09/05/2013 Daily Politics


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Daily Politics. How many young children can one adult safely look


after? Lib Dems and Conservatives squabble over plans to bring down


the cost of childcare. It was a pretty posh do but will the


bills announced by the Queen yesterday helped the government


connect with ordinary voters? Unions have played a key role in the


Labour Party since its creation that is the money and influence coming


too much -- having too much of a sale over the selection of


parliamentary candidates? And what is on Dave and Ed 's mind


on Queens speech date the Mac a certain football managers


resignation, of course. -- Queens speech date? A certain football


manager's resignation. Without -- with us for the next


hour, three of Her Majesty's's most loyal subjects. Sarah Newton, deputy


chair of the Conservative party, Stella Creasy, stack -- Shadow


Minister for crime convention who is dressed perfectly for our sofa


area. She has just merged in. Obviously there was a job lot on the


material. Charming!


And Lorely Burt, chair of the Lib Dem parliamentary party. Let's start


with childcare and the revelation that Nick Clegg has told the


Conservatives that he is not so keen on government plans to increase the


number of children that nursery staff and childminders can look


after. Speaking on LBC's Call Clegg this morning, he said there had been


discussions for weeks about the plans to increase statutory ratios


for carers. We have been talking about this for weeks and weeks and


that was as surprised as anyone else that this appeared in public


overnight. Being open, I'm telling you that this is a debate we have


had for a long time. You could look after four at once, couldn't you?


It's not a question about me. I challenge you to spend a morning


looking after six two-year-olds. will have a go if you have a go.


going to visit a childcare Centre this afternoon so maybe we'll have a


go. I'll wish them both luck with looking after six two-year-olds. Is


this another U-turn on policy? at all. I understand that there will


be a consultation. They are going to talk to the different interest


groups and make sure that what we're doing is the right thing. It is


important decision. Nick Clegg says it is not the right thing to do. He


has clearly said he does not think the ratio should be increased.


Conservative minister says that it is. As I say, we will take the


advice of the experts. My own daughter went to nursery school and


they do not know what the ratio was but an old that she got a lot of


loving and professional care. I think that is the important thing.


We can come onto the substance, but there is a risk that this policy


will not go ahead. Is that how you see it? These concerns have been


raised at the 11th hour and Nick Clegg does not think the balance is


right. I think we will sort it out. I think there will be a compromise.


Where will it come from? Am not a fly on the wall. I do not know, I am


not a professional. Think we should leave these decisions to people with


the professional ability. experts say that it is nonsense and


the government's own advice on this has said that it would be madness to


go ahead and increase the ratio. Now we have the Deputy Prime Minister


saying he is very concerned. This policy is not going to happen.


is part of the bill in the normal process is that it gets well


scrutinised. This is such an important issue for families all


over the country. but scrutinised by the backbenchers, not the


government. You're meant to do that when you make it a bill. There is


proper scrutiny involving people inside and outside of Parliament.


Freedom is usually -- Sweden is usually held up as the best country


for childcare but they have no ratios at all. But they have a lot


of state subsidies. They have a lot of highly qualified, trained staff.


And the make sure they have good quality childcare. I think any


parent, and we are all mothers here, any mother would love the best


possible care for their children. I think they are really well placed to


know and make the choice. How many children do you think one adult


could safely look after? I think if it is a question of how


well-qualified they are, but I am not an expert. I am in Mum of three


but it is not an area of expertise for me. I'd agree. I would not want


to look after six voluntarily. But the problem here, this is a policy


that has been presented and it is only part of the bill, but without


it, the rest of the Bill collapses because it is all costed around this


element of childcare, and an earnest has clearly said that without this


element, the rest of the package is not costed. This is a proper debate


to be had in Parliament but I would say that this is such an important


issue, let's not make a political ping-pong match out of it. Families


all over the country want to know that we are focused on an important


issue, high-quality, affordable childcare. That is the most


expensive childcare anywhere in Europe, apart from Switzerland. We


have so many families that want to be able to go out to work and they


cannot afford it. OK, there are details need to ironed out...


think this is a fairly crucial detail. -- needs to be ironed out.


How many children can an adult would after? You mean Nick Clegg, he is


play politics with this. I think it is unfair to draw particular


attention. One week, the Labour Party figures are good idea in the


next they think it is a bad idea. This is such an important issue. All


the parties should really get to the evidence. Other countries have these


ratios. Liberal Democrats are the ones in government, not Labour, but


we will come to live now. Do you think it is too many, Stella


Creasy? I have got a 2 euros niece and ironed or her, but cannot


understand how someone could have another eyes on the back of their


heads to cope with six of her at the same time. -- enough eyes. We agreed


that families are struggling because of the high cost of childcare but


one of the things we did was bringing in childcare vouchers. My


word in the 50% of sure start centres say they are not financially


sustainable. There is debate about training and qualifications, to make


sure we attract and retain the best people. But this is not a small


issue. I think the worry is that if the number is not sex, what is the


number? But should government increased the number? I am minded by


the evidence from Holland where they introduced the ratio and it cost the


public purse more. It is a lose lose scenario. Nick Clegg picked up on


that. He's right to be but why is he suddenly raising these concerns? Liz


Truss has been an advocate for this for a long time. She has been clear


about her views, so for it to appear suddenly, I worry that parents are


just going to be confused, are they going to make progress? I do not


know how you're going to bring childcare costs down? We think


investment in the quality of training, and we're looking at sure


start. One of the things that comes up is the cost of premises. If you


are losing the centres, that is something we should be looking at.


Ratios are not the answer. That is the debate we are having. Do you


agree with that? You do not agree with the proposal? The key thing, I


think we agree, is the quality of the childcare. People have to make


technical decisions. I think if parents can have more choice about


the type of childcare, that would be a good advance. If ratios are the


key thing, why do you want them done at all? You have do have some


ratios. Sweden does.That is fine, but you have to set out the basic


tenet. Able do not Trust the parents? If people want more than


that, then they can have that. I have interviewed Liz Truss on this


issue and she is adamant that those ratios need to be increased to bring


childcare costs down. I'm not sure where the costs will come down. Will


they be passed on to parents? I am not convinced that they will be. We


were working in the industry will earn more money and that might be a


good thing but can you guarantee that by increasing ratios, parents


will pay less? I think it is about choice. Elizabeth wants to be able


to offer more choice. Parents are best placed to decide what is the


best childcare for them. This is one part of a comrade is a package of


measures, making it really affordable for families. Sarah is


right, this is a key cost of living issue. We have to do everything we


can. Will this be on the books by September, when this is supposed to


be rolled out? That is only months away. We had not seen the timetable


for parliament but if that is the commitment, we will get to it? Do


you agree the Mac with a copper mines, with a change? It has to come


out in the wash. We will see. It must be evidence -based. Liz Truss


has done her homework. She has. The government's expert says that the


ratio makes no sense at all. believe in evidence -based policy


making and I'm sure the Minister setting this out to the committee


will have a really good debate. Your listeners will expect that. It is


our job to spend days and days going through legislation and making sure


it is fit for purpose. That is what we will be doing. We will have this


discussion before September. Don't say September is just round


the corner, we have not even had a summer yet! Acts more like Nigel


Farage and less like a public school toff, that was the help of advice of


the man who ran David Cameron's County Council. Keith Mitchell said


the UKIP leader was better at connecting with ordinary mortals


than other politicians and was unafraid to be filmed with a pint of


beer and a fag in his hand will stop David Cameron, I'm sure he knows a


few things about fags. Yesterday 's win speech looked like a response to


the rise of UKIP. Will the speech appeal to disaffected Tory voters?


We have been looking at it. The Conservatives are keen to focus


on issues that will appeal to members of the grassroots that might


have gone over to UKIP or have gone to the pub instead. Shocking. To add


some broth to the legislative agenda, there is a new automated


agenda, there is a new automated easier to deport foreign criminals


agenda, there is a new automated easier to deport measures to


regulate migrant access to housing in the NHS. Out our plans for a


minimum price for alcohol and plain cigarette packaging. That has


angered the black health campaigners but pleased critics of the nanny


state. In our new rules meaning that tens of thousands of prisoners will


be monitored for up to year after a short jail terms. But there were


when the reasons for some backbenchers to think the glass is


half-full. No mention of the EU referendum, dashing hopes of a


government Bill to enshrine in law a vote after the next election.


Ministers say the bill giving the way for high-speed to will boost


growth. And although it was not mentioned by the Queen, the gay


marriage bill has been carried over from the last Parliament and will be


coming back to Parliament. Ed Miliband claimed the package


amounted to remove to the right and warned the Prime Minister that you


cannot out the rise should the rise. Did you see the hand of UKIP in the


Queens speech? -- out-Farage Farage. We have seen Lord Lawson this week


saying that Britain would be better out of the European Union. I think


that you look at the meat of the Queens speech, putting restrictions


on benefits, for example, for migrants. Obviously, the hand of


UKIP is there. But this cannot apply to citizens from the European Union


and this cannot apply to citizens from bog area oral mania or Poland


or Lithuania. It will only apply to people from Australia, New Zealand,


Canada. I think that is the scrum monetary and creates a two tier


immigration system. Know that you have joined the big time, you are on


the Daily Politics, are you going to have do start developing more


policies? Are you a party that is going to have policies or you more a


state of mind? UKIP is a movement in many ways and it is a state of mind


in many ways. It is about people wanting to gain independence for our


country. It is about people who want the people who make the decisions in


this country to be the people you can get rid of after five years.


They do not want it to be unelected commissioners in Brussels who


basically dictate 75% of the laws that we have to apply. In a way, it


is a state of mine but it is also a fully fledged political party with a


raft of policies. Where are you on social care? Do you have a cap? What


would it be? On social care, care for the elderly is quite important.


Just quite important? It is important because these people have


retired. So what is the policy?The policy is that they deserve care in


the government are moving in the right direction. I ask about your


policy. Where are you on social care? Would you have a cap and what


would it be? I think the cap would be similar to what it is at the


moment. We're not just here to criticise the government. The point


of the matter is that when they do something right are moving in the


right direction, we must say well done and given a pat on the back.


There are certain issues where we do not think they are moving in the


right direction. For example, the removal of any mention of the EU


referendum from the Queens speech. We believe that is not good enough


and we would like to see a referendum. Interesting that I asked


you about social care and we end up on a referendum about Europe! Where


are you on child quake? Would you support a bigger ratio on childcare


issues? What is the policy there? Well, we actually think that smaller


sizes work in terms of childcare, and obviously it is important


because it gets our children ready for school, and primary school is


where the very seed of education... Even I know what childcare does, I


am trying to find out what your policy is! We would like to see


smaller class sizes for childcare, but there are restrictions at the


moment and cuts have to happen. What we do not want to see is bigger


class sizes, because what happens then is that children are often left


out and not looked after in the way that they should be. It is an


interesting question, whether you should have, given that you are a


state of mind and a movement, does it really matter whether you have


policies on social care or childcare? That is not what you are


in politics for, you are not going to form a government in this


country. Should you bother going down the road of trying to answer my


questions? Or should you just say that you are a one issue party and


that is all that matters? Indeed, if we voted to leave Europe, you could


disband. Well, no, because we are a political party, and political


parties have policies. Ten years ago, that would have washed, that we


were a single issue pressure group, but that is no longer the case. We


have policies, we stand in elections, we believe in a small


state and freedom for the individual, and most of all we


believe in freedom of our country. You had better get to work on social


care and childcare before you see me again! Did you try to hire Lynton


Crosby to run your campaign? No, we didn't, unfortunately. I have had no


contact with Lynton Crosby whatsoever. But did Mr Farage tried


to hire him? Mr Farage has had conversations with Mr Crosby, you


will have to ask him. I have had no conversations with him. Sarah


Newton, you have been attacking UKIP because of their immigration policy


lacks detail, and they are looking at it again. If that is a legit as a


criticism, why did you announce a policy that is lacking details?


I am really concerned about is to listen to the people who vote UKIP.


That is fine, but that is not the question I am asking you. If your


immigration policy lacks detail with UKIP, why does your policy on


immigration lacked detail? We have not seen the bill yet, and it is


going to have the detail you are talking about. This is a commitment


months ago. This is not a knee-jerk reaction to UKIP. These policies


were developed a very long time ago to be in the Queen's Speech, and we


will see the draft bills to give us, you know, proper controls on


immigration. You said that private landlords and doctors are going to


have to become border guards, and yet Downing Street, when we go to


these briefings, could not give us any details of how this would work.


You are more experienced than I am, you know the Queen's Speech lays out


what we are hoping to achieve, it does not go into the details that


you get as the bills are published. It is clear we have already got net


immigration down by a third, and we are taking every opportunity to


tighten things up. We want people to come here to contribute, come to our


universities, but people who come as benefits tourists, that is something


we will clamp down on. We know a lot of these restrictions, you have got


UKIP in mind that the arrival of the Bulgarians and remain years, and yet


Downing Street could not tell us whether this bill would be in place


for January the 1st. -- Romanians. We are very concerned about the


people who voted UKIP at the last election, saying to all of us, loud


and clear, none of the above. We are fed up with Westminster politicians


were not listening to us or addressing our issues. They took


both off everyone. We were already listening to people's concerns on


immigration, taking action. So UKIP may be clowns, but you want to join


the circus. UKIP voters are really important to me. A few weeks ago,


they were clowns, fruitcakes and closet racists, but now, because


people are voting for them, they are important to you. For a long time,


people who have had immigration as a concerned have been our concern. We


have delivered a third reduction in net immigration. These are


Conservative concerns and have been for a long time, not a reaction to


UKIP. If that is true, why wouldn't you get the legislation in place


before the Romanians and Bulgarians arrive? I am sure every effort will


be made to tighten up everything. And you let Nadine Dorries back into


the party in case she defected to UKIP, the Tories are like a UKIP


puppet these days. That is the way you may love to see it, because it


is going to make your life a lot more fun, having four parties, not


three, but it is not the way I see it. We are there for the vast


majority of people in this country, and that is what we will continue to


be. Paul Nuttall, you may not have talked to Lynton Crosby, but did you


talk to Nadine Dorries about joining UKIP? Well, negotiations


behind-the-scenes go on all of the time, and I think the fact that they


have invited her back, basically, with no strings attached, when she


has been such a strident critic of the Prime Minister and the


Chancellor in particular, that basically says to me they are


worried that she might cross the floor and join UKIP. It's pretty


much as an act of desperation. say these talks go on all the times,


so there were discussions? Well, of course, again, I have not personally


spoken to Nadine Dorries in my life. Would you like to? We are both


Scousers, I suppose! Conversations have been going on with a number of


people behind-the-scenes for quite awhile, because there are a number


of conservatives out there who believed we would better off outside


the European Union, and they just need to grow a backbone and do


something about it. It is not just the Tories that are jumping to the


UKIP tune, this is the labour that provided over the biggest increase


in mass immigration this country has ever known, the Tories coming up


with some things to tighten it up compared to what it was like when


you were in power, and Yvette Cooper once even tougher action against


immigration. You are listening to UKIP as well. We are looking at the


economy, and when I look at my community, people are really


struggling, and the idea that the best we can do is to say, you will


need to take your passport into A&E, that really worries me, are we


doing everything we can to get the country moving again? Your spokesman


once migrants to be in the country. Die before they get aching back,


that is tougher than what they are proposing. That in the country for


some before. It is frustrating when the government says we will do


something that immigration but we don't hear anything about the


economy. Particularly people having their wages and the cup. You are now


urging the Government to do a lot more about illegal immigrant in this


country, and yet, and yet, these are the illegal immigrants that got into


this country when you were in power. We are talking about illegal


immigration because it is an issue. We have said that we got things


wrong, and Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper have been clear about that,


but what do we do now with an economy that is stuttering along?


One of the issues is about people having their wages undercut. Nobody


wants to see the national minimum wage and the cut. The Government has


not said anything about tackling that. -- undercut. How many cases


did you bring when you were in power? I think it was about 3000


502,009, and it has been cast about 1500, the number of cases. How many


employers were prosecuted under Labour for not paying the minimum


wage? That is my understanding.You have got that wrong almost as badly


as you got the migration figures from Poland wrong! People have said,


yes, we got the figures wrong on Poland, and that was difficult.


did not prosecute thousands of employers. We took up the issue


around enforcement. We will look up the proper figures, I think it is


about ten, you are nodding, about ten were prosecuted. It is a very


tiny number. You have gone along with these changes which are very


much conservative -inspired, can I just remind you that you were the


party that fought the last election on an amnesty for illegal


immigrant's, which, if you were not running for election, may have been


the most principled and honest policy of all? Yes, it didn't go


down too well, though. That does not make it wrong, but at the same time


what we have got to do is listen to what people are saying to us,


otherwise we will become irrelevant. We have got to listen, we do listen.


I go on the doorstep every week, and people talk about immigration, and


that is why we are putting forward these... So the amnesty is gone


question my I do not think we will be bringing that one back, but I


cannot say for my party. Any reason that Nigel Farage should


be in the leaders debates? That is above my pay grade extra


schmuck I think you are an opinion politics when Labour was doing very


well in local elections, I am mindful of the fact that does not


translate into the national scene. There is a debate about the


lection, but that is above our pay grade. -- the election. I am happy


to talk about it, but two years before the election, if they are


still polling the extent to which they are now, of course, you guys


are going to give them a huge voice. Should they be on the leadership


debates? We do not know what form they will take. His views should be


listened to, absolutely. Paul Nuttall, a final question to you,


would you like your leader, Mr Farage, to be part of the leadership


debates, if we have them in the 2015 campaign? Well, of course, it would


be ridiculous if we won the European elections and were polling" is in


2015, possibly even doubled the Liberal Democrats, and excluded from


the leadership debate. That would suggest some thing is fundamentally


wrong with our democracy. We will have to get another chair! Now, the


trade unions have had a long association with the Labour Party.


But has their influence increased in recent years? It was union votes


that swung the leadership election for Ed Miliband, and the party


relies heavily on union money for its funding. There are actors Asians


that union backed candidates are getting favourable treatment in


selection for MPs and MEPs. -- there unpopular Prime Minister, the battle


between Blairites and Brownite still raw and active, some candidates,


both good and mediocre, was simply swept aside. Rebuilding the party


ahead of the Euro elections in 2014, there have urged voices that


claim some have been excluded from standing under their party banner


because they are missing something - the outright backing of a union. I


think the criticism that has come from some in the party is that the


trade unions are trying to take over, in some way, the selection


process for the European elections. For me, that is not a particularly


credible claim. A lot of fingers can be pointed that Labour Party


selections, unions is just one part of a much more complex whole. The


rules have not changed in recent years for Labour Party selections,


these rules were put in place by Tony Blair. But I certainly think


there is a much greater assertion on behalf of the trade unions that they


want to have a bigger say in selections. Ramsay MacDonald's first


Labour government of 1924 contained both the well-to-do and a worker,


socialist intellectuals and the brightest union men, and like all


parties, especially when they are facing calls of internal division,


it has remained a broad church, which is why some are worried it is


becoming less so under pressure from the union movement. If we are going


to be a one nation party, that means governing for the whole community,


and that includes working people, people in business. We need the


energy and enterprise that very often businesspeople bring. Building


that coalition is the way we won three general elections, we have to


keep hold of that coalition. I'm not sure if union backed candidates are


squeezing out other candidates. Why was backed by a lot of trade unions,


but ultimately it comes down to which candidate convinces the


hundreds of party members in a particular constituency that they


should vote for them. It is one member, one vote. Unions can make


nominations, certainly, but when it comes down to it, it is the local


party members who will make a decision on who they think is the


best person to be the candidate. suggestion is that the rules of


selection for candidates, which give 13 weeks for canvassing members


before the run-off, favour those who have financial backing. And


canvassing structure, from a union. But however, no rules have been


broken. There is a legitimate question to be asked about how we


level the playing field so that people who do not have personal


means or are not able to secure support financially from elsewhere,


can compete on a level playing field. And string that question is


tricky within Labour. With potential electoral consequences, as we


found, unions and concerned would-be candidates are unwilling to state


their case. Stella Creasy, can you get selected


as a Labour candidate without union backing? Of course. There is a wide


range of people. What is overwhelming if the number and range


of people coming forward. It is heartening to see people do that. It


is a difficult job. Seeing arrange of people, particularly the number


of women who want to stand up is impressive. No one denies that women


have done well under Labour in terms of selection and becoming MPs, but


it does not answer the question, can you do it from whatever background


you come from without union backing? Yes, you can, but it is difficult.


The result was a debate between political parties about how you make


sure you get the broadest and best range of people coming forward will


stop am involved with the women's network which is looking at ways we


can get more women to stand. It is not just coming for it, it is about


time. Not everybody has it perfect, but is the union involved? It is a


small part of a bigger picture. say it is small, but there is a


perception, and it might be backed up by fact in certain


constituencies, but actually the unions, as we have heard in that


film, not only are the exercising muscle in her dad at -- at the early


stages, but they want to exercising more. Of the perception that a


politician has to be a man of a certain age in a suit. We are


showing that that can be broken. I'll make no apology for the role of


the trade unions. And you were backed by a trade union? No, I am


from the cooperative part. Formerly, I was a labourer and co-operative


MP. Before we carry on, we can join our viewers from Scotland, who are


now watching the Daily Politics. are speaking about the involvement


of unions in the selection of Labour candidates. Perceptions can be


argued about but there is this specific and sample of an


Fairweather -- specific example of an Fairweather, who was excluded.


Crime seems to have been to have worked in business and not be one of


the chosen candidates of the unions. Why was she left out?


her and she was fantastic. fantastic enough. Understand more


than 100 people applied. Frankly, some people would struggle to name


their MEP, let alone their MP. did not have union backing? I know


that that 100, many people did not. -- of that 100. I know London, and


we now have eight fantastic candidates standing and there is an


issue about where they come on the shortlist. There will always be


questions about what role member state in the process. Actually, it


is dismissive of her to say that she did not have something fantastic to


give, and to say that the only thing that the people who did get it had


was union membership. The trouble was there was a very high quality of


people standing. Why does Peter Watt say that it is an old-fashioned


stitch up? He's not going person from within Labour to say this.


did not come from an union background. So he is wrong?I think


in different places, there are allegations. There will always be


concerns. What matters for me is that people like and get a chance.


Let us look at the cost. How can you afford to do it unless you have


backing, and you are someone with money themselves, personal means?


You would have to have some sort of sponsorship. Absolutely. There is an


issue about the cost. All political parties are struggling with that. We


find within the labour women's network that if you have child care


commitments, it is like going through many Christmases, were you


meet a lot of relatives. You are talking to a lot of people and it is


time it -- time intensive. And it is right that the unions fill that gap?


And do not think that is the case. Some local areas do short


selections, some do wrong selections. There will always be an


issue about the role of any one organisation in a movement like the


labour movement. There is a wider debate and I'm somebody who has


always been supportive of the reform of that relationship. In terms of


what you were talking about, you are talking about perception, not


reality. The trade unions, if they really had as much influence as


people in the media like to say, why do they always complain about their


lack of influence? Well, they want even more influence, if you listen


to them. In the case of the Conservative party, the


Conservatives complain about influence from the unions endlessly


about in terms of getting a broad range of people, it does not appear


to have worked at Number Ten. The reality is that it is full of all


the Taureans which has not been helpful to the perception of the


Tory party. In the end, you had to have in a list. We are all about


merit. We want the best possible candidates. Really, local


collections are important. -- local connections. We have an open and


rigorous process. And we have made enormous strides forward. I am part


of the new 2010 intake and there is a huge server city of backgrounds.


How many working-class candidates? What is a working-class person?


tell me. Jacob Rees Mogg? I can tell you about the candidates that we


have just selected. We have a boxing trainer, somebody who is a postman,


we have small business people, veterinary surgeons, teachers. We


have soldiers, charity workers. The a list has worked extremely well in


the last Parliament and in this parliament were using different


processes. Why are you not going for the a list again? The party has


moved on. We did not have enough women in Parliament before 4010. And


we really made such drives forward. That you do not need it? We built on


that process. The grassroots get it. This CD broad range women that


have come in, and they see the good job. We do not need that. They


voluntarily choose the best possible candidates. -- they see the broad


range. But you would not have needed to impose the a list if you trusted


them to choose the right people. was about giving them a broad


range. The Conservative party is always the choice of local people.


Lorely Burt, you know that the record of the party is terrible in


terms of numbers of women and ethnic naughty MPs. The Lib Dems... At


least Labour have increased the numbers of women and so have the


Conservatives. What are the Liberal Democrats going to do? We have a


process where we train up people. Particularly from areas where we are


missing. So women, people from poorer backgrounds, ethnic


minorities, disabled people. Just about everybody, really, except for


upper-middle-class white man. the areas where we are under


represented. At the last general election we had some excellent women


and ethnic minorities candidates, but not in safe seats. Safe seats


are a challenge. If we had one of you seek, you would have seen a


different picture stop -- one AQ seats. We are not funded by big


business or unions, we are funded by our members. Would you like women


shortlists? I would love it. But unfortunately we are too democratic,


it is so annoying! We have managed all women shortlists completely


voluntarily. Only one in five MPs are women and I


cannot turn around to a community where 51% of people are women and


say that Parliament gets it. Every political movement has you have this


conversation about prejudice. We have had that and we have done


something about it. We will support anyone else having a debate because


we need to get to 50-50. completely agree. We have got


agreement. We have an apology to make to Stella


Creasy. We said earlier that ten people had been prosecuted for the


minimum wage violations, and that turns out not to be true. We


apologise. It was eight. And I'd apologise to you, Andrew, because I


have missed red something. I stand corrected. -- Ms rent. Apologies all


round. There is still time.Anyway, eight minimum rage violation


prosecutions according to the HMRC document. I will go back and check


what it was that made me think it was different and I will tweet you.


Full disclosure. Life does not get better. The organisation which


represents councils across England and Wales say that they risked


failing their communities if further cuts are imposed. The Local


Government Association has submitted their response ahead of the June


Spending Review for 2015. They say that the council is having to make


savings on average of �64 million in the calling on the government to end


the ring fencing of health and schools budgets as well as removing


the requirement to hold a referendum if you want to increase council tax


by more than 2%. We're joined now by the vice-chair of the Local


Government Association, a Labour council leader for Dudley. David


Sparks joins us from Birmingham. Welcome. Now, councils overall will


lose 2 billion a year from uncollected council tax. Another �2


billion from fraud, and you have �16 billion of reserves, so what are you


moaning about. Oh, dear. We cannot hear him. We cannot even hear if he


is still mourning because I'm sorry, Mr sparks, and my viewers, we have


lost the sense to Birmingham. David Sparks, I apologise. Could you say


something, anything, so that we can work out if we can you do? No, we're


not. All right. We will go back to Birmingham. Third time lucky, I'm


told. David Sparks? Hooray! Let me ask you the question again. It is


easier for you know you have time to think about it. You are losing �2


billion a year from uncollected council tax, �2 billion from fraud


and you have �16 billion in the bank, so what are you moaning about?


We have collected 97% of council tax each year, which is far in excess of


central government, which has 20 billion pounds in unpaid tax. In


relation to the reserves, we have worked out that if we use the


reserves to fund the gap that we have got, money would run out in


five years. This is irrelevant in relation to the fundamental problem


that we have, which is that in 2020, if current things carry on as they


are, there will be a funding gap in this country of �16.5 billion in


local government. But by 2020, we barely know what is quick to happen


next year, let alone 2020. What is the situation going to be next


year, in your view? The situation next year is that it will be the


fourth year of a reduction of over 33%. Already, councils are in an


extreme position. We have had to make massive cuts which we do not


want to make. It is a tipping point now. The situation is going to be


that councils throughout the country representing millions of people will


be making further cuts, unless the government comes to its senses and


finances local government sensibly. Is it true that you want to end the


discount for council tax for single occupancy? We want to look at the


old question of how much we raise in income in relation to local


government. We have suggested to the government a range of suggestions in


our contribution, so that we can increase the income and we can also


make further economies and efficiencies in public sector


funding across the community on the whole. Was that a yes or a no?We're


still looking at it. This business of needing a referendum to increase


council tax by more than 2%, I understand you wanted to raise it by


more than 2%, but you found it was going to go down like a lead balloon


with voters. No, quite the opposite, Dudley pioneered the way with our


consultation with our electorate before we went to the question of a


referendum. We had a situation where a quarter of the public in Dudley


wanted to increase council tax by over 2%, but the majority wanted to


keep it either the same, a frozen level... That was my point.We went


along with what the public wanted, which is what we are supposed to do


in a local democracy. You are making local councils pay for the


Government's deficit-reduction. Sorry, I am asking the Conservative


representative here. I have been a councillor, and it is tough for


councillors. We have had to make cuts across government because we


decided not to cut the NHS and education, and that does mean that


there have been cuts, that local authorities are having to do things


differently, but we also gave them a massive shift in power from


Westminster to local communities to do things differently. And what I


see is that some councils are grasping this opportunity, getting


people around the table, actually improving services, while freezing


or even, in some parts of the country, cutting council tax. What


this gentleman did not mention was the new resources, all councils own


their council houses, they keep all the revenue locally. Business rates


have been localised, council tax benefit, the pupil premium, the new


homes discount, all sorts of new income streams for councils. It is


uncomfortable for some of them. Those who just want hands out from


Westminster, they want that dependency, they are struggling with


this. But once you love local democracy What do you say to that?


Local authorities have had their budgets cut by 33%, central


government has only cut by 10%, so it is not a fair share of the cards.


In relation to local business tax, that is welcome in terms of being


localised, but the Treasury are continually taking a huge chunk of


the money. So having greater freedom to make more cuts is no freedom at


all. You have also... You failed to mention the New Homes Bonus and the


transfer of NHS money into adult social care. Munsell councils, most


first-tier councils, their biggest responsibility is caring for


people. -- most councils. Extra money is being passed from the NHS


to councils, and these art of times, but we must prioritise... This is a


separate budget, this is spoken for. This is extra money, in addition to


that. No, it is not. Again, further inaccuracies. The fact of the matter


is that the NHS budget is ringfenced. We would like to have


greater access to that so we could have more economies. If local


government had more money in relation to adult social care, there


would be fewer people in beds in hospitals, and the hospitals would


be more efficient. We are at cross purposes. The gentleman is right


about the public health budget, that is not what I am talking about. This


is about the integration of NHS and social care, social care budgets. I


am really proud of my authority, they have not cut adult social care


at all, they are working on new and innovative ways to make sure there


is better care in the community, more joined up services with the


NHS... There are areas which will have far greater social problems to


deal with, and when... It is hard to imagine that in Cornwall...


necessarily is populated as some of the other parts of the country.


Prime Minister's own local government is getting an increase,


and Liverpool, which most of us would recognise as a lot of


problems, is getting an 8% cut in funding. It is disingenuous to


suggest that local government is not bearing the brunt of these cuts.


you agree with the cap on council tax rises? My council has managed to


freeze it, but the bigger problem is that he is right when he talks about


the problems they are facing. We are wasting a lot of money in our NHS. I


am doing casework of people being discharged from hospital and social


services not being told. If you take an approach just based on a budget,


you make short-term decisions, like this government is making, with


long-term, expensive costs. We need to be working... But let's be


honest, under the Alistair Darling plan, spending for local government


was to be cut as well. Correct? have been talking about whole person


you want, but under the Alistair Darling plan, local government


spending was to be cut. Everyone was clear that the deficit needed to be


reduced, the question is how you do it, and this government is racking


up costs. Well, yes, I understand that some councils are having


difficulties, but we are introducing a damping process so that the worst


hit councils will only be cut by a very small percentage, about 3% or


less. That is not what Stella was saying about Liverpool. I will try


to get this right, a 7% cut in funding, which is in contrast with


Whitney getting an increase! Sparks, have you seen the


Department's recommendations, 50 ways for councils to save money,


have you tried any of these? We are trying everything we can, inventing


new ways of saving money, but at the end of the day we will literally


have 16.5 billion funding gap in the next couple of years, and that is


something that is not going to go away. Thank you for joining us


today. Sorry about the sound problems at the beginning there,


thank you very much. Now, my microphone is working! For a


few hours yesterday, politics was put to one side as the Queen opened


a new session of Parliament with a speech in the Lords, and when MPs


reassembled in the laws, proceedings began, as by tradition, would be


humble address, a sort of after-dinner speech, this year


proposed by Peter Luff and seconded Mr Speaker, it is a great honour to


propose the loyal address, but the invitation from the Chief Whip to do


so means I must accept an uncomfortable truth, that for 21


years of service means I fit into the traditional role all too easily


of old buffer! No, surely not!Way back in 1996, as I approached my


first real election, my son at his father described in a BBC


documentary as a middle-aged politician. That phrase resonated in


his eight-year-old mind. For years after, birthday cards came to the


acronym MAP, children certainly keep you grounded. I thought it was a


premature description, but I have moved beyond that. I have decided to


leave this place at the next election. Shame!I suspect the news


of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement will attract more interest in the


outside world. Having just conducted my first rebellion in 21 years, and


enough! I had not been anticipating to be offered this opportunity.


Prime Minister and I were born within 48 hours of each other, and


for the avoidance of doubt, he is the older of the two. I can see from


this vantage point that genetics has been kinder than him than it has to


me, particularly in the tonsorial Department, both in colour and


cover. While our family and school circumstances were indeed quite


different, we must have had similar cultural reference points and


experiences in the 1970s and 1980s. I believe he was a fan of the


Smiths, although I understand the feeling is not entirely mutual. I


preferred Duranty ran -- Duran Duran and ABBA, with my favourite song


being Dancing Queen, which will not come as a surprise! That leads me


into the social reform of gay marriage. The right for same-sex


couples to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other before


family and friends will be a lasting social reform of this Parliament,


the legislation is brought forward by this coalition government, but it


is supported by members from all parties around the house. Bristol


West has three Quaker meeting house is, a Unitarian chapel, and a reform


synagogue, so I am sure that the country's first same-sex marriage


may be on my own constituency, but personally, Mr Speaker, I am still


waiting for my own Prince Charming, so I will not be able to take... I


may be able to take advantage of ordinary people? If you listen to


that, I think it has answered itself! Too often not, according to


Liam Fox, who has called on the leadership to speak in the language


of the pub. The Prime Minister made a good start yesterday morning when


he realised that pubs might not be full of people discussing the


Queen's Speech but the resignation of a certain football manager


instead. Shortly after 2am yesterday, I will say that again,


2am in the morning, he tweeted, Sir reference to the Aston Villa, like I


am bothered! Showing he is down with time in the morning?! It is not


after that, reminding the Labour lead that actually Mr Ferguson had


not really died, he had just resigned! All right, so the party


leaders are at least trying to get it, but how in touch are their MPs?


Well, ladies, you will be pleased to know, oh, yes, we have got a little


quiz to find out how in touch UI with popular culture! Stella, Lucky


you, number one, how many convictions were there under the


minimum wage... ? Stop it!You both got it wrong, actually! Who is not


in the running to replace Alex Ferguson as the next manager of


Mourinho. I grew up in Manchester, so they are my team. He was in the


running. It is Steven Gerrard.We have got to move on, who is number


guess number one. You are wrong, it is Daft Punk! Lorely Burt, we cannot


let you go, which East Enders character is reportedly set to make


made our point! Special thanks to our three guests, the one o'clock


news is starting on BBC One. I will be back tonight for This Week on BBC


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