27/06/2013 Daily Politics


27/06/2013

Andrew Neil with the latest political news, interviews and debate including the government's announcement of infrastructure spending.


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Transcript


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Morning folks and welcome to the Daily Politics. We only have half an

:00:42.:00:46.

hour. I will have to speak quickly! After the gloom of cuts, the

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"excitement" of rebuilding Britain. As I speak the Shadow Chief

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Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, is outlining to the

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Commons the Government's plans to overhaul our transport and energy

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infrastructure. The shopping list comes to �100 billion, but remember

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it's not new money. Yesterday's Spending Review included plans for a

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cap on the Welfare Bill, and new rules for people claiming

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unemployment benefits. We'll be looking at how it's gone down. And

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who goes down well with you? George or Ed? Adam's been out with his

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moodbox. All that in the next half hour and with us for the whole

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programme today are Conservative Nadhim Zahawi, Labour's Cathy

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Jamieson, and Susan Kramer for the Liberal Democrats. Welcome. Now

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first this morning, good and bad news. Revised figures from the

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Office of National Statistics show that the double-dip recession at the

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end of 2011 and the beginning of last year never actually happened!

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But the ONS revealed that the initial recession following the

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financial crisis was actually far worse than originally feared. So,

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Cathy Jamieson, it turns out that there was no double-dip, unlike what

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Labour claimed. It turns out that there was no triple-dip, unlike

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Labour predicted, but it turns out that the economy tanked worse than

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2008 and 2009, whether I think that your party was in power? Well, a

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revision up, is to be considered good news.

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Of course, it is a technical revision. I don't think that anyone

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looking at the figures would really say that living standards have

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improved over the period that this Government has been in office.

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I will come to that, but it turns out that there was not a double-dip

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and we lost 7% of our economy. We lost more under Mr Brown than we

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lost in the great depression? we have to look at what this

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Government has done. Deal with that bit? It is not good

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news that the recession was worse. It makes it harder to come back.

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No doubt. That is why this Government must take responsibility

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for what has gone on in their watch. But, it was under you that the

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economy tanked? But what has happened since, the economy has not

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grown. The 6% growth that the Government promised has not taken

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place. The Government's forecast has been

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useless. You would be better asking Miss tick Meg, but the economy

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tanked by 7.3%. More than after the great crash in '29. Maybe you should

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be more forgiving of the Tories' fail to get it right as the hole was

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much deeper than we thought? We had a global financial crisis at the

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time. We understand that. We cannot get away from the fact that under

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this Government growth has not been as they promised.

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I will come to that in a minute, but will you now file double-dip and

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triple-dip under the boom and bust, the no more boom and bust file as

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phrases not to be used by Labour? are still using flatlining economy.

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The economy is marginally growing. It is not growing in the way that

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the Government promised it would. We discovered as well, that living

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standards are still being squeezed by an incredible amount. Living

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standards are down, your disposable income, I should call it. They are

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down 1. 7%. The biggest fall since the crash in 1987. That is an

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appalling record? It is tough it would be silly to do what Kathy has

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done, to deny the facts. The correct problem that they have, Ed Balls

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claiming that they had nothing to do with the crash. Now we find that

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they this everything to do with it. I ask Cathy Jamieson about Labour,

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she talks about you. I ask you about the Tories, you talk about her.

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You are residing over the big biggest collapse in disposable

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income since 1987? You are right it is tough on disposable incomes. That

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is why we reversed Labour's hike in fuel prices. 13 pence off a litre of

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petrol. It is still down 1. 7! ? We have

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taken 23 million people out of tax. Paying less tax. Paying zero on the

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first �10,000. We are trying hard in tough times to ensure that the

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budget and the Spending Review are progressive and they are fair.

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The point is, Susan Kramer, having done all of that, the incomes are

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down 1. 7% and as long as people's wages are not keeping pace with the

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prices, they are tightening belts, there can be no real recovery?

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think that people and companies must take credit. They have chosen to

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keep jobs and accept lower wage rises, despite the fact that there

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has been inflation, thanks to the rising commodity prices.

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Shall we shove that in as well, that was under your coalition? It is part

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of filling in the hole that falls on well to do people far more than

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anyone else. That is important in sharing the burden, but what has

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been crucial, is that people must get credit for how they responded,

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frankly, to the period and the tough times that Labour left us with, but

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we are seeing life in the economy. What good thing that is happening,

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the correction of the double-dip, it will help to boost confidence. That

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is what we need. We have a lot of small and medium-sized companies

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ready to grow. That will move forward, as will help with the

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infrastructure announcements today. I don't know anyone who has money.

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Nor can they get none from the banks, but the taily quiz.

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In the Sun, George Osborne's blunder. He tweeted a photograph of

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him eating a posh burger from the Byron chain of restaurants.

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Despairing this country, posh burgers, who cares? Apparently it

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cost nearly �106789 including the chip it is goes to show how out of

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touch he is. Our question is in the photo, what fizzy drunk does George

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Osborne have to wash down the plutocratic burger? Was it Irn Bru?

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Diet Coke? Tango? Or elderflower. At the end of the show we may give you

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the correct answer. And the men, Ed Balls and George

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Osborne are trying not to bump into each other.

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This is what George Osborne has said about the Spending Review.

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Difficult choices will be made. We have to cut spending. It is

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unprecedented for the politicians to say that they will have to cut

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budgets. We have said that. We have to cap welfare, control the welfare

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costs. With have been straight with the British people, this is not

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easy. We are not pretending it is, but that is the economic plan taking

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Britain out of rescue, into recovery. We have to deliver that

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plan. The alternative, and you can see other countries, where they have

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taken the alternative route is one of real economic crisis for our

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country. And a few minutes later, Ed Balls

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was trying to see if they would wait seven days to wait before claiming

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benefits. George Osborne says he can make a

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saving on this. He says there is is a three-day delay. If you go from

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three to seven days to claim the jobseeker's allowance, you can make

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savings. We are looking to see if that can be fair and save money. If

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is a blank cheque for the pay day loan companies it is a bad thing. If

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it can be done sensible, we will support it.

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So, this is the wonninga Budget. Forcing hundreds of thousands of

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people who have been made unemployed into borrowing from the sharks?

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don't agree with that. In other countries they have a similar policy

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of waiting seven days before claiming benefits. Having the CV

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ready. Waiting online, having to speak English. This is the right

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thing to do it is the right thing to ask people to try hard to find a

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job. We have to make sure that the private sector is investing and

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creating the jobs but people have to try to get their CV ready, apply

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online. These are the right things to do.

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Cathy Jamieson? We have to look at the detail of this. The Government's

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programmes have a point of unravelling. The work programme and

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the figures show that the work programme has failed one in nine

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people on that programme. 132,000 people have found work through the

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Work Programme. One in ten people not finding work.

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You are wasting money. We want to see people in work. That

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is why we want a Work Programme guarantee to get people into jobs.

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What about forcing people to take English? Well, I think it is fair

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that people should be able to understand the language that people

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should show that they are looking for employment. We have said that we

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will look into the detail. We will be scrutinising that. We supported

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the three-day waiting period. We want to scrutinise the detail but we

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don't want to drive people into the pay day loan sharks. The money saved

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goes into the support and advice for the long-term unemployed that is the

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problem. That is where it is difficult.

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But hold on, when we interviewed Danny Alexander on the Sunday

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Politics, our sister programme, that is out on a Sunday, I think the clue

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is in the name, but he reassured us to say that there would be no more

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welfare savings in the Spending Review. What do we have? Welfare

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savings? I don't like at it that way. This is a swaich for those out

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of work. That is from the end where the support is far less vital in

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those few days to the point where it is really needed that is to get

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detailed individual advice to get people back to work.

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But again, some of the most vulnerable are taking the hit from

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the cuts. The Chancellor claims that they are taking most from the top

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fifth, according to this complicated distribution analysis, that looks to

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be true, but what he has not said is that in cash terms you take the

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second hardest hit group, that is the poorest fifth! How are we all in

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it together when the poorest fifth are second in taking a hit? When you

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are trying to deal with a deficit that is �160 billion. It is down by

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a third. You have to try to make sure that those most privileged take

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the biggest hit and your distribution, rightly, shows that.

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It is not mine it is yours! What we have tried to do for the poorest is

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the 400,000 troubled families, that is a big increase in resources going

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to the families. The affordable homes he announced yesterday. More

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money going to that. The social care. �3 billion going into local

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authorities for social care, working with the NHS. Those families are the

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most vulnerable, they are the ones in need of most. What the coalition

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government is doing is focussing the money on those most vulnerable. When

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the money is tight, focus it more cleverliy.

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The older people should be protected. People retired -- retired

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should be protected. You are all terrified of the grey

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vote. It brings me to the pension cap.

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I have to say, we don't have the old vote.

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You are chock a block with it. There is nothing wrong with the old

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vote. The average age is 94. Now, what about this welfare cap

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which is own on part of welfare. It excludes the state pension but

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excludes benefits for pensioners outside of the state pension. When

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Ed Balls was on the Sunday politics, he said pensions should be included

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in the welfare cap? When we heard the details of what was announced

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yesterday, Ed Balls made clear of looking at what the difference is.

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We understand the need for the cap on the spend. We want to see the

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state pension protected. We have issues in the longer term about

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people living longer, the age at which people are able to get their

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state pensions but we have said to go back to those better off,

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shouldering the burden, is that we would not give the wint -- winter

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fuel allowance to the richest pensioners. I cannot speak for the

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Conservatives. Now, the boys at the Treasury, I

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think that they are boys, they are working hard. After the excitement

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of the Spending Review today, Danny Alexander gets his moment in the

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spotlight. So what can we expect from his bag of tricks? Well, Danny

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Alexander is eting out plans for �100 billion of infrastructure

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investment in rail, roads, power stations and affordable homes. This

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is not new money but coming from �3 United Nations -- �300 billion

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prooel announced. On rail, the Government's flagship programme,

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High Speed Two gets an extra �8 billion. Spending �2 million or

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maybe �2 million for Crossrail 26789 we have a Crossrail that is about to

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open. That goes from West to East London. Now we are looking at one

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from North to South. On energy, there are announcements on nuclear

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power. Shale gas, renewable energy. More wind farms, mostly off-shore.

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After years of funding for roads, a �1 of 6 billion plan to deal with

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congestion on the A 14. That goes to be -- that goes to Felixstowe, but

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don't hold your breath. The projects don't appear. In the world of

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planning laws, the first High Speed Two trains are not due to run until

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2026. Nuclear power stations are still in the negotiating phase. They

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have not concluded a deal with the French contractor and ministers have

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been making promises on road projects for three years. Here is

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what the Chief Secretary to the Treasury had to say in the Commons.

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Moving from repair to renewables, we have to invest in the fabric of our

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nation. We have chosen to find savings from day-to-day budgets that

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allows us to recycle billions. We can guarantee �300 billion of

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capital spending by the end of the decade. Today, I can set out our

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plans for over �100 billion of this for the infrastructure of our

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country. The biggest public housing programme for over 20 years. The

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largest programme of rail investment since Victorian times. The greatest

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investment in our roads since the 1970s. Fast online access for the

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whole country. Unlocking massive investments in cleaner energy to

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power our economy forwards. All at a price we can afford to pay without

:17:26.:17:35.
:17:36.:17:37.

adding a single pound to our borrowing forecast. Not a penny of

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this is new. It is basically growth expenditure, which is not really the

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proper measure - is flat at �50 billion. That's it. It is still a

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big number, �50 billion and it will allow us to do two things. One, make

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sure that we get the programme we need to get. Make sure we continue

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we electrification. We have done 300 miles. . We need to do more. Make

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sure we get the certainty into the energy sector, which has been drying

:18:09.:18:14.

out for that, so to -- crying out for that, so to make those

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investments in new energy and other. This is what is being set out.

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give the impression. Both Mr Alexander and the Chancellor gave

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the impression this - you have listened to the people and suddenly

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there is a huge treasure chest of public investment that is now being

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unveiled. I look at the figures and the public investment in 2011/12,

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which we can count as the first full Year of the Coalition was �50

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billion N 2015-16 it will be �507 billion. In 2017/18, it will be �52

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billion. In 2010/11 it was �28 billion. Overall it has actually

:18:58.:19:01.

gone done. You are right. It has gone down. It is more than what

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Labour would have spent by �3 billion in each of the years we've

:19:09.:19:16.

had. We need to make sure we have laser-like focus. It was fairness,

:19:16.:19:21.

growth and this is all about growth. It is that laser-like focus. He's

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brought in the man who has delivered the Olympics to deliver this

:19:27.:19:30.

infrastructure project. The proof oh the pudding is in the eating. Two

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weeks ago I opened a new park, railway station in

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Stratford-upon-Avon. Why - was the Queen not available? We got a royal

:19:41.:19:47.

visit this week, Andrew. We have a fantastic park way station just

:19:47.:19:52.

opened. I am opening a new wing to one of my schools this weekend.

:19:52.:19:56.

have a busy life! What has been the big difference is

:19:56.:20:00.

the whole organisation of how we deliver infrastructure. What we have

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got is a steady rolling programme which is starting to deliver. So a

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lot of these projects are in process. We know when they will

:20:07.:20:14.

start to go into the ground. projects in 2010 - how many of these

:20:14.:20:18.

have been completed? That is a relatively few. Seven. That is the

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point, Andrew. The whole pattern historically has been a set of

:20:23.:20:29.

announcements. There's nothing - no planning underway. It takes three

:20:29.:20:34.

years to get these projects up and into a rolling pattern.

:20:34.:20:43.

You never told us that at the time! You didn't ask me. I spent my life

:20:43.:20:48.

financing infrastructure. We have membering nips -- mechanisms which

:20:48.:20:54.

can deliver this... You have brought that point. It is what we need

:20:54.:20:59.

and... Are you going to add to these figures? Well, let's see what the

:20:59.:21:06.

rollout of this is going to be. The point that was made is over 500

:21:06.:21:10.

projects announced, seven have come to fruit weighs. We have made that

:21:10.:21:15.

point. The question is not about them. The question was about you. It

:21:15.:21:20.

is roughly... Sorry to interrupt. It is good to get an answer to this. It

:21:20.:21:24.

is �50 billion a year capital investment for as far as the eye can

:21:24.:21:29.

see. That is roughly the figure. would have like to have seen more

:21:29.:21:36.

happening now rather than it being 2015 and beyond. You would have had

:21:36.:21:40.

�60 billion this year? We are not the Government: They have to be

:21:40.:21:44.

responsible for what they do. We would have said we would have liked

:21:44.:21:47.

to have seen more input, particularly around social housing,

:21:47.:21:51.

affordable housing at this point in time rather than putting things off

:21:51.:21:56.

until after the next election. can you talk about a big increase in

:21:56.:22:00.

affordable housing when you have just slashed the community's

:22:01.:22:08.

department budget, including its capital budget? 36% cut.

:22:08.:22:12.

affordable housing... You have a general cut in the communities

:22:13.:22:16.

budget, and then you have money coming in around specific

:22:16.:22:20.

programmes. One of those is affordable housing. In fact, the net

:22:20.:22:25.

cut for that department is in fact 2.3%, not the headline number that

:22:25.:22:35.
:22:35.:22:38.

After yesterday who comes out smelling of roses? Is it Mr Osborne

:22:38.:22:44.

or Mr Balls? We sented a dom on to the street -- we sent Adam on to the

:22:44.:22:49.

streets of London. We are starting here at Whitehall. They've had a 50%

:22:49.:22:54.

cut in their budget. Who do people trust - is it George Osborne or

:22:54.:23:01.

Balls? Let's find out? Balls. Especially coming from Birmingham.

:23:02.:23:06.

We are moving forward really. We need to move forward with the Labour

:23:06.:23:10.

Government. Ed Balls is a great person. Do you want to be a Labour

:23:10.:23:17.

MP? I would like to.I did get a sense of that. Why Osborne? Pardon?

:23:17.:23:23.

I'm not too impressed with Balls. I'm a Kiwi, I don't know. How is the

:23:24.:23:28.

New Zealand economy doing? Do you have such a high tech campaign?

:23:28.:23:31.

Do you think they should have cut more in this spending round rather

:23:31.:23:37.

than the �11.5 billion. Not my bus pass, because I will feel very

:23:37.:23:45.

strongly about that! Sgld who gets your vote on the

:23:45.:23:53.

economy? Ed Balls definite gets my vote. He is the best asset the

:23:53.:24:00.

Conservative Party has other than the Prime Minister. Slightly too

:24:00.:24:04.

many tourists here. I have come to the Foreign Office they have had a

:24:04.:24:08.

big cut to their budget: It was not that big to start with. Let's find

:24:08.:24:12.

out what people think around here. You are a friend of the programme.

:24:12.:24:19.

Some friend he is! She's for Osborne and I'm for Balls.

:24:19.:24:26.

Osborne or Balls? This is brilliant - 50 votes in one go. Let's go to a

:24:26.:24:29.

department that is getting a massive increase in its budget - foreign

:24:29.:24:34.

aid. Oh, my goodness!

:24:34.:24:39.

How would Balls ruin everything? don't think he has economic clout.

:24:39.:24:43.

He has not learnt good house keeping yet!

:24:43.:24:48.

I think our final stop will be charring cross station because it

:24:48.:24:52.

has an infrastructure theme. A bit like this spending round. I don't

:24:52.:24:56.

like George Osborne, really. Whoa what is wrong with him? -- what is

:24:56.:25:05.

wrong with him? He seems smarmy. They are trying to cut back, but not

:25:05.:25:07.

prepared to cut back on international aid, which is a pain

:25:07.:25:12.

in the neck, I think so. Who do you trust on the economy, Balls or

:25:12.:25:17.

Osborne? Osborne.Grab a blue one. am not sure I trust the BBC, mind

:25:17.:25:22.

you! What if you wanted a third option? I don't know.Vince Cable?

:25:22.:25:27.

Neither of these two. Maybe Vince Cable. Why have you gone for Ed

:25:27.:25:32.

Balls? I am a socialist. He's the nearest thing we can hope for. He's

:25:32.:25:41.

not good enough. People dressed as leopards favour Ed Balls. People are

:25:41.:25:46.

split about 50/50. How conclusive. I was struck by how many said they

:25:46.:25:52.

don't like either of them! There's our Adam out in Whitehall

:25:52.:25:58.

with his balls. Cathy Jamieson, given, the last three years cannot

:25:59.:26:03.

be chopped up as a huge success for the coalition in terms of economic

:26:03.:26:07.

policy. Maybe coming right now it is not for me to say and we don't know.

:26:07.:26:11.

Wouldn't you expect Ed Balls to be doing better? I think that did show

:26:11.:26:18.

that people are split. There are many who will say... We can be

:26:18.:26:21.

pleased with where we are at the moment. We lost the election. We

:26:21.:26:25.

knew we had a long way to go. I think we can take comfort from the

:26:25.:26:29.

fact that a good number of people there did say they trusted Balls

:26:29.:26:34.

rather than Osborne. We did see some Tory MPs hesitating as to where to

:26:34.:26:41.

put their votes. Hesitating Tory MPs! Who would have thought that?

:26:41.:26:45.

Even if the economy comes right by 2015 it is the Conservatives that

:26:45.:26:50.

will get the credit for it, not the Lib Demes. It is not easy being in

:26:50.:26:53.

coalition, but we thought that it is really worthwhile. Look at some of

:26:53.:27:00.

the things that have been spoken of today, like, for example, raising

:27:00.:27:03.

the tax threshold so people at the bottom are not paying tax in the

:27:03.:27:08.

same way. Look at the infrastructure. There's a risk you

:27:08.:27:12.

don't get the credit. You are in politics to do. I hope we get some

:27:12.:27:15.

credit, but the reality is that you have to stand up when the

:27:15.:27:19.

opportunity comes. And you need a recovery.

:27:19.:27:26.

We do. Otherwise... Otherwise you are toast. We will see it healing.

:27:26.:27:30.

Say green shoots! Go on!

:27:30.:27:35.

It is still fragile. If you look at where the expenditure has gone. US

:27:35.:27:39.

training, apprenticeship, science, infrastructure. That will make a

:27:39.:27:45.

difference. We are strong on the service sector. 80% of our output is

:27:45.:27:50.

service sector. The real problem for Cathy, by the way, is Miliband is so

:27:50.:27:54.

weak... I think you should look at your own problems! There is time

:27:54.:27:58.

before we go to find out the answer to the quiz. What was George Osborne

:27:58.:28:08.

drinking when he had his Byron burger? He should have had Irn Brew.

:28:08.:28:14.

You are right. I thought I saw a coffee cup. There was a coughty or

:28:14.:28:21.

two. The answer was right - it was a Diet Coke. It is the diet part that

:28:21.:28:25.

fascinates me. OK, that's it for today. Thank you

:28:25.:28:29.

to our three guests for being good sports as we rattle through

:28:29.:28:35.

everything. I will be on BBC One, talking about the police and Stephen

:28:35.:28:45.

Andrew Neil with the latest political news, interviews and debate including the government's announcement of infrastructure spending.


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