04/12/2013 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks. This is the Daily Politics. It's George Osborne's big


day tomorrow. As we speak, he's probably limbering up in front of


the mirror, rehearsing his Autumn Statement. We'll be looking ahead to


what the Chancellor might have in store for us under his hard hat, or


maybe up his orange donkey jacket. And we'll be analysing the


government's latest plans for Britain's infrastructure.


No PM at PMQs today. It's the B team instead. Stay tuned for Nick Clegg


versus Harriet Harman. What are the odds of George Osborne


appearing with his new pet, Lola, tomorrow? If you fancy a flutter,


we'll have our very own bookie on hand.


And how do you deal with problem families? One police commissioner


has a radical approach. I think these families should have


an intensive programme of intervention, teaching them basic


skills and making them positive members of the community.


All that and more coming up in the next ninety minutes. A veritable


warm-up act, an hors d'oeuvre, if you wish, ahead of tomorrow's big


autumn statement feast. And joining us for the festivities, two amuse


bouches, former Employment Minister, Mark Hoban, and Shadow Leader of the


House of Commons, Angela Eagle. Welcome to you, both. You nearly


made me German! I know, you've been promoted. And you can now join


coalition with the social Democrats. Now without further ado, let's take


a look at the big economic picture ahead of George Osborne's big day.


He's delivering the Autumn Statement tomorrow, you know. Be live here


from 10:45am on BBC Two and the news channel. -- it will be live. Jo's


been up all night crunching the numbers and wondering what Brucie


Bonuses the Chancellor might have up his sleeve.


Not many of those! his sleeve.


Not many George Osborne is gearing up for his very own generation game


tomorrow so what will be the items shooting along the treasury's


conveyor belt? Well, the Chancellor should be in pretty buoyant mood as


growth has finally returned, with GDP likely to be up 1.4% this year


and 2.3% next year. It means the UK is the fastest growing economy in


the G7 group of developed countries, but that doesn't mean an end to


austerity. The deficit hasn't even been reduced by half, and may not be


eliminated until the end of the next parliament. So what is he likely to


announce? Well, first up there are the green levies. The government is


expected to announce that the cost of the Warm Homes Discount will come


off people's bills and go into general taxation instead, at a cost


of ?300m a year. -- 300 million pounds a year. Next, there's Nick


Clegg's universal free school meals for Primary School children to pay


for. That will cost the Treasury ?600 million a year from September


2014. Then there's the marriage tax allowance promised by the Tories.


Allowing couples to transfer up to ?1,000 of their income tax personal


allowance from April 2015 will cost ?700 million a year. The Chancellor


is also likely to cap business rates at 2% in England and Wales next year


instead of being linked to inflation. That cap could cost the


Treasury more than ?300 million next year. With all these extras to pay


for, it means one thing we can be fairly sure of, there won't be any


major tax cuts announced by George Osborne before the next election.


Andrew, back to you. I'm not release apprised. --


surprised. Thanks, Jo. There's really no need to tune in tomorrow,


but you better, because we know where you live. And as if by magic


we've been joined by a Liberal Democrat MP. Ian Swales, welcome. If


this is a decent recovery that is getting going, why is business


investment at 6% less than last year? It takes a while for business


investment to work its way through. And for people to make decisions.


What we have seen is business as being more optimistic. We have seen


the products of that because more people are in work in the private


sector has created 1.4 million jobs since May 2010. While business


investment has fallen, we need to look at the broader economy. That is


making progress and the announcement tomorrow will help to strengthen


business confidence. You say broader economy, if you exclude business


investment, but experts fell by ?3 billion in the last quarter.


If you look at the survey that came out over the last few days, there is


strong progress in construction and optimism around manufacturing. The


underlying data is positive. That is why we have the fastest growing


economy in Europe and in the G-7. And net bank lending is down. You


have to recognise that businesses are looking at their balance sheets.


Small businesses as well. Not many. If you look at what is happening in


the real economy, the fact we're seeing more people in work and what


jobs created is a clear signal that the private sector is growing and


recovering. The two real features are that median pay is at what it


was in 2003 and productivity is down 5%, that is the real economy, not


taken sugar boom that is being stalked up. -- stalked up. You have


to take out the private sector and gas from that picture. Why? Because


they have distorted productivity in the past. But we're seeing tangible


signs of growth and improvement. And we should welcome that. It is part


of a long-term move that the government has taken to tackle the


deficit. You must be proud of this country is now the fastest growing


economy of the G7? It is good that growth has returned but we have only


had one third of the growth that George Osborne promised in his first


budget. What we have had is the slowest recovery from a recession in


100 years. And it is now speeding up. And that is to be welcomed. You


cannot stay in recession for ever. What we have had is a government


that choked off recovery by cutting too much at the beginning of its


time in office. And we now have to ensure that we have basis in a


recovery. And we do that by looking at the cost of living crisis and


wondering what people are not feeling better off. That is because


they are worse off. We never had a recovery in economic history where


people have not benefited from it. This recovery is distant. Hold off,


how is household spending rising then? -- this recovery is different.


Because of debt. But there is no evidence that the extra debt is


anywhere near the explanation of 2.5% increase in house spending.


There is no correlation there. We have a recovery that is not making


people better offer. People are ?1600 a year worse off, on average.


What is the mystery that? -- the measure of that. Prices have risen


for 40 out of the 41 months that the government has been in power. That


is part of the problem on the other part of the problem is that the


employment recovery is in very low paid employment, or part-time work.


We have a crisis of underemployment where one in five people in


part-time jobs want to take on more hours. But they cannot find them. We


often find that is the case. But you definition of living standards is to


compare the rise in wages with the rising prices. That is whether or


not people are better off. Prices are rising more than wages and that


has been true for a while. But the broader measure of living standards


is household disposable income, which takes into account everything.


When you do it that way, in the broader measure, what happens to


living standards then? If you have some figures, give them to me and we


will talk about it. You do not have the figures for household disposable


income? I do not know the entirety of the ONS figures. But the broad


measure of littering standards is not -- living standards is not...


Let me finish. I want you to answer. Wages not rising as fast as prices


hurt people. That is clear. But there are other factors that


determine household income. When you include all the factors, people had


been taken out of tax altogether, low interest rates, and so one, the


repayment for mis-selling from the banks, $80 million alone -- ?80


million alone. If you remove that, what happens? You tell me. You don't


know. I'm not a compendium of knowledge on every statistic.


Household income is the key statistic and you do not know that.


When you look at that, household incomes have been rising and that


has to explain... Are you trying to claim, Andrew... ? That has to


explain why consumer spending is rising. You are trying to claim that


there is not a cost of living crisis? I am not saying that at all.


Millions of people out there are worried about putting food on the


table at the end of the month. You have exploded away in a statistic.


I'd talk to my sedition is she went, and people are failing to address --


I talked to my constituents out and about and the government is not


addressing their robins. I am merely trying to explain why consumer


spending is rising even at a time when wages are not rising in league


with prices. Energy prices are hurting them particularly. I would


be happy to send you the prices if it will help with your education. Do


you support the idea of giving help to marriage through tax? First of


all, it is important to note that we have at ?600 into the pocket of


every basic rate taxpayer through the tax cuts which the Lib Dems have


fought so hard for, which explains Tom Mack we have done that. Yes, but


we did not specifically mention that. Marriage, the Liberal


Democrats do not support that and we do not believe the government should


get involved in incentivising different forms of lifestyle. Being


part of the coalition, we will be supporting it through the house. Are


you unhappy that so many people are being dragged into a tax bracket,


40% bracket, which was never designed for them. As a simple


mathematical thing, by increasing the threshold at the bottom, if you


do not change the 40% threshold, you give more benefits to the better


off. By pulling down the threshold, we give the same benefits to


everybody and we feel that is the right thing to do. So now you only


have to earned ?42,000 a year and you immediately faced a marginal


rate of tax of almost 42% when you include national insurance? Are you


comfortable with that? Clearly, the country has been in an economic


miss. Giving money away on tax is a difficult thing to do. -- economic


mess. The government has chosen to give the same amount to higher rate


taxpayers but we have not given extra to them. Why is a Conservative


led government more anxious to increase the threshold even further


under Lib Dem pressure, as we understand, and do nothing for that


squeezed middle? When you came to power, 3 million people were in the


40% bracket. We have heard that real wages are not rising and yet that


figure, it is not like people are getting paid more and being dragged


into the 40% bracket, it is that you have frozen the bracket and by the


next election, 5 million people will be in the bracket. What concerns me,


how do people want low earnings prosper at the moment? And we have


talked about it, we have cut taxes to improve disposable income. And


they think it is right that we focus on cutting taxes for those on low or


average incomes. The average income in my constituency is ?24,000 and my


constituents have benefited from this increase. I think it is the


right choice to make you have limited room to manoeuvre. You're


comfortable with the idea that under your government, the number of


people paying the 40% marginal rate has increased from 3 million to 5


million. In the south of England, people on ordinary incomes are on


40%. The average in my constituency is 40% and they have benefited from


the decision to increase the personal allowance. The other thing


that this government have done with the tax system is give a huge tax


cuts to people at the very top. Today, we heard a message from China


that there would be no tax cut for middle-class families by the end of


this Parliament. That was the point I was making. But what they have


done is cut taxes for those in the very top tax brackets, those earning


130R says in pounds. Whilst everyone else is facing this incredible


squeeze. It is a funny priority. You have to look at it in the round.


Yes, we have cut the high rate but there are other other loopholes that


we have closed down. Why? The reason was because it was very clear that


people were suffering. -- it was very clear that the Labour


government kept the rate during the time they were in office, and if you


increase the higher rate, it does not have the impact on tax take that


the Labour government thought. It is better to have a competitive rate


that will get people investing. But the higher rate I'm not giving money


back, and money is being taken from people on lower incomes. It seems an


odd priority. If you look at the burden of fiscal responsibility. We


are focusing on the highest income members of the government. This


government has done a great job in taking more money from the rich in


increasing capital gains tax and increasing the amount libel against


pensions. Labour thought it was OK to put ?750,000 a year into a


pension and get full tax relief. As far as the highest rate of tax is


concerned, I agree. Labour left it at 40% except in their last months.


It is now 5% higher than it was for the entire period of labour's


offers, apart from the very last month. I think we have a taste of


what is to come. But we're not going to leave it there.


Worried about what to get your loved one for Christmas? Well, if you're


feeling flush, the Government's selling more of the nation's assets.


It's a stake in the cross-Channel rail firm Eurostar on offer, but be


quick because the French and Germans are apparently eyeing it up. It's to


help pay for ?375 billion worth of spending on roads, railways and


other building projects. Here's what the Chief Secretary to the Treasury


had to say a little earlier. As icy at, this plan is a blueprint for


Britain from which we will literally build the foundations of our future


prosperity. -- as I see it. Whether they are investors, project managers


or engineers, getting behind it and helping to deliver it, as it is a


plan that delivers for our long-term investment, as we have seen from the


insurance sector, and ultimately, it is a plan that will lead to


sustainable, long-term growth and help us build a stronger economy in


a fairer society where everyone can get on in life. Danny Alexander


talking about the infrastructure plan. Mark Hoban, isn't this just a


revised list of aspirations that we heard about before? There are no


firm commitments but it is just what he hopes to achieve. The


announcement today has been to support the ?100 million we set out


with very clear priorities set out today. Improvements to the A50 and A


40. This is to tackle the infrastructure deficit we inherited


from other governments. What it is just that your track record so far


hasn't been very good? -- but it. They have put out a press release


saying that but you did say you would get ?20 billion of investment


from the pensions industry. How much has been pledged so far? 1 billion.


But if you are saying these are proper commitments to spending, we


have heard ?20 billion was going to come from the pensions industry and


Angela Eagle is right. ?1 billion has been pledged that is a massive


gap in terms of the money needed. How do you convince our view is that


the money from anywhere is actually going to be signed and sealed and


put on the table? Well, if you look at the plan we publish today, it


takes us to 2030 and beyond. There are steps you need in place to


release that investment. So, for example, ?1 billion guarantee an


ounce today for work at a Battersea on the Northern line. That is


guaranteed and I think it will help unlock investment from others. That


is 1 billion but we have heard all this from the Government. In 2011,


40 priority projects were announced but only a handful have been


completed. That is right, isn't it? But 90% of the announcements made


are on track. You cannot build major motorways overnight. It does not


help... But you need to start them, don't you? We have 1 billion from


the pension industry and we have a handful of the 40 prior projects


which were priority projects. Only a handful of them, a small handful,


has started. You talk about the revolution but where is it? You have


to have planning permission is, you have to draw up lands... So are you


being honest with you was? Yes. The ONS compared quarter three figures


2013 with quarter three figures in 2012. New infrastructure fell by 7%


and is 8% down on last year and fell 13% in 2012. You are going in the


wrong direction? You are going back with! You cannot just conjure this


up from thin air! What we heard was a very poor pipeline of projects and


we have strengthens that pipeline. He is right on that. Over the last


40 years, UK infrastructure has fallen behind the rest of the


world, as was concluded, and Labour refuse to get to grips with such


projects. We have actually invested a lot. How much? We put it up from


1% up to about 3%. But capital spending is now higher as a


percentage than in your time in office. We have a load of free


announcements and this Government make a vain, glorious comic huge


announcements about ?375 billion of capital investment and they hope


nobly will notice none of it is actually there. -- glorious, huge. I


think 1% of it, the announcements made last year by Danny Alexander,


have started. If you look at the detail of this announcement today,


most of what is announced is going to start in the next Parliament or


future Parliament, so it hasn't properly been concluded yet.


Government needs to stop issuing press releases and actually start


delivering on the projects it keeps announcing and re-announcing just


before the Budget or the Autumn Statement. What do you say to that?


What you have to do for businesses, and people are prepared to invest in


infrastructure projects, is to set out a long-term horizon so they can


plan for it. They can make those decisions. So that is why if you


look at what insurance companies have pledged, they want to know


those project going to be there so they can see a path towards that,


and what we're doing is providing in that direction about what our


priorities are, and investment, not by just ensuring us, but also


investment here in the UK. But they announced a cut to infrastructure


investment... They cut our plans on infrastructure investment in 2010 by


nearly 13 billion, so they cut a whole load of them, and then they


realised they had made a mistake and have been trying to play catch-up


ever since. It is not just me that says that, it is the CBI and a lot


of... But, Angela Eagle, it is true, you did cut capital spending,


didn't you? We are spending more in this Parliament than the previous


government. How much was Alistair Darling cutting? We were going to


make significant cuts. Pretty much what the Government is doing! But


what they did when they came in was actually cut far too deep in


infrastructure investment, realised they had made a mistake couple of


years later, and they have never recovered momentum. You cannot have


it both ways. You cannot say that you are going to make cuts if you


were re-elected and then complain we have made cuts. You have spent


several years trying to catch up with the mistakes you made in 2010


and the result is we are falling behind with Emperor structure


investment. It is going the wrong way and we are spending less this


year. -- infrastructure. We have a load of very sort of huge PR


announcements and virtually no activity. That's just talk about


this. You say what businesses want its planning and consistency, a


chance to make long-term investments. What about the A14?


What happened to your consistent approach to that piece of


infrastructure? Well, we have announced the improvements and what


we have done is accepted that the taxpayer should pay the cost and it


will not be through road tax. But you scrap the plans to expand in


2010, saying the ?1.3 billion tag was too high. Then you said you


would get 20% of the costs through tolls, then you said it wouldn't


happen, and now you are going to get ?1.5 billion, as you say, so, more


expensive than it would have been in 2010. What sort of consistent


approach does that show? We need to look at the overall spending and


future projects. There is huge commitment in the East of England


and we are doing the right thing to build that road. We have got the


details now, Ian, of a dramatically reduced subsidy for onshore wind


farms. We have been saying for a while that offshore wind is where


most of the powerful come from and I am pleased to see that it is


rebalancing and we will see bigger subsidies. So it was wrong to have


all those subsidies for that? Not wrong. Now we have the numbers we


can see the different incentives needed and the balancing that needs


to be done. I'm very concerned, particularly for energy investment,


the inconsistency there and I'm concerned with politicians meddling.


And since Labour have announced a price freeze, the National Grid says


half projects are now on hold. -- half of project. You are doing this


as a sop to them, aren't you? I think the way we have dealt with


renewables and subsidies is to make sure we get a market started when


that market gets going, it is right to let the market function as it


should do by removing that subsidy. That is exactly what is happening on


renewables here. It is good economically and politically as


well. Enqueue. Look behind you! -- thank you.


There's a man in Number 11 Downing Street who thinks we've turned the


corner economically. Happy days are here again. The future's as fluffy


as George's new pet puppy, Lola, a cute little "bishon frise" dog to go


with your cute little "fuel-bill freeze". Well, whether you believe


that's true or not, there is one thing to have you yapping with


happiness. This week, we're busting our own budget and giving you not


one but two - count them - two Daily Politics mugs. Is that my lipstick


or yours? Double the joy for you and your significant other. You won't


get that from the Autumn Statement! We'll remind you how to enter in a


minute, but let's see if you can remember when this happened.


# I'll be glad all over new sick macro glad all over.


Within five years according to all of the most significant engineers,


we should be travelling through the tunnels.


# In the daytime # Girl, I want to be with you...


# It's over # It's over.


And here, touching that famous bag, comes Mrs Wilson. Welcome to BBC Two


from where it all began here in studio A in Alexandra Palace.


A stroll down memory lane! Well, for some of our guests, anyway!


To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug, send your answer


to our special quiz email address - [email protected] And you can see


the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year on our website, at


bbc.co.uk/dailypolitics. Looks pretty easy to me! The queue


was Douglas Hume, and then Harold Wilson. One coming out, one going


in. Don't make it easier! It's coming up to midday here - just


take a look at Big Ben - and that can mean only one thing. Yes, Prime


Minister's Questions is on its way. Well, not exactly Prime Minister's


Questions. Deputy Prime Minister 's questions. If you'd like to comment


on proceedings, you can email us at [email protected], or tweet


your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcdp. We might even read some out


after PMQs! And that's not all. James Landale is here. What have you


got for us? I was looking at this energy story and it is clear there


are going to be substantial cuts in subsidies for solar and wind. But we


were told they would be a corresponding increase in support


for offshore wind. I have had a look at all the figures and there is no


change to the planned prices for the first four years. There is only


support from 2018, 2019. For four years. But it doesn't look as if it


is quite so much as Bill. If onshore wind doesn't get subsidy, doesn't


that make it known economic? No. There will continue to be onshore


wind farms and solar farms. We are reaching that point where a a lot of


energy firms will think, frankly, Onshore wind is guaranteed at more


than the market price. Is it going to get twice the market price? It


will still be subsidised. Were not talking about anything else.


As I was saying, I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Prime


Minister who has been visiting China. I am sure the whole house


will wish to join me in offering condolences to the family and


friends of those killed following the helicopter crash in Glasgow on


Friday evening. I visited the site yesterday and was able to see the


recovery operation first-hand. I pay tribute to the outstanding bravery


of all the emergency services involved. This morning I had


meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. I shall have further


such meetings later today. I would like to associate myself with those


comments made by the deputy Prime Minister after the tragic events in


Glasgow. Sunderland is facing cuts of ?42 million following cuts in


health funding. Does the Deputy Prime Minister think it is right to


divert NHS funding from areas of high need? NHS England is now in a


position to make some of those big judgements. But to have questions on


what money goes where in the NHS from a party that still does not


agree with our protection of the initiates budget -- the NHS budget,


we are putting 12.7 billion pounds of extra money into the NHS. I would


be interested to know if her party agrees. With the Deputy Prime


Minister John me in congratulating the London borough of favouring


which has re-homed many overcrowded families as a result of the


government welfare policy. I would like to join with my honourable


friend to congratulate the borough of favouring for the excellent work


they have done. Overcrowding is a real problem. Many families are


living in overcrowded properties. And the party opposite has now


answer to some of these fundamental problems. That shows the bankruptcy


of ideas. I would join the deputy minister in conveying our deepest


sympathy to the families of the nine people who lost their lives in a


tragic accident in Glasgow. I've paid tribute to the brave work of


the emergency services and the remarkable response of the people of


Glasgow. Can the Deputy Prime Minister tell us compared to last


winter, will this winter's household energy bills be lower or higher's


Fain would be higher. -- they would be higher if we had not taken the


action that we have. I would simply point out that her party's


economically illiterate policy... In fact her energy spokesperson said


just two days ago well, you cannot control energy prices. So there we


have it. You do not need me to point out that your policy is a con your


energy spokesman has done it for you. He has not answered the


question. As always, we will get through however long it takes. He


has dodged and not answered the question I asked. The truth is that


household energy bills are not going down, they are going up. As for the


measures, the ?50 they talked about, it is not enough to stop bills


rising. But of the ?50 can he tell us the how much will come from the


profits of the energy giants? I know her a piece of paper says I did not


answered the question, but I actually did. Bills will on average


be ?50 lower than they otherwise would be. That is pretty simple. We


have done that by adjusting the policies whilst adhering to our


green commit men's. Our government policy has an influence on energy


bills. Her party's Wallasey is pure fantasy. -- policy. He said he


answered the question but he has not. He has not stood up this


dispatch box and admitted that as a result of his government's policies


energy bills are going up. He has not admitted that. What he is trying


to hide is that not 1p will come from the profits of the energy


giants. They are tiptoeing round the energy giants allowing them to put


up their bills. When it comes to standing up to the rich and


powerful, this government is weak. But when it comes to hitting the


most vulnerable in our society they have got no qualms at all. Last week


at that dispatch box the Prime Minister said that disabled people


are exempt from the bedroom tax. That is not true. Will the Deputy


Prime Minister apologise and put the record straight. The honourable lady


talks about standing up to vested interests. This in the week that we


discovered that the great courage of the later leadership to stand up to


their trade unions, guess what, all too difficult. -- Labour leadership.


Order. This house should be the bastion of free speech. Neither the


Deputy Prime Minister for the Right honourable and Leonard lady must be


shouted down and we will keep going with this session as long as it


takes for proper order to be observed. It should be the bastion


of political parties free of vested interests. It is high time that the


Labour leadership to what they say and stand up to their trade union


paymasters. She should stand up to her bosses first. I suggest that he


leaves it to us to worry about our party members. Especially as so many


of them used to be his. Given that for over 90% of people hit by the


bedroom tax, there just is not a smaller property for them to move


to, what would he have them do this Mac -- what would he have them do?


Under their government housing benefit to people in the private


rented sector was provided only on the basis of the number of rooms


needed. We apply exactly the same rule to those in the social rented


sector. For the reasons we heard earlier at the same time we have


many thousands of families in overcrowded properties and 1.8


million households still on the housing waiting list. Like so many


other things we are sorting out the mess that they left behind. He knows


that there is no comparison between what we did and what he is doing.


Our change was only for a new payments. Their bedroom tax hit


people who have lived in their property for years, who cannot


afford the charges and have nowhere to go. He stands there and always


says that the Lib Dems are making a difference in government. They


certainly are. Without the Lib Dems there would be no bedroom tax.


Without the Lib Dems there would be no travelling of tuition fees.


Without the Lib Dems there would be no top-down reorganisation of the


NHS. He says he is a brake on the Tories but even I know the


difference between the break and the accelerator. He is the very best


deputy Conservative Prime Minister. Without the Liberal Democrats there


would not be a recovery. Mr Speaker... We have our differences.


Order. Order. The answer will be heard. We have our differences on


this side of the House but the one thing that unites us is we would not


have gone on a prawn cocktail charm offensive sucking up to the banks


which created the problem in the first place. We would not simply say


to our children and grandchildren, you can pay off the debts of this


generation. No one on this side of the House would have broken the


British economy in the first place. He talks about the recovery and


there might be recovery for the rich but for everyone else there is a


cost of living crisis. When it comes to being a loyal deputy to a Tory


Prime Minister he will go to any lengths, make any promises and sell


out any principles. The truth is if you want to freeze energy bills and


scrap the bedroom tax it is not going to be the Tories, it is never


going to be the Lib Dems, it has got to be the Labour Party. They're not


a government in waiting and not even an opposition in waiting. It is a


two month before the next general election. We still have no clue what


the Labour Party would actually do. We know a few things, and energy


coal which would see prices go up. No apology for crashing economy in


the first place and a total failure to stand up to trade union bosses.


If they cannot manage to come up with some sensible policies, if they


cannot manage their own party, why should anyone think they can manage


our country? This weekend is a small business Saturday and I will be


supporting local firms in my constituency. I welcome the


reduction introduced in terms of corporation tax and national


insurance contributions but what more can be done to reduce business


rates? My honourable friend should wait for the autumn state in. Small


business Saturday is a worthwhile event. Of course the last government


planned to end small business rates relief. We reversed that. Another


example of this side of the House standing up for small businesses let


down by that side of the House. Tenants, councils, housing


associations, welfare charities and disabled groups are against it. Lib


Dem party policy is against it. Even Danny's dad is against it so why is


the Deputy Prime Minister the last man standing in defending the


bedroom tax? A policy as unpopular as Margaret Thatcher's poll tax?


Everyone except that when you make a change from one system to another


there are hard cases that need to be dealt with compassionately. That is


why we have travelled the discretionary housing payment. Could


he have a word with his welfare spokesperson who recently declared


that the Labour Party would be tougher on welfare than the


Coalition. Yet they opposed ?80 billion worth of welfare savings. As


you will know more than many, they have failed to provide and have


created a lamentable failure. Today, they are holding a road show to tell


my constituents about phase two of their proposal. Will my right


honourable friend work with his colleagues in government to assure


that HS2 provide decent information and compensation to everyone


affected as quickly as possible? I know he has strong views on this.


I'd agree with him that not only for compensation should be available,


but also the right level of information provided, and the phase


to root consultation that started in October is due to end in January,


and there are some 36 places where people can make their views known.


-- says two of the root consultation. It is a very important


part of the wider revamping and modernisation of our infrastructure


on which the Chief Secretary to the Treasury will be speaking shortly.


There are more young people out of work in the Black Country, so will


he extend the use scheme to that part of the country? And if he will


call an urgent meeting to get the deal scheme sorted out, too? I agree


and we are working flat out to do so. But the principle idea of making


sure less power is in Whitehall and more power and resources and freedom


to use resources are allocated to local communities and Local


Enterprise Partnerships and authorities is something we are


determined to push through in his part of the country as elsewhere.


Can I welcome any reduction in the incentive after within our total


commitment for renewables? As he knows, and achieve secretary to the


Treasury will confirm this, we have adjusted the prices as far as they


apply to onshore wind and solar panel installation is because we


believe it is viable now to do so. But it made it more attractive for


further investment in the offshore industry in which we are already a


world leader and must maintain our world lead, not least for benefits


to parts of the country like the north-east, all of which, by the


way, would be blighted by an illiterate energy policy. Is he


aware that on average women working full-time have seen their earnings


fall by nearly ?2500 since the election? And does he think the


married man's tax allowance is the best way to help women who are


paying the price of his government? The honourable lady knows the


respective views in the coalition on the so-called marriage tax paid, at


I would point out to her... I would point out that it is this Government


which has ended the injustice of women being short-changed in the


pension system, it is this Government raising the point that --


at which people pay income tax and it is this Government that is


finally providing more affordable childcare places which weren't


provided over the last 13 years under Labour. The ruble equivalent


of waiting for Godot is waiting for high-speed broadband! -- the rural


equivalent. 82% of promises in my constituency will be connected by


the end of 2016, so we have been assured. The sad fact is that over


8000 properties will not be and will be in the so-called lost 10%. So


will he now commit the funds which have been set aside to be deployed


to finish the job? We don't want complex bidding systems, we don't


want to match funding and we just want the job done. Mr Speaker, we


are investing, as he knows, ?3 million already and extending the


coverage of superfast board banned in Devon and Somerset as part of the


current rural broadband programme. Over 10,000 promises are expected to


be covered by the project by the end of the year and 74,000 by next July.


On his point, the so-called final 10%, we announced a quarter of ?1


billion to extend coverage further by 2017 and hear what he says and


the plans will be set out in further detail shortly. Two companies who


are major investors in the north-east of England have said that


if we leave the EU, it will be of great damage to investment. Would he


agree with me that leaving Europe is bad for business and for jobs? I am


sure I speak for most people on all sides of the House that it would he


is -- a spectacular act of suicide. By some estimates, over 3 million


jobs are dependent one way or another in this country on our


membership of the European Union. People have welcomed the


Government's brave decision to raise the cap on benefits but when their


earnings are 23,900 before tax, they understandably still feel you can be


better off on benefits than in work. Will my right honourable friend look


at lowering the overall benefits cap or regionalising it so that it


always pays to work wherever you live? We have not taken an approach


of regionalising the benefit cap. I now that is advocated by the party


opposite, though very few details have been provided from them so


far. So we have taken a national approach and we therefore set it at


a national average, ?26,000, if you like, after tax, equivalent to


35,004. The vast majority of people in the country think that is fair.


That you should not be able to see benefits more than if you were to


work. I would be very interested to know whether the party opposite


supports or does not support this highly popular measure? The


Government has been pushed into action on business rates by


Labour... But just as energy bills will still rise this winter,


business rates must still go up why an average of ?250 next year. Does


the Deputy Prime Minister agree that nothing less than Labour's planned


cuts and a freeze to business rates will do? The only thing this


coalition government has been pushed into, which is what she said, by the


party opposite, is rescuing the economy after the disastrous state


it was in! We had to pull the economy back from the brink because


that is where they left it. We have had to do emergency surgery to the


banks because they sucked up to the banks, we have had to fill the


black: The public finances because they created it. -- the black hole.


IMO is anxious to be helpful! So in the spirit of friendly corporation,


I have given advance notice of my question. -- I am always anxious.


Given the Deputy Prime Minister is only at the dispatch box today


because the Prime Minister is in China drum and up more orders for


British business, can the Deputy Prime Minister please tell the House


what was the common market share of world trade when the UK joined in


1973? And what is the EU share of world trade today? The EU share of


world trade today is around 20%. I would merely say to him in an


equally friendly spirit, in which I know the question was intended, was


that the Prime Minister has been advocating a new EU-China trade deal


precisely because the European Union remains, notwithstanding all the


other changes in the world, a very powerful trading block on the world


scene. Last week, Goldman Sachs placed a value of Royal Mail shares


at 600 and 10p each but just two months ago, they advised the


government that investors would walk away if they sold that more than 300


and 30p. Does he believe he has secured value for money for


taxpayers? Is my right honourable friend has explained, this is


another example of us doing something which they worked while


they were in government. -- which they avoided. The price of sale was


independently recommended to us and was actually at the highest point of


the range, which was provided to us by independent advisers. Two weeks


ago, Harrow Council officers closed down an unlicensed HMO with 11


unrelated adults living in a three bedroomed property, each paying ?160


a week in rent to a rogue landlord. It is now investigating a further


100 cases. Would my right honourable friend not agree that it is time we


criminalised rogue landlords to protect the vulnerable? I am


appalled to hear about that example, yet again, of rogue


landlords behaving unacceptably. Local authorities, as he knows,


including in Harrow, have strong powers to tackle rogue landlords and


we expect them to make full use of those. We have put forward a


commitment to look at property conditions in the private rented to


and we will shortly be announcing which local authorities will receive


a share in ?3 million of funding to help them tackle rogue and criminal


landlords. Thank you. When he signed the coalition agreement, with its


commitment to giving more power to parents and pupils to choose a good


school, did he ever envisage it would lead to a situation where


Conservative controlled Hammersmith Conservative controlled Hammersmith


Fulham Council is currently threatening to close a successful


and popular Sullivan primary school rated good white Ofsted against the


overwhelming opposition of the parents, governors, pupils and local


residents in order to have the site over for a free school? My right


honourable friend, the Secretary of State for education, is here, and I


am sure he will want to write to you on that specific case. But one of


the things this Government has done is remove the bureaucracy and


centralisation of our school system to make sure the parents and


teachers of free to teach in the classroom and parents have a greater


running in the role of our schools. With the reference back to the


recent question from the honourable gentleman, perhaps not my honourable


friend on this issue on Bury North, with the Deputy Prime Minister not


agree that the coalition is concerned on Europe, actions


actually speak louder than words? And would he agree that the


Chancellor's decision sometime back to assist the Irish economy, the


Foreign Secretary's very sensible conduct on the European internal


government or of you, and the Prime Minister's own words this week in


China, that he wants to recommend we stay in, that this is a great boost


of confidence for people like him and me? Down the line, Liberal


Democrat pro-Europeans? It is always a joy to hear the mischievous wit


and wisdom of my right honourable friend, and, as he knows, we are as


one of the European issue. We need to, of course, reform the European


Union and strip away bureaucracy where that can be done and make it


more transparent and more efficient, but we'll so need to


continue to exercise British leadership in the European Union. --


we also. Figures from the National Health Service show that an


additional 600 thousand people used Accident Emergency departments


last winter, an increase of 11% since 2010. And it looks set to get


much worse this winter. Why? I don't think it is very helpful to the


millions of people working in the NHS to talk down there and -- there


are -- their admirable efforts. He might be interested to know that the


last time the right honourable member sitting over there, when he


was secretary of health, the average waiting time was 77 minutes and we


have cut that in half to 33 minutes. Last week, the NCA arrested six


individuals around the allegations of match fixing in the English or


league. Can my right honourable friend assure me and the House of


every possible measure been taken by the three bodies, the FA, the


Gambling Commission and the NA, to look at the gambling situation? Yes.


It is a rather good example of the work of the NCA and it is exactly


why it was established. To look at these complex cases and work with


different agencies across different jurisdictions and make sure any


suspicion of corruption in that game was removed. The Deputy Prime


Minister will be aware of the case I am raising with him now and it is a


matter of liking to address. A woman fled violent and abusive


relationship in Italy. She is now in Wales and since then, the High Court


had ruled that she is to return to Italy on Monday. Given that, they


ask the Prime Minister -, sorry, the Deputy Prime Minister to make sure


that the authorities realise that arresting her would be proportionate


and it would be little short of a bomb -- abominable to take that boy


into care pending the outcome of proceedings?


It is a desperately sad case. I would love to be able to pronounce


on it on a human level but ministers cannot comment or intervene in cases


that have been before the courts whether in this country or abroad.


I'm sure that the foreign and Commonwealth office will be able to


provide consular assistance to the woman including providing details of


English speaking local lawyers. It may surprise the Deputy Prime


Minister to learn that the Liberals have a reputation of advocating a


European referendum but not following that through. Will he now


put that right by encouraging his liberal colleagues in the House of


Lords to support our EU referendum? He and I joined forces in a lobby


back in July 2011 to legislate for the first time for a referendum


which for the first time guarantees in law that if the rules of the


European union change, if there is water transfer of sovereignty --


more transfer of there will be a referendum. That is our guarantee in


law to the British people that a referendum will take place when


circumstances determine. I understand his party is having a


debate to change that position. My honourable friend for Glasgow North


wanted to know whether the British taxpayer got value for money on the


sale of the Royal Mail. Yes or no? Our judgement is yes. Easy though it


might be to make snaps. -- snapshot judgements about the value of the


company on any one day, we are determined to take a long-term view


and not score short-term political points. As the acting Prime Minister


not been outstanding today? If you are listening on the radio you might


have thought he was the right honourable member for Whitney. I


think he is turning into a Tory. Can I test that theory? One of the


immigration bills was signed by 60 MPs calling for the transitional


arrangements for Romania and Bulgaria to be continued. Does he


agree with that? I am glad he has not raised his morbid obsession with


the early demise of the Prime Minister! I want to thank him for


his next double-edged, amid just there. The Prime Minister and the


whole government made a series of announcements last week where we are


tightening up the access to benefits of those migrants coming from other


parts of the European union to this country. I believe we should detect


and defend the principle of the freedom of movement. But the freedom


to move to seek work is not the same as the freedom to claim. That is the


distinction where now making. And prime ministers questions comes


to an end. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Berg stood in front the Prime


Minister. So Harriet Harman stood in for Mr Miliband. The exchanges began


with a clash over energy prices. Not unusual! And then quickly descended


into straight abuse about the respect of the merits of the Labour


Party and the Lib Dem 's. Some professional, in a second. First we


can hear from the voters. It was entertaining and lively! It was very


lively. One said it was refreshing to say Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman


for a change. Another said that Harriet gave the deputy minister


some stick, she was great. Saying that Harriet Harman smacked blaming


of Nick Clegg for allowing Conservative policies to go through


will hit home. Another saying, loved it, more of them both at the end


use. -- at prime ministers questions. One tweet saying as the


Speaker been given an early Christmas present? He cannot top


purchased that tying himself. -- he cannot have. Hewlett-Packard have


announced that they are cutting 1100 jobs in Bracknell, Sheffield and


Warrington. So even with the recovery some companies are still


cutting back. On this energy proposition, Labour has been selling


the terms of trade. A clear retail offer of just freezing prices should


he get into power. Are they still missing something? There is this


idea that bills will now not arrive as quickly as they would have done


because we know these are being taken off. Green levies are being


taken off. What happened was in the process of trying to agree a deal of


precisely how much money they could take off energy bills, there was


discussion with energy firms about what that would mean in the future


for prices. Some energy firms took that to mean, are you asking us to


make a pledge. But the government said we are looking for you to say


we will not raise our prices as a result of these particular green


levies. If you talk to ministers about this they do not expect the


?50 less than you might have expected to trump the Labour policy.


They hope it will neutralise it is a political issue so that they can


move on and shift the debate that to the economy. So they can say all


well and good to talk about prices and that is an issue but there is a


broader issue about the economy. And this is what the government have


said, what are Labour are going to say? So it is an attempt to shift


the debate. But if you vote Labour you would get an energy price freeze


and vote Conservative, prices would still go up? Well I think the Labour


price freeze is a bit of a con. Ed Miliband and his energy spokesman


have both said that energy prices could still go up. We have said that


we will cut the part of the energy Bill that government can control.


Everyone has announced an investigation into it and everyone


agrees the energy market is not working properly. There is something


wrong with the way in which the big six are able to put up prices. What


is wrong with saying, it will take us about 20 months to sort out this


market. Everyone agrees that it is a mess. And during that 20 months we


will just freeze the prices. What is wrong with that? You have got to


invest in energy infrastructure and capacity. But what we do need to do


is make sure the energy market is competitive. Under Ed Miliband's


watch you saw him move from a competitive energy market dominated


by the big six, we need to get more challengers coming into the market.


We need a more competitive market. Labour's price freeze is a con.


Why? Ed Miliband speaks about the price freeze but he has said if


international wholesale prices go up, you can expect prices to go up.


He said if there was a major shock to energy prices, and of course that


is a prudent thing to say. All bets would be off in that case. But


within a normal fluctuation of the market, they would be frozen. What


is wrong with that? And if the energy companies rushed to put up


their prices before the freeze, that just shows that they have got too


much power? I think that is why we need this competitive energy market


rather than one dominated by these six players. Well you have been in


power for four years, you're taking your time it. It is part of a


problem, the way that privatisation was done by the previous


Conservative government. It is now clear that having what is known as


horizontal and vertical integration, that you have companies that


generate and sell to themselves as retailers, that is what needs to be


dealt with. It is why Caroline Flint has said that in that 20 months we


will look at how we can make the industry more competitive by forcing


energy companies to sell into a central pool. So there will be much


more competition in prices. We have got to look at how all of that is


done and 20 months price freeze gives us the chance to reset the


energy market so we can improve competition. Well your energy


spokesman has said he will not wake them up. Why not? We think at the


moment that having the energy pool is a good way of creating more


competition in the market more quickly. If things change we made


need to look at other policies. Our intention at the moment is to have


this price freeze, to recognise for example, they have put up prices by


10% this year on average. It is not 10% on average. EDF brings it down.


But it is a lot. A lot more than wages. It is a lot and the point is


there is no good taking of green levies. He had done that. And what


Nick Clegg would not admit today was at Chile that even after all the


announcements they have made, prices are going to be ?70 higher next year


on average for consumers than they would have been. During the time


when the, was going to buy the Lloyds bank branches, how many times


did you meet with the people at the Co-op? Well I have no recollection


of meeting the Reverend Flowers, for the record. I met, twice in that


period. How many phone calls did you have with him? Based on the


records, about ten phone calls. People think you basically where a


cheerleader for the Co-op getting these branches. We had an interest


in that transaction but the decision was made by both Lloyds and, and


where the responsibility of the boards of years. You said you had an


interest, was that your interest that if the banks agreed to do it,


you wanted that to go ahead? Well it was a decision that the two banks


had to take. Where you are in favour of the Co-op getting these


branches? Mode and the Co-op made their choice that they wanted to


sell both branches to the Co-op. So you were? Ultimately what happened,


before when the Co-op brought Britannia, in this case the deal did


not go ahead. The thing that struck me most about today was little talk


about the economy, very little about the autumn statement. It was all


slightly retro. Very fashionable! Well, how should the Government


tackle the most difficult families in Britain? This Police and Crime


Commissioner has an idea. This isn't just about economic


poverty, it is about a poverty of ambition. Grandmothers in their 30s,


sons and daughters who know nothing different, children ingrained


increment amity. These families are in and out of


prison. They bounce around the court system generation after generation.


The kids graduate into drugs, crime and then fail at school. These


families cost us dear financially and emotionally.


I think these families should have an intensive programme of engagement


and intervention. Teaching them basic life skills, have to be a


positive member of their community. This would be done over a


deliberately long-time friend, sending people to residential


centres. This will be better and cheaper than sending people to


prison over and over again. -- long time frame. We have got to do more


than sending social workers into people's homes to get them out of


bed. Prison hasn't worked, so what are we going to do? There is an idea


that takes people out of their local environment into residential centres


for more intensive engagement. These families are going to go through a


daily, highly structured new routine. This routine will help them


break the habit of offending and hopefully the habit of a lifetime.


There is something about discipline. Doing it in a different


place, having a fresh start. Trying again. I these families to have a


better life. They need to break some habits, drugs, anti-social


behaviour, definitely crime. This is an opportunity for them to start


again and I'm really mean it. They need to move on. -- I really mean


it. And Adam Simmonds joins us now.


Welcome. You say prison hasn't worked in the cases you are talking


about what you are proposing sounds similar to prison. What makes you


think your idea will work? I think what we have to in this country is


that police arrest people, they go to prison and they come out, and if


you are on an order, you reoffend. Reoffending is too high. We have


looked in Northamptonshire at families who go into prison but then


go back when they come out. But you are putting them into an army boot


camp where they will be told not to smoke, not to drink. Isn't that just


like prison, which you have admitted has failed? It is not like was on.


It is deliberate and controlled. You take them out of their community who


finds them difficult to cope with and into this centre. Not every


family is a criminal but they have a son or daughter who needs help to


break that cycle. Michael Howard set up boot comes in 1977 and Colchester


closed after a year. It was claimed a failure. We're not proposing to do


that. Deals with the Government's current agenda have a few strands,


and one of those was to take individuals and families out of an


environment and put them into a much more controlled environment where


they have a regular routine and they have wraparound services, social and


education services. But how can you do it? How can you lock up an entire


family, which is essentially what you're doing? Is it legally allowed?


This is not about locking people up... You are still removing them


from their home forcibly and putting them somewhere else. How can you do


that? Part of it might be a magistrate 's licence, so this is


part of your condition, for example. My issue with trouble families is


that sometimes it is very easy to get 50% of them back into work and


they were not really trouble families in the first place. The


people we have the most problem with are those who have a lifestyle


ingrained increment our tea, and that is what we need to break. -- in


criminality. You have said it will be cheaper than prison but the


glasshouse, the one in Michael Howard's scheme, was dubbed the Home


Office Hilton, posit cost people ?850 each week, more than a luxury


hotel. -- because it cost people. It is a very expensive way of doing it.


It is a different decade and we are going to do things differently. We


are having a cost per family and right now we are sending young


people to young offenders institutes and they get the stigma and don't


necessarily come out any different than when they went in. The whole


point of this is to save lives and change people's direction of


travel, and, in the long-term, that makes the community safer. But in


the long-term, is removing them from their communities and dumping them


on to an army base really the way to turn them into contributing member


's of society? Because if you look at it what was being done by one


woman, she is dealing with them in their homes? It is about taking


individuals out of their local environment and putting them into an


environment where they have a much more controlled regime, as we do


with drug addicts right now, and it is about working with them. But the


difference with this is it is done for maybe two years. So you wrap


services around for a long time and see the change.


I am not against having this support to break generational habits and


families but it is very expensive upfront, although it saves money if


it is successful over the long-term. It may work for some and it might


not work for others. You have to try it and see what works. Is that there


has been so many cuts to local services by this Government, where


we have 15 thousand fewer police officers. A lot of this prevention


work and into community work is being taken away because of costs


and by local police force say they are worried they are becoming just


an emergency service. There had to cut the number of people they can


get out on the beat, neighbourhood policing is beginning to be


destroyed. All of that kind of effect of these huge cuts we have


had makes that kind of work even harder. Isn't prevention better than


cure? What is is talking about is using a fairly blunt instrument to


deal with a problem that could be prevented. Isn't that the way to go?


Let's not forget that crime is falling. One thing that strikes me.


I have been to project where you take people out of their


communities, and I've visited a project in Winchester where they


took somebody who was a persistent offender out of their community and


did a lot of work to rehabilitate them and change that person's life


and turned it around. So what I think Adam is talking about strikes


accord with many projects out there where you work with an individual


but the challenge is, how do you do it with a family?


What would happen if George Osborne wore a polka-dot pink bow tie for


tomorrow's Autumn Statement? Or if his new puppy, Lola, joined him at


the dispatch box? Well, for one thing, somebody would make a lot of


money. Because it seems you can bet on anything these days. Some of


these bets are frivolous but some can give you a bit of an insight


into a speech with more than a little riding on it. Alex Donohue,


from the bookmaker Ladbrokes, will be following events. He's on College


Green now. Tell me, what are you looking for tomorrow? We have a big


list of phrases from, as you say, the serious to the not so serious,


and people will be looking at the odds and ticking them off. I think


if he says Belinda that any time, a lot of people will be making a lot


of money! -- Bullington club. It is not going to happen! But we do know


he will definitely use the word deficit, won't he? Yes. You have to


stake for pounds just to win a Pound back so very short odds. China is


another one. Hard-working families. The interesting thing here is that


in recent years, the odds are that term used to be a lot shorter but


perhaps as times are changing, the odds are changing as well, and we


don't think years is likely to say hard-working families as in recent


times. -- we don't think he is as likely. What about Ed Balls? How


many times as he going to say" cost of living"? Ah! Where do we start


to?! You have to stake ?10 to win one. I think that looks like the


bank of the day that Ed Balls will say that. If he says living


standards, does that count? I think enquirer Ewood be the word there.


What odds are you going to give me on George Osborne being replaced


before the next election? This puts him in fairly safe standing, 5-1. We


think you will probably be OK. And what odds will you give him on


wearing a blue tie? The favourite, 6-4. The odds on no tie is 100 to


one. I think he will stick to his trusty blue or purple. He likes


purple as well. But his 3-1. He is obviously not going to appear with a


little dog at the dispatch box but what sort of odds would you give me


on him finding a way to appear with it at some stage during the day?


That is the picture everybody wants to get but we think you probably


won't bring the dog into play. It is very cute and would make a lovely


picture but 50-1. A bit of an outsider that the dog shows its


curly head tomorrow! Well, know, he wants good pictures, doesn't he?


Years guaranteed to get on the front page with a lot of puppy dog like


that! There might be a terrible mistake happening! Flashlights! Are


a lots of people going to bet on this tomorrow? Probably ?5,000


worth. Average stakes is ?5 to ?10, so nothing major and nothing that


will make or break us. It is just a bit of fun! It is less than Jo's


hourly rate! Thank you so much! Are you going to have a flutter


tomorrow? I might get odds on how many U-turns there will be by the


end of the year. But that is a subjective thing, whether the dog is


there or not! I think it is a good bank on hard-working families.


Now, it's time to put you out of your misery and give you the answer


to Guess The Year. 1964 was the correct answer. Mark, press that big


Red Button there. OK, that's all for today. Thanks to


our guests. The One o'clock News is starting over on BBC One now. We'll


be back tomorrow at 10:45 - yes, 10:45 - for live and uninterupted


coverage of George Osbnorne's Autumn Statement. We'll have the build-up,


the big announcement and all the reaction. So get your pork pies,


your sarnies and your pack of Irn Bru in for our three-hour-plus epic!




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