27/01/2014 Daily Politics


27/01/2014

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. David Cameron says

:00:37.:00:41.

he'll tear up red tape - including almost 100 building regulations - as

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the Government promises thousands of new affordable homes. Will it help

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get Britain building? A major incident alert has been

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issued in Somerset as large parts of the county remain under water. Local

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people are furious - is the Environment Agency doing enough?

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Feminism, the pill and... Pan's People. What did sexual revolution

:01:05.:01:09.

or the 60s and 70s really do for women?

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And after that promise to restore the 50p tax rate, will Ed Balls

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still get the balls for being pro-business?

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Balls. -- I have two go with Ed Balls. Because he is not a

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psychobabble. -- psychopath.

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Very subtle. All that in the next hour. And with us for the first half

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of the programme today is Joan Bakewell, former television

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presenter, now a Labour Peer. Welcome to the programme. Let's

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start with Syria, because there's increasing pressure on the British

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government to take refugees from the war-torn country. The conflict has

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claimed more than 100,000 lives, with more than nine million people

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displaced. Britain is already the second biggest aid donor, but Labour

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has called for the door to be opened to refugees. Foreign Secretary

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William Hague was asked yesterday what the Prime Minister's plans

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entailed. He did open the door. The Home

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Secretary is working on that and we'll have more to say on that in

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the coming days. There is a case for particularly helping people who are

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particularly vulnerable. Is that code for Christians? That is what

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the Home Secretary is working on. How we can help people who may need

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to get away from the region altogether, who are particularly

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vulnerable to violence. This is being worked on. The Prime Minister

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and Home Secretary will discuss it further.

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Joan Bakewell, should Britain be taking Syrian refugees? Yes, I think

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the phrase open door puts terror into people. Also, there is

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confusion about the idea of immigrants and asylum seekers. But

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people in desperate need really need to come for a period while the

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situation recovers, then they can return home. I do think there is a

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case. On humanitarian grounds. The British people are very sympathetic

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to suffering when they see it. They have a capacity to be very generous

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as individuals. I go back to the time of evacuation when people took

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children into their homes. There is a case for bringing people,

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particularly women, because rape is a weapon of war. Who would you have

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come over here from Syria? The homeless, the people in hospitals,

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the people in need of medical help. I think children. The consequences

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for children is going to be damaging for the future of the country. I

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would start there. How many? I would not like to put a number on it. I

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think numbers have to be carefully tabulated. The open door phrase is

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inappropriate. A few hundred does not sound like too many? It was

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worth saying that it was Nigel Farage you started this idea. He

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said we should take in asylum seekers. Let's start with 500, go up

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to a thousand and see what can be accommodated. What about religious

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groups? Nigel Farage indicated that perhaps we should look at Christians

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firstly? I do not like people being identified politically by their

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religious identity. That is really dangerous. But people in need will

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be of all religions. I think religious identification would be

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tricky. I would not demarcated thataway.

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-- I would not demarcate it that way. Now, despite better news on the

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economy, there are fears it's driving a big and possibly

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unsustainable rise in house prices, partly because of a shortage of new

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housing, especially in the South East. Today the Government is

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announcing plans for more affordable homes. Last year their own figures

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showed a 26% drop in the number of affordable homes built in England in

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2012 to 2013 compared to the year before. There's also pressure from

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Labour, with Ed Miliband promising to build 200,000 new homes a year by

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2020. So a new programme is being launched to build 165,000 affordable

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homes over three years. The scheme is being funded jointly by the

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Government and private investment, and will cost ?23 billion in total.

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In a speech this morning, David Cameron has announced a blitz on red

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tape by cutting more than 100 housing regulations down to ten. He

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claims this will save developers around ?60 million a year.

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With us now is the Housing Minister, Kris Hopkins. We're also joined by

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Brendan Sarsfield, CEO of the housing provider, Family Mosaic.

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Welcome to both of you. Kris Hopkins, 165,003 years, is that

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enough? It is what we can afford at this moment. We are halfway through

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a current programme, and we are quite ambitious about the period

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2015, to 2018. In December, a survey found that over the last six months

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demand has grown by 10.2% and supply has declined. It looks like you are

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going backwards? All I can say is that the present programme, halfway

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through the delivery of that, and we have delivered more than half. We

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are very confident we can deliver 170,000. That is why we have gone

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out there in difficult times and put our money on the table. We have got

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the support from the private sector. We have had ?23 billion worth of

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investment. How are you going to get more private investment to finish

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the job? We are confident that we will receive, by April, the tenders

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for that process. We are confident the private sector will deliver that

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contribution. The test is, we have already gone out in even more

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difficult times and we still managed to deliver that number of houses.

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What you impressed by that? No it is business as usual. The money

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announced was money we were expecting. Nearly 24 billion. 4

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billion of that is coming from the Government and the rest will be

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raised by housing associations through bonds and borrowing. For

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example, when Family Mosaic used to build a home, we would get ?1 grant

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for ?1 of our own money. We are now putting in ?6 or ?7 of our own

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money. Not a problem. But we are losing ?80,000 per unit for each

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unit we build. And we have to make that shortfall by building housing

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and doing other things. Good value for the Government. I do not think

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that model is sustainable in the long term. The volume we are

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producing when we are doing that is just keeping a cab on it. Just to

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give you an example, in the London market, house prices have risen by

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50,000 in the last year. Can you imagine how many people that has

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excluded in one year from the housing market? The number of people

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who cannot access Private rented or owner occupation is growing

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enormously. There is a huge wedge in the middle, never mind the poorest,

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coming to us for help. That is because they are being priced out of

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markets? Exactly. The big danger is we think they are going to leave

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London but they were not because this is where the jobs are. They are

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over occupying. They are sharing homes. They are living in sheds.

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There are big challenges. We need to do more to provide homes in London

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and the south-east. If Brendan is saying that all you're doing is just

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about keeping a cab on it, you are not doing anything in the long term

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to answer the huge demand for housing? Brendan is right in the

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fact there is a particular issue in London, and that is why we have

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given ?1.1 billion to the London may. -- mayor. This is not just

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about London. This is about making sure we meet the market across the

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country. There are different housing market in different parts of the

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country with different demands. What about Ed Miliband's promise to build

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200,000 new homes a year by 2020? Typical of labour to just come up

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with a figure. During the boom years, they reached 176,000 units.

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The idea that they are now actually... One of the issues we

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have got is the capacity to build those houses. A quarter of a million

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jobs were lost in the construction industry during the recession.

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Thousands of businesses were lost. The ability to make bricks and

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materials to build houses, that was lost. It was about addressing this

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capacity issue. Even in the boom times, Labour did not build enough?

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They did not build enough. The demands are vast. Labour is at least

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trying to man up to the huge need. 25% of young people are living with

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their parents. People cannot afford to get on the housing ladder. There

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is a property boom in London. There was no attempt to control the rented

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sector. People cannot afford the new build. The new bills are going to

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people who are buying to rent. With all respect, 13 years in power, and

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even at the boom period there were still 25,000 short. -- they were.

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They have admitted that. But we are where we are. And Brendan has said

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it is not enough. Labour is also suggesting boosting the power of

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councils to purchase land from developers, telling them to use it

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or lose it. That is a fairly tough policy which could unleash some

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land? The Labour government set out to build ten eco-towns. Lots of them

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will tell you top down what you as a local authority will do. Not one was

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built. We want to go to communities, get them to design a plan and

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empower them to actually deliver. That will be more houses than they

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delivered. What we have seen recently is the growth in developers

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just banking land and not building on it. Storing or bland. Labour is

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going to release that land. There is no evidence. Labour has said it is

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not worth building on that land at the moment. I hear one side saying

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one thing and another site saying another. We are spinning in

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circles. This is the craziness. Housing is a long-term problem and

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it needs long-term planning and solutions. Every time there is a

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downturn in the market, we lose people from the construction

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industry. We may very thick-skinned, plumbers and

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bricklayers, but is -- it is a thin skinned industry. It loses people

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all the time. Finding the land, getting that place. Getting the

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building sector -- sector able to deliver. It needs people on the same

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side delivering a 25 or 30 year plan, not a one-year initiative. Are

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developers sitting on land? I think that maybe one or two are sitting on

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rural land. Most developers I know cannot afford to sit on land. They

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bought it at the high end of the market and had to turn it quite

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quickly. And they are waiting for the price to rise. No, I don't think

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they can. If you pay a lot of money for land, the interest is running

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from day one. All of us, as soon as we buy land I want to go on site as

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soon as I can. One of the initiatives that Labour want to

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introduce is building on small brown field sites within cities because

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developers find that difficult. They want a large site on which to build

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many items. But the development of small brown field sites would open

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up inner cities much more and renew those cities rather than building on

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-- out in the country. We needed all! -- we need it all! The bash --

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the ambition of the local Labour council is to go on to the

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Greenfield. I wanted to be up to the local council but I think they

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should make sure we protect green fields. We do need to utilise brand

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sites. What about private landlords and rent? If you get rid of the

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legislation, the standard will increase. First of all this

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government is paying ?20 million a year in housing benefit to landlords

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and we are investing in this programme less than 4 billion over

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three years. You can see how we are driving housing and paying for

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housing through a revenue stream and not a capital stream. That is like

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us funding housing through a payday loans Company. It is a very

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expensive way to deliver housing. What we have got to do is address

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the housing benefit bill and reduce it by delivering more homes to those

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in need who are otherwise in the most very expensive homes. Severe

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flooding is still affecting many people in Somerset after a major

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incident alert was announced last week due to the sheer volume of

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water in the area. Today the Environment Agency is facing a

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furious backlash as people were warned more bad weather could be

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underway. Yesterday farmers held a demonstration against the agency

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accusing it of failing to dredge local rivers. The Environment

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Secretary Owen Paterson has been touring the area and had this to say

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this morning. I have come down here in person and I had a good meeting

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last night with representatives of local farmers and experts who

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understand how water systems work and we have had a good meeting this

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morning with the two local MPs working on a plan which I hope will

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sort this problem over the next 20 years. That plan is far too late,

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that plan should have been put into effect years ago. I inherited

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guidelines which are not appropriate to this part of England. We can

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speak to the local MP, conservative Ian Liddell-Grainger. What is your

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reaction to what Owen Paterson had to say? I am encouraged. This is

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what we wanted to hear. He has given us six weeks to come up with a local

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plan. He understand this is an artificial waterway created by man

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and we need to dredge the rivers and give the power back to local

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communities to continue doing what they have been doing since Roman

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times. Your constituents said that Owen Paterson would not talk to

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them. I am not sure that is the case. We have had representatives

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with the councils, district and county, so I am not sure that is the

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case at all. We have been given that challenge and we have taken it up as

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the local community to do something about this. Tell us what is going on

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behind you. At the moment we have got palms as you can see to my right

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and left. They are pumping something like 1 million gallons a day to

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alleviate the flooding behind the cameras. That is just holding the

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water is steady. If we have more rain, we will have much more

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flooding. This river which is tidal is 40% below capacity as we speak.

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If we got the mart and the rubbish out of here, what you are seeing to

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my left would not be needed. We have always had flooding here, but it has

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never been as bad as this. We seem to have left you and lost the

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picture, but we can still hear you. The Environment Agency said the rain

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would have overwhelmed the river system even if it had stretched the

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waterways. What do you say to that? Yes, it would have done, but we are

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now having rain that starts to flood our area earlier and earlier. Back

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in the time when it was run by the local community it would flood for a

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couple of weeks, but this is months upon months upon months. We have

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lost the capacity. Ever since Baroness Young said she would like

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to blow up the pub houses, we have never had anything like this. We

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have to get on with it. Has the Environment Agency being too slow to

:20:03.:20:07.

react? A lot of people were saying we should have got the palms in a

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week before they did. But until the water goes into those levels, you

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cannot actually pump. Do you let them wait and do nothing or do you

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wait until it starts flooding? It is a difficult decision and there are

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times when I have even cursed myself for not being quicker. This time

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they were about right. How worried are your constituents because of the

:20:34.:20:39.

forecast of more rain? We are extremely worried. It cannot be any

:20:40.:20:44.

better than it is. We know there is going to be no water and more rain

:20:45.:20:49.

and more flooding. A lot of people are wondering whether they should

:20:50.:20:54.

evacuate all await. We do not know, we are in the lap of the Lord and

:20:55.:20:59.

the Environment Agency. We are going to make a difference, but it will

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not be overnight, partly because the machines are too heavy to get onto

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the field anyway. One of the reasons that has been put forward is there

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have been cuts to the Environment Agency. Do you think they could have

:21:14.:21:21.

done more? They are all concerned with dredging and draining water

:21:22.:21:26.

that is running off. But what seems to be avoided is the strategy of

:21:27.:21:30.

allowing water to soak into the land. We have suburbs in which

:21:31.:21:37.

everybody's front garden has been cemented over to accommodate cars.

:21:38.:21:42.

There is less and less of the water soaking in where it could. A lot of

:21:43.:21:48.

the forests have been cut down. It used to be a forested country and we

:21:49.:21:53.

are not any more, so more water is running off than the environment

:21:54.:21:58.

requires. In areas like Somerset they are talking about a boat being

:21:59.:22:02.

more important than having a car. People are being cut off from coming

:22:03.:22:08.

in and out of the area. There has to be a solution. It might start

:22:09.:22:14.

further up from where the water is coming. Where is the water coming

:22:15.:22:18.

from? In Roman times it was a problem. No Environment Agency then.

:22:19.:22:28.

But where is the water coming from and why is it not being absorbed

:22:29.:22:33.

more where it originates. That is a different way of looking at this

:22:34.:22:38.

problem because it will occur. Yes, it will. We are generally thought to

:22:39.:22:44.

live in a postfeminist age where the great battles for equality for by

:22:45.:22:49.

people like Dame Joan Bakewell have been largely won. But the Everyday

:22:50.:22:55.

Sexism Project has logged 50,000 instances of discrimination in the

:22:56.:23:00.

last 18 months, with 10,000 of those in the workplace. Though in the

:23:01.:23:05.

allegations of unwanted sexual advances made by Lord Rennard and

:23:06.:23:09.

the MP Mike Hancock, and you could just question about how effective

:23:10.:23:15.

the feminist movement really was. The year is 2012, England,

:23:16.:23:20.

traditionally a land of he rose and great statesman is in the grip of a

:23:21.:23:25.

new regime. The country is being run by women. The two Ronnies'

:23:26.:23:35.

considered response to feminism. The 60s and 70s are often seen as the

:23:36.:23:40.

golden age of feminism were people like Jermaine Greer and Joan

:23:41.:23:44.

Bakewell began to change the world for women. But after recent events

:23:45.:23:48.

you could be forgiven for wondering whether things are actually that

:23:49.:23:52.

different, did the women's movement really move anything? You could not

:23:53.:23:59.

get a mortgage. There were two building societies who said you had

:24:00.:24:04.

to be over 40, which I was not, and you had to be a respectable teacher

:24:05.:24:09.

or a doctor and I was neither. So it was a necessary movement. But the

:24:10.:24:16.

gains made then they have become a double edged sword now. There is

:24:17.:24:21.

this perception that such legislative equality has been won,

:24:22.:24:26.

and there is a sense there are no problems and if women try to talk

:24:27.:24:30.

about these problems and if they speak out about sexual harassment

:24:31.:24:36.

there is a case of, calm down, dear. Could that have its roots in the

:24:37.:24:39.

sexual liberation of women in the 60s and 70s. Men's attitudes have

:24:40.:24:46.

never really involved in any way. The coming of the pill meant they

:24:47.:24:51.

did not have to take any responsibility and that was

:24:52.:24:58.

wonderful, sweet shop time. I think actually it was quite a lot of

:24:59.:25:02.

sexual exploitation of women because there was not the threat of having a

:25:03.:25:08.

baby. Which is why feminist today think those in power now need to

:25:09.:25:13.

step up. Right now the spotlight is on this issue and they have an

:25:14.:25:18.

important decision to make about the message they send to other men and

:25:19.:25:23.

women working in those workplaces and two young women thinking about

:25:24.:25:25.

their career prospects, about whether this will be taken

:25:26.:25:32.

seriously. Men have broad shoulders and narrow hips and accordingly they

:25:33.:25:36.

possess intelligence. But how much have the women gone before helped

:25:37.:25:42.

their cause? Feminist movement tended to say women were victims,

:25:43.:25:48.

but also saying all women are powerful, but they do not exert

:25:49.:25:52.

their power and so it is their fault. It is a contradictory

:25:53.:25:58.

message. If it is contradictory for women, it is certainly contradictory

:25:59.:26:01.

for men who are not very subtle creatures. But despite the efforts

:26:02.:26:07.

of the giants of feminism then, some now feel that the two Ronnies did

:26:08.:26:14.

not have to worry their pretty little heads. And joining us now is

:26:15.:26:20.

Anne Atkins. First of all, let's go back to feminism and the sexual

:26:21.:26:24.

revolution, did it improve the lot for women? In 1963 somebody wrote

:26:25.:26:33.

that sexual liberation would always be to women's disadvantage. Women

:26:34.:26:41.

are at a double disadvantage, they play for higher stakes and they are

:26:42.:26:46.

more likely to lose. His point was basically we are not the same, that

:26:47.:26:51.

women are biologically inclined to invest more in monogamy and also our

:26:52.:26:59.

assets diminish in a way that men's assets do not diminish. Whether you

:27:00.:27:04.

agree or not, it is an interesting point. Sexual liberation is not

:27:05.:27:09.

necessarily equally liberating to both sets. I think back to the

:27:10.:27:13.

feminists of the 19th century who were fighting for education, against

:27:14.:27:19.

poverty and child prostitution. Compare it 100 years later or even

:27:20.:27:24.

more now, are we fighting for the right for teenage girls to be sick

:27:25.:27:28.

in a gutter on Friday night because the boys have been? It is a long

:27:29.:27:36.

revolution and we are only partly there, probably a third of the way

:27:37.:27:40.

there. If it gives women the right to be drunk in the gutter, that is

:27:41.:27:49.

one offshoot. In the last week or so I have suddenly become aware there

:27:50.:27:54.

is a groundswell, certainly among women themselves, of what might well

:27:55.:28:00.

turn out to be the third or fourth wave of feminism. Suddenly women are

:28:01.:28:04.

empowered. The Lord Rennard business has... Do you think it is new? It is

:28:05.:28:14.

ongoing and the biggest social change of the last century and it is

:28:15.:28:19.

the slow situation where women have equality with equal pay, and

:28:20.:28:25.

childcare is an enormous problem. We have got a generation of men who are

:28:26.:28:30.

more tender and able to cook and change nappies and things. My father

:28:31.:28:37.

was capable of all of those things. You were fortunate, but the change

:28:38.:28:41.

now is on a bigger scale and there are more people who are able to

:28:42.:28:47.

seize these opportunities. The more they seek the disadvantage is that

:28:48.:28:51.

remain, and they are resolute in their way to go forward, and we will

:28:52.:28:57.

see that happening more and more. Do you think some of these advances

:28:58.:29:03.

have been regression? The NSPCC did some research in the last few years

:29:04.:29:09.

on sex dealing in effect. Over and over again young teenage girls say

:29:10.:29:13.

they feel pressure from their boyfriends to do things they do not

:29:14.:29:19.

want to do. That may be a pressure that 50 years ago that was not a

:29:20.:29:24.

pressure that young girls felt. We have seen a tsunami of high-powered

:29:25.:29:28.

advertising, celebrity culture, cheap fashion, the rise of

:29:29.:29:35.

pornography. The objectification of women. How do we get the benefits

:29:36.:29:40.

and advances we all believe in without the disadvantages? In a way

:29:41.:29:47.

if you look at the allegations that have been made most recently against

:29:48.:29:51.

Lord Rennard, for example, those women have come forward. Do you see

:29:52.:29:57.

that as bravery? It is absolutely essential. One thing I would love to

:29:58.:30:05.

see embraced more is equality does not mean the same. You do not get

:30:06.:30:10.

equality for women by making us more like men. I would love to see a bit

:30:11.:30:16.

more of the visionary side. Men have brought us this, ambition and

:30:17.:30:23.

whatever, women bring a more cooperative side, but why can't we

:30:24.:30:30.

take the best. You can celebrate the difference, but it has not brought

:30:31.:30:34.

equality in the workplace in terms of opportunities once you have had

:30:35.:30:43.

children, for example. You are in danger of suggesting that women

:30:44.:30:48.

should submit to men's criteria. I am saying the opposite. Women bring

:30:49.:30:53.

things to the workplace and men bring things to the homily at the

:30:54.:30:59.

other sex does not. -- to the home that the other sex does not. Lets

:31:00.:31:06.

have equal pay. Let's resolve that one. That is an absolute base. It

:31:07.:31:14.

doesn't exist. But it is something we can all agree on. Do you think

:31:15.:31:19.

that women themselves should stand up for themselves a bit more? Is

:31:20.:31:26.

that a problem? To yes, and I think it is a problem that we must teach

:31:27.:31:32.

our children. Basic assertiveness. This is not rocket science. Why

:31:33.:31:46.

should the onus be on the women? Of course. This recent row has shown

:31:47.:31:52.

that women are thrown on the defensive. It is a whole society

:31:53.:32:00.

revolution. It affects everybody. It affects every home. It affects every

:32:01.:32:07.

family. Everybody can contribute. That is the reward of it. To

:32:08.:32:16.

embark... There has been a lot of discussion everywhere about whether

:32:17.:32:19.

you can really put in the same box allegations of serious sexual

:32:20.:32:22.

assault and rape with allegations of improper touching. Do you agree?

:32:23.:32:30.

What we do have to keep saying, and maybe bases of two women, we have to

:32:31.:32:34.

keep saying that even the sort of thing that we should laugh off is

:32:35.:32:40.

not necessarily acceptable. My first job in the 1980s, at Saint Georges

:32:41.:32:46.

Theatre in Tufnell Park, the director would think nothing of

:32:47.:32:51.

pinching women's bottoms. One actress slapped him in the face and

:32:52.:32:54.

we all thought, I wish we had done that. That was the world in which I

:32:55.:33:03.

grew up and which -- in which it was an accepted mode of male behaviour.

:33:04.:33:08.

But it is not any more. That is an absolute sea change. The high

:33:09.:33:14.

profile of this political row will affect every shop girl, every

:33:15.:33:17.

schoolgirl. It will affect the whole generation of young women who will

:33:18.:33:25.

not put up with it. And they will not. In small ways the change will

:33:26.:33:28.

spread. Thank you for joining us.

:33:29.:33:32.

In a moment we'll be joined by a panel of MPs to discuss the big

:33:33.:33:36.

political stories, but first let's take a look at what's happening in

:33:37.:33:39.

the week ahead. Tomorrow the Office for National Statistics will publish

:33:40.:33:42.

its latest estimates for growth in the final quarter of 2013 - after

:33:43.:33:46.

last week's positive economic news, will the momentum be maintained?

:33:47.:33:51.

Also tomorrow, the ballot to decide the new Deputy Leader of the Lib

:33:52.:33:55.

Dems will be carried out - it's a position elected only by Lib Dem

:33:56.:34:00.

MPs, not party members. On Wednesday, Bank of England Governor

:34:01.:34:03.

Mark Carney will be making a speech in Edinburgh, where's he expected to

:34:04.:34:06.

make his first comments on issues around the referendum on Scottish

:34:07.:34:11.

independence. And on Thursday, the Immigration Bill will be back in the

:34:12.:34:15.

Commons, with Conservative MP Nigel Mills promising to table his

:34:16.:34:17.

amendment to bring back restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians.

:34:18.:34:27.

Joining me now are Mehdi Hasan, political editor of the New

:34:28.:34:29.

Statesman, and the political commentator Iain Martin, who writes

:34:30.:34:32.

for the Sunday Telegraph among others. Ian, GDC -- GDP figures are

:34:33.:34:48.

out tomorrow. The prediction is far better than the flat lining that had

:34:49.:34:51.

been predicted. Quite if the Government not feeling it in the

:34:52.:34:57.

opinion polls? That is a very good question. If this was a normal

:34:58.:35:02.

political situation, to party politics, you would expect by now

:35:03.:35:06.

the Tories to have got out of the low 30s and to be seriously

:35:07.:35:11.

challenging Labour. But because Cameron has Nigel Farage on his

:35:12.:35:14.

tail, and because a lot of the Lib Dem voters went back to Labour after

:35:15.:35:19.

the coalition was formed in 2010, the Tories are really starting to

:35:20.:35:23.

get nervous. Although the economy seems to be recovering really

:35:24.:35:28.

strongly, the figures tomorrow will show that that is intensifying. Even

:35:29.:35:35.

though the Tories are not getting the kick in the polls they had

:35:36.:35:40.

anticipated. How does Labour counter the continual flow of broadly better

:35:41.:35:44.

economic news for the Government? They would always be an issue that

:35:45.:35:50.

when growth returned, what would be Labour strategy be? What would they

:35:51.:35:55.

switch to? They have done not a bad job in pushing the cost of living

:35:56.:36:00.

crisis to the top of the political agenda. You had David Cameron on the

:36:01.:36:04.

today programme this morning pressed on the subject as to whether

:36:05.:36:07.

households would be better off worse off. He tried to swatted away. He

:36:08.:36:12.

would not get involved in statistical arguments. There are no

:36:13.:36:15.

statistical arguments. They will be worse off by 2015. As to why the

:36:16.:36:21.

Tories are not feeling the game in the polls, the return to growth has

:36:22.:36:25.

not been matched by a return to living standards. And Labour, since

:36:26.:36:29.

conference season, have switched the debate onto that terrain. Is the 50p

:36:30.:36:38.

tax announcement by Labour, if they return to power, is that a problem

:36:39.:36:48.

or are they cheering in Tory ranks? Personally I think it is not very

:36:49.:36:53.

sensible economically. It is actually a electorally extremely

:36:54.:36:57.

smart politics. If you look at that coalition that Labour needs to

:36:58.:37:01.

assemble to win the next election, or to become the largest party, it

:37:02.:37:07.

needs the voters it got in 2010. It needs about 4% or 5% of the national

:37:08.:37:12.

vote. The lefties will love this policy. There is a small group of

:37:13.:37:17.

floating voters who may be slightly spooked. Hence Labour trying to

:37:18.:37:24.

emphasise deficit reduction. If that works and the Labour calculation is

:37:25.:37:31.

right, Labour gets due 37% of the vote and wins the next election. It

:37:32.:37:34.

may be very cynical but it is not stupid. Whether it is terrible

:37:35.:37:42.

economics, we don't know. It certainly will bring in some extra

:37:43.:37:47.

revenue. To respond to the point about it being a clever move, it is

:37:48.:37:51.

a clever move politically. It is not crazed class politics. Cameron,

:37:52.:37:59.

Osborne and Lynton Crosby had gone off to immigration and benefits.

:38:00.:38:03.

Labour have done a similar thing on the bankers. It is not just lefties

:38:04.:38:08.

who love this. More Tory voters support this than oppose it. If it

:38:09.:38:15.

is such crazed class warfare, you have to remember that for nine of

:38:16.:38:18.

Margaret Thatcher's 11 years in office, the top tax rate was... It

:38:19.:38:27.

will not be the multimillionaires who will pay this. They will find a

:38:28.:38:33.

way of reordering their affairs. The people this will hit are those on

:38:34.:38:36.

the threshold. And those who crucially I aspire to get to the

:38:37.:38:42.

threshold. Not many people get to the threshold of 150,000. It is a

:38:43.:38:50.

small model number. -- a small number. I do not think it is a daft

:38:51.:38:56.

move electorally. Thank you both very much. Who's best

:38:57.:39:01.

for business? That's the battlefield for this week's economic debate.

:39:02.:39:03.

This morning David Cameron threw business the usual red meat - or

:39:04.:39:07.

should I say red tape? - promising to slash or simplify more than 3,000

:39:08.:39:11.

rules. Yesterday, Ed Ball's said Labour would re-introduce the 50p

:39:12.:39:16.

tax-rate. But his claim that he was still pro-business and

:39:17.:39:18.

pro-investment was met with scepticism by a Business Minister in

:39:19.:39:21.

the last Labour government, Lord Digby-Jones.

:39:22.:39:28.

From a business point of view, if we are going to create jobs, generate

:39:29.:39:33.

Parfitt and pay tax, you want a sign up there saying, come here, stay

:39:34.:39:40.

here. Risk your hats. Employ people, generate wealth. To say, I

:39:41.:39:45.

will tax you an extra 5p in the pound on all of that, is not a way

:39:46.:39:50.

to get this country out of the mess. What about the public - what do they

:39:51.:39:54.

think? Well we sent Adam out onto London Bridge to test the mood

:39:55.:39:58.

amongst commuters. It is the middle of rush hour and we

:39:59.:40:03.

are on the middle of London Bridge. Look at these commuters. Surely

:40:04.:40:06.

somebody wants to tell us who is best for business, George Osborne or

:40:07.:40:17.

Ed Balls? What do you think about the 50p tax? That is going to be a

:40:18.:40:26.

bad thing. Will you be affected? No comment! Osborne or Ed Balls? Who is

:40:27.:40:41.

better for business? Who is best for business? It is a hard decision. Who

:40:42.:40:56.

gets your vote? I will have two say Osborne. I am not a massive fan of

:40:57.:41:00.

either but things are generally going OK at the moment. Do you

:41:01.:41:04.

personally feel the economy is getting better? Yes, I think

:41:05.:41:13.

personally I probably don't feel very much of a change. But there

:41:14.:41:17.

seems to be a feeling it is moving in the right direction. Osborne, I

:41:18.:41:22.

will put a ball in for you. You look very busy. Helping the economy grow.

:41:23.:41:32.

I have to go with balls -- Ed Balls. Because he is not a cycle path! --

:41:33.:41:42.

psychopath! Or sociopath. The wealth of the nation is being divided to

:41:43.:41:45.

extremely. At least Labour gives us a fighting chance. Osborne, no

:41:46.:41:53.

question. I work for the Bank of England. Have you got a purple,

:41:54.:42:07.

please? Referred UKIP? Who is George Osborne? The Chancellor of the

:42:08.:42:18.

Exchequer. All, no. -- oh, no. Who is better for business? I would say

:42:19.:42:23.

you. I do not know if I would be a very good Chancellor. It has

:42:24.:42:29.

quietened down. They prefer the man who is in the Chancellor's office

:42:30.:42:33.

right now by quite some margin. I'm quite surprised. The number of

:42:34.:42:40.

people I have had to explain a simple concept of putting a ball in

:42:41.:42:43.

a box... Joining me now for the rest of the

:42:44.:42:47.

programme are the Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie, Labour's Stella

:42:48.:42:49.

Creasy and the Lib Dem Martin Horwood.

:42:50.:42:57.

You will be surprised to know we're going to start with you, Stella,

:42:58.:43:02.

dreadful response in the papers to Ed Balls's announcement. Bad

:43:03.:43:07.

economics, disincentive etc. The list is endless. Labour is turning

:43:08.:43:12.

its back basically on high earners and big business in the city? I was

:43:13.:43:18.

a little bit surprised by that letter. A number of the people who

:43:19.:43:23.

have signed it represent key businesses in our community. I would

:43:24.:43:25.

have thought they would be very concerned about the statistics

:43:26.:43:31.

today. This announcement is part of a broader package about how we get

:43:32.:43:35.

the economy back on track, how we make sure growth is sustainable and

:43:36.:43:39.

how we help consumers. I would have thought they would have had a little

:43:40.:43:42.

bit of concern for those people who are struggling. If they do not have

:43:43.:43:45.

?1 in their pocket, they will not be able to spend it. Why would raising

:43:46.:43:52.

the top rate of tax help you? This is about dealing with the deficit

:43:53.:43:56.

and our economy. When we have the deficit we have got, it is right

:43:57.:44:00.

that we ask those with the broadest shoulders to contribute what they

:44:01.:44:06.

can. Bringing in the 50p rate of tax is part of a broader plan. It is

:44:07.:44:13.

about saying we have to have an economy that works for everybody.

:44:14.:44:17.

How much will it bring in? These are the questions the ISS, the

:44:18.:44:22.

Government and HRM sea have been arguing about. -- HMR assay. One of

:44:23.:44:31.

the questions the Government has to answer is that we all talk about how

:44:32.:44:35.

this disincentive advises business. I am mature evidence is there. --

:44:36.:44:42.

dis- incentivise. Getting on top of the deficit and debt on top of the

:44:43.:44:46.

fact we have a nation more in debt personally than ever before, is gone

:44:47.:44:49.

to bake a difference. The problem there is everybody has put forward

:44:50.:44:54.

the counterargument. It does not raise very much money. It will be a

:44:55.:44:58.

disincentive to jobs and investment. You have lost the support of what

:44:59.:45:05.

new Labour used to court? I want to have a discussion with businesses

:45:06.:45:08.

about those consumers. Theirs are the people they need to consider.

:45:09.:45:21.

How much did it bring in last time? It is difficult to get back on track

:45:22.:45:27.

and if you look at the facts, rather than the ideology, people say the

:45:28.:45:31.

parties are the same, but this illustrate the differences between

:45:32.:45:35.

them. You can look at the world as you would like it to be, and

:45:36.:45:40.

clobbering the rich might seem like a good idea, but it does not make

:45:41.:45:45.

intuitively the difference people would like it to make. We have got

:45:46.:45:49.

people pay more tax than they have ever done before and the lowest

:45:50.:45:53.

earners paying less tax. Those are facts. If you want to appeal to an

:45:54.:46:00.

ideology to people you would like to, if you are under breadline, you

:46:01.:46:05.

have to go for something that brings the tax in. The 50p tax does not do

:46:06.:46:12.

that. You think it is not worth it? You have to look at how we are

:46:13.:46:18.

doing, but out there on the planet reality we have got the highest

:46:19.:46:21.

earners paying the most and the lowest the least. If it does not

:46:22.:46:27.

bring in that much money, how is it a disincentive? Everybody on the

:46:28.:46:31.

Tory side said it brought in a negligible amount, so why is it a

:46:32.:46:37.

disincentive to I earners? They would say, I do not want to do that

:46:38.:46:41.

and go somewhere else. Is there evidence they did the last time and

:46:42.:46:46.

left the country? People always leave the country. We would not have

:46:47.:46:54.

had a stage where Labour had brought in 40% tax rates and government have

:46:55.:46:58.

lower tax rates and Labour is in a difficult position and is panicking.

:46:59.:47:03.

It is saying, we are going to balance the books and raise the tax

:47:04.:47:08.

rate, which might only bring in 10 million at most and they are in a

:47:09.:47:13.

sticky position. What should the Lib Dems do? We have debated this at

:47:14.:47:20.

length. We want to send a strong signal that we want to build a

:47:21.:47:25.

fairer society. The 50p rate would be one way of doing that, but in the

:47:26.:47:30.

end we thought it was more important to cut the rate of tax at the lowest

:47:31.:47:36.

end of the spectrum. We have only started to do that. People started

:47:37.:47:41.

paying income tax at 6500 under Labour and that will be 10,000 from

:47:42.:47:47.

April. Where do you stand personally? Do you think the richest

:47:48.:47:53.

1% who are over 150,000 should be the ones to bear the burden? That is

:47:54.:47:58.

not the debate, actually and we think those with the broadest

:47:59.:48:02.

shoulders should bear the burden, but there are other ways of doing it

:48:03.:48:09.

like the mansion tax. We wish we had been able to persuade the

:48:10.:48:11.

Conservatives to do more and upfront. Capital gains tax progress

:48:12.:48:16.

has been made and the top earners are paying more in tax than they

:48:17.:48:20.

have ever done before. What about a coalition with Labour? With the 50p

:48:21.:48:29.

rate of tax be a deal-breaker? No, I do not think it would be, because

:48:30.:48:33.

there is a very close debate within the party and the difference would

:48:34.:48:39.

not be colossal. But if you think it strengthens the economy to

:48:40.:48:42.

incentivise people at the top end, perhaps income tax might not be the

:48:43.:48:49.

right tool to use. It may be crazy economics according to some, but it

:48:50.:48:54.

is pure politics and it might work in a few instances. That is the

:48:55.:49:01.

truth, it is just a political move? We want to talk facts. Two thirds of

:49:02.:49:06.

the growth of the economy has come out of the pockets of consumers

:49:07.:49:10.

because they have spent all their savings and they are getting into

:49:11.:49:15.

debt. Asking how we can rebalance our economy at the very time when

:49:16.:49:19.

you guys decided to give millionaires a tax cut, rather than

:49:20.:49:24.

helping people who are getting into debt. Those are the choices we have

:49:25.:49:30.

to make. You get very emotional rhetoric. It is a fact. Four people

:49:31.:49:38.

it is really tough, the cost of living is really tough, but it is

:49:39.:49:44.

like a sunrise, you see the light first and then the heat. We need to

:49:45.:49:49.

make sure it is on track. Ed Balls thinks the recession is nothing to

:49:50.:49:54.

do with Labour. An alcoholic needs to realise there is a problem before

:49:55.:50:02.

he can change and Labour Dr Fossey the ?1.4 trillion of personal debt

:50:03.:50:07.

people have in this country is going up and you people have done nothing

:50:08.:50:13.

about it. You do not understand the difference it makes to our economy.

:50:14.:50:19.

Moral high horses and sounding very tough does not make a difference to

:50:20.:50:25.

people's income. Let's come back to the economics. When will Ed Balls

:50:26.:50:32.

apologise for overspending? That is an insane question. Why? I heard the

:50:33.:50:41.

interview with Andrew Marr yesterday. He was very clear about

:50:42.:50:47.

the choices ahead of us. I am talking to people who are

:50:48.:50:50.

financially struggling and I worried about the choices they can make this

:50:51.:50:54.

year and next year and they need to see a government that is serious

:50:55.:50:59.

about tackling the deficit, but also a government that is serious about

:51:00.:51:04.

making sure they have money in their pockets. You will do nothing to help

:51:05.:51:08.

those people. The Citizens Advice Bureau says people are struggling

:51:09.:51:12.

today. The Prime Minister does not even know if the cost of living is

:51:13.:51:17.

going to go up and down. We have been cutting the rate of tax at the

:51:18.:51:22.

lower end and the strength in the economy has meant we have kept

:51:23.:51:27.

interest rates low. That is because we have taken tough decisions on a

:51:28.:51:32.

deficit. Every house on a mortgage would have been crippled if interest

:51:33.:51:36.

rates had spiralled out of control. You could have voted against nearly

:51:37.:51:41.

every attempt the coalition has made to balance the books and you cannot

:51:42.:51:46.

come back after years of doing that and say, you have not solved the

:51:47.:51:51.

problem. Labour is going to try and balance the books with tax rises.

:51:52.:51:56.

They are not going to cut spending, that is true? Let's be really clear

:51:57.:52:05.

why every pound spent by the government matters. We have said we

:52:06.:52:09.

were looked at tax rises and public spending. And the mansion tax. That

:52:10.:52:17.

pays to get young people back into work along with the bankers' tax.

:52:18.:52:23.

How many times have Labour 's spent the bankers' bonus tax? People can

:52:24.:52:31.

use sympathy arguments and appealed to things that everyone would like

:52:32.:52:35.

to see, richer people being clobbered, but that is going to ruin

:52:36.:52:41.

the economy. Why do we know that? Because they did it last time. The

:52:42.:52:46.

poorest cannot afford to let that happen. We are going to move on to

:52:47.:52:53.

immigration. David Cameron has said the level of immigration from

:52:54.:52:57.

Romania and back -- Bulgaria has been reasonable. Do you think your

:52:58.:53:04.

party overreacted? One thing about the European Union and immigration

:53:05.:53:08.

benefits is freedom of movement. We have got immigration wrong over the

:53:09.:53:13.

past decade. We want people who are going to come and contribute to the

:53:14.:53:17.

country, but not people who are going to come and take. Opening the

:53:18.:53:23.

borders to countries that have very different minimum wages and

:53:24.:53:26.

conditions has distorted things. You would like to see balances on

:53:27.:53:35.

movement? I would like to see people come here and give skills. What do

:53:36.:53:41.

you expect other people to do in terms of the checks and balances on

:53:42.:53:46.

British people who live abroad? It is a reciprocal arrangement and we

:53:47.:53:51.

benefit from it enormously. We were sensible to not lift restrictions on

:53:52.:53:57.

new entrants to the EU before any other country did, would distorted

:53:58.:54:01.

the whole picture with Polish immigration. But taking sensible

:54:02.:54:05.

steps to make sure the system works properly is fine, but some of the

:54:06.:54:11.

hysteria around Romanians and Bulgarians has bordered on

:54:12.:54:13.

xenophobia and we need to get this to a practical debate and not a

:54:14.:54:19.

hysterical argument. Do you support the rebellion and when it comes on

:54:20.:54:25.

Thursday there will be a rebellion? I want a practical solution that

:54:26.:54:36.

works. What is that? What is being proposed is limiting and putting

:54:37.:54:39.

back the restrictions that were in place preventing Bulgarians and

:54:40.:54:45.

Romanians working here. That is not legally likely to happen. Should the

:54:46.:54:51.

government give more concessions? If it can, I think it will be good but

:54:52.:54:55.

they are legally hamstrung by European legislation. Will the Lib

:54:56.:55:02.

Dems block any attempts to toughen up the immigration bill? There are

:55:03.:55:05.

some things that could be done to make it better and one of those is

:55:06.:55:12.

the length of time people could claim benefits. So you will block

:55:13.:55:18.

any attempt? It is above my pay grade. The comedian Rufus Hound has

:55:19.:55:27.

announced his plans to stand as an MEP at the Euro elections. He

:55:28.:55:31.

announced his candidacy to Jonathan Ross on Saturday night. I am going

:55:32.:55:42.

to run for the NHA. Because the NHS is being privatised... But I am

:55:43.:55:49.

looking around to see who is stepping forward and nobody is. I

:55:50.:55:54.

sat with my wife and my wife went, we should do something. A month

:55:55.:56:00.

later she said, we might be those people sitting around saying why is

:56:01.:56:04.

somebody not doing anything? So I think I am going to end up running

:56:05.:56:11.

as an MEP. What a good man. A popular move.

:56:12.:56:17.

Is this a good combination? Comedians and politics? Some people

:56:18.:56:21.

would say we have already got that combination. It is good people want

:56:22.:56:25.

to take part in politics and that is a much more positive response than

:56:26.:56:31.

the Russell Brand nihilism saying we should not vote and get involved. He

:56:32.:56:37.

is going to be standing for the National health action party which

:56:38.:56:41.

was set up in 2012. Do you think people will be drawn to it because

:56:42.:56:46.

of celebrity endorsements? Anything that shined light on what is going

:56:47.:56:51.

on in the NHS is a good thing. The only thing I would caution is, and I

:56:52.:56:58.

have got a lot of time Rufus, is he is going to do it as a protest. But

:56:59.:57:03.

we need answers as well. We need answers as to how you would make the

:57:04.:57:08.

NHS better as well. Let's look at some of the things that have been

:57:09.:57:13.

raised. Patients say they can rely on information on waiting times for

:57:14.:57:20.

non-emergency operators and data was inconsistent and that makes it

:57:21.:57:22.

harder for people to make decisions if they are not being told the

:57:23.:57:29.

truth. One thing we saw with targets under the last government is that

:57:30.:57:33.

hospitals will change their behaviour to meet the targets. The

:57:34.:57:38.

reality is hospitals will fiddle those measures to make those

:57:39.:57:43.

targets. We have seen it all over the place. Jeremy Hunt has done an

:57:44.:57:47.

important thing in making a much wider measurement like an Ofsted

:57:48.:57:52.

style, and not a single target measure. The target culture has had

:57:53.:58:00.

a detrimental effect. But has the top-down organisation not had a

:58:01.:58:03.

devastating effect in terms of the money in the system and people's

:58:04.:58:11.

perception of the NHS? The so-called privatisation is just using

:58:12.:58:14.

different providers and it is free at the point of use. This started

:58:15.:58:20.

under the last government. But they were introduced badly and it was a

:58:21.:58:26.

disastrous PFI and I can see why some people listen to the words

:58:27.:58:32.

privatisation and thing, it went pretty badly, but there is nothing

:58:33.:58:36.

wrong with using providers if they can do it as well and at the same

:58:37.:58:40.

cost for a less to do the same task free at the point of delivery and

:58:41.:58:47.

based on need. Thank you to all of you. The one o'clock News is

:58:48.:58:51.

starting on BBC One and I will be here at noon tomorrow when I will be

:58:52.:58:54.

joined by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries.

:58:55.:59:09.

Our number-one priority is moving the child or baby.

:59:10.:59:12.

You can't let your emotions interfere with that process.

:59:13.:59:16.

You've got to keep one step ahead of the little ones,

:59:17.:59:18.

because anything can happen at any time.

:59:19.:59:20.

When you've just got one child to look after,

:59:21.:59:23.

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