21/10/2013 Daily Politics


21/10/2013

Jo Coburn has the political stories of the day.


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. The Government has

:00:41.:00:45.

reached an agreement with French energy giant EDF and a consortium

:00:46.:00:48.

that includes Chinese investors to build Britain's first new nuclear

:00:49.:00:52.

power plant in a generation. The site at Hinkley Point in Somerset

:00:53.:00:57.

will provide around 7% of the country's electricity. David Cameron

:00:58.:01:01.

says the deal will help shift the UK away from fossil fuels and towards

:01:02.:01:04.

low carbon power. He says it will lead to cheaper bills for

:01:05.:01:07.

consumers, but critics warn that households could end up paying over

:01:08.:01:11.

the odds for decades. Who knows what the Liberal Democrats

:01:12.:01:14.

think about free schools? We are not sure, but we will be trying to get

:01:15.2:32:57

to the bottom of it. This belongs to the city, not the council. Directly

2:32:582:32:57

elected mayors were supposed to be at the heart of the Government's

2:32:582:32:57

localism agenda, but the idea has never caught on. We'll be asking one

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of the country's Q why. And it could be Glovers off between

2:32:582:32:57

these two later as the Conservatives launched an attack campaign against

2:32:582:32:57

Labour on the economy. All that in the next hour, and with

2:32:582:32:57

us for the first half of the programme today is a man who puts

2:32:582:32:57

Bristol first, and that is because he is the city's mayor, George

2:32:582:32:57

Ferguson, welcome to the programme. He is also famous for being an

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architect, running a restaurant and a brewery, and more importantly for

2:32:582:32:57

wearing bright red trousers, which we are pleased to say he is sporting

2:32:582:32:57

today. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Now, first this morning,

2:32:582:32:57

let's talk about house prices, because in London they have soared

2:32:582:32:57

by more than 10% in a month, fuelling fresh fears of a housing

2:32:582:32:57

bubble, but the picture is not the same in other parts of the country.

2:32:582:32:57

Wales and the West Midlands saw prices for last month, so what is

2:32:582:32:57

the picture in the West Country, George? Much more sensible. I think

2:32:582:32:57

London has overheated, it is absolutely bonkers. You have got

2:32:582:32:57

four borrowers with average prices over 1 million. This is just dream

2:32:582:32:57

and, and it just makes it more unaffordable for those who have

2:32:582:32:57

struggled to find accommodation at all. But prices have risen in

2:32:582:32:57

Bristol steadily over the last ten years, haven't they? Yes, steadily,

2:32:582:32:57

and my big worry is that this overheating by London will then

2:32:582:32:57

spread out, and we have a big affordability gap in Bristol as it

2:32:582:32:57

is. We need to build, and I am absolutely determined that we

2:32:582:32:57

multiply the amount of affordable housing that we are building, which

2:32:582:32:57

is at a disgracefully low level, by many times, hopefully by ten times.

2:32:582:32:57

What are you doing to help that happen? As an architect, you know

2:32:582:32:57

something about the building trade and how houses go from start to

2:32:582:32:57

finish, why haven't more been built in Bristol? I think because we

2:32:582:32:57

have... At affordable housing has been based on the back, and in a

2:32:582:32:57

recession that is a tricky thing, and all the house builders try to

2:32:582:32:57

get out of their affordable housing requirement. So I think we have got

2:32:582:32:57

to be much cleverer about it, and there is no silver bullet. We have

2:32:582:32:57

to look at every single means, so I am looking at every possible means,

2:32:582:32:57

and I will be making an announcement shortly about how we up our game and

2:32:582:32:57

produce affordable housing right across the range, both to buy and to

2:32:582:32:57

rent. What about the Help To Buy scheme? Is it a good idea, or will

2:32:582:32:57

it fuelled the bubble you have talked about in London? I think it

2:32:582:32:57

is fuelling the bubble, and I think it should be reviewed. I mean,

2:32:582:32:57

obviously, we have got to help people who cannot afford to buy, but

2:32:582:32:57

this form of help to buy is the wrong way. I think it is boosting

2:32:582:32:57

inflation in the house prices, and that is bad for us all in the long

2:32:582:32:57

run. It may give people a good feel when they are sitting on a house,

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but what can you do with it? By another? I will tell you what you

2:32:582:32:57

can do with it in London, come and buy a house for around half the

2:32:582:32:57

price in Bristol. We will leave at there, it is time for a little quiz.

2:32:582:32:57

The question for today is specifically, for our guest of the

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day, George, the directly elected Mayor of Bristol. But our many

2:32:582:32:57

cities outside London have elected mayors? Is it 15, 25 or 50? George

2:32:582:32:57

will hopefully give us the correct answer in about 25 minutes. So the

2:32:582:32:57

UK is getting its first new nuclear power plant for a generation. After

2:32:582:32:57

more than a year of negotiations with France's EDF energy, the

2:32:582:32:57

Government today gave the go-ahead for the coming to build the new

2:32:582:32:57

Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset. This is the first new nuclear power

2:32:582:32:57

station since the construction of Sizewell B began in Suffolk in 1988.

2:32:582:32:57

It is capable of producing 3% of the UK's entire electors of the UK's

2:32:582:32:57

entire liquidity needs. Hinkley Point is being built by a consortium

2:32:582:32:57

led by France's EDF Energy. Two Chinese companies, China National

2:32:582:32:57

Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation, will

2:32:582:32:57

be minority shareholders in the project. It is expected to cost ?16

2:32:582:32:57

billion to build, but it is the first new UK power station that is

2:32:582:32:57

not being paid for by the taxpayer. It is expected to be operational by

2:32:582:32:57

2023. The Government has agreed to pay ?92.50 for every megawatt hour

2:32:582:32:57

of energy that Hinkley C generates. That is almost twice the current

2:32:582:32:57

wholesale cost of electors are the. The plant is expected to operate for

2:32:582:32:57

60 years, and the entire operation will produce 7% of the UK's total

2:32:582:32:57

energy needs. This is what the Prime Minister had to say about the

2:32:582:32:57

announcement this morning. This is a very big day for our country, the

2:32:582:32:57

first time we have built a new nuclear power station for a very

2:32:582:32:57

long time in our country. Other governments have promised it, they

2:32:582:32:57

failed to deliver it, but we have a long-term economic plan for Britain

2:32:582:32:57

and we are delivering, including this vital nuclear power station

2:32:582:32:57

which we hope will be the first of several other power stations,

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kick-starting the industry, providing thousands of jobs and

2:32:582:32:57

providing long-term safe and secure supplies of electricity for

2:32:582:32:57

individual. David Cameron there. Ed Miliband, perhaps unsurprisingly,

2:32:582:32:57

was not so welcoming of the news. We will scrutinise these proposals, but

2:32:582:32:57

we are in the ridiculous position today where we have got the Prime

2:32:582:32:57

Minister, who says that he can fix prices 35 years ahead for the energy

2:32:582:32:57

can, but he cannot freeze prices now for the consumer. No wonder we have

2:32:582:32:57

got a cost of living crisis in this country. Earlier I spoke to

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southwest business correspondent Dave Carvey, who is at Hinkley Point

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in Somerset, and I began by asking how the announcement had gone down

2:32:582:32:57

locally. Well, they are no strangers to nuclear power here on the West

2:32:582:32:57

Somerset coastline. This morning hundreds of workers streamed into

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what they called Hinkley B, and they had to fight their way through the

2:32:582:32:57

politicians and media circus that has been camped out since this

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morning. This is what they call Hinkley A, imaginatively named, the

2:32:582:32:57

one that was switched on a 19 city five, and it has now been

2:32:582:32:57

decommissioned. Hinkley C will be down the way a bit, about half a

2:32:582:32:57

mile down there, ?16 billion construction project, and in this

2:32:582:32:57

part of the world that means a lot of jobs, because not only is it the

2:32:582:32:57

biggest building site in the country, think Olympic Park and half

2:32:582:32:57

as much again, a huge deal for British construction and indeed for

2:32:582:32:57

local people. Right at the tiny level, there is a little company in

2:32:582:32:57

April -ish near here that is staging the letters EDF into blue overalls

2:32:582:32:57

that everyone of the 5000 workers who work here will have to wear. So

2:32:582:32:57

huge money, huge jobs. If you live locally and you are not in that kind

2:32:582:32:57

of business, great big trucks lumbering past your door. It sounds

2:32:582:32:57

like a massive project, as you say. The other side of the coin are

2:32:582:32:57

bills. Are people confident that this will actually, at some point in

2:32:582:32:57

the future, lower their bills or not Juma well, it is more about whether

2:32:582:32:57

it goes up less than it might have done otherwise. It is horrible,

2:32:582:32:57

isn't it? We heard one of the energy, is putting up their bills

2:32:582:32:57

right now. This is all about what happens in ten years. The

2:32:582:32:57

electricity that is generated here will not come on stream until 2023

2:32:582:32:57

or 2024, and what has never been done before is building one of these

2:32:582:32:57

vast power stations with private money. That one was built by the

2:32:582:32:57

British Government, the ones that you have seen in China that George

2:32:582:32:57

Osborne was looking at last week, they are built and paid for by the

2:32:582:32:57

Chinese government. The French pay for their own. Here we have a French

2:32:582:32:57

company, EDF, and Chinese investors taking a risk, putting up the cash.

2:32:582:32:57

To do that, as we know, they have been guaranteed this flat price, if

2:32:582:32:57

you like a guaranteed fixed rate mortgage. That means that that will

2:32:582:32:57

be twice the current wholesale price. I'm afraid what that tells

2:32:582:32:57

you, well, ministers believe that within 15 or 20 years, actually

2:32:582:32:57

twice today's prices will look like a bit of a bargain. I will tell you

2:32:582:32:57

what, it is really rainy down here, the son did come out briefly, and a

2:32:582:32:57

little while ago there was a rainbow over that nuclear power station,

2:32:582:32:57

which had us wondering where the crock of gold is and who has got

2:32:582:32:57

their hands on it. I will let you go and look for it!

2:32:582:32:57

With us now is Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex and Angela

2:32:582:32:57

Knight from Energy UK, welcome to you both. Tom Greatrex, why did

2:32:582:32:57

Labour not build a single new nuclear power station during 13

2:32:582:32:57

years in government? We have got a situation where we need to renew the

2:32:582:32:57

generation capacity. Labour restarted the process of making

2:32:582:32:57

nuclear power acceptable again, assessing... You prevaricate it,

2:32:582:32:57

Labour was not in favour for quite a long time. Eventually there was

2:32:582:32:57

support for a new generation, but time was wasted. We very clearly set

2:32:582:32:57

a direction, and Ed Miliband did that when he was Energy Secretary,

2:32:582:32:57

about renewing the supplies, how we do it in the best low carb way

2:32:582:32:57

possible, how we get the mix of secure, diverse supplies. So you

2:32:582:32:57

back this? I support new nuclear being part of the generation mix.

2:32:582:32:57

This deal, we have to look at the specifics and some of the detail. We

2:32:582:32:57

will have to scrutinise that very carefully. In broad terms, we

2:32:582:32:57

supported the Energy Bill and the contracts which are the key

2:32:582:32:57

mechanism which underpin the investment, and we support the 2020

2:32:582:32:57

D Cobb and Isaac target to move us in the right direction to having a

2:32:582:32:57

low carbon energy mix. But there are some details in this about which we

2:32:582:32:57

need to be very clear in terms of jobs, the value of the jobs, the

2:32:582:32:57

safeguards, and in relation to that what happens if there are cost and

2:32:582:32:57

runs, as well as overruns, thinking in construction more widely as well.

2:32:582:32:57

There is more detail to get into, so I cannot give carte blanche on this,

2:32:582:32:57

but I can say that we do support new nuclear being part of the energy mix

2:32:582:32:57

for the long-term future. Is it a good deal for the taxpayer? What is

2:32:582:32:57

important about this is if we choose as a country not to use nuclear, we

2:32:582:32:57

are in a position where we are further exposed to gas. Angela's

2:32:582:32:57

members have said over the last few weeks what a big impact that has

2:32:582:32:57

been inflation to be wholesale prices increasing, but if we end up

2:32:582:32:57

in a situation where we are overreliant on one source of fuel,

2:32:582:32:57

that is not a very sensible place to be. So for reasons of diversity and

2:32:582:32:57

energy security, it is good to have new nuclear. That is the reality,

2:32:582:32:57

isn't it? Do you back this deal? Yes, very much so. A lot of

2:32:582:32:57

information has been put out today. Tom is correct that we need to see a

2:32:582:32:57

lot more about it, and I'm sure EDF are going to be doing that, but they

2:32:582:32:57

are talking about just under 60% of the burden of UK generators,

2:32:582:32:57

something like 25... Something like 20, 20 5000 jobs, 900 apprentices.

2:32:582:32:57

This is big, this is a huge project, both construction project

2:32:582:32:57

and in terms of starting something which, I would agree, should have

2:32:582:32:57

been done before, and that is rebuilding some of our ageing power

2:32:582:32:57

stations. Because we do need a good energy mix, and we need to get on

2:32:582:32:57

with it. Energy security, are you comfortable with the Chinese being

2:32:582:32:57

the investors along with the French? We are going to be reliant on

2:32:582:32:57

foreign powers, if you like. Well, using investment from different

2:32:582:32:57

parts of the world is now a fact of life. We as a country invested

2:32:582:32:57

assets in other people's countries as well, so it is nothing new, you

2:32:582:32:57

know, that international is comes into play in the investment world.

2:32:582:32:57

In fact, that has been going on for a long time, but this is the start

2:32:582:32:57

of a programme, not the end. We have got not just other nuclear power

2:32:582:32:57

stations that will need building, but other types of power generation

2:32:582:32:57

as well. I expect the investment will come from lots of different

2:32:582:32:57

places, including in the UK. Do you welcome this and the jobs it will

2:32:582:32:57

bring your Regent EU. I welcome the jobs it will bring. I think it is a

2:32:582:32:57

massive distraction from what we should be concentrating on. We

2:32:582:32:57

should be concentrating on reducing our electricity needs, above all

2:32:582:32:57

else. Yes. We should be looking at the most environmentally friendly

2:32:582:32:57

ways of generating power. And if you build a nuclear power station, if a

2:32:582:32:57

pyramid has been a nuclear power station in ancient Egypt, we would

2:32:582:32:57

still be dealing with the waste problem. And I think we need to look

2:32:582:32:57

at the distraction, because we should be investing all that ?16

2:32:582:32:57

billion into making sure we reduce our needs and look at renewables.

2:32:582:32:57

And we should be thinking about what we are leaving future generations,

2:32:582:32:57

so I am not a fan. Can the country afford not to have nuclear power,

2:32:582:32:57

when you look at the percentage that it provides compared to renewables?

2:32:582:32:57

Can you really said there and say, I will take a gamble and throw our

2:32:582:32:57

resources into renewables? Even France is reducing, Germany is

2:32:582:32:57

eliminating it, Italy is eliminating it. Germany is increasing their

2:32:582:32:57

reliance on fossil fuels as a result. That is in the short-term,

2:32:582:32:57

and in the long term they will be concentrating on energy reduction

2:32:582:32:57

and on renewables, and doing so very effectively. What do you say about

2:32:582:32:57

the waste issue and safety? That has always been one of the problems, but

2:32:582:32:57

many nuclear supporters will say it has been exaggerated over the past

2:32:582:32:57

few years. Can I just respond to be point before, just quickly in

2:32:582:32:57

relation to demand reduction and using energy more efficiently? Yes,

2:32:582:32:57

these things are not mutually exclusive, we have got a real issue

2:32:582:32:57

coming up, and if you could get low carbon generation from renewables in

2:32:582:32:57

the way that was completely predictable and reliable in the same

2:32:582:32:57

way that you can in terms of baseload from nuclear, it might be

2:32:582:32:57

different. We need a mixture of all It is a wonderful opportunity for

2:32:582:32:57

the UK. We are selling ourselves short by allowing the French and

2:32:582:32:57

the Chinese investors, who will make 10% out of this, to make the

2:32:582:32:57

profits that should be made here with our own developing industries.

2:32:582:32:57

Bristol is concentrating on the energy industries. We are trying to

2:32:582:32:57

make the most of the River Severn estuaries. Let's look at that

2:32:582:32:57

rather than thinking we will put 16 billion into a great big solution.

2:32:582:32:57

We need to look at everything. What does not get enough attention is,

2:32:582:32:57

can we use less energy - whether it is power up or gas? The whole

2:32:582:32:57

question about insulating homes is not sexy but it does need that the

2:32:582:32:57

tension. I agree a real focus has to take place on that. -- that

2:32:582:32:57

attention. Isn't that a distraction from the fact energy companies keep

2:32:582:32:57

pushing up their bills? The announcement by for will do nothing

2:32:582:32:57

in improving the trust of the public. -- by NPower. What they had

2:32:582:32:57

done and other energy companies are doing is being much more

2:32:582:32:57

transparent about the reasons why. Most of the increases are passed

2:32:582:32:57

through. There is a real point that what has to happen much better with

2:32:582:32:57

bills is there has to be clarity and transparency, so people

2:32:582:32:57

understand where it is coming from. It may not be enough comfort to say

2:32:582:32:57

prices are going up still. I think it is likely that prices will go up

2:32:582:32:57

because the costing networks and distribution is increasing because

2:32:582:32:57

investment is going in. The cost of various government policies is

2:32:582:32:57

increasing because that is what is happening. I have no idea what is

2:32:582:32:57

happening on the whole sum market but it is an upwards trend. --

2:32:582:32:57

wholesale market. There will be emphasis on use reduction and

2:32:582:32:57

insulation. There are foreign powers like the Chinese who will to

2:32:582:32:57

some degree be in control. Let's go back to the strike price and how

2:32:582:32:57

much it will cost. They have agreed a price of 92 pounds 50. That is

2:32:582:32:57

almost twice the current wholesale cost of electricity. It does vary.

2:32:582:32:57

It is still high. It is high. Do you packet? What is the

2:32:582:32:57

alternative? -- back it. It is about expanding gas capacity. You

2:32:582:32:57

are then reliant on the wholesale price of gas. If you look at the

2:32:582:32:57

trajectory, it is very dangerous to do - putting yourself in a position

2:32:582:32:57

where you are overly reliant on one fuel. With the new technologies and

2:32:582:32:57

other developing points, one reason we have to put money into

2:32:582:32:57

infrastructure, is to be a will to cope with diverse forms of

2:32:582:32:57

regeneration. -- be able to cope. One thing many of our viewers

2:32:582:32:57

complained about Of The Green levies, which are part of the bill.

2:32:582:32:57

Encouraging alternative forms of generation and renewables is

2:32:582:32:57

absolutely valid. That is the way they have built it up in Germany.

2:32:582:32:57

It is affordable. We are starting our own electricity company in

2:32:582:32:57

power - our own energy company in Bristol - to be more responsible

2:32:582:32:57

for keeping our own lights on. That is the way things should go. The

2:32:582:32:57

more we get local generation, the safer we will be. The energy

2:32:582:32:57

companies up a -- opposed to a price freeze. We're talking about

2:32:582:32:57

fixing prices for 35 years. That is as far as the investor is concerned

2:32:582:32:57

and the whole cell price is concerned. -- wholesale price. You

2:32:582:32:57

get lots of actions which take place which are not ones one would

2:32:582:32:57

want to do. It is not sustainable and it puts investors off. You end

2:32:582:32:57

up with the customer being worse off. It is better to have a

2:32:582:32:57

properly working, efficient market, and a competitive one with more

2:32:582:32:57

energy companies coming in. It has to be really brief. This is exactly

2:32:582:32:57

why the need to reset the retail market so it is clear, transparent

2:32:582:32:57

and fair. -- weak-kneed. I am going to have to stop it there. Thank you

2:32:582:32:57

very much. The Government thought cities like Birmingham Bristol and

2:32:582:32:57

Liverpool might like an elected Mayor and asked them in May 2012 if

2:32:582:32:57

they would. Only Bristol said yes, partly, apparently, because its

2:32:582:32:57

city council had often been seen as rather stagnant in getting stuff

2:32:582:32:57

done. So, what does our guest of the day do as Mayor of Bristol and

2:32:582:32:57

who exactly is he? Here's Giles, who's been following George for a

2:32:582:32:57

documentary for Radio 4. In a few weeks, Bristol will have had George

2:32:582:32:57

Fergusson, the man in a red trousers, as mayor with executive

2:32:582:32:57

powers for a year. Not that he was a stranger to the city before the

2:32:582:32:57

idea of a directly elected mayor was suggested. UK-wide architect,

2:32:582:32:57

City developer and urban planner, he lived and breathed Bristol four

2:32:582:32:57

years, as student, Councillor and advocate for the area. He designed

2:32:582:32:57

a nationally acclaimed theatre. Why Bristol was the only city to say

2:32:582:32:57

yes to an elected mayor in May, 2012, has something to do with the

2:32:582:32:57

feeling that it's city council had rather stagnated in getting stuff

2:32:582:32:57

done. Ferguson, if he won, might break that mould. He did win and

2:32:582:32:57

polled 37,000 votes. He was sworn in at the Pru now passenger shed,

2:32:582:32:57

Temple Meads, in 2012. It is a challenge the political parties to

2:32:582:32:57

wish their Challenger got the job. His motives and delivery say he

2:32:582:32:57

likes the limelight with Iraq changing anything. He has, on

2:32:582:32:57

occasion, struggled with political nuances of dealing with awkward

2:32:582:32:57

members of the public. It is about listening to local people. I do.

2:32:582:32:57

Listen to your council. Not everyone liked his car-free Bristol.

2:32:582:32:57

It depended who you were. Bristolians will tend to show you

2:32:582:32:57

they are not sure if the idea of a mare has worked and if George can

2:32:582:32:57

deliver. Three with three years to go, time will tell. -- with three

2:32:582:32:57

years. It is an amazing job. There are some very tough decisions. I

2:32:582:32:57

expected the unexpected. I think the politics has been interesting.

2:32:582:32:57

I now have a Cabinet with four parties represented. I get on

2:32:582:32:57

really well with them. You can disagree with me as publicly as you

2:32:582:32:57

like. It is artificial having Cabinets that disagree and they

2:32:582:32:57

tend not to - not in a way that is damaging. I have a pool of 70

2:32:582:32:57

councillors from which to choose the Cabinet. Why do you think the

2:32:582:32:57

idea has not caught on? People probably perceived it as adding

2:32:582:32:57

cost and a layer of government. It is absolutely the reverse. The

2:32:582:32:57

problem is, we have only gone halfway. We have overlaid and old

2:32:582:32:57

system with a new system. We need a radical change in the constitution

2:32:582:32:57

to make sure this works. A city the size of Bristol would have about a

2:32:582:32:57

dozen councillors. We have 70 and over 600 minuted to committee

2:32:582:32:57

meetings a year. We are Bob -- bogged down in government. What

2:32:582:32:57

have you done to change people's lives? I have changed the mood.

2:32:582:32:57

There was real cynicism and no recognition of leadership. I walk

2:32:582:32:57

around the city and people recognise they have someone who is

2:32:582:32:57

a real champion of the city. I am looking at multiplying the

2:32:582:32:57

provision of affordable housing by 10 and looking at how we deal with

2:32:582:32:57

transport in order to improve air quality, which is vitally important.

2:32:582:32:57

I am looking at how we close the life expectancy gap, which is

2:32:582:32:57

almost 10 years where you live. I am looking at all those big social

2:32:582:32:57

issues. I may have spent my life dealing with buildings. What is

2:32:582:32:57

more important is creating good communities. I am looking at

2:32:582:32:57

devolving as much power as possible to the neighbourhood, which is

2:32:582:32:57

vitally important. You might be against the idea of losing any

2:32:582:32:57

power? As the mayor, I have more power than any city leader normally

2:32:582:32:57

has. The vital balance of that is to share it with the neighbourhoods

2:32:582:32:57

and the communities within the city. Bristol is the best city to live in

2:32:582:32:57

the UK behind London, and Manchester it. Is that down to you?

2:32:582:32:57

No. I have been going around saying we are the best city in the UK and

2:32:582:32:57

now it is really good to have it endorsed. It is a brilliant city to

2:32:582:32:57

live them. We have an enormous range of skills. I am employing

2:32:582:32:57

people to of overheated London and come and play in Bristol. Chief

2:32:582:32:57

cheerleader for Bristol! Just time to find that the answer to our

2:32:582:32:57

careers. How many cities outside London had directly elected mayors?

2:32:582:32:57

A) 15. B) 25. C) 50. Of the core cities and London, it is only three.

2:32:582:32:57

15 otherwise. It has not worked as a policy. I think it is down to us

2:32:582:32:57

to prove it does work. I think, in 10 years' time, you will have

2:32:582:32:57

cities crying out for having a mayor. You'll probably have a more

2:32:582:32:57

informed decision-making process as a result of it. Better to be

2:32:582:32:57

independent? Far better. You have got a liberal background, having

2:32:582:32:57

you? I think to a certain extent politics has spoilt local

2:32:582:32:57

government. I put Bristol first and that was my only ticket and people

2:32:582:32:57

absolutely relate to that. Thank you for being our guest of the day.

2:32:582:32:57

So time now to look at what's on the political agenda this week.

2:32:582:32:57

Tomorrow, the director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, and Lord Patten,

2:32:582:32:57

the chair of the BBC Trust, appear in front of the Culture Media and

2:32:582:32:57

Sports Committee to talk about the BBC annual report. On Wednesday,

2:32:582:32:57

Prince George is christened and, of course, there is PMQS. Also on

2:32:582:32:57

Wednesday the plebgate saga returns to the Commons because the Police

2:32:582:32:57

Federation, IPPC and Chief Constables are in front of the Home

2:32:582:32:57

Affairs Select Committee. Thursday sees the Dunfermline by-election to

2:32:582:32:57

the Scottish Parliament. And Friday sees the latest GDP figures. Will

2:32:582:32:57

we beat the last quarter rise of 0.7%? Joining us now are Melissa

2:32:582:32:57

Kite, from the Spectator and Torcuil Crichton from the Daily

2:32:582:32:57

Record. Welcome to both of you. The cast list of the IPCC, the Police

2:32:582:32:57

Federation and chief constables is all in front of the home affairs

2:32:582:32:57

select committee. The select committees in Parliament are the

2:32:582:32:57

new rock-and-roll. That is where all the drama happened. These three

2:32:582:32:57

Police chief officers came out and said they refused to say what he

2:32:582:32:57

did say it at the gates of Downing Street over a year ago now to the

2:32:582:32:57

police constables. Unfortunately, they were taped and their account

2:32:582:32:57

of the meeting contradicted that of Andrew Mitchell. Also, the IPCC

2:32:582:32:57

keeps an eye on the police. It says there is a case of misconduct and

2:32:582:32:57

the police officer should have been referred for misconduct. It is a

2:32:582:32:57

bit of a muddle. There is heavyweight support for an Drew

2:32:582:32:57

Mitchell in the political village. You have Jack Straw coming in,

2:32:582:32:57

David Davis coming in. The Home Secretary is criticising the police.

2:32:582:32:57

It will go before the home affairs committee on Wednesday.

2:32:582:32:57

reappointed to the government. He always protested his innocence, and

2:32:582:32:57

those who knew him best said that this was most unlike him and that

2:32:582:32:57

they didn't believe him. So I would hope that David Cameron would now

2:32:582:32:57

give the man a job back. But in terms of the police, this goes to

2:32:582:32:57

the heart of whether the public can trust the police, so I think, if

2:32:582:32:57

these are a few rogue officers, it would be better if they lost their

2:32:582:32:57

jobs and we moved on. Let's look at the economy, how gung ho is George

2:32:582:32:57

Osborne going to be ahead of and on the day of the race of those GDP

2:32:582:32:57

figures for quarter three? The big action is at the end of the week,

2:32:582:32:57

isn't it? Ahead of that, we have had the big announcement today on

2:32:582:32:57

nuclear power, big potatoes, ?15 billion deal to keep the lights on

2:32:582:32:57

for the next 30 years, and a lot of jobs for British companies, as that

2:32:582:32:57

plant was built. Tomorrow, Danny Alexander will be rolling out ?17

2:32:582:32:57

billion of loan guarantees for big infrastructure projects, how many

2:32:582:32:57

will be in his constituency, people will ask, not many! And again on

2:32:582:32:57

Thursday, the Prime Minister, Cameron will be in the EU in

2:32:582:32:57

Brussels, batting to get rid of radiation which he says is holding

2:32:582:32:57

businesses back, holding back growth. -- regulation. And on

2:32:582:32:57

Friday, Osborne will be cock-a-hoop if the figures are up, giving them a

2:32:582:32:57

glimmer of light for 2015, when he sees the economy is healing, stick

2:32:582:32:57

with us, the other guys are always looking back over their shoulder.

2:32:582:32:57

Nobody is looking back, everybody is looking forward now. Do you think

2:32:582:32:57

there is a risk of an looking to confident to Mack yes, I do, because

2:32:582:32:57

if you are doing your weekly shop or pay your ass Bill, the recovery does

2:32:582:32:57

not look like it is helping you, so the coalition can say what it is

2:32:582:32:57

doing on the tin, that is good, but now he needs to show ordinary

2:32:582:32:57

families that the recovery is delivering something for them.

2:32:582:32:57

Minister, just before we go, squeals of this loyalty over Nick Clegg's

2:32:582:32:57

departure from government policy on free schools, will this help or hurt

2:32:582:32:57

him? It is difficult, isn't it, because his own Minister, David

2:32:582:32:57

Laws, is against him on this? There is a Lib Dem split, which is not

2:32:582:32:57

very helpful. I think the strategy obviously is is that he is bound to

2:32:582:32:57

get some different see Asian from the Tories. -- differentiation. He

2:32:582:32:57

has to show how he is different from David Cameron, while still saying,

2:32:582:32:57

we have done well in the coalition. I think his page is to say to the

2:32:582:32:57

electorate, look, this coalition has worked, but it has worked because we

2:32:582:32:57

have made it work. It is the Lib Dems in the coalition who are

2:32:582:32:57

reining in the Tories, making sure that some of their wilder ideas

2:32:582:32:57

don't get out of hand, saying that he is moderating this free schools

2:32:582:32:57

policy, and that is how he will portray what he is doing in the

2:32:582:32:57

coalition to sort of cell and softer voters. Briefly, Torcuil. He is not

2:32:582:32:57

moderating at all, he is opposed to these free schools, but Michael Gove

2:32:582:32:57

is in charge of education policy, and the Government is in favour of

2:32:582:32:57

free schools. Thank you to both of you. Joining me

2:32:582:32:57

for the last half hour are three Lady Peers of the realm, we have

2:32:582:32:57

Labour's Jan Royall, shadow leader of the Lloyds, Susan Kramer for the

2:32:582:32:57

Liberal Democrats, recently appointed as Transport Minister, and

2:32:582:32:57

Peta Buscombe of the Conservatives. No shouting now, what is the Lib Dem

2:32:582:32:57

policy on free schools? This is Skills Minister David Laws attacking

2:32:582:32:57

Labour for shifting their position on free schools last Thursday. I

2:32:582:32:57

think what will unnerve many free schools across the country is the

2:32:582:32:57

speed with which the shadow Secretary of State has stood on his

2:32:582:32:57

head Labour policy on free schools which will undermine confidence of

2:32:582:32:57

those many schools across the country that are doing a fantastic

2:32:582:32:57

and innovative job, and I just wrote attention to the fact that the

2:32:582:32:57

proportion of free schools that are outstanding and good is higher than

2:32:582:32:57

the rest of the school population, even though many of them have only

2:32:582:32:57

been existence for two years. David Laws also defended the ability of

2:32:582:32:57

unqualified teachers to do a good job. But yesterday, talking on Sky

2:32:582:32:57

TV, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg seemed to disagree. As we move towards a

2:32:582:32:57

world in which more and more schools, in our system, have greater

2:32:582:32:57

freedoms to decide things for themselves, do we at the same time

2:32:582:32:57

as them to respect certain basic quality standards so that parents,

2:32:582:32:57

mothers and fathers up and down the country, regardless of where their

2:32:582:32:57

son or daughter goes to school, can be reassured their children are

2:32:582:32:57

going to be taught by qualified teachers, are going to be taught the

2:32:582:32:57

National Curriculum, just like any other school, and are going to

2:32:582:32:57

respect the quality and standards for food, for instance, which the

2:32:582:32:57

Department for Education has recently endorsed? Two Liberal

2:32:582:32:57

Democrats, two different views. Susan Kramer, can you tell us what

2:32:582:32:57

Lib Dem policy is on free schools? I think you have got nicked

2:32:582:32:57

articulating what will likely be in our manifesto, where we are going

2:32:582:32:57

with this. David plays a ministerial role, and he's playing that role

2:32:582:32:57

entirely appropriately in terms of making government policy work as

2:32:582:32:57

effectively as possible. It is part of the way coalition works. It is

2:32:582:32:57

not part of the historical way in which, if you like, British parties

2:32:582:32:57

have managed, but it is clearly... We are in a new area... In a

2:32:582:32:57

ministerial group, within a ministerial group, you know, you

2:32:582:32:57

support and defend the line from the department, I think that is

2:32:582:32:57

absolutely right and the only way to make government work effectively,

2:32:582:32:57

but as we have nicked in his dual role of both party leader and Deputy

2:32:582:32:57

Prime Minister, I think it is right that he articulates the very real

2:32:582:32:57

concerns of parents and I think some very real concerns. Actions speak

2:32:582:32:57

louder than words, and when the issue was raised in the education

2:32:582:32:57

bill in the House of Lords, Labour tabled an amendment which would

2:32:582:32:57

ensure that everyone teaching in a preschool was qualified. Not one Lib

2:32:582:32:57

Dem rebelled, even Baroness Kramer on my left, she voted in favour of

2:32:582:32:57

the policy. It is not at all unreasonable to watch a programme

2:32:582:32:57

when it goes into place, to try and learn... To try and learn from the

2:32:582:32:57

experience of what you see... I would expect Nick... Is collective

2:32:582:32:57

responsibility dead? I would expect him to be able to do that. I would

2:32:582:32:57

love to have the answer, is collective responsibility, one of

2:32:582:32:57

the core principles of government, is it dead? I have heard many

2:32:582:32:57

conservatives, quite rightly, complain about what they think are

2:32:582:32:57

Liberal Democrat aspects of policy, and I do not think that is an

2:32:582:32:57

understood... Ministers have sat on their hands during boats in the

2:32:582:32:57

House of Lords, Government votes. -- votes. I think quite rightly,

2:32:582:32:57

ministers have worked with their department and the government, but

2:32:582:32:57

Nick plays a jewel role, and I think that is essential. Susan Kramer,

2:32:582:32:57

David Laws, I should think, is upset, because this is a policy that

2:32:582:32:57

he not only put forward, but believes in, unlike Nick Clegg, who

2:32:582:32:57

voted for it but does not believe in it. What is the Lib Dem position on

2:32:582:32:57

unqualified teachers? Which is right, which do you support? I

2:32:582:32:57

listen to make in terms of forward policy, and I think that is entirely

2:32:582:32:57

appropriate. I have no problem... I think most people in the public can

2:32:582:32:57

work with this. There is a policy that has been decide for government,

2:32:582:32:57

David is charged with making sure that it is effective as possible,

2:32:582:32:57

and he is a big guy who can defend his particular positions. Nick Clegg

2:32:582:32:57

is articulating a way forward on behalf of the country. I do not have

2:32:582:32:57

a problem with that, it is an inside the Beltway kind of problem. Except

2:32:582:32:57

people might want to know what the Lib Dem policy is! Thousands of

2:32:582:32:57

children are now at free schools with unqualified teachers, including

2:32:582:32:57

the issue of a 27-year-old head of a school owned by Lord Nash, and that

2:32:582:32:57

particular head had no qualifications. He pays for it.

2:32:582:32:57

Let's come to the issue of unqualified teachers - is there a

2:32:582:32:57

problem there? No, there's not. Nick Clegg is using this to grandstand,

2:32:582:32:57

he wants to sound big and strong in front of his party. He wants to keep

2:32:582:32:57

his job. Tories are upset because he is being 2-faced about this. He went

2:32:582:32:57

to one of the most expensive schools in the country, Westminster, he

2:32:582:32:57

probably had unqualified teachers who were probably brilliant. What

2:32:582:32:57

the Conservative Party, my party, are keen on is having the best for

2:32:582:32:57

the job, and overall most teachers are fully qualified in the

2:32:582:32:57

traditional sense. But there are some who are fully qualified when

2:32:582:32:57

they go in, and there are others who go through their training... In

2:32:582:32:57

terms of your education, you were educated at St Paul's, where there

2:32:582:32:57

may have been unqualified teachers, because that is allowed in the

2:32:582:32:57

private school system. You do not support that now. It is hard to

2:32:582:32:57

twist and unravel what might have been generational. I certainly had

2:32:582:32:57

some brilliant and outstanding teachers, and I had some that could

2:32:582:32:57

have used the training that goes with qualification. I think my

2:32:582:32:57

personal experience was very much that it was a mixed bag. But that is

2:32:582:32:57

a personal experience. I had that in the state system, they were all

2:32:582:32:57

qualified, I had good teachers and some pretty awful teachers who might

2:32:582:32:57

be qualified but were hopeless at teaching. There is a strong argument

2:32:582:32:57

to say that if the taxpayer is paying for it, the taxpayer can

2:32:582:32:57

establish certain key standards. You must be pleased about this, Labour

2:32:582:32:57

must be welcoming this degree of scepticism from Nick Clegg about

2:32:582:32:57

free schools, because you, in terms of party politics, are almost arm in

2:32:582:32:57

arm. Well, not quite! On the issue of unqualified teachers and the

2:32:582:32:57

standards of the National Curriculum, and you said you would

2:32:582:32:57

support free schools where they exist and about surplus places, but

2:32:582:32:57

in terms of the policy, much closer. That is true, but we have

2:32:582:32:57

taken a principled stand from the beginning. Our position has not

2:32:582:32:57

buried on this. You were against them and then policy changed.

2:32:582:32:57

Tristram Hunt last week was merely restating the policy that Stephen

2:32:582:32:57

Twigg had announced some time ago. He changed his mind quite

2:32:582:32:57

dramatically when he called free schools for yummy mummies. He might

2:32:582:32:57

have changed his own... The policy for Labour has always been firm. We

2:32:582:32:57

want qualified teachers, we want local government oversight, and we

2:32:582:32:57

want financial accountability. Does that make it difficult for David

2:32:582:32:57

Laws now? David is a big person, he understands this complexity, of both

2:32:582:32:57

being in government, being a loyal and effective part of the department

2:32:582:32:57

that you are engaged with, and of the government. That is also having

2:32:582:32:57

forward-looking plans for the party as we build up for the future. That

2:32:582:32:57

is complex and important, and I think the public understands it.

2:32:582:32:57

Therefore, those of us who are involved in it, we understand it as

2:32:582:32:57

well. The whole issue is just a conduit for Nick Clegg to actually

2:32:582:32:57

try to sound strong, which she is not. Don't talk over each other!

2:32:582:32:57

Please remind me, how many Liberal Democrat MPs are there. I think it

2:32:582:32:57

is roughly 57. Out of 650 Members of Parliament. Nick Clegg is trying to

2:32:582:32:57

keep his head above water. He is looking for something to sound

2:32:582:32:57

strong. He knows perfectly well that we are trying to do the best... What

2:32:582:32:57

is going to happen? Is it going to destroy the coalition? That is what

2:32:582:32:57

I want to know. Is he going to stick by the coalition and behave and

2:32:582:32:57

demonstrate collective responsibility? Every time that Nick

2:32:582:32:57

Clegg makes a statement that reflects Liberal Democrat policy and

2:32:582:32:57

where we want to go in the future, there are conservatives who say, no,

2:32:582:32:57

you have to be silent, fall in behind the Conservatives, do not

2:32:582:32:57

make a statement that might not be party policy. The Conservatives have

2:32:582:32:57

made many statements about where they want to take things, indeed

2:32:582:32:57

they often feel frustrated and constrained by Liberal Democrats.

2:32:582:32:57

You know, sometimes they convert that. I remember how hard we had to

2:32:582:32:57

negotiate, to get the cuts on people at the bottom... Before we get onto

2:32:582:32:57

that issue... We are in a situation where there is a relative amount of

2:32:582:32:57

freedom within the coalition structure, and Nick Clegg has a long

2:32:582:32:57

track record... Let's stop there. Just really briefly, are you going

2:32:582:32:57

to try to woo David Laws to the Conservatives? We do not need to do

2:32:582:32:57

that. All right, that is fine! To the town of Dunfermline in Fife, and

2:32:582:32:57

this week voters be picking a new member of Scottish Parliament after

2:32:582:32:57

their previous one, Bill Walker, was jailed for domestic violence. He had

2:32:582:32:57

been a member of the SNP but was thrown out when the allegations came

2:32:582:32:57

to light. The last time the seat was fought, it was pretty close, with

2:32:582:32:57

Labour just 590 votes behind the Nationalists. For some reason, Adam

2:32:582:32:57

was keen to go there. My mum lives in this constituency.

2:32:582:32:57

Over that side is Edinburgh and arguments about the referendum, not

2:32:582:32:57

see or will commit EU membership and on the side is done ferment and

2:32:582:32:57

the pavement politics of a classic Parliament. -- North Sea oil or, EU

2:32:582:32:57

membership. We are very keen to support the parents and maintain

2:32:582:32:57

our services, including this local school. Isn't it misleading? This

2:32:582:32:57

is a fantastic example for parents of Dunfermline and the wider

2:32:582:32:57

community to show the Labour council they care about services.

2:32:582:32:57

The Labour candidate is on the council. No decisions have been

2:32:582:32:57

taken about schools. As a mother, Iris like to keep every school in

2:32:582:32:57

five Open. -- I would like. Councils have to make cuts due to

2:32:582:32:57

the SNP government. Look here it is on the front cover! Gordon Brown.

2:32:582:32:57

He is still the MP for the constituency next door. Round here,

2:32:582:32:57

he is still a local hero. The Lib Dem candidate wants to talk about

2:32:582:32:57

apprenticeships and seems annoyed the by-election is dominated by the

2:32:582:32:57

issue of schools. I am disappointed they have taken up one local issue

2:32:582:32:57

are not taken it as a wide local issue about local services and

2:32:582:32:57

local democracy. It is all well and good to said there was a poor one

2:32:582:32:57

group of parents but the issues on the doorstep of wider than that. --

2:32:582:32:57

and they will support one group of parents. It is about the best way

2:32:582:32:57

to take forward the town centres. Since they have had a majority,

2:32:582:32:57

they had been ignoring all of that. People have been paying pre-

2:32:582:32:57

recession business rates and it is not good enough. It is only

2:32:582:32:57

happening as a result of someone being exposed as a wife beater. Did

2:32:582:32:57

I mention that the Abbey is the final resting place of Robert the

2:32:582:32:57

Bruce? I knew the independence issue would creeping somewhere! --

2:32:582:32:57

creep in. And the SNP MSP, Linda Fabiani, joins us now from Glasgow.

2:32:582:32:57

This will be a real test of SNP support. How confident are you? I

2:32:582:32:57

think we have a really good campaign going. The have an

2:32:582:32:57

excellent candidate. It has been interesting being there. I had been

2:32:582:32:57

there quite a lot. People are recognising what the Government is

2:32:582:32:57

doing for them. You say people are recognising what the SNP have done.

2:32:582:32:57

The leaflets at the start of the campaign to put a lot about the

2:32:582:32:57

independence campaign. Now they're talking about the local schools

2:32:582:32:57

issue. Is that because the issue of independence is not resonating with

2:32:582:32:57

voters? Of course it resonates with voters. A very important referendum

2:32:582:32:57

coming up next Georg. It a be bad of us not to talk about that. --

2:32:582:32:57

next year. It is a two-pronged campaign. It is about adding

2:32:582:32:57

another member to fight Scotland's corner. There are local issues and

2:32:582:32:57

there are national issues. How realistic is the SNP? University

2:32:582:32:57

tuition fees are all free. Can the SMP not make one hard decision? We

2:32:582:32:57

are always making hard decisions. We have to do that. It is because

2:32:582:32:57

of the settlement are get to Westminster and we have cuts

2:32:582:32:57

imposed on us after budgets are agreed. We do it well. We have an

2:32:582:32:57

excellent Chancellor. You have not made one hard decision? That is

2:32:582:32:57

what devolution is all about. We have delivered a balanced budget

2:32:582:32:57

every year. Universality is very important. We are up against the

2:32:582:32:57

cat's Commission. No back door tuition fees or bridge tolls. These

2:32:582:32:57

things are extremely important. If you couple that with the Scottish

2:32:582:32:57

Enterprise Investment, we are doing as well as we can. Why, on the

2:32:582:32:57

issue of energy prices, why does he not back the price freeze of Ed

2:32:582:32:57

Miliband? We are hearing rapid rises for energy companies. We will

2:32:582:32:57

look at ways of really cutting prices. We want to pay nationally

2:32:582:32:57

subsidies that people paid through their bills at the moment three

2:32:582:32:57

European funding. We want to do real action to help people. --

2:32:582:32:57

through European funding. By- elections are always tough. I hope

2:32:582:32:57

we will win. We have a fantastic candidate. Where the SNP to lose,

2:32:582:32:57

it to be clear the wheels are coming off the Alex Sandro

2:32:582:32:57

bandwagon. -- Alex Salmond bandwagon. I have real confidence

2:32:582:32:57

in our excellent candidate but by- elections are different from real

2:32:582:32:57

elections. We hear from Alistair Darling but

2:32:582:32:57

not Gordon Brown. He is a hero. Should he be used more? He is

2:32:582:32:57

playing a critical role in this particular by-election. Do you

2:32:582:32:57

think the Conservatives are making up the numbers? Not battle. I'm

2:32:582:32:57

talking about the whole issue of devolution. -- not at all. It was

2:32:582:32:57

clear that the Labour government thought if they gave a devolved

2:32:582:32:57

Scottish Parliament to Scotland and a Welsh assembly to Wales can

2:32:582:32:57

everyone would vote for Labour and everyone would be a joyous and

2:32:582:32:57

happy. That was a totally naive concept. We are listening to

2:32:582:32:57

someone saying, if we have an SMP, we will go independent and it will

2:32:582:32:57

be funded from the European fund was up it is insane. What about the

2:32:582:32:57

fact that Labour did not work hard enough? -- European Fund. There is

2:32:582:32:57

an element of truth in that. The Liberal Democrats have lost a lot

2:32:582:32:57

of support. There was a price for going into coalition. A huge price.

2:32:582:32:57

We were faced with a huge crisis and that has been inevitable. You

2:32:582:32:57

heard the frustration from the Liberal Democrat candidate that we

2:32:582:32:57

think a lot of this discussion should be around apprenticeships

2:32:582:32:57

and jobs. Many Scottish firms so far had engaged in this process. It

2:32:582:32:57

is crucially important for young people. I hope we get a focus back

2:32:582:32:57

around those issues. There are seven candidates for the

2:32:582:32:57

Dunfermline by election and you can find details of them all on the BBC

2:32:582:32:57

website. Now who likes a bit of gloves off political campaigning?

2:32:582:32:57

We always like to show a bit. Take a look at this.

2:32:582:32:57

Well, later this week the Conservatives are planning to

2:32:582:32:57

launch a new campaign video featuring Mystic Ed and His Crystal

2:32:582:32:57

Balls, ridiculing the Labour leadership's economic predictions.

2:32:582:32:57

The coalition party is needing clearly into election mode. Is

2:32:582:32:57

there a worry about being over- confident on the economy? Not at

2:32:582:32:57

all. We need to exude some confidence - not too much. The

2:32:582:32:57

reality is that Ed Balls has continually tried to trash

2:32:582:32:57

everything the coalition government had been doing in order to improve

2:32:582:32:57

the economy. It is important that people appreciate that we need more

2:32:582:32:57

time but things are looking better. And to remind people that Ed Balls

2:32:582:32:57

was the cohort of Gordon Brown. No more boom and bust. Look at it! The

2:32:582:32:57

Labour government completely destroyed this country economically.

2:32:582:32:57

There was a global crisis. There was a global crisis but it was

2:32:582:32:57

hugely made worse by the Labour government, who only know had to

2:32:582:32:57

spend money. When we left government, the economy was growing.

2:32:582:32:57

Three wasted years. Yes, it was growing. The point about this

2:32:582:32:57

obnoxious personalised campaign out is the only reason it is taking

2:32:582:32:57

place is because the Government knows the cost of living - people's

2:32:582:32:57

concerns about the cost of living - the Tories do not understand this

2:32:582:32:57

and people in the street relate to what Ed Miliband is saying. I was

2:32:582:32:57

on the doorstep in Gloucester and there were people who voted Liberal

2:32:582:32:57

Democrat in the past to run out voting Labour because Ed Miliband

2:32:582:32:57

understands the problems we are having day-to-day with the Budget.

2:32:582:32:57

We will never know categorically whether the Government's policies

2:32:582:32:57

delayed a recovery or whether your policies would have hastened it?

2:32:582:32:57

Labour were wrong, one day, to say that the Government policies would

2:32:582:32:57

choke off the recovery. Growth has returned. Gross has returned but

2:32:582:32:57

Gross is returning very slowly. Much more slowly than it would have

2:32:582:32:57

done. -- growth is Wittering. We keep hearing this nonsense in a

2:32:582:32:57

house of Lords. Labour left us with a wrecked economy. When the

2:32:582:32:57

financial crisis hit, there was no cushion because of years of

2:32:582:32:57

overspending and years of overspending programmed for the

2:32:582:32:57

future. There was no commission to be able to deal with that crisis. -

2:32:582:32:57

- cushion. They have argued for more and more debt. Every policy

2:32:582:32:57

that we espouse is a costed policy. We do not call for more debt. You

2:32:582:32:57

called for fiscal stimulus to get more growth. We said, at the time,

2:32:582:32:57

had we been in government, we would have spent more. Now we are costing

2:32:582:32:57

every policy that we espouse. The problem is credibility in terms of

2:32:582:32:57

the economy. In terms of the overspending allegation against

2:32:582:32:57

Labour, the Tories did not ever call for that to be reined in when

2:32:582:32:57

they were in opposition. They did not call for more regulation on the

2:32:582:32:57

banks. That is not true. There was always discussion about how we do

2:32:582:32:57

what we can... Not before the crash. The reality is, the Tories have

2:32:582:32:57

always recognised the best way out of the crisis was to create more

2:32:582:32:57

jobs, have a situation where we stop the massive spending across

2:32:582:32:57

all departments which went on and on, regardless of what was

2:32:582:32:57

happening across the country. Now we have a situation where we are

2:32:582:32:57

saying the only way out of this is to have jobs. Youth unemployment is

2:32:582:32:57

going down. A youth unemployment is not going down. This improvement in

2:32:582:32:57

the economy, which of course I welcome, at the moment the only

2:32:582:32:57

people who benefit are a privileged view. The working people of this

2:32:582:32:57

country and not benefiting at all four star We will all have to agree

2:32:582:32:57

to disagree. That is it. -- at all. That is all for today. The One

2:32:582:32:57

o'clock News is starting over on BBC One now. I will be here at noon

2:32:582:32:57

tomorrow with all the big political stories of the day and I will be

2:32:582:32:57

joined by David Blunkett. Goodbye.

2:32:582:32:58

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