14/10/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. A thawing of


diplomatic relations. And not just between the Mayor of London and the


Chancellor, as Boris and George meet in Beijing to love bomb the


Chinese. 600,000 economically inactive EU migrants are in the UK


according to a study published this morning. Are they taking more in


benefits and from public services than they are contributing in


taxes? President Obama versus Congress. Still no agreement as the


impasse that has shut down the US government continues. Thursday's


deadline threatens another economic crisis. It is the job everyone is


talking about. At Westminster at least. We will put the candidates


to replace Nigel Evans as Deputy Speaker through their paces. That


is in the next hour. With us for the first part of the programme


today is Colleen Graffy, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State


and associate professor of law at Pepperdine University based here in


London. Welcome to the programme. You are thousands of miles away on


the other side of the world and who should you bump into, but a fellow


senior Conservative politician. Boris Johnson and George Osborne


are in China. The timing of their visit apparently a complete


coincidence. If you believe that, you believe anything. Boris is


drumming up business for London and the Chancellor for the whole of the


UK. The visit marks a thawing of relations with Beijing after David


Cameron met Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who is a


strong critic of the Chinese regime, last year. This morning, the


Chancellor was asked whether Britain had promised his hosts that


there will be no more meetings with the Dalai Lama. The Prime Minister


said in the House of Commons he has not got any plans to meet the Dalai


Lama. He has met the Dalai Lama. He does not have plans to meet him


again. I do not think diplomatic and economic relations are entirely


intertwined. The economic relationship between these two


great nations is getting stronger and stronger. Everyone wants a


slice of the cake when it comes to the Chinese investment. Is that a


sign of demise in the US? And absolutely not. President Obama


took this pivot to Asia and the absolutely not. President Obama


reason was the United States is focused on the potential that is


happening in Asia. The problems and there to hear is what you do about


human rights. Not only that, but also the environmental record. The


United States looks at this talk of the rise of time as a superpower


has been premature. They have demographic, human rights and


environmental issues. You still want the trade, but you need


something to deal with the other issues. The Chancellor said that


the two are separate in some ways. The Prime Minister met the Dalai


Lama, but that should not stop investment and trade missions going


ahead. If they are connected, why did China cut-off relations because


he met the Dalai Lama? They are clearly connected for China. Even


though we are trying to separate them. I understand why lucrative


trade is a potential. If you go to China, and you see the growth is


astonishing. The image of tiger needs to change. They are cutting


edge. What they are doing is amazing and we have catching-up to


do. Some of the concerns might be for example, do you want them to


engage in building nuclear power plants question mark they should be


a question -- plants? There should be a question about that. Security


issues must be being raised. But Great Britain could capitalise on


the expense and reluctance you are Great Britain could capitalise on


expressing on behalf of the US. His it is a matter of time are finding


ways. These institutes cropping up all over the United States


ways. These institutes cropping up associated with universities. They


sound fantastic. They have a lot of money. Self- censure should when


universities want to invite the Dalai Lama -- self-censorship. They


feel the pressure. That would be my concern. Walk would be the leverage


if they are engaged in building nuclear power plants -- what would


be? Britain's relationship with Europe is often rocky, shall we say.


The latest report from the European Commission on the effects of


migration on our social security system is unlikely to help it. In


fact, the headline figures will have had people spluttering into


their cornflakes. The report says that over 600,000 inactive EU


migrants are living in the UK. That is the equivalent of a city the


migrants are living in the UK. That size of Glasgow. However, the


European Commission says that figure includes school pupils,


retired people and those taking time out to raise children, not


just job seekers. That figure has significantly risen - up from just


over 430,000 just six years ago. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson,


has responded by calling for a delay in migrants' access to


benefits. And the Department for Work and Pensions has said they are


strengthening the habitual residence test and limiting how


long some migrants can claim benefits. However, some question


long some migrants can claim whether this is the correct


approach. One pro-Europe think tank, the Centre for European Reform,


says the great majority of EU immigrants come to Britain to work.


says the great majority of EU Who is right? Are they a help or


hindrance to the economy? Jonathan Todd, welcome to the programme. The


European Commission has been critical of reports about this


600,000 figure, pointing out they are not all people out of work. But


you say they are not earning money and therefore not contributing to


the economy. You have to bear in mind that the percentage is much


lower than the percentage of UK nationals that are inactive. 30% of


European Union migrants, compared to 43% of UK nationals that are not


active. The majority come to the UK to work and contribute more to the


welfare system than they take out, because they tend to be younger


than the average population and of working age. They pay more in


taxation than receiving welfare benefits. You do accept there has


taxation than receiving welfare been an increase in numbers of


economically inactive European Union migrants? There has been a


big leap, taking into account about how much you say they contribute in


taxes. There is a big leap in the number of European Union migrants


in the UK. When you consider these people are net contributors to the


UK welfare system, the more you have, the better off the system is.


Downing Street put out comments in response. They have rebuffed your


claims that there is no evidence that benefit tourism are tracks


European Union migrants. Hence the argument for doing nothing about it.


You ripping Commission has asked the UK Government for over three


years to have figures to back up the claim -- the European


Commission. They have still not been able to give us figures. You


would have read it yourself in the Daily Telegraph. They do not have


figures to back up that claim. Obviously, if there were evidence


of systematic abuse of benefits by a EU migrants, we would be prepared


to look at the system and see if rules had to be changed. There are


safeguards already to prevent benefit tourism. You are taking


legal action against the British Government against plans to


strengthen curbs against that. We are taking legal action because the


UK is not applying the European Union rules they agreed to. They


are applying their own rules on top of that and therefore they are


unfairly depriving people, many of whom have worked in the UK for many


years, of benefits. Other countries have concerns. They tend to be


different to the concerns of the UK. In the Netherlands, they are most


concerned about the exploitation of European Union migrants and the


social legislation not been properly applied. In Germany, the


main concern is unemployed people from poorer member states, becoming


a burden for some of the larger cities in Germany. It is not the


same concern as in the UK. One of the plans is that migrants would


have to be resident in Britain for between six and nine months before


being entitled to some benefits. What problems do you have with


that? The portray is that -- the point is they cannot stay for more


than three months unless they can prove they have sufficient


financial means to not be a burden on the UK. If they are not working


and they do not have financial means, they cannot stay in the UK


for longer than three months under the European Union law. You say the


Government have not got the figures. Did they say they will provide


them? We have been waiting for over three years to get the figures. We


were promised them earlier this year. They still have not delivered.


Thank you very much. John Springford is with us. He has


written a report on benefit tourism. We are joined by Stewart Jackson, a


Conservative MP. The Government has not provided figures, which means


there probably are no figures to back up their claim that benefit


tourism attracts these people to the UK. There is anecdotal evidence


that is the case. I think they should have provided it. When I


moved my bill, we were promised we would have a toughening up and the


habitual residence test. You will would have a toughening up and the


not hear me say it often, I am broadly sympathetic to some of the


complaints of the European Union because the Government should be


ahead of this. That is said, -- because the Government should be


that said, it is not the business, defending, it is saying people --


to people you should exercise your treaty rights and be studying,


looking for work. If you're not, you should leave this country. They


say many of the figures, it is a myth, a perception, it is not the


reality. They have figures to back up what they say. You make it sound


as if we are talking about millions of people but when you compare it


to the British population it is live. They have not contributed. If


you are a pensioner from Portugal, you have not contributed. If you


are a schoolchild, nobody would expect you to contribute. But the


children have to be housed and have health care and have school places.


The strain in hot spots like Peterborough, my constituency, is


acute. That is where we are right to say there is an element of


benefit tourism, particularly from -- from the Czech Republic and


Slovakia. Who is right? I do not -- from the Czech Republic and


think there is much evidence of this. Part of my report I put out


tried to look at the number of people classed as a benefit tourist,


and that is where the 0.8% figure comes from. We looked at European


Union mights in Britain. We could only find that 0.8% of those


migrants after a year's residents are taking up Jobseeker's Allowance.


If they were benefit tourists, you would expect them to get on the


unemployment role as quickly as possible. The data is not robust.


The Government has routinely said that they are not collecting


figures on child tax credits sent abroad. It is higher when you look


at child benefit. The figures are not as high as perhaps some people


would expect. After year's residents, too 0.1% on child


benefit, 1% on child tax credits. 20% in the UK for each. We simply


do not know how many European Union migrants are in the country. I


would contend the situation will get worse, not least the


differential in earnings between a Romanian worker and a UK household


differential in earnings between a income is so huge, people will come


and when they do not find work, they will access benefits, which is


what the Government needs to look at.


These at two relatively small countries. But they are in many


cases living in abject poverty. I countries. But they are in many


wouldn't say that, but they are Porro. The things we know about


Central and Eastern European migrants to Britain is they tend to


be young, entrepreneurial people who want to come and find work. They


tend to be relatively highly educated. It seems to me that


Romanian and Bulgarian migrants aren't going to change that picture.


The government haven't come up with the evidence all the figures. Even


their own MPs are saying they should have come up with some strong


anecdotal evidence. It does seem like there needs to be more


anecdotal evidence. It does seem information. I wonder whether, are


individuals asked when they receive a benefit what their nationality is?


That's the point. One of the things the government said is they don't


routinely check that. It's bonkers. The other is, if you are British and


living in Spain, can you immediately claim benefits? You can claim


living in Spain, can you immediately benefits but it differs for


different EU countries. In France and Spain you can. And you can still


claim benefits from here if you are a pensioner, although that's being


tightened up. You certainly can. A lot of these benefits systems have


the contributory principle. It means you pay some money in to a pot and


then you can draw that down over time. Whereas British benefits


aren't like that. The Spanish are tougher. You have to register when


you are moving, getting married and changing jobs. They've used the free


movement directive legislation in a quite Draconian way in Spain,


because of their youth unemployment. Let's come back to the basic


principles. If you take the information that is out there,


critics can rightly claim that David Cameron, whose pledging to


renegotiate EU rules governing and if it's for migrants, is campaigning


on a problem that is either very small or doesn't really exist. It


does exist. Almost 40% of children in primary schools in my


constituency don't speak English as their first language, maternity


service are under pressure, housing. In terms of a cost benefit analysis,


for every one person we recruit, a decent person wants to make money


for themselves and send money back to, say, Romania, there's a


low-wage, low skilled British person who's not getting benefit, skills


and training. That is the problem, it's the services that migrant


families use. They may well be someone in a family earning a decent


wage but the school places, the strain on health services, that's


where local people are feeling the pain of this. There may well be


areas... There are, aren't there? Daily e-mail well be. -- there may


well be. If you are saying there is no resource implication for that for


teaching children to speak English... I am not saying there are


no resource invocations, the question is what you do about it. Do


no resource invocations, the you try to prevent them from having


no resource invocations, the access to the services or try to


expand the services in order to be able to educate them? Who pays for


that? Migrants themselves, they are net contributors to the UK


Treasury. Use some of that money. But the services at the moment are


under that strain. Is their claim to the argument that one should delay


benefits that come to migrants. More time should elapse before EU


migrants can claim those benefits? Are we talking about services? What


are we going to do, are we going to prevent children from having their


education? What is the logical conclusion to that argument? The


government has to look at that small number of local authorities where


the problem is most acute and set up funding for them. But you are right,


we need to delay benefits. We need to make it clear that you are coming


to the UK to work or study or be self-employed. But you are not going


to be allowed to do so because it is in breach of the EU rules. How are


they at breach here and not in breach of the EU rules. How are


Spain? You said there are more onerous conditions in other


countries. Because they've had the political will to change and nuance


the free movement directive in a way that we have not in this country.


Can we do what they are doing, if they are not being prosecuted? I'm


sure it is about the interaction between the social welfare system


and EU law. So in Spain, because you have to pay into a pot, then it's


harder to get benefits straightaway. Whereas in Britain,


you just receive benefits based on your need. We need to look at the


you just receive benefits based on contributory principle. We are the


third most generous benefit payers out of all the 27 countries. People


make a rational decision, if they are not in work than they are going


to be in a relatively good and strong benefits regime from their


point of view. But you will just beyond £70. Your potential earnings


in work are much higher. The biggest incentive is clearly to come to


work, not to languish on benefits. If you think British politicians can


be bloody-minded, try America. There, a row between the Democrats


and the Republicans, or at least some of them, has closed down large


parts of the Federal Government. Worse still, the US could be forced


to default on its debts unless a compromise is reached by Thursday,


and so far, talks have failed to produce a solution. The fight


started over Obamacare, the President's dream of health


insurance for all. And it could have an impact on these shores as well. A


taste of America right here in the heart of London. Unfortunately, life


where this stuff comes from ain't quite so sweet. America is in a bit


of trouble right now. Government gridlocked, workers sent home and


the possibility of the world 's greatest superpower defaulting on


its debt, which, I don't want to get too technical here, is a bad thing.


But how did it get into this state and what does it mean for us? The


Republicans, who control the upper house of the US Congress, have


Republicans, who control the upper refused to pass a budget, which


means large swathes of the federal government have been forced to


close. It started with Obamacare. The president's plan for a universal


health insurance scheme for all Americans. Obamacare for many people


in the US is a symbol of a fundamental shift of the political


philosophy towards socialism. Socialism is a nasty word in the US.


Whether it is a good idea or bad, and I think many Americans,


certainly those of us outside America, think it's a good idea,


that is almost beside the point. They have been talks, but if


Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a deal, the US could also hit


its borrowing limit, and that's dangerous for all of us. NEETs


hitting the debt ceiling is a bit like hitting your credit card limit.


If it hits it then it will have two stop spending on a whole number of


things. Nobody knows which things those be or how they will be


prioritised in spending. The worst thing that could happen for the rest


of the world would be if the US Government stopped paying the


interest on its outstanding debt. I think that is very unlikely but it


could be very nasty scenario. And none of it is good news for us. If


you imagine US companies now potentially having to send staff


home because of the US work is not working, that can trickle back to


us. Perhaps orders from British companies aren't coming in because


they are not needed in the US. That is the first instance, purely


through our trade flow. And the other is through what potentially


can happen to the US Government bonds. If the US do default, the


value of these bonds will fall. That could mean that the pension funds of


ordinary people well outside the US can be affected. So how might it pan


out? Predicting it is hard. The best way that it could resolve itself


would be a short-term agreement, a continuing resolution to enable the


government to pay its bills for certain things. Like social


security, interest on the debt. That would have the time limit attached


to it. That would give more time for negotiations. It has undoubtedly put


Republicans and Democrats in the spotlight. Unless the deal is done


soon, it might not be the kind of Fame politicians normally crave.


Colleen Graffy, we gaze away from a Fame politicians normally crave.


very dangerous moment? Yes, this could actually happen. I know it


sounds like the Republicans are being obstinate and under this, but


we had to understand that the underlying issue is that we are


spending money we don't have. We've got a $17 trillion debt. So the


Republicans are saying, enough, we can't keep on raising the debt


limit. Part of that is that Obamacare is another entitlement


that the Republicans and many say we cannot afford. Is that... The


initial cause of the stalemate was this opposition to Obamacare, which


is really a sideline to what is at stake here. The Republicans... It's


connected because it's an entitlement that you can't put into


the box once you let it out again. But it's been agreed. Yes, but Obama


did not do a very good job of negotiating it because he did not


get one single Republican vote. It's connected. The Republicans probably


overreached in pulling that as part of that. But now the Democrats are


overreaching by saying that they want to now cut back on this thing


called the sequester, which is that there is that there's


across-the-board cuts if they don't negotiate a proper budget. Now the


Democrats are overreaching, and they thought they had an agreement over


the weekend. Susan Collins, a respected moderate Republican


senator, had come up with a very good compromise and it was


dismissed. They are looking over the brink. Will they pull back? Will


this face-off diminish as Thursday looms and they will agree? The


Republicans will rollover? No one knows. However, the bond market


tomorrow will be responding. That will put a lot of pressure on


members of Congress. I think that Obama to a certain extent is


enjoying this because it is giving a black eye to the Republicans. He


will hope that this means in the mid-term elections in November, that


he will be able to get a majority in the house will stop it now it is


going to look really bad for him because he is not showing leadership


in getting this negotiating them. But minds will be focused when


people look at the effect globally. How dangerous is it for the global


economy? It is, because people you invest in the United States because


they have confidence in their investments. If we default, that


changes the whole calculation is an investment in the United States.


That has repercussions globally. We just heard the steam Lagarde over


the weekend saying that this is very serious indeed. -- Christine


Lagarde. Hopefully America will pull back and commit. What else can


happen between now and then, who is going to move? They look at the


effect on growth in America and worldwide, will both sides realise


it's just not worth it? They will probably want something, each side


will want something. There are some areas where they will not


compromise. There's this thing called a medical tax device, which


is something both sides agreed on, which would have been an easy thing


to agree on. But Obama had said no to that. So now they are playing


hardball, thinking that they've got the votes in order to not


prevent... To prevent the Republicans from getting anything


they want. It's a game of chicken. It will go right up to the end. So


far, the moderates who put forward a proposal, it was not accepted over


the weekend. It will be interesting to see what happens. It's scary to


see. Time now to look at what's on the political agenda this week


Tomorrow, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, appears in front of the


Home Affairs Select Committee over why one of the world's most wanted


Al-Qaeda terror suspects, Anas al-Libi, who was captured in Libya


by US Special Forces last weekend, was given asylum in Britain. Tuesday


also sees the latest appeal in the row over Government plans to go


ahead with the HS2 high-speed rail project. The Supreme Court will hear


appeals by objectors to the scheme. On Wednesday, the result of the


election for the new Deputy Speaker will be announced. Wednesday also


sees the results of a ballot on strike action by post office workers


in the communications Workers Union. On Thursday, the report by the


Government's Social Mobility Tsar, Alan Milburn, will be published. The


former Labour Health Secretary was appointed by Nick Clegg as an


independent reviewer of social mobility. Joining us now are Craig


Woodhouse, political correspondent on The Sun, and Kate Devlin from The


Herald. Joining us from our Westminster


studio is Craig Woodhouse, political correspondent on The Sun,


and Kate Devlin from the Herald. We have Boris Johnson and George


Osborne in Beijing. Of racing in from the same hymn sheet? That


remains to be seen. It is an important and serious trip. Lots of


announcements and hopefully a lot of investment for the UK, which is


what the commission wants. Interesting they are there together


and there are suggestions that many in the coalition did not want to


see Boris Johnson alone getting the credit. Are they cross, Craig


Woodhouse, that Boris Johnson is out there, George Osborne, both


rivals to succeed David Cameron. Is it about who must come out best?


Possibly. There is the suggestion that Boris Johnson did not know the


Chancellor was going over. A little strange as they are run a joint


ticket this afternoon. You would wonder if Downing Street would be


nervous if they got together over dinner. It is about investment for


Britain, and whether that is a London, or Manchester, it has to be


a good thing. You would like to be a fly on the wall in the


restaurant! What about Labour repositioning? It is probably not


quite going as they wanted. It is possibly a fair year. -- fairly if.


Last week we had frontbenchers and it created an expectation, people


taking over the important jobs you may be had something different to


say, it does not look like it on what they said about free schools.


Tristram Hunt had to make an apology for his comments that they


were just four a vanity project. It has created a difficult first week


for those who took over serious jobs. A purge of the Blairites is


how it was labels. But some said it was a move to the centre. This is


par to the problem with the reshuffle -- part of the problem.


Ed Miliband, announcing price controls, bringing back socialism.


Suddenly you have the purge of the Blairites is a mixed message. It


was a sacking of those who were disloyal and replacing them with


loyal ones. It has left them in a tricky position. Rachel Reeves


saying they will be tougher than the Tories on welfare. We would


have to wait and see what they would come up with that is tougher.


They must have been told that welfare is where they are weak. The


Tories have been telling them that for a year. Lots of articles in


newspapers have been telling them that. This was not the biggest


surprise. It is something that they seem to have maybe potentially made


a hostage to fortune for themselves by suggesting they will be tougher


than the Tories. It seems to me that that is something that would


be difficult to keep. On the cost of living, Labour seemed to be


setting the agenda. It seemed to be uncomfortable for David Cameron,


having to respond to the energy price freeze. The this is the great


challenge. It is perfect politics. The big challenge for the Tories is


to find a way of suggesting they are on the same side as people. We


will cut your energy bills. A simple six words. Explain why that


is wrong and you cannot do it in six words, and that is the


challenge for the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats, who are


trying to show themselves as the party of fairness. They are not in


the debate. The Liberal Democrats said that you cannot do anything


about bringing energy bills down. It is a message that the public do


not want to hear, even if it is true. The coalition wants to be


able to rise on a growing optimism in the economy. We will see


unemployment figures, which they are hoping will be good. They need


to see wages rising and that is where we will feed it in our


pockets, rather than reacting in horror when we open and energy bill.


Labour's new Cabinet line-up were out and about over the weekend. One


of the fresh faces on show was former TV historian, Tristram Hunt,


who is now Shadow Education Secretary. In a newspaper interview


he apologised for making derogatory comments about free schools. Later,


he spoke to Andrew Marr to clarify the party's position. First here he


was back in 2010. £250 million allocated for building


schools for the future is under threat by the Department of


Education to fund vanity projects for a under-employed professionals


to set up Swedish schools. If you are a group of parents,


entrepreneurs, teachers, interested in setting up a school, the Labour


government will be on your side if it is an area where they need


school places. I've been joined now by Labour's Meg Hillier, the former


Children's Minister and rgw Liberal Democrat MP Duncan Hames for the


rest of the show. He is eating his words? The reality is that free


schools are opening. But what is clear about what Tristram Hunt said,


which is good news, is that we want qualified teachers and standards to


be maintained and proper financial scrutiny. Try to get the details of


a budget of a free school in your area and it is impossible. Labour


supports them. Tristram Hunt has made it clear. He apologised for


what he said and they now support the policy. If you listened to


Stephen Twigg, it is not so different from what we were saying


before. The position has not changed as much as that. Maybe the


position of Tristram Hunt has changed. In my area we have one


free school, and we are saying... I am supporting any school that


provides a good education. Even in an area where there are places.


They can open anywhere they want, not where the places are needed,


and that is the problem with them. A are you saying Tristram Hunt has


taken the policy to fork -- too far and you would only support them in


certain circumstances? What qualifies as an area of need? In


south London, there has been a problem about secondary school


provision in one area. I met somebody setting up a free school,


they just wanted a good school in the area. In my area, we have had a


new academy and a free school Open. We will take what is on offer if it


provides the right education. It is not easy, but let's say Labour is


supporting free schools where there is need and you can debate about


whether there is a need. It they are they, they will stay. Tristram


Hunt has been on a crash course at the labour retraining free school!


They are proving a success. 174 Ready and more soon. The majority


in areas represented by Labour MPs. -- already. Labour should have


welcomed this all along. Tristram Hunt has seen the light, has the


welcomed this all along. Tristram rest of the party? If they are a


good school and where it is needed, I would welcome it, whoever is


good school and where it is needed, providing it. If you have them


where there is no need for places, that is a waste of public money.


There are point is that it is up to parents and organisations are --


the point is. It is not down to the Government to tell them where to


set them up. We are looking at budgets. The issue is cost, if you


over providing areas and have under provision in others. There are


areas where you have too many schools in one area and not in


another in the same county. If there are plenty of places but


terrible schools, what you do? You have to make sure you are improving


them. Sometimes the Government forces them to become another type


of school. We get obsessed with structures. We need good quality


teaching, making sure the results are good. The Chief Inspector of


Schools said that. What about unqualified teachers? It happens in


the private school system. Should they have qualified teachers? Free


schools will have qualified teachers and unqualified teachers,


if that is what they want. It has teachers and unqualified teachers,


happened in the independent sector of the years. Real experts in Sport


and science and other areas teach in schools without qualifications


and a huge leap successful. Is that a dangerous precedent? I agree with


making it easier for people to come into the profession. But a


qualification and standard of teaching is important. We adopted a


policy which Labour announced support for that teachers in free


schools should have qualified teaching status and that is


something we would like to see. What about the issue of choice? The


argument is about places primarily. If there are places, should you


have a free school? Should it be only where there is a shortage of


places? The take up of places at these new schools will demonstrate


if that has occurred in places where they are needed. I went past


one this morning, the Oasis South Bank academy. I looked in the


window and I saw a young black boy getting one-to-one tuition from his


teacher. It was 8:15am. He was not there under obligation, he was


hungry to learn. That school should be proud they give him this


opportunity to learn. I am proud we have given at school the


opportunity. That just -- that does not just happen in free schools.


They all provide tuition at the beginning of the day. Labour are


jubilees started the academies, which the Conservatives have taken


on and to support free schools? Do you agree, it is an obsession with


structures and creating a divide where there is not one? It has not


been about structures, it is more powers to head teachers to see how


they think it is best fit to organise their schools. And taking


away those things that have given rise to ridiculous grade inflation


in some cases which are not a reflection of the ability of


children. At least now they have powers to do what is in the best


interest of their students. More changes are announced this week.


The cost of living and the energy bill discussion. When it comes to


fuel prices, your Energy Secretary made it clear they would do nothing


about the rocketing prices and cannot. I noticed the Liberal


Democrats were criticised for telling the truth in that piece


earlier. Fossil fuel prices keep going up. We use so much of it in


the energy system, it forces up prices. The only long-term way to


get the bills down is to use energy more efficiently through greater


insulation. Or you could abandon the green taxes. They are a tiny


part of the bill. The increase announced this week by one company,


£15 of that increase, per year, for a family, could be put down to


these green taxes. A lot of those are not about supporting green


sources of energy, but funding support for those paying their


bills, up to £135 a year on the warm homes discount and for the


bills, up to £135 a year on the poorest families to have help with


bills. We have to have a debate about this. A large part of the


increase is about world commodities. An increasing portion of the bills


is down to the green taxes. He said they are not. They are. In a few


years, they will be one-third of the average bill. We need to be


honest about that. We would all the average bill. We need to be


agree we need to help to subsidise those in fuel poverty, poor people,


elderly people, to make them more fuel-efficient. If you do not do


anything about green taxes, what can you do to bring the bills down?


The green subsidies come and we need a mix in the energy economy,


must not go on any longer than absolutely required. What we are


doing is increasing transparency so people will be moved on to the


doing is increasing transparency so cheapest tariff, which is not


happening at the moment. We also need to know how much money the


happening at the moment. We also energy companies make at of the


green tariffs. We need a proper debate about this. The Labour Party


gave for the popular freezing of bills. It is working, but it will


not work when the lights go out and the unintended consequences go


through the floor. We need a cross- party policy. The issue about bills,


we need to take steps. When we see commodity prices drop, bills do not


drop. The price goes up when the gas wholesale price goes up but not


down when it drops. You have to look at the investment of energy


companies. What is wrong with freezing energy prices for 20


months? I heard the announcement from the company last week who said


that having frozen energy prices they were now increasing them and


they would be frozen for another 12 months before they are increased


again. People know the Government, forcing a freeze, it will be


preceded by a big increase and after. Back is the problem. This is


why you need a 20 year approach. The problem with the Government


discussion about forcing people to be on the lowest tariffs, we saw


that thrown out of the window the moment that was announced. The


market is not working. We need to open it up to new entrants, so we


get different suppliers to run a challenge to the big companies.


It's recognised as an area of outstanding natural beauty, the


South Downs National Park boasts some of the UK's most beautiful


landscape. But it's hosting a growing controversy too, because


Brighton and Hove Council last week lodged a planning application to the


park authorities to build a permanent site for travellers


alongside an existing temporary site. And in this usually quiet


corner of Sussex, the debate is raging. This is a quiet beauty spot


in Sussex, but it is also the centre of a fight about who can live here.


If we have a permanent site, we all have a home. I know a lot of the


community say, well, they are travellers, why don't they want to


travel? We can't travel, you are not allowed, you pull into a camp and


you get evicted. We want our children raised the way that we have


been raised, in our community and society. It shouldn't be illegal to


want to react our kids the way that we were brought up. This extended


family of Irish travellers has been living in the Brighton area for


decades. Now they seek some stability, so their children can


attend school and have better access to health care. So they are eagerly


waiting for the decision about building a permanent travellers site


at Holstein, after Brighton and Hove City Council submitted plans to the


South Downs National Park authority. Families can stay for up to three


months at the existing transit site here. But the city council was to


create 12 permanent pitches on that here. But the city council was to


field. Future residents will have to sign a lease, pay rent and council


tax, like all social housing tenants. No one is saying this is


going to be a single solution that solves all problems, but it's going


to help. We have local permanently based families on the transit sites.


Moving them onto a permanent site will release spaces and increase our


capacity. This will reduce the pressure on open spaces. But there


is strong local opposition. There are concerns about water pollution


and the impact on local infrastructure. Our objection to


this site is not anti-traveller. Many people have been accusing us of


being somehow racist to say this. It is not, it is about the


practicalities of this particular site. It is the wrong proposal in


the wrong place. It is a national park. People fought long and hard to


get that designated. Regional targets for traveller pitches were


scrapped last year, and now each council is responsible for


identifying the need for sites in its own area and meeting those


needs. A public consultation on the proposals is likely to start in the


next few weeks. Meanwhile, three generations of this family hope that


their dream of living together at a permanent site will become a reality


soon. Have Brighton and Hove been braving their decision? They've been


a pain in the backside. They have effectively put a site at the


entrance to Brighton and Hove saying all sorts of an cup and some welcome


here. My constituency, which neighbours it, have had the knock-on


effects of that. We've had people from all around the country


alighting on Brighton and Hove and other parts of Sussex, seeing us as


a soft touch. I've no problem with legitimate traveller sites, we have


one in my constituency which has been absolutely fine and people


recognise it and respected. What I can't go along with his the enormous


amount of illegal encampments, where we get people coming from other


parts of the country, alighting on sports fields, cricket grounds and


parks, causing mayhem and leaving a mess for those council tax payers


who have to pick up the bill afterwards. But there is a legal


obligation for councils to find sites that are appropriate. We need


to take our fair share. Are you? One thing we have just done last week is


agreed with the other districts in West Sussex that we are going to set


up a transit site. All the districts are going to pay for that. That


gives the police more powers when groups of travellers come along and


illegally set up a camp in the most inappropriate place. They can move


them onto somewhere legitimate. They have to go somewhere. You campaigned


against a site in your constituency in 2008, before you became an MP.


Why? I don't think that was a sight. There is a site in my constituency


which does not have planning permission. The council was


consulting about suitable locations. There have been some suitable


locations in Wiltshire, but there were also some suggest which were


unsuitable. That one was in a flood plain. We do need legitimate transit


sites, if we are able to ensure there is somewhere at acceptable for


these people to go to, when otherwise we would find them on


cricket pitches and other unsuitable locations. As I understand it, this


one in the footage we've seen, the proposal is for 12 permanent caravan


pitches and 21 in a proposal is for 12 permanent caravan


Descriptions of it as a super camp... We do need to recognise that


we do need to have some legitimate provision of transit sites if we


don't want them cropping up in provision of transit sites if we


places which would not be appropriate. We've had a number of


sites and happy that have been very well managed. They have been clever


sites and happy that have been very ways of working to try and make sure


we help the people on illegal ways of working to try and make sure


encampments to move to proper sites. One of the big problems is,


especially in London, a lot of the sites were sold off years ago. It's


very difficult to find them in more dense areas, which is presumably why


people are moving to every is like Sussex. It's all down to local


areas. There's got to be a proper approach, otherwise travellers are


pushed from pillar to post, families are broken up and causes


difficulties for the local community. It needs coordination


from the government and local authorities working together. We


have a duty to house people, but it's got to be done in a way that


works for everybody. There's an election in the House of Commons on


Wednesday. All MPs can vote but only MPs from the Government's side can


stand. The election is for the role of Deputy Speaker. At least seven


Conservative MPs have thrown their hats in the ring. But no Lib Dem has


joined the race, although there is still just time. Joining us now from


our Westminster studio are two of those candidates, Eleanor Laing and


Simon Burns. Welcome. Good luck. We've got some questions for you. We


need to ask you your knowledge, first, we want to hear your pitch.


You've got 30 seconds. I am passionate about democracy, the


dignity of the House of Commons and about its vital, essential role as


the forum for a national debate. I would like to be part of the


speaker's team, not just to keep order in the chamber, but to stand


up for the rights of the backbenches, to hear the voice of


the backbenchers against overbearing governments. Thank you very much.


Simon, can you be as disciplined? Given my 26 years in the House of


Commons, I have a House of Commons in my veins, both as a backbencher,


six years on a select committee, as a whip in particular. I've been able


to work with colleagues, to understand what makes them tick,


what makes Parliament tick. I believe I've got a lot to offer in


ensuring that one has a fair House of Commons, where backbenchers are


able to get their point of view and hold the government to account, and


also be firm in a land hundredweight. -- light handed way.


Eleanor Laing, we will stop with you. -- start with you. What are the


titles the deputy speakers are officially known by? The senior one


is the Chairman of ways and Means. The next one is the first deputy


chairman of ways and Means. The third one is the second deputy


chairman of ways and Means. Very good, all correct. Simon Burns, the


Chiltern hundreds is one of the ways to stop being an MP. Can you name


them? The Chiltern hundreds? They are a mythical place that is an area


of profit for the Crown, which to files you from being an MP. I admire


you for that explanation. You didn't give us the names. It is Stoke,


desperate and burn. Well done far having an answer.


Eleanor Laing, what would the Speaker do in the event of a tied


vote? He would cast his casting vote on the side of the status quo, or


the government of the day. Very good. Simon, the 1911 Parliament act


limits the power of the Lord's to two sessions. What is the date of


the second Parliament act which two sessions. What is the date of


limits the power of the Lords to one session? 1949. Gosh! Well done! You


are both very good. We will go to the personality questions. This is


for Eleanor Laing. Who is the MP for Ashton under Lyme? Dennis Skinner.


It's David Hayes, Labour MP. What is Andrew Lansley's official title, by


which he is paid an official salary? Lord President of the council.


That's somebody else, Nick Clegg. It is Lord Privy Seal. That means your


next question, who is the current Lord President of the Council? It's


the leader of the House of Lords. No, it's Nick Clegg. This is why we


are practising. This is my favourite question. Simon Burns, which Member


of Parliament called the current speaker a sanctimonious dwarf.


That's cruel, you know it was me! What are your relations like with


the Speaker? I get an all right with John, we've been friends for a long


time, long before we were in the House of Commons. Simon Burns, I'm


sure relations have much improved. We have very little do with each


other, except in the chamber. We will work together professionally if


the cards are dealt that way. Thank you for being such good sports. Good


luck. Who do you fancy as deputy speaker? They are pretty impressive


at answering those questions. We will be hearing from all of them


before the election. Apparently they are going to be speaking to the


Parliamentary Labour Party. There's a hustings denied, there are seven


in the race. I think we've only got one woman deputy in a team of four


at the moment, that is something to perhaps they're in mind as well.


What about you? The two favourites are the two you've just had. I'm a


great friend of Eleanor's. The one who's got the edge is Henry


Bellingham, he is the only one who who's got the edge is Henry


can say that MySQL back ancestor who's got the edge is Henry


assassinated Prime Minister, so the executive had better not mess with


the chair in future! That's all for today. Thanks to our


guests. The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now. I'll


be here at noon tomorrow with all the big political stories of the


day. Join me then. Bye-bye.


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