21/11/2011 Newsnight


In-depth news analysis. David Cameron vows to restart the housing market. Jeremy Paxman finds out what this means, particularly for first-time buyers.

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At the whiff of tear ga, the politicians supposedly ruling Egypt


decided to quit their post, after three days of protests in Cairo,


the cabinet there resigned en masse tonight. The army, now has full


charge of the state. Our reporter has been in Cairo throughout the


protests. The last teargas attack on this street was just a few


minutes ago, and everyone is expecting more. The fate of the


revolution these people now feel hangs in the balance. Popular


dissent drove Mubarak from power, can it do the same with the current


military regime. Once building house was a boast of Government.


Built in 12 weeks for less than �1,000 each. These houses seem one


answer to the housing problem. taxpayer backing for mortgages


bring a new housing boom. We will ask the Housing Minister if he's


the palest shadow of Harold Macmillan, and ask the boss of the


CBI if it will help. Cometh the hour, cometh the mystery


writer, we talk to Umberto Eco about history and Europe. Does he


fancy a new role in the new Italian technocy. If I was invited by Mr


Monti, probably, yes. A few hours ago the cabinet in


Egypt said they were resigning, their bosses in the army have


tkwrot say if they will accept that resignation. The Arab Spring has


lurched from apparent freedom to bloody crackdown. Mortuary


officials talk of 33 people killed since Saturday and 1800 wounded.


Our reporter has spent the last several days in Tahrir Square in


Cairo. What is going on? As you say, Tahrir Square now full of tense of


thousands of people. More have been -- tens of thousands of people.


More have been arriving this evening. We have heard the


announcement that the Government has tendered its resignation. We


don't know if Egypt's rule of the Supreme Council of the armed fores


are accepting that or not. The real dilemma now for the Armed Forces is


what alternative cabinet will they possibly find. The anger on the


streets is so intense that I think few other people, technocrats,


politicians or civilians will be prepared to take on that job,


unless they are given considerably more power. Because the current


cabinet, the resigning cabinet really has been a puppet of the


Armed Forces, that is why it has been so discredited. So, on the one


hand, the army doesn't want to give civilians more power, it is afraid


that will damage its interests. On the other hand, it desperately


needs civilians as a figleaf, otherwise anything bad that happens


is blamed on the army itself. there a Government tonight? Well,


we just don't know. And the army has itself in this terrible dilemma,


because it isth has allowed or ordered the violence, and it is --


because it has allowed or ordered the violence. It is the latest in


the whole ineptitude that the supreme commander of the Armed


Forces has shown since the beginning of things, that Egypt has


lurched from crisis to crisis. At the beginning of the month, most of


the political forces were principally concentrating on


campaigning for the parliamentary elections, which are still due next


week. Then suddenly the whole political agenda has been thrown


off kilter by the announcement, that didn't come now, by the army


that it was seeking super- constitutional privilege that is


would put it above the oversight of civilians. That has put us to the


position where Tahrir Square is full of angry people, angry at all


the latest bloodshed. How have we got to this point? Well, it really


is just a whole series, I think, of mistakes of this kind, some


political forces were very keen to see the elections going ahead,


particularly the Muslim brotherhood, because they think they are going


to win. But the whole question has been sub sumeed by how long this


transition will last. Presidential elections might not come until 2013,


and people aren't satisfied, as the death rate increases, people's


demands are going up, people are now worried simply that the army


intends never to leave the stage. We have been here before, for the


last three days teargas has billowed over Tahrir Square, rocks


and petrol bombs from protestors. It is the same fury, in the same


place, as during Egypt's revolution ten months ago. The revolution that


overthrew a dictator, and was supposed to hand power to the


people. Ten months on, the people don't control Egypt. Now they even


had to battle again to control this one sqare.


The last teargas attack on this sthreet was a few minutes ago, --


this street, was a few minutes ago, and more is expected. The fate of


the people hangs in the balance. If they were worried about the


attentions of the authorities, they are even more worried now. The


violence shown by the security forces proves these people believe


the determination of Egypt's military rulers to hang on to power.


Exactly what the protestors came back into the sqare to contest.


TRANSLATION: The Interior Ministry is striking at the people. Are we


not the people of Egypt, are they different to us. Are we not one


people. We don't understand what is happening. TRANSLATION: We want to


thank the military council for protected the revolution, now it


needs to hand over to a civilian transitional council, to protect


the Egyptian people. But tending the wounded has had to take


precedence over politics this weekend. It has been chaos in the


makeshift hospital behind the sqare. It is an appalling atmosphere in


which to be planning, in just one week's time, the first round of


what are meant to be Egypt's freeist elections in years. The


elections with a bewildering array of candidates that should start the


transition to democratic country. On Friday, Tahrir Square filled to


its very edges with demonstrators angry at constitutional amendments


proposed by the army, that could allow it to override the decisions


of an elected civilian Government. Marshall Tantawi, the head of the


army, who has effectively ruled Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was Joan


thrown is the man they want out, now -- overthrown, is the man they


want out now. TRANSLATION: The army don't want to hand over their power


now, it is going on and on. wasn't meant to be like this, ten


months on, still shouting against a system they thought they had


overthrown. Tahrir Square became an icon of unity and hope, all around


the world. But its power has proved to be elusive. Predominating at the


rally, men with baerdz. Islamists aren't the only force -- beards,


Islamists aren't the only force that want the army gone, but they


have the most to lose if democracy is restricted, they know they will


do best in the elections. In this poor district of southern Cairo,


the Muslim Brothers have been campaigning hard. Although they are


well known for their social work, they have a massive lead on those


who tweeted and blogged the revolution into action. These are


the candidates of the new revolutionary parties can't dream


of this, the kind of relationships that come not from the revolution,


but years of working in local communities. It appeared earlier


this year that the Brotherhood and the army might form a tactical


alliance against the liberals. No more, Islamists and liberals are


united in wanting the old regime dismantled, root and branch, that


means excluding civilian servants of the dictatorship, former members


of the President's deposed party. We speak about the people who


corrupted the political life of Egypt for 30 years. Some call them


the tailors of laws. They tailor the law to fit with the


requirements of the regime. Those people are well known. Those people


should be displaced away from our way to democracy. They should be


removed. They should be removed. And here they are. Those remnants


of the old regime. Portrayed as weeping skulls. They are trying to


avoid being caught, in this internet game, devised by another


candidate in the election, the independent liberal, Ahmed Naguib.


We are reaching out to young people, we know how to get them intrigued


and deliver a concept through our very simple game. We really need to


be on our guard and our watch for those Mubarak cronies and thugs all


the time. Those are the ones who want to bring the nation down. For


this dream not to be delivered. This evening, thousands more have


congregated on Tahrir Square. After the army appeared to make a


concession on those remnants of the dictatorship. It issued a decree to


bar those who worked to corrupt political life from further


political activity. But that wasn't the ban on former ruler party


members standing in the elections that most protestors here want. The


revolutionary, Ahmed Naguib, taking a break from the sit-in, Downing


Street, after the latest violence, that the army is committed to


democracy of any kind. This is happening because the military


wants to hang on to power. If there is a democratically elected


parliament it will represent the people, while the military council


is not elected by anyone, and has absolutely no legitimacy, when


there is a democratically elected Government. The army has told the


nation the parliamentary elections will take place as planned. But at


least 22 have died in violence since Saturday. Some way more. And


as in January and February, people's demands are rising with


the death toll. Many now say the military should relinquish power


immediately. On Tahrir Square, they have learned this year, that any


concession must be wrested from an obs nant state by massive popular


pressure. That is why so many are staying on the sqare tonight. We


are ajoined from Cairo by the humam rights activist, who has come from


Tahrir Square. What is happening in the sqare this evening. What's


happening this evening? Husbands of thousands are on Tahrir Square now.


It is only natural that after three days -- hundreds of thousands are


on Tahrir Square now. It is only natural after three days of killing


and maiming young Egyptians that Egyptians take to the streets again.


What do you want to happen next? Frankly speaking, I can't think


ahead, because over the past three days I have spent most of my time


in morgues, hospitals and ambulances. I have seen so many


casualties, so many violations. I am there to monitor the situation,


but I'm also involved in all the bloodshed. I was at the field


hospital, a makeshift hospital on the sqare last night at around


5.00pm, actually, when the army stormed the sqare, and stormed the


hospital. Army troops came into the hospital harassed the female


doctors, sexually harassed the female doctors, and then started


very violent confrontations with the doctors there, trying to take


out the injured. The doctors stood up and told them you can't take the


injured. There is no way we're going to allow you to do that. As


they storm out they throw in teargas cannisters. This started as


a confrontation between the police and the people, and the army comes


to the rescue of the police, that is in serious need of much reform.


Since January we have been saying that for the past nine months. The


police force has to be reformed. But the army intervenes to support


the police, that has been killing people, and they kill more people.


In my direct circle, amongst my friends, three young men lost their


eyesight. A dentist, an IT specialist, and a journalist. They


were shot in the face. Rubber bullets are not for shooting young


people in their faces. These are outrageous crimes. This is what I'm


concerned about. What happens next? I honestly hope...I Will come to


you in skaebgd on that question -- a second on that question. As the


world watches this, we can't get involved can we? We have to be very


careful. There is a role for signalling to the military very


clearly that the UK, the US, others, are absolutely dead set on seeing


the full transition to democracy. But we have to leave it to those in


Tahrir Square to take the lead on it. There is such a sense of


conspiracy and nationalism, very understandably in recent months in


Egypt, I don't think anyone wants outsiders telling Egyptian what is


to do at this point. Do you think elections can take place under


these circumstances? I doubt they will take place. I mean the


violence that has erupted over the past three days would prevent


elections from happening. The activists on the sqare, the young


revolutionaries on the sqare, the people who started the whole


process back in January aren't interested in elections right now.


A police force in need of reform, a stepping down of Armed Forces and


handing over the Government to a civilian Government. This is what


the people want. This is not about elections. I mean, how could we


possibly have elections during such violence. There is violence in at


least five different Governments of Egypt. If the elections were to be


postponed, they have already been extended in a most extraordinary


fashion, but if the elections don't take place, where does that leave


everybody? I think you have got to get back to a legitimate situation


where people accept that elections, or whatever the vehicle for


carrying the thing forward is legitimate and representative. We


have seen it happen in Tunisia, it is possible to do this, it has


having well carried out elections, producing a majority Government


with popular support. It really is the fact that power continued to


rest in the hands of a military who are commercially very self-


interested in Egypt, have had a long-time status that they were


reluctant to give up. That all has to be challenged. Sadly, things


ended in Tahrir Square, the first time round, before that had


happened. Do you think you were niave in believing that the


military would give up power? were niave when we cheered the


military when they came to Tahrir Square back in January and February.


Now it is not about beg niave. It is about the people and what they -


- about being niave, it is about the people and what they want and


what they have accepted, after recent events. This is not the


first such attack from the military on civilians. Last month they were


responsible for massacre. Yesterday, for the second time, they are


killing civilians. Most political forces in Egypt will not accept a


continuation of military rule. There has to be a handover.


Sooner or collateral. The longer it drags on the more violent it will


become, that is my personal opinion. It is quite possible that the


victors at the end of this will be the Muslim Brotherhood, the


Islamists in general. Is that an outcome that? We have seen in


Tunisia, the Muslim Brotherhood do very well. But a Muslim Brotherhood


committed to democracy, committed to a genuine pluralistic Tunisia


going forward. I think the longer it goes, the more radical the


outcome. There is no doubt about that. I think it is critically


important that everybody outside Egypt, who wishes Egypt well, is


very clear that the democratic will of the country must be respected.


That's the outcome we must arrive at. Thank you both very much indeed.


Need the money to buy a house? Come to the bank of Dave and Nick,


otherwise known as the ticks pair. Under plans announced -- known as


the taxpayer. Under plans announced today spending on house building


will stimulate the economy generally. A week tomorrow the


Chancellor will tell us how bad things really are in that seasonal


lament, the autumn statement! It used to be that the bricks


virtually flew up, houses sold before the roof was on, happenyo


days for the builders and happy -- happy days for the builders and the


first time buyers able to live the dream on nothing down. Oh how times


have changed. It is back to 20s for the level of peacetime house


building, back to the 1970s for the first time buyers. And one of the


few areas experiencing a housing boom is the local authority waiting


list. You can always spot a politician on a building site, they


are the ones who want to do without the high-vis jacket and the hard


hat. The policy they want to be high-visibility, and insist it


couldn't be more hard headed. The only visible policy difference on


view today between the coalition partners was whether to tuck or not


to tuck. There are so many people in overcrowded homes and on housing


waiting lists, we want to get Britain building. Why housing


building has been so low is because of the credit crunch, the banks


don't want to lend and the builders can't build and the housing market


is stuck, and we are determined to unstick the market to get the


market moving. What we are doing today is a whole set of things to


kick start the housing market. we got today was a lot of neatly


named funds, for a start there is �400 million for the Get Britain


Building, that is designed to get finance to builders to finish off


stalled projects. There is �30 million for the custom homes


problem, that is to help self- builders get finance. There is �500


million for the Growing Places Fund, to improve infrastructure like


roads to unlock the development of particular areas. Then there is the


accelerator release of public sector land, �100 million to bring


back empty prorpbts into use. And most controversially, a mortgage


indemnity scheme. What this means is the Government will underwrite


first time buyer mortgages for new build properties. Meaning the


buyers won't need to come up with anything like as big a deposit. As


you can imagine the house builders rather like the plan. Not least


since it was their idea. If the lenders won't lend. Meaning the


buyers can't afford to pay the prices, there is a solution in


market. It may not be one you or your members particularly relish,


it is that the price of those properties has to come down?


don't think that will solve the problem, it is the deposit gap.


Let's take extreme example, let's sae say the average house price is


�200,000 and there is a 25% deposit, the vast majority of people can't


afford �50,000, they can't afford �25,000 even if the price halves.


All the element of the initiative provides support for house builders


rar than buyers. The market at the moment looks -- rather than buyers.


The market looks like it will faurblgs you have zero interest


rates, at some point they will go up, the earnings to house price


ratio is out of whack. This is not a good time for a first time buyer


to step into the market. That time will come. The best thing a first


time buyer can do at the moment is not to be a first time buyer but to


be a renter and wait. If you were mildly cynical you might say it has


nothing to do with the first time buyer and everything to do with the


cashflow problems for builders. Government involvement in the


housing market doesn't have the best record, the US Government


sponsored funds Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac went bust, US tax-


payers still don't know how big the bill there will be. In this country,


even the governor of the Bank of England, has previously warned


against Government underwriting mortgage loans. Why should the tags


pair take on the risk of borrowing from individual borrowers, some of


who are risky, it is the lenders who should take the risk, and


assess the risk on lending. We saw in 2007 not enough attention was


paid to monitor the risk of the lending. We don't want to tell


lenders that it doesn't matter if they monitor the riskiness, the


Government will guarantee it. problem we have now has to be


addressed. There are deep-seated difficulty, of that there is no


doubt. But the Government's mismanagement of the economy, and


housing policies, have made the situation far, far worse. The


Government inherited from Labour, a growing economy, and on housing,


there were two million homes built under Labour, half a million of


them were affordable. Having dewe willied, the PM and his


deputy med -- met some happy buyers. It is hoped these measures would


get the housing market moving and stimulate much-needed growth. There


is so much uncertainty around what sort of housing market or what sort


of economy we will have when the next generation is looking to put


down roots. That is anybody's guess. Do you recognise this, high levels


of public and private debt are proving a drag on growth,


undermining the case for adding to the national burden of debt with


even more borrowing. You know who that was, of course, that was the


Prime Minister today, your leader. Why do you propose to increase the


burden of debt? No-one is saying people shouldn't take on mortgages


to get a home. You and I presumably have one. It is thought we have far


too much private debt as well as public debt? You and I presumably


have had mortgages, I still have one. We have the ability to get on


to the housing ladder, this current generation is completely locked out


of the housing market. You are in favour of increasing private debt?


Nobody is saying nobody should not take on mortgage, the Prime


Minister was not saying that, clearly. Do you think house prices


are too high? I think house price stability is the key. Do I think it


is too expensive, definitely. would like housing to become


cheaper? I think the house price stability would make housing more


affordable, it should be. If you go back only 10-15 years, houses would


have been three times the salary, now they are seven or eight times


the salary, that is a problem. do think the house of pricing is


too high? I have been clear is not you need for it to do is to


collapse back to three times in quick order, what you need is, you


need to have a stable housing market, which could still go up in


price with inflation, but not as much as average earnings over a


long period of time. That would be rational housing market, where


people can afford to get on the housing ladder. If house prices


drop to the point where they are more affordable and bear a better


relationship to income, as used to be. People will find themselves


overextended, won't they? I don't think the two things are


incompatible. The fact that people in this generation have been unable


to get in the housing market. The figure of 37 years old is often


quoted. 37 years old being the age which? You can get a home, if you


don't have the support of the bank of mum and dad. As the Housing


Minister and as a Government, we have spoonsability to today's


generation, whilst laifg a long- term and -- responsibility to


today's generation whilst having a long-term plan. You have a


responsibility to get people into debt? Any mortgage is getting


people into debt. You want to help them? I think it is perfectly


reasonable if somebody is a good bet for a mortgage for them to be


able to access that mortgage at a reasonable rate. Particularly given


we have record low rates. You don't agree with Mervyn King do you?


said that in 2008, right at the beginning of all of this. You know


he has changed his mind since then? I don't think he would have thought


that in 2011 we would be living in a world with very little growth.


Not just here but worldwide, and actually, you know, nothing much


happening in the housing market. I don't think it is right to walk


away, I don't think it is right to ignore the potential for economic


growth that building more homes brings. You think he has changed


his mind? I think times have moved on. He said unambiguously it is no


business of Government to get involved in this sort of lending?


Let me put it to to you another way. If the Government were only


proposing this measure in the housing strategy today, and we were


going to have indemties for mortgages, I think there are


another 136 measures, many dealing with the supply side, building more


homes. If you can build more homes, as well as providing the confidence


to get mortgages that people can afford. You put yourself in a


better position, which by the way, create jobs and provide a better


economy. The target was 120,000 homes last year, what do you want


to go to? Any reasonable estimate says we need to be building


probably twice as many homes in this country, north to satisfy the


demand out there. You think you will be able to get it up to the


200,000 there? As outlined there, there is an awful lot in there. For


the first time ever we marry together the principle that it


can't just be about building more homes, the builders aren't building,


lenders aren't lending and buyers can't buy because there is a bigger


problem than just inability to put houses up right now. You have


decided to go for plan B? No, this is plan for growth. Which is what


we have always said we wanted to do. It is a good run up to the autumn


spending statement. You always wanted to spend public money?


are parts to spend public money, not outside the spending envelope


we have set out and we know about for the parliament. This is all


within that spending. There is another element here, that is to


provide confidence to the market place. This is this mortgage


indemnity scheme, it is not about spending vast sums of money, it is


about guarnteeing, because Government can, as a backstop for


mortgages. One final point, do you think you might have done more to


address the perceived housing shortage, had you not cut the


budget for social housing in the way you have? Just to be clear, we


are going to end up building more affordable house anything this next


four years. Social housing? Social and affording -- affordable houses,


subsidised rental housing, we will build more of that. A lot less than


you were planning to under the old plans? No, we have introduced


affordable rent, we are building more homes by subs sizing it


through a different way -- subsidising it in a different way.


We will build a lot more affordable housing, I think it is a good thing.


I think the whole principle of a housing strategy is to make sure we


are doing everything possible, not just one thing, not just affordable


homes, but homes for people at every level of society.


With us now is John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, the


former Labour Treasury minister, Kitty Ussher is also here, and the


editor of City AM Allister Heath. Do you think it is a good idea,


Allister Heath? No I don't. There is a very good reason why banks


aren't lending up to 125% as they did at the height of the madness,


they know they can't do that. If you do that run into trouble. There


is two things happening here. The economy is grinding to a halt. A


lot of people are starting to lose their jobs. That means some people


won't beable to afford their -- won't be able to afford their


mortgages. House prices are falling f homes are repossessed, banks


could lose money, that is why they are not lending. It is an


irresponsible use of public money? It is a dangerous use of public


money. I agree house building needs to be boosted, not enough homes are


built in the UK. I don't think the Government and the taxpayer should


underpin mortgages. Public money for private enterprise, good news


for you? I'm not looking for public money. I'm looking for Government


to use its power in the market to ginger up that market, and make it


more effective. The difference here is the judgment as to whether we're


in the 2008 position, where King was rightly concerned about wide


scale default, or whether we are at an actual all time low in house


building and buying, where there are people out there able to buy


houses but we need to get the house market moving. This is targeting


intervention, one the CBI has been calling for, I don't think it will


cost the Government much money. think that King has changed his


mind? I'm not saying that, but the CBI is clear that the priority is


growth. If we are going to get growth we have to be bold with some


policies. It is not plan B, it is plan A with a plus on the end,


which says let's get the housing market moving, without spending


money that the Government dose doesn't have. Kitty Ussher, this is


the sort of thing you believe in, this sort of initiative? I don't


believe it is a good idea to encourage people in the early


stages of their career to take on huge amount of debt. Spending


public money, it is good for you? It is going to boost aggregate


demand, but there are far more effective, and dare I say it,


intelligent ways of doing it. Just on the Mervyn King point, if he did


agree with the Government, he's now shortly going to be in charge of


the Financial Policy Committee that regulates the financial centre of


London, so he will certainly be able to allow the banks to do it


themselves it's not. One must presume he doesn't agree with this.


We need �200 billion of investment to green our infrastructure. The


Government through regulation. do what? Green our infrastructure.


What's that? Green energy suppliers, this is the Government's own


figures. And they can use regulatory policy that doesn't cost


them anything to get the private sector to invest in that. That


would boost the economy far more than �400 million here. When you


look at this, and the talk of credit easing, this is making money


available n this case to business, which we will presumably hear more


about next week in the statement. There is a change going on, isn't


there? There is a change, but I don't think it is an abandonment of


a deficit reduction strategy, the CBI wouldn't support that, and I


don't think it is the Government spending money it hasn't got. I


think whether it is energy, whether it is roads, whether it is rail,


whether it is housing, whether it is digital broadband, Government


can do things that will get the private sector to invest that


doesn't mean Governments abandon its strategy. There is lots of


money on private sector balance sheets. House builders are amongst


them, that can be put to the public good, if the planning permissions


are there, and the market regulation is there. If Government


does what it has done in this case with the indemnity scheme, bringing


people together looking for a new commercial solution and using the


role of Government to find that solution. That must be the right


thing to do. What I see instead, I see the Government starting to


provide credit and intervening more and more and more, I see the


Government continuing to privatise gains by socialised losses. If you


buy a house and your house price goes up you make money, if you it


goes down and the Government picks up the bill, people who can't


afford their houses pick up the bill. I don't like I'm seeing, I


thought it was about market reform and getting people out of this


stuff. I see neo-Brownite policy, constant interference, meddling.


think that will sound very odd. woke him up to join in? I didn't


know I wasn't supposed to join in. Your office said you wouldn't?


had no idea I wasn't supposed to be. Why do we need 106 policies and


meddling, why not just liberalise it. It sounds like the sort of


thing a at this tank, an intelligent person like you might


come out with. Let's talk about the people who are 30, 35, 40, older


and would like a foot on the housing ladder. I don't think it is


right just to turn around and abandon those people. Government


doesn't have to be a bystander, Government is actually backing a


scheme which the industry themselves have come up with here.


This is not our scheme it is their skeerpblgswae can put our weight


behind it. By the way, -- scheme, we can put our weight behind it. By


the way it is good lending or bad lending, it doesn't change the


decisions the lenders have to make. What your policy is doing, it is


saying to someone who can get an 80% mortgage that they can get a


95% mortgage. It seems an 80% mortgage is more sensible than a


95%. If the house price falls down a bit, the taxpayer picks up the


bill. If the argument is we don't want to go back to the bad old days


of 125% mortgages, I entirely agree. Nobody thinks this is about to


happen in the next couple of years. We will review the scheme after two


years to see how it is going. The world has moved on a great deal.


But house prices are falling, a lot of people think house prices could


fall 15-20%, if they do that your scheme will have to kick in, and


the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill. It is dangerous time to


start on that. This is not just about first time buyers, we are


keen to help them, anyone buying a new home or a flat would qualify.


Anyone buying a new build. This is new build. That is another issue


with the policy, suddenly the demand for existing houses could


collapse. You are distorting the market and saying people have to


buy that? We know house building is a very important part of domestic


gross product, we know it ememploys people, two people for every single


house that is built. We know that the Government can have an active


role in saising, we're not prepared to standby -- in assisting, we are


not prepared to standby, we want to sais. We think 100,000 people can


benefit from it. People watching who aren't in the fortunate


position of those around the table of having a home, is thinking,


rather than saving �40,000 deposit, I can save �10,000. As long as I'm


a secure bet for the lender I can get on the housing ladder. They are


great intentions, we have learned that great intentions in housing


policy don't work. If it is �10,000, why not cover the whole thing.


Cridland you would probably like to tell the minister how wonderful he


is I would say a thousand business leaders met at the CBI conference


today. When the Prime Minister announced it, there was strong


support in the hall. If we're serious about growth, and these are


extraordinary times, and over the winter, because of the eurozone


crisis growth will get close to stalling in this country. If we're


serious about growth it has to be the absolute priority. We know if


we get the construction industry moving, lots of people will start


spending. It is not irresponsible spending. This is not plan B, it is


not spending any more money than the Government intended to spend


before. These are imaginative solutions that get way from the


idea that there is no hope for the public, or that the only way to do


it is to spend money we don't have. It has taken the year-and-a-half


for the Government to wake up to the need? We have been in


discussions with the Government on all these various forms of


infrastructure for the last six months for novel ways to get growth


going. Earlier in the year, growth was going to be higher before the


eurozone crisis kicked in, the Government didn't need to do as


much as it does to keep the economy going, none of this is about


reducing the deficit more slowly, none of this is about printing


money. It is about Anne tell gent use of the public -- an intelligent


use of the public sector money and the private sector in tandem. It


has the support of British business. It is free money and underwriting


the risk of business, of course it has rating. It is a step to take


hold of the deficit. You stalled growth in this country by a


collapse in consumer confidence, and you are telling people they


should go. We have half per cent interest rates. Now the great


European project, the dream of statesmen across the continent is


as safe tonight as last week, and endangered as it was last week,


after Spain yesterday chose a new Government. It thus became the


fifth member of the euro to dump a leader to save its status. In the


troubled times when politics and economics seem to collide, it is


time to reach for a European, 79- year-old author, Umberto Eco, his


novel the Roses, it sold millions of copies around the world, and --


The Name of the Rose, sold millions maid into a film. He has strong


views about his country's place in Europe. He was an outspoken critic


of Silvio Berlusconi's Government. His new book, the Prague Cemetery,


describes a world of plots, fear and paranoia and the rise of anti-


semitism. Eco, you're the well spring of this book -- Umberto Eco,


the wellspring of this book is anti-semitism, bigotry and forgery.


That climate of suspicion in Europe, do you think it is as great now as


it was? If you are thinking of universal plot paranoia, they are


two different aspects, I would say that racism has lost the violent


forms it had before the Second World War. When you look at Europe


itself, it is only going in one direction, isn't it, what is the


ultimate destination of the European project, do you think?


believe strongly that there is a European identity. Maybe, when you


are in Italy or I'm here, we're don't feel it so strongly, but we


both are in New York, immediately with this thing we have something


in common with respect to Americans. Now the problem with it is linked


not to or ideolgical reasons but economical reasons. I'm not sure


how much the euro can survive. I'm not confident. Do you see at the


end of this process of European co- existence and then co-operation,


and then development of economic European and so on, do you see a


single state at the end of it? Because I think that the nation


states, England, France, were a product of the Middle Ages, more or


less. Today they are less important than before, because it is more


important the ju, milag e -- jumilag e between a city in the


north with Spain with the common interest and connection. I see


rather a sort of archepelg io of situations, not a unique state.


you think the single currency, the euro, which we are now told can


only survive if there is fiscal June, monetary policy European


between the member gates. Do you think that was a mistake? -- member


states. Do you think that was a mistake? This is a precise


economical question. It is not just economical? For me it is not a


mistake. I feel very comfortable, it doesn't mean anything in this


one. You say it is an economical question, it is a political


question? It is an economical and political economy. I'm not in the


position of saying if that was really a mistake, or if it has a


future. What's very interesting for those of us in this country, of


course, is that your country, now has a Government, the cabinet of


which, includes not one democratically elected figure. That


has made necessary because of the euro. It has political consequences.


We find it in this country unimaginable where we have a


Government that is not elected? Kissing er elected by the people, a


lot of Governments were not elected by the people. It is presidential


appointments, it is a different system of Government. We are in


exceptional circumstances. I'm glad you don't have Silvio Berlusconi in


your country, if not you would be obliged to find the same solution!


How could your country put up with Berlusconi? How could Italy put up


with Berlusconi, how could you tolerate Berlusconi? Berlusconi was


a genius in communication. Even his blunders were calculated to reach


his tart, his targets were middleaged people, ladies and


gentlemen, who watched television. And they are enough to make up a


majority. Why does Italy put up with this succession of Governments


of varying degrees of competence, or embarrassment? Italians don't


have a strong sense of the state. That is absolutely true. Would you


join a Government of technocrats if you were invited? That is not my


job. I'm saying if you were invited would you join it? If I were an


expert and I were invited by Mr Monti, probably yes, in order to


serve my country in a democratic way. Since I have the guarantee of


the President of the Republic. Akiko keek thank you.


That is quite -- Umberto Eco, thank you.


That is quite enough for us, you might think so. Before we go, the


death was announced today of Sheila Delaney who, before 20, had written


the gritty drama A Taste of Honey. You are just feeling a bit


depressed, you will be your usual self once you get used to the idea.


What is my usual self, my usual self is a very unusual self, I'm an


extraordinary people, there is only one of me like there is only one of


you. We are unrivaled. We're bloody you. We are unrivaled. We're bloody


marvellous! A murky night, fog forming across


the south-east causing problems in the morning. Patchy rain in the


Midlands, not reaching East Anglia and the south-east. Hopefully the


fog will lift to some extent. To the rear of the weather front


things brightening up. Western parts of Wales will see sun before


it sefplts further east towards the English border probably staying


cloudy. Up across Northern Ireland set to be a lovely day, a chilly


start, with a lot of sunshine throughout the day. A change from


The sunshine not lasting long in the north. Cloudy, windy and at


times wet weather across parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland in


particular. Further south the rain should clear away, and Wednesday


after a potentially frosty start it looks like a bright and crisp


As the government finalises plans for the autumn statement, David Cameron vows to restart the housing market. Jeremy Paxman finds out what this means, particularly for first-time buyers.

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