06/12/2013 Daily Politics


06/12/2013

Andrew Neil is joined by the Guardian's Polly Toynbee and City AM Editor Allister Heath for all the latest political news, including UK reaction to the death of Nelson Mandela.


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.

:00:45.:00:48.

World leaders pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, after the former South

:00:49.:00:51.

African president dies at the age of 95. We'll hear from Britain's former

:00:52.:00:54.

High Commissioner to South Africa, Paul Boateng.

:00:55.:00:56.

As the dust settles on George Osborne's Autumn Statement, the

:00:57.:00:59.

Chancellor has a spring in his step. But how resilient is the recovery?

:01:00.:01:04.

Questions, too, for Ed Balls, left red in the face after a stumbling

:01:05.:01:09.

performance in the House of Commons. We'll discuss the political fall-out

:01:10.:01:12.

of the Chancellor's statement with a trio of frontbenchers.

:01:13.:01:16.

And in the latest of our series on great political thinkers, Toby Young

:01:17.:01:18.

tells us about his favourite philosopher. JS Mill was the first

:01:19.:01:29.

political philosopher I read, aged 17, as part of preparing for my

:01:30.:01:34.

Oxford interview. I was a punk anarchist at the time.

:01:35.:01:41.

Punk anarchist? What is that? All that in the next hour, and with

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us for the duration, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, and the

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editor of the financial newspaper City AM, Allister Heath. Welcome to

:01:50.:01:51.

the Daily Politics. We start, of course, with the death

:01:52.:01:55.

of Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela had been suffering from a lung illness

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for a long time and had been receiving treatment at home since

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September, when he was discharged from hospital. The news was

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announced just before 10:00pm London time by the current South African

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president, Jacob Zuma. Today, South Africans have gathered in

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Johannesburg and Soweto to mourn his death and celebrate his life.

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Tributes have been paid by political leaders around the world. Tonight,

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one of the brightest lights of our world has gone out. Now some Mandela

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was not just a hero of our time but a hero of all time. The first

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president of a free South Africa, a man who suffered so much for freedom

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and justice. And a man who threw his dignity -- through his dignity and

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triumph, inspired millions. We will not likely see the likes of Nelson

:02:58.:03:01.

Mandela again, so it falls to us, as best we can, to follow the example

:03:02.:03:08.

he set. To make decisions guided not by hate but by love. To never

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discount the difference that one person can make. To strive for a

:03:13.:03:17.

future that is worthy of his sacrifice. For now, let us pause and

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give thanks to the fact that not some Mandela lived. A man who took

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history in his hands. And bent the arc of the moral universe towards

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justice. He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost

:03:41.:03:54.

its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.

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South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma. Of course, Nelson Mandela's

:03:59.:04:03.

life had a huge impact on British politics. Ross Hawkins looks back on

:04:04.:04:05.

the changing attitudes towards South Africa and the relationships forged

:04:06.:04:16.

between both countries. A politician honoured to like no

:04:17.:04:20.

other, with ceremony and a statue at Westminster in 2007. It wasn't

:04:21.:04:26.

always like this. As he recalled at the time. When we visited

:04:27.:04:35.

Westminster Abbey in Parliament Square in 1962, we half joke that we

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hoped that one day a statue of a black person would be erected here.

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Some hope. Nelson Mandela, who met Labour and Liberal leaders back then

:04:55.:04:58.

but not the Conservative minister, Harold Macmillan, was a wanted man

:04:59.:05:03.

in South Africa. Two years later he would be jailed for sabotage. He was

:05:04.:05:06.

still in prison when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. She

:05:07.:05:11.

regarded his African National Congress as a terrorist

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organisation. She wanted an end to apartheid but opposed, rents of

:05:16.:05:19.

economic sanctions, argued they hurt black South Africans. You don't want

:05:20.:05:25.

to always hand the stick to South Africa, I think she is a bit fed up

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with that. When she does things that we want her to do, I think we have

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got to encourage her. This was the era of the Cold War. The West feared

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commonest influence on the ANC. Global concerns were different back

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then. The ANC had the support of the communist world because the West

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would not support it, with the exception of Scandinavian countries

:05:51.:05:54.

like Sweden. So many countries in the West, including Britain and the

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United States, almost saw not some Mandela as agents of cumin is.

:05:59.:06:03.

Nonsense, but that is the way it was seen -- agents of communism. When

:06:04.:06:09.

his freedom finally came, the world was different and the politics had

:06:10.:06:14.

shifted. Once he was released, everything changed. It all switch to

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trying to create a harmonious transition to a different type of

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South Africa. The Conservative Party attitudes changed, John Major was by

:06:23.:06:30.

minister and was very supportive. By 1996, Nelson Mandela was addressing

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parliament, and politicians from all sides assembled to pay tribute. This

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was a star like no other. One who could inspire, move and bring call

:06:42.:06:49.

political gold dust. -- sprinkle political gold dust.

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I can see men and women who were the candidates to immortality. A Tory

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leader battling Tony Blair met Nelson Mandela and said the

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Conservatives had got it wrong on the ANC and on sanctions. And the

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man who first came to Britain as a fugitive is now celebrated by the

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right and left alike, as the greatest and most successful of

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politicians. Ross Hawkins, with a reminder of

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Nelson Mandela's impact on British politics. We've been joined by the

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Labour politician, Paul Boateng, who served as Britain's High

:07:32.:07:33.

Commissioner to South Africa from 2005 to 2009. Welcome to the Daily

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Politics. A sad day, in the aftermath of learning of Mr

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Mandela's death last night. You met him when he got out of prison. I met

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him in Geneva at the world Council of churches, his first public outing

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was to Switzerland and the churches. Who had been at the backbone of the

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anti-apartheid struggle, who had stood alongside him when many

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described him as a terrorist, many wore T-shirts that said, hanging

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Nelson Mandela. A very different time. You saw that this was a man

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imbued with values and a vision. He gave that to politics. And it is

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that which is so sorely missing for politics, not just in South Africa

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but in our world today. What had prison done to him? I think it had

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strengthened him, ironically. This was a man who had always had focus

:08:36.:08:40.

and discipline. That was the hallmark of his life up until then.

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That was amplified in prison context. He was always, and we

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should never forget, a freedom fighter. He believed and led the

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armed struggle. But such was the overwhelming power of love in his

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life, that he knew that part of the discipline and focus of that had to

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be the capacity to reconcile, had to be the capacity to build bridges.

:09:07.:09:11.

Whenever I met him, in whatever capacity that was, whether it was a

:09:12.:09:18.

lay church person as a Cabinet minister, or High Commissioner,

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always there was this sense that he had this profound moral purpose,

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linked with an acute political strategy. He was not, and it is a

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great mistake to paint him as somehow a sort of saintly, innocent

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abroad. He was a politician through and through, an activist, but he had

:09:40.:09:44.

a moral compass, and that didn't just guide him and the ANC. We are

:09:45.:10:00.

talking about a man who worked alongside the famous names of the

:10:01.:10:04.

early ANC. They were part of a movement that had this focus and

:10:05.:10:06.

discipline but was rooted in profound values. Is what makes Mr

:10:07.:10:13.

Mandela different from all of them, is it this? Would it be fair to say

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that if Nelson Mandela had not existed, the history of South Africa

:10:18.:10:21.

could have been very different, in a bad way. I think he played a key

:10:22.:10:32.

role at a critical time. But I don't think that he was, in himself,

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bigger than the ANC. He was the product of the ANC, a product of his

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culture, and he brought to that unique personal qualities. But we

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really must not take this man out of his context. It would not have been

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possible to have had a peaceful transition in South Africa...

:10:56.:11:01.

Although don't forget, 10,000 people died after his release. But it would

:11:02.:11:05.

not have been possible to avoid the racial bloodbath that all feared,

:11:06.:11:11.

had it not been for a movement, the ANC, that embraced the path of

:11:12.:11:16.

reconciliation and made enormous sacrifices economically for it.

:11:17.:11:22.

Because the black man in South Africa today is still grossly

:11:23.:11:25.

disadvantaged as compared to the white. And there is still a way to

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go before Nelson Mandela's dream and aspiration for a rainbow nation in

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which the Freedom Charter is embedded is achieved. Mandela was

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the one black leader of all the ones that you have mentioned that had an

:11:44.:11:49.

authority and a cut through with the Afrikaner and other white South

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African community. The other ANC leaders did not have that. Mr dig --

:11:55.:11:59.

France De Klerk said he could not have done

:12:00.:12:14.

it without Mandela. De Klerk was intimately involved in those

:12:15.:12:16.

negotiations and there is no doubt the two meant developed a strong

:12:17.:12:21.

relationship. In politics, relationships are, at the end of the

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day, very important. That relationship between FW De Klerk and

:12:27.:12:30.

Nelson Mandela was an important one. I say again, having lived there and

:12:31.:12:33.

work as part of this movement for many years, don't forget the other

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leaders. We are not forgetting any of these. But we are just in the

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aftermath of Mr Mandela's death. Because they are all part of the

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movement. You have made that point. What are your thoughts this morning?

:12:53.:12:57.

He does make other world leaders shrivelled, I am afraid. There was

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something so magnanimous and splendid about him. He was

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theatrical and he was wonderful at the theatre of politics. He was a

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politician to his fingertips. There was that great moment when he turned

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up wearing the Springboks colours, Springboks really synonymous with

:13:18.:13:20.

white South Africa at the time. That was a theatrical event. I spent a

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lot of my youth outside South Africa house, demonstrating. I worked for

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amnesty in Rhodesia in its apartheid days and thank goodness it has all

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gone but it was horrific. It is sometimes hard to remember it

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happened, it sound so ridiculous. It is extraordinary to think how few

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people supported him. I was 13 when he was released from

:14:03.:14:14.

prison and it was probably the first of the big political events that I

:14:15.:14:19.

remember. It was this amazing event that 13-year-old Scot involved with.

:14:20.:14:27.

I agree -- 13-year-olds got involved with. It is ridiculous, looking

:14:28.:14:30.

back, that it took so long for this to happen. To me, it is the end of

:14:31.:14:36.

the 20th century, his passing. The end of an era of great struggles

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against oppression for the B had fascism, coming as, apartheid and

:14:41.:14:45.

horrible ideologies. It was a great man who transcended everything and

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one of the very few global figures... Gandhi is another one.

:14:50.:14:57.

You are right, he is probably the last of the 20th-century figures

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with that iconic status. Polly is right, the ante apartheid --

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anti-apartheid movement was pretty small to begin with and it was a

:15:07.:15:11.

long time before it grew. Can we pat ourselves on the back as a country,

:15:12.:15:14.

that written in general, London in particular, -- Britain in general

:15:15.:15:19.

was a main centre for the anti-apartheid movement? I think we

:15:20.:15:26.

can all stop there is something special about London and the British

:15:27.:15:30.

people in terms of their capacity to embrace global struggles. Whatever

:15:31.:15:35.

their political leaders are saying or doing, and that is to the credit

:15:36.:15:39.

of the British people. I found that there were trade union groups, the

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mothers' union, village halls, ordinary people in rural and urban

:15:44.:15:50.

England who recognised that apartheid was a gross injustice. But

:15:51.:15:54.

there was a hell of a political divide between Labour and the

:15:55.:15:58.

Liberals on one side and the Conservatives on the other. But at

:15:59.:16:02.

the end of the day, the people won. That is what Nelson Mandela

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symbolises, that whatever happens in terms of the Cold War or party

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politics, people's movements and activism, when rooted in values and

:16:14.:16:19.

vision is, can triumph. "The plan is working, but the job of

:16:20.:16:25.

recovery is not yet done" . That was the message from Chancellor George

:16:26.:16:27.

Osborne yesterday as he outlined his Autumn Statement to MPs. But despite

:16:28.:16:33.

growth returning to the UK economy, the Office for Budget Responsibility

:16:34.:16:36.

warned of the risks with the recovery fuelled by consumer

:16:37.:16:38.

spending and high levels of household debt, which could top ?2

:16:39.:16:47.

trillion within four years. The OBR expected the economy to grow by 1.4%

:16:48.:16:51.

this year, double the 0.6% they predicted in March, and by 2.4% next

:16:52.:16:56.

year, higher than they predicted in March as well. The higher than

:16:57.:17:02.

expected level of growth means the chancellor will or less this year

:17:03.:17:08.

that was forecast at the Budget, and he told MPs yesterday that he hopes

:17:09.:17:11.

to run a surplus of ?2 billion in 2018-19. The deficit may have

:17:12.:17:16.

started falling again after two years of little movement, but total

:17:17.:17:20.

debt is still eye-wateringly high and is due to peak at ?1.4 trillion

:17:21.:17:28.

by 2015-16. I have no idea what that means, but it does mean we will have

:17:29.:17:33.

to work for longer, with Osborne announcing that the retirement age

:17:34.:17:37.

will go up at a faster rate. Those in their late 30s will now have to

:17:38.:17:41.

wait until they are 69 to claim a pension. But it was not all gloomy

:17:42.:17:47.

news. The chancellor announced that National Insurance contributions are

:17:48.:17:50.

being scrapped for employers taking on someone who is under 21 as part

:17:51.:17:57.

of an attempt to bring down youth unemployment. And there were

:17:58.:17:59.

measures to help bring down the cost of living. There was the planned 2p

:18:00.:18:08.

fuel duty rise for next year which has been cancelled, and average rail

:18:09.:18:11.

fares will be frozen in real terms from January. This morning, the

:18:12.:18:16.

chancellor was challenged on whether this was the wrong type of recovery,

:18:17.:18:20.

fuelled by consumer spending and high levels of debt. I don't accept

:18:21.:18:27.

that, because actually, 400 thousand new jobs have been created this

:18:28.:18:33.

year. Those are new opportunities for people, many of whom would have

:18:34.:18:37.

been out of work because of the recession we endured in 2008 and

:18:38.:18:44.

2009. Jobs are being created in businesses like this and in small

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businesses. Yesterday, we were able to provide help for those high

:18:50.:18:56.

street shops trying to stay open. There is better news cost the

:18:57.:18:59.

country, but I would be first to say that we have got to work through

:19:00.:19:04.

this plan. The biggest risk would be coming off the plant that has got us

:19:05.:19:09.

this far. So how does the Autumn Statement

:19:10.:19:12.

look 24 hours on? Our political correspondent joins us now. What a

:19:13.:19:26.

lovely winter scene. Obviously, the whole Autumn Statement was hugely

:19:27.:19:28.

overshadowed by the death of Nelson Mandela, but how does it look this

:19:29.:19:34.

morning? What bits are getting praise and what bits are beginning

:19:35.:19:46.

to unravel? As you mentioned, the Office for Budget Responsibility,

:19:47.:19:49.

set up as an independent body by daughters worn, has been questioning

:19:50.:19:55.

the nature of the recovery -- it was set up by George Osborne. What lies

:19:56.:20:02.

beneath the recovery led by consumer spending? Lots of people are

:20:03.:20:06.

appealing to their much diminished savings in order to spend. That

:20:07.:20:10.

could lead you on to Labour's territory about talking about a cost

:20:11.:20:16.

of living crisis, with people dipping into their savings to make

:20:17.:20:20.

ends meet. There was more disappointing news from the Office

:20:21.:20:22.

for Budget Responsibility, because we are not getting the export led

:20:23.:20:25.

recovery that the government would like. Forecast are disappointing.

:20:26.:20:31.

The OBR are also concerned about house prices, which are rising more

:20:32.:20:37.

than they were forecasting in March. Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince

:20:38.:20:44.

Cable is worried about that as well. But the slightly gloomier economic

:20:45.:20:51.

news is not necessarily bad for the chancellor. Going into the next

:20:52.:20:54.

election, his phrase will be, a lot done, a lot still to do. I have

:20:55.:21:00.

given you a recovery, but it is too fragile to be passed into Labour's

:21:01.:21:08.

clumsy hands. They would drop it. He wants voters not to be tempted to

:21:09.:21:12.

say OK, you have sorted out the mess, and now we can trust Labour to

:21:13.:21:16.

spend our money and tackle the cost of living.

:21:17.:21:22.

We are doing to now by the financial Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid

:21:23.:21:26.

Javid. The Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie is in our

:21:27.:21:31.

Nottingham studio and in Middlesbrough, the Lib Dem Treasury

:21:32.:21:37.

spokesman, Ian Swales. Sajid Javid, most of the growth this year has

:21:38.:21:42.

been fuelled by consumer spending. House prices are up 7.7% compared to

:21:43.:21:48.

last year. Household debt is 116 million pounds higher than forecast

:21:49.:21:53.

to be six months ago. This is just a mini version of the boom we had in

:21:54.:21:59.

the lead up to 2007. Let me quickly associate myself with the comments

:22:00.:22:03.

of Paul Boateng first on Nelson Mandela, who was an inspiration to

:22:04.:22:09.

me and it was sad news yesterday. Turning to your question, what we

:22:10.:22:11.

heard yesterday from the chancellor was confirmation that the economy is

:22:12.:22:17.

growing faster than perceived before. The OECD said a couple of

:22:18.:22:23.

weeks ago that the British economy is growing faster than any other

:22:24.:22:28.

developed economy. There has also been an upgrade in job forecasts.

:22:29.:22:32.

But I was asking you about the content. The economy is growing in

:22:33.:22:41.

all sectors, not just services. Manufacturing and other sectors are

:22:42.:22:46.

growing. Exports are not growing. They are. They fell in the last

:22:47.:22:53.

quarter. Since this government came to office, exports have grown stop

:22:54.:22:58.

it would be an incompetent government that could not get any

:22:59.:23:03.

export growth. They have not grown this year. You could pick one

:23:04.:23:08.

particular quarter and said they did not grow them, but we need to focus

:23:09.:23:14.

on -- we should have focused on exports a decade ago. This

:23:15.:23:19.

government has started doing that. Exports are almost 100% to some

:23:20.:23:27.

countries. We are getting the job done. Business investment is not

:23:28.:23:32.

growing. Overall investment is growing. Business investment is not

:23:33.:23:41.

growing. The economy is growing by 1.4% this year. 1.2% of that is

:23:42.:23:45.

consumer spending. Business investment is a negative -0.4%. It

:23:46.:23:52.

is because of the lack of investment but growth is less than it would be.

:23:53.:23:58.

Investment is coming through. It takes time for confidence to build.

:23:59.:24:07.

But the fact is matter. Business investment has been a drag on

:24:08.:24:13.

growth. It has played no part in the 1.4% growth rate. Alistair, help me

:24:14.:24:20.

out. That is true. Do this investment is a drag on growth. They

:24:21.:24:28.

are hoarding something like 700 LE and pounds -- 700 Ilium pounds.

:24:29.:24:36.

Unfortunately, it seems like the recovery will be driven primarily by

:24:37.:24:42.

consumer spending. Exports are not growing fast enough and

:24:43.:24:44.

house-building is not growing fast enough. We would all like to see all

:24:45.:24:57.

those things grow faster. We have to deal with the huge problems this

:24:58.:25:00.

government has inherited, bigger than any other industrialised

:25:01.:25:05.

country. Part of that was having a method to bring back confidence to

:25:06.:25:07.

the economy, make sure interest rates stay low to encourage

:25:08.:25:13.

investment. Foreign investment is at a record rate in Britain at the

:25:14.:25:19.

moment. In the first six months of this year, the OECD said Britain saw

:25:20.:25:23.

more foreign direct investment than any other country except China. The

:25:24.:25:30.

whole world is investing in us. You are selling off a loss of our stuff

:25:31.:25:33.

to state-owned companies elsewhere. Chinese, French energy, everything

:25:34.:25:38.

we are building and doing here, we seem to be selling to other

:25:39.:25:43.

people's state-owned companies. It is all right to nationalise as long

:25:44.:25:49.

as it is not in this country. Chris Leslie, are you able to answer any

:25:50.:25:53.

of the questions I asked you yesterday that you were not able to

:25:54.:26:00.

answer? Before you repeat the question, I think it would be

:26:01.:26:03.

appropriate if I also paid tribute on the death of Nelson Mandela. It

:26:04.:26:09.

is important that all of our comments are put in that context

:26:10.:26:14.

today. So, does Labour support the principle of a welfare cap? Yes.

:26:15.:26:20.

Would that include tensions? We want to have a welfare cap like the

:26:21.:26:29.

government have said, that tries to define the benefits paid out in

:26:30.:26:32.

society. The best way to do that is to look at the social security

:26:33.:26:38.

expenditure we have over a 20 or 30 year time frame. The cap will

:26:39.:26:47.

probably include some pension benefits in the long-term full of it

:26:48.:26:51.

is not right that the winter fuel allowance is paid to the richest 5%

:26:52.:26:57.

of pensioners. We know there is a triple lock on the basic state

:26:58.:27:01.

pension, and we agree with that. But would Labour's cap, which you agree

:27:02.:27:07.

with in principle, include the state pension? In the near term, we don't

:27:08.:27:10.

think we should depart from the triple lock. But over a 20 or 30

:27:11.:27:18.

year period, if you are managing welfare, just as you have to make

:27:19.:27:20.

changes on life expect to see to reflect the cost of retirement

:27:21.:27:26.

benefits, we need to make tough decisions on this. We will probably

:27:27.:27:30.

need to include pension benefits in the overall welfare expenditure

:27:31.:27:37.

limitations. But it is important to stress that we also believe the

:27:38.:27:42.

triple lock for the basic state pension is important. I don't

:27:43.:27:45.

understand how you can have the triple lock and a cap on benefit

:27:46.:27:51.

that includes pensions. Well, ask Sajid Javid. The government has made

:27:52.:27:57.

it clear that they are excluding pensions, and I want to work out

:27:58.:28:03.

whether you would or would not. You will find that you can't have a

:28:04.:28:09.

welfare cap of ?120 billion. What is the answer? Excluding pensions from

:28:10.:28:19.

the cap. How can you say it is a ?120 billion cap? I am talking about

:28:20.:28:37.

the 120 billion. If you take the state pension out and exclude

:28:38.:28:41.

job-seeker's allowance, you are down to about 120 billion. Have a look at

:28:42.:28:55.

the figures. I have. They made announcements about the retirement

:28:56.:29:00.

age. There are tough decisions to be taken about that. For us, the key is

:29:01.:29:07.

that it is based on evidence and not just ministers to give their finger

:29:08.:29:12.

in the air and making a guess. I will file my questions under F for

:29:13.:29:15.

failure for two days in a row. You are not making me look good. Ian

:29:16.:29:23.

Swales, are the Lib Dems signing up to the proposed fiscal charter which

:29:24.:29:28.

would almost legally lock in continued deficit reduction? We

:29:29.:29:37.

believe the economy should be run in a way that does deal with the

:29:38.:29:43.

deficit. We will sign up to the charter as part of this government.

:29:44.:29:49.

We believe the economy needs to have Dutch lower deficits that we have

:29:50.:29:52.

got today, and you need to take tough decisions to do that. Chris is

:29:53.:29:58.

pretending they will, and that the WP secretary said they would be

:29:59.:30:01.

tougher on welfare than the Tories, but they have voted against every

:30:02.:30:05.

welfare cut being proposed in this government, so I have no idea where

:30:06.:30:09.

they are welfare. Sajid Javid, don't you have a real problem when the

:30:10.:30:17.

median wage in this country, the typical wage a worker gets, is no

:30:18.:30:22.

higher than it was in 2003? And under the OBR forecast, it does not

:30:23.:30:27.

even get to prerecession levels until after 2018. Clearly many

:30:28.:30:35.

families up and down the country are facing any key challenges, including

:30:36.:30:41.

with wages. If we are going to deal -- facing unique challenges. We have

:30:42.:30:45.

to deal with the problems. The recession was the deepest in living

:30:46.:30:53.

memory and left the country a lot poorer. Clearly there are

:30:54.:30:55.

consequences and dealing with that will take a lot of time. That is

:30:56.:31:03.

what the government is doing. It is a last 15 years, in effect, from

:31:04.:31:11.

2003. -- lost 15 years. The OBR is saying that GP will be a total of

:31:12.:31:18.

15% but wages will grow only by 7.5%. So even as the economy, by

:31:19.:31:23.

your standards, is beginning to repair itself and growth is

:31:24.:31:27.

beginning to return, the workers, people earning wages, are not

:31:28.:31:32.

sharing. Their wages will rise by half of the growth in the economy.

:31:33.:31:36.

We have a plan to deal with that. That is the evidence that was

:31:37.:31:42.

presented to Parliament yesterday. We need more graves, more jobs...

:31:43.:31:48.

This is until 2015, you have not got a plan. We have a plan that is

:31:49.:31:52.

working and if we deviate from this plan, if we abandon the

:31:53.:31:57.

government's economic plan and listen to the people it took about

:31:58.:31:59.

more spending, more borrowing, more debt, the situation would be a lot

:32:00.:32:06.

worse. I don't think anyone said you should abandon your plan. I just

:32:07.:32:11.

asked the question. He wants to abandon the plan. I am not sure he

:32:12.:32:17.

does now. Why did Ed Balls make such a Horlicks of yesterday? Plenty of

:32:18.:32:22.

conservatives would like to say that. 350 or so Conservative MPs

:32:23.:32:28.

were barracking and Jiri. I defy anybody to try to get their voice

:32:29.:32:31.

heard in that environment -- and jeering. All his posts, and utterly

:32:32.:32:39.

breathtaking complacency -- is hosts.

:32:40.:32:42.

The Chancellor is incomplete denial. For most people in our country,

:32:43.:32:52.

living standards are not rising. They are falling, year on year, on

:32:53.:32:58.

year. He used to say he would balance the books in 2015. Now he

:32:59.:33:07.

wants us to congratulate him for saying he will do it in 2019, Mr

:33:08.:33:14.

Speaker. Chris Leslie, you say that conservatives are out to say he did

:33:15.:33:18.

so badly. Can I tell you that off the record, myself and my own people

:33:19.:33:24.

have had three separate briefings from Labour aides, some of them

:33:25.:33:28.

close to Mr Miliband, essentially bad-mouthing Ed Balls. It is always

:33:29.:33:35.

off the record, isn't it? There are all sorts of people you might want

:33:36.:33:37.

to quote but until you can tell me... I am glad you played the clip.

:33:38.:33:44.

First of all, it showed Ed Balls communicating very loud and clear

:33:45.:33:48.

that this is a Chancellor who is out of touch with the cost of living

:33:49.:33:53.

crisis. He also, very loud and clear, made the point that this is a

:33:54.:33:57.

Chancellor who wants to be congratulated for failing to meet

:33:58.:34:01.

his plan to balance the books in 2015. We now have four more years of

:34:02.:34:07.

this large amount of borrowing. Remember, more borrowing in the

:34:08.:34:10.

three years since the general election than was borrowed by the

:34:11.:34:15.

previous government in the previous 13 years. They failed on their own

:34:16.:34:19.

targets and the cost of living crisis continues. We'll Ed Balls

:34:20.:34:23.

still be Shadow Chancellor this time, next year?

:34:24.:34:25.

Andrew Neil is joined by the Guardian's Polly Toynbee and City AM Editor Allister Heath for all the latest political news, including UK reaction to the death of Nelson Mandela.

Also on the programme, analysis of the Autumn Statement and Labour MP Tom Watson, on how he managed to vote the wrong way on an issue he campaigned for.


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