06/03/2017 Daily Politics


06/03/2017

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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.

:00:36.:00:38.

Unions seek government assurances about the future of 4,500 jobs

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at two Vauxhall car factories, after the company is bought

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Jeremy Corbyn publishes his personal tax return and insists he's paid

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Should all political leaders have to follow suit?

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Ahead of Chancellor Philip Hammond's first Budget on Wednesday,

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just how reliable are the economic forecasts used by the Treasury

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to work out the UK's tax and spending plans?

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And after Donald Trump accuses Barack Obama of being a "bad or sick

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man" over claims the former US president tapped his phones, we'll

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All that in the next hour, and with us for the whole

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of the programme today I'm joined by the Business Minister

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Margot James, and the shadow Treasury Minister Jonathan Reynolds.

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Let's kick off with the mini-media storm over

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Yesterday the Labour leader published details

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of his income for 2015/16 - amounting to ?114,342.

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But his return didn't appear to list additional income he's entitled

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to as Leader of the Opposition, something his office later cleared

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up by explaining it was listed under the heading "public office".

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Speaking on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, the chancellor

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Philip Hammond said it was all a bit of a gimmick.

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He was asked if he would be willing to publish his tax return.

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Just for the record, my tax affairs are

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all perfectly regular and up-to-date.

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This demonstration politics isn't helping

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to create a better atmosphere in British

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politics and I note the Labour Party is now

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proposing a policy that anybody earning over

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a ?1 million, which I as a cabinet minister certainly am not, will have

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to publish their tax returns, make them public.

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That is likely to drive away talent and investors that

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Britain needs to create the global future that we are trying to build.

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If he hasn't got anything to hide, why shouldn't he publish it? He is

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abiding by all the rules, his tax affairs are up-to-date and it is a

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private matter between him and the revenue and I think he is absolutely

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right. It has gone wrong for Jeremy Corbyn. It was not clear up what his

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tax return was stating and whether it included his salary for being

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Leader of the Opposition? His tax return is correct. There was some

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confusion when it was first reported but it is correct. This shows why

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transparency is a good thing. If there is any confusion than having

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it out in the public domain is a good thing. For the Chancellor, you

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are in charge of the tax rates for a whole range of things and I think

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people do want to know that it is transparent and it is the right

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thing for the Chancellor to publish that. Looking at this policy of

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people earning over ?1 million should also publish their tax

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return, wouldn't people be reassured about is people

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earning whatever they are earning have a proper relationship with HMRC

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which doesn't include any favours and as far as HMRC are concerned it

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is transparent between the individual and the tax authority. I

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think the Chancellor has a good point that people have all sorts of

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legitimate arrangements involving their children and other matters of

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that nature if they are earning that sort of money and I think we should

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respect their privacy as long as we have faith with the tax authorities

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to apply the law evenly which I think after several reforms under

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the last government, we will now have.

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That policy is gesture politics, it is symbolic, a gimmick? How much

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money we raise? It is not about raising money, it is about

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transparency. There is a lack of trust in politics and people playing

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by the rules of their very powerful or if they are earning a lot of

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money. In Scandinavia it hasn't had any of the negative consequences

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that Philip Hammond mentioned when he was asked about it, if there is

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best practice in other countries, shouldn't we look at that and have

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of that and say they have more transparent systems, why can't we

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apply that he? I think that gimmick does more to undermine trust in

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politics. Why? Rushing out this policy that everyone earning over a

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certain amount has got to publish their tax returns says there is

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something wrong with the system and HMRC are going after everybody, I

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think trying to make out that unless you have published your tax return

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there is something wrong with the system is merely trying to whip up a

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lack of trust which I think is completely unnecessary. But those

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concerns do exist already. If you do reduce tax avoidance than that will

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be a different thing. You have admitted it would not raise any

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money by doing it because these tax returns are verified by HMRC sir

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Howard it reduced tax avoidance? I think anything that is more

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transparent makes it harder to be involved in tax avoidance. That is

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an obvious point to make. Really it is about public trust. It is a shame

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that public trust is lacking in politicians and how the tax system

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works. There are concerns from individuals and businesses as well.

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Would all MPs in your mind have to publish your tax returns? In my case

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there are not many MPs who earn over ?1 million that if they are involved

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they should be treated the same way as individuals, but clearly, ?1

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million would be a starting point. There would be a review on what goes

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on in other countries, particularly Scandinavia. If there are things to

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learn then we must be willing to learn them. No MPs are allowed to

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earn that money but some ministers have outside money which ministers

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are not allowed to engender. I think the Labour Party are clear, they

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want other people to publish their tax returns, entrepreneurs and

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business people but not politicians. I don't think that does anything to

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further public trust? Philip Hammond could publish his. But he is not

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going to so I don't think you will have much luck there.

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The former Shadow Chancellor and Strictly contestant hinted

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yesterday that he was thinking of a new job,

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so our question for today is, what is he toying with doing?

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At the end of the show Jonathan and Margot

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The future of 4500 jobs at two Vauxhall car factories in England

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are the centre of a huge business deal confirmed this morning. The

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parent company of French car-maker Peugeot, PSA, has confirmed it will

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by the European operations of the US firm General Motors, in a ?2 billion

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deal. The leader of the Unite union Len McCluskey was asked what he

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wanted to see the government. Simply be there, simply make certain

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that whatever debates and discussions are taking place,

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whatever the French Government and the German Government are offering

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in terms of incentives, we should also be looking at that and of

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course the Government's talk about an industrial strategy, well, now

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they have to demonstrate it is more than words, we have to make sure

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there is proper government-led Speaking in the last hour

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the Business Secretary Greg Clark Well, Vauxhall is a very important

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company, it is a successful company and the conversations

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that the Prime Minister and I have have had with both GMA

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and PSA tell me they plan to safeguard the plant, honour their

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commitments and look to increase the performance

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and the sales of cars. So we want to hold them to those

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commitments, but the messages we have had leave me to be

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cautiously optimistic. Our assistant political editor

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Norman Smith joins me now. Greg Clark is cautiously optimistic

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but there is a lot at stake here, not just the 4500 jobs but also the

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suppliers which are connected to those car plants? That is right.

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Estimates of up to 25,000 additional jobs are at risk. The position is in

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the short-term ministers are fairly confident now that production will

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continue in the UK. They have received reassurances from PSA he

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recognised that Vauxhall is an iconic brand and so on. The

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difficulty becomes after 2021 when decisions have to be made about

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where future car production will be based and in particular, from the

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middle of next year, positions will have to be made about future

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Vauxhall car lines. That is where I think it gets difficult. We are

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right slap bang in the middle of the Brexit negotiations. Although Greg

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Clark was trying to play down the impact of Brexit, I don't think

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there is any getting away from it. That creates an element of

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uncertainty. We do not know what our future trading relationships will

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be. It could be advantageous for PSA to retain a manufacturing base in

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Britain. On the other hand, it could be so difficult and problematic, the

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trading relationships, that they don't want to. But I think the real

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difficulty is the politics of this. Very obviously, we will be involved

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in a 3-way wrestling match with the French and German governments. PSA

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is partly French owned state company. They will fight tooth nail

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to keep their come please open. Angela Merkel is the big beast of

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the EU. She will use every bit of influence she has got to keep the

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German car plants open, and the real danger is do we lose political

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leverage outside of the EU? In that sense, Vauxhall could well be a test

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case of our economic prospects after Brexit. Fighting with the French and

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Germans if you like over whether future of these car plants should

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be. We also know the Peugeot boss Carlos Tavares is a renowned cost

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cutter, that is his reputation. If he wants to consolidate can we

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assume there will be fewer plants and therefore the decision you are

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talking bout will happen post-2021? The consensus in the car industry is

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that he has 24 plants at the moment. There will be a rationalisation. I

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think there is some comfort in government that Barral some strong

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economic if not political reasons for keeping production in the UK, in

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part because Vauxhall is such a big product here. 16% of total car

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sales, so why would you want to relocate production? Secondly, it is

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argued that we are at the forefront of leading car technologies, be it

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an electric cars, no carbon, battery storage. In other words, there is a

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massive incentive to have car production here. It is even

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suggested it could be a good idea to bring some Peugeot production here

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to expand on the Peugeot market. The difficulties are whether the

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economics are trumped by the politics Post Brexit. Norman Smith,

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thank you. Jonathan Reynolds, what impact do you think this will have?

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The automotive industry is the jewel in the crown of the British economy.

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It has been exported and a huge story. The Vauxhall brand is strong

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in the UK but now everything that has moved to the UK will no longer

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count as being a single market product for exports from the EU. I

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grew up in Sunderland next to the Nissan car factory. I'm very proud

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of what British workers can do but the government has got to address

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some uncertainty. The government has got to fight hard for the car

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workers. What incentives should the government be offering to show? The

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government has had a lot of discussions with Peugeot, with the

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French government and unions. Both Greg Clark and the Prime Minister

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have met Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Peugeot. And we can be cautiously

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optimistic. Until about 2021? The reassurances we have had have not

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been likely given and Peugeot recognises that Vauxhall is an

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iconic brand and that it is fundamental to the British car

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market, in which they are investing. But of Britain comes out of the

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single market and the customs union then everything changes? Not

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everything changes. The fundamental performance of the automotive sector

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does not change. Ellesmere Port is one of the most competitive car

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plants in the whole of Europe. We are continuing to invest in the auto

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sector. The industrial strategy has fantastic plans in the future to

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make sure that Britain is at the epicentre of battery development, of

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vehicle emissions and all of those things. But there will be changing

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relationships once Britain comes out of the single market and the current

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trading relations that exist and whatever deal is done? There will be

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that the industrial strategy is quite clear. We want to make Britain

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play to its strengths and that will be included as a top priority within

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the Brexit negotiations. The furtherance of our auto sector as

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well as top sectors within our economy. It could be that Peugeot

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decide to put more of their focus on plants in the UK? There would be

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some argument for that. That is why I wish the government would give us

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more detail. Some of these car plants make cars in seconds. You

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cannot possibly foresee how any delay at customs or even with a

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database of getting products from one country to another could impact

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on those in a way which would keep them productive. I do resent that

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when we ask in Parliament how was this going to happen that we are

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accused of being against business. How do you guarantee that trade at

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customs points? We have established that the sectors

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are top priorities when the Article 50 is triggered and the formal

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negotiations start. It will be impossible to give any guarantees at

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what is a two-way process of negotiations that will last at least

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two years. But we are putting those sectors of the economy at the

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forefront in terms of a good trade agreement with our neighbours and

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indeed the negotiation of free trade agreements around the world. Thank

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you. Now on Wednesday the Chancellor will

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stand up and present the Budget. But before he announces any

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new spending promises or tax cuts, Mr Hammond will read out

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the economic forecasts This is the Government -

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and other independent bodies - scanning the horizon to try

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and predict what will happen to the key economic indicators

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such as economic growth, But not everyone is convinced these

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forecasts are useful guides. And now the Taxpayers' Alliance has

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produced research showing just how wide of the mark some

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of the numbers can be. The TPA has looked back to 2010,

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when George Osborne was Chancellor, to see whether the five-year

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forecasts made then When it came to predictions

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on economic growth, The forecast in 2010 was for the UK

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economy to be worth ?1.9 trillion. And in 2015 it came

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in at ?1.88 trillion - But on the deficit, the Government

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failed to anticipate choppy waters, assuming borrowing would be cut

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to ?20 billion. In fact in 2015 the deficit

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was almost four times Meanwhile, it didn't see the black

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clouds massing around government revenues,

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thinking income tax would raise In the end, the take was a fifth

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less than what had been expected. But with employment,

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the weather turned out to be better than predicted,

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with 200,000 more people in work I'm now joined by Alex Wild

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from the Taxpayers' Alliance, who compiled the figures we've

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just been looking at. It is hardly surprising that

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five-year forecasts aren't completely accurate, isn't the point

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the Government uses rolling forecasts and events change things.

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Yes and there have been a lot of policy change with income tax,

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personal allowance has gone up and corporation tax has come down. Even

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on GDP, you said it was plain sailing and they were just about

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right, but the path to getting there has been different to what was

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initially forecast in 2010. But the point of exercise is ahead of

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budget, any wind fall that comes to the Chancellor, it is a ridiculous

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concept, when we're borrowing so much. We have got to be careful we

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don't spend all this wind fall, because things, this is very

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difficult to predict and the OBR has a difficult job. So fuel duty it is

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policy that fuel duty will go up with inflation. But nobody expects

:18:50.:18:54.

them to do that. But that is the constraints they're under. Are you

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saying predictions should be dumped. How would governments be able to

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plan if not for some sort of guideline, however difficult it is.

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I'm not saying they should be dumped. But I'm saying we,

:19:09.:19:14.

politicians, journalists, etc, should be sceptical about these

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things. Some are easier than others. If you look at the GPD numbers being

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OK. If you look at exports, business investment and earnings growth, that

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is the almost pin the tail on the donkey and they have got to be

:19:29.:19:34.

careful with this. Do you agree it is often pinning the tail on to the

:19:35.:19:42.

donkey. If you look at the previous forecasts and Paul Johnson said

:19:43.:19:45.

there is uncertainty and the forecasts are not worth the paper

:19:46.:19:49.

they're written on. I the fact the economy is roughly the size the

:19:50.:19:55.

former Chancellor predicted. But the deficit is far higher. They said

:19:56.:19:59.

they would eliminate it. The new Government came in and put back the

:20:00.:20:03.

time at which we would be living within our means to 2021 and I think

:20:04.:20:10.

that there are some, sometimes some sensible decisions that need to be

:20:11.:20:15.

need as you go through a period that may involve more spending, but

:20:16.:20:19.

sometimes revenues are beyond the Chancellor's control. If you're

:20:20.:20:26.

basing policies, isn't that the point, on the predictions and you

:20:27.:20:34.

believe the deficit would come down and you are trying to plan, you're

:20:35.:20:44.

going to be way off the mark? No, your adjusting it on an annual basis

:20:45.:20:48.

and determining the decisions based on current forecalveses, not

:20:49.:20:52.

forecasts -- forecasts. You mentioned the jobs miracle and it

:20:53.:20:57.

has been a miracle. We were all warned that when the public sector

:20:58.:21:01.

had to come under control in terms of spending that people would lose

:21:02.:21:04.

their jobs and unemployment would mount. The opposite happened and we

:21:05.:21:09.

have a million more businesses operating since 2010. That was one

:21:10.:21:14.

of the predictions that Labour got wrong? When warning about high

:21:15.:21:20.

unemployment figures, it didn't happen. There is a variability about

:21:21.:21:25.

forecasts and each year you see people arguing against things that

:21:26.:21:28.

they were in favour of the year before when the forecalveses are

:21:29.:21:42.

different. Forecalveses were -- forecasts were different. So the we

:21:43.:21:50.

have to make political choices and the government makes bad ones. And

:21:51.:21:55.

if you look at social care, the Chancellor will be forced to throw

:21:56.:22:02.

additional money to ameliorate the effects of policy changes, because

:22:03.:22:05.

they were the wrong ones? No, I think that any way we have got to

:22:06.:22:11.

wait until Wednesday, I don't know what the Chancellor will do. There

:22:12.:22:15.

have been comment, I would add anything to what you have said. You

:22:16.:22:19.

understand that will happen? No, I don't know what will happen. But

:22:20.:22:24.

there has been newspaper comment that those areas, but there has been

:22:25.:22:29.

comment there will be investment in technical education and in

:22:30.:22:33.

productivity with the national productivity council with more

:22:34.:22:37.

money. So there has been some announcements that we shouldn't

:22:38.:22:41.

overlook. Wonder where those comments came from? I can't imagine.

:22:42.:22:47.

You accept the Government do need to have some kind of estimates to work

:22:48.:22:53.

off. What are you suggesting as a sort of alternative. I'm not

:22:54.:22:57.

suggesting any alternative. It is important that I think when we look

:22:58.:23:03.

at budgets we look more at what the policy decisions are, rather than

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the forecasts. It seems a lot of coverage centres around the

:23:08.:23:10.

forecasts. At the last, the autumn statement, there were sort of some

:23:11.:23:15.

reporting of we found out what the cost of Brexit is and it is 59

:23:16.:23:26.

billion, that is crazy, we have no idea, well we have some idea, but it

:23:27.:23:31.

is difficult to tell. Last week there was numbers from the

:23:32.:23:35.

resolution foundation about inequality and poverty. But in 2011

:23:36.:23:41.

there was numbers projecting child poverty numbers which have been been

:23:42.:23:44.

way wide of the mark. So we have or the kabful. Are I you saying you

:23:45.:23:50.

don't believe the predictions that say if the benefit cuts are

:23:51.:23:54.

implemented and the poorest 15% of population will have lower incomes

:23:55.:23:58.

in five years time, because of that freeze in benefits? What I'm saying

:23:59.:24:06.

is I don't believe the predictions from 2011. What do you think of

:24:07.:24:13.

these? I'm sceptical about it. A lot 06 this hinges on, wage growth and

:24:14.:24:17.

the forecasts for that have been all over the place. But mostly on the

:24:18.:24:22.

negative side. You will use the figures and predictions as

:24:23.:24:26.

ammunition to fire at the Government, but don't you share the

:24:27.:24:31.

scepticism if they were worried about the poverty indicators in 2010

:24:32.:24:40.

are you sceptical now? I'm not saying there is anything better to

:24:41.:24:43.

go on. Well that is not very helpful. You have to use the figures

:24:44.:24:48.

that are available. Do you use the ones that support your political

:24:49.:24:58.

narrative. We would like them to analyse our plans and clarify health

:24:59.:25:03.

spending to see how much money it needs. We are in favour of more

:25:04.:25:07.

independent scrutiny. Why haven't you got any costed spending plans?

:25:08.:25:13.

We have spoke on the members of Shadow Cabinet who said they would

:25:14.:25:18.

spend the money on the NHS and social care, but there are no

:25:19.:25:23.

costings. That is not true. If you look at the tax cuts that are

:25:24.:25:29.

programmed, it is ?70 billion. That figure is disputed and you're

:25:30.:25:33.

respent the money you say would be saved from corporation tax cuts

:25:34.:25:41.

There is the cut to capital gains tax and we are at the point if you

:25:42.:25:48.

would tackle the deficit and have money to spend to address social

:25:49.:25:52.

care and the NHS and the cuts to disability benefits. The Chancellor

:25:53.:25:55.

can't hide and say he can't tackle the problems. If the tax reseats

:25:56.:26:03.

have been more promises, should that go to alleviate the suffering caused

:26:04.:26:08.

by cuts in social care. I don't accept what Jonathan said about the

:26:09.:26:13.

NHS. We are spending more on the NHS year on year and the Conservative

:26:14.:26:17.

was the only party that committed itself to funding what the Chief

:26:18.:26:21.

Executive of the NHS said was needed. I don't accept. Answer my

:26:22.:26:30.

question about social care. Should the ?12 billion that has been found

:26:31.:26:35.

should that go in to plug the funding gaps in social care? I think

:26:36.:26:39.

the Chancellor may have something to say on social care, I don't know.

:26:40.:26:45.

But I think that we to be careful, we we have still got a deficit and

:26:46.:26:53.

need to bring that down to keep maintain, the confidence of

:26:54.:26:57.

investors. And we have got to do a job to make sure that British

:26:58.:27:06.

business is competitive. So it is a mistake to look at pots of money and

:27:07.:27:12.

say we should divert it here. That is a mistaken way at looking at what

:27:13.:27:15.

we expect from the Chancellor. After last week's Stormont elections

:27:16.:27:18.

in Northern Ireland, party leaders in Belfast are today

:27:19.:27:20.

getting down to the business of trying to negotiate

:27:21.:27:23.

a new power-sharing deal - which could see the Democratic

:27:24.:27:25.

Unionist Party and Sinn Fein working together again

:27:26.:27:28.

in the Northern Ireland Executive. Let's talk now to the BBC's

:27:29.:27:30.

Northern Ireland Political Editor Mark Devenport who's outside

:27:31.:27:32.

Stormont House where If you were a betting man, do you

:27:33.:27:43.

think they will agree a deal that means they could work together

:27:44.:27:47.

again? I'm a bit sceptical as to whether they will be able to agree a

:27:48.:27:51.

deal within the three weeks that is set aside at the moment under the

:27:52.:27:59.

time table. I think it is possible that he will try and play for time

:28:00.:28:05.

and stretch out that deadline maybe into April, in the hope of providing

:28:06.:28:09.

some common ground. At the moment the stand off between the two party

:28:10.:28:18.

is whether Aileen Foster can continue as First Minister, will the

:28:19.:28:26.

green energy scheme scandal has not been solved, Sinn Fein say they

:28:27.:28:32.

won't work her her. What the is balance of power now? Historically

:28:33.:28:40.

it has been a blow to unionism. Stormont was a by word for unionist

:28:41.:28:45.

rule and this is the first time since the creation of Northern

:28:46.:28:50.

Ireland state that it does not have a unionist majority. The balance of

:28:51.:28:58.

power is held by the non-aligned people. What impact do you think

:28:59.:29:01.

that will have in terms of balance of the debate. If the unionists have

:29:02.:29:10.

lost their power of veto, within the power-sharing Government, what

:29:11.:29:13.

impact will that have on the negotiations? One thing to bear in

:29:14.:29:20.

mind is Stormont doesn't operate like a normal democracy, although

:29:21.:29:26.

the others hold the balance of power, the nationalists and

:29:27.:29:31.

unionists have a veto and you need a cross community vote. So a bit of a

:29:32.:29:36.

recipe for stalemate. The question that has to be sorted out is whether

:29:37.:29:41.

there will be a new Stormont, because at the moment, there is

:29:42.:29:45.

still a stand off over that position of Arlene Foster. We don't know

:29:46.:29:49.

whether he may nominate a care taker. Do you think there is any

:29:50.:29:55.

movement that would suggest that Arlene Foster would step aside for

:29:56.:29:59.

Sinn Fein to accept going back to power sharing? Well we are hearing

:30:00.:30:06.

some talk from within the DUP and some politicses are unhappy about --

:30:07.:30:13.

political politicians are unhappy about Arlene Foster. But the

:30:14.:30:17.

question is whether that concern within the DUP ends up with her

:30:18.:30:21.

maybe making that offer to put in a care taker First Minister or whether

:30:22.:30:26.

the DUP simply rally around her and say because it is a Sinn Fein demand

:30:27.:30:33.

they won't bow to it. It is hard to second guess this one. Thank you.

:30:34.:30:40.

Three weeks has been given for some sort of timetable, do you see Arlene

:30:41.:30:50.

Foster as being the sticking point here? James Brokenshire will be

:30:51.:30:56.

talking to politicians today. And they have also been talking to the

:30:57.:31:00.

Republic of Ireland Premier. I think it is for them to sort out who will

:31:01.:31:04.

be leading the Northern Ireland Assembly and who should not be.

:31:05.:31:10.

People have voted, they have exercised their democratic right.

:31:11.:31:13.

They are in the same situation? You will still have the two main parties

:31:14.:31:19.

of the DUP and Sinn Fein, does not solve anything. It is up to those

:31:20.:31:23.

parties to work together and maybe the independents will help them to

:31:24.:31:27.

work together and James Brokenshire as Northern Ireland Minister will be

:31:28.:31:30.

doing his best to bring them together. They have to work

:31:31.:31:35.

together. The prospect of direct rule is hanging over Stormont. Do

:31:36.:31:39.

you think the secretary of state should play a more interventionist

:31:40.:31:43.

role to try and bang heads together? It is difficult. The system is

:31:44.:31:47.

designed to make the two blocks cooperate. That is why the

:31:48.:31:52.

power-sharing agreement is in place. Direct rule is not an option. The

:31:53.:31:57.

Conservative Party is dependent on some unionist votes for Brexit in

:31:58.:32:02.

the House of Commons. In the rest of the UK we have become complacent

:32:03.:32:06.

about the politics in Northern Ireland. Not just in Westminster,

:32:07.:32:11.

I'm talking about whole country. People were not really interested in

:32:12.:32:15.

the impact of Brexit Northern Ireland. I think the rest of the UK

:32:16.:32:18.

has to be aware that they cannot be as complacent as that. They are

:32:19.:32:22.

important for this country and we must take it more seriously. We will

:32:23.:32:25.

see what happens. Let's take a look at the main

:32:26.:32:28.

political events this week. This afternoon, MPs will gather

:32:29.:32:31.

in Westminster Hall to debate whether it should be made illegal

:32:32.:32:33.

for companies to require women This comes after a petition calling

:32:34.:32:36.

for a change in the law was signed The European Union Withdrawal Bill

:32:37.:32:40.

is back in the House of Lords Peers will consider further possible

:32:41.:32:46.

amendments to the Bill, including giving parliament

:32:47.:32:49.

a so-called "meaningful vote" on the final deal that is agreed

:32:50.:32:53.

between the government and the EU. On Wednesday, Theresa May

:32:54.:32:57.

and Jeremy Corbyn will face each other for Prime Minister's

:32:58.:33:01.

Questions. Immediately after PMQs, Philip

:33:02.:33:03.

Hammond will present the Budget. He'll set out his tax and spending

:33:04.:33:06.

plans and we'll also get new economic forecasts

:33:07.:33:10.

from the This is due to be the

:33:11.:33:13.

last Spring Budget - after today, budgets will take

:33:14.:33:17.

place in autumn. And EU leaders will be in Brussels

:33:18.:33:22.

on Thursday and Friday for a meeting On their minds will be the fact that

:33:23.:33:26.

Theresa May's deadline for triggering Article 50

:33:27.:33:33.

and beginning the Brexit negotiations is now less

:33:34.:33:35.

than four weeks away. We've been joined on College Green

:33:36.:33:40.

by the Guardian's Rowena Mason, and James Forsyth of

:33:41.:33:42.

the Spectator magazine. Welcome to both of you. First of

:33:43.:33:54.

all, Rowena, tomorrow the Lords will vote on giving Parliament and

:33:55.:33:58.

meaningful vote for the end of Brexit negotiations, do you think it

:33:59.:34:04.

will make Tory MPs vote against the government? That is a possibility

:34:05.:34:07.

that the government will be worried about and perhaps that is the reason

:34:08.:34:11.

why they have explained in a little more detail today why Theresa May

:34:12.:34:15.

doesn't think this meaningful vote will take place. What they are

:34:16.:34:19.

saying is they think it could incentivise other EU countries to

:34:20.:34:24.

give the EU a bad deal and therefore scupper the UK's chances of leaving

:34:25.:34:29.

the EU. That is the argument they will be presenting tomorrow but it

:34:30.:34:30.

does still look pretty likely that the House of Lords, on a cross-party

:34:31.:34:51.

basis will vote to pass that amendment. And if it is passed there

:34:52.:34:54.

will be limited ping-pong do you think between the two houses? The

:34:55.:34:56.

government hopes there will only be one round of ping-pong. But if the

:34:57.:34:58.

government strips out the amendments then it will go back. Without Labour

:34:59.:35:06.

and the ability of the -- without Labour, the ability of the Liberal

:35:07.:35:09.

Democrats to create mischief is quite high. A meaningful vote could

:35:10.:35:16.

be one where they send back the deal and say revise it or improve it. I

:35:17.:35:20.

do not think they will be worried about the Lords voting for it. There

:35:21.:35:24.

is the second round of ping-pong in the Lords and we think Labour will

:35:25.:35:29.

probably back down. The risk for the government is that more Conservative

:35:30.:35:32.

MPs in the House of Commons joins together with Labour and the Lib

:35:33.:35:38.

Dems to force it through at that stage, and we don't really know what

:35:39.:35:40.

will happen after that, that could delay things a lot longer. Either

:35:41.:35:46.

way Article 50 will not be triggered by the time Theresa May goes to the

:35:47.:35:50.

summit in Brussels. What sort of reception will she get there, do you

:35:51.:35:54.

think? I think things are less frosty than they were but I think

:35:55.:35:59.

the European Union has stuck to its line of no negotiation until

:36:00.:36:02.

notification. That is why the rights of EU residents in the UK and UK

:36:03.:36:07.

residents in the EU cannot be sorted out because the EU says we're not

:36:08.:36:13.

doing any negotiation until you tell us you are formally starting Article

:36:14.:36:21.

50 process. Do you think that the initial theory is dying down

:36:22.:36:26.

somewhat? I think there is a degree of that. At the moment we are in

:36:27.:36:30.

this strange limbo process where Theresa May is attending the summit

:36:31.:36:34.

but she doesn't really have a great role to play. I think what she's

:36:35.:36:40.

going to be aiming on Thursday is not to look like a billy no mates

:36:41.:36:43.

and the odd one out and to have nothing to do. The EU during this

:36:44.:36:48.

period where we have not triggered Article 50 yet says absolutely there

:36:49.:36:52.

will be no start of negotiations. It is difficult for her at the moment.

:36:53.:36:57.

And she doesn't want to seem to be being cold shouldered. Meanwhile,

:36:58.:37:02.

August talk of a Brexit war chest of some substantial size? Thing that

:37:03.:37:07.

just means that Philip Hammond will not spend the money that we have not

:37:08.:37:11.

borrowed. It is a funny kind of war chest. I think what it shows is

:37:12.:37:15.

there is such uncertainty at the moment. Even though Philip Hammond

:37:16.:37:19.

has been more upbeat and optimistic about Brexit in public, I think in

:37:20.:37:23.

private he thinks there will be some kind of economic slowdown and he

:37:24.:37:26.

wants to have something in reserve if that was to happen. And that has

:37:27.:37:31.

been a lot of talk about plugging some of

:37:32.:37:43.

the funding perhaps ameliorating some of the impact of the business

:37:44.:37:47.

rate changes, and bearing in mind the Tory manifesto commits the

:37:48.:37:49.

government to not raising income tax of VAT, we are presuming there will

:37:50.:37:52.

be stealth taxes on the up? That is an idea which has been mooted quite

:37:53.:37:55.

a lot over the weekend and I wonder how some of the right-leaning press

:37:56.:37:59.

will respond to that, if it does look like there are tax rises. The

:38:00.:38:05.

fact is, that he is, the Chancellor is probably going to have to do

:38:06.:38:08.

something about social care, given the clamour among Conservative MPs

:38:09.:38:13.

as well as Labour MPs for the pressure on councils to be eased and

:38:14.:38:17.

then this issue of business rates as well will have to be dealt with.

:38:18.:38:22.

Won't it be strange for a Conservative government to increase

:38:23.:38:26.

taxes on the self-employed, for example, to try and get some more

:38:27.:38:30.

money into the coffers? I think there will be some unease on the

:38:31.:38:34.

Tory benches. I think what Hammond will portray any move like that is

:38:35.:38:37.

we have to deal with the new nature of the economy, with far more people

:38:38.:38:42.

being self-employed and also being self-employed but working for big

:38:43.:38:48.

corporations, Uber being a classic example. You have to find some way

:38:49.:38:53.

of adjusting so you don't erode the tax base through self-employment.

:38:54.:39:00.

His reputation is Spreadsheet Phil. Will he stick to that in this

:39:01.:39:05.

budget? I think he is more likely to produce a spreadsheet from a hat

:39:06.:39:10.

than a rabbit. We look forward to that excitement! Do you agree,

:39:11.:39:14.

Rowena? I do agree. One of his aims is to make this a boring budget. He

:39:15.:39:19.

does not want to make waves. He has already said he will make the autumn

:39:20.:39:23.

fiscal event the big event of the year and he will keep his powder dry

:39:24.:39:33.

for now. Thank you. Muslims in the UK are becoming

:39:34.:39:36.

increasingly victimised, that's according to the journalist,

:39:37.:39:38.

campaigner and Muslim She argues that there

:39:39.:39:40.

is an increasingly toxic narrative against Muslims,

:39:41.:39:43.

caused in part by the rise of right wing nationalism across Europe,

:39:44.:39:46.

here's her soapbox. Europe's new far

:39:47.:39:50.

right is on the rise. to Denmark, Holland,

:39:51.:39:55.

France, Germany, there has been a rapid growth

:39:56.:40:04.

of right-wing parties over As a white woman from

:40:05.:40:06.

a working-class background, that makes me a target

:40:07.:40:11.

for their vote. I'm a Muslim, one of nearly

:40:12.:40:14.

three million in the UK, and that Here at the former Byker Grove

:40:15.:40:20.

studios, where Ant and Dec rose to fame in Newcastle,

:40:21.:40:28.

windows have been smashed and a pig's head was dropped

:40:29.:40:32.

just here, only after it emerged that the building was going to be

:40:33.:40:36.

transformed into an Islamic Academy. Hate manifests itself

:40:37.:40:43.

in many different ways. Women are reported as having

:40:44.:40:46.

their hijabs pulled off. One pregnant woman was kicked

:40:47.:40:50.

in the stomach And another veiled woman

:40:51.:40:52.

who was wearing Islamic dress was stabbed many times at the university

:40:53.:40:58.

campus where she was studying. There are fears we

:40:59.:41:12.

are standing at the head of the same street our Jewish

:41:13.:41:14.

cousins were dragged down in the 1930s, and we all know

:41:15.:41:19.

where that ended. The far right are using the weapons

:41:20.:41:24.

of fear, nostalgia and resentment against mainstream

:41:25.:41:28.

politics to galvanise voters. This in turn is fuelling anxiety

:41:29.:41:34.

and unfounded fears of terrorism, which in turn is fuelling demands

:41:35.:41:40.

for tougher immigration policies. It's a simple enough message

:41:41.:41:55.

and one that worked so well for Donald Trump in America,

:41:56.:41:58.

but when people fear that they are not being listened to, they will

:41:59.:42:01.

head to the lure of the populists, who will trade

:42:02.:42:04.

on their fears instead. Even if the far right doesn't win,

:42:05.:42:06.

they've already changed the political landscape in Europe,

:42:07.:42:08.

forcing mainstream parties to adopt These extreme views are now

:42:09.:42:13.

being perceived as normal. And Yvonne Ridley is here,

:42:14.:42:23.

and we're also joined by You talked about the fact that some

:42:24.:42:40.

of the far right's policies and rhetoric is now being adopted by

:42:41.:42:44.

mainstream parties. What evidence is there that policies are being passed

:42:45.:42:49.

by mainstream parties which are anti-Muslim? Just recently we had in

:42:50.:42:57.

Austria our European government minister there saying he wanted to

:42:58.:43:07.

ban the macabre. The reality is that the niqab was warned by a few

:43:08.:43:16.

thousand women in Austria. The headlines were that it was right

:43:17.:43:20.

across Europe. There is a big story at the moment brewing in Germany in

:43:21.:43:27.

one particular school where Muslim pupils have been praying and the

:43:28.:43:32.

school is having a difficult time with the large congregations. Peter

:43:33.:43:36.

Whittle, Yvonne Ridley said in her film that the political rhetoric

:43:37.:43:41.

from some far right parties and other politicians has fuelled hate.

:43:42.:43:47.

Nigel Farage said Germany's open-door policy to a million

:43:48.:43:51.

migrants from fought on Syria opened the doors to Isis and extremism. Do

:43:52.:43:54.

you think that is the sort of rhetoric that fuels the hate it

:43:55.:43:59.

Yvonne Ridley is talk about? First of all we're not far right. I did

:44:00.:44:04.

say other politics. I think this has been borne out by recent events the

:44:05.:44:10.

difference is that he was to radical Islamist, extremists who want to do

:44:11.:44:14.

us harm. He was therefore not opening out to a general attack on

:44:15.:44:22.

Muslims. Of course he wasn't doing that. To accept there a difference

:44:23.:44:26.

about talking about Isis and extremism and ordinary Muslim

:44:27.:44:30.

families? I think sometimes politicians from all parties can be

:44:31.:44:38.

extremely vocal about Muslims in a negative way and you get cases that

:44:39.:44:42.

I talked about where a pregnant woman in Milton Keynes was kicked in

:44:43.:44:47.

the stomach. But that is an anecdotal incident. It definitely

:44:48.:44:52.

happened. She lost her babies. Another goal was stabbed to death.

:44:53.:44:57.

These happens because politicians say things and they trigger idiots

:44:58.:45:00.

out there who are listening to them. I know you can't legislate for

:45:01.:45:04.

idiots, but you know with the rhetoric, if it can just be toned

:45:05.:45:14.

down and said in a thoughtful less hateful way.

:45:15.:45:18.

What we have seen is a narrative of a rise in hate crimes, which if you

:45:19.:45:27.

look at the figures does look like that on paper, the problem is the

:45:28.:45:32.

way they're reported is almost unique in the sense that no evidence

:45:33.:45:39.

is required. It relies on the perceived or the alleged victim and

:45:40.:45:42.

what they think happen or anybody else. Which means that someone

:45:43.:45:47.

watching this programme could report us, this is a hate crime f they

:45:48.:45:52.

thought it was. Are you denying there wasn't a spike in hate crime

:45:53.:45:56.

after the Brexit vote. There was a narrative that people were

:45:57.:46:01.

determined to make fit their theory. The police claim the figures are

:46:02.:46:07.

borne out. If you look at the figures of hate crime and that is

:46:08.:46:14.

all hate crime, the amount that amount to a prosecution is something

:46:15.:46:18.

like 35%. In other words, a fraction of the figures. The problem is as

:46:19.:46:22.

soon as you report it, it immediately becomes a hate crime

:46:23.:46:25.

statistic and it is reported by the press. That is pretty much unique,

:46:26.:46:33.

you don't have any other crime with that situation. Looking back when

:46:34.:46:43.

Nigel Farage unveiled that vile poster of Syrian refugees. They were

:46:44.:46:48.

not all refugees, many were economic migrants and he was talking about

:46:49.:46:53.

Europe, a poster was around Europe. Don't you regret that? No? No the,

:46:54.:47:03.

the whole narrative is somehow Brexit unleashed this hate. Some

:47:04.:47:07.

people would like everybody who voted Brexit to be made you know...

:47:08.:47:14.

Culpable of a hate crime. This is ridiculous and I think as well that

:47:15.:47:21.

it does a rude service to people who are the least racist in the world.

:47:22.:47:31.

Now Margot James, one study looking at terrorist-related incidents had

:47:32.:47:35.

looked at data from the national police chiefs council that said the

:47:36.:47:42.

number of far right refer rals has increased. Do you think the threat

:47:43.:47:47.

of far right extremism has been ignored? That might have been the

:47:48.:47:53.

case a few years ago, but the Government have caught up with the

:47:54.:47:57.

far right threat and taken steps to deal with it. I represent a Black

:47:58.:48:03.

Country constituency and almost every year we have our way of life

:48:04.:48:09.

totally abused by far right people who come and march in the centre of

:48:10.:48:14.

Dudley. All the shops have to close. People's well being is threatened

:48:15.:48:18.

and in particular the Muslim population. So it is right that the

:48:19.:48:22.

Government have cracked down on it and it is necessary and I agree with

:48:23.:48:32.

Yvonne there has been a rise in hate crime and it should be dealt. There

:48:33.:48:37.

has been a rise in reporting. I represent a constituency and part of

:48:38.:48:41.

a wider area I can see it and I have individual reports and I also would

:48:42.:48:46.

argue with the point with you based on the fact that the hate crime that

:48:47.:48:50.

goes unreported. I have people come to me to talk about instances and

:48:51.:48:55.

they want don't to go to police. I don't agree with your argument. Can

:48:56.:49:04.

I comment. In terms of spike in hate crime, much was directed at eastern

:49:05.:49:11.

Europeans, rather than Muslims, do you accept all politicians have a

:49:12.:49:15.

role to play in the language they use, how much do you think the focus

:49:16.:49:24.

on Islamic extremism has fed into a fear if you like of the Muslim

:49:25.:49:30.

community? It is absolutely every politician's responsibility. If you

:49:31.:49:37.

look at the history of prejudice it was Irish people and Jewish people

:49:38.:49:41.

and now the Muslim community is receiving the threat. I do not

:49:42.:49:48.

believe that senor people in Ukip are interested in a serious

:49:49.:49:55.

discussion about immigration. What do you say to that? It is

:49:56.:50:01.

outrageous. One of the biggest rises in hate crime has been anti-Semitism

:50:02.:50:08.

against Jewish teemest people. People -- people. People are

:50:09.:50:13.

reporting them and the police have to take them at their word, so that

:50:14.:50:23.

basely base economy it comes to that. It won't have any party linked

:50:24.:50:28.

with the rise in hate crime. It is outrageous. Can I put to you, you

:50:29.:50:34.

have said, Yvonne, this has been fumed by irrational fears over

:50:35.:50:38.

terrorism, but you must accept the attacks, some of the high profile

:50:39.:50:46.

attacks like Woolwich and 7/7 have been driven by Islamist ideology.

:50:47.:50:51.

Yes can I fear some of fear. Is it irrational? Having lived in London

:50:52.:51:01.

for 20 odd years, and seen the and experienced the... Irish troubles

:51:02.:51:10.

and the Irish situation. The fears towards Muslims is irrational, you

:51:11.:51:15.

know we went in this country through more than 30 years of so-called

:51:16.:51:22.

Irish troubles. You can understand why people feel worried? Yes,

:51:23.:51:29.

because you look at the news stands and the headlines and the words from

:51:30.:51:33.

the politicians. They whip up fear... Yvonne this is an altern

:51:34.:51:40.

Nate reality, you're in. You didn't say that yes those attacks were down

:51:41.:51:46.

to a form of Islamist ideology, you didn't accept that. That speaks

:51:47.:51:56.

volumes. Lee Rigby was killed near where I live. The 7/7 was an

:51:57.:52:04.

Islamist ideology. I'm not in denial and I would refute what you say, but

:52:05.:52:11.

we had more than 30 years of Irish terrorism and dealt with it in a

:52:12.:52:16.

calm way, not th hysteria that you bring to it. Thank you both very

:52:17.:52:18.

much. Let's take a look now

:52:19.:52:21.

at the latest developments Over the weekend, President Trump

:52:22.:52:23.

made allegations that his predecessor Barack Obama had ordered

:52:24.:52:28.

a wiretap to be carried out On Saturday morning Donald Trump

:52:29.:52:31.

tweeted: "Terrible! Just found out that Obama

:52:32.:52:34.

had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower He then compared it to Watergate,

:52:35.:52:37.

writing "How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones

:52:38.:52:48.

during the very sacred Obama's spokesman Kevin Lewis

:52:49.:52:50.

strongly refuted the allegations, tweeting "Neither @barackobama nor

:52:51.:53:02.

any WH official under Obama has ever ordered

:53:03.:53:04.

surveillance on any US Citizen. Any suggestion is

:53:05.:53:06.

unequivocally false." We've been joined by

:53:07.:53:28.

Charles Kupchan, who's a professor of international affairs

:53:29.:53:30.

at Georgetown University in Washington and who's just arrived

:53:31.:53:32.

in the UK to deliver a talk in parliament on the

:53:33.:53:35.

Trump presidency. As wove explained, Donald Trump said

:53:36.:53:46.

his phone was hacked, something President Obama has denied. Why

:53:47.:53:51.

would he tweet such a thing if he didn't have proof? Trump seems to be

:53:52.:53:57.

someone who doesn't act according to script. He may wake up in the

:53:58.:54:02.

morning and be in a bad mood and he pops off with these tweets that in

:54:03.:54:11.

many cased -- cases are not based on fact and create some media spin that

:54:12.:54:15.

takes the conversation away from where he doesn't want it to be,

:54:16.:54:19.

which is on Russia. That seems to be the only explanation. In your mind,

:54:20.:54:25.

it is a diversion tactic, which is what it looks like, because he has

:54:26.:54:28.

not got the evidence to back up his claims. I think it is a combination

:54:29.:54:35.

of diversion as a strategy, but also using things that are not based in

:54:36.:54:39.

fact to keep everyone off balance and turn the system upside down, so

:54:40.:54:45.

we don't know what is true and what is not and he seems to be president

:54:46.:54:49.

who revels that in kind of uncertainty. It is a chaos theory,

:54:50.:54:53.

while everyone is running around trying to prove or disprove his

:54:54.:55:00.

claims, it takes up people's time. It chaos theory that wedded to his

:55:01.:55:03.

political brand and he has been elected by people who think the

:55:04.:55:08.

system doesn't work for them. He is challenging the establishment and

:55:09.:55:10.

the intelligence communities and the press to say, hey, I represent you

:55:11.:55:20.

disaffected people. Does it Is it that thought out to say I will

:55:21.:55:25.

challenge the establishment? I don't think it will work, if you look at

:55:26.:55:29.

the poll numbers, they're the low nest history for a new president and

:55:30.:55:35.

the average working American doesn't want disruption, he or she wants

:55:36.:55:39.

more income and Trump needs to deliver on that and he has not given

:55:40.:55:43.

us any detail. But he says he will deliver on that promise that he will

:55:44.:55:50.

make jobs and bring back Josh -- jobs to the rust belt states. Don't

:55:51.:55:56.

the people like that he is challenging the establishment

:55:57.:55:59.

authority? There is a core Trump base that is enjoying this. Whether

:56:00.:56:06.

that enjoyment stays there, I am doubtful, because at the end of the

:56:07.:56:12.

day people will get tired of this and want a sense of normalcy. Is

:56:13.:56:19.

this a water shed moment? If there is no evidence, if we have had the

:56:20.:56:24.

FBI reject it, it is a moment at which there is a turning point for

:56:25.:56:29.

what Donald Trump does on social media. I don't think we are there. I

:56:30.:56:33.

I think we need something that sticks. My own sense is that as we

:56:34.:56:38.

investigate what is going on in the Russia file, there is more to be

:56:39.:56:41.

had. That story has not come to an end. Whether there is information

:56:42.:56:46.

there that could fundamentally damage Trump, compromise the

:56:47.:56:49.

presidency, we don't know. But I think that right now is his most

:56:50.:56:54.

vulnerable flank. What do you think it is doing to America's standing in

:56:55.:57:01.

the world? Well it is damaging, spats between the president and the

:57:02.:57:05.

Security Services in the United States are worrying for all of

:57:06.:57:10.

NATO's members. And we just have to hope that the situation improves. He

:57:11.:57:15.

said he doesn't like the mainstream media, it is a way of challenging

:57:16.:57:23.

the media using social media? It gets people's attention. After he

:57:24.:57:27.

tweeted the claims, he tweeted something about The Apprentice.

:57:28.:57:33.

Imagine discovering a Water gate level scandal and then forgetting I.

:57:34.:57:38.

But this is causing damage to American and causing uncertainty.

:57:39.:57:43.

The real story is the Russian link. There is a stand off between the

:57:44.:57:49.

media and the White House, ow sustainable is that conflict? It is

:57:50.:57:54.

going to be bloody, because the New York Times and others are out for

:57:55.:57:59.

him. And banned. Banned from coming to a briefing. This is still heating

:58:00.:58:05.

up. I think the one silver lining is that he has appointed people around

:58:06.:58:09.

him that are adults. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of defence.

:58:10.:58:14.

We have a serious national security advisor. If he listens to them and

:58:15.:58:19.

that is a big if, he could push them in the right direction. But we don't

:58:20.:58:21.

know. Thank you. There's just time before we go

:58:22.:58:23.

to find out the answer to our quiz. The question was what job

:58:24.:58:27.

is Ed Balls considering next? He is quite good on the piano. He

:58:28.:58:46.

said never say never about a return to Westminster. I think there is a

:58:47.:58:52.

job there. That is the right answer. From all of here today good bye.

:58:53.:58:59.

Were back tomorrow at 1 o'clock.

:59:00.:59:01.

Jo Coburn is joined by business minister Margot James and shadow treasury minister Jonathan Reynolds. They look ahead to this week's budget with Alex Wild from the Taxpayers Alliance and analyse the implications of Peugeot buying Vauxhall-Opel.

Rowena Mason from the Guardian and James Forsyth from the Spectator discuss the key issues to watch in the week ahead.

Journalist and campaigner Yvonne Ridley puts forth the argument that Muslims in the UK are being increasingly victimised.


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