Jo Coburn is joined by Brexit campaigner Tim Martin for the latest news from Westminster as England faces the biggest council tax rises in a decade.
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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
So another day, another
blizzard of Brexit stories.
Plus ca change.
The Prime Minister is preparing
for her big vision speech tomorrow.
Before that she'll meet the EU
Council President Donald Tusk,
amid stark differences over Brexit
plans for Northern Ireland.
Two big retailers,
Maplin and Toys R Us,
go into administration,
putting over 5,000 jobs at risk.
Is Brexit causing a big chill
in Britain's retail sector?
And what is the picture for
the broader business environment?
The Culture Secretary announces
that the government will not
implement the second stage
of the Leveson Inquiry, ruling out
a probe into the relationship
between journalists and the police.
We'll have the latest
on this breaking story.
And fancy a pint of fizz?
One English winemaker is laying down
imperial pint bottles of sparkling
wine ready to drink once
we leave the EU.
But will it leave a bitter taste?
All that in the next hour
and with us for the whole
of the programme today
is Tim Martin, founder and chairman
of the Wetherspoons pub chain.
He also campaigned for Leave
in the EU referendum campaign.
Welcome back to the programme.
First today, the Culture Secretary
Matthew Hancock has confirmed
that the Government will not
implement the second stage
of the Leveson Inquiry.
Part two had been intended
to examine unlawful action
by media organisations,
plus relations between
journalists and the police.
Speaking in the Commons this morning
Mr Hancock explained
the reason for his decision.
During the consultation 12%
of direct respondants were in favour
of reopening the Leveson Inquiry
with 66% against.
We agree, and this is
the position that we set out
in the Conservative Party manifesto.
Sir Brian, who I thank
for his service, agrees
that the inquiry should not proceed
on the current terms of reference,
but believes that it should
continue in an amended form.
We do not believe that
reopening this costly
and time-consuming public inquiry
is the right way forward.
So considering all of the factors
that I announced to the House today,
I have informed Sir Brian
that we are formally
closing the inquiry.
Matt Hancock speaking there.
Well, Mr Hancock's Shadow
in Parliament is the Deputy Labour
leader Tom Watson.
He has been at the forefront of the
campaign to push ahead with part two
of the Leveson Inquiry. This was his
There is more to be gained
politically by our political parties
from standing up to the tabloid
media than bowing down to it.
And when every Conservative MP
who was then in Parliament backed
this policy, including the current
Prime Minister and the present
Secretary of State,
they didn't really mean it.
They were waiting for the wind
to change, waiting for the force
to die down, waiting for a time
when they could, as quietly
as possible, break their promises.
Well, there is another dimension
to this story because overnight
Tom Watson confirmed
that he would no longer be receiving
any donations from the privacy
campaigner Max Mosley amid a row
over a racist by-election leaflet
from 1961 that he is
said to have published.
We will explain that in a moment.
We will explain that in a moment.
Here is Tom Watson speaking
about that in the Commons.
And I think I should take
the Mosley issue head
on with your indulgence,
If I thought for one moment he held
those views contained in that
leaflet of 57 years ago,
I would not have given
him the time of day.
He is a man, though, who,
in the face of great family tragedy
and overwhelming media intimidation,
chose to use his limited
resources to support
the weak against the strong.
Tom Watson. With me in the studio is
our political correspondent. Explain
why this is important, this
dimension to the story of Max
Tom Watson's office has been
part funded by the Max Mosley
family. Max Mosley is a privacy
campaigner, he has long held clashes
with some of the British tabloids.
In recent years he has been a
campaigner for tougher regulation of
them. Labour says it will no longer
take any more money from the family
over this row over this racist
pamphlets from the by-election. Max
Mosley has strongly denied any
recollection of the leaflet, though
he has admitted if it is genuine,
the content is racist. £5,000 has
been donated to Mr Watson's office,
the last donation received last
year. Now that the nation has come
to an end and the party says it is
moving away from large-scale
In terms of part two of
the Leveson Inquiry, that was a
manifesto commitment to not go ahead
with it in the Conservative
Yes, that is right. But
it has been an extremely heated
debate over the Leveson Inquiry. You
remember the public outcry over the
alleged victims of phone hacking by
the News of the World. There will be
many major press newspaper groups
who will be extremely happy. But the
victims who have been campaigning
who thought when David Cameron
pledged to have the second part of
Lavis that that would be it and it
would happen, they will be
Tom Watson took the
opportunity to accuse the government
of bearing bad news, bearing in mind
He said the government
had capitulated and was failing the
victims of press intrusion. The
government has been cleared today,
they think there have been changes
and the press is in a different
place to where it was when all this
was happening and the things that
happened that Leveson Inquiry did
too. That is what Matt Hancock was
saying today. Tom Watson says the
victims have been failed.
Tom Watson says the victims
have been failed.
Theresa May is meeting European
Council President Donald Tusk today
to give him a sneak peek
of the themes in her big
Brexit speech tomorrow.
But hanging in the air will be
the reaction on both sides
of the Channel to the EU's draft
which set out the Commission's view
of the legal consequences
of December's deal on the first
phase of negotiations.
It's fair to say that here in the UK
it went down like a cup of cold sick
with lots of people and not just
Eurosceptics of long-standing.
The hostile response centred around
the EU's "fallback option" to keep
the Irish border open in the event
of no deal, with the EU trying
to put it in law that
Northern Ireland would remain bound
to EU rules and regulations,
even if Great Britain
decided to go another way.
Well, yesterday at PMQs
Theresa May kicked back hard,
saying no British Prime Minister
could ever agree to an effective
border between Northern Ireland
and Great Britain.
And last night David Davis
was talking tough to his Tory
colleagues, saying that there was no
way the UK would be handing over
billions of pounds in a divorce bill
until everything was agreed
to the UK's satisfaction.
Former Prime Minister John Major
was on hand dispensing his
wisdom to the government.
he said that by the time Brexit
happened the electorate would have
changed, so Parliament had
to have a decisive
and free vote now.
Nobody can truly know what the will
of the people may then be, so let
Parliament decide or put
the issue back to the people.
John Major there.
And yesterday the government also
said EU citizens who come
here during the transition will get
indefinite leave to remain.
That was an apparent U-turn.
That was an apparent U-turn.
But in a sticking point with the EU,
the British government says British
judges must have the final say
over their rights and not
the European Court of Justice.
Well, to discuss all this we're
joined by the Conservative MP
, sorry by the Labour MP Pat
And Iain Duncan Smith.
Do you accept there was no way that
the government could sign up to a
deal to keep Northern Ireland
effectively in the EU?
The EU has
thrown down the gauntlet to the
government and they have said there
are three ways of meeting the
commitments that you, the United
Kingdom, agreed to in December.
Remember this is based on an
agreement made just a matter of
weeks ago in December where the
government agreed that there was a
common body of EU law and policy
that underpinned the island economy
between North and south and that
they would try to maintain that
either by agreement or buy this
backstop option. What we cannot have
in this debate is the government
having set out various red lines
about leaving the customs union,
leaving the single market, having no
hard border between Northern Ireland
and the Republic, and also the UK as
a whole securing the exact same
benefits, that is the phrase David
Davis used, that when those things
become difficult that we lash out
and blame everybody else. So it is
for the Prime Minister now if she
does not like the text published by
the EU yesterday to say how she is
going to squirt those circles and
meet those commitments.
Smith, what is the government
getting so het up about? We expected
this, that was what was going to be
written down in legal text on the
basis of what was agreed on Sunday.
This is the EU's pitch for what they
believe will be the final outcome.
This is one element of it, their
view is there will be no deal and no
arrangement. The government's
response is right, they have said
they do not agree with it and they
are rejecting it.
That is the
fallback option, that is not all the
options. They are setting out what
was supposedly agreed in December.
Isn't the real problem that it was
not nailed down it was kicked into
the long grass?
No, the EU has gone
for an option that is absurd. Let me
complete this. Right now there is no
need for that kind of border, that
kind of problem, no matter what the
arrangement is. I will give you
three examples. One, they are
unreported mostly by any channel,
the head of HMRC and the head of
Defra have appeared in front of a
committee and they were asked
whatever the outcome do you believe
we will have to have a hard border
with checks? They have both said no.
They believe their systems will
allow them not to do it. Second, in
the EU parliament they themselves
have produced a report in which they
said this is an opportunity for the
EU to agree a form of friction is
border with the UK, using the right
technology, and that could be
applied to the rest of the EU. They
are critical of the commission and
it is their believe there would have
to be a hard border in Northern
Ireland. Right now we do not have
one, we do not need one in the
future and it is feasible for us to
do that. That would be better for
them to put forward as the final
Isn't Iain Duncan
Smith right that there is bad faith
from the EU. It undermines the whole
idea of the constitutional
settlement of the UK which they know
they will not sign up to it?
in a unique situation historically
here because this will be the first
time ever that Northern Ireland will
be outside the European Union with
the republic inside. In the past we
had a situation where both places
were outside the European Union. And
for 40 odd years they were both
inside. This is historically unique
and it is not simple. Secondly, this
is based upon things that we have
agreed. If we don't like the way the
European Union has worded it, then
the challenge is for us to come up
with something convincing that can
Hasn't the government put
forward the idea of technical
solutions? Iain Duncan Smith cited
the idea of Defra representatives
saying ways can be found, whether it
is through preclearance or
declaration before people reach the
border, but you can keep it open and
frictionless. Isn't the EU using the
political situation in Ireland and
with the UK to beat the UK and
Northern Ireland at least in the
The fibre is
connected to the Kneebone. There is
no need for a border down the Irish
Sea because the Northern Ireland
question here is actually a
crystallisation of the question
facing the whole of the UK. It is
the essential choice before us. We
can either have a system of high
market access with minimum barriers
and all the benefits the government
says it wants to have, and that will
come with high obligations to a
common set of rules. All we can do
what I think most Brexiteers want,
which is to have low obligations,
but alongside that will come a lower
level of market access. What we
cannot have, what is an illusion
which the government must stop
pedalling, is to pretend we can have
the same market access that we have
now with a much lower set of
obligations. That is the reason
agreement is not being reached and
we have got to get off that illusion
and make the fundamental choice the
Pat McFadden called it an allusion,
others have called it fairy
godmother thinking. Isn't it time to
accept that this mythical idea at
you and your colleagues have that
has all the benefits and keeps her
frictionless trade that means we
don't have to sign in to any of the
laws and regulations is just one?
Let's separate two elements, which
is very important. The first is what
happens at the border. There is no
need for any of these physical
checks, for delays. There is a
reason for that. There are lots of
other countries in the world that
have trade arrangements that don't
go through this process.
has a border weather is
Because the EU
insisted that Norway had a border.
If you talk to the Norwegians they
will tell you they don't believe
they need a border.
I will let you
come on but first, on this basis of
yours, you can't blame the EU,
because there is no trust. And I put
to you that there is no trust
because they have seen the likes of
leaked letters and memos from the
Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson,
suggesting a hardwood wouldn't be
that bad and comparing that border,
or having no border, to being the
same as two London borrowers. That
is why they don't trust you and you
can't blame them.
I don't think it
is anything to do with trusted
unhelpful Boris Johnson...?
technology exists for all sorts of
items sorry pass through two
locations through different levels
but to have been registered. All of
this can be picked up quite happily.
There are two elements. The border
issue is being used by the EU and
Ireland to try and force us into a
position. This is about negotiation,
not about trust. The other element
that Pat was talking about is about
market access. We're leaving and we
exactly the same kind of access in
that one sense but you do not know,
and we do not know, and you are
sitting here with somebody right now
who is in a business and running a
company and selling things... We
don't know how business will react.
My sense is that business will
continue to sell and trade with the
EU. Our responsibility is to ensure
we have the least amount of friction
in that but the competition is up to
British business and I believe they
will meet that challenge without a
will. I think the whole issue is
mischaracterised. I will give one
example, which is we sell copper
burg cider from
burg cider from Sweden and we sell
more than the whole of Sweden
combined, or did at one stage. It is
from a small-town in southern
Sweden. If impediments are put in
the way of trade by the EU, for the
sake of argument and we switch to
the perfectly good cider suppliers
in this country, who suffers,
in this country, who suffers, as it
is the citizens of the EU. The
people who represent them are not
elected so unlike Ian Duncan Smith
or the Prime Minister or the other
parties, they are not collected.
That is the difficulty. But it is
not the case of the UK, people like
us or get lots of stuff from all
around the world, are going to
struggle. We can immediately
eliminate the customs duties,
invisible, but everyone in the UK
pays for them.
What do you say to
that, Pat McFadden?
On the exiting
the EU select committee that Iain
Duncan Smith referred to, we take
evidence of this all the time and
what we have been told is there is
nowhere in the world which pulled
out of a customs union in the way we
are proposing to and that doesn't
result in a border, including the
border between Norway and Sweden,
which is a hi-tech border but a
border all the same and there are
checks all the same. We were even
told by somebody from Turkey
recently that their trucks are held
up for up to two days at the border,
so I think a lot of people still
need to be convinced that... This
comes down to these incompatible red
lines, where they have said they
want absolutely no border in Ireland
but they also want to pull out of
the common system of rules and
customs duties that has helped to
facilitate that over the years. The
Government has failed to square that
circle. Let me say something else -
faced with the incompatibility of
those red lines, what you see from
Boris Johnson and from others in
recent days is comments now saying a
border won't be so bad or, even
worse, openly attacking the Good
Friday Agreement. This is hugely
irresponsible and is the result of
the throwing out of these
ideological lead driven redlines.
Iain Duncan Smith, are you, as John
Major accused you and colleagues of,
boxing in the Prime Minister and
making it impossible to square that
circle to get a deal done?
Prime Minister has been very clear
on day one that she voted to remain
but recognises the vote to leave
included leaving the customs union
and single market. Let me take pact
to task. Of course there is a
border, the question we are talking
about is, it is a border where you
end up, as in this ridiculous
scenario, of queues of people not
being able to cross.
do you have but it will be
Turkey has a customs
arrangement, and entry to the
customs union, because they have
chosen to join it. Their
recommendation is not to do a deal
because these people don't stick by
it. They have queues because the EU
is imposing artificial problems at
the border. The point here is, what
we are looking for - and this is why
it is a nonsense - the EU has chosen
to discuss all these bits and pieces
before a trade arrangement.
back to the issue of trust. David
Davis, the Brexit secretary, has
said he is going to withdraw or an
egg on the contract payment of oil
spilled it docked
It is not
reneging, everything is agreed on
offering agreed. We are in the
business of only agreeing the money
with them if they are in the
business of doing the deal. They sit
down and talk about trade and as for
Pat, one last point on Pat and his
party, this is a party that stood at
the last election saying they were
guaranteeing they were leaving the
customs union, they have no renege
or as Frank Field said the other
day, ratted on that.
McFadden, are you also ratting on
your own supporters, Leave
It is never ratting on
Labour voters to put jobs and the
economy first. We did not sound on a
platform saying we would pull out of
the customs union, we stood on a
platform saying we would try to
maintain the benefits of the customs
union and the single market and this
week we put jobs and people's
standard of living first. We're the
Labour Party, that is what we are
for. Pat McFadden, Iain Duncan
Smith, thank you.
Well, as the politics of Brexit look
ever more complicated,
the practical implications
for business seem increasingly
difficult to fathom.
In the meantime, it's been
a difficult week on the British high
street with both Toys R Us
and Maplin Electronics
falling into administration.
The announcements follow weak
results from several big retailers,
and with the shape of the transition
agreement, let alone
the final Brexit deal
still to be pinned down,
business is looking
a little anxious.
Elisabeth Glinka has been to visit
one such firm.
If you run a business the extent to
which you worried about Brexit
probably depends on what you do.
Based in Wiltshire, this company
makes high-grade adhesives, used in
everything from pacemakers to CT
scanners and satellites. Once
manufactured, the product must be
used within 48 hours, shipped across
Europe at subzero temperatures.
very worried. This business is at
risk. If we don't know how we are
going to solve the problem of
customs and how that is going to
work in the future, I don't know if
we can sustain it and we are under
pressure from our customers and
So if the likes of
Boris Johnson or Liam Fox says,
"Come, come, you should be more
positive, we need to be trading with
the world," what would you say?
would say I am positive. You don't
get to do what I do unless you are
positive and I am always optimistic.
We have grown this business from
nothing to where it is today through
optimism, planning and investment.
All those things take a positive
attitude. But if I am asked by my
customers, what are you going to do?
If I can't answer that question the
business is in trouble. It is a
fundamental question of our
Rex's company is the only
one on the European continent making
these specialised products. 85 the
scent of his sales are with the EU.
At the moment we can ship to
Barnsley just as easily as to Brad
Slava, it is just the same.
would be hard pressed to find a more
literal example of trade. Since
Britain voted to leave the EU
economy has continued to grow but we
haven't actually left yet and as the
deal looks uncertain, many UK firms
remain concerned about the future.
Take the Welsh fishing fleet. Well
the rest of the UK's fisherman Art
excited by the prospect of an end to
EU quotas, the well to specialise in
shellfish and so the vast majority
to France and Spain and think
difficult plea -- differently. The
Anglo Dutch giant Unilever has yet
to decide whether its future remains
in the UK and the Kfar industry's
problems are well documented.
Yesterday, a company committed to
keeping its new model in the UK.
keeping its new model in the UK.
you talk to the majority of the
captains of industry they are
strongly opposed to Brexit. They
believe it would be bad for the
industries but most of them are
extremely reluctant to speak out and
say so because they know half of
their customers may be in favour of
Brexit and half not.
This morning a
report from the Business Select
Committee concluded that at least
for the automotive sector, Brexit
negotiations are an exercise in
damage limitation. For small firms
like Epoxy, promises only go so far.
Our guest of the day Tim Martin
knows a bit about business
and was a leading Leave campaigner
in the EU referendum.
We're also joined by the chair
of the Business Select Committee,
the Labour MP Rachel Reeves.
Welcome to the programme and I will
come to you in a moment. First of
all, the chief executive of Maplin,
which has gone into administration,
said there was a combination of
factors but cited very clearly a
drop in the value of the pound post
Well, it is very
difficult to say because if you look
at VAT receipts for December they
are up 15%. Income tax was up 5% so
government receipts are very
You must accept that the
drop in the value of the pound has
It has hit lots of
them in a beneficial way. It is an
automatic stabiliser, a floating
pound. It has gone up and down over
the years and that is a good thing.
The companies that -- countries that
are problems are like Greece where
they don't have the automatic
stabiliser. Some have gone up, some
have gone down to drop it is the way
Rachel Reeves, isn't
this the normal cycle of business?
The site of the drop in value of the
pound but said there were other
contributory factors so, alone, is
it still really a step too far to
I certainly wouldn't
blame Brexit for what has happened
at Toys "R" Us and Maplin. I was
thinking back to when I was growing
up and going to toys R us was a big
treat. I remember going with my dad
and sister. But I've got two small
children and we haven't been to toys
"R" Us. I don't think it has stayed
modern. This isn't all about Brexit
but there are businesses and my
select committee today has put out a
report on the motor industry. There
are businesses struggling because of
Brexit, especially if you don't get
the sort of deal which ensures that
frictionless free-trade which allows
them to move in and out of the
country with ease and without
Even Toyota who have made
this announcement about building a
new car in the UK say it has to be
on the basis of being able to trade
freely with the EU.
that up to a point but the main
aspect of the EU is that it is a
customs union that puts barriers to
trade outside the union so it is
free trade for 7% of the world, the
other 93% not. So for us it will
bring prices down. For the car
industry, they will either have to
locate the parts they need from the
other 93% of the world, which will
happen in some cases, all we will
have to negotiate a deal. It is in
everyone's interest to negotiate a
deal but I think everyone is jumping
on the bandwagon of trying to
frighten the public. We are talking
knocking down trade barriers, not
putting them up by leaving. The
customs union should be called a
tariff barrier union.
Do you agree
with that? Tim obviously wants to
leave the customs union and doesn't
want any partnership in the way that
has been put forward and that Labour
If you look of a
trade deals the EU has with the rest
of the world they are facilitating
lower tariffs and more trade with
other countries. If you look at
Labour's policy of staying in a
customs union, that will be good for
the automotive sector and many other
manufacturing sectors in particular
that rely on just in time delivery
and getting components in from other
European countries very quickly. We
went a Honda in Swindon, my select
committee, and saw vans arrived
every seven minutes to bring in
parts. There were no warehouses,
they went straight into the
production line. That wouldn't be
able to happen if you had on customs
checks, which is a risk of a heart
Nobody has been able to say
categorically that any trade done if
there is a deal will be replaced in
any short amount of time by trade
deals with these other countries,
even if we took the tariffs away.
Rachel and her fellow MPs will have
the power to abolish all tariffs on
incoming goods into the UK on day
one when we leave.
of trade would that resulting?
would immediately result in a big
boost to the incomes of people in
the UK, said that is a good start.
Then you can negotiate with other
countries for free trade agreements
What we will not be
able to do is get rid of tariffs
that we are exporting around the
world. For British farmers and
British manufacturing companies,
whether it is pharmaceuticals or
automated, we cannot get rid of the
tariffs other countries charge. The
risk is that it does have a boost
for consumers in the short term, but
it will put British people out of
work if they cannot do that.
understand the risk, the maths is
that we import more than we export.
Consumers will gain more in income
than will be lost in sales to the
We need to be selling more
things overseas to grow our
production. If we grow down your
road, we will be putting more farms
and farm labourers out of work and
more factories out of work.
not true. It might be good for your
business, but it will not be good
for the other ordinary businesses.
The ordinary British worker will be
Not if they don't have a
That is a scare story frankly.
If you look at Australian and New
Zealand farmers they have done
extremely well on world markets when
tariffs were abolished.
There is not
a single automotive company that
would come into our Select Committee
and say there was any reason why it
would be good for them, not a single
Let's move on to immigration
because you have said EU nationals
are important to your business. How
worried are you there has been
slowing down in the rate of growth
in the number of workers coming to
the UK from the EU?
Exactly what I
said about EU workers, they are
excellent workers, and I think the
country benefits, like Australia,
New Zealand and Singapore from a
gradually rising population, with
relatively low birth rates. I would
like to see the population to
continue to rise and that is the
main benefit. I would like to see
immigration controlled by the UK
Government, not run by the unelected
oligarchs in Brussels. That is what
has wound up the population not only
in this country, but around the
Would you be happy with the
idea of staying in the single
The single market is an
name. I am in favour of immigration,
but I wanted controlled by the
government and not the EU and at the
moment it is controlled by people we
have not elected. Yeast immigration,
but at a controlled level.
Controlled by Rachel. Flattery will
get you everywhere. If you were in
control, would it not be better that
you were held accountable for
immigration, whether you kept levels
relatively high, maybe not as high
at the moment, and you could be
blamed for it rather than successive
British governments blaming the EU?
People want to see tighter controls
on immigration and British
Parliament and British politicians
making those decisions about who can
come in and out of the country. We
have to respect and understand those
legitimate concerns people have
about the levels of immigration in
recent years. I do think we need to
see change after the referendum, but
let's not throw the baby out with
the bath water. Let's ensure we have
frictionless, tariff free trade, but
we also need to control immigration.
A level of agreement there. Thank
And for more reporting
and analysis of Brexit,
check out the BBC News
website, that's bbc.co.uk/brexit.
Research published today
suggests council tax rises
are on the way across England,
predicting they will be
the largest hikes for 14 years.
The Chartered Institute
for Public Finance and Accountancy
has asked all local authorities
to provide figures
for council tax rises.
The average property in England
will be paying more than £80 a year
extra in council tax when bills
arrive in April,
according to this survey.
There will be some big
with band D properties
in the North East due to pay
an average of almost £1,800 a year.
That's more than £250
higher than the bill
for taxpayers in outer London,
according to the survey.
Here's the chief executive of Cipfa,
as it's known, Rob Whiteman.
So, the headline figure
from our research is that council
tax is going up by an average
of 5.1% across the country.
That's about £80 per year for most
households and that is the biggest
increase we've seen for 14 years.
Two of the biggest pressures that
councils face are adult social care
and children's services.
Obviously, the number of people
approaching old age has gone up
and therefore there is more
elderly care needed.
And for children's services,
there is a mixture of more children
with learning disability requirement
packages but at the same time,
the role to protect children
who are vulnerable has also seen
quite an increase, so in both those
areas councils are generally
spending more money
than they have resources to do.
I think I said a hike in £1800 a
year. When we are talking about
regional discrepancies, I meant an
average of £1800 a year. We asked if
a minister was available to talk
about this, but no one was.
about this, but no one was.
I'm joined now from Nottingham
by Alison Michalska, who runs
the adult and children's services
in that city and is also the current
president of the Association
of Directors of Children's Services.
And with me here in the studio
is the Conservative MP
Kevin Hollinrake, who sits
on the local government
Welcome to both of you. Allison, the
Local Government Association says
that by 2020 councils will have lost
more than 85% of central government
funding compared with levels in
2013. You work on the front line
providing children's services in
Nottingham. How have the cuts
They have had a
devastating impact up and down the
country. In Nottingham as the
government roles are reducing, and
although council tax is going up in
the poorest areas, that raises the
least money. Nottingham city is very
deprived. We have estimated around
60% of our families living in
poverty. A council tax rise raises
the least money in places like
Nottingham. Up and down the country
there is a huge increase in demand.
As money is going down from
government to provide services, the
demand is going up. The increase
across the country we have seen in
the last ten years is just shy of an
80% increase in the number of
children who are subject to a child
protection plan. They are the most
expensive services. While councils
like Nottingham are having to do
around the country is to introduce
early help and early intervention
services and that means we are not
able to help children and families
early and then they reach crisis and
that is when they need to be
intervening with our most expensive
levels of service.
You said the
council tax rises will help a bit,
but you have said it raises the
least money in some of the most
deprived areas. What do you want to
see the government doing?
released a policy paper at the end
of last year and what we want the
government to do is to recognise
that if it wants to be a country
that works for all people it first
and foremost needs to be a country
that works for all children. We need
a sustainable funding settlement for
children's services. By 2020 the gap
in funding for children's services
will be at least £2 billion. Without
that sustainable funding we will be
unable to provide the very effective
early help and early intervention
services, the family support, they
are the services whereby local
authorities up and down the country
are helping families to care for
themselves and their own children.
Without that what we need to do is
to respond more urgently and with
more expensive intervention
As you have laid out
extremely clearly and powerfully the
local challenges that local
government needs to do, what are you
going to do about it?
I agree with a
lot. The Secretary of State did give
a four-year funding settlement in
2016. It was a real terms increase
between 2018 and 2020. Let's put it
in context in terms of our national
finances. We are spending too much,
£40 billion every year more than we
get in taxes. It was 150 billion
when we took over the economy in
2010. At the same time we have
halved unemployment and we are one
of the fastest-growing economies in
So why are there these
Every local authority has
to look at its own costs and has to
become more efficient. Nottingham
itself, £27 million every year in
terms of efficiencies. A lot of
councils have become efficient.
have fulfilled what the government
has said to them, they have cut
services and spending to the bone.
There is no more and we have had a
succession of local government
representatives saying that,
Conservative, Labour, Liberal
Democrat, right across the board.
What are you going to do? It is not
enough to say look at the context,
we are spending X amount of money
when there are far more elderly
people and far more children with
complex needs. To say you will
continue cutting does not answer the
I did not say that.
Nottingham will see a real terms
increase in funding over the next
two years. Beyond that there are two
things we need to do. The biggest
pressure is that 34% of spending is
adult social care and we need a
long-term sustainable model for
funding that care. We need an extra
£9.4 billion and in this spending
round we need to put more money in
in the future. I personally think we
need to look at a social solution.
The other thing we need to do, and
your clip illustrated it perfectly,
is the funding of local authorities
is totally unfair. Nottingham gets
around £800 per person per year in
terms funding, whereas parts of
London, wealthy parts of London, are
getting £1100 a year to spend. That
is not right. The government is
committed to put in a new fairer
funding reviewed to make sure all
areas get a fair amount of. Less.
Absolutely not, it will be more, but
it will be fairer, so Alison can do
a good job that she does with the
right amount of resources.
like what you have heard?
funding that would benefit
Nottingham city, of course I like
that. But we have to be clear, it is
some of our most efficient and most
wealthy councils that are also
struggling. It is the lack of a
comprehensive tackling child poverty
strategy that is getting in the way
and it would be great if the
government could address that. Yes,
money is going up in some areas but
it is not going up anywhere near as
the level of demand and need that we
have and that is across adult and
listened to the debate. Do you think
it is their council tax goes up,
that the government is trying to get
local government to make those
decisions to distance themselves
some would argue from painful
decisions being made at a local
level? Do you think it is my
constituents pay perhaps up to 5%
There is a good case for
people like me paying more perhaps,
but I am not sure how fair council
is. What really sticks in my crore
listening to what Alison said is the
fact that we are talking about
paying 10 billion a year, and we are
paying that now to the EU. Alison
only needs 2 billion. People say
what we paid to the EU is not much,
but it should be allocated to this
A Brexit point for you.
What do you say to that? It will be
interesting to see whether there is
any damage to the economy or whether
that money can be spent in other
areas and it has been promised to a
number of different areas already.
We have to look at local government
finance in isolation. It has to be
that everybody gets a fair amount
for the needs of that local area and
we have a sustainable model of care.
Should there be a re-evaluation of
council tax properties?
That is not
the problem, it is about
distributing the money more fairly.
the money more fairly.
After months without a government
following last year's
inconclusive general election,
which saw gains for
the anti-immigrant AfD,
Germany's two largest parties have
finally done a deal to form
a so-called grand coalition.
Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats
have had to make significant
concessions to Martin Schulz's
Social Democrats to make
the deal - which the SPD
had originally ruled
out - happen.
But the coalition deal
is not yet quite sealed.
The final hurdle is a vote
of the SPD's entire membership,
which concludes on Sunday.
Joining us from the German city
of Cologne via the internet
is a British SPD,
and former Momentum,
activist, Steve Hudson,
who is leading the campaign
to get his comrades to say
"nein" to the deal.
And in the studio here
is the academic and SPD supporter
Dr Isabelle Hertner.
Welcome to both of you. Steve, what
is wrong with another grand
coalition? The SPD will be in
Every grand coalition up
to now we have seen the SPD support
The AFD is the
Alternative fur Deutschland, the
Yes, they have an
anti-refugee agenda. They point to
the SPD and say, you are all the
same, and we see SPD support
crumbling. And we go through another
grand coalition there is a real
danger the SPD will cease to exist.
Let's put that to Isabel Hertner. It
hasn't worked well for the SPD. They
have suffered and it has been a long
time since the SPD was the largest
party so what is the point?
understand what you are saying and
it has been difficult for the SPD to
make their presence felt in
coalition. But I would still say
that they are more determined now
than ever, that when the coalition
contract was written they made some
important concessions and if they do
enter the grand coalition they are
actually holding some very important
ministries, like finance, work and
social affairs, so they can actually
make their mark.
Steve, isn't that
the point? Angela Merkel is in a
much weaker position on the SPD will
have a much more dominant role this
Both major parties are
suffered massively at the last
election and both are much much
weaker. I don't agree that the SPD
had a strong hand and what is the
point in having the finance ministry
if you are not allowed to raise
taxes for the rich, not allowed to
incur any public debt, you are still
bound to a programme of public
austerity which is massively
punishing working people in Germany.
Isn't that why they are losing
support, because they haven't been
able to put forward this agenda
Steve has outlined and are seen as
betraying their roots?
when you look at the coalition
contract, they are suggesting that
more money needs to be spent on the
eurozone, more solidarity for
southern European countries, against
youth unemployment and so on. So
they are actually trying to pull
their weight and if you think about
the bigger picture and the eurozone
as a whole, then I do think there is
a good case for having the SPD in a
result will be on Sunday and most
people at this point think that most
SPD members will back the coalition
so isn't this all just a bit too
We will have to see. We have
seen a really extraordinary
campaign. The party conference
passed a motion guaranteeing a free
and fair debate and we've had
exactly the opposite and ended up
with the SPD leadership sending
along with the postal ballot a
3-page letter on why you should vote
yes. Online, younger members, new
members joining the party, are
streets ahead but the average age of
the SPD member is 60 and many of the
SPD we simply cannot reach online
but we have been able to reach with
the others. We don't know how it
will turn out but we are very, very
worried - how is a genuine renewal
of the SPD possible? How are we
going to turn around in former
years' time if you have been part of
another coalition with conservatives
and say, now we are different and
have something better to offer?
would you say?
I would say yes, it
is true and I do see your point but
in the grand scheme of things,
triggering new elections, because
that could happen, and then you
would see the SPD vanishing even
more and the far-right AFD would
come second. That's what the polls
show us. I don't know if that is a
very palatable solution for the
future of Germany and also for the
eurozone, or the European Union as a
whole. I see this very much as a
Steve, it is a
risky strategy, isn't it? New
elections could see more AFD
representatives in the Bundestag,
which you would be against, and the
SPD could be wiped out and you would
have gambled on your so-called
radical agenda for the SPD and
retaining their principles by not
being part of this grand coalition
only to be wiped out.
We saw that a
year ago the SPD was on twice its
Yes, but for how
But why was it on that?
the first question, how long, and
then tell us why.
For a couple of
weeks. But Martin Schulz, who was
then the leader of the party,
rejected that all full programme of
welfare cuts which was the SPD
legacy from the last SPD led
government and this whole third way
politics of publishing the pool for
being poor, and when he did that the
SPD's ratings went through the roof.
That is the key. If we need to go
through a new election that is where
we've got to turn round and say to
our electorate, we are there for you
again, not the capital and the
Isabelle Hertner, do
you think that would happen? If
there was a radical left-wing agenda
and the sort of promises being made
by Steve... You could argue that
that worked here for Jeremy Corbyn
and support for the Labour Party
increased at the last general
election, the SPD could benefit?
am not so sure because those people
who voted AFD, I don't think they
are going to switch to the SPD back
any time soon. A lot of them are
disgruntled Conservatives and those
people who didn't vote in the past,
so I don't see them coming in big
numbers to join the SPD. I do not
think that's going to happen and
also, there was a party on the left
of the SPD, which could mop up
further activists further to the
left and voters anywhere.
think there is a future for the
social Democratic left? You have
written a book about the British
Labour Party, the French Socialists
and the German SPD that we'd been
talking about but if you have got
the left wing party in Germany, is
there really room politically for
the SDP now?
I think the SPD has to
find its place again, and it is
squeezed. On the left is left party,
on the centre-right is the CDU,
which is moved to the left, so the
SPD's for manoeuvre is quite
limited. But I think it has a strong
Isn't that the point, Steve?
If you are a real left winger, why
don't you vote for the Greens or
The Greens have
become another middle-class party.
Die Linke have been a Communist
Party and the many people are
unelectable on those grounds. The
SPD is like a football team. You
don't change your party. What has
happened as most of those people who
were SPD voters, a lot of them have
just given up voting altogether so I
don't think we will get all the AFD
voters coming straight back to the
SPD but rather that millions of
people who have given up because
they've been abandoned by the
system, told the system was rigged
against them, some have gone to the
AFD but most have given up voting.
What we saw with Labour in the last
election was all those millions of
people coming back and that's what I
want for the SPD.
All right, Steve
Hudson and Isabelle Hertner, thank
you very much. We will find out the
result very soon.
Now, avid viewers of
the Daily Politics quiz
will recall us asking this week
which Winston Churchill
tipple is set to return
in pint-sized form after Brexit.
The answer of course was champagne -
with the war-time leader said
to enjoy "an imperial pint"
of the stuff, because half
a bottle was "insufficient
to tease my brains".
I'm sure that is the same with
Well, we couldn't have a publican -
Tim Martin - on as our guest
of the day without asking
whether Brexit will lead
to a revival of pints of bubbly.
But let's first speak to Hubert de
Billy from Pol Roger in France,
whose champagne Churchill was said
to be partial to.
Welcome to the programme. Your
family actually knew Churchill. What
exactly did he like so much about
pint sized champagne?
He loves it
because he was drinking it in
couples and he used to say that when
he was drinking a bottle, Clementine
was not happy and when he was
drinking a half bottle, he was not
So this was the absolute
perfect compromise, to have
something in between. How many
glasses do you get out of a pint
A pint is exactly 56.8
centimetres, to be precise so
roughly you can have four glasses,
breakfast, clearly! Is that a pint
sized bottle you have got next to
you on that table?
Yes, that is the
imperial pint, it is what he used to
drink during the war.
And pints of
champagne - were they popular before
Brussels band of the size in 1973?
Er Whipp don't forget... Yes, it was
popular before the war because after
the war a lot of business has been
through the glass, champagne through
the glass, which was something new
and it was true that the pint was
popular before the war and with the
business of champagne by the glass,
it has been decreasing slowly but
surely and champagne people, when
they create it, they will ask for
the imperial pint, plus the fact
that it is true that we prefer to
count in the unit of bottles so with
a bottle, among them bottles, a half
bottle, a Jeroboam is four bottles.
The imperial pint was a strange
size, I will say, in the French way
Used stick to that! Tim, do
you fancy pint sized bottles of
I love the idea. How much
you have to admire Churchill? Not
only was he a Great War leader and a
great writer and journalist but he
actually got that much a day. He
also dictated to his secretary while
he was in the bath and so I wouldn't
fancy trying that in the modern era.
No, and I doubt that you should
suggest it any more on that basis!
Don't forget that at the same time,
Churchill used to say that the
Magnum was the best size for two
gentleman, providing that one of
them was not drinking!
What about the taste? It is all
about the taste. Do those bottles
enhance the taste of drinking
champagne or not?
No. The best size
is a Magnum.
Well, you would say
I will give you an example. It
is like a hotel room. If you take a
one star or a 4-star you have a bed
inside and you will sleep but not in
the same comforts. And the
percentage of air compared to widen
the Magnum is the best size.
convinced. I will only drink
magnums! Do you agree it has to be
Magnum is all the way? Is this just
Yes, but we like
gimmicks, interest, talk, it's Boks
Ofcom the solution and the English
like pint so let's drink champagne.
We can all dream to that! You
enjoyed that pint sized bottle,
Hubert. Thank you for joining us. As
we have been on air, Donald Tusk is
arrived at Downing Street for talks
with the Prime Minister Theresa May.
He had plenty of journalists
shouting questions at him as he went
in. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.
Some advance notice of what the
Prime Minister will be outlining in
her speech tomorrow and no doubt
some strong views on the EU's draft
document yesterday. I wonder if they
will be serving champagne at lunch,
pint-size Magnum. We will have a
special programme tomorrow from
1:30pm until 2:30pm but I am afraid
that is all we've got time for four
today. I am rather hungry for
something! Thank you for being our
guest today. Andrew has a special
This Week later with Liz Kendall,
Andrew Walmsley, did Brian bless and