25/06/2013 Daily Politics


25/06/2013

Jo Coburn is joined by financial commentator Louise Cooper to discuss the latest political news, including the future of High Speed 2 and the government spending review.


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Transcript


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Politics. With just 24 hours to go before the chancellor makes his big

:00:45.:00:48.

spending review statement, Westminster is pretty chilled about

:00:48.:00:54.

it. We will discuss why. If, as expected, local councils in England

:00:54.:00:57.

see their budgets squeezed again, is it time to rethink what services

:00:57.:01:01.

they provide? We will be joined by the biggest cheese in local

:01:01.:01:06.

government, Sir Merrick Cockell. MPs prepared to debate David

:01:06.:01:11.

Cameron's plans for a �33 billion high-speed rail link from London to

:01:11.:01:16.

Manchester. We will hear the case for and against from two top Tories.

:01:16.:01:18.

And is the cost of government borrowing going up?

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We have got everything you need to know about the bond market in 60

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seconds. With us for the whole programme

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today is the financial commentator Louise Cooper. Welcome back. Let's

:01:35.:01:39.

kick off with everything you need to know about the bond market that were

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too afraid to ask. This week, ten year UK bond yields have reached

:01:44.:01:54.

2.56%, up by a third in a month. Why does it matter? Two things. Firstly,

:01:54.:01:58.

the government has a lot of debt. If the interest rate it has to pay on

:01:58.:02:05.

that debt goes up, the government has to spend more. So it puts the

:02:05.:02:08.

government under pressure because it has to pay a larger interest bill.

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Secondly, mortgages are priced off government debt. So the era of cheap

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mortgages is slowly coming to an end. How slowly?Lots of people look

:02:23.:02:27.

at stock markets and bond markets. But actually, you need to look at

:02:27.:02:32.

the interest rate markets. They have been volatile over the last two

:02:32.:02:42.
:02:42.:02:44.

months. They are telling us that the era of cheap money is over, not just

:02:44.:02:46.

in the States, where we had the Federal reserve talking about

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tapering quantitative easing, the end of money printing, but also in

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the UK and the Eurozone. There has been a reappraisal of cheap money,

:02:55.:02:59.

and this is coming to an end. Because most people don't look at

:02:59.:03:03.

these rates markets, they don't realise it has happened. Does that

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mean, despite the fact that the new Bank of England Governor implied

:03:09.:03:13.

that base interest rates, which would affect mortgage rates, would

:03:13.:03:18.

stay low to 2017 to encourage investment, are you saying that will

:03:18.:03:21.

not happen? We don't quite know, because Mark Carney arrives next

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Monday, taking over Tom Mervyn King. We don't know what he will do. But

:03:25.:03:31.

we do know that the economy is looking stronger than expected. No

:03:31.:03:36.

cripple dip, possibly even though double-dip. I think the economy

:03:36.:03:43.

could surprise with its strength. If you look at the financial markets,

:03:43.:03:48.

they indicate that we could see a base rate increase in the next 12

:03:48.:03:52.

months. That will surprise many, the titular leave those on mortgages

:03:52.:03:57.

that are linked to base rates. it could be difficult for banks if

:03:57.:04:01.

many of their customers struggle to pay higher interest rates. There is

:04:01.:04:05.

a quote I liked from the US central bank, describing the financial

:04:05.:04:11.

markets as feral hogs. Colourful language. Surely he is hardly

:04:11.:04:16.

surprised by the actions of the markets? We have had a 30 year bull

:04:16.:04:22.

market for bonds, and we have the interest rates at so low that we

:04:22.:04:28.

haven't seen them for centuries. So we have had this phenomenal bull

:04:28.:04:36.

market, cheap money. That is coming to an end. And it is almost like

:04:36.:04:41.

everyone is trying to exit at the same time. That is what he is

:04:41.:04:45.

referring to, the fear that you need to get out before everyone else.

:04:45.:04:50.

Time for our daily quiz. The question is, news has emerged about

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a government minister who broke their foot after they fell off a

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table while dancing in a bar in Soho? Who was it? Theresa May,

:05:00.:05:06.

Jeremy Brown, Mark Harper or Eric Pickles? You will be surprised by

:05:06.:05:09.

the ants. Louise, no stranger herself to the bars of Soho, will

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give us the correct cancer. Now, tomorrow will be dominated by

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the chancellor's spending review. We will talk about that with Louise in

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a moment, but there is another big issue on the agenda after George

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Osborne's set piece speech, and one which is potentially even more

:05:27.:05:29.

controversial, the government's plans for a second high-speed rail

:05:29.:05:35.

line, known as HS2. The plan is to build a new link from London to

:05:35.:05:37.

Manchester and Leeds, via Birmingham, the East Midlands and

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Sheffield. The estimated cost currently runs to �33 billion or a

:05:42.:05:47.

bit more if they spurred to Heathrow is built as well, with the first

:05:47.:05:50.

trains running on the line to Birmingham in 2026 and the whole

:05:50.:05:55.

project completed in 2032. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is

:05:55.:06:01.

driving the plans, but he faces opposition from his own

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government's backbenchers. Several Conservative MPs have been hostile

:06:03.:06:07.

to the scheme, including the former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan,

:06:07.:06:13.

deputy chief whip John Randall and prominent backbencher Andrea Letts.

:06:13.:06:17.

We can't talk to David Tice from the New Economics Foundation

:06:17.:06:20.

think-tank, which recently published a report on high-speed rail, which

:06:20.:06:25.

concluded that the money would be better spent on other things. How

:06:25.:06:32.

have you come to that conclusion? Well, after a long-standing piece of

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research on HS2, we found three critical issues at play here. The

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first is that there is little to no proof that the current scheme will

:06:45.:06:53.

stimulate the broader economy. The second is that it is unlikely to

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bridge the North-South divide. And critically, as you referenced at the

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top, there are better value for money projects which exist now that

:07:02.:07:06.

can deliver larger benefits to a larger section of the population in

:07:06.:07:13.

a shorter timeline. But it will make journeys quicker? Absolutely, but

:07:13.:07:18.

that is just one of the plethora of potential benefits that could be

:07:18.:07:21.

reaped when thinking about an investment of �33 billion, the

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largest single investment in UK transport in UK history. So to focus

:07:30.:07:37.

on one potential benefit is looking at things a little myopically, we

:07:37.:07:44.

think. But you could argue that you could have both. Tell me what you

:07:44.:07:49.

think it should be spent on? When you consider the strategic

:07:49.:07:54.

objectives for High Speed two, which include the economic objectives, but

:07:54.:07:59.

also improving conditions across the country, evidence suggests, whether

:07:59.:08:06.

it be from international examples or from long-standing research, all the

:08:06.:08:12.

evidence says that the better bet is to invest locally where you want to

:08:12.:08:15.

see local growth, originally where you want to see regional

:08:15.:08:19.

improvements, and you must echo the context into consideration. The UK

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has a unique, mature transport system and a unique geography. All

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the findings by our organisation suggest that we should be spending

:08:33.:08:35.

strategic money in a more dispersed way.

:08:35.:08:42.

With us now is the Conservative MP and former Welsh Secretary Cheryl

:08:42.:08:45.

Gillan, whose constituency will be affected by HS2. We have also been

:08:45.:08:49.

joined by the Conservative MP Stuart Andrew, who co-chairs a group of MPs

:08:49.:08:54.

interested in high-speed rail. What is the main argument in favour of

:08:54.:09:02.

HS2? The main argument is capacity. Both the east Coast and West Coast

:09:02.:09:07.

are running close to full capacity. I get on the East Coast Main Line

:09:07.:09:10.

every week, and if you go at peak time, you are standing all the way

:09:10.:09:14.

to Peter Brooke. If we don't you with this, we will be relying on a

:09:14.:09:20.

Victorian system right into the next century. That is not acceptable. We

:09:20.:09:24.

need an alternative that deals with that capacity, and HS2 is the

:09:24.:09:28.

alternative. It seems a straightforward solution to what

:09:28.:09:35.

will become an increasingly big problem. It will become a �33

:09:35.:09:38.

billion plus way of solving a bit of overcrowding on a couple of railway

:09:38.:09:43.

lines. The New Economics Foundation did very good work showing what the

:09:43.:09:47.

alternative spend could be and how you could get better value for money

:09:47.:09:53.

for the taxpayer. Would it deal with the overcrowding? I think it would,

:09:53.:09:56.

because it would affect the upgrading of the East Coast Main

:09:56.:10:00.

Line and West Coast Main Line, but would also spread prosperity to the

:10:00.:10:06.

north by involving regional transport schemes. Stuart is talking

:10:06.:10:11.

about a railway that will not be completed before 2033 at the least,

:10:11.:10:14.

and it is looking even longer now that there have been so many

:10:14.:10:20.

mistakes on the consultation and the environmental side. It looks as if

:10:20.:10:25.

this bill tomorrow is just to cover the government and give it some sort

:10:25.:10:31.

of political boost. It will take longer than they anticipated.

:10:31.:10:36.

is the problem, the completion time. We are looking so far into the

:10:36.:10:39.

future, and the situation both economically and the demands on the

:10:39.:10:43.

transport system may have changed. But if we don't start planning now,

:10:43.:10:47.

we will have a serious problem in 20 years' time. We have been here

:10:47.:10:51.

before. We had the upgrading of the West Coast Main Line which took ten

:10:51.:10:55.

years of long delays, liens of pounds and has not solved the

:10:55.:11:01.

problem. If we are serious about tackling this problem, which is

:11:01.:11:05.

getting worse, we need a solution. I am not saying HS2 is the only thing

:11:05.:11:10.

we should do to stop we have to do the regional things as well.

:11:10.:11:15.

government says it is committed to a variety of infrastructure plans. �33

:11:15.:11:23.

billion is a huge amount of money, but it will be spread over many

:11:23.:11:25.

years, and businesses in the Midlands and the north are in

:11:25.:11:30.

favour. Well, you only have to look at what outside commentators have

:11:30.:11:34.

said. For example, the National Audit Office, an independent

:11:34.:11:38.

observer, said the strategic objectives were unclear and doubted

:11:38.:11:45.

the ability of the Department to even deliver this budget competently

:11:45.:11:49.

and on-time and on cost. It is not just me saying this. The government

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has failed to look at other alternatives. I believe it said it

:11:58.:12:01.

will examine the alternatives when the hybrid Bill comes in later this

:12:01.:12:07.

year. However, I think the bill tomorrow is unnecessary. We did not

:12:07.:12:13.

have a paving bill for HS one or crossrail. This is just to give the

:12:13.:12:20.

government political cover and to tie in labour. Politically, you are

:12:20.:12:23.

into constituencies that are affected in different ways, so one

:12:23.:12:27.

might argue that you have a vested interest. �33 billion is a lot of

:12:27.:12:31.

money and of course you could spend it on other projects, but if you

:12:31.:12:36.

think about what could be bridged in terms of the North-South vied, is it

:12:36.:12:42.

money well spent? I am always sceptical of the economic analysis

:12:42.:12:52.
:12:52.:12:55.

that points to great benefits, the cost frankly, they just don't know.

:12:55.:12:57.

As you were saying, the supposedly independent National Audit Office is

:12:57.:13:01.

the sceptical of this project. At a time when we are heavily indebted,

:13:01.:13:08.

desperately in need of economic growth, this is a project which

:13:08.:13:12.

costs �33 billion. I don't see the economic advantage. We know we have

:13:12.:13:17.

a problem with Heathrow and the M25. You say you stand on the train

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to Peter borough. I commute every day in London and I never not stand.

:13:23.:13:27.

Wimbledon to Canary Wharf, an hour and a quarter, I am always standing.

:13:27.:13:31.

Travellers in London will tell you there ain't no sitting down in

:13:31.:13:37.

rush-hour. We are talking about long distance train journeys here. We

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have to get our cities better connected. We are seeing crossrail

:13:41.:13:46.

built to benefit the south. We want investment that helps us in the

:13:46.:13:50.

north so that we can take advantage. I want my constituents to

:13:50.:13:59.

benefit from the wider economy. not sure this will make a

:13:59.:14:06.

difference. Then start it in the north. I looked at this project and

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I started by saying, it goes through an area of outstanding natural

:14:10.:14:15.

beauty and I am against it. I then looked at it in more detail, and I

:14:15.:14:22.

think it is the wrong product. Started in the north. But also, we

:14:22.:14:32.
:14:32.:14:33.

are investing in the north. We are seeing the rail line between Leeds

:14:33.:14:35.

and Manchester being electrified and new stations being built everywhere.

:14:35.:14:40.

This will, and HS2. Looking at it politically, how many of your

:14:40.:14:48.

Conservative colleagues will join you in voting against this will?

:14:48.:14:52.

have no idea. It is a small bill to give the government cover. The real

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problem will be when it comes to the hybrid Bill and the petition

:14:57.:15:01.

process. I think over 30 colleagues have signed the recent amendment to

:15:01.:15:05.

the paving bill tomorrow, cross-party as well will stop but

:15:05.:15:10.

tomorrow is about the government saying, Parliament supported HS2, so

:15:10.:15:15.

we will go ahead with it. And it is to tie in the Labour Party. It was

:15:15.:15:22.

not needed for the Channel Tunnel rail Link. This is political cover.

:15:22.:15:25.

It is a project that will benefit far more people across the country.

:15:25.:15:34.

We have 20 years to talk about it! As I hope you all know by now. If

:15:34.:15:38.

you don't you have not been listening, tomorrow's big news with

:15:38.:15:41.

the George Osborne's statement on the Spending Review. We will look

:15:41.:15:46.

ahead to that in a moment. First, what is a Spending Review anyway?

:15:46.:15:50.

Across the great departments of state, they await judgment from

:15:50.:15:55.

above. The Chancellor, George Osborne, has, in simple terms: Asked

:15:55.:16:01.

for �11. 1.5 billion more of savings or cuts in their overall budget,

:16:01.:16:06.

whilst leaving some areas, the NHS, overseas aid, and the schools

:16:06.:16:11.

budget, untouched. Who has to save what for the period 2015-16 is

:16:11.:16:17.

essentially what the Spending Review is about. To paint you a picture

:16:17.:16:22.

about what a Government Spending Review is about, it's a review of

:16:22.:16:29.

Government spending. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Except, it

:16:29.:16:33.

kind of doesn't. It is about how much money is going to be taken away

:16:33.:16:37.

from whichp department. So, the money is at the centre of it. But,

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of course, it is the politics in the end that will determine who loses

:16:41.:16:45.

the money, or who loses more and who loses less. It's politics that fogs

:16:45.:16:51.

things. 2016 is after an election. Meaning the current Government's

:16:51.:16:54.

spending priorities, are now those the current Opposition, who might

:16:54.:16:57.

rise to form the next Government, have already said they'll stick

:16:57.:17:02.

with. But, theds' argue, the very need -- they'd argue, the very need

:17:02.:17:07.

to have a Spending Review is a sign of Government failure. The

:17:07.:17:11.

Government argue it is they who are taking the brave and sensible

:17:11.:17:15.

overview on spending. And, of course, there has been a battle, or

:17:15.:17:19.

at least hard dealing inside Government. Actual lit decisions at

:17:19.:17:24.

the end are taken by a very small group. -- Actually the decisions are

:17:24.:17:28.

taken by a very small group. If they can't get agreement in the end, they

:17:28.:17:33.

may have to impose. They don't want to impose and that risks

:17:33.:17:36.

resignations and so on but it is actually them that hold all the

:17:36.:17:42.

cards. Lest we think that this is a modern phenomenon, two years after

:17:42.:17:45.

the Great Fire that destroyed the original St Paul's, the king,

:17:45.:17:51.

Charles II was having just the same problem. He asked for savings in

:17:51.:18:00.

expenditure. Apparently ministers were, in the words of one historian

:18:00.:18:04.

- pathetically timid. There were savings of �84. Kings Charles was

:18:04.:18:07.

unimpressed and sent them back it the drawing board to think again. He

:18:07.:18:11.

wanted them, in what we might say these days - to go harder and

:18:11.:18:16.

faster. Oh, and just to bring you bang up to date. Tomorrow the

:18:16.:18:21.

Government will refer to this Spending Review, as a spending

:18:21.:18:25.

round. Sometimes it's as if they like to confuse you. We are easily

:18:25.:18:29.

confused. Louise Cooper is still with me. Should we care too much

:18:29.:18:34.

about what a Government's promising to do in a couple of years' time? It

:18:35.:18:40.

is not for the now? It kind of tells you - it indicates what their

:18:40.:18:45.

thinking is. To me, my problem with the Spending Review is the

:18:45.:18:50.

ringfencing. Because if you ringfence 60% of your spending, then

:18:50.:18:54.

the rest has to take massive hits, as we all know. And particularly on

:18:54.:18:59.

the health care costs. You know, we all know that health care is rising

:18:59.:19:05.

much faster than either GDP growth or inflation. Now that is a big

:19:05.:19:09.

problem. And rather than being open and honest and trying to have some

:19:09.:19:13.

kind of engagement with the electorate and trying to say - what

:19:13.:19:17.

do you want us to do? It is just public opinion says no cuts on

:19:17.:19:22.

health care, so that's it. Well, you kind of need to engage the public

:19:22.:19:26.

and say, we cannot afford an ever-rising health care bill, what

:19:26.:19:30.

do you want us to do? The absence of that political discussion is across

:19:31.:19:34.

all parties. Although, interestingly, it is with this

:19:34.:19:37.

Spending Review, that it has at least been considered. Maybe not on

:19:38.:19:41.

health, particularly but whether ringfencing is a good idea because

:19:41.:19:44.

so many members of the Cabinet, Secretary of States have fought hard

:19:44.:19:47.

against it because as you say, it distorts spending in other

:19:47.:19:50.

departments but for political reasons they don't want to look at

:19:50.:19:55.

it. What about welfare? The commitment this time is not to make

:19:55.:19:59.

any further cuts to welfare in 2015-16 because they have taken a

:19:59.:20:03.

big hit but again t has raised the debate about universal benefits for

:20:03.:20:07.

pensioners, for example. Is that a good thing? -- it has raised the

:20:07.:20:12.

debate. If we can afford universal benefits, marvellous. But we can't.

:20:12.:20:15.

We had a rise in the welfare state, under Labour, that what happened

:20:15.:20:20.

because we were in a credit boom and a prolonged upturn cycle. We could

:20:20.:20:27.

only afford that welfare state temporarily. Unfortunately, taking

:20:27.:20:31.

people's benefits back from them, when they now think they are a

:20:31.:20:36.

right, an entitlement, is incredibly difficult. But that is what needs to

:20:36.:20:40.

happen. With, as we have been hearing, George Osborne will outline

:20:41.:20:44.

his Spending Review tomorrow and local councils in England are once

:20:44.:20:47.

again expected to take a significant hit. The Local Government

:20:47.:20:50.

Association says councils have already had their budgets cut by

:20:50.:20:55.

one-third, since 2010 and warn any further squeeze will jeopardise some

:20:55.:20:59.

services. Is it time to re-think how things like libraries and sports

:20:59.:21:08.

centres are run and paid for? The argument about whether council

:21:08.:21:12.

cuts are necessary, or harsh, will always be there. But it's down to

:21:12.:21:19.

our councils to decide what is lost from the landscape. There's no room

:21:19.:21:23.

for efficiency savings any more. We really are down to the bones of

:21:23.:21:27.

service delivery and we are looking at cutting the limbs off. Closures

:21:27.:21:32.

and moth balling, two words we've heard a lot of recently. Frontline

:21:32.:21:35.

services are being affected and councils tell us there is not enough

:21:35.:21:39.

money to run things any more. In the process of balancing the books, the

:21:39.:21:44.

third word that keeps cropping up is - volunteers. With cutbacks here it

:21:44.:21:48.

stay, some communities have realised if they want to take their services

:21:48.:21:52.

open, they're going to have to run them for themselves. This leisure

:21:52.:21:56.

centre was closed two years ago. Barnsley Council decided the

:21:56.:22:00.

couldn't afford to run it. It lay empty for nearly a year but a group

:22:00.:22:04.

of volunteers have got it up and running. I think you can see the

:22:04.:22:08.

mill due everywhere. One of the pipes burst when the building was

:22:09.:22:14.

shut. We have a dehumidifier still going to try to get rid of the

:22:14.:22:19.

moisture. Leisure is seen by some as an easy target for savings. Councils

:22:19.:22:24.

don't have to provide T maybe Martin and his team are all part of the big

:22:24.:22:27.

society. -- don't have to provide it. I don't think it matters what

:22:27.:22:31.

you call T but lots of people who are interested from the local

:22:31.:22:36.

community, if we have come together to get a community-based facility up

:22:36.:22:40.

and running, I don't think you can knock that, from whatever part of

:22:40.:22:45.

the political spectrum you are from. There are around ten classes here

:22:45.:22:51.

every week. It brings them in �600 a month. But there is serious sweat

:22:51.:22:55.

and toil to be done before this can be a have Iable leisure centre.

:22:55.:23:05.

Leaving it to volunteers, not a bad thing says the Government. Public

:23:05.:23:09.

satisfaction with council services since 2010 has gone up. They need

:23:09.:23:13.

tolike at new ways of working, sharing management and sharing

:23:13.:23:17.

resources and being innovative and not doing what they have always done

:23:17.:23:20.

because they have always done it. But looking at the wider spectrum of

:23:20.:23:24.

opportunities out there. Six months on, Martin and the team have won an

:23:24.:23:29.

award for their work keeping the leisure centre open and they are

:23:29.:23:34.

diversifying. The man who runs the community church have moved to hold

:23:34.:23:37.

their services here on Sunday afternoon. Today it is a if the ball

:23:37.:23:43.

pitch. On a Sunday, it is a church. Good luck to him. But there is hard

:23:43.:23:48.

work still to do. The centre is not ready for gym-goers yet and more tin

:23:49.:23:54.

admits it can be a struggle to put up once a council puts down. --

:23:54.:23:58.

Martin admits. You have to think - will this work when you set it up?

:23:58.:24:04.

If you think you can, stand up and have a go. If you don't, maybe

:24:04.:24:09.

nobody else will. Add private companies to groups of volunteers

:24:09.:24:13.

and could some see a time when councils aren't needed at all?

:24:13.:24:17.

yes I can. I think now an elected councillor, regardless of what party

:24:17.:24:22.

they are in, have to ask themselves the question: Why am I going into

:24:22.:24:27.

local politics? What is it I can actually do?

:24:27.:24:33.

James Vincent reporting there. We have been joined by the Chairman of

:24:33.:24:35.

the Local Government Association, Merrick Cockell. On the back of that

:24:35.:24:39.

film, which statutory services, provided by the council will be at

:24:39.:24:43.

risk if the Chancellor goes ahead with further cuts to local councils?

:24:43.:24:48.

We will know the pressures we are under, particularly around social

:24:48.:24:52.

care and that there maybe good news on that tomorrow, but that is

:24:52.:24:56.

skewing public services, so that many of those universal services,

:24:56.:25:00.

the things that people experience day-to-day and value, are under risk

:25:00.:25:04.

because of those statutory responsibilities you talk about. So

:25:04.:25:07.

it is difficult to predict. We think there are about 86 councils around

:25:07.:25:11.

the country and there are a mixture of districts, counties,

:25:11.:25:15.

Metropolitan, London Boroughs, that are at risk of perhaps beginning to

:25:15.:25:18.

fail some of the key responsibilities and I think that's

:25:18.:25:23.

a matter of real concern. You have mentioned social care as a matter of

:25:23.:25:26.

statutory responsibility. What other areas with the councils, which

:25:26.:25:31.

responsibilities might they not be able to fulfil? Well, each will have

:25:31.:25:34.

different circumstances. Tomorrow we'll hear more, particularly about

:25:34.:25:38.

sharing around health, integration around hale. This is going to be key

:25:38.:25:41.

tomorrow for us. -- around health. We know there is bad news about a

:25:41.:25:46.

reduction in our grant but the good news would be if we would begin to

:25:46.:25:51.

integrate with health arounded adult care that. Doesn't apply to district

:25:51.:25:55.

councils, but that might lesson some of the pressure if the numbers are

:25:56.:26:01.

significant. -- might lesson. It has to be the start of a progress

:26:01.:26:05.

of real integration, not just in health but all public services. It

:26:05.:26:11.

may be a way through the problems. The example in the film wasville

:26:11.:26:17.

tiers stepping into the breech, for example if a community centre has to

:26:17.:26:24.

close. -- volunteers stepping in. I don't see it as a way of dealing

:26:25.:26:29.

with problems with finance. I think it is the right way of working with

:26:29.:26:33.

your communities and the response to question about - should councils be

:26:33.:26:38.

there? Has missed the point. Councils are not just about

:26:38.:26:40.

providing whether you are commissioning or delivering them

:26:40.:26:45.

yourselves, they are actual lit democratic accountability about. --

:26:45.:26:49.

they are actually the. It is the fact that people are accountable for

:26:49.:26:55.

public services in their areas. it about accountability, and

:26:55.:26:58.

deliverability. If public services could be delivered in the way shown

:26:58.:27:03.

in the film, you say you are in favour, then it would mean much

:27:03.:27:06.

smaller councils Councils have to let G if we are saying to Government

:27:07.:27:12.

- you must hand over control of local services to local people

:27:12.:27:16.

through the democratic process and that has also to do the with English

:27:16.:27:20.

question, then councils have to pass that down to the be communities and

:27:20.:27:23.

sometimes there won't be much money, if any at all going with those

:27:23.:27:27.

things we pass down. You spoke about the problems of ringfencing. One of

:27:27.:27:32.

the distortions is the hit local councils take. 8-10% cut. That

:27:32.:27:37.

sounds big, to me Clearly there was a lot of fat there. I remember when

:27:37.:27:43.

I had my son in 2009. I went to baby massage classes, which were

:27:43.:27:47.

marvellous, but I'm not sure my local council should be providing

:27:47.:27:52.

that. However, from the data I have looked at, local councils have taken

:27:52.:27:58.

one-third off their budget. Over many years. There is a point where

:27:58.:28:04.

politically it is easy to hit local councils than to make big decisions

:28:04.:28:08.

nationwide. The volunteers are a good thing but it can't replace

:28:08.:28:11.

council services. That's right. We haven't been consulted and

:28:12.:28:15.

negotiated with on this. I think, rather as you were saying earlier,

:28:15.:28:19.

we need a different approach as to how we provide public services. We

:28:20.:28:23.

need agreement on four or five years, not on a single year

:28:23.:28:27.

announced at the beginning of the process. Time to find out the answer

:28:27.:28:31.

to the question. The question as to which Government minister broke

:28:31.:28:37.

their foot after falling off a table while dancing in a bar in Soho?

:28:37.:28:43.

I've love to think it was Eric Pickles? It is not.It puts an

:28:43.:28:47.

amazing image into my mind. It is not. It is Mark Harper. Thank you

:28:47.:28:52.

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