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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.
The Chancellor Philip Hammond says the Government must "hold its nerve"
in the face of calls for increased public spending.
Hundreds of thousands of children are vulnerable,
living in families with drinking and drug problems, according to the
The President of the European Commission,
Jean Claude Juncker, criticises members of the European Parliament
as "ridiculous" after they fail to turn up to hear him speak.
And what does Emmanuel Macron's decision to stage a big speech
in the Palace of Versailles say about the French
All that in the next half hour, and with us for the whole
of the programme today is the Children's Commissioner
Let's kick off with Jean Claude Juncker's outburst in the European
The President of the European Commission was in Strasbourg
to talk to MEPs, but not many turned up to the meeting.
There are only a few members in the plenary
TRANSLATION: I would ask you to rephrase that -
I will never again attempt a meeting of this kind.
Our Europe reporter Adam Fleming is in Strasbourg and joins us now.
Jean-Claude Juncker very upset that not many people rocked up to hear
him talk. Yes, you have been to Strasbourg before. Many times. Yes,
and it is actually much quieter today, the corridors in Strasbourg.
Certainly this morning it was. Things have picked up in the last
hour or so as MEPs has started coming into the building, and there
are various theories about why the chamber was an empty this morning.
One MEP said loads of his colleagues have started their seven-week
holiday already, and this is the last session of the Strasbourg
parliament before the holiday starts, so his theory is lots of
people were not turning up at all. Others say the real work of
Parliament is done in much lower profile committees and meetings with
delegations from other countries, the Council, the commission, and
people were in the meeting this morning, right through to a very
senior MEP who just told me on the quiet that the reason many people
didn't turn up to your this report about how the Maltese six-month
presidency of the EU had gone, was because people thought it was one of
the worst presidency is on record, so loads of different theories for
why the chamber was so empty. I was in there, and there were definitely
fewer than 100 people listening to Mr Juncker speak alongside the
Maltese Prime Minister, and lots of those people were Mr Juncker's and
the Maltese primer Minister's officials. Thank goodness you turned
up to swell the ranks in the European Parliament! That was while
telling off, wasn't it, from the European Parliament President? --
that was a royal telling off he got from the European Parliament
president. Yes, Antonio Tajani told him off for the language he used. It
is similar to Westminster in that you are not allowed to use certain
bad language, so he got a ticking off, but that didn't stop him. Mr
Juncker said he would never come to a session like this again, but
whether that means you will never come and sit in the plenary in
Strasbourg again, or whether he would never come to a session like
that again, it wasn't clear, but he meant what he said. Did some MEPs
think that was a threat to Mr Juncker? I think some of them would
quite happily not see Mr Juncker again, people like the Eurosceptics,
Nigel Farage and his fellow MEPs who have made a career out of dissing
him in the chamber. There is also some confusion about the timetabling
for what is happening in this Strasbourg session because some of
the timetabling for what is happening tomorrow, on the last
European summit and the Brexit negotiations, that has been
cancelled so a lot of MEPs and figures can head off to France for
the funeral of Simone Veil, one of the first presidents of the European
Parliament, so there is some confusion about what is happening in
Strasbourg as well. We will leave it there, but it is a bit dispiriting
if nobody turns up to see you talk, isn't it? I am finding it difficult
not to be a bit smug year because the last time I spoke lots turned up
to me. But never is a long time. Yes, let's see if he sticks to that.
And the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has rebranded,
Is it: A - the Ministry of Fun, B - the Ministry of Zeitgeist,
C - the Department for National Heritage, or D - DCMS?
At the end of the show Anne will hopefully give
Since the election the Government has been petitioned to "end
austerity" and boost public spending.
On public spending, the Queen's Speech left many
questions unanswered, although the Chancellor emphasised
the Government is still intent on eliminating the deficit
But ahead of the Autumn Budget, several Cabinet ministers are said
to be ready to argue with the Treasury about why
Public sector pay is in the headlines at the moment.
Boris Johnson being one of the leading Cabinet members
calling for a scrapping of the 1% cap.
Education Secretary Justine Greening is understood to be lobbying hard
for more cash as pressure grows on the schools budget.
The NHS always needs more money, and Jeremy Hunt will be keen to
do what he can to avoid a future winter care crisis.
And of course, related to this is the funding of social care.
In the last budget the Government pledged some more cash,
but as the Conservatives have had to ditch their controversial plans
to make people pay using their homes the pressure to find a solution
Theresa May came under fire during the last election campaign
for cuts to policing, with London's Met Police
Commissioner Cressida Dick saying that they're stretched,
and just today the Local Government Association has said that
if austerity is coming to an end, they should be at the
However, speaking to the CBI last night
Philip Hammond indicated he was in no mood to relax
the Government's austerity measures, saying, "We must hold our nerve."
Speaking on the Today Programme this morning the former
Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson supported Mr Hammond.
It's not easy to pursue financial discipline, it never is.
Neither tax rate increases are popular, nor are a firm hand
on public expenditure - although there are always has to be
That is not easy and popular, but it's necessary, and I think
people understand we need to pay our way, and indeed
that is the road to economic success which will improve living
We've been joined by the Conservative MP Oliver Letwin,
and by Labour's campaign chief, Andrew Gwynne.
Welcome to both of you. Is it right that senior Conservatives are on the
airwaves fighting like ferrets in a sack over public sector pay? What
happened to collective responsibility? Think it is natural
there is a conversation going on about how to deal with the reality
going on on the doorsteps. The public now wants to see some
increases in spending on key public services, social care, the NHS,
schools, you went through them. And there is therefore a serious issue
about how to reconcile that with deficit reduction. I am on the side
that believes, as Philip Hammond was saying earlier today and Nigel
Lawson was saying, we do need to retain deficit reduction and
therefore I think we need to see some moderate tax increases. I don't
think we can go on the spending binge Jeremy Corbyn and his team
have laid out. But should there be this public disagreement and spat
over a key area of policy within government amongst those running the
Government? It is actually a serious conversation about what we should
do, interesting that the media calls it a spat. I think it is perfectly
reasonable to have that conversation but at a certain stage a decision
needs to be made and I think that should be done in a proper and
considered way as part of a package by Philip Hammond in his autumn
budget and by then we will know where we are. On the pay cap, you
said you think deficit reduction should continue, and people would
agree with that, do you think that pay cap for public sector workers
should be lifted? I think we need to pay some serious attention to what
the review body says. There is a process here and they go through
where he is, and when we began this whole thing public sector pay was
well above the private sector in a couple of places and no it is not.
The review body is there and we should listen to what they have to
say. It sounds like they will do what the review body says. Is that
enough for you, Andrew Gwynne? I take no delight at the fact that we
know have senior Conservatives at Cabinet level running the charge of
anti-austerity. The point is in the election people sent out a very
clear message, that they have been hurting for a long period of time,
that public sector pay has not kept up with private sector pay. Nurses,
for example, have lost on average 14% of the value of their salary.
And when did that happen, Andrew Gwynne? Wendy public sector pay fall
behind private sector pay? In the course of the previous two
Parliaments, and the point is... Not broadly speaking. The grass show at
the time of the crash private sector pay was behind public sector pay and
to some extent the pay restraint equalled that out, and now
relatively recently in the last year or so it looks as if public sector
pay is now following behind private sector pay, just
to be clear, so not over the course of the two parliaments. The point is
it is collective, isn't it? Over the course of the two Parliament you
have had wage restraint in the public sector, over those seven
years when the coalition and the Conservatives single-A have been in
power, which has now led to the issue we are discussing, and I think
it is only right that teachers, nurses, police officers, the Armed
Forces, that they get a pay rise. And don't they deserve that, Oliver
Letwin, for the work they do? The cost of living is rising, as
inflation hits 2.9%, so that pay restraint is even tougher for these
people. They deserve a decent pay rise. As I was saying, there is a
properly constituted process for this. It is not the sort of amateur
things were one politician makes an argument, I make an ardent, but it
is not just a matter for politicians. There are serious
issues here, like can you recruit... Of course there is a process but
they want to know who is supporting them. We need to know, for example,
are we failing to attract enough nurses? There is clearly a problem
with recruitment, and how much is that to do with pay and how much
with other things? That is something the public sector pay body is there
to decide, and as you said it is really in the last year or two it
has gone one way rather than the other, so it is good to get them to
do their work, look at it, then have a package and a budget to deal with
it. Let's look at how you would pay for it. Labour said during the
election campaign you would like to see a 2% rise on top of the 1% that
at the moment is capped, is that broadly right? In your words it
would cost about ?4 billion a year? Yes. How would you pay for a? In the
manifesto we set out alongside that the changes we would seek to
taxation, capital gains tax, corporation tax, taxing the top 5%
of incomes, that was set out. Of course Philip Hammond has now got
the real headache. If all these senior ministers are demanding an
end to austerity and it is not just public sector pay, but more money
for schools, local government, this, that and the other, and he already
has ?2 billion black hole from the U-turn on national insurance
contributions he had to make in his spring budget so he has a big
problem coming in the autumn budget, if he is going to have to find the
magic money tree that you said doesn't exist. What is he going to
do? He will have to look at, as you mentioned, tax rises, or spending
cuts. You think it should be tax rises? Yes, I think we will need to
see some modest tax rises to achieve that because we need to continue I
think with the deficit reduction programme. The big difference
between the two parties now is not whether there is a need for some
extra spending in key services, although there may be different
amounts and emphasis. The real argument is are you going to borrow
your way out of this and ditch the whole effort to reduce the deficit?
I don't think that would be wise. We want to be protected against when
the next downturn comes and need to get a balanced budgets are therefore
if we want to spend more we need to raise them. Does that mean the tax
cuts that had been announced but not yet implemented, are those now
vulnerable? I am talking about raising the personal tax allowance
promised, raising the threshold when you start paying the higher rate of
tax? Are those now vulnerable? I am not the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the budget has these judgments to
make. I agree with you that it is difficult, these judgments, but it
ought to be made as an overall compute package and not have, you
know, on news programmes, speaking way in advance about which
programmes... You say you are in favour of ministers discussing in
public... Not about the detail. But broadly speaking, yes, I understand
that, but as a package would you like to see that as part of the
discussion, those two issues? I would like to see the Chancellor
have an overall package good for business, individuals and
which delivers extra spending for key services. That is not an easy
question to solve and I am not going to make his life more difficult by
trying to solve it here on the Daily Politics programme. I am not
equipped... I am sure you are equipped but you're just being very
reticent. Andrew Gwynne, can you give an example where Labour is
willing to say no to more spending? There are some things we would
prioritise like ending the bedroom tax and making sure some of the
sanction regime was scrapped. Jeremy Corbyn there that will benefit
should be unfrozen, did he mean that? You know that all the chatter
that then surrounded and all of that... We came back and we said no
summer we will have to look at that at some future stage but it is not
part of our costed programme. You were the one who listed the people
who were asking for pay rises. Would you say yes to all of them? To the
local government Association who now wants and perhaps justifiably, more
money for councils because they saw perhaps the biggest brunt of cuts
falling on local government, would you say yes to more spending for
them? That was part of our manifesto, we did commit to an extra
?1.5 billion for local councils because the local government
information unit into server they have done, their members have shown
that three quarters of councils are fearful for their financial future,
to be able to provide basic legal services. We have said ?1.5 billion,
fully costed... Yes to more spending so there is there a concrete example
where you will say to a group of people, we can't afford a pay rise
for you ought we are not good to spend more money? Absolutely and our
manifesto set out what our priorities were. What were they?
Give me one example. I had giving an example, ?1.5 for local government,
?8 billion extra for social care. But where have you said no to more
spending? The point is we have set out what our spending plans are in
the manifesto, there are a lot of other things that are not in the
manifesto because we have said no. What are they? I'm not going to list
everything that is not in our manifesto. One might think it is
because you can't. When you view this discussion from the outside, do
you think it is right to get a pay rise over and above 1% broadly,
there are other examples of people getting more already, to public
sector workers? I get paid out of the public purse and I'm not
advocating for me but when I talk to police officers dealing with gangs,
teachers in some of the toughest areas and nurses as well, what I
have been surprised about is they are saying they can expect to work
in those jobs for ten years. I had not anticipated that would be the
case and they say it is because the work is tough and we do recognise
that and we need to make it something that incentivises people
do not just go there in the first place and trained but actually
stayed there in the long term. I know you don't want to predict what
will happen in the Autumn Statement and Phillip Hammond has said he is
not death, do you think he is under pressure and pressure he will fight
hard to resist? He is a very serious Chancellor and he is aware like the
rest of us of two necessities, as we see it in the Conservative Party.
One is to do something about the key public services and also to continue
with deficit reduction. I know that will not be agreed by Mr Corbyn who
wants a borrowing splurge but that is a position that I think many
people in this country support and Philip it exactly the manse to see
through a package that will do that. Theresa May has reportedly asked the
Lib Dems for help getting bills passed. Have you heard this and are
you working with them? I'm not charged with doing anything now. My
view is that in Parliament is sensible to cooperate with anybody
and everybody to get the right legislation through. Thank you.
Young people get a number of personal freedoms
But there's an argument that the laws relating
Jenny Kumah's been looking into them.
At 16, you're old enough to legally consent to sex,
but you're not old enough to get married without your
You can only do that once you turn 18 -
unless you're in Scotland, where 16-year-olds can freely marry.
So even if you do get married at 16, it would be illegal
for you to celebrate by buying a drink.
That's because the minimum age that you can buy alcohol
But it's not illegal for an adult to buy a child aged 16 or over beer,
wine or cider if they're eating a meal together in a licensed venue.
It's also not illegal for children aged between five and 16
to drink alcohol at home or on private property.
At 16 you can legally have sex, you can possibly get married,
but sexting laws mean that if you and your spouse share sexual
images of yourselves on your phone or on social media,
But once you turn 18, that kind of behaviour isn't illegal.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can't be arrested
or charged with a crime if you're under ten, but in Scotland
the age of criminal responsibility is eight -
Is there a case to unify the ages when you can legally start doing all
these things? I think what that shows is this massive complexity,
this is something which has grown up historically over time and there has
not been a clear view and unsurprisingly most children and
parents are at sea with what it means. Some unification of that, it
does not mean everything has to be the same age but some thought behind
it and some simplification would be welcome. Talking about the report
into childhood vulnerability, the figures were quite shocking to me,
670,000 children in England grow up in high risk family situations. They
are huge but also probably an underestimation because we have been
very cautious in those figures. Looking at children growing up with
families who may be misusing alcohol, there could be a figure
that could be nearly a million. We have chosen one where they are
getting treatment which is less than 20,000. They are very significant
and stark but actually we know they are many more. What do you mean by
vulnerable? There must be a wide variation in these situations. These
are children who are the odds stacked against them, difficulties
in succeeding because of the negative aspects in their lives.
Part of the reason for doing this, if you ask anybody in government any
minister or specialist, how they define vulnerable, they will come up
with a different answer and no one at the moment can define how many
they are or what it means. Everybody is floundering, they know we are
kind to help vulnerable children but nobody can agree on what they are.
This is attempting the ones to put a suggestion in place that actually
unifies what vulnerable means and start counting how many there are.
It is an extent people will say that is just process, having a
definition... But important process. How important is it in terms of
helping people? At the moment anybody who looks at vulnerability
will be looking at it through the eyes of web-based .com at the Home
Office it is kids who come into contact with the law, and health it
is keen to turn up at A but children are not simple like this,
these more durable -- of these are multiple vulnerabilities. Until we
do this we cannot work at the size of the job or how to solve it. There
is a big question about taking note and taking advice and action to make
this a priority. If this problem getting worse if this is the first
done you feel you are confident about the data, we don't know how it
stands in comparison? People will be able to say it is getting worse from
their experience but the honest answer is that we simply don't know
because this is the first time that has been done. In a year I hope to
be able to come back and tell you that but part of the difficulty is
we don't know. How much power do you actually have to efforts to change?
I can't make people do that but there is a lot of work I can bring
to bear. I can collect data, this is publicly available, and I can now go
on and fill those gaps and bring people together and really put
forward very robust and I hope irresistible arguments that cannot
be resisted. I can work across Parliament and ultimately
responsible to Parliament and kids themselves. There are big asks here
but also a great way to the people behind who I think can help make
this happen. I want consent to drive this story. Thank you.
Yesterday the French president, Emmanuel Macron, chose the grand
backdrop of the Palace of Versailles for a set-piece speech
in which he said it was his mission to reform France.
His decision to summon parliamentarians to Versailles
sparked a backlash, with some leftwing politicians
boycotting the speech, accusing Macron of acting
So does the choice of setting for a big political speech make
Faire a l'homme, en fin, un pays digne de lui.
It is great to be here in free Benghazi and in free Libya.
If anybody asks if President Kennedy's words ring true today,
For here they will find people who emerged from the ruins of war
We're going to build a wall, folks, don't worry.
Memorable speeches in memorable venues.
We've been joined by the French political journalist Marie le Conte.
What does it say about Emmanuel Macron's presidency and his
ambitions by holding this big speech in the site? It is actually quite
amusing comedy is a person French president to go to the site to talk
to the National Assembly and the Senate. And also it is such a strong
message. Louis XIV famously built Versailles so he could have the
nobility close to him and keep an eye on them and the message is, I'm
now in charge, this is it. We have to go beyond the two main parties
which I'd effectively destroyed! But is there an irony that he has chosen
the grandeur and this sumptuous palace to talk about renewal and
bridging the gap between rich and poor? Definitely and the French
press had a field day with it. Yesterday Liberation had a painting
of him half naked as Zeus throwing thunder! It will be interesting to
watch because on the one hand he is drunk to have those sweeping reforms
and change the country but he clearly has that ego -- he is
attempting those sweeping reforms. He is using all those iconic
locations but do you think he will succeed? I don't know, I think there
is a fine line between trying to become like a liberal strongman and
doing that and ending up looking a bit silly. And it is part of the
idea as well, abstention was so high in the second round of the
parliament the election, he got elected and his party got elected
but I think with only like 40 French -- 43% of people. This idea that
it's all fine, I'm definitely president! Were you impressed? We
love the buildings but Mike counterpart in France talks about
children come back to Calais. We have got to race through the quiz.
Do you know what the new name is? But the department will not be
changing the logo as it It's already costing around
?3,000 for the rebrand. Thanks to all our guests,
especially Anne. I'll be back at 11.30am tomorrow
with Andrew for live coverage