26/11/2015 Daily Politics


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saying goodbye to viewers on BBC Two.


Welcome. coverage of this debate. We're


Now, first today, let's talk about migration.


Figures out this morning show that net migration to the UK has hit


The difference between the number of people coming to live in Britain


and those emigrating was 336,000 in the 12 months to the end of June.


The total is 82,000 higher than in the previous year.


It means the government has slipped further from its target


of getting net migration down to the "tens of thousands" by 2020.


it was meant to be of course by 2015, and indeed the target is


actually receding into the distance. Andrew Lansley, wouldn't the


government just be better to give up on this target? It is not easy to


see how it is going to be done, is it? Because when you set a target,


in principle you should do is use targets for things that you can


control, and to some extent this turns out to be something they don't


appear to be able to control. I have only seen the numbers this morning,


but unless I'm missing something, there was both a significant


increase in the numbers coming here from elsewhere in the European


Union, and that is principally for jobs. And as things stand, the


renegotiation with the EU may reduce some of the incentives that he would


come the jobs, but if they are coming hither jobs and get a


national living wage in years to come, that is pretty attractive. We


are doing well in job creation. But I think there was also a significant


increase in the numbers coming here from outside the European Union.


Which is that we are meant to be able to control. There are still way


over 100,000, tens those well over 100,000 from outside the EU coming


in. We do have to look inside this big number and say what is going on.


If people are coming here in order to fill jobs where we don't have


people domestic league table or unwilling to do those jobs, that is


a good thing. You can see in the long-term economic forecasts what a


benefit that could have, in terms of overall output. And the same, I


think personally, it's pretty much true for those who are coming here


and then going home for higher education purposes. But actually you


can even take those numbers out and you have still got a significant


increase. There is a sense where this all began six years ago of, how


do we cope with population increases on this scale? Something of the


order of 1% of increase in population a year. This is not


really tenable in the long run. The government clearly came nowhere near


that its target of 2015. We agree it is pretty unlikely from what we have


seen so far it is not going to hit it in 2020. At the moment you are


looking at it and saying what will be the difference between not the


only thing in prospect at the moment is the change to migrant benefits


and in work benefits for those coming from elsewhere. I think that


will make all the difference? No, I don't.


Now, let's talk about yesterday's Spending Review, or the


Chancellor's Autumn Statement, whatever you prefer to call it.


You might be forgiven for thinking Christmas had come early.


Springing out of the Chancellor's Christmas stocking, an extra ?27


billion, allowing the Chancellor to perform all sorts of magical tricks.


Let's have a look at what he had to say, in detail.


That windfall from the new OBR forecast allowed


the Chancellor to reverse plans to introduce ?4.4 billion worth of tax


credit cuts that were supposed to be introduced this year.


It means George Osborne will breach his own welfare cap


in the early years of this parliament, before tax credits are


phased out by 2018 and replaced by a Universal Credit payment.


It wraps up six different welfare payments.


The day-to-day expenditure of government departments will fall


20 billion, on average, by 2020, but the burden isn't equally shared.


The departments for transport, energy, business and the environment


are the biggest losers, with their day-to-day budgets falling by


The NHS, education, defence and foreign aid budgets were protected.


The NHS will receive an up front cash injection of ?3.8


billion above inflation next year, as part of the ?8 billion extra to


A new apprenticeship levy of 0.5% on company payrolls


from April 2017 will raise ?3 billion a year, and fund three


From next April, the basic state pension will rise to ?119.30 a week.


The Chancellor gladdened the hearts of police officers


by promising there would be no real-terms cuts to police budgets


in England and Wales, but forces will be expected to make efficiency


And, despite difficult financial circumstances, George Osborne still


plans to have eliminated the deficit, and be running a ?10.1


First of all, the Spending Review takes the


necessary decisions to make sure that Britain stops borrowing, runs


And that involves difficult decisions on spending and tax


and particularly on day-to-day spending, in order to


invest in the long-term and invest in our NHS and our police.


And my central judgment is that by taking those decisions, no more, no


less, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Britain and we can


Well, this morning, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell


said his party wasn't completely satisfied with George Osborne's


We had three targets in terms of Labour's campaign - one was to


Unfortunately, it is only a partial victory.


It is a bit George Osborne-ish, as usual.


He is going ahead with the Universal Credit cuts and that means


families still losing out, as they get shifted on to Universal Credit.


On average about ?1,000 but people with disabilities,


for example, about ?2,500 and loan parents ?2,500.


So partial victory on that but we'll keep on campaigning to try


And with me now, the Shadow Treasury spokesman,


Rebecca Long-Bailey, and Torsten Bell of the Resolution Foundation, a


nonpartisan think tank, which works to improve the living standards


Andrew Lansley is, of course, still with us.


Let me come to you first, Thurston, the Chancellor will not be talking


about taking away tax quotes between the now and the end of tax credits


and universal credits comes in between now and 2018. What happens


to those people that the Chancellor had targeted in July but is no


longer targeting in universal credit? That is not quite right,


Andrew. What the Chancellor did yesterday is a very welcome return


to his plans. The tax credit cuts, that is welcome because it will


offer reassurance... What happens when me get universal credit? In


terms of using tax credits taking people away with more than two


children, are going ahead. Then we turn to universal credit and what is


that, and the Chancellor has maintained the cuts to universal


credit that were set out in the summer budget, leave those place. As


the Chancellor said in his statement, there are no changes to


those cuts. So when it moves to universal credit, the cuts that


would have affected people if the Chancellor had proceeded with his


July statement, they will affect these people, come universal credit?


Most of those cuts will affect people in universal credit and they


will obviously happen in a slightly different way but in slippers


plastic terms can be yes. Most of those cuts will take place in


universal credit that the point that that system is full and up and


running. So pay and delay -- pain delayed? The Chancellor listened to


people who said the transition, that taking tax credits away next April


at a point where there has not been an increase in the income tax


personal allowance, where all the additional childcare is not in place


and particularly where people are not being paid at the national


living wage, that created a transitional problem. Of course what


he has dealt with is the transitional problem, by taking away


that additional reduction in people's income until such time as


there are these other compensating benefits. What do you say to that?


Let's look at the compensating benefits, the national living wage


is a farce, to say the least. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has


claimed it is arithmetically impossible to commentator these


families's losses. It is a farce. You say, it is going up to ?9. The


last Labour manifesto, ninth and 30, let me finish the question, the last


Labour Party manifesto in May of this year promised it would only go


up to ?8. Green it is certainly welcome. Is it a farce or is it


welcome? Can't be both. It is not possible to compensate them by


increasing the national minimum wage. That may well be true but that


is a different point. I am just trying to work out how a national


minimum wage of over nine quid could be a farce when the one you promise


to make at only eight quid is not a farce. The question was linked with


how it would deal with these families. They need more than an


increase in the national living wage quite frankly, they need a clear and


cob rancid industrial and economic strategy. That is just political


rhetoric, all politicians talk about that. By how much do you think the


national minimum wage should be by the end of this Parliament? We need


to look at other options available, and we should not just focus on the


national minimum wage. Forgive me, I am come I am asking you how much you


think, if ninth and 30 is not enough, and many people would say it


is not, how much do you think the national living wage, how much do


you think it should be by the end of this Parliament? A good Chancellor


would not simply focus on increasing living wage as a means to improve


people's living standards, they would look at all options in terms


of improving housing, assessing the levels of rent people are providing.


We saw none of that in yesterday's statement. If you take Andrew


Lansley's point, and then get the 2018-19, the threshold has been


raised, and the move towards the ?9 30 minimum wage is underway. What


difference does that make to the people moving on to universal credit


who will then lose a bit? That is a good question, and I disagree with


both Rebecca and Andrew, because the national living wage is a big deal,


the increase is large and it will have a big difference to people who


are on that. But it is also wrong to say that that and the personal


allowance changes and any childcare changes will make a large difference


to the losers from universal credit changes coming in this Parliament.


That is for a number of reasons, people who are losing from universal


credit on: The then wage. People who are losing from universal credit


don't pay very large tax bills in general so don't get the same


benefit from the changes to the personal allowance was not prior to


the statement, our analysis said we were expecting those changes to


possibly compensate within the region of ten, 15, 13% of the


losses, we're not talking about eradicating them. The argument that


this will allow these losses to be wiped out doesn't hold. So it is


still pain delayed? It is moving from a situation where we have


relatively large, something like six out of ten people on tax credits, to


a position where under universal credit it will still be something


like five out of ten? Torsten will probably know. There is a reduction


in the number of people who are dependent on the income being set by


the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think this is a very positive move,


moving to a place where people know that work is their work, their


income, left in their pockets is actually the basis upon which their


household income is established. Andrew is getting to the core


argument that people should be making for these universal credit


changes take in place, that is a principled view that people in work


should be receiving less support from the state over time. We don't


agree with that but that is an argument, but that is not an


argument being made by many. The Chancellor this morning on the Today


programme said nine out of ten people who were on tax credits in


2010, he thought that was wrong. The Chancellor took away in the last


parliament from the higher earners. The system that is left is


supporting work incentives and child poverty for the core working


population on learning comes in our country and that is why we are


seeing these changes now having a real effect. Does Labour still I


support the working tax credit We are assessing the pilot. There are a


number of alarm bells ringing. I understand that. Do you think you


will come out against it? I think we need to take a strategic overvu.


There are elements that could be taken as positive steps forward but


in terms of the ongoing management that families face in terms of


finances, I think many people struggle. Would you make any changes


to tax credits? We would reverse the Government's current proposals to


cut tax credits. They have done that themselves. They have already done


that. The proposals they put forward were a partial step and we welcome


that. As John has outlined. What I asked you, was not what the


Government is doing, would you make any changes to tax credits? We would


reverse the Government's proposals in full on tax credits, but that has


to be done hand-in-hand with a long-term economic strategy that


would require invest in industry. At the moment we are seeing, in temples


devolution, the creation of a Wild West industry where regions will be


competing against each other. There will be a race to the bottom in


business rates. The social care precept announceside worrying, local


authorities will be left in a position where they will be left to


float on their own and bring in their own income. We'll leave it


there. Well, what did the papers make of it


all? And joining me now from College


Green, two of Fleet Street's finest, Sam Coates from the Times and Nick


Watt from the Guardian. Sam Coates, the Chancellor got a


pretty decent press this morning but it is usually on Day 2 that we find


out things that he didn't want us to know. How is that going? One of the


reasons George Osborne had a pretedy good day yesterday is that he had


?27 billion of funny money to play with, money that he didn't know he


had in July. Two-thirds of which has magiced into his account because of


modelling changes by the Office for Budget Responsibility, presumably an


error by the Office for Budget Responsibility in judgment of he is


placing an awful lot on those changed forecasts in order to be


able to fulfil a wish list that seems to have kept most of his


backbenchers happy. The money to pay for tax credit U-turns, the money to


stop the police cuts have all come from this. The important point is he


made a big decision. In the


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