19/04/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Michael Gove calls


for a longer school days and Shorter's school holidays. The


unions do not like it. Will it be good for our kids? After Thatcher,


the politicians are back on the election trail, with David Cameron


launching the campaign for the local elections. We will test his


pitch with the Tory vice-chairman. There is a big election for the


smaller parties. We will ask the Green Party whether their status as


the protest party of choice can survive the challenge from UKIP.


Remember this? British Gas shares, in November. We reflect on the


heady days of privatisation. We will ask if there is any more


All that coming up. With us for the first half of the show, two


political panellists who were aged six and four respectively when Mrs


Thatcher left office. You can decide which is which. We could


have a competition. I am talking about Owen Jones and Isabel Hardman.


There has been dramatic developments this morning in the


hunt for the terrorists behind the attack on the Boston Marathon.


Overnight, a shooting at the Massachusetts Institute of


Technology, one of the world's greatest universities, a police


officer died. It was followed by a shoot-out in the Watertown area,


just to the west of Boston, in which one of the two suspects was


killed. The other is still on the run. Boston city itself and all the


surrounding suburbs seem to be in lockdown. Public transport has been


suspended. Residents have been told not to leave their homes. There are


reports that the suspect are legal permanent residence of the United


States, and intriguingly, of Chechnya in origin. -- Russian


origin. The perpetrator went into a neighbourhood not far from here,


there was an exchange of gunfire. Two suspects were in and S U V.


During the course of that pursuit. Several -- during the course of the


pursued, several improvised explosive device is were detonated.


In the exchange of gunfire, we believe one of the suspect was


struck and taken into custody. A second suspect was able to flee


from the car. The police were after two suspect, one of them is dead,


killed in the shoot-out, the other is still on the run. You can keep


up-to-date with the events in the posterior on the BBC News Channel,


and the One o'clock News. -- the Boston area. Michael Gault has been


making headlines for a change, with the suggestion that the school


holidays should be cut. -- Michael Gove. He said the structure of the


school day was designed for an How has that gone down? Here is the


deputy general secretary. We think the school day is long enough. We


would like to see teachers released more or to concentrate on teaching


in the classroom. Outside the school, we need more leisure


activities for children, self directed activities. Those should


be arranged in after-school clubs. We do not need to lengthen the


school day. Many of the Eastern European systems are looking at the


UK, saying they want more creativity. We do not think this at


this fear that exists in some of the East Asian education systems is


the right model. Michael Gove did not refer to East European systems,


he was talking about East Asia. Isabel Hardman, to wrap the


conference yesterday, as was I. Had this been trailed off was this


planned? Was it a rush of blood to the head? Some academies already


have longer days anyway, but one thing that is going to be very


interesting, regardless of the right or wrong of land than in the


school day, whether the unions would accept that, whether he is


prepared to fight them, they are already threatening to strike on


performance related pay, so this is not going to go down well. That is


clear. Is he right to say the current school timetables are a


product of the 19th century? problem with what he is saying is,


where is the evidence? Anyone who knows teachers, friends of Teachers,


the last thing teachers are is under worked. The last thing


parents want is teachers who have not had proper holidays, not fresh


to teach. In terms of the evidence, if we look abroad, look at Finland.


Consistently at the top of the rankings internationally, they


actually have much longer holidays than we have, shorter school days.


It is that most of the time. That is true. It is not very sunny.


does perform very well on the tables. It also does not have the


sort of innovations he is introducing like three schools and


academies. They do have a lot of -- lots of autonomy. There is, but


they do not have selection, far fewer private education. If I live


in the north of Finland, I can choose a comprehensive in the north


of Helsinki, you can go anywhere. They have usually high professional


standards. That is what we should be looking at because teachers are


held in high esteem in Finland. One of the things that worries me is we


do not want to put off the best and brightest. The evidence is the best


and brightest, he claims there is issued increase in quality of the


people going in. I was at dinner with a former Labour minister who


was saying there is a large percentage of Oxbridge graduates


applying for the teaching profession. Yes, and one of the


things we can praise for that is the teacher first programme, which


had an aggressive marketing campaign. It is for people who do


not have long college-based training. The Education Minister


spoke yesterday about devolution, three schools, if power is being


devolved to these individual schools, should not be under this -


- up to the school to determine the school day and school holiday?


it is important Michael Gove does not dictate to them. He is giving


them freedom and then he is saying they need shorter holidays. That is


my worry. Imagine having a kid at high school and primary school and


they have completely different holidays, that would cause chaos.


There is a need for consistency. National standard. Absolutely. If


you will. I will. Party-political came as something of a standstill


after death. With a by-election on Wednesday, they are returning to


the fray. The first, we will speak to the BBC's editor of political


research, the man who knows everything about elections. That is


why become too. Am I right in thinking the main point of these


elections is that we will compare them with a very good Tory year,


the Tories did very well last time. Exactly right, in 2009, I'd have


the 27 counties coming up for election, the Conservatives won 26.


-- but of the 27 counties. That was after nine years in opposition. In


a sense, it is payback time. It is a much darker space for them to


fight these elections. In the run- up to this, I assume we will hear a


lot of Tory spend about losing seats, these will not be good


results, and Labour saying they will not do that well. Absolutely


right. They will set their own homework. There will be all that


taking place. What will be important here, for the


Conservatives particularly, is they have a long way to fall, given that


spectacular triumph in 2009. They have the added burden of UKIP,


which, four years ago, contested one in four seats, and I note


fighting 75% of seats. -- now they are fighting. A lot of commentary


makes the assumption that the Conservatives lose votes to the


UKIP, but in Eastleigh, that was not necessarily the case. It will


be interesting to see if they take votes from other parties. Yes, it


is far too simple. They are disproportionately Conservative,


but there are people they have taken from other parties, the Lib


Dems, who were so long the party of opposition. If you work against the


Establishment he would vote for them. Now they are part of that.


Some of that board has gone to UKIP. They also take some Labour votes


and some people there were so fed up with the party system they have


not been voting. It is more complex but the reason the Conservatives


are more worried than most is more of that leakage comes from them


than anybody else. The Tories are on the defensive. Labour are on the


ascendant. Where does that leave a party like the Green Party?


difficulty. The Green Party, up until now, had a much bigger hit


rates than the other small parties. People would talk about BNP, UKIP,


but the Green Party were the ones that performed. The difficulty this


time is UKIP are really the New Kids On the Block, they believe the


forces with them. They have twice as many candidates, and they will


not be eclipsed. Thank you very much. The fact that the UK


Independence Party are standing in so many seats could have an impact


on all the other parties, big and small. For the Green Party the


danger is the protest vote that previously lent to them might faint


-- might find its way to Nigel Farage. Are they worried? We will


find out. Natalie Bennett joins us from Oxford. She has just launched


the local election campaign. Welcome to the programme. Are you


worried you will be eclipsed by UKIP? Absolutely not. We are


confident we will have a strong showing in these elections. We are


confident we will seek county councillors elected in Cornwall,


and we are confident that in a number of the areas we will see an


increase in representation. The party is growing fast in Bristol.


Where is the evidence that people are concerned about green issues


when the economy is stagnating, living standards are being squeezed,


there's no growth, public spending is being cut? The European


Parliament cannot even vote for the carbon trading system any more.


I was saying in Oxford, we are speaking up for a different kind of


economy, we're saying globalisation new liberalism has hit the limits,


we need strong local economy is built around small businesses and


shops, we need jobs that pay the living wage, that are secured, do


not have zero our contracts, we are speaking up for all range of things.


We are speaking against the cuts, we are speaking for services.


not see you resonating with the public, who have other concerns at


the moment. I think concerns about low-paid jobs, concerns about big


supermarkets coming in and scooping out local High Street, leaving them


without small businesses, they do resonate with voters. We find when


we speak up, many councils are fighting to ensure people affected


by the bedroom tax do not face eviction. They are issues that are


pressing on lives today. Labour are taking that position as well.


Unfortunately, they have not said they would abolish the bedroom tax.


You will not have a chance do. will see what happens! I am happy


to take any kind of bet you name on that that you will not be forming


the next government of the country. Would you like a bed? Name your


price. I would put a million pounds. Isabel Hardman will lend me alone.


I will put a million pounds on the table that you will not be the next


government of this country. afraid the underwriting does not


stretch that far. Let me ask you about the citizen's income. It will


be an unconditional payment made to everybody as a right of citizenship.


How much would I get? It will start out on a basis of the jobseeker's


allowance. The idea is the benefits system is hugely affected.


Jobseeker's Allowance is �71 per week. Only �71? That is the


starting point, then you can choose to do what ever work you would like


on top of that. Everybody would get it? Indeed. The chairman of


Barclays Bank would get �71? would get it back off them in tax.


It is a situation where people on Jobseeker's Allowance, on other


benefits payments, if they take a couple of hours' work, the benefits


are thrown into chaos. This eliminates the problem of means-


testing. We would have a situation where people are provided with


basic support and it is up to them to build on that. I think with this,


we will see lots of bad poetry but I do nothing that is the worst


People in poverty will have to get a lot more than that. What about


the people who do not need it? idea is we believe in universal


benefits. We would defend things like pensioner bus passes. Even for


the Duchess of Buccleuch? Yes, and we would have a tax system which


would recover it from the wealthy. We need to ensure it multinational


companies and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of taxes.


would get unemployment benefit. This would replace unemployment


benefit. I am not any better off if I am unemployed? I thought you were


supporting the poor and the disadvantaged. If we form the next


Government we would introduce that, but we are looking at the moment


more directly at looking at making the minimum wage a living wage. We


want to see many more councils being living wage employers where


all of their contractors are paid at least a living wage, which is


more than a pound a week more than the national minimum wage, which is


inadequate. What is a good result for you? We are confident we are


going to see an increase in our numbers. We have got 138


councillors and I am confident that will be growing. What is your


target? We hope we want to hit double figures in growth. You are


in double figures if you have got over 100. I was talking about the


increase. A so you are hoping for 11. I said approaching that. This


is the first time these elections have been held independently of


other elections for many years. We are in a situation where many


people are feeling dissatisfied with the three largest parties and


we think our model of strong local economies, decent jobs and decent


services for the people who meet them will have some resonance with


the electorate. Natalie Bennett, thank you for joining us.


These elections are expected to be a significant challenge for the


Conservatives. David Cameron has been lodging the party's campaign


and this morning he made a speech in Warwickshire. If you want good


Government that costs less, vote conservative. If you want waste and


propaganda, vote Labour. Do not let Labour do to your council what they


did to our country. Let that be our message in the run-up to these


elections. We I joined by Bob Neill, vice-chairman of the Conservative


party responsible for local Government. Let's start the process


of downgrading our expectations. How many seats are you going to


lose? I think the truth is this is going to be a tough call for us and


I am not going to pretend otherwise. How bad? I am not going to put


numerical figures on it, because the only thing Natalie said that I


agreed with is we are fighting these elections separately from


their general elections and that will affect turnout and that can


make a big difference. We are starting from almost a record high


base and it will be very tough to defend all those seats, despite


good work at the Conservative councils. One unnamed Cabinet


minister says terrible would be a great result for us. I am not going


to put it in those towns. At the time these elections happened four


years ago the Labour Party was 11% behind as in the polls. Most of the


polls which suggest that that position is reversed. You would


expect something like that to show up in the election figures.


addition to that you have got UKIP to worry about. We have and what we


can say is firstly, splitting the vote in any election because you


want a firmer line on things like our relationship with Europe,


letting in Labour and the Lib Dems is cutting off your nose to spite


your face. They are all across the south of England and that is where


your seats are. They only fought last time in 2009 and they only


fought in 24% of seats. They are now in 73% of seats. You are now in


real trouble. You will be whacked by Labour and whacked by UKIP.


is interesting. Nigel Farage was going around early on boasting that


he was going to fight over 2000 seats. It never happened in reality,


like a lot of his boasting. We had a council by-election last night in


the south of England in Sussex which the Conservatives won with a


very big increase. On the previous occasion UKIP had a candidate who


got a very respectable score and they could not find a candidate for


last night. John Major used to tell me about all the local council by-


elections when the Poles were bad for him in 1995. Could you remind


be what the election result was in 1997? Absolutely, and that is why I


am realistic about not said in too much store by it opinion polls.


was not a good guide for what happened to John Major. You are


saying we are in trouble in the south of England with UKIP, but I


am saying in this by-election they could not find a candidate,


although of course we take the fact they are fighting more seats


seriously. A you want to reduce Labour's expectations. I do not


want to agree with the Conservatives too much, but 2009


was the fag end of Gordon Brown's Premiership. Labour got devastated.


Labour themselves are spinning their own figures and say they are


going to win only around 200 extra seats, but that would be a disaster.


They need to get about 500. That is more likely what they will get. It


is only two years until a general election. The problem with UKIP is


interesting. The Green Party have got these great strongholds like


Oxford and Brighton and Norwich. UKIP do not have that, they are


sparsely distributed. There is no point getting 50% consistently in


opinion polls and less that is evenly everywhere. Otherwise they


will not pick up the seats. In the European elections they did very


well, but I would be surprised if they did as well as Nigel Farage


says. But Labour have the Conservatives coming down from the


top and UKIP coming up from the bottom. The idea of Labour's


southern discomfort is a phrase that is being used. Labour is going


on a mission to win seats in the south, and if they do not succeed


like they did in Eastleigh, that is something you will hear a lot about


from the Tories. Your election broadcast says council tax has


fallen by 10% in real terms because this Government has helped fees the


council tax. You could be forgiven for thinking that everybody's


council tax has fallen, not risen this year, but that is not true.


The majority have taken up the council tax freeze and we are in a


third year. It is accumulating. This is misleading, it is not a cut


of 10%. If you look across the period since we have had the


council tax regime in place, it is a proper figure. In some cases the


councils have not frozen, but the majority is have and that includes


some of the councils that have an election. Why should people vote


for the Conservative councils that have ignored you freeze? 10 of them


have increased the council tax. seven out of 10 have frozen the


council tax. But they may not boat for three out of 10. The council


tax doubled under the Labour Government and it makes a big


difference to people on modest incomes in particular. It is a


larger percentage of their cost of living, so that is an achievement.


But we are doing that at the same time as we are protecting money


that goes on frontline services will stop what are the figures? I


am not going to get into the figures came, we are all quarters


about the opinion polls, my job is to make sure we fight for every


seat recant. If David Cameron does badly with these results and Labour


wins even more, it is yet another dream beat -- drumbeat in the


background among the Tories who are and habit. Cameron's enemies have


set him up for a higher threshold in success. One of the tests is the


effect game marriage has had on the party grassroots. This is shire


England where people may have been upset by the policy. MPs who are


campaigning in these elections if they see the team going around


knocking on doors as the mayor's, they will blame that on a marriage.


If you have ever read a map, or bought a house, or posted a letter


or enriched uranium one, you have a mundane, but dangers like. All of


these things may well soon be provided by the private sector.


This Government is looking at another wave of privatisations.


Giles has been looking at how a certain Prime Minister made a once


controversial idea mainstream. On entering Downing Street, Mrs


Thatcher looked at the nation's assets and had a plan. It was


radical and eventually had to be convinced it could be done.


started making a case for privatisation in the 1970s and to


kick to Margaret Thatcher's opposition leader and she said, I


am interested, but they will not let me do it. Prior to that it was


bitterly contested and it was thought to be whacky. Emboldened,


the whacky became policy. British Telecom was sold, British Steel


offered 450 million shares and the public applied for 1 billion.


Jaguar was oversubscribed and there were queues around the block for


Rolls Royce. The sake of water companies and rail networks was


more controversial. The sale of British Rail took off and so did


pick airports Authority. And then there was Sid. These days,


privatisation is something that governments do. Even this


Government is looking at privatising the Royal Mint which


has been National since 800 AD. The Royal Mail, the Land Registry and


the Ordnance Survey, part of the MoD. The opposition is unlikely to


oppose any of this, indeed if it had been in Government, it would


have had to look at selling the same things. It is driven both by


cash and the Duke that these would be better functioning as businesses


within the private sector. But not everyone likes the idea of


privatisation. Look at the public reaction to the proposed forestry


sell off and the 4G network did not bring in the cash expected. What do


you get rid of when you want nothing left to sell? There is no


danger of that because there has been a huge increase in the number


of things at the state owns, starting with the banks. How you do


that and when you do that and what the framework is is going to be a


big issue for a Government of whatever party. When that time


comes, will somebody please tell You are going to privatise Ordnance


Survey. Why bother? It is falling through the logic, but so much of


it has been done already. It is partly why David Cameron was right,


she has shifted the terms of debate. I am suing for defamation. She has


shifted the terms of trade, it is regarded as mainstream. You have


done it. Don't you need to move on? What is the point of privatising


Ordnance Survey? How much will you get for it? I do not imagine it


will break the bank. A lot of these things work better in the private


sector. Have you tried to use Apple Maps? That is the private sector.


Think about how many things to operate better, gas and utility. It


is a question of what is logically available. Owen Jones, what bits


were wrongly privatised? Should British Telecom be renationalise?


The old form of nationalisation in to do by the post-war Labour


governments were responsive, I would not support that, the sort I


would support his democratic ownership. If we take the railways


back into public ownership, I do not want to go back to British Rail,


I want representatives of passengers and workers on the board


to run the sector in the interests of people, rather than that model.


Should Jaguar be renationalise? key point, this is what David


Cameron was saying, the idea that people support these huge


privatisation plans just is not true. What is the answer to my


question? Should Jaguar be taken back into state ownership? Nobody


is demanding Jaguar gets renationalise. At the time, what I


would have argued for... I do not care about the time because you


were not around. Should Rolls-Royce be taken back into public


ownership? I am not going to call now for the renationalisation of


Rolls-Royce or Jaguar. What about your socialist roots? I would like


to start with the main utilities, 61% of people according to a poll


yesterday, just a bonus point out of the water, 61% of people thought


gas and energy and water would be better run in the public sector. I


would like to start with those main utilities. It does not make any


sense, they are a natural monopoly. In a sense, that is where the


debate is moving. It is not about privatising Ordnance Survey,


privatisation is probably not to have worked were there was


competition in the market already. It has been more problematic we you


have been privatising natural monopoly. The point that Owen Jones


makes about the railways, the utility providers, owes a markets


was not much competition, the government is involved, so the


railways was a very statist privatisation. It created natural


monopolies. Even Conservative voters want to see it renationalise.


I am not Jaguar. Win will start with railways then Jaguar. Come in


up, we have a look at European politics. Now it is time to say


goodbye to her two guests, and to Bob Neill as well. It has been a


busy week for members of the European Parliament, meeting in


Strasbourg to debate issues, grill senior officials, and do their


expenses. Here is our guide to the You might not know it, but Croatia


joins the European Union in July. This week, they voted for their


first ever European politicians, 12 of them. Turnout was 27%, one of


the lowest in any election. The Commissioner for budgets met any


Sabah Usmani, her sons Sohaib, Rayyan, Muneeb and daughter Hira to


discuss the budget up to 2020, and the view that there is many extra


billions of Euros needed. Politicians have planned to open up


airports to competition, needing to operate with three grown providers.


Difficult new rules on the amount For the next 30 minutes I am joined


by Timothy Kirkhope and Glenys Wilmott. We will look at one of


those stories, the vote on new banking rules, including the Caporn


banker bonuses. -- cap on. By water authority does the European Union


take the right to limit salaries? Is to was not just about bankers


bonuses, -- this was not just about bankers bonuses, it was a range of


measures to stop casino capitalism. It makes sure there is enough


liquidity to deal with crisis. understand that, regulation of the


banking system, but what gives you the right to determine how much


somebody's bonus should be? George Osborne had a chance to deal with


it and he did not. People across Europe feel this is ridiculous,


getting more than twice your salary in a bonus. Most people would like


to have doubled their salary as a bonus at the end of the year.


prescriptive approach from Europe is an agreeable. We agree that


making banks have enough capital is good. This is a crazy issue. It


should not be done in this way. We hope the Bank will show sensitivity


in future bearing in mind what has happened, -- the banks. Doing this


in a prescriptive way from Brussels seems to last to be unacceptable.


Most people would say they would not mind having their bonus limited


to 100% of their salary because it is nothing like that. The point is


if you do this, you simply open up the whole idea of renumeration from


other sources. Goodness knows what mess you get into. It is poking


into something in a specific manner. We know what we want, we want


restraint. What we do not want his this authoritarianism. It led to


recklessness, and that was the point. People were chasing big


bonuses and did not take care. they will just increase salaries.


It is precise we what will happen. If you ask those people, they would


say this is the right thing to do. What people were disgusted at the


way the banks handled this. Why not 50%? Can I am move on? -- can I


move on? Should businesses be forced to pay for polluting the


atmosphere? A voter in the EU has let the main mechanism going to


disarray. MEPs voted down a proposal to delay an option of


polluter permits. It was said to be necessary to increase the cost and


encourage industry to reduce emissions.


Cutting the level of carbon emissions has been the driving


force behind the European union's battle against global warming. In


order to hit a 20% reduction target by 2020, they came up with the idea


of a carbon market. Great in theory, but after eight years the project


is at risk of going up in smoke. Some believe it was doomed from the


start. It is time to put the impetus into alternative policies.


That is what investors want to see. There are many other things you


could be doing. The trading system was set up in 2005, putting a price


on carbon, and letting the industry decide whether to clean up their


act. The problem is the price of carbon has slumped. With it, there


is no incentive for companies to invest in cleaner technology. This


German steelworks company decided to invest heavily in green


technology. As a result they have cut their emissions by 25% since


2005. They are leading the way in the electric steelmaking industry.


We are have been implementing a very strict discipline about carbon


conception. We are still on the market, producing steel, making


profits. It is difficult to make a profit in this industry. It is one


of the success stories but it has not been cheap, particularly in the


recession, competing against American and Chinese companies who


do not operate in the car market. - carbon market. In order to fix it,


they proposed intervening. They called on M8 -- called on MEPs to


back the plan. I am really worried and uncertain about what the future


holds. This board might suggest that Europe is turning its back on


global warming, and no longer cares case, we are cutting our own


throats. The fears that an increase in the carbon price might boost


energy costs resulted in MEPs voting against the proposal.


voted against because this is a short-term solution that is not


really a solution. There are problems but they need structural


changes. More than 50% of the Conservative MEPs voted against the


plan, to howls of hypocrisy. The Liberal Democrats claimed David


Cameron claimed -- David Cameron's claim to care about the environment


is now a distant memory. The European carbon trading system has


not really worked. The price collapsed. This board has been the


nail in the coffin. -- this board. There is no doubt it needs reform


to. The British Government was trying to reform it. I hope it is


not over because we need to encourage businesses to get into


new technology. British business is at a disadvantage because they have


a minimum carbon price that other people across Europe do not.


suggests the European Parliament, by voting the way it did, is in


tune with the changing mood of Europe. This is a Europe in


recession, 25 million unemployed, companies clearly closing down. The


priority is jobs, growth, living standards, not some theoretical


carbon price. We are also looking at imports, but that is another


issue. This is something the British Government was lobbying for.


Labour MEPs supported them. You did not. I was not rebelling. I


followed the party whip. We did not agree with the Government on this.


As you have not agreed on working- time directives. Urine a position


where you are part of a party in power in Britain which is


implementing unilateral carbon prices, and you get to vote against


a much lower one in the European Parliament. We said the system


needs reform. To reform it in the short term, refer it back for


debate and discussion, and because the only reason we are where we are


is because the economy is in a difficult state. That is why the


price has fallen. The market we set up is no longer operating


effectively. We need to look at it again and come up with a sensible


approach. This Government is doing a lot. We're doing all kinds of


things. Let's get to the position we find ourselves in in Europe.


There is bipartisan support. You have got us in a position where


there is no floor price in carbon. You have lumbered British Industry


with a four place -- floor price of �30 per tonne. You come on to this


show and talk about rebalancing the economy, manufacturing, getting


away from services and financial industries, you have put an


albatross around their neck. That is not true. The short-term fix


would not have dealt with the underlying problems of the scheme.


We have to look at the fundamentals of this. It would sound good, but


it was not going to work. That is why we voted against it. My point


is even if you reform the scheme, European companies would be subject


to a much lower floor price than British companies because you


government volunteer a higher one The real marketplace competition is


against China and India. Why did you not make the prices lower?


European basis we have to have had something that works. It is not


working in Britain, we have lumbered our companies are a higher


cost of energy. What is next? have to make sure companies invest


in new technology. I agree, the carbon price has dropped


dramatically. Are we right to have our own �16 a tonne carbon fuel


price? It would have been better if we had the support in the European


Parliament. It is now going to rise to �30 a tonne, are we right to do


that? It is difficult to predict things in terms of price. A excuse


me, this is Government policy, this is an administered floor price to


get it up to �30. It is a Government mandated, minimum price.


The each Government has to take its own view. This it right? I can see


no way that governments should not take the decisions that they wish.


What was proposed by the commission was not going to work. As far as we


were concerned, we wanted to have another look at it. The British one


may well work. British companies are wrapping massive disadvantage


to European competitors. We are not at the end of this at all. Maybe


the interest will move on. I invite you both to read the statements of


people representing industries in Teesside. Read the Financial Times


this morning and the opinion comment. I think it is quite


helpful. It is not really plugged into Teesside.


The European Commission questioned George Osborne's planned tax relief


for Britain's video-games industry. He announced a tax relief of 25%


last year which is supposed to come into effect in April. The industry


is big business. It is thought to be worth around �55 billion. The UK


industry, says the tax break will help safeguard over 4500 jobs. It


will boost the economy by �283 million. The European Commission


says the plans will breach the rules over state aid and has now


launched an inquiry. Is it game over? Let's go to Alyn Smith for


the SNP. There is a huge chunk of this industry based in Scotland and


it is going to turn over �1 billion a year. Why does it need a tax


subsidy? This is precisely the question. Yes, these things need to


be signed up within the rules of the single market, but our stance


is that the European Commission is looking at this on too narrow a


scale. We are not just competing with France or Germany, we are


competing with Canada and America weather are federal and state


incentives. We think the relief is necessary. We are seeing a number


of manufacturers are increasingly finishing their product in the


States and Canada in order to take advantage of those incentives. The


French have forked out a similar scheme that this would generate an


extra amount of money and would generate money in Scotland and the


UK and we want to see this go forward. It has been a long time


coming. The video games industry in Britain should have tax relief


because its competitors outside the European Union have generous tax


relief? Very generous tax relief in a number of cases. The Canadians


have ploughed a great deal of strategically important money into


this because they wanted to develop a Canadian games industry. Unless


we get our act together, we will export high-skill, created jobs at


a time when much of the creativity is Scottish, UK, European. We need


to make sure the Government is lining up behind those industries


and this is hugely important for the development of this in the


street and in the future. We need to maintain the Crucible with an


Scotland, the UK and Europe to maintain its competitive advantage.


The European Commission can look into this, but this needs to go


ahead and the sooner the better able stock the danger is that in


the event and industry survives or fails knock on the basis of the


quality of its products or brainpower and innovation of its


people, but simply by who is given the biggest tax breaks? That is a


risk to be sure, but what is created need not last in perpetuity.


Our stance is the UK games industry is at a competitive disadvantage


internationally in physical terms. A number of other governments are


specifically buying into this industry and once it is there, it


will stay there. We want to make sure we do not lose these jobs or


this industry and we are backing the Chancellor's proposals. The


European Commission can look into this by all means, but the French


have calculated in a similar scheme that this generates money and jobs,


which can only be good for all of us. I will be knocking on the


European commission's door to protect and promote these plans.


Every vested interest always says it will generate more jobs and


income. What should we tell the European Commission? This is


something we are really good at, we are up there with world leaders.


Shall we tell the European Commission to back off? We should


have more flexible rules on state aid. That is our party's position.


It is a reform we need in Europe. am nodding in agreement because


when I was a minister in the UK I had something to do with this


industry. We had been ahead of the world in technology, there are


certain things about this country that we really can export and it is


very good for Europe as a whole. Let's get on with it, let's get


some help and get this industry develop even more. Does the


European Commission have any flexibility? As I understand it,


its job is to ensure a level playing field within the European


Union, rather than take into account non-European Union tax


regimes. Indeed, there is flexibility and the EMS would


justify the means and there are internal rules that we need to make


sure are fixed. That is a discussion the commission wants to


have and we can have, but there is a bigger picture where we need to


be conscious that this is a very mobile and global industry and


market. We need to get our act together. I want to see the


Scottish Government to incentivise the industry to grow in Scotland.


That is not where we are now, so I back the UK proposals. If the


commission wants to look into this, by all means, but we need to


protect and promote his industry. What is your favourite game?


enjoy stealing a car and joyriding around town. Where are you from?


Glasgow? Originally Glasgow. That is a great city, I was at


university there. The forerunner to today's European


Union was the European stoat -- the European Coal and Steel Community,


made into a treaty in 1951. Since then dozens more treaties have been


signed into the EU. Where are all the treaties kept? Adam has been


finding out. This is where they store the EU's


sacred texts, the treaties, well, copies of them. The real ones are


in Rome. Philip Evans prepares them for a signing and looks after them


in a climate controlled strongroom. The first surprise is they do not


come in books, but in big boxes. This is the Croatian Accession


Treaty. It is quite a tome. What you have here is the treaty and the


annexes, the primary law and the final act. All this here is


Croatian. A treaty has to be agreed by every Prime Minister and


President through a process called the Inter-governmental Conference.


Once they are drafted they go through a process called toilettage


or scrubbing where linguists support over every word. Then a


chilly has to be ratified by every member state. Some are put to a


referendum. Here is the one that started it all. The Treaty of Rome


signed in 1957 by the six original member states. It sets out the idea


of a common market and the principle of an ever closer union


of the peoples of Europe. The UK did not join until much later. This


way is an absolute ton. This is what Britain signed to join the


European Community in 1973. And here is the Maastricht Treaty


signed in 1992, which transformed the plain old European Community


into a fully-fledged European Union. Each new treaty and Mensah the


original Treaty of Rome, so if you want to be up-to-date about how the


EU operates today, you need to read the Treaty of Lisbon, signed in


2007. Some governments prefer getting their treaties in this


format nowadays. The treaties are way the EU takes its great leaps


forward, or backwards depending on your point of view. Our friend


Philip also organises the signing ceremonies, giving him a ringside


seat to history. One thing I have always try to ensure is there is a


pen on the table that works. His parents get used more than you


might think. The EU signs around 100 other types of official


agreements every year. How a man with the treaties, Adam Fleming. Is


there going to be another treaty to add to this? We have got more


fiscal union, more banking union, which it lead to a new treaty?


may well do, but it depends who you talk to it. At one time it was up


we would do that, but now Angela Merkel says we want once again. Who


knows? She is going to win again in September. When the Prime Minister


has successfully renegotiated our position with Europe, we will need


a new treaty. Should that not be if? My simplification of the treaty


on the website is very much to the point. None of this GMB stuff from


you. Do you think the European establishment is up for another


treaty? No, not at the moment. We will be, but I think they will want


it by that time we have negotiated. He is very optimistic. He is very


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