09/12/2013 Daily Politics


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 09/12/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. Work and Pensions


Secretary Iain Duncan Smith faces MPs as he tries to explain why the


Government's flagship welfare reform has been knocked off course.


Christmas has come early to Westminster - MPs are to get an 11%


pay rise - have they really been that well-behaved?


Abuse in Britain's care homes - can the system cope with financial and


demographic pressures? And Parliamentarians prepare to make


their tribute to Nelson Mandela - we'll hear how he inspired British


politicians. All that in the next hour. And with


us for the first half of the programme today is Lawrence


Tomlinson, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Department for Business,


Innovation and Skills. Every department should have one. Welcome


to the programme, Lawrence. Thank you.


This afternoon, the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith


will be appearing before a committee of MPs to answer questions about the


implementation of the flagship universal credit scheme. The new


benefit, which replaces six separate payments, is being gradually rolled


out. But last week his department admitted that not quite everybody


will have been transferred onto the new scheme by the planned 2017


deadline. That seems quite a change from what he said just three months


ago when he insisted that all was fine. Here he is speaking in the


Commons, and then again in an interview from last week.


Unlike the previous Government, who went and crashed one IT programme


after another, no Government minister ever intervened to change


them early so they delivered on time. We are not doing that. I have


taken action on this particular programme. This programme will


deliver on time and in budget. Universal credit, the plan that we


are putting forward, expanding from the Pathfinder and rolling out, it


will essentially be complete and rolling out, it will essentially be


complete under that plan by 2017. We may take a little longer on those


who are already in ESA with no work requirement on them, because they


are very vulnerable and we may want to take a bit more time with them.


They need to be processed and dealt with carefully.


And with us now is the Shadow Employment Minister, Stephen Timms


and the Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng, who is on the work and


pensions select committee. Welcome, both. Kwasi Kwarteng, on


time, in budget, those words will come back to haunt Iain Duncan


Smith. In September, he said the scheme was still on-time and on


budget, is not. A man was brought in who did very well at the Olympics,


he suggested that we should take more time, and the reason we are


doing that is, as I understand, people who are very vulnerable will


be exposed to any mistakes made. It is much better that the programme


should be done more slowly and that we get it right than that we should


rush out and get things wrong. At the end of the day, it will be very


vulnerable people affected and harmed. How much longer? I'm not


entirely sure how much longer it will take. Iain Duncan Smith has not


put a date on it, 2017 will not be the final date. It is fine for the


opposition to jump up and down and say there has been a delay, but the


Government is right in saying it is important to get it right than


Herriot and get it wrong. I think there might be a personal reason why


Iain Duncan Smith has said there would be no delay, while the rest of


us have seen there would be and now we can see it. It is a shambles.


Ministers fail to grasp the scale of the project. Public Accounts


Committee made that point. And they fail to decide exactly what they


wanted to build, and started building the IT before they made the


decision. Some of the key decisions have not been made. They need to


work out now what exactly this system is going to be, then to build


the IT to deliver it. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture,


universal credit is much better than anything Labour had. But it has to


work. Of course. We had a period of chronic worklessness, people on


benefits over ten years in the last Government, this is a much more


effective and more simple way of getting benefits to people who need


it most. Labour do not, I understand, oppose the principle.


You support the broad idea? We have always thought the principle was


very sensible, but it has been delayed until after the general


election. The the risk is that it could be delayed longer. We need


action to get it back on track. We have agreed between the two Mark Roe


of you that you are in favour of universal credit. -- between the two


of you. Did Iain Duncan Smith bury his head in the sand when, if we are


to believe Labour, they knew it was coming off the tracks? I think it is


rich for Labour to complain about the implementation, for 13 years


their operating system was inefficient and did not incentivise


people to get a job stop we are all here now, realising it will not be


online by 2017. Is it because it was too big a challenge for the civil


servants meant to be putting it in motion? You don't even know what you


will be putting into action? The initial green paper said it would


not be a major IT project, that was a ridiculous claim. I think that is


fair, it was a huge IT project with teething problems. We had this with


the NHS in the last Government, ?113 billion was wasted. How much has


been wasted on this? There are conflicting reports, the Public


health committee said ?140 million, we dispute that. It is likely to go


up. The suggestion is that ?300 million could be written off so far.


It looks as though they will build two different systems now, the


Francis Maude system and the Iain Duncan Smith system. Goodness knows


how much that will cost. Will there be two schemes running alongside


each other? Two IT systems, but both will be used. The money has not all


been written off. The public health committee did not write it all.


Francis Maude thinks you should go to the beginning and start again. If


that was the case, it would sound like a shambles, if you had to go


back to the drawing board and start again. I think the want about by


extension will be used in the final delivery. IT projects are difficult


for government, is that the same in the private sector, or is their


advice the private sector could give in terms of procurement and finding


the right companies to set up? I don't know, but it is good to see


two politicians generally agree on about the right direction. I am from


the private sector and have worked in Government in business,


innovation and skills for a period of time. People in those departments


work incredibly hard to implement these systems, I am sure the DWP


will be doing the same and will hopefully get to the end of it. Who


is to blame? Should Iain Duncan Smith take personal responsibility?


I don't think so. I think there was a problem with the implementation of


the IT, there were operational issues. And how Shippey has been


brought in as an independent person with good operational experience. We


warned about these problems three years ago. Iain Duncan Smith


emphasised in his response how much he was personally supervising the


project. He was warned it would take much longer than he said, he ignored


the warnings, he should take responsibility. How should he take


responsibility? In my view, he should be considering his position.


That is ridiculous. It is customary for Shadow Ministers to say the


minister should resign, of course he should not. It is the right scheme


going in the right direction, incentivising people to go into


work. Howard Shipley has said that they need to take their time to make


sure it goes on the right direction. Two we are calling for cross-party


talks. How would they achieve this plan getting online? That would seem


to imply that the government does not want to get it online, when they


do. There has been too much secrecy over the last few years, a refusal


to own up to what is going, a good news culture. We need openness, we


need to be able to see what is going on and a target, which we are


confident will be delivered. Of course we need transparency. That is


why the Secretary of State is appearing before a committee this


afternoon, we will be asking questions and there will be


openness. We would like to knows that questions you have post, why it


has taken as long as it has, when he thinks the scheme can be delivered


fully by. It struck us as strange that the announcements came out that


the deadline would be almost on the day of the Autumn Statement, was


that a case of bearing bad news? As you know, there are lots of


conflicting issues with timing. A big issue as a flagship government


programme missing its deadline. We have two and a half weeks to


Christmas, it is probably a good time. The NHS Labour write-off could


be ?10 billion. We all hoped lessons had been learned, sadly they have


not. The old mistakes and words have been repeated. The value is almost


more than 100 times the value that has been suggested we should write


off in this case. Kwasi Kwarteng and Stephen Timms, thank you. Something


a little different now. Time for our daily quiz. Ed Balls is learning to


play the piano. And yesterday, after answering some tricky questions from


the media following the Autumn Statement, he performed in his first


public recital. So what did he play? Was it Chopsticks, Der Dichter


Spricht by Schumann, Angels by Robbie Williams - Ed Miliband's


favourite song - or The Hills are Alive from the Sound of Music? We'll


give you the correct answer at the end of the show.


Now, want to be a wildly successful racing driving entrepreneur like our


guest of the day? Here's how. When he's not hot desk in the


business department one day a week, Lawrence Tomlinson will be found


here at his factory in Yorkshire. I did not realise there was no oil in


there. Is he coming from Spain to test it? Is that a reverse gear?


His company makes sports cars, export them, runs a championship


with them and Lawrence races them. Would be drive that he has two make


sure that car is winning every single race, I suppose you could


say, is phenomenal. Does he ever lose his temper? I have seen it on a


few occasions, luckily never at me. This is Lawrence's own car. You


could have won for just ?68,000. Oh, and there is an 18 month waiting


list. If cars are his passion, here is his mission, a chain of 36 care


homes. Have you heard about Lawrence Tomlinson, the owner?


I know his name and I have met him once. He was very sharp, very quick


and out, but he was very nice. He spoke. That he was like a whirlwind.


Lawrence does not just run these places, he has another firm building


them for other people and yet another providing software for them.


All from fairly humble beginnings. When he was 24, his parents had a


care home adapted from a large, existing property. Somebody came to


buy it, Lawrence looked up the deal and even though he was working in an


engineering job he said, I can see value in that. So instead of a


third-party buying the home, Laurence bought both that home and


the home of the person trying to buy it, which got him into care, he has


never looked since. What got into the headlines was his investigation


into RBS. He accused one of their divisions of forcing customers out


of business so the bank could buy their assets at bargain basement


prices. Some were surprised by the strident tone of the report. Let's


ask his boss. Is there a danger that all those qualities that make a


great businessman make him a live wire in the Whitehall Government


world? I'm not making a character


assessment, I don't know him very well. I have seen his work, it is


sufficiently disturbing that I have passed it on to the regulators and


as them to follow up. I know the bank taking this very seriously.


Their business theory that Lawrence only took action against RBS because


he is an aggrieved customer angry with the bank because they made him


feel like a loser -- there is a theory that. Let's discuss that


controversial report Lawrence Tomlinson wrote about the banks'


treatment of small business. We asked for an interview with RBS, who


bore the brunt of Lawrence's criticism. They didn't want to talk


to us this morning but they did give us this statement:


we are joined by the city analyst, Louise Cooper. First of all, where


is your evidence? My evidence is in the dossier of evidence that I


compiled in the report. Isn't it anecdotal? No, we have done a lot of


analysis, we probably had 200 cases that we looked at, distilled into


the first report. Isn't it the case that the treatment by the turnaround


divisions, the departments that deal with customers in difficulty, it is


no wonder that many of them ended up going out of business, it is a fact


of business life and they would do anything to say their businesses are


fine. I would agree entirely on that point but these are businesses that


we looked at, people we spoke to who were not in that position. Had that


been the case, or had it been the case that this was happening between


2008 and 2010, when the bank was in turmoil and we bailed the bank out,


I would have certainly accepted that. But these are cases that are


different from those you described. What was your reaction? It was a


very serious allegation, to say that firms who were in good health were


deliberately being put on life support, which would benefit the


bank itself. If you look at the statistics from the insolvency


service, you could actually argue, almost the entire opposite. That in


fact, banks have been very restrained and highly tolerant of


business is in trouble. If you look at the corporate liquidation,


companies that have been wound down, in 2002, before the crisis, there


was over 16,000 corporate liquidation is. If you look at every


year since the crisis, only one year where the number has been


significantly more than that. If you look at compulsory liquidations,


where companies are forced to go bust, that is actually now lower. In


2011, 503. 2012, 421. The actual statistics paint a very different


picture. Why does your report not follow the line of statistics? That


is interesting, those are overall statistics for the banking industry.


If you look at RBS geology, only 6% of there's a meeting in London on


if you think that less than one in ten are coming back into normal


banking from GRG, that is really interesting.


When capital is cheap and easy and there is a lot about, the line for


when a company is viable is a generous to the Company, because


money is cheap. Money may be cheap now but it is not plentiful. Banks


almost went bust, they need to rebuild their balance sheets.


Capital is no longer everywhere. Capital is very restrained.


Therefore banks have to react to be in bar and they are in. The


complaint has been that they are not lending to small businesses. RBS


were lending 55 billion to companies, they are now lending 38


billion, so they have shrunk that tremendously. They have shrunk the


whole of their Labour, it is a much smaller than it ever was. They have


reduced the balance sheet by 900 billion. They have gone from 55 to


38. These are businesses that were viable, clearly viable and were sent


down a road... That is what the report says. Who knows, none of us


are fortune-tellers. I am happy to have made a judgement on some of


these cases. I had 200 cases that I put into the report. Since then I


have had another, roughly 300 cases. I am looking at 500 cases. Of which


I reject a lot. I just can't believe that this isn't systematic. In the


report, and this is what I am asking RBS to investigate... And they are


going to. They couldn't ignore an allegation of that seriousness. They


have instructed Clifford Chance and people who have seen the report and


the evidence are also shocked. One of the accusations made in the film


was about your nation ship with RBS and whether that should have been


declared. -- your relationship or the pew do not have declared that


RBS had given you a big overdraft and you were in dispute? -- should


you not have declared? Everybody who came to me asked to be an because


they are so frightened of what they say is happening in GRG. Should you


have disclosed it to Vince Cable? It was clear to Vince Cable and the


department, when I started this job, that that was the case. This


dispute I have is absolutely irrelevant. I wish it was another


bank that I was speaking about, not one I have an ongoing relationship


with. The relationship to banks from the public is hardly good and a lot


of people will say it is totally credible. They could believe that


those practices were going on. Businesses will anecdotally have


strong evidence to say not only were we not lend to, they will not even


answer phone calls. Why are you so sceptical? Banker bashing is a


terribly popular pastime for all classes of our society. It is not


that I am sceptical. I am sure there will be some appallingly bad cases


and that makes me very unhappy. My concern is that we have anecdotal


evidence only, and you are turning that into a trend. Which I can't


quite get there. 450 cases don't follow a trend? Is that


realistically true? The second thing is none of us are fortune-tellers.


We cannot predict the future. Making a decision as to whether a business


is viable or not is very difficult. They will sometimes get it wrong,


there will sometimes get it right. Nobody from the outside can say, it


is viable, it is not viable. The easiest thing, I am happy to sit


down in a room with Louise and show her the evidence, and she will be


truly shocked about what has been going on, in fact. You can go and do


that at a time convenient to both of you. How have civil servants


responded to your report? The civil servants have seen the main body of


the evidence and are appalled by what has been happening. They have


been very supportive. Thank you very much.


There is a meeting in London on Wednesday, bringing together experts


from the worlds largest economies to focus on the growing problem of


dementia. The incurable condition is one that's putting increasing


pressure on care homes - in terms of capacity but also the quality of


care. That was an issue brought into sharp focus by a Panorama programme,


broadcast in 2011, which exposed terrible abuse in Winterbourne View


private hospital. Let's take a look at a clip from that disturbing


programme now, which contains footage some viewers may find


upsetting. This is a residential hospital. It


is supposed to care for adults with learning difficulties. People unable


to care for themselves. But Panorama has been undercover, and found


systematic abuse. Patients suffering. Staff out of control.


Away from their families, these were patients without a voice.


Disturbing footage indeed. Here with me now is Caroline


Abrahams from Age UK, the former Care Minister and Lib Dem MP Paul


Burstow, and Lawrence Tomlinson is still with us - his company runs


more than 50 care homes. We will make the distinction between the


footage from a private hospital as opposed to a care home, as you


brought up with me. The film showed abuse by carers in the hospital


rather than elderly care homes. Generally, for all of us who will


have to rely on monitors, being cared for later in life, out of


their own home, it is a worry isn't it? It is a huge worry. The


landscape going forward is particularly worrying. There is


about a three-year time to build new facilities so even if we started to


date, two built these facilities for people with dementia, you are


talking a big time delay -- if we started today, to build these


facilities. You are talking three years from deciding to build a care


home, from having one care home operating. How big a problem will


that be? It is right that there is that time lag but there is a bigger


issue, a societal one. There is a structural lag in society in terms


of ageing. We are about 20 years behind where ageing really is.


People are living much longer and that doesn't mean we will need more,


but different sorts of care institutions in the future. -- that


doesn't mean. -- that does mean. The -- we have care in people's


homes care homes, and some facilities do enough but we are --


need to see more. We get cases from time to time that we would look into


and investigate fully. Which is what you would expect to do. We give


everyone that works for me, 2000 people, give them all an iPhone,


they have a button and they can contact me directly if they think


there is something going wrong. We would be encouraging whistle-blowing


and we have fantastic staff and great training. It is very difficult


in the current financial environment, with local authorities.


I am dealing with 152 local authorities, it is never easy. That


is the point, finances are important. If you are talking about


the number of care homes and people being paid a reasonable salary to do


a very difficult job, is that part of the problem in terms of cases of


neglect and abuse? It is probably the biggest problem. The inspector


has just done a report on care homes and found there was an association


between turnover of staff and incidence of neglect. If you have an


unstable staff because people can't really afford to be there, you're


going to get problems. How widespread is it? When you see that


sort of footage, it is very disturbing. Is it rare, or is it


quite widespread? The same report I refer to found that one in ten care


homes have an issue they need to address, but not like that, that was


a horrible and graphic situation. But patients not being given enough


help to eat and drink, that is unfortunately quite a lot more


common. You are interesting local authorities at a time when their


budgets have been cut, a lot of them are taking money out of social care


budgets, that is the government's fault Test


this is a sector that is very much the orphan when it comes to how care


is looked at in this country. It has a stigma around it. But there are


good care homes and we don't focus enough on the good, we tend to just


report the bad. You said they are good because you have training and


are paying them a reasonable wage. It starts with physical environment


that people are working in and designing it to be fit for purpose.


Investment is key in the sector going forward. We have to create an


environment where people want to leave hospital, not be pushing


people out of hospital. I am doing some work with them -- with DEMOS


and we want to make sure we close the gap between the perception of


people who work in the sector and those who have erect experience


because family members are already in, who think care in care homes is


better -- who have direct experience. We want to make them


more like homes. We make sure they are genuinely hub is in the


community, where services are provided to not just those living


there but others in the community. And also they have greater


involvement in the community through voluntary work. Would that bring


down the number of cases of abuse and neglect? I think it would.


Everybody knows it is closed environments where abuse can thrive,


where anything can be going on and nobody can see. The more ordinary


members of the public going in and out, the better. If something is


going wrong, it is more likely to be picked up early. How important is


the inspection regime, in terms of keeping control of what is going on


in care homes? We should not relying on CQC. We have internal audits, the


way we look at other quality, then we have external people looking at


our quality before CQC come in. CQC is important, and they are picking


up at the end. Should it be a tougher regime of inspection? It


will be tougher, there can be potential criminal prosecution. One


of those is ranking the level of homes in tables? There will be a


return to the star rating system which the Labour Party scrapped full


stop -- scrapped. Does that improve the standard of care home? People


are understanding more through social media that they can vet where


they want to go. The one line, look at the reports. If you are looking


at placing someone, understand it. Is the Government spending enough?


Whether it is the Government or the local authority, there needs to be a


linking between quality and outcome and the amount they pay, not just a


flat rate. That needs to change across the UK. What about staff?


What do you think should change in terms of staff recruitment into care


homes? Reign we have to pay people more to do one important than


stressful job. At least a living wage, I think. I think many staff


are on minimum wage, which is why we have high staff turnover. People in


charge of the homes are crucial. We know the leadership of an


institution is important, when places have not done very well and


suddenly get better it is usually because someone good has gone to run


the home. Would you be happy to put your elderly relatives in a care


home? That is why I am doing this, to hope that if I have to do that it


would be good quality. It is the right case for people to be


sometimes, but I would like more options for supported care Housing


in between, not just at home or in a care home, lots of stages in


between. With more and more people going to become old over the next


ten or 20 years, do you honestly think the problem will only get


worse, not better? The government needs to put more money into social


care. There are signs of hope. Most older people can stay at home for


longer with the right support. I have got to say goodbye, it has


already got to that point in the programme. Thank you, Lawrence


Tomlinson. ?NEWLINE Now, normal parliamentary business has been set


aside this afternoon as MPs and peers gather to pay tribute to


Nelson Mandela - Giles has two of those MPs with him in central lobby.


Yes, if they finish early they might squeeze a bit of business to the


house today, but most of the time will begin to these tributes to


Nelson Mandela. I am joined by the Conservative -- a Conservative MP


and a Labour MP. Many people are acknowledging the iconic status of


Nelson Mandela and his achievements, but not everybody is


that well-informed of the history of what happened. Not lost on you? No,


I grew up in Ghana in West Africa, the first sub-Saharan Africa and


country to get independence, so I was very conscious of the struggle


for self-government across the continent of Africa. Looking back,


the crowning achievement of Nelson Mandela is political, pulling his


country from the brink of what was a deeply divided racial situation. It


could have gone into civil war at that time, were it not for him. What


is remarkable is how we exercised moral authority in order to achieve


those ends. Our pathway was defeated through persuasion and


reconciliation, rather than violence. With everybody standing up


to speak, sometimes there is a competition to out to be chipper in


eloquence, is it important that MPs steer clear of beatify the man? He


was not a saint, he was never happy with people describing him as a


saint. You would not describe him as a saint, but he is an iconic leader,


you can't take that away from him and you would not want to. He has


done more for politicians and democracy across the world, to


inspire people, than anybody else during my whole life, certainly.


When I was in school, we knew about Nelson Mandela. When I had my first


Civics prize in the sixth form it was to do with the liberation


struggles of Africa. I was active in anti-apartheid. You met him? Indeed,


when he came here to meet various people including the Parliamentary


Labour Party, he and Winnie Mandela came. I was fortunate enough to be


very close to them. The men all crowded around Nelson Mandela, I


went to speak to Winnie. Which is odd, because he preferred to be


surrounded by women, he was very charming. That is part of his


reputation, he said he was not a saint! But she was at that time a


great inspiration to women. We should just explain, it is protocol


with you? I am a member of the Government, but the protocol reasons


I am not speaking. Why are you not? I have not put in to speak, I think


there are more important voices than mine. I was one of the foot soldiers


of the anti-apartheid movement, and although it matters hugely to me and


I shall listen to others, I mean not be contributing. It is interesting


in a world of 24-hour news to remind ourselves that in 1991 Nelson was


released from prison, the world 's television cameras were on him and


the BBC interrupted its coverage to show that. We got a record number of


complaints because it disrupted antiques road show.


Now, let's look at what's happening this week. As we discussed earlier,


the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith gives evidence to the


Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee.


Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will be among many leaders attending a


memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Soweto ahead of next Sunday's


funeral. On Wednesday, as usual we have PMQs - and the big question is


will Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman be back as stand-ins?


On Thursday, George Osborne gives evidence to the Treasury Select


Committee on the Autumn Statement. Also on Thursday, Parliament's


expenses watchdog, IPSA, is expected to announce an 11% increase to MPs'


salaries from 2015. I'm joined now by Tamara Cohen from


The Daily Mail and Rafael Behr from the New Statesman. Welcome to you


both. Let's start with that news about IPSA proposing the 11%


increase. What happens now? It is really difficult for all three party


leaders, they all want to see the cost of politics going down not up.


The reason that we have IPSA, the independent body looking at MPs'


pay, is because they've betrayed the public ours trust in the expenses


scandal. Soak for this whopping 11% increase to be recommended, there is


nothing that can really be done. But this is just catch up, it is because


they have resisted pay increases under the old system in the past


that the figure is 11%? Yes, and I am one of the tiny, weird minority


of people who feels a bit sorry for MPs on this. In the run-up to the


expenses scandal, MPs were given to understand that they could


discreetly fill their boots from expenses because was politically


impossible for them to award themselves a pay rise. That was


compensation. They were then busted doing much, so now it has become


impossible for them to give themselves a pay rise because of the


expenses scandal. Either way, they are stuck. They can't come out and


say that, frankly, people are doing difficult and stressful jobs in the


private sector getting paid more than us, because most people in the


country get paid less. At some stage, this has to change. Someone


has to be able to say, we value this job very highly, it is very


difficult and we want high-calibre people. It is not clear how you do


that so it does not look like politicians with their noses in the


ground. In the trough, probably, but we get your sentiment. Looking at


the universal credit system, it will not be quite on-time, nor on budget.


Where does this leave Iain Duncan Smith? It is disappointing for the


Conservatives, they wanted to go into the next election than saying


they have delivered this most ambitious things since the 1940s.


Iain Duncan Smith will be making the point to MPs this afternoon that the


lessons of previous computer scandals such as the tax credits one


a few years back is that it is better to slow down the pace and


make sure you get it right. He is saying that I delaying the


implementation until 2017 of the least, everyone will be on the


scheme and it will be a success. But we have had somebody's saying that


Iain Duncan Smith should consider his position? Labour will be keen to


pin serious blame, they have been playing catch up on the whole


welfare gender. It is tricky for Iain Duncan Smith, this was the one


big thing he promised to do. Other conservatives such as George Osborne


thought it might not work, the public want to hear that welfare


spending is coming down and our job as conservatives is to swing the axe


into the benefits budget, not get bogged down in the project. Some


people say they are not sure that IDS has the mouse or capability to


carry it out. -- has the nous or capability. A powerful Parliamentary


committee says he has wasted the best part of ?420 million, so at


what point does he take responsibility? Thank you very much.


. I'm joined for the rest of the


programme by three MPs: the Conservative, Mark Field, Labour's


John Woodcock and the Lib Dem Tom Brake. The first question for them


is - do they deserve a pay rise? Not just these three MPs - but all MPs.


The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority who decide on


these things think so - an ELEVEN percent pay rise in fact. -- and 11%


pay rise in fact, to be introduced in 2015. But leading politicians of


all parties have queued up to condemn the pay award - including


Danny Alexander on yesterday's Marr show.


I think most people will find it utterly incomprehensible that at a


time of pay restraint in the public sector, further squeezes on


Government spending, that Ibsen should recommend that. I think it


will be highly inappropriate for MPs to get such a big pay rise when


public sector workers are seeing their prices capped at 1%. I have


said in the past that I would not accept it. What can you do about it


as a Government? IPSA is independent, we have made a


submission to them that it would not be appropriate at a time of wider


public service restraints to go forward.


Tom Brake, is it a good thing? No, I think Danny is right. At a time when


the public sector is under very strike -- very tight pay restraints,


it would be the wrong time for MPs to get an increase. It is always the


wrong time, even when times were good, which is why the 11 cents I


look so high. Times are bad, which is why now is the bad time. A


decision has not taken. This would happen in the next parliament and


would be subject to a review. Would Ed Miliband go into 2015 saying they


would change the law and there will not be an 11th % pay rise? Ed


Miliband has been clear that this should not happen. There is never a


right time to do this but there is most definitely a wrong one. We have


to look around and understand just how much people are struggling. All


of us as a group of people, as Members of Parliament, as a


legislative body of government we have to take some responsibility for


what has happened to the country. People in the country are


struggling, businesses are struggling, this is not the time to


do something like this. Can you do anything about it or is it just


empty rhetoric? Most of your constituent would expect you to say


it is not right, but can you stop it? I think it is right that pay


remuneration was taken out of the hands of MPs, but I think it is


really important that it is a listen to what the country is saying and


act on this. -- really important that IPSA listen. The truth is that


IPSA have listened and in the last few months have come back with a


cost neutral package. They have said they would strip away some more of


the pension rights that MPs have, get rid of some of the allowances,


the idea being to make it more transparent and tried to get what we


should have had before the scandal in 2009, a little bit more on the


headline salary and to take away some of these benefits. No doubt I


would accept it. We have an independent body. If you want to


undermine IPSA, the whole idea is to draw a line under the scandals of


the past. There are many MPs with very large capital games, there


would have to be a police investigation into what happened


with expenses, which was conveniently done away with when we


went down this route. Danny Alexander 's earlier comment, you in


government have an opportunity to keep the cost of politics down, you


failing to do so. You have added 170 people to the House of Lords and the


last election, page ?300 per day expenses, no questions. We have the


largest cohort of special advisers, 92, with a 16% rise and that cost


over last year. I think it behoves you to get your own house in order


with that element of the cost of politics before putting pressure on


an independent body. Thank you for pointing that out, I don't think it


is the Liberal Democrats who can be accused of this. It is not just you.


We wanted a reform of the House of Lords and if that had gone ahead,


the cost of politics would have gone down. It is right, the number of


peers has gone up, exponentially, I take your point that that is not


what you wanted. Are there other areas where you could cap the cost


of politics, or reduce it in some ways? With special advisers, there


was a pledge to bring down the number of special advisers but it


has gone through the roof, as always happens when a new party gets into


government. We can still press on the issue of House of Lords reform.


The particular proposal in relation to what IPSA is bringing forward is


cost neutral. The increase in MPs' salaries would be offset against the


reduction in expenses. If they listen to the public in four or five


months, this idea that they are going ahead in some sort of ivory


tower is completely wrong. You have to accept that 11%, when we have had


public sector pay freezes over the last few years, wages have been


continually squeezed and most people will say, it is not just a question


that you don't deserve it, but just as a comparative with other


salaries. It is part and parcel of stripping away elements... The truth


is that IPSA came up with this proposal and said we want to


benchmark this against other professions, and we will go to the


lowest possible figure. Isn't it the same as a headmistress of a London


school in the south-east, a police chief? There are lots professions


for whom you could make a case ought to be paid differently, but that is


never treated in isolation. If you look at public sector workers, who


are going through pension changes, they don't see the government coming


along and saying, you have got to take care of your pension so here is


a whopping salary increase. What you have not answered is IPSA itself,


you brought in this new system. The whole point is it was supposed to be


independent and now you are bringing down your own system. I am not


bringing it down. IPSA have not yet taken a decision, it will be posted


thousands 15, it is possible they may come forward with something


which is difficult -- it will be post 2015 and it is possible they


may come forward with something different. We can't return the


money, so we would be left in a position, anyone serving in the 2015


Parliament, about what we would do with the increase that they had


given us. How much would you lie to be paid? -- like to be paid? I want


to see what happens in that review. I think IPSA did a good job of


looking at comparators but we are in a extremely difficult financial


position as a country. The public sector is not only facing pay


increases, but the sorts of things that MPs might be losing in terms of


pension rights and expenses are things that people in other areas of


work are also losing, so we can't sell it to them on that basis. It


goes back to your initial point, there is never going to be a good


time to do this. None of it will come into play in this Parliament so


the voters will have a say. The benchmarking suggested, and Tom


knows this, that MPs should be paid between 74 and 86,000. They came out


with the lowest possible figure on the basis that they thought there


would be a public backlash. I think they have tried to make this as cost


neutral as possible so therefore, let's run with it.


Talking about mental health has always been difficult for the last


week, one of our guests, John Woodcock, revealed he suffered from


depression. That followed last year's debate on mental health in


the House of Commons in which a number of MPs revealed their own


experience on mental illness. In 1996, I suffered from quite a deep


depression. It was related to work issues and other things going on in


my life at the moment. That is the first time I have spoken... Some


people in my family do not know what I am going to say. Because like a


lot of men, you try to deal with it yourself. You don't talk to people.


I just hope you realise what I am saying is very difficult for me now.


I did not make the decision until I put my notes down, to do it. It is


hard, because you don't realise first of all, it creeps up on you


very slowly. We are also in politics designed to think that somehow, if


you admit fault or fail to, -- failure, you're going to be looked


upon in a disparaging way in terms of the electorate but also your


peers. I am delighted to say that I have been a practising fruitcake for


31 years. It was 13 years ago, at St John's woodchip station, and I


remember it vividly, that I was visited by obsessive can disorder --


St John's would tube station. It has played a fairly significant part in


my life. On occasions it is manageable on on occasions it comes


quite difficult, it takes you to some dark places. MPs speaking


bravely and openly. Tell us about depression, why you decided to speak


out about it publicly. I have been through a stranger, I fell off a


ladder, I banged my head, I had a period where I was not able to do


much at all. It has been a slow recovery and I still don't have the


energy to do what I am -- I want. When I am exhausted I get really


low. It took me a while to recognise it. It was actually my wife who


said, I think you are depressed. My first reaction was, we are not going


there. But then I thought, I can do something about this. It was


actually Kevin Jones, Charles and Alistair Campbell, who have spoken


out about this brilliantly, who made me think, that as someone in front


line politics, I could do this privately. And because of the


opportunity they gave me to be able to do something about this by


speaking out themselves, I thought, shouldn't I make it public. That is


what I decided to do last week. Has it helped? I am glad that I spoke


about it. The reaction has been extraordinary. Really amazing. I


have had so much goodwill, it has been lovely. But actually, I have


had many constituents and others talking to me and saying, they have


suffered with problems over the years. Some of them have not been


able to get help. Some people saying, now I might get help, which


is amazing. One woman spoke to me at the weekend and she said, she had


had a bout of very severe mental health problems. She ended up


hospitalised. Her mother had said, you need to keep this quiet, don't


tell your brother. I think if people like Alistair and Kevin can speak


out, it can hopefully change people's perceptions and people can


think of it like a physical illness, which is ultimately what we need to


get to. There is a stigma, people are embarrassed about it. My father


also suffered from mental illness, nobody did want to talk about it or


face up to it. Do you think standing up in the House of Commons like


that, it is quite a brave thing to do? Will people think less of these


people? Dare I say, the more people who do it, the less the stigma will


attach. I think it has always been the case that mental health has been


this type of area. I want to give more money to it. Even in my own


case, I have not suffered from mental health problems but there


have been episodes in life, I can think of two, the first was the


death of my father and the other in my private life, when I probably


was, for a matter of months, feeling so low, thought I could not get out


of bed in the morning, this sort of thing. One of the things come in


Parliament and in many other workplaces, I hope there is more


support and encouragement for people who go through those phases. It is


different from a long-term, permanent mental health issue but a


lot of us have these short episodes as well. Do you think it is


difficult in politics to admit that actually, you do have these low


periods, even if it is not a constant illness? It is hard for


politicians to admit. It is hard for politicians, partly because the job


is so intense and there are stressful occasions. The workload is


there a demanding but there are lots of other professions and careers


where people are in the same place. I think the more people who talk


about it, and recognise that this is not exceptional, this is not


something many people will be experiencing in their lives, it is


something we need to be aware of and something that employers in


particular have a responsible to, to ensure that they can adapt to


situations where either they are perhaps recruiting somebody as a


mental health problem, or someone during the course of their working


life suffers from a problem where the employer has to make


adjustments. Thank you. Time to find out the answer to our daily quiz.


The question was, what did Ed Balls play at his first piano recital


yesterday? Was it Chopsticks, Der Dichter Spricht by Schumann, Angels


by Robbie Williams or The Hills Are Alive from the Sound of Music? So


what's the correct answer? I was going to say, it should be Angels if


he was going to try and keep in with his leader. I suspect it might be


the sound of music. Schumann. Well done, it was not the sound of the


zip. -- not the sound of music. The Sound of Music is the one that makes


him cry. We have a clip of him playing.


I think that could be a, B, C or D! You're absolutely right. I think he


needed to practice that as much as his Autumn Statement speech. You


need to defend Ed Balls here. Not about the piano performance. On the


day of the Autumn Statement... All through the Autumn Statement,


identikit great deal was actually added to the sum of human knowledge.


-- I don't think a great deal. In terms of a Parliamentary show from


members of Parliament as a whole, we did not do ourselves proud and we


need to do better. Were all of the Tory MPs which to go for Ed Balls?


-- whipped. I wasn't there. I think it is great that Ed Balls is taking


up the piano at his age. I have a five and a half -year-old son and a


two-year-old daughter who are both more proficient than I am. You have


got to start learning! Thank you for being our guests. The one o'clock


News is on BBC One. Have a great afternoon.


Download Subtitles