04/07/2017 Daily Politics


04/07/2017

Jo Coburn is joined by the children's commissioner for England, Anne Longfield. They look at the spending demands public sector workers are asking for.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.

:00:40.:00:41.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond says the Government must "hold its nerve"

:00:42.:00:43.

in the face of calls for increased public spending.

:00:44.:00:48.

Hundreds of thousands of children are vulnerable,

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living in families with drinking and drug problems, according to the

:00:51.:00:52.

The President of the European Commission,

:00:53.:01:03.

Jean Claude Juncker, criticises members of the European Parliament

:01:04.:01:10.

as "ridiculous" after they fail to turn up to hear him speak.

:01:11.:01:13.

And what does Emmanuel Macron's decision to stage a big speech

:01:14.:01:16.

in the Palace of Versailles say about the French

:01:17.:01:18.

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

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of the programme today is the Children's Commissioner

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Let's kick off with Jean Claude Juncker's outburst in the European

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The President of the European Commission was in Strasbourg

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to talk to MEPs, but not many turned up to the meeting.

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There are only a few members in the plenary

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TRANSLATION: I would ask you to rephrase that -

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I will never again attempt a meeting of this kind.

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Our Europe reporter Adam Fleming is in Strasbourg and joins us now.

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Jean-Claude Juncker very upset that not many people rocked up to hear

:02:13.:02:23.

him talk. Yes, you have been to Strasbourg before. Many times. Yes,

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and it is actually much quieter today, the corridors in Strasbourg.

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Certainly this morning it was. Things have picked up in the last

:02:33.:02:36.

hour or so as MEPs has started coming into the building, and there

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are various theories about why the chamber was an empty this morning.

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One MEP said loads of his colleagues have started their seven-week

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holiday already, and this is the last session of the Strasbourg

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parliament before the holiday starts, so his theory is lots of

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people were not turning up at all. Others say the real work of

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Parliament is done in much lower profile committees and meetings with

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delegations from other countries, the Council, the commission, and

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people were in the meeting this morning, right through to a very

:03:10.:03:13.

senior MEP who just told me on the quiet that the reason many people

:03:14.:03:18.

didn't turn up to your this report about how the Maltese six-month

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presidency of the EU had gone, was because people thought it was one of

:03:22.:03:24.

the worst presidency is on record, so loads of different theories for

:03:25.:03:29.

why the chamber was so empty. I was in there, and there were definitely

:03:30.:03:34.

fewer than 100 people listening to Mr Juncker speak alongside the

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Maltese Prime Minister, and lots of those people were Mr Juncker's and

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the Maltese primer Minister's officials. Thank goodness you turned

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up to swell the ranks in the European Parliament! That was while

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telling off, wasn't it, from the European Parliament President? --

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that was a royal telling off he got from the European Parliament

:04:04.:04:07.

president. Yes, Antonio Tajani told him off for the language he used. It

:04:08.:04:10.

is similar to Westminster in that you are not allowed to use certain

:04:11.:04:18.

bad language, so he got a ticking off, but that didn't stop him. Mr

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Juncker said he would never come to a session like this again, but

:04:23.:04:26.

whether that means you will never come and sit in the plenary in

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Strasbourg again, or whether he would never come to a session like

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that again, it wasn't clear, but he meant what he said. Did some MEPs

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think that was a threat to Mr Juncker? I think some of them would

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quite happily not see Mr Juncker again, people like the Eurosceptics,

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Nigel Farage and his fellow MEPs who have made a career out of dissing

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him in the chamber. There is also some confusion about the timetabling

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for what is happening in this Strasbourg session because some of

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the timetabling for what is happening tomorrow, on the last

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European summit and the Brexit negotiations, that has been

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cancelled so a lot of MEPs and figures can head off to France for

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the funeral of Simone Veil, one of the first presidents of the European

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Parliament, so there is some confusion about what is happening in

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Strasbourg as well. We will leave it there, but it is a bit dispiriting

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if nobody turns up to see you talk, isn't it? I am finding it difficult

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not to be a bit smug year because the last time I spoke lots turned up

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to me. But never is a long time. Yes, let's see if he sticks to that.

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And the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has rebranded,

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Is it: A - the Ministry of Fun, B - the Ministry of Zeitgeist,

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C - the Department for National Heritage, or D - DCMS?

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At the end of the show Anne will hopefully give

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Since the election the Government has been petitioned to "end

:06:11.:06:18.

austerity" and boost public spending.

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On public spending, the Queen's Speech left many

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questions unanswered, although the Chancellor emphasised

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the Government is still intent on eliminating the deficit

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But ahead of the Autumn Budget, several Cabinet ministers are said

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to be ready to argue with the Treasury about why

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Public sector pay is in the headlines at the moment.

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Boris Johnson being one of the leading Cabinet members

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calling for a scrapping of the 1% cap.

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Education Secretary Justine Greening is understood to be lobbying hard

:06:41.:06:44.

for more cash as pressure grows on the schools budget.

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The NHS always needs more money, and Jeremy Hunt will be keen to

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do what he can to avoid a future winter care crisis.

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And of course, related to this is the funding of social care.

:06:55.:06:57.

In the last budget the Government pledged some more cash,

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but as the Conservatives have had to ditch their controversial plans

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to make people pay using their homes the pressure to find a solution

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Theresa May came under fire during the last election campaign

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for cuts to policing, with London's Met Police

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Commissioner Cressida Dick saying that they're stretched,

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and just today the Local Government Association has said that

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if austerity is coming to an end, they should be at the

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However, speaking to the CBI last night

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Philip Hammond indicated he was in no mood to relax

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the Government's austerity measures, saying, "We must hold our nerve."

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Speaking on the Today Programme this morning the former

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Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson supported Mr Hammond.

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It's not easy to pursue financial discipline, it never is.

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Neither tax rate increases are popular, nor are a firm hand

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on public expenditure - although there are always has to be

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That is not easy and popular, but it's necessary, and I think

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people understand we need to pay our way, and indeed

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that is the road to economic success which will improve living

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We've been joined by the Conservative MP Oliver Letwin,

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and by Labour's campaign chief, Andrew Gwynne.

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Welcome to both of you. Is it right that senior Conservatives are on the

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airwaves fighting like ferrets in a sack over public sector pay? What

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happened to collective responsibility? Think it is natural

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there is a conversation going on about how to deal with the reality

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going on on the doorsteps. The public now wants to see some

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increases in spending on key public services, social care, the NHS,

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schools, you went through them. And there is therefore a serious issue

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about how to reconcile that with deficit reduction. I am on the side

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that believes, as Philip Hammond was saying earlier today and Nigel

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Lawson was saying, we do need to retain deficit reduction and

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therefore I think we need to see some moderate tax increases. I don't

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think we can go on the spending binge Jeremy Corbyn and his team

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have laid out. But should there be this public disagreement and spat

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over a key area of policy within government amongst those running the

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Government? It is actually a serious conversation about what we should

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do, interesting that the media calls it a spat. I think it is perfectly

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reasonable to have that conversation but at a certain stage a decision

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needs to be made and I think that should be done in a proper and

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considered way as part of a package by Philip Hammond in his autumn

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budget and by then we will know where we are. On the pay cap, you

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said you think deficit reduction should continue, and people would

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agree with that, do you think that pay cap for public sector workers

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should be lifted? I think we need to pay some serious attention to what

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the review body says. There is a process here and they go through

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where he is, and when we began this whole thing public sector pay was

:10:08.:10:10.

well above the private sector in a couple of places and no it is not.

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The review body is there and we should listen to what they have to

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say. It sounds like they will do what the review body says. Is that

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enough for you, Andrew Gwynne? I take no delight at the fact that we

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know have senior Conservatives at Cabinet level running the charge of

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anti-austerity. The point is in the election people sent out a very

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clear message, that they have been hurting for a long period of time,

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that public sector pay has not kept up with private sector pay. Nurses,

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for example, have lost on average 14% of the value of their salary.

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And when did that happen, Andrew Gwynne? Wendy public sector pay fall

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behind private sector pay? In the course of the previous two

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Parliaments, and the point is... Not broadly speaking. The grass show at

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the time of the crash private sector pay was behind public sector pay and

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to some extent the pay restraint equalled that out, and now

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relatively recently in the last year or so it looks as if public sector

:11:08.:11:11.

pay is now following behind private sector pay, just

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to be clear, so not over the course of the two parliaments. The point is

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it is collective, isn't it? Over the course of the two Parliament you

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have had wage restraint in the public sector, over those seven

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years when the coalition and the Conservatives single-A have been in

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power, which has now led to the issue we are discussing, and I think

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it is only right that teachers, nurses, police officers, the Armed

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Forces, that they get a pay rise. And don't they deserve that, Oliver

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Letwin, for the work they do? The cost of living is rising, as

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inflation hits 2.9%, so that pay restraint is even tougher for these

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people. They deserve a decent pay rise. As I was saying, there is a

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properly constituted process for this. It is not the sort of amateur

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things were one politician makes an argument, I make an ardent, but it

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is not just a matter for politicians. There are serious

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issues here, like can you recruit... Of course there is a process but

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they want to know who is supporting them. We need to know, for example,

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are we failing to attract enough nurses? There is clearly a problem

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with recruitment, and how much is that to do with pay and how much

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with other things? That is something the public sector pay body is there

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to decide, and as you said it is really in the last year or two it

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has gone one way rather than the other, so it is good to get them to

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do their work, look at it, then have a package and a budget to deal with

:12:42.:12:45.

it. Let's look at how you would pay for it. Labour said during the

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election campaign you would like to see a 2% rise on top of the 1% that

:12:50.:12:54.

at the moment is capped, is that broadly right? In your words it

:12:55.:12:58.

would cost about ?4 billion a year? Yes. How would you pay for a? In the

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manifesto we set out alongside that the changes we would seek to

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taxation, capital gains tax, corporation tax, taxing the top 5%

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of incomes, that was set out. Of course Philip Hammond has now got

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the real headache. If all these senior ministers are demanding an

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end to austerity and it is not just public sector pay, but more money

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for schools, local government, this, that and the other, and he already

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has ?2 billion black hole from the U-turn on national insurance

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contributions he had to make in his spring budget so he has a big

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problem coming in the autumn budget, if he is going to have to find the

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magic money tree that you said doesn't exist. What is he going to

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do? He will have to look at, as you mentioned, tax rises, or spending

:13:48.:13:51.

cuts. You think it should be tax rises? Yes, I think we will need to

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see some modest tax rises to achieve that because we need to continue I

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think with the deficit reduction programme. The big difference

:13:59.:14:01.

between the two parties now is not whether there is a need for some

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extra spending in key services, although there may be different

:14:05.:14:08.

amounts and emphasis. The real argument is are you going to borrow

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your way out of this and ditch the whole effort to reduce the deficit?

:14:12.:14:16.

I don't think that would be wise. We want to be protected against when

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the next downturn comes and need to get a balanced budgets are therefore

:14:20.:14:24.

if we want to spend more we need to raise them. Does that mean the tax

:14:25.:14:28.

cuts that had been announced but not yet implemented, are those now

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vulnerable? I am talking about raising the personal tax allowance

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promised, raising the threshold when you start paying the higher rate of

:14:36.:14:40.

tax? Are those now vulnerable? I am not the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the budget has these judgments to

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make. I agree with you that it is difficult, these judgments, but it

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ought to be made as an overall compute package and not have, you

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know, on news programmes, speaking way in advance about which

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programmes... You say you are in favour of ministers discussing in

:15:02.:15:06.

public... Not about the detail. But broadly speaking, yes, I understand

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that, but as a package would you like to see that as part of the

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discussion, those two issues? I would like to see the Chancellor

:15:15.:15:18.

have an overall package good for business, individuals and

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which delivers extra spending for key services. That is not an easy

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question to solve and I am not going to make his life more difficult by

:15:41.:15:43.

trying to solve it here on the Daily Politics programme. I am not

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equipped... I am sure you are equipped but you're just being very

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reticent. Andrew Gwynne, can you give an example where Labour is

:15:48.:15:49.

willing to say no to more spending? There are some things we would

:15:50.:15:59.

prioritise like ending the bedroom tax and making sure some of the

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sanction regime was scrapped. Jeremy Corbyn there that will benefit

:16:04.:16:07.

should be unfrozen, did he mean that? You know that all the chatter

:16:08.:16:12.

that then surrounded and all of that... We came back and we said no

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summer we will have to look at that at some future stage but it is not

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part of our costed programme. You were the one who listed the people

:16:22.:16:28.

who were asking for pay rises. Would you say yes to all of them? To the

:16:29.:16:34.

local government Association who now wants and perhaps justifiably, more

:16:35.:16:38.

money for councils because they saw perhaps the biggest brunt of cuts

:16:39.:16:41.

falling on local government, would you say yes to more spending for

:16:42.:16:45.

them? That was part of our manifesto, we did commit to an extra

:16:46.:16:49.

?1.5 billion for local councils because the local government

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information unit into server they have done, their members have shown

:16:53.:16:59.

that three quarters of councils are fearful for their financial future,

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to be able to provide basic legal services. We have said ?1.5 billion,

:17:04.:17:08.

fully costed... Yes to more spending so there is there a concrete example

:17:09.:17:14.

where you will say to a group of people, we can't afford a pay rise

:17:15.:17:18.

for you ought we are not good to spend more money? Absolutely and our

:17:19.:17:22.

manifesto set out what our priorities were. What were they?

:17:23.:17:29.

Give me one example. I had giving an example, ?1.5 for local government,

:17:30.:17:34.

?8 billion extra for social care. But where have you said no to more

:17:35.:17:40.

spending? The point is we have set out what our spending plans are in

:17:41.:17:44.

the manifesto, there are a lot of other things that are not in the

:17:45.:17:48.

manifesto because we have said no. What are they? I'm not going to list

:17:49.:17:52.

everything that is not in our manifesto. One might think it is

:17:53.:17:57.

because you can't. When you view this discussion from the outside, do

:17:58.:18:02.

you think it is right to get a pay rise over and above 1% broadly,

:18:03.:18:07.

there are other examples of people getting more already, to public

:18:08.:18:12.

sector workers? I get paid out of the public purse and I'm not

:18:13.:18:16.

advocating for me but when I talk to police officers dealing with gangs,

:18:17.:18:19.

teachers in some of the toughest areas and nurses as well, what I

:18:20.:18:22.

have been surprised about is they are saying they can expect to work

:18:23.:18:28.

in those jobs for ten years. I had not anticipated that would be the

:18:29.:18:31.

case and they say it is because the work is tough and we do recognise

:18:32.:18:35.

that and we need to make it something that incentivises people

:18:36.:18:38.

do not just go there in the first place and trained but actually

:18:39.:18:41.

stayed there in the long term. I know you don't want to predict what

:18:42.:18:45.

will happen in the Autumn Statement and Phillip Hammond has said he is

:18:46.:18:50.

not death, do you think he is under pressure and pressure he will fight

:18:51.:18:57.

hard to resist? He is a very serious Chancellor and he is aware like the

:18:58.:19:03.

rest of us of two necessities, as we see it in the Conservative Party.

:19:04.:19:07.

One is to do something about the key public services and also to continue

:19:08.:19:11.

with deficit reduction. I know that will not be agreed by Mr Corbyn who

:19:12.:19:15.

wants a borrowing splurge but that is a position that I think many

:19:16.:19:19.

people in this country support and Philip it exactly the manse to see

:19:20.:19:23.

through a package that will do that. Theresa May has reportedly asked the

:19:24.:19:27.

Lib Dems for help getting bills passed. Have you heard this and are

:19:28.:19:31.

you working with them? I'm not charged with doing anything now. My

:19:32.:19:38.

view is that in Parliament is sensible to cooperate with anybody

:19:39.:19:41.

and everybody to get the right legislation through. Thank you.

:19:42.:19:43.

Young people get a number of personal freedoms

:19:44.:19:45.

But there's an argument that the laws relating

:19:46.:19:47.

Jenny Kumah's been looking into them.

:19:48.:19:52.

At 16, you're old enough to legally consent to sex,

:19:53.:19:54.

but you're not old enough to get married without your

:19:55.:19:57.

You can only do that once you turn 18 -

:19:58.:20:04.

unless you're in Scotland, where 16-year-olds can freely marry.

:20:05.:20:06.

So even if you do get married at 16, it would be illegal

:20:07.:20:12.

for you to celebrate by buying a drink.

:20:13.:20:13.

That's because the minimum age that you can buy alcohol

:20:14.:20:16.

But it's not illegal for an adult to buy a child aged 16 or over beer,

:20:17.:20:27.

wine or cider if they're eating a meal together in a licensed venue.

:20:28.:20:30.

It's also not illegal for children aged between five and 16

:20:31.:20:34.

to drink alcohol at home or on private property.

:20:35.:20:39.

At 16 you can legally have sex, you can possibly get married,

:20:40.:20:43.

but sexting laws mean that if you and your spouse share sexual

:20:44.:20:46.

images of yourselves on your phone or on social media,

:20:47.:20:49.

But once you turn 18, that kind of behaviour isn't illegal.

:20:50.:20:57.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can't be arrested

:20:58.:21:00.

or charged with a crime if you're under ten, but in Scotland

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the age of criminal responsibility is eight -

:21:04.:21:05.

Is there a case to unify the ages when you can legally start doing all

:21:06.:21:19.

these things? I think what that shows is this massive complexity,

:21:20.:21:23.

this is something which has grown up historically over time and there has

:21:24.:21:27.

not been a clear view and unsurprisingly most children and

:21:28.:21:30.

parents are at sea with what it means. Some unification of that, it

:21:31.:21:33.

does not mean everything has to be the same age but some thought behind

:21:34.:21:38.

it and some simplification would be welcome. Talking about the report

:21:39.:21:42.

into childhood vulnerability, the figures were quite shocking to me,

:21:43.:21:48.

670,000 children in England grow up in high risk family situations. They

:21:49.:21:52.

are huge but also probably an underestimation because we have been

:21:53.:21:56.

very cautious in those figures. Looking at children growing up with

:21:57.:22:00.

families who may be misusing alcohol, there could be a figure

:22:01.:22:04.

that could be nearly a million. We have chosen one where they are

:22:05.:22:07.

getting treatment which is less than 20,000. They are very significant

:22:08.:22:11.

and stark but actually we know they are many more. What do you mean by

:22:12.:22:17.

vulnerable? There must be a wide variation in these situations. These

:22:18.:22:19.

are children who are the odds stacked against them, difficulties

:22:20.:22:22.

in succeeding because of the negative aspects in their lives.

:22:23.:22:26.

Part of the reason for doing this, if you ask anybody in government any

:22:27.:22:30.

minister or specialist, how they define vulnerable, they will come up

:22:31.:22:34.

with a different answer and no one at the moment can define how many

:22:35.:22:38.

they are or what it means. Everybody is floundering, they know we are

:22:39.:22:42.

kind to help vulnerable children but nobody can agree on what they are.

:22:43.:22:48.

This is attempting the ones to put a suggestion in place that actually

:22:49.:22:52.

unifies what vulnerable means and start counting how many there are.

:22:53.:22:56.

It is an extent people will say that is just process, having a

:22:57.:23:01.

definition... But important process. How important is it in terms of

:23:02.:23:06.

helping people? At the moment anybody who looks at vulnerability

:23:07.:23:10.

will be looking at it through the eyes of web-based .com at the Home

:23:11.:23:13.

Office it is kids who come into contact with the law, and health it

:23:14.:23:17.

is keen to turn up at A but children are not simple like this,

:23:18.:23:23.

these more durable -- of these are multiple vulnerabilities. Until we

:23:24.:23:27.

do this we cannot work at the size of the job or how to solve it. There

:23:28.:23:32.

is a big question about taking note and taking advice and action to make

:23:33.:23:36.

this a priority. If this problem getting worse if this is the first

:23:37.:23:41.

done you feel you are confident about the data, we don't know how it

:23:42.:23:44.

stands in comparison? People will be able to say it is getting worse from

:23:45.:23:48.

their experience but the honest answer is that we simply don't know

:23:49.:23:51.

because this is the first time that has been done. In a year I hope to

:23:52.:23:54.

be able to come back and tell you that but part of the difficulty is

:23:55.:23:58.

we don't know. How much power do you actually have to efforts to change?

:23:59.:24:03.

I can't make people do that but there is a lot of work I can bring

:24:04.:24:08.

to bear. I can collect data, this is publicly available, and I can now go

:24:09.:24:12.

on and fill those gaps and bring people together and really put

:24:13.:24:15.

forward very robust and I hope irresistible arguments that cannot

:24:16.:24:21.

be resisted. I can work across Parliament and ultimately

:24:22.:24:24.

responsible to Parliament and kids themselves. There are big asks here

:24:25.:24:29.

but also a great way to the people behind who I think can help make

:24:30.:24:33.

this happen. I want consent to drive this story. Thank you.

:24:34.:24:35.

Yesterday the French president, Emmanuel Macron, chose the grand

:24:36.:24:37.

backdrop of the Palace of Versailles for a set-piece speech

:24:38.:24:40.

in which he said it was his mission to reform France.

:24:41.:24:42.

His decision to summon parliamentarians to Versailles

:24:43.:24:44.

sparked a backlash, with some leftwing politicians

:24:45.:24:49.

boycotting the speech, accusing Macron of acting

:24:50.:24:50.

So does the choice of setting for a big political speech make

:24:51.:24:55.

Faire a l'homme, en fin, un pays digne de lui.

:24:56.:25:09.

It is great to be here in free Benghazi and in free Libya.

:25:10.:25:27.

If anybody asks if President Kennedy's words ring true today,

:25:28.:25:34.

For here they will find people who emerged from the ruins of war

:25:35.:25:39.

We're going to build a wall, folks, don't worry.

:25:40.:26:06.

Memorable speeches in memorable venues.

:26:07.:26:19.

We've been joined by the French political journalist Marie le Conte.

:26:20.:26:23.

What does it say about Emmanuel Macron's presidency and his

:26:24.:26:31.

ambitions by holding this big speech in the site? It is actually quite

:26:32.:26:38.

amusing comedy is a person French president to go to the site to talk

:26:39.:26:41.

to the National Assembly and the Senate. And also it is such a strong

:26:42.:26:49.

message. Louis XIV famously built Versailles so he could have the

:26:50.:26:52.

nobility close to him and keep an eye on them and the message is, I'm

:26:53.:26:58.

now in charge, this is it. We have to go beyond the two main parties

:26:59.:27:05.

which I'd effectively destroyed! But is there an irony that he has chosen

:27:06.:27:12.

the grandeur and this sumptuous palace to talk about renewal and

:27:13.:27:17.

bridging the gap between rich and poor? Definitely and the French

:27:18.:27:24.

press had a field day with it. Yesterday Liberation had a painting

:27:25.:27:29.

of him half naked as Zeus throwing thunder! It will be interesting to

:27:30.:27:34.

watch because on the one hand he is drunk to have those sweeping reforms

:27:35.:27:38.

and change the country but he clearly has that ego -- he is

:27:39.:27:46.

attempting those sweeping reforms. He is using all those iconic

:27:47.:27:51.

locations but do you think he will succeed? I don't know, I think there

:27:52.:27:58.

is a fine line between trying to become like a liberal strongman and

:27:59.:28:03.

doing that and ending up looking a bit silly. And it is part of the

:28:04.:28:08.

idea as well, abstention was so high in the second round of the

:28:09.:28:11.

parliament the election, he got elected and his party got elected

:28:12.:28:18.

but I think with only like 40 French -- 43% of people. This idea that

:28:19.:28:22.

it's all fine, I'm definitely president! Were you impressed? We

:28:23.:28:31.

love the buildings but Mike counterpart in France talks about

:28:32.:28:35.

children come back to Calais. We have got to race through the quiz.

:28:36.:28:37.

Do you know what the new name is? But the department will not be

:28:38.:28:43.

changing the logo as it It's already costing around

:28:44.:28:46.

?3,000 for the rebrand. Thanks to all our guests,

:28:47.:28:49.

especially Anne. I'll be back at 11.30am tomorrow

:28:50.:28:51.

with Andrew for live coverage

:28:52.:28:55.

Jo Coburn is joined by the children's commissioner for England, Anne Longfield. They look at the spending demands public sector workers are asking for with Labour's Andrew Gwynne and the Conservatives' Oliver Letwin. Plus French president Emanuel Macron's address to members of the French parliament in the palace of Versailles.


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