Occasionally

:22:01.:22:08.

I'd play in corporate golf days - I know, a woman in a man's world.

:22:08.:22:14.

Sometimes I am the only women surrounded by 100 men hitting the

:22:14.:22:17.

ball in different directions. They are not always the best golfers,

:22:17.:22:21.

but they are up there. Why are they there? Because they had been

:22:21.:22:26.

invited. Research has been done into the lack of representation of

:22:26.:22:34.

women in the media. I want to know what changed, if anything.

:22:34.:22:40.

Last month, the BBC ran the women experts training day. The women

:22:40.:22:45.

were brilliant. From space scientists to architectural

:22:45.:22:49.

historians. The argument that women experts don't exist was blown out

:22:49.:22:55.

of the walk up. With only room for 30 women on the course, there were

:22:55.:23:03.

2000 applicants. This is a dangerous time. It is a dangerous

:23:03.:23:08.

time because we have done a little bit. I can seek producers all of

:23:08.:23:13.

the country congratulating themselves because there is a woman

:23:13.:23:18.

on the panel. I don't want to see a woman on the panel, I want to see

:23:18.:23:23.

two on every panel. I want to see equal representation of women, and

:23:23.:23:30.

that means at least 50%. That is how to get the best people. It is

:23:30.:23:33.

not that women don't know how to play the game, they just haven't

:23:34.:23:43.
:23:44.:23:45.

been invited. I don't like slow late. In golf or in white. I one

:23:45.:23:51.

change, and I want it not. No more excuses. I am not looking for a

:23:51.:24:01.
:24:01.:24:01.

birdie, a solid Park would Booth. - And Alice Arnold has come in from

:24:01.:24:06.

that very cold golf course and joins us now. You want equal

:24:06.:24:13.

representation, the 50%, how do you suggest it happens? It would be

:24:13.:24:20.

small, little steps that are not working. More research has been

:24:20.:24:25.

done and the results will come out in April. It has not been published

:24:25.:24:30.

yet, but it looks like there has been very little change over the 18

:24:30.:24:34.

months since the last shocking research results were revealed. The

:24:34.:24:41.

only way to do it is to have quotas, but temporary time, but to say we

:24:41.:24:46.

are going to say we will make sure we have 50% representation and then

:24:46.:24:51.

see how it catches up in the future. We should have quotas in order to

:24:51.:25:01.
:25:01.:25:01.

change? I think we need to make sure we have women on programmes.

:25:01.:25:08.

How do you do it? We and producers are inviting people on, they know

:25:08.:25:13.

who on men and who are women. They should invite according Leasowe

:25:13.:25:18.

what is presented to the public is equal. In terms of ethnicity and

:25:18.:25:23.

background. We don't have enough of that stock is the assumption that

:25:23.:25:29.

because you have a woman, the gendered it is done. What about the

:25:29.:25:33.

Liberal-Democrat MPs? There are hardly any women? I want there to

:25:33.:25:41.

be more women. What's I am saying, saying it is one thing, but in need

:25:41.:25:46.

to have quotas to achieve it? the last election, it we had quotas

:25:46.:25:51.

we would have ended up in the same situation we have got. Even if we

:25:51.:25:55.

had quotas, we would have been in a similar situation. You still have

:25:55.:26:01.

to make sure women get elected. It is quicker and easier to change the

:26:01.:26:06.

guests you have on the media Parliament and getting women into

:26:06.:26:11.

Parliament. What do you think? Should there be quotas introduced

:26:11.:26:18.

to try to guarantee representation in the media? It started to work

:26:18.:26:23.

for us in the Labour Party. I was elected -- you were elected on a

:26:23.:26:31.

women's shortlists? There were 42 of us going for my seat. There are

:26:32.:26:38.

lots of women out there. We had 26, 27% of the Parliamentary Labour

:26:38.:26:43.

Party who are women. There is still a long way to go, but to get up to

:26:43.:26:49.

50% Rhydian need to continue to have an all-woman shortlist. What

:26:49.:26:53.

happened to meet, it wasn't just about the party taking you see

:26:53.:26:56.

Risley, but people were saying to me, have you thought about being an

:26:56.:27:03.

MP. I started to think back myself more seriously because of that.

:27:03.:27:08.

said the pool is bigger than people think. Often the argument is put

:27:08.:27:12.

forward that the reason we don't have more women represented on

:27:13.:27:17.

panels or women MPs is there isn't the pool to choose from. Is there

:27:17.:27:23.

an enough evidence to say there are qualified women in business, and

:27:23.:27:28.

media to pick them? 2000 women applied to go on the women Experts

:27:28.:27:33.

workshop. It was a shock to everybody pulls up the women I

:27:33.:27:37.

worked with on the workshop were incredible and highly qualified.

:27:37.:27:43.

The these ladies Arthur Lee pushy, do we need to have more women who

:27:43.:27:49.

are prepared to push themselves? am not sure it is a quality you

:27:49.:27:58.

should encourage. Why should you have to be pushy? Should we not be

:27:58.:28:04.

encouraging people to ask them? It we don't do that, the next

:28:04.:28:08.

generation coming up below us, the children now watching are still

:28:08.:28:14.

seeing the same proportion of women will stop not if they're watching

:28:14.:28:22.

today it will stop this is pretty unusual. It has taken 100 years to

:28:22.:28:32.
:28:32.:28:41.

get 22% of women MPs. We have got OK, that's all for today. Thanks to

:28:41.:28:45.

our guests. The One o'clock News is starting over on BBC One now. We'll

:28:45.:28:48.

Jo Coburn and Andrew Neil are joined by the Equalities minister, Jo Swinson and Labour's Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry to discuss the latest in the horsemeat food scandal as well as Prime Ministers Questions all the latest political news, interviews and debate. The Guess the Year competition closes at 12.30pm during the live broadcast of this programme.


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