02/04/2014 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Westminster's all of a


quiver at the prospect of Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage going head-to-head.


Apparently Mr Clegg will become over all - motional on the debate about


whether Britain should be in or out of the EU. We'll bring you live


coverage of PMQs. David Cameron and Ed Miliband square up at noon. We've


asked a famous BBC face to get on his bike and tell us why it's time


to end the licence fee. The licence fee when it comes up for


renewal in two years' time will be 90 years old and, as every year goes


by, it becomes more and more an Akronistic.


What can possibly go wrong when politicians brief journalists


off-the-record? We'll look at some that have gone spectacularly wrong.


We are joined by two MPs who've never ever briefed a journalist over


lunch or anywhere else. At least that's what they tell the whips when


they come knocking late at night! It's the Universities and Science


Minister David Willets and Shadow minister Emily Thornberry. First,


the sand is being blown in from the sort what radio heading to smog


forming over parts of the country -- The Sahara. People are told to avoid


strenuous exercise outside. I intend to follow that. We won't be jogging


home after the show! What a relief. The dust that's been blowing over


Britain for the past few days has been leaving a distinctive red mark


on cars. Even mine and sky lights. Even David Cameron, the Prime


Minister's car's been affected. Here is a picture of his car in Downing


Street yesterday. That is going to need a good wash. He'll probably be


out there with a bucket and sponge after PMQs giving it a clean


himself. Maybe not. To tell us more, we are joined by BBC Weather


presenter, Jay Wynne. Welcome to the programme. How can all that fine


dust make it all the way from The Sahara to here?


Well, you have to look at the big picture. This satellite sequence


telles a good story. You can see the curl of cloud to the west of the UK,


it's the low pressure. To the east, we have an area of high pressure.


The two have combined to produce southerly breezes coming from a long


way south. You can see how far this cloud extends. Southerly winds ahead


of that coming out of central Africa bringing Saharan dust with it. As


that dust drifts over the north, it interacts with the pollution


floating around the mainland of Europe, then it makes its way


towards our shores and interacts with the home-grown pollution so


it's a triple whammy, our pollution, European pollution then you had on


The Sahara dust. It's the Saharan dust that's tipped the balance to


the high levels of pollution really. How unlikely is this triple whammy,


will we see more of this or is this once, a couple of times every few


years? This sort of thing does happen and it's not overly unusual


but I suspect it's early on in the season to see it. This is forecast


map for pollution levels. The worst is likely to be in East Anglia and


the East Midlands. Also it's generally that south-eastern


quadrant which is expecting poor levels of air quality. But the good


news is that by tomorrow, we are not going to be seeing high levels of


air pollution, but we are going to tone it down a notch to high levels.


The area is that little bit smaller. By Friday, as the rain pushes


through, we are going to clear the air completely and swap the wind and


we'll see much clearer air pollution.


Thank you very much. David Willets, people might say, although this is a


temporary increase in levels of pollution, it's on top of already


high levels of pollution that exist and that's what we need tackle isn't


it? We do need to tackle pollution but there is a limit to what any


Government can do about Saharan sand. I grant you that! The main


thing we can do in the short run is provide accurate forecasts and what


you saw from the Met Office was very impressive. Even a few years ago,


they wouldn't have had the power to give us that kind of accuracy


forecast. That means they can provide us with information on air


quality that we, as a Government, will be putting out regularly so


people can know how the air around them is being affected. How is your


car, Emily? I cycled in this morning! I cycled in! I felt OK. You


were told to avoid strength yous exercise. I wondered about driving


in instead, but I thought, the whole point is that it's about pollution


and it's not right to respond to it by adding to it in the car. What


David said was interesting though. What can the Government do, all they


can do is measure it. I'm not one of those who believe that. I believe


Government can do things, I believe in Government and I think that, you


know, I've been passed in Islington we have the A1 and question of law


some of the worst air pollution -- A1 and we have some of the worst air


pollution. The pollution's not so bad around the corner yourself know


in another street where Boris Johnson's measured it. If Government


doesn't do something about it, nobody is going to. For a Government


minister to come in and go, we can only measure it, it's disappointing.


You can't do much about Saharan sand. If you look at what we can do


about our own home-grown pollution, yes, you can do everything from


having high quality public transport which we are investing in, and also


from my responsibilities on science and technology, investing in the


motor vehicles of the future which are going to have different types of


engines and be far less polluting an what we've got now. What we've got


now is far better than what we had 20 years ago. Thank you. Otherwise


get on your bike, Andrew! The number of foreign students in England has


fallen for the first time in three decades according to figures out


today. More stringent visa regulations are being blamed. The


Government's been under pressure over the student loan book which


estimates that nearly half of loans will never be repaid. It's


complicated but Joco is here to explain.


For the first time in 29 years, last year saw a 1% decline in the total


number of international students coming to England to study. The fall


was caused in part by a 50% drop in the number of post-graduates


students coming from India and Pakistan following tougher


restrictions of applicants and the restrictions of working after


graduation. The number of EU students is also down by a quarter,


that is being blamed on the rise in tuition fees from ?3,400 to ?9,000


that came into effect in 2012. Last month, the higher tuition fees


cap came under the spotlight after the Public Accounts Committee said


that as much as 48% of student loan debts might never be repaid.


Over the weekend, Labour hinted again that they might cut tuition


fees to ?6,000 a year and Liam Byrne, their Shadow Universities


Minister, warns the party or wants the party I should say, to


eventually to move to a graduates tax.


Thank you. David willets, the original estimate from the


Government was that 28 wouldn't repay their loans, is that right? We


said about 30% in 2010. The latest estimates are now at 45%. Yes. First


of all, why did you get it wrong? We were operating on the earnings


forecast provided to us by the office of budget responsibility and


what we are doing here, is every six months, we are essentially


forecasting income tax receipts for the next 30 years and the forecasts


are very sensitive to the assumptions that are fed in about


earnings retive the ?21,000 repayment threshold. Other countries


don't engage in this exercise but it will mean... Because they always get


it wrong? ! No, what you can only do is act on the latest forecasts you


have about earnings, they'll keep on changing. There'll be times in the


future when, because of some increases in wages, this figure will


go down again. I doubt we'll have the same level of attention to it,


but every six months we'll have a new forecast. I've said clearly to


sl the Select Committee, they'll continue to change because we are


forecasting what will happen to receipts in 30 years' time. But at


45% now, that's the current forecast. Is it true that when you


reach just over 48% of repayment, you actually get no benefit from the


increase in tuition fees that you will be repaid less than the money


you will be getting from the extra tuition fees? If you are giving that


money to universities in grant, you wouldn't have got anything back, it


would have been handed over as a cheque. Anything which means you get


some of the payments - from the graduates, not students - when they


are earning ?21,000, and some of the estimates ignore the fact that we


have better funded universities as a result of this. Students gain from


wiz a better quality education as a result. But no Government would


consciously set out in a scheme in which you could end up - and you are


very close to it now - to a 50% default rate. It's ?100 billion?


Well, it's not quite a default. We have said all along that one of the


virtues of our scheme is if at any point your earnings are low, ever


below ?21,000, you don't pay back. That is a deliberate progressive


foeture so young people don't worry that if they are on low earnings


they are still hit with the bet, they are not, they don't pay back.


The dream is progressive beyond Francois Hollande isn't it? ! All


you have to do is earn ?21,000 now, well below the national average and


the London and the South East average too. And you face an


effective marginal rate of tax of 41%. Now, how can a young person on


a 41% marginal rate of tax on a low Sal ray ever hope to get a mortgage


as well? Well, it's a, if you are only on ?21,000, you pay it back


then. Be basic tax rate was 35%. Under Labour's scheme, the repayment


thresh holds was far lore. They were paying 9% on earnings below ?15,000.


We have made the monthly repayments less which helps young people get a


mortgage because the companies look at what your fixed outgoings are. So


you are sitting here as a Tory minister and saying to me that you


are perfectly happy with the young person starting out on life earning


?22,000 a year to face a marginal rate of tax of 41%? If they are


earning or repaying for the cost of their higher education, 9% of your


earnings above ?21,000 is affordable. It's lower than


graduates currently repay. It came through under the Blair system. They


were paying 9%. So we have lowered their monthly outgoings. That is


actually a significant price. We did it deliberately to help younger


people so they would low lower fees and to help them get into the jobs


market. I don't know if many young people think that. I wonder


actually, it strikes me that the other side of this is that in 2010


you were expecting 30% of youngsters to be paying it back, is that right?


Or not paying it back? Amounts of money we are measuring, not people.


What is your point? It's this, on a 48% default rate, it means that we


are having hundreds of thousands of youngsters leaving university who're


not getting jobs where they can earn more than ?21,000 and that speaks to


the crisis in terms of the cost-of-living more than anything


else, it seems to me. It speaks to me about long-term unemployment of


youngsters. We haven't got much time. I'll not let you filibuster


the policies. I'm not. What was their policy? Going into the next


general election we are looking at our options. We don't know how big


the black hole is that we know that there is in terms of the budget, so


we need to have a better idea of exactly how much money. So you can't


tell me this morning any of the parameters of the Labour policy


even? I'm in favour, Ed Miliband's in favour, many are in favour of the


idea of a graduate tax. That has always been what we have wanted to


do, it's a question of what the practical and effective. How big


would that be? Do you know what, I remember in 2010 being in the


corridor in Parliament where all the Lib Demes were going along and


signing a form saying they weren't going to put up fees and they were


taking the Mickey out of me going, oh, you are not going to sign this,


and I said because we are a party of Government. Frankly, I don't care


what happened in 2010. What I'm asking you is what is going to


happen in 2015, graduate tax, how big? I'm saying we are a party of


Government and the promises we make we intend to fulfil. You haven't


promised anything? ? Exactly, because we are looking properly at


our options. As time goes on, the economic gets worse, the black hole


gets worse. The economy is getting worse? Yes. In 2010 when they


announce about 30% defaults, it was at a time when the economy was


expanding. Then three years of flatlining in terms of the economy,


so therefore things get worse and worse. What about the economy now?


Well the economy is getting better in terms of there is some growth.


Not getting worse? It's the beginning of a heartbeat but it's


not based on investment or exports, any of the things that you would


normally expect the economy be based on. As you will understand if you


haven't got a policy it's hard to ask you any questions about it so


let's go to Greg Mulholland. How rude can you be, Andrew? ! How can I


ask you if you don't have a policy? I'm explaining that we are a serious


party looking at serious promises that we can put into our manifesto


that makes some sense. We are not going to pluck things out of the air


the way the Lib Dems have done. You have been in that position for your


years... When you get a policy I'll ask you questions about it. You


haven't at the moment so I can't. had stuck to his guns? I think the


party in government made a mistake in terms of agreeing to what


happened. The system we have is as David Willetts said extremely


progressive. Far more than an upfront fee system. I am firmly in


favour of a graduate tax. The tragedy of the decision made is that


this perception we have these huge fees when we really do not have fees


in any sense at all, we have a graduate repayment system that


triggers when people are earning over a very generous limit. They


will then pay their money back over 25 years. It is not a fees system.


Communication was wrong. What difference would it be between


whether you pay back through the tax system your loan or you pay a


graduate tax? Fundamental. That is why I will continue arguing strongly


for a graduate tax. The problem is the system because it is technically


a loan, a loan based on the fee levels, therefore technically it is


a debt. As you have said, it has certain issues. If it is a tax, a


cap tax that can only last the 25 years, that is very different. It


has no implications for people's borrowing, for their credit rating.


I think that we are seeing I hope all three parties move to an


agreement on this and that is what we need. There has been bickering.


Let us not forget it was Labour who first said they would not introduce


top-up fees and did. The Liberal Democrats have not been able to


fulfil the policy we wanted to stop but we have a fairer system than we


had before. -- we wanted to. But we have a fairer system. David


Willetts, I do not understand the difference between a graduate tax


and repaying my student fees for 25 years. Ella McReddie first


difference is the amount you are repaying is linked to a payment made


to your university that you chose -- the first difference is. ?9,000, I


have chosen to pay it to this university. It means the


universities have to focus on quality of teaching. The graduate


tax this appears into the Treasury. There is no guarantee it will get to


universities. It only makes sense is different universities are charging


different amounts. You said, it will be very red, only 13 universities


will charge ?9,000. They all do. The idea of shopping around and saving


money... It doesn't make sense. It is shopping around to choose the


universities that that has the best committee teaching and the best


outcomes. How worried are you that there are not more students earning


over ?21,000? Most do on more than that. The issue will be what happens


in the Labour force. I want to see well-paid graduates and diving


universities are focusing on that. We will be coming back to both of


you on this. Now, you know how it is. You've


popped out to lunch or a drink with a journalist after a hard day at


work in the Commons. You have a bit of a gossip. Then before you know


it, the contents of your conversation are splashed all over a


newspaper or a TV network. I thought that was how it worked. Sometimes


the politicians mean to do it. But at other times, it all just seems to


get a bit out of hand. That may be what happened at the weekend when an


unnamed Government minister told a reporter that an independent


Scotland might be able to use the pound after all. Here's Giles.


At the weekend, and earned named UK minister told the guardian that an


independent Scotland could keep the pound. -- an unnamed UK minister.


All major parties have joined forces to say they couldn't so it is odd.


We do not know who the mole was. On -- Oliver Letwin had to disappear


into hiding after it emerged he was the source of a newspaper story


saying the Tories had plans beyond the manifesto for ?20 billion of


cuts in tax and government spending. When he emerged to fling himself, it


got worse. I also set out what William Hague and Michael Portillo


has set out. John Major's back to basics speech in 1993. It was


intended as a nostalgic appeal to traditional values. The spin Doctor


Tim Collins briefed the press that John Major was intent on rolling


back the permissive society and then with more of a bang and some


whimpers a succession of Conservative ministers were caught


up in sex scandals. The Lib Dem leadership contest in 2007 got


personal after Chris Huhne was confronted with a document called


calamity Nick Clegg on the BBC. He looked extremely uncomfortable as he


insisted he had not seen it, authorised it, indeed he had none of


his fingerprints all over it. Sometimes just occasionally


politicians on up. In 2009, John Hutton admitted he was the Cabinet


minister who told the BBC's Nick Robinson in 2006... It would be a


disaster if Gordon Brown was PM. I will do anything in my power to stop


him. He sensed that his opinion of Mr Brown had changed.


Harmony at the top of politics. Everyone is tittering in the studio.


David Willetts, have you ever told a journalist something you regret it?


I'm sure it has happened. I am not sure I can offer you any good


examples. I can tell you how it helps solve a problem. I used to


help Margaret Thatcher right some of her speeches. It was a terrible


process. It took ages. We got completely stuck. Bernard Ingham


comes into the room and says the lobby had been asking about what she


was going to say in the next big speech. I thought it might be hell


for if I told you what I have told them. He then reported to us what he


had briefed and he solved our problem. -- I thought it might be


helpful. You think that is the way forward? Who do you think spoke to


the Guardian about the currency union debate? The only thing I know


is it is clear that if Scotland left the UK there would also be leaving


the pound -- they would also be leaving the pound. That is something


which all three parties agree on. Interestingly, a journalist from the


Sun said on this programme that he was convinced it was Oliver Letwin


or Vince Cable. I know nothing about the background to this. The only


thing I know and what matters to people in Scotland is that if


Scotland were sadly to leave the UK it would not be able to continue to


participate in the pound. The pound would be one of the many costs if we


were to see Scotland vote for separation. Somebody has said to me


not that I want to enter into this debate, that negotiations go on


behind-the-scenes and there are politicians who will say things to


journalist to get a story out. It is true. People tend to know who they


are. They are not trusted. They are not trusted by their colleagues. You


have lunches with journalists. I do and I have learnt to be careful.


Have you been caught out? I was standing in a marginal seat and all


of the newspapers wanted to write a piece which was not good Labour


candidate doing well in a Labour marginal. They wanted to run Labour


is going to lose as ten. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I would not


answer any calls -- lose Islington. I was told I had to bite Number 10.


A job was done on me. Horrible things were written about me, my


kids. I had not been in politics before and it was a crash course in


not trusting journalists. Sweet as you are. Thank you. Sweet? I would


not call him sweet! Some politicians get a reputation for leaking. That


was why Margaret Thatcher turned to someone in the early days because he


had a reputation for speaking too much to the press. Your colleagues


briefing about Ed Miliband having a more radical policy, are they not to


be trusted? You probably know who they are. I am not saying anything.


It is live. There was the wise Enoch Powell advice who said politicians


complaining about the media was like sailors complaining about the


weather. It is the environment within which you function. You say


Scotland cannot have the pound and so does Labour, but if the SNP wins,


they will say, you cannot have your nuclear subs in Scotland. That is


the makings of a deal. I am not going there. It was not you who did


the leaking. George Osborne said this week he wants to achieve full


employment in the UK. And you thought that went out of fashion


with platform shoes and black and white telly. Well, Ed Miliband has


already leapt into action. He's keen to do his bit to help and so he's


started advertising for something called a Head of the Leader's


Broadcasting. Whoever gets the job will get about ?44,000 a year. Just


into the 40% tax bracket. They'll need to have experience of dealing


with good and bad news stories. Probably plenty of the latter.


Apparently the Labour leader is also looking for someone who can develop


fresh ideas to make the best of his brand strengths. If they know some


thing about graduate tax, it would properly be an advantage. One area


they'll be looking to address is that according to one recent poll


81% of people say they can't imagine Ed Miliband as PM. You cruel lot.


So, here's a fresh idea for turning that around. Just take a look at


this brand leader. He's no mug. He won three elections you know. Here


at the Daily Politics we know how to ceramic -- ceramically enhance any


image. Just imagine if Ed was standing outside Number 10 holding a


Daily Politics mug. There he is. Instant prime ministerial gravitas.


And you don't need to pay us ?44,000 a year, Ed. 8-ender will do. -- a


tenner. No, we'll give you one for free, but only if you stop preparing


for PMQs and enter Guess the Year. We'll remind you how to enter in a


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


# When will I be famous? # The only way is up, baby # For you


and me now. The Department of Health was and


continues to be concerned. # I want you to be my baby # It has got to be


perfect. # It has got to be worth it # Too


many people take second best... To be in with a chance of winning a


Daily Politics mug, send your answer to our special quiz email address.


And you can see the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year on our


website. It's coming up to midday here. Big Ben is there through the


pollution. Prime Minister's Questions in a couple of minutes. If


you would like to comment on proceedings, you can e-mail us or


tweet your thoughts. We will read some out after PMQs. Nick Robinson


is here. As always. Or nearly always. What are they going to argue


about today? I said yesterday I thought he would use the phrase


about standing up for the wrong people. You had a lively, session


about whether Labour has policies. Just one. There is a debate about


that. If you are in opposition trying to hold back because it is


still a long way until the general election, what you want to do is


seize on something that shows money is being spent badly by the


government of the day and claim that they are doing it to help their


chums in the city and not to help the ordinary guy. It is


irresistible. It tells you nothing about what Labour would do in


government. It positions them. I would not say that in front of


Emily. It is PMQs. It is us asking him questions. I rest my case. I am


in a mood today. He got me going. I did not mean it as they criticism.


That is what opposition wants to do. That is why it is irresistible. This


is quite rare for an opposition to her. They have an independent


spending watchdog saying hundreds of millions of pounds the taxpayer


could have had they have not got. If you cannot score a goal without


help, you never will. Vince Cable got quite a tough time in Parliament


earlier this week. It is interesting that David Willetts's boss was


dismissive of calls for him to resign.


This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others


and in addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such


meetings later today. Is the Prime Minister aware that


3956 people are in the rented sector. Two thirds feel insecure,


half think they pay far too much in rent. Does he not think it's time to


end the social cleansing of inner city Britain by bringing in proper


rent regulation with a fair rent formula and total regulation of the


private rented sector to give people security and peace of mind where


they live? Where I'm sure we'd agree is that there is a need to build


more houses, including those in the private rented sector. Where I think


he's wrong is full-on rent controls have been tried in the past and it's


tended to destroy the private rented sector, drive everyone back to the


state sector and reduce the quality of housing as a result.


In the week when our Right Honourable friend, the Chancellor of


the Exchequer has spoken of the importance to the Government of


securing full employment, can my right honourable friend confirm that


the record shows that no Labour Government in history left office


with unemployment lower than when he came to office?


Does this not illustrate in this area, as in all others, the


importance of the principle that what matters is what works?


My right honourable friend is factually correct. Every Labour


Government's left office with unemployment higher than when it


came to office. In this Parliament, what we've seen


is 1.7 million more people employed in the private sector, 1.3 million


more people employed as a whole, one of the highest rates of employment


in history and we'll keep up the work to offer more hope and security


to our people. Mr Speaker, can the Prime Minister


tell the House what is his excuse for the Royal Mail fiasco?


What I would say about the Royal Mail is that taxpayers benefitted


from selling the business for ?2 billion. That, of course, is ?2


billion that the party opposite never achieved because they were


never able to sell the business. Mr Speaker, here is what his own


side are saying about this issue. The member for Northampton South


said yesterday it was a debacle, unethical and immoral. He sold the


shares for ?330p, what are they trading at snout They are trading


ahead of where they were sold, but the fact is this - when the Right


Honourable gentleman... THE SPEAKER: Order. Neither the


Prime Minister nor the Leader of the Opposition nor any other member in


this House must be shouted down. It's not on. The Prime Minister.


When the Right Honourable gentleman was sitting in the Cabinet, this


business lost half a be. It's in the private sector, making taxes and


working hard for our country -- half a billion pounds. There are over


140,000 people, more to the point, who work for the Post Office,


delivering letters, delivering parcels, who own shares in the


business that they work for. They've got a stake in the future of


the Royal Mail. They are collecting dividends, as well as pay. And


that's something we should all be proud of.


Mr Speaker, he can't answer the question because it's such an


embarrassment. He sold at 330p and this morning the price was 563p.


It's basic maths, Mr Speaker. Not so much the walrus of Wall Street, but


the Dunce of Downing Street. Let me ask him this, if Royal Mail was sold


at today's price, how much more would the taxpayer have paid? I will


take a lecture from almost anyone in the country about the sale of Royal


Mail, but not from the two muppets who advised the Chancellor on


selling last time. There they sit, not a word of apology, ?9 billion


wasted. The Royal Mail privatisation's got ?2 billion for


the taxpayer, 140,000 employees owning shares, 700,000 members of


the lick who're now shareholders. This is a great success for our


country and something he should be praising.


Mr Speaker, again, he can't answer the question. The answer is, the


taxpayer would have got ?1.4 billion less for this valuable asset for


what it's worth today. Here is the thing, Mr Speaker.


THE SPEAKER: Order, when the Prime Minister was speaking, I said he


should. Shouted down and nuclear should anybody else. However hard


the effort is made to shout someone down, it won't work because we'll


just keep going. So the sooner the juveniles can grow up and reach


adulthood, so much the better! Ed Miliband!


Here is the thing, Mr Speaker. A third of the shares were sold to


just 16 City investors. And get this. There was a gentleman's


agreement that those City investors wouldn't sell the shares. What


happened? Within weeks, half of the shares had been sold and they made a


killing worth hundreds of millions of pounds. In other words, mates


rates to his friends in the City. Maybe he can tell us what happened


to that gentleman's agreement about those shares?


Mr Speaker, we know why he's asking this question. Because he's paid to


by the Trade Unions. Pf Yes, yes. Mr Speaker, he sat in the


Cabinet that wanted to privatise the Royal Mail. That was their


commitment. And what happened was the General Secretary of the


Communications Workers' Union said this; in terms of the last Labour


Government, they tried to privatise the Royal Mail. It was the unions


that brought the Government to its senses.


Once again, they were weak in Government because they couldn't


carry out their policies. They're weak in opposition because they


don't support shareholding by post workers in the Royal Mail. They are


weak because they've got no economic policy and they are weak because


they have got no plan. He's flogged it off to his friends


in the City and he can't answer the question. Now I'm going to ask him


the question again. There was a gentleman's agreement that these


long-term investors, so-called, would not sell their shares. But


half of them were sold and hundreds of millions of pounds were made.


What happened to that agreement, Stance question? What happened is


that the taxpayer is ?2 billion better off, yes. Anyone who's sold


shares has missed out on what is a successful business. The truth is


this, Mr Speaker. He sat in a Cabinet that wanted to privatise the


Royal Mail, they couldn't do it. THE SPEAKER: Order. Lets's hear the


answer. Prime Minister? They couldn't do it because the


Trade Unions won't let them. There are now 140,000 shareholders working


for the Royal Mail. There are almost three quarters of a million members


of the public with shares. These are signs for celebration in our


country, not talking them down because they are anti-market,


anticompetitive and antibusiness. Nothing's changed in the Labour


Party. No wonder they've advertised this week for someone to bring some


fresh ideas to the leadership. Yes. I've got the commercial here. You


should have the ability to manage the different teams across the


Labour Party. I think that must be the hardest job


in Britain. No wonder they are looking for a


change because there's a leader there who hasn't got a clue.


Mr Speaker, he's gone as red as a post box and that's because he knows


that he's lost ?1.4 billion for the taxpayer. This is a sale nobody


wanted and nobody voted for, a national asset sold at a knockdown


price to make a fortune for the few. It's a symbol of a Government who


stands up for the wrong people with the British people paying the price.


Mr Speaker, it's a sale nobody wanted he said. It was in his


manifesto. It was a commitment of the last Government. They are


shaking their heads. They worked so hard, Mr Speaker, they failed to do


it, but this coalition Government privatised the Royal Mail, created


thousands of new shareholders, they have a great business working for


Britain and we've seen it all from Labour this week. They are


advertising for fresh ideas, people around him are fighting like ferrets


in the sack. Their top advise, get this Mr Speaker, their top adviser


is called Arnie and he's gone to America. But unlike Arnie, he said


"I'm not coming back". They are warring, they are weak and they


haven't got a plan. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.


It's as quick to go 225 miles of land and sea from here to Brussels


as it is on the train to Norwich, half the distance. Will my right


honourable friend agree with me that East Anglia needs investment in


better, faster rail infrastructure and that the Norwich task will bring


the benefits to businesses and passengers in Norfolk, Suffolk and


Essex? I pay tribute to the holt and others for the work they are doing


on the Norwich Task Force. This is a very important project. I welcome


the interest shown by business leaders, local authorities and


enterprise partnerships. East Anglia is one of the fastest growing parts


of the UK, with world class companies and universities, better


transport will support and bolster this growth and I look forward to


the Task Force report that I know that she is working on and I hope


this will be used to shape the specification for the long rail


franchise that should start in 2016. Mr Speaker, 35 years ago, the SNP


and the Tories united to bring down the Labour Government and bring in


Margaret Thatcher. Note Mr Speaker, there's noise from two sides on this


one. Today, the SNP and the Tories are united on the side of tax cuts


for big business. United on the side of the energy companies and united


against a 50p tax. Doesn't this demonstrate, Prime Minister, that


what people across the UK need is not a separation between Scotland


and England but liberation from right-wing Tory economics?


He has provided I think Mr Speaker, a very useful public service which


he has reminded me of one useful thing that the SNP have done in


their history which was to get rid of that dreadful Labour Government


that nationalised half of British industry made such a mess. Where I


don't agree with him. I agree with him on one very important thing. In


spite of his views, I do agree that the United Kingdom is much better


off together. But one of the issues he raised I think is completely


wrong. This is the week that we have cut corporation tax to 21%. That is


going to attract businesses into England, into Wales, into Scotland,


into Northern Ireland. He should be standing up and praising this tax


reduce cut in Government rather than criticising it. The planning


inspector recently told a closed meeting in Gloucestershire that he'd


give more weight to consultants economic models than to "10,000


objections from local people". Is that what the national planning


frame work meant by empowering local people?


The national planning framework is very clear about the importance of


listening to local people in terms of development and my right


honourable friend would have received a letter recently to


explain some of the changes in the guidance under the framework to make


sure, for instance, that previous housing performance by local


councils is taken into account and in his very important decisions.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. At a time of unpress dented crisis, the Prime


Minister saw at first hand just how good the west Cumberland Hospital in


my constituency can be. Six years into the rebuilding programme, the


hospital's been plunged into crisis. It's been starved of staff and faces


being stripped of key clinical services. The nearest hospital isn't


just down the road, it's 42 miles away in Carlisle. That too is


struggling. Will the Prime Minister commit today


to do everything he can to assist me, local clinicians and my


community in retaining consultant-led services in the west


Cumberland Hospital? I saw for myself what an excellent job the


hospital does and how important it is. What I would say is that, of


course, the Clinical Commissioning Group total revenues that are


available this year has an increase of 2.3%, ?636 million, because this


Government decided to protect NHS spending and not cut NHS spending


and that is why important hospital developments can go ahead.


Can the right honourable friend tell the house what steps the government


is taking to support entrepreneurs becoming employers? He is right. We


need to make it easier for someone to take on their first employee and


that is why this Saturday we are bringing in the ?2000 employment


allowance which means every business that employs someone will see a tax


reduction of up to ?2000. It means 55,000 businesses will be taken out


of paying National Insurance contributions altogether. The party


opposite introduced jobs taxes, we are cutting them. At the weekend, a


general warned that reducing the regular army to 82000 x 2020 would


weaken the Armed Forces and was a risk to take. Could be promised at


LB housewife he thinks it is not one hell of a risk? -- could the Prime


Minister tell the house why he thinks it is not one hell of a risk


# I have been out to Afghanistan every year since 2006 and I was


asked the same question. Do you have the equipment you need? Is there


anything you want? We have seen real improvements in equipment. Yes, we


will have an army of 82,000. We have will have larger reserve forces and


we will have Armed Forces and defence equipment that this country


can be very proud of. Following last week's excellent news of the Siemens


development in Hull, it is vital we move quickly with projects planned


for the Southbank of the Humber. All parties must work together to make


sure it becomes the green energy capital of the UK. I absolutely


agree. The announcement is a huge step forward because I think it is


going to bring an enormous amount of industry with it in terms of supply


and component manufacturing. We need to make sure the colleges are


training up apprentices and working to attract businesses to the area.


There are still agreements needed in other parts of Humberside to make


sure all of the developments go ahead. The Prime Minister will know


millions of people across the country value and love their Post


Office account, particularly those who do not have access to banks.


They want to get their cash each week. This is being renegotiated


with the DWP. Will he give a commitment that whatever happens,


pensioners and everyone on benefits or otherwise, they will be able to


access through the Post Office to get the money that they need? I will


look carefully at what she says. It is important for people to be able


to use the Post Office in that way. There have been changes in the way


the account works. I will look very closely at what she says and perhaps


write to her. Would my right honourable friend accept that on


this 100th anniversary of the First World War the Territorial Army won


71 Victoria crosses and thousands of other decorations and that by


learning the lessons of our English speaking cousins in America and the


pivotal role in the National Guard has played in Iraq and Afghanistan


that is the way to ensure we can afford the equipment we need for our


armed Forces for the future? Let me pay tribute to my honourable friend


who has campaigned long and hard for the Territorial Army and the other


reserve forces. The point he makes is good. In Afghanistan today, you


can see the Territorial Army working alongside the regular army, fighting


with them and being decorated with them in the brave actions they have


pursued. Other countries have shown it is possible to have a large


reserve force alongside the regular force and that is the way to have a


well-equipped and flexible army and navy and air force. The Lanzarote


convection sets a European wide standard for the protection of


children against sexual exploitation. The UK have signed it


but have not yet ratified it. Following recent episodes of


grooming in the UK included in my borough of Rochdale, will be


government now consider ratifying this very important convention? I


absolutely agree with him that child sexual exportation is an abhorrent


crime. We have seen some extremely disturbing cases and not just in


Rochdale, but also in the county I represent of oxygen. I understand


there is a small amount of further assessment to be done before the UK


is in a position to ratify the convection. -- the convention. Does


he agree with me that the doubling of capital allowances to half ?1


million provides a welcome boost to manufacturers will increase


investment in the sector, securing more jobs for British people? --


?500,000. This is a key part of our long-term economic plan. One of the


remarkable things about the budget was the ways it said we would


address some of the perennial weaknesses in the British economy.


We need to export more. We need to invest more. We need to improve our


performance in those regards and ensure the investment is spread


around the country. Unlike the party opposite, we will not be satisfied


with an unbalanced recovery. Today the Ford motor company agreed in


multi-million pound contribution towards a pension fund, for former


Ford employees. Will the Prime Minister Erdogan congratulate the


Unite union alongside a cross-party group of MPs... -- will the Prime


Minister congratulate. They have agreed to commit to other pensioners


who faced the same plight. I did not catch the end of his question. This


is a good development for all of those who played a role. There are


colleagues on all sides of the house who have been involved. They are to


be credited for the work they have done to make sure we get justice. I


welcome the government's intervention on fuel bills, many


rural people do not benefit from mains gas and depend on more


expensive fuels. We'll the government investigate a way in


which they can benefit these off grid customers who often live in


fuel poverty? -- will be government. He raises an important point. There


are things we can do, not least in encouraging the power of group


purchasing buying Courage in communities to come together and buy


oil and gas together to drive down prices. I am sure he will be looking


at options available. Three months ago I asked the Prime Minister


Erdogan his ?1000 tax which anyone joining the police has to play -- I


asked the Prime Minister about his ?1000 tax. ?1000 might not be much


to him but it is having a huge impact on forces like the Met who at


2000 officers Strand and finding it impossible to recruit. We all know


the tax is wrong. Order. This question will be heard. Braying and


sneering and making rude remarks is the sort of thing the public


despise. The honourable lady will be heard and the persons sneering all


to be ashamed of themselves. This is an important issue to everyone in


the country. We know the tax is wrong. Will the Prime Minister now


accept it is not working and abolish it in order that our police get back


to strength to defend the people? First of all, it is not a tax.


Secondly, it is not a barrier to recruitment. Thirdly, recruitment is


taking place in the Met Police. Yes, we have seen police reductions in


funding. We have also seen significant cuts in crime. The Met


Police are confident they will get good recruits. Bringing superfast


broadband to rural areas is vitally important and be governing is


rightly spending over ?1 billion on this. My constituents are very


frustrated that BT cannot tell them when or if their home will be


connected. It makes alternative planning impossible. Will be Prime


Minister tell BT to provide clear plans for the billions of taxpayer


money they are getting? I have had this discussion with BT and I am


happy to hold it again. I know my honourable friend will take up this


specific point which is we have asked BT to give more detail about


which homes and areas will get a broadband in their roll-out plan so


other companies and organisations are able to see whether there are


different ways of filling in gaps. I do not agree with some who think BT


have not been putting their shoulder to the ground. This is a real


success story for our country. As a Royal Mail share price remains about


70% above the flotation price, canny Prime Minister now rule out playing


a ?4 million bonus from taxpayers money to its government adviser?


What I would say to the honourable lady is that the taxpayer is ?2


billion better off because we were able to put this business into the


private sector whereas previous governments failed dismally. Mr


Speaker, my constituent is seeking the right to be treated by the


English run NHS, will be Prime Minister investigate what can be


done to help her and other NHS refugees who are seeking higher


standards which are being delivered by this covenant? -- by this


government? Frankly, what is happening in our NHS in Wales is a


scandal and it is a scandal that is entirely the responsibility of the


Labour Party running the Welsh Assembly government. They made the


decision to cut NHS spending by 8% in Wales. They have not met and A


target since 2009. I do not know why the Leader of the Opposition is


laughing. It is not funny. If he had any gumption, any backbone, he would


get hold of the First Minister and tell him to start investing in the


NHS in Wales. 25 years ago yesterday, poll tax was imposed on


the people of Scotland. A Prime Minister was kicked out of office by


her own party. Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to


apologise for that imposition? I did not here the beginning of the


question. 25 years ago yesterday, they hated poll tax was imposed on


the people of Scotland. It ended with a Prime Minister being kicked


out by her own party. We'll be Prime Minister take this opportunity to


apologise for that? I have made clear my view over this issue many


times. Council tax is a much better replacement. The key is to keep


levels down. That is why we support a freeze. In 2012, 150,000 people


petitioned this has two stop charitable air ambulances having to


pay VAT on fuel. Can I thank the Prime Minister for his budget which


means more lives are saved? Does he agree that this is only possible


because we are using the libel fines for good purposes and because we


have a good plan? -- Libor. He is right. He is the founder and chair


of the all-party group for air ambulances. He led a debate in the


house in 2012. I am delighted about the result achieved in the budget. I


think it will lead to an expansion of the service. He is also right


that you can only make these decisions if you look after the


nation's resources, get the deficit down. In short, if you have a


long-term economic plan. Why has it taken four years to recruit just 41


teachers into the ?10 million troops to teachers programme? We support


the programme. I will look carefully at what the honourable gentleman


says. It is a good idea, a good proposal. I want to make sure it is


working. It appears on my council tax bill that the Labour led


Lancashire county council and the Labour led Lancaster district


Council have raised the council tax by 2%. Very shocking. Would the


Prime Minister help the in finding out if it is 2% and help me sort


this matter up? What I would say is that he can say to the county


council and district Council is that this government is making the money


available so that councils can freeze the council tax. There is no


use for those who want to take the step. The council tax should be


frozen. The high school in my constituency was left ever stated


just before Christmas with a 14 AIDS people dying plane football -- with


a 14-year-old boy died. Yesterday, a girl died when a wall tragically


fell on her. I'm sure the Prime Minister would wish to send


condolences to her friends, teachers and family. I think the whole house


would agree with what the honourable gentleman said. This was a shocking


accident. Their hearts will go out to the family and all of those


involved in the school. The lessons will have to be learnt to make sure


that tragic accidents like this cannot happen again. The


Chancellor's cut in beer duty is great news for Britain's brewers. It


will allow them to invest but it will do nothing to help the 20,000


pubs tied to large companies. He has got rid of the fuel duty escalator,


the beer duty escalator. Will he now tackled the pub company problem? Can


I thank him for what he said about the cut in beer duty? This is about


making sure the industry creates jobs and supports the pub trade. A


company straight after the budget announced 3000 jobs. We want to look


very carefully about what is happening in tied pubs and the


activities of some companies. We are looking very closely to make sure


there are fairer outcomes for Britain's publicans and pub goers.


Could I ask the prime and is to what plans he has to reform higher


education fees and loans so that the system works for students, all


universities and also for the country? -- could I ask the Prime


Minister. We are going to expand the number of people going to higher


education by taking off the cap who can attend. Our plans are clearly


set out and what I say to the house is it is encouraging that it has not


put off people from going to university, nor has it but of people


from low-income backgrounds. Someone said in June, 2010, this. A graduate


tax would replace upfront tuition fees. I will consult widely before


publishing detailed plans later this year. That was the Leader of the


Opposition in June, 2010. I know we are dealing with a blank page and an


empty head, but get on with it. Would the Prime Minister agree it is


the skills enterprise and sheer hard work of all of the staff at


companies in conjunction with the long-term economic plan that is


driving the economy forward? A company has created 200 full-time


jobs last year and another 75 this year and it has exported naan bread


to India. It makes Dunstable B Crump at capital of the UK. Very good. I


am delighted Dunstable is taking on the label. -- it makes Dunstable the


crumpet capital of the UK. We have got the employment allowance


to make small businesses stronger. We have 3 million people who will


have been taken out of income tax altogether. That is what is


happening. Our economy is getting stronger and everyone can see


Labour's arguments are getting weaker all of the time. Order.


The clash was entirely over the post office between the two


frontbenchers, and whether the privatisation of it, was it right in


principle but, more important for Mr Miliband at the moment, was it done


in a way that maximises benefits to the taxpayers, as opposed to a


handful of people in the city? I want to come straight to David


Willetts. Is the Prime Minister sure that privatisation was in the 2010


Labour manifesto? I don't know exactly which manifested it was in,


but we know that labour for years wanted to do this. Peter Mandelson


famously worked very hard... Let me tell you what the 2005 Labour


manifesto said. We have given Royal Mail greater commercial freedom and


have no plans to privatise it. So we accept it wasn't in that manifesto.


Labour wanted to do this. Though, the Prime Minister said it was in


the Labour manifesto. He then said the 2010, we have agreed it was not


in the 2005 manifesto. In 2010 manifesto Labour said, Royal Mail


and its staff are taking welcome steps to modernise working practices


for the future, continuing modernisation and investment will be


needed by Royal Mail in the public sector. I say again, in the public


sector. That's the only reference to the Royal Mail in the 2010


manifesto. Can we accept that privatisation was not in the


manifesto? What happened was Labour wanted to do it and then, because of


the pressure from the union supporters, they weren't able to do


it. If you look at the debate, which was well reported at the time, you


will find prominent Labour ministers, I certainly remember


Peter Mandelson, saying they wished to do it. That may be the case but


that's not what I'm asking you. Can we accept that when the Prime


Minister said it was in the Labour manifesto, it was not. I will have


to go and check. We've just giving you the evidence. What the Prime


Minister is correctly remembering is Labour wanted to do it and went able


to do it, partly because of the trade unions. All parties have been


wrestling for years... Lots of MPs, including myself, said don't


privatise the Royal Mail. He finally listened. We changed his mind. We


had a debate within the Labour Party. We had it behind closed


doors. There was a massive Labour rebellion! He was the Business


Secretary at the time. But he also has to listen to Labour MPs. We told


him it was the wrong thing to do. What he had to do is bailout the


pension fund, that was his obligation. Frankly, it was better


to have a publicly owned and the public wanted it, too. I think we've


established there was no clear commitment to privatisation in


either of the two manifestos. However, the use of the word


investment in the 2010 manifesto was widely taken, including by Peter


Mandelson, to mean part privatisation. Peter Mandelson


himself said that Royal Mail part privatisation, quote, is the only


credible option. So that is where the word investment was meant. It's


not an explicit commitment in the 2010 manifesto, but the use of the


word investment was what Peter Mandelson meant by part


privatisation. By 2010, Peter Mandelson had not as much influence


as he had before. There was a new generation taking over the Labour


Party. We were against the idea of Royal Mail being privatised. We have


had clear opposition to the privatisation of Royal Mail. The


Government was wrong to privatise it. The underlying issue is how you


deliver a -- and efficient service with six-day delivery with proper


access to investment. The issue was how you have a high-quality Royal


Mail, and I think we are achieving that. Let me ask you a question


which the Prime Minister was asked twice and didn't answer on either


occasion. There were about 16 investors who were actually given


preferential positioning on buying of the shares, on the basis that


they would hold onto the shares. And yet 50% of them sold very quickly.


What happened to that agreement? I don't know what this so called


gentleman 's agreement is. It is in the report that came out this week.


They were given preferential position on the privatisation on the


understanding they would hold onto the shares. In fact, they quickly


moved and sold at a profit. We will be considering the report and


replying to it. The report makes clear that looking back now is


different from the decision to have to take at the time. At the time


there was risk, which the report recognises, if we'd gone too high a


price, the sale could have collapsed. Can I tell you what the


report... You had an agreement in advance... Can I tell you what the


report says? 16 of the 17 priority investors bought shares and were


allocated larger proportions of their other investor, other orders


than other investors, reflecting the department's expectation that they


would form part of a stable, long-term and supportive shareholder


base. Almost half of the shares allocated to them on a preferred


bases had been sold within weeks. We will consider that as part of our


consideration. I don't know what happened. Will you also be looking


at the undervaluation of the land? Mount Pleasant is a huge development


site in the middle of my constituency. The valuation of it


was the equivalent of two buttons and an acorn. They valued it on the


basis of being a car park. The public have been ripped off. What


the public are going to get is a better quality service, the


employees are going to be owning shares for the first time and the


Royal Mail is now functioning. The long-term problem, a company


threatened by overseas competition and put quality service, we are


addressing that. A lot of people will remember that exchange. I did


think the thing that might last from that exchange was that question


about the so called gentleman's agreement. What Ed Miliband referred


to as the mate's rates. We know what the power of this is for Labour, and


it is a very powerful critique to make. They want to add it to the


other criticisms they've got. That when the Government has a choice, it


helps its chums in the city and doesn't help ordinary folk. My sense


is this debate will go quite a long way, because it's pretty easy, and I


don't mean this in a patronising way, but it's pretty easy to


understand. Big city institution, got a lot of money, the posties who


did get their shares can't sell them for three years and people are left


asking, why was it done that way and did it need to be? David Willetts'


answer is a revealing one. Governments had repeatedly tried to


get this off their hands. It wasn't just Peter Mandelson, although Emily


tries to dismiss him, it was effectively deputy priming a step


under Gordon Brown and he was desperate to get rid of Royal Mail


because he thought it was a liability. Michael Heseltine had to


abandon a project to get rid of Royal Mail under John Major's


government. There is a huge resistance to selling off Royal Mail


but there is a consensus that the top of British politics, it's broken


now but there's a consensus it was the right thing to get it in the


private sector and get all that debt of government. Yellow you say get


rid of. The agenda, and to be fair to Peter Mandelson, was habit as a


stronger entity. There's going to be international competition, we want a


better functioning Royal Mail. But you did it in a way that a lot of


people, some of them we will find out have potentially been donating


money to your party, a lot of people made millions of pounds by flipping


these shares, having told you they weren't going to flip them. We will


have to see what has happened there. We will be responding to the report.


What do the viewers make of it? It was all about Royal Mail. Lead on


Royal Mail, giveaway at PMQs and the PM couldn't defend the mass loss to


the taxpayer. Some people were upset by the use of Muppets. They said it


was rude and unnecessary. Dunces as well. An agreement, camera and


avoiding real questions and the boys -- resorting to jokes. But there


were quite a few who thought Ed Miliband didn't nail it, despite


having an open goal. Paul Burke said, unfortunately Ed Miliband


looks and sounds like an academic playing student politics. His choice


of questions about sale price rather than its ability to provide good


service only goes his inability. No question Vince cable, the Business


Secretary who was involved and that the head of this deal, was better


shouting from the sideline band playing centre forward. I think this


will help Ed Miliband because he's been under pressure from some in his


own party to reveal policy. Hold your nerve on this cost of living


agenda, hold your nerve because it's getting support. He will think this


team is working just fine, hold off of that desire to unveil more. We


are really interested in PMQs today, and we don't always say that!


These days many of us are used to paying for the TV we watch, whether


it's for platforms like Sky or Virgin Media, or to download films


and box sets over the internet. But the BBC is different. It's still


largely funded by the licence fee which has been around in one form or


another for 90 years. The broadcaster Nick Ross thinks it's


time to think again about how we pay for shows like this one. We'll speak


to him in a moment, but first, he's been to our HQ, Broadcasting House.


Some of you might be familiar with from the BBC comedy W1A.


I am the new head of values for the BBC. Well, not really. If you have


seen the satirical series that lampoons the BBC, nothing would


surprise you about who was head of what.


If you have not seen it, believe me, it cuts pretty close to the bone.


But if you were head of values for the BBC, what sort of vision would


you want this place to have? It is a cultural triumph, one of the few


British institutions that still carries great weight across the


world. But it is so limited in its vision come so afraid that culture


and competition cannot coexist. -- in its vision, so afraid. Time now


for the shipping forecast. This is one of the corridors of power, in


fact, it is the corridor of power. The Director General is surrounded


by advisers clinging to a security blanket, the licensee. They are


terrified that if we in Britain are given choice, we will not want the


BBC. But I think they'd usually underestimate the talent here. --


they are hugely underestimating the talent. Risk aversion is driving the


BBC into a dead-end. The licence fee when it comes up for renewal in two


years time will be 90 years old. As every year goes by, it becomes more


and more an acoustic -- and anachronistic. When people get


content through computers, telephones, the TV licence is


increasingly archaic. It will become redundant just as the radio licence


did in 1971. More importantly, when the world's content industry is


building, films, internet, radio, TV, the BBC cannot grow. It is


trapped. Replacing this poll tax with subscription would liberate the


BBC. I believe it would get an almost universal intake and increase


the money going into the BBC. It would unleash its talents. In any


case, the licence fee risks public and political fatigue. If that


happens, if the BBC income stagnates or is cut, that would not be satire,


it would be tragic. And it would be hard to forgive those who lead us


down the path. Nick Ross joins us now. The BBC has


said a subscription service would turn the BBC into a commercial


profit driven enterprise. Is that what you want? That is what it is. I


want to be honest. I have worked for the BBC for a long time. I have no


vested interests. I have always been freelance. At the moment, the BBC


desperately needs to prove it gets a very big audience, just like a


commercial channel does. It needs to get the licence fee renewed. The


pressures, we are not honest about them. If we were honest, my view is


we could get more revenue freely without sending people to prison or


court because they do not pay their licence fee. What level would you


want it set at? At a level that people want to play Bollettieri. I


was with a senior person from the BBC a few days ago who told me they


have done surveys which said that 20% of people would not want to pay


?12 a month which is what it cost at the moment -- people want to play


ball and her. I ask people how much they would pay to watch Sherlock.


Most people would pay ?12 just for that. There is a huge untapped


amount of cash coming into this industry. In five, ten years, net


flicks has gone to a $3 billion a year industry. The BBC is convinced


it would lose money on the evidence and the polls they have done, people


would not pay if they were not forced to. The people commissioning


this research will cling to the licence fee. They are cherry picking


evidence and looking for the evidence which sustains their own


view. If Rupert Murdoch had listened to these people, he would never have


got people paying an average of ?550 per household for Sky. I understand


where they are coming from. They are frightened and timid and they do not


want the BBC to be challenged. The BBC licence fee, ?145, divided it up


by month. If the people are asked to pay ?30 per month, it would be


unaffordable for a lot of people who can afford ?145 a year. It would be


voluntary. Secondly, remember the cruel joke when Sky started. What


are those square things attacked to the satellite dishes? The answer


was, they are council homes. Generally it is poorer people who


cannot afford to go out, they are prepared to invest much more in what


they get at home. I do not think you will find it a problem. The uptake


will be enormous. If the BBC does good programming, that is what it is


about. There is a public service remit. Doing programmes which some


people might not think of good but others feel should be out there. The


BBC claims they are the only ones who do that. Even in the most


preposterous sense of self-importance, the BBC does not


say that. It knows that Channel 4, Sky, they do a lot of good public


service programming. It also knows the BBC does a lot of stuff that


would flourish on the commercial market. What do you think about the


future funding model? This is an issue that will be debated as we


head into future charter renewal is. I like the fact it is universal. I


like the arrangement which ensures people are sharing in something and


that the fee, and there has been a lot of debate in the Commons about


the criminality of it, the fee is a lot less than some of the commercial


options. Niqabs two ex plain white we can do it -- Nick has to explain


that. Would you be prepared to set the licence fee so ago September


sent per annum for the next ten year charter renewal? If not, the BBC


will be progressively eclipsed compared to whatever else goes on in


Britain. If you are wrong about the amount of money, which services


would you cut? I would cut the ones I could not sustain. Some things the


government would as now subsidised, just as it subsidises over 75s. I am


not trying to privatise it. It would have the same public service


principles now but with more income. Would you have advertising?


Absolutely not. It would ruin it. The way advertising works is getting


very much out of date. Kids scroll through them. Thank you very much.


Now, as you know BBC Two is home to all the big shows that shape the


political debate. The Daily Politics. Cash in the Attic. And


tonight it's hosting round two of Nigel Farage versus Nick Clegg, as


they debate whether Britain should continue to be a member of the EU.


In a moment, we'll talk to David Dimbleby, he's chairing tonight's


showdown. But first, let's remind you how the BBC used to do this sort


of thing the last time Britain was talking about a referendum on


Europe, back in 1975. Tonight for the first time in this referendum


campaign, Labour Minister meets Labour Minister to discuss the


arguments for and against Britain's continued membership of the common


market. Roy Jenkins, long-time supporter of British membership and


president of the campaign. Tony Benn, Secretary of State for


industry, the man who fought for the referendum and one of the leading


opponents to the common market. And here is David Dimbleby, almost 40


years on, but not looking a day older. Stop flattering me. The drugs


have worked. He is outside Broadcasting House where the debate


is taking place this evening. We'll be debate... How will it differ to


last week but at the first round of the debate is a kind of sparring


match work Nick Clegg on Nigel Farage sort out each other's


weaknesses. I imagine tonight they will want to deliver knockout


punches, in effect. One of them will want to have the other on the floor


by the end of the hour. Am I right in thinking fewer questions this


time compared to last week so that they can debate among themselves?


Well, it is always a difficult balance. We will put in enough


questions to make sure the subject is properly covered. We will have


some up our sleeve in case some do not go well. The job is to get the


two of them arguing. Half a dozen questions, eight, I don't know. Have


you heard anything on the grapevine about how they are prepping? Nothing


at all. They have both been doorstep. They are doing what


Muhammad Ali used to do. I tell you one thing. I read through the


transcript of the Roy Jenkins and Tony Benn one we did. The topics are


that clearly same. It is fascinating. It is all about


democracy, control, constitutional control on the one hand and jobs at


the other. They go at that for 50 minutes. Brilliant to watch will


stop as I hope and think tonight will be. I am sure it will. We will


be watching. Thank you. Are you going to be watching tonight? Yes.


Do you wish your man was in their as well? Our option which is


negotiating a better deal and put into a referendum is not what either


of the parties debating this evening will be offering the electorate.


That is what the electorate want. You should have done the debate. Is


it good for Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage? Except I do not think people


are terribly interested. I am sorry. Good audience on Sky last time. What


do you mean by that? The amount of people who watch this programme


tonight. -- this programme perhaps. It got more! I think Sky got almost


ten times its normal audience. Not bad. That does not include LBC. Lots


of offices have the television on. I cannot believe you would say a thing


like that! You have the two extremes of the debate. Mr Clegg, extreme? We


are going to give you a final reminder that you can watch the


debate live on BBC Two at 7pm tonight. All you can set your video


recorder! -- or you can set. It will be on iPlayer also. We will give you


the answer to the Guess The Year. The clue was Edwina Currie's trouble


with eggs, so it must have been 1988. Hit that button. Find out who


has won. There we go. That is it. We thank our special guests. The new


starting on BBC One. We will be back tomorrow and new. Goodbye. -- at




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