12/06/2014 Daily Politics


12/06/2014

Andrew Neil presents the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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George Osborne says his tough stance on the economy is paying off.

:00:37.:00:42.

him to crow a bit at tonight's annual Mansion House

:00:43.:00:47.

He's also decided to get tough with the bankers.

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He wants criminal sanctions for traders who attempt to rig

:00:51.:00:52.

Teresa May says the Home Office may have to bring it

:00:53.:00:59.

Here is a man who has a few choice words up his sleeve. We'll be asking

:01:00.:01:13.

him what he think of his old boss. And World Cup fever's hit

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the Westminster Village. LAUGHTER.

:01:24.:01:31.

THE MOST INTELLIGENT REMARK WE'VE HAD ON THE DAILY PICKS FOR A WHILE.

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With us for the whole programme today is the MEP, Godfrey Bloom.

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A champion of the feminist cause and famous liberal.

:01:44.:01:45.

He used to be a member of UKIP before Nigel Farage gave him

:01:46.:01:48.

He wasn't re-elected to the European Parliament last month,

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but has to hold his job down till the end of June.

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Gives you two weeks to finish your expenses I guess.

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Now first today let's start with the passport crisis.

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The Home Secretary was forced to the House of Commons

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this morning to answer an Urgent Question on the matter.

:02:11.:02:13.

Theresa May has announced measures to tackle the backlog

:02:14.:02:15.

People applying to renew passports overseas,

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for travel to the UK, will be given an automatic 12-month extension to

:02:18.:02:20.

And those applying for passports overseas for their children will

:02:21.:02:23.

also be issued with emergency travel documents for travel to the UK.

:02:24.:02:26.

In addition to these changes, HMPO will increase the number of

:02:27.:02:39.

examiners and call handlers by a further 200 staff. Second HMPO is

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addressing a series of process points to make sure its systems are

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operating efficiently and third, where people have an urgent need to

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travel, HMPO has agreed to upgrade them. That's their application will

:02:55.:02:58.

be considered in full. It will be compo indicted in terms of its

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processing, printing and delivery. They have agreed to upgrade them

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free of charge. That was the Home Secretary this morning. The

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Government moving on all fronts to try to hose down this passport

:03:11.:03:15.

crisis. I mean, the Government began by saying it was almost Much Ado

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About Nothing, now it is moving on all fronts, even saying it is going

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to have to take over the Passport Office My secretary went down to get

:03:26.:03:29.

my passport renewed several months ago, I needed to go to Brazil. We

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need it on the hurry up. She said it was chaos. She said she didn't know

:03:36.:03:39.

how the place works. It all comes back to the fact that I don't think

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the Home Office and its subdivisions are fit for purpose and this isn't

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new. It wasn't that long ago that the Passport Office had a reputation

:03:47.:03:50.

for being one of the most efficient of the Government agencies Indeed.

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It has gone backwards, hasn't it? That's extremely sad and now, of

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course, it is firefighting and crisis management. Which is always

:04:00.:04:02.

less than helpful. The significance of this, too - there are lots of

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issue that is Westminster talk about that are frankly marginal to most

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people's interest, certainly in the short term. This isn't. This is

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really cut-throat Absolutely. This affects everybody, who is trying to

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get away, especially at this time of the year. I think it adds to the

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feel that people are fed up with the incompetence of this administration

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much it is reflective of the whole thing over the last fou years. We

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will see how it goes. -- last four years. The story, clearly has, leg.

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Now time for Godfrey to get his grey matter working with a little

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daily quiz. The question for today is:

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What has Boris Johnson recently ordered for London?

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A, some new water cannons. B, stocks.

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C, a new skyscraper called The Cucumber.

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Or D, a statue of David Cameron for Trafalgar Square.

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At the end of the show we'll see if Godfrey can give us the correct

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This must be about the easiest quiz we have done in years.

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Now, it's been a very busy week for George Osborne. Some key economic

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stats have been released, he's making a major set-piece speech, and

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he also took in a trip to a another planet too. Here's what the

:05:12.:05:14.

The last Government might seem like a long time ago and from a galaxy

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far away, but George Osborne - as he keeps telling us - is still trying

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to sort out Labour's economic legacy.

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Earlier this week the chancellor paid a visit to a film set. Why? A

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new Star Wars movie is going to be filmed in the UK. And that means

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more jobs and more investment, says Mr Osborne.

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Talking of jobs, there was new hope yesterday. The unemployment rate

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fell from 6.8% to 6.6% in the last quarter, as the number of people in

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A case of the economy strikes back? Not quite. Earnings growth has

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slowed to 0.7% from 1.9% the previous month, leaving wages lower

:05:57.:06:02.

But tonight the chancellor will show he's not afraid to use the force.

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He's using his Mansion House speech to set out plans to crack down on

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Joining me now is the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Chris

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Leslie, and the Conservative MP Jesse Norman.

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Welcome to you, both. Jesse Norman y are wages still

:06:26.:06:33.

lagging prices? -- why are wages? It is a long-term problem. It is a

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matter of catch-up in the economy. I don't think they have been kept by

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the continually low inflation in eurozone which has pulled down wage

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costs and other things across the whole of Europe. You know, I think

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it is a process of recovery. When will wage rise more quickly than

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prices? Well, when the demand for labour starts to accelerate. It is

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accelerating. It is accelerating at a record level. That's true. It'll

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continue to accelerate as the cycle goes on and as investment starts it

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take proper shape in industrial manufacturing businesses. It always

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lags consumer demand. We have seen investment picking up fast now. I

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would expect wages to rise as a result of that. Will they be rising

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in time for the election? Well, they may well do. It's just a matter

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of... You must hope they do. I think that's true. I don't think the

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election is the key issue. The key issue is - what happens to the this

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country? When they rise, will they rise in a stable way is a key issue.

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You forget the real wages of the bottom third of the population

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stopped growing in 2003. The cracking of that and beginning the

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process of accelerating wages amongst the least well-off working

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people in this country is the crucial long-term challenge. Of

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course, Chris Leslie, the gap between the rise in wages and the

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rise in prices is not a complete measurement of living standards. No,

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I think it is interesting - not just interesting, it is appalling it has

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been going on for such a were longed period. I think there have been only

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a couple of months where wage levels have exceeded prices. One of those

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was when the Chancellor gave away his #r50p tax cut. He cut it to 45p.

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And there was a bonus Bonn on did a at the top of the income scale. --

:08:26.:08:32.

Even take that into account, prices are still running higher than wages.

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Yes and we saw that in your package. The Chancellor is scratching his

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head much he is under the impress that people should be grateful for

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the economic data fl. He doesn't understand that for most people,

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they are still finding it difficult. For many, low pay, the insecurity of

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work, the zero hours interests, is a real and pressing problem. You say

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that. And, of course, there is no question for lots of people it has

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been a tough time. They have had to tighten their belts and their pay

:09:04.:09:07.

hasn't kept pace with the price of a lot of things they have had to buy.

:09:08.:09:12.

Is that true overall? If there was a cost of living crisis, there would

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be a number of of indicator that is would prove your point. For example,

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retail sales. They would be very weak people wouldn't have money to

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spend. They are up 6% year on year. The key is not to look at this in

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aggregate. You have to look at what is happening, per head, per person.

:09:28.:09:31.

If you look at the GDP statistics, the growth in the economy, the very

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wealthiest at the top, especially the wealth west 1% v seen their

:09:36.:09:39.

share of the cake increase, they are doing very well indeed. The bottom

:09:40.:09:44.

90%, pretty much everybody else, has seen their share actually fall back.

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If that was the case, why would retail sales be rising by 6%. It is

:09:49.:09:55.

not the top 6% from retail scales. There are a few wealthy people. They

:09:56.:10:00.

do not. It is an be absurd point, you know it. Retail sales are

:10:01.:10:06.

everybody GB to Marks Spencer and Primark. Some is borrowed money and

:10:07.:10:11.

people resorting to credit cards. People are resorting to credit cards

:10:12.:10:15.

sometimes it make ends meet. Hold on, credit card debt is not

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extraordinarily high. It has shown very little of a rise. Look at the

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savings ratio. And negative equity is following. People have been

:10:25.:10:27.

dipping in a their I savings. You can only do once, by the way.

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Consistently the savings ratio, 3%, last year 2%, going to be this year

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predicted to be 1%, by the OBR, the following here this. S a problem

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that's a continuing crisis. Yet we don't have a Chancellor who even

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recognises it as a problem. Are you in danger with the unemployment

:10:46.:10:49.

figures, which nobody can really explain, but the figures are really

:10:50.:10:53.

- they have surprised everybody, not just politicians. They have

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surprised economists as well, are you in danger you may face an

:10:57.:11:01.

interest rate rise this side of the election? Well, it is almost

:11:02.:11:05.

impossible, the Bank of England, which is independent, might raise

:11:06.:11:09.

interest rates towards the end of this year, that's been the kind of

:11:10.:11:14.

guidance we have seen, so it is it plays into the market. Unemployment

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has never been higher than it is now. The rise was the last on

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record. Inflation has never been as high. The participation rate is

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almost the same. The participation rate... That's a percentage.. That's

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right. The other thing s you would expect wages come under some

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pressure as the employment market grows, because more and more people

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are competing with the labour market. These things go together.

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The extraordinary thing s it is doing as well as it is. There are

:11:40.:11:43.

growing questions about your cost of living narrative as more and more

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facts come out. They are not being questioned by independent

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commentators. Your own side are beginning to question T let's listen

:11:50.:11:54.

to what George leak had to say on the Daily Politics? -- what George

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Clarke had to say For me, thep main issue is the economy. We have to

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convince people they won't go back to bad economic circumstances of the

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past. I think we need a stronger narrative about what we did right

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and wrong in Government. We did many things right economically and some

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things wrong. We didn't do that. We haven't been prepared to admit the

:12:20.:12:22.

mistakes we have made. He we rested a great deal on assuming the

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Conservative strategy would not succeed, that plan A would not work.

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It has proved to be unwise. The Conservatives have succeeded in

:12:33.:12:35.

getting the economy on a more positive path which leaves us very

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little place to be now in these circumstances. The cost of living

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crisis, as Labour call it, is that really a powerful enough narrative?

:12:43.:12:47.

The cost of living crisis? It is a real description of the position

:12:48.:12:51.

very many people feel. The answer isn't necessarily in those very same

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people's minds, that Labour will solve their cost of living crisis.

:12:56.:12:59.

You need a story more than just about life as people experience it,

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but more about how Labour would change those conditions of life. So

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Plan A worked according to Mr Clarke and the cost of living crisis is not

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a strong enough narrative. I think if you describe the situation people

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are in today, this is undoubtedly n my view, a cost of living crisis.

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are in today, this is undoubtedly n my view, But people want

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are in today, this is undoubtedly n my view, a cost of living crisis. to

:13:18.:13:19.

know what we are saying about the economy and the vision for the

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economy going forward. For me, it comes down to two things - if we

:13:23.:13:27.

have a recovery, we want it to be... We have a recovery. That is that we

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want it to be sustainable. We want to make sure it is lasting and not

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lob sided and we can talk about housing and interest rates in a

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moment. But we also want an economy that is fair for all. It does

:13:40.:13:42.

involve everybody and it is not just seeing rewards and growth go to

:13:43.:13:46.

those at the very top of society. On both of those points, I think there

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is a big, big political choice for people to Mick and a lot of

:13:51.:13:53.

difference between the Conservative and the Labour Party. -- people to

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make. What do you make of the current economic situation? There

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are a number of points I don't necessarily accept. The cost of

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living index, I believe is badly formed. I don't believe in the CPI

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being an accurate portrayal of what it actually is for real people. So,

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you look at, in the last ten years, you see energy price have doubled.

:14:14.:14:18.

You have seen petrol prices have gone up, food prices have gone up.

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So the things that people are dealing with, in my constituency in

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Yorkshire, and places like Hull and York and Leeds and Bradford, they

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are having a struggle. But he can't complain about that, it was his side

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that introduced the CPI. It is even worse if you look on R pi. . It is

:14:35.:14:40.

worse if you look at RPI. I wouldn't have moved away from RPI. You have

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You have certain things not going up. White goods. Flat screens. What

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else? I think the other problem you have with cost of living, Government

:14:50.:14:53.

haven't done anything to trim public spending. They have nibbled at the

:14:54.:14:57.

edges of deficit spending, but they are still in this situation where

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they are borrowing, ?9 billion a month. They said they would get rid

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of the national debt or start to bring it down. What is going to be a

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gift to the Labour Party in May 2015, people will say - the Labour

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Party can't imagine this problem. The long and short is that this

:15:15.:15:17.

administration is going to the country with a national debt which

:15:18.:15:20.

is 50% times greater so. This administration has been a disaster

:15:21.:15:31.

on national debt. There are today 780,000 more private-sector jobs

:15:32.:15:35.

than one year ago, a record rise, the highest, I think, in 25 years,

:15:36.:15:41.

but only 11,000 fewer public sector jobs. What happened to the cuts? You

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ask anyone in the public services and there have been significant

:15:49.:15:57.

cuts. Why few would jobs? I think the truth of the matter is the

:15:58.:16:03.

economy is like a supertanker. You do not turn it around instantly.

:16:04.:16:07.

Other crises, they take between six and ten years to overcome. That

:16:08.:16:12.

looks at the start of recovery in 2014 and hopefully going on for

:16:13.:16:17.

several years. Debt will rise as you start to get the deficit under

:16:18.:16:21.

control, it is down under a third. The Labour narrative is empty.

:16:22.:16:26.

Should interest rates rise sooner than later? My fear is that they

:16:27.:16:35.

will rise sooner. It is a judgement for the Bank of England. I have a

:16:36.:16:41.

worry about what is happening in the housing market. We have the

:16:42.:16:45.

Chancellor saying that he has the Help To Buy scheme but he wants

:16:46.:16:49.

hindrance to buy. They are in a muddle. They should focus on supply.

:16:50.:16:54.

Unless you get demand and supply in better equilibrium, you will have a

:16:55.:17:00.

lopsided problem. Is there a housing problem outside London? If interest

:17:01.:17:07.

rates go up you are talking about ?240 a year for the typical mortgage

:17:08.:17:11.

customer. That could be a problem for many people.

:17:12.:17:16.

The government have admitted there's a benefits backlog, with more than

:17:17.:17:18.

700,000 people still waiting for assessments for employment

:17:19.:17:20.

And that's not the only benefit which has been delayed.

:17:21.:17:24.

In Prime Minister's Questions yesterday,

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David Cameron was asked by Labour's Katy Clark about problems with

:17:27.:17:29.

the personal independence payment - the benefit which has replaced

:17:30.:17:32.

Less than one quarter of people who have applied for the personal

:17:33.:17:47.

independence payment have received decisions. If we continue at this

:17:48.:17:52.

rate it will take more than 40 years to get to the point where everyone

:17:53.:17:54.

is assessed. rate it will take more than 40 years

:17:55.:17:58.

to get to the point where Does the Prime Minister think this

:17:59.:18:00.

acceptable? What will he do about it? It is important when we

:18:01.:18:06.

introduce new benefits that we make sure it is done in a way that works

:18:07.:18:12.

well. I would say it is important not to have an artificial deadline

:18:13.:18:16.

of replacing one benefit with another. We are joined by the

:18:17.:18:20.

Minister for disabled people, Mike Penning. More than 700,000 people

:18:21.:18:26.

waiting for assessments for employment and support allowance,

:18:27.:18:30.

many of them some of the most vulnerable people on low incomes in

:18:31.:18:33.

the country. That is not good enough. It is not. I have been in

:18:34.:18:41.

the job eight months. I asked for a review of the allowance, how it

:18:42.:18:48.

performed, and who was performing. What I would say is that figure is

:18:49.:18:53.

10% less than the last time I released figures. Last time it was

:18:54.:19:01.

770,000. Why did you let it get to this, not you personally, but the

:19:02.:19:06.

government? We have to look at what it replaced. DLA, you were put on

:19:07.:19:16.

that for life. Only 7% of people who got that got a face-to-face

:19:17.:19:19.

examination. At the moment is when I came in it was 97%. You can see

:19:20.:19:24.

where the delays come. We are getting that down. A further 84,000

:19:25.:19:32.

people are still on incapacity benefit. They have not been moved

:19:33.:19:33.

people are still on incapacity benefit. They have not over to ESA.

:19:34.:19:42.

You say 84,000... I wanted to make sure, and this is important, that

:19:43.:19:48.

people coming on to benefit, who need the money... People on the

:19:49.:19:53.

current benefit are on it and have not lost anything. We want to make

:19:54.:19:56.

sure we have new people coming on. On top of this, delays with the

:19:57.:20:03.

personal independence payment as well. To such an extent that the

:20:04.:20:09.

National Audit Office found claimants were waiting on average

:20:10.:20:17.

107 days, terminally ill patients, 28 days. People who are dying. We

:20:18.:20:25.

cannot even get money to them. It is wrong. 28 days when I arrived, less

:20:26.:20:30.

than ten days now. I promised the select committee, lobby groups,

:20:31.:20:35.

charities and individuals, I will get it down. I've got it down to ten

:20:36.:20:40.

days, I think we can get it down to between three days and five days.

:20:41.:20:45.

You can guarantee for any terminally ill person, waiting for this, they

:20:46.:20:50.

do not wait for more than ten days? They have not been waiting for more

:20:51.:20:54.

than ten days. I said that was wrong and said I would get it down to ten

:20:55.:21:02.

days and I have done so. Why was it not the scene? Any new benefit it is

:21:03.:21:08.

difficult. There was a pressure, 97% of people having face-to-face

:21:09.:21:13.

examinations, which were not necessary. It should be around 65,

:21:14.:21:21.

35. It is making sure the decision is right. I am adamant about this.

:21:22.:21:31.

So little getting their decision are going to appeal. In WC A, which we

:21:32.:21:35.

have had problems, with the contracts, and we have a new

:21:36.:21:42.

provider, that has dropped by 89%. People who really need the money are

:21:43.:21:48.

getting it. People not getting the work is that judges in the Appeal

:21:49.:21:55.

Court. In the WC a they were not doing the work I wanted to do on

:21:56.:21:59.

assessments. If I had sacked them like the Labour Party Tolmie, and we

:22:00.:22:03.

could have done that, we would have paid huge amounts of compensation.

:22:04.:22:07.

If you sack them because they can't perform... The Labour Party wrote

:22:08.:22:15.

the contract. They are going out and paying us compensation, not the

:22:16.:22:24.

other way. Atos And WC a are leaving. They are doing a much

:22:25.:22:30.

better job now. The backlog will be cleared when we have a plan in place

:22:31.:22:36.

and we hope, and it does depend on the numbers coming through, but

:22:37.:22:40.

certainly we aren't fearing more than is coming in. I cannot give an

:22:41.:22:46.

exact date. I need to make sure we get the right decision. It sounds

:22:47.:22:51.

like, among many other things, we are looking carefully at dishes and

:22:52.:22:58.

-- at decisions. It looks like it is working better. The people Atos

:22:59.:23:07.

replacing, do they have a contract where you can get rid of them

:23:08.:23:12.

without costing the taxpayer money. I have not issued a contract yet.

:23:13.:23:16.

Normally the companies run circles around you. I am determined that

:23:17.:23:24.

lessons need to be learned from the contract issued by the previous

:23:25.:23:28.

government. That we get better for the taxpayer. How much has it cost

:23:29.:23:38.

the taxpayer? Dealing with the previous contract and bringing new

:23:39.:23:43.

people in? If we had done what others said, sack them, it would

:23:44.:23:47.

have cost tens of millions of pounds. We have a substantial

:23:48.:23:55.

settlement that they paid us money. I feel sorry for Mike Penning, he is

:23:56.:24:01.

between a rock and a hard place. He inherited the problem. Everybody

:24:02.:24:06.

has. Welfare is failing across Western Europe and north America.

:24:07.:24:11.

What happens is under Beveridge, the idea that you were putting a safety

:24:12.:24:17.

net under people having bad luck. We have opened the doors of welfare to

:24:18.:24:25.

too many people. We lost the original plot. We cannot deliver. I

:24:26.:24:32.

disagree. In the old days, mutual societies would have dealt with

:24:33.:24:38.

that. I do not want it to be about the rights and wrongs of the welfare

:24:39.:24:42.

state. Does the government owe the people involved an apology? I have

:24:43.:24:49.

apologised. I apologised on the floor of the House of Commons. We

:24:50.:24:53.

need to make sure people get it and people who do not deserve it do

:24:54.:24:58.

not. I promised those people I would do something and that is what I am

:24:59.:25:00.

doing. Our guest has

:25:01.:25:01.

his own way with words. He once described parts of

:25:02.:25:03.

the world as "Bongo Bongo Land" and The last remark saw him

:25:04.:25:06.

criticised from the most unexpected Flatmate in Brussels and leader

:25:07.:25:10.

of UKIP, Nigel Farage, effectively threw him out

:25:11.:25:16.

of a party he'd been a big part of. Last year,

:25:17.:25:19.

Godfrey was the proud recipient A spokesman described him

:25:20.:25:21.

as a wince-inducing gaffe machine. In the garden of politics, God --

:25:22.:25:44.

Godfrey Bloom is no shrinking violet. You would think some had his

:25:45.:25:48.

statements were fashioned in the Duke of Edinburgh School of PR. But

:25:49.:25:54.

he often excuses offence by saying he was joking and repeatedly blamed

:25:55.:25:58.

the usual suspects for making a fuss. The left-wing press were on

:25:59.:26:04.

its like a Rottweilers. That is politics. Who can he mean? Clearly,

:26:05.:26:16.

the mainstream BBC. If you have not done a hand's turn and neither have

:26:17.:26:20.

your parents, I do not understand why you can vote on the

:26:21.:26:25.

administration. He was elected a UKIP MEP but weeks later on his

:26:26.:26:29.

first day in Strasbourg, with a seat on the European Parliament's women's

:26:30.:26:38.

rights committee... No self-respecting businessman would

:26:39.:26:45.

employ a lady of child-bearing age. That is not politically correct but

:26:46.:26:54.

it is a fact of life. He said that women did not "clean behind the

:26:55.:26:59.

fridge enough". It made an effective Christmas card with his wife.

:27:00.:27:04.

Holding bongos is his allusion to his views on foreign aid. How we can

:27:05.:27:10.

be giving ?1 billion a month when we are in debt to Bongo Bongo Land...

:27:11.:27:16.

It is this off-the-cuff style that scuppered him with his own. In the

:27:17.:27:21.

midst of the biggest Conference the UKIP in years, on the back of the

:27:22.:27:25.

joke about a fridge, he also made a joke. I have never cleaned behind my

:27:26.:27:37.

fridge. He might have got away with it but in terms of handling a media

:27:38.:27:41.

problem later, this is probably not how you deal with it best. Was there

:27:42.:27:47.

a single woman in there who did not laugh at the joke, you sad little

:27:48.:27:57.

man? You have a Conference brochure with no black faces. What a racist

:27:58.:28:01.

comment,

:28:02.0:21:06

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