09/02/2012 Newsnight


09/02/2012

Kirsty Wark has the latest on attempts to negotiate a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout for Greece. Plus a report on the battle for Homs.


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Transcript


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Tonight, the Greek Government inches towards 130 billion euro

:00:10.:00:13.

deal to secure a crucial second bailout. But the protesters on the

:00:13.:00:16.

streets of Athens tonight are not buying it.

:00:16.:00:19.

What of other European countries like Germany, who have to stump up.

:00:19.:00:23.

We will be speaking to Angela Merkel's Chief Whip, and a Greek

:00:23.:00:31.

Government minister. The Syrian rebels in Homs claim

:00:31.:00:36.

Assad's bombardment, now in the sixth day, has cost dozens more

:00:36.:00:40.

lives. Is arming the rebels a serious plan.

:00:40.:00:43.

The military logic of this struggle is playing itself out on Syria's

:00:43.:00:47.

streets, I will be looking at what the rebels might achieve, and what

:00:47.:00:51.

help they need most. Fabio gets a golden goodbye, the

:00:51.:00:55.

next man to shoulder the nation's dreams will cost millions. Is money

:00:55.:00:59.

killing the game? �50 million, I think, last year,

:00:59.:01:03.

was spent on a player purchased by Chelsea. What is wrong with that if

:01:03.:01:09.

you can afford it? It is ridiculous. The game cannot afford it. In work

:01:09.:01:14.

but on benefit, the supermarkets create jobs but not on a living

:01:14.:01:18.

wage. Is it time for big business to stake the strain from tax-payers.

:01:18.:01:21.

I don't think for me in my situation, actually going out to

:01:21.:01:31.
:01:31.:01:33.

work does actually pay. Good evening. Beware of Greeks

:01:33.:01:37.

bearing news of a done deal on reforms and austerity measures

:01:37.:01:43.

which would clinch the new bailout of 130 billion euros. A deal that

:01:43.:01:46.

becomes more urgent by the minute, as the country can't make its

:01:46.:01:50.

repayments due in March without it, and is tonight being put forward in

:01:50.:01:53.

front of the EU finance ministers. The German Finance Minister said

:01:54.:01:57.

this afternoon that the Greek deal was not at a stage where it could

:01:57.:02:00.

be signed out. But Greece's political leadership, who have set

:02:00.:02:03.

a course of a big fall in living standards for most Greeks have a

:02:03.:02:08.

fight on their hands. Already the two major labour unions have called

:02:08.:02:11.

a 48-hour strike from tomorrow. What is the significance of the

:02:11.:02:15.

deal now tonight? I think it is a fork in the road. It means Greece

:02:15.:02:19.

has finally delivered what has been asked of it, since that October EU

:02:19.:02:22.

summit where it all began to go wrong for the international

:02:22.:02:27.

authorities. But if you look at the size of it, the three billion it

:02:27.:02:32.

has delivered overnight, a 20% cut in the minimum wage. What it adds

:02:32.:02:36.

up to, one analyst sent a note from one of the banks saying this, up to

:02:36.:02:41.

now Greece has cut back, fiscal austerity to the tune of 16% of its

:02:41.:02:44.

GDP in three years, what it has just signed up to will take it, by

:02:44.:02:49.

the end of this year, to 25% cutbacks. Now, there are two

:02:49.:02:53.

problems with it, one is technically, is it possible to do.

:02:53.:02:56.

Because despite the fact that they have signed up to it and gone to

:02:56.:03:00.

Brussels with it, one person inside the Greek Government told me this

:03:00.:03:04.

tonight, it will pass through the parliament, but it's not convincing,

:03:04.:03:09.

it lacks a strategy of how this country can get out of this misery.

:03:09.:03:13.

Because the European authorities know that's what most of the Greek

:03:13.:03:17.

politicians think, they have built in this trigger that says if you do

:03:17.:03:21.

fail to implement it, technically, because the tax take runs out, or

:03:21.:03:25.

there is a run on the banks, we can pull the whole thing any way. It

:03:25.:03:29.

gives the Greeks from tonight the trigger, where as the Europeans

:03:29.:03:33.

have had the trigger. So political obstacles to this? Massive, you

:03:33.:03:38.

have seen it on the streets already. We have seen the slightly more wide,

:03:38.:03:43.

populist course for things like uprising. Again, it is the fact

:03:43.:03:49.

that, at the heart of the political situation now there are unknown

:03:49.:03:57.

actors, unknown fact ors, rather, in the street, on the parliament,

:03:57.:04:02.

can the politicians who have signed up, who are a minority in the polls

:04:02.:04:05.

at the moment. The entire political establishment is in the minority,

:04:05.:04:08.

can they take their people with them, as local council after

:04:08.:04:12.

council loses to the opposition parties, who are at the right and

:04:12.:04:16.

left extremes of politics. Thank you. We will unpick some of that

:04:16.:04:19.

right now. Joining me from Athens is the Greek minister for

:04:19.:04:22.

international, sorry, your film starts before that. I have a slight

:04:22.:04:32.

summary of what the deal is. The new Greek bailout deals imposes

:04:32.:04:37.

three billion euro of cuts from a country already realing from them.

:04:37.:04:41.

They should get 130 billion in new loans and 100 billion euros of debt

:04:41.:04:44.

held by banks and pension funds, should be written off. Because the

:04:45.:04:49.

Greek economy is shrinking as a result of austerity, they now need

:04:49.:04:52.

more. The proposal is, for the European Central Bank to take

:04:52.:04:58.

losses on the value of its Greek debts, maybe up to 15 billion euros,

:04:58.:05:03.

bridging the gap. So has Greece done enough? Well,

:05:03.:05:07.

the and r action moved to Brussels tonight, action may be too strong a

:05:07.:05:12.

word, because the German Finance Minister was still lukewarm.

:05:12.:05:15.

TRANSLATION: The negotiations have come a long way, but still not far

:05:15.:05:19.

enough. You don't need to wait around, because there will be no

:05:19.:05:27.

decision tonight. In Athens, protest, with a strike to begin

:05:27.:05:32.

tomorrow, and calls from the increasing ly popular leftist

:05:32.:05:37.

parties in politics, for pass mass resistance. TRANSLATION: This crime

:05:37.:05:40.

being committed against the Greek people, against the country, cannot

:05:40.:05:46.

be allowed to come to pass. The bankruptcy programme will not pass.

:05:46.:05:51.

The famous Greek riot dog has been quiet lately, but a showdown is

:05:51.:05:54.

coming. On Sunday the Greek parliament will vote on the deal,

:05:54.:05:58.

after that comes the task of quantifying the actual losses to

:05:58.:06:00.

actual banks, not all are yet signed up.

:06:00.:06:09.

And by the 20th of March, when Greece needs 14 billion euros, the

:06:09.:06:15.

bailout money has to be delivered. And the great unanswered question

:06:15.:06:19.

after that, can Greek Saturday bear it, and can the parties, who signed

:06:19.:06:23.

the deal today deliver it, as the upcoming election gives their

:06:23.:06:27.

voters a say? Joining me now from Athens is the

:06:27.:06:34.

Greek minister for international economic relations, Panos

:06:34.:06:38.

Papanicolaou, and the Chief Whip -- Lucas Papademos, and the Chief Whip

:06:38.:06:45.

from the German parliament. You heard what was said there, it is

:06:45.:06:49.

very doubtful you can deliver this? Good evening, can we actually

:06:50.:06:57.

deliver this, is that the question? Yes. Yes. It is a very, very tough

:06:57.:07:06.

endeavour what we are in now, since May 2010. We're called upon to

:07:06.:07:12.

transform the whole economy, from an inward looking, non-competitive

:07:12.:07:17.

economy, to an outward looking extrovert competitive economy, that

:07:17.:07:24.

requires massive transformations. One of the collateral side-effects

:07:24.:07:30.

is precisely this contraction in income. Before the economy gets on

:07:30.:07:35.

its feet again on a different basis. Do you also think that it is

:07:35.:07:39.

possible to do this with the level of protest that is starting to

:07:39.:07:44.

build, calls from big cultural heros in Greece for a resistance

:07:44.:07:49.

movement to this deal? I think you will hear all kind of things, one

:07:49.:07:55.

has to see what the vast majority of people feel in their hearts. In

:07:55.:08:00.

their hearts they are aching, but they also know that something has

:08:00.:08:05.

to change. Otherwise, we won't be able to get out of this predicament,

:08:05.:08:11.

and unless we make the sacrifices. I think this is quite plain for all

:08:11.:08:17.

to see. We heard from Germany's Finance Minister a moment ago, that

:08:17.:08:20.

they didn't think the deal was at a stage where it could be called a

:08:20.:08:25.

deal, what is your view? We are living in critical hours and

:08:25.:08:29.

moments, we are negotiating very constructively, in order to achieve

:08:29.:08:34.

a deal, the deal is not yet achieved, because we have to see,

:08:34.:08:39.

and what we have to have is a proof of sustainability, a proof of

:08:40.:08:44.

reliability. The Greek parliament on Sunday will vote on all this,

:08:44.:08:48.

and we believe it is in the interests of the Greek people to

:08:48.:08:52.

have clear facts, and on the basis of these facts, we are prepared to

:08:52.:08:58.

grant another bailout of 130 billion euros. That is probably the

:08:58.:09:02.

biggest bailout in European history. A lot of that will be shouldered by

:09:02.:09:06.

Germany, and German people know that. When they see the level of

:09:06.:09:10.

protests in Greece, and when they see the dangers that you are asking

:09:10.:09:13.

people to take, the cut in living standards and it might not work,

:09:13.:09:17.

what do the German people, on the streets, think of this? There is a

:09:18.:09:24.

lot of sympathy. In Germany, for the feelings of Greek pensioners

:09:24.:09:31.

and workers in the streets, on the other hand, groz is now confronted

:09:31.:09:34.

with a challenge that -- Greece is now confronted with a challenge

:09:34.:09:39.

that was the case in the UK, in the Netherlands, in Germany, years ago.

:09:39.:09:46.

We are very confident that at the end of this very, very difficult

:09:46.:09:53.

process, the Greek people will say it was worse, - it was worth

:09:53.:09:58.

sacrificing social benefits in order to achieve a more competitive

:09:58.:10:02.

economy. This is what German people believe. We are prepared to provide

:10:02.:10:06.

support, financial support, but we want to make sure it is effective

:10:06.:10:12.

and not lost. I will put that straight back in a

:10:12.:10:17.

minute. Just before we finish with you on that point, 130 billion

:10:17.:10:21.

euros, are you confident this would be the last bailout, there wouldn't

:10:21.:10:31.
:10:31.:10:31.

be another bailout? It is the second bailout, as you know. We

:10:31.:10:36.

have a monitoring process that has been set up, with the International

:10:36.:10:41.

Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.

:10:41.:10:46.

This monitoring process is adjusted every time, but now we are talking

:10:46.:10:51.

about private sector involvement, we are talking about the second

:10:51.:10:57.

bailout. I'm confident that markets will believe us and markets will

:10:58.:11:03.

react on us, and that will mean that Greece has a chance with this

:11:03.:11:08.

bailout to overcome the crisis. But month by month you are going to

:11:08.:11:13.

have to prove that you are on track to deliver this. But you have an

:11:13.:11:17.

election in April, so it could, you might only get to April and find

:11:17.:11:20.

that actually you cannot deliver this, there is not enough money on

:11:20.:11:24.

the streets, apart from anything else, people's fall in living

:11:24.:11:27.

standards, people can't even make their bank payments, it just

:11:27.:11:33.

physically might not work. First of all, we don't know when

:11:33.:11:37.

the next election will be. I know there are rumour about April, but

:11:37.:11:43.

let's not bank on it, we don't know yet. But, the whole point of this

:11:43.:11:49.

funding is precisely to enable the state to function and to pay out

:11:49.:11:55.

salaries and pensions et cetera. So the scenario you just described is

:11:55.:11:58.

exactly what we are trying to avoid through this assistance we are

:11:58.:12:02.

receiving from our partners. But you need to get that signed off

:12:02.:12:07.

very, very quickly, don't you? Because if you default in March,

:12:07.:12:16.

then you are in trouble? Well, last night, as you know, there was a

:12:16.:12:22.

deal with the Greek Government and the called troika, I mean, what we

:12:22.:12:27.

need now is to get it through the eurozone finance ministers, but it

:12:27.:12:32.

has been cleared by their representatives in the EU, in the

:12:32.:12:37.

ECB and the European Commission and the IMF, of course. We're on the

:12:37.:12:40.

right track. We will wait to see what happens tomorrow, thank you

:12:40.:12:45.

very much gentlemen. The Foreign Secretary, William

:12:45.:12:48.

Hague, has described President Assad's rule as the murdering

:12:48.:12:52.

regime, blunt words, which will be heard by the people of Homs under

:12:52.:12:55.

attack from Syrian forces for the sixth day in a row. What the rebels

:12:55.:13:01.

want is weapons not words. That was explicitly ruled out by the Foreign

:13:01.:13:04.

Secretary, though he added, we don't control what other countries

:13:04.:13:09.

are doing. Has the pressure been kept up on

:13:09.:13:13.

the opposition, the military pressure been kept up on the

:13:13.:13:17.

opposition? It has been another very tough day. We have assembled a

:13:17.:13:22.

whole series of maps and images here to look at the picture in

:13:22.:13:27.

detail. The reports today suggest anything between 60-11 people have

:13:27.:13:32.

died in the vie -- 60-100 people have died in the violence today.

:13:32.:13:37.

Around two-thirds of the fatalities, in and around the area of Homs, the

:13:37.:13:44.

real centre of the battle, if we look in detail. It is a protested

:13:44.:13:49.

city, not a besieged city, President Assad's supporters are in

:13:49.:13:56.

the yellow areas, the opposition have two main areas in the city the

:13:56.:14:03.

two in the blue circles. Again, two districts, Baba Amr is one of them.

:14:04.:14:07.

The second area is where our colleague was a couple of days

:14:07.:14:11.

earlier this week. The fighting has very much raged around those two

:14:11.:14:16.

areas. The Government forces, the 90th Infantry Brigade of the Syrian

:14:16.:14:20.

army, hold some positions in the centre of the town, but their main

:14:20.:14:25.

bases are at an intersection on the motorway to the south, where they

:14:26.:14:31.

have dozens of armoured vehicles and the vehicles that have been

:14:31.:14:34.

shelling over recent days. We understand the defectors from the

:14:34.:14:38.

army and guerrilla fighters in those areas, have gone out into the

:14:38.:14:42.

rural areas, fearing a Government ground push, but it hasn't happened.

:14:42.:14:46.

That is fascinating. That suggests something about the relative co-

:14:46.:14:52.

relation of forces there. That 90th brigade may be several thousand

:14:52.:14:57.

troops. Syrian security forces total perhaps 20,000 in the city,

:14:57.:15:04.

population of Homs, 800,000. They are, if you like, in an Alamo

:15:04.:15:09.

mentality, not a conquering mentality. In the neighbourhoods

:15:09.:15:12.

where there is most resistance and where Assad wants to make his

:15:12.:15:16.

presence felt, how has the army been dealing with the opposition?

:15:16.:15:20.

With a difficult situation the army has with regards to its own morale,

:15:20.:15:25.

but the advantages it has, with its heavy weapons, it has tried to use

:15:25.:15:29.

its advantages. If we go in even closer to Baba Amr, this main

:15:29.:15:34.

thorough fare marks one of the boundaries of that neighbourhood.

:15:34.:15:36.

We will put that spot around the mosque.

:15:36.:15:42.

You wouldn't think that if you had a modern self-propelled gun or

:15:42.:15:45.

artillery system that won the target or the house next door to it,

:15:45.:15:55.
:15:55.:15:55.

but look at this. That happened yesterday, the

:15:55.:15:59.

shelling of a house. The opposition say it is a terrifying tactic to

:15:59.:16:03.

keep people off the streets, scare the fighters out to the surrounding

:16:03.:16:06.

countryside, to an extent it has worked. Another example these

:16:06.:16:10.

armoured vehicles moving up the streets. Pictures taken yesterday,

:16:10.:16:13.

firing off machine guns indiscriminately, apparently.

:16:13.:16:17.

Another fascinating sign of what is going on. Neither the drivers nor

:16:17.:16:21.

the commanders seem to have their heads out of the vehicle, I have

:16:21.:16:24.

noticed this with much of the footage coming out of Syria in

:16:24.:16:28.

recent months, of when these vehicles go into contested

:16:28.:16:35.

neighbourhoods. Is it still going on in Homs? It is, the Syrian army

:16:35.:16:38.

does have advantages, but the morale is fragile, it is vulnerable

:16:38.:16:42.

to some of the weapons that defectors and arms suppliers have

:16:43.:16:46.

sent in. The standard rocket propelled grenade, if we look at

:16:46.:16:50.

the next image, in the centre of the round about, you see one of the

:16:50.:16:54.

armoured vehicles. The man with a broom is keeping a lookout, he goes

:16:54.:16:59.

to tell his friend, the coast is clear. Apart from a van that

:16:59.:17:05.

quickly flashes across, it is, he lets fire with an RPG and hits the

:17:05.:17:07.

armoured vehicle. Now we don't know exact low what happened there,

:17:07.:17:12.

whether it might have already been disabled. But let's look on at some

:17:12.:17:17.

of the other images out of Homs in the last few days. We can see quite

:17:17.:17:22.

a lot of burnt out Syrian army vehicles. The police car in the

:17:22.:17:27.

foreground, one of the same vehicles, a BNP, a Russian-made

:17:27.:17:33.

infantry carrier, we have seen it a few times, the roof blown off,

:17:33.:17:36.

internal explosions, it has either been knocked out or set on fire by

:17:36.:17:41.

its own crew. The Syrian army is losing vehicles going into those

:17:41.:17:46.

neighbourhoods and troops, either by dissertation or casualties.

:17:46.:17:54.

Another infantry carrier there, it came a cropper. Not all tanks are

:17:54.:18:00.

vulnerable to the RPG. The army can apply all sorts of tactics. This

:18:00.:18:07.

one, the T-72, these workss on the side of it are proof against

:18:07.:18:10.

exactly that kind of weapon. There are things they can't defeat. The

:18:10.:18:14.

supply of anti-tank weapons they have is limited, there are basic

:18:14.:18:18.

challenges of organisation. What do they need, we asked brigadier Ben

:18:18.:18:23.

Barry. If I was a rebel commander I would be asking for two things. One

:18:23.:18:33.

is some weapons that would enable me to deal with the vehicles.

:18:33.:18:38.

Secondly is equipment to help me communicate with other rebel

:18:38.:18:43.

military outlets, but also to allow the political elements to

:18:43.:18:46.

communicate securely, in order to better co-ordinate actions. It is

:18:46.:18:49.

about different things, it is about communications and also about

:18:49.:18:53.

weapons to hit armoured vehicles, they have, to an extent, we have

:18:53.:18:57.

RPGs, what else do they need, and where will they get it? If one

:18:57.:19:02.

looks at the Libyan model, if you like. We know that the UK, France

:19:02.:19:05.

and Qatar, put great effort into trying to organise, provide the

:19:05.:19:08.

level of organisation, giving satellite phones, giving coaching

:19:08.:19:13.

or mentoring to the leaders of the Libyan army, opposition forces, to

:19:13.:19:18.

get them to raise their game. To behave, in a co-ordinated fashion.

:19:18.:19:23.

In Syria, it is not happening yet, from the UK and French side, there

:19:23.:19:27.

are reports that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are already putting in an

:19:27.:19:32.

effort. It would seem that weapons are being bought in Lebanon, on the

:19:32.:19:36.

arms black market, and are finding their way through. We have seen

:19:36.:19:41.

certain evidence of things like RPGs, sniper rifles, one or two

:19:41.:19:46.

things. They could go a stage further up. The Qataris are thought

:19:46.:19:56.

to have supplied anti-tank weapons to the Libyans, and they could go

:19:56.:19:59.

that to the Syrians, they are a much bigger and more destructive

:19:59.:20:02.

warhead. All the other things we have been talking about as well.

:20:02.:20:07.

Command and control, radios, secure communications, all those kinds of

:20:07.:20:10.

things. You get the sense from William Hague today, there is no

:20:10.:20:14.

question, apart from anything else without a UN resolution, there is

:20:14.:20:17.

no question Britain will do anything, communications is

:20:17.:20:21.

different, but no weaponry? The UK has always found this type of thing

:20:21.:20:25.

extremely hard. We saw it in the Balkan wars in the 1990s, there

:20:25.:20:35.

were demands again and again and again, to arm the boss Bosnian

:20:35.:20:39.

Herridge army, Britain -- Bosnian army, Britain was always again that.

:20:39.:20:43.

We saw it again in Libya, France and Qatar was prepared to provide

:20:43.:20:48.

weapons and the UK was not. William Hague reminded us of that today. It

:20:48.:20:53.

is not an option that the UK wants. Even France, less restrained in

:20:53.:20:56.

Libya, it has certain legal difficulties, I would imagine,

:20:56.:21:00.

because of the EU arms embargo on Syria now. There are all sorts of

:21:00.:21:03.

obstacles, technical, military and legal, to making this happen.

:21:03.:21:09.

Particularly to making it happen quickly. From Fabio Capello's

:21:09.:21:14.

financial send-off to HMRC's spectacular failure in the case

:21:14.:21:19.

against Harry Redknapp, for millions of pounds for players, to

:21:19.:21:26.

endlessly fleesing fans for merchandise. In football nothing is

:21:26.:21:34.

cheap. Has the beautiful game become the tainted game. Everybody

:21:34.:21:37.

likes Harry, he could be king of England, but will probably settle

:21:37.:21:40.

for manager, his good character, unstained. There are wider concerns

:21:40.:21:50.
:21:50.:21:53.

about the sport in which he thrives. Former owner of Harry's current

:21:53.:21:57.

club, Tottenham, has been making that point for years. What is wrong

:21:57.:22:01.

is the quantum of the money, the amount of money spent on players,

:22:01.:22:05.

�50 million last year was spent on a player purchased by Chelsea.

:22:05.:22:09.

is wrong with that if you can afford it? It is ridiculous, the

:22:09.:22:13.

game cannot afford it. That particular club can afford it,

:22:13.:22:18.

because of its owner. But even the poorest Premier League clubs taking

:22:18.:22:23.

�35 million a season from TV rights, the richest getting �60 million,

:22:23.:22:28.

revenues are up again to �2 billion. Yet overall the clubs are losing

:22:28.:22:34.

more than ever, �445 million. It is largely because they are playing

:22:34.:22:41.

the -- paying the players �1.4 billion a season. 20-odd years ago,

:22:41.:22:45.

John Barnes, Player of the Year, was earning �10,000 a week,

:22:45.:22:49.

staggering then. Values then became so distorted, that when Ashley Cole

:22:49.:22:53.

left Arsenal, it was because they offered him only a weekly �55,000.

:22:53.:22:57.

This, he told his fans, was taking the piss. Some Premier League stars

:22:57.:23:04.

today are getting �200,000 a week. Football's finances are crazy. So

:23:04.:23:07.

what's new? What has changed is the ever-growing marketisation of the

:23:07.:23:11.

game, and the widening gulf with its traditional support. It used to

:23:11.:23:16.

be the working man's ballet, now football is far pricier than a trip

:23:16.:23:19.

to covenant garden. While the police have been raiding managers'

:23:19.:23:24.

homes at dawn, and the revenue prosecuting, some see the real

:23:24.:23:28.

scandal elsewhere. Recently I did some figures and found at Liverpool,

:23:28.:23:32.

where it was their fans who suffered in the Hillsborough

:23:32.:23:37.

disaster, which created the improvements in the stadiums, their

:23:37.:23:43.

prices have increased 1100% on the Cop, it now costs �45 a ticket on

:23:43.:23:48.

the Cop to watch oneer games. Yet we have this idea that it is

:23:48.:23:52.

corrupt, and we are looking for bungs, something really precise, we

:23:52.:23:57.

are looking for tax evasion, where as, in fact, there is a broader

:23:57.:24:01.

corruption of the concept of sport and of the ideal of football.

:24:01.:24:05.

don't think there is any particular exploitation going on. I have been

:24:05.:24:09.

a football supporter all my life, I'm prepared to pay the price it

:24:10.:24:15.

takes to have, to witness a game, to see a spectacle that has a

:24:15.:24:20.

stronger desire for myself and other football fans. You can afford

:24:20.:24:25.

it, Paul? And that continues to be a good strong level of support,

:24:25.:24:29.

across the country, not just in the Premier League, among lower

:24:29.:24:33.

divisions, attendances are higher than they have been since World War

:24:33.:24:38.

II. So while the prices rise, the excesses will go on.

:24:38.:24:44.

The ill-judged Redknapp prosecution was a hangover from HM Revenue &

:24:44.:24:47.

Customs failed bungs investigations of the past decade, they have had a

:24:47.:24:50.

bad week. Behind the scenes, it is argued the revenue have sharpened

:24:50.:24:54.

their act, quietly enforcing settlements on players and clubs,

:24:54.:24:59.

and getting their taxes. Lord Sugar, bruised but unbowed by his years in

:25:00.:25:04.

football, says law breaking is no longer the problem. The problem is

:25:04.:25:09.

greed. What's changed in the past few years that there is no more

:25:09.:25:14.

illegal action, illegal stuff going on. You know, with players being

:25:14.:25:19.

paid incorrectly and all that type of thing. You don't think so?

:25:19.:25:27.

no, no. HMRC have got so hot on this, that any owner of a football

:25:27.:25:32.

club has to be stupid or lived in among goalia, for the past five

:25:32.:25:40.

years, -- Mongolia, for the past five years! I would say it is the

:25:40.:25:43.

cleanest industry at the moment. Because they are watched so

:25:43.:25:47.

closely? Absolutely. Vigilence from the taxpayer, and fresh eyes from

:25:47.:25:54.

UEFA, their new financial fair play rules say clubs will have to break

:25:54.:25:57.

even season upon season, transgressors could be banned from

:25:57.:26:01.

lucrative European competition. Does it have teeth, or lake Harry

:26:01.:26:06.

Redknapp's late lamented Rosie, all bark and no bite.

:26:06.:26:09.

When you do your supermarket shopping you are not only paying

:26:09.:26:13.

for your provisions, your taxes are subsidising the likes of Tesco,

:26:13.:26:19.

Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury's, despite their whopping profits, and

:26:19.:26:22.

the huge remuneration packages for their CEOs. The Prime Minister has

:26:22.:26:25.

praised the big four for creating thousands of new jobs, what he

:26:25.:26:30.

didn't say is the wages for many of these jobs means that employees are

:26:30.:26:34.

in working poverty. That is the phrase deployed in a report by the

:26:34.:26:38.

Fair Pay Network, which reveals many supermarket staff are reliant

:26:38.:26:48.
:26:48.:27:02.

I sat at 11.00pm, and I finish at 7.00am. My job basically entails

:27:02.:27:06.

redressing sections of the store. My job can be pretty repetitive,

:27:07.:27:15.

and boring at times. But on the whole, I do enjoy it. They scan the

:27:15.:27:19.

barcodes, stack the shelves, stick the stickers on offering us two for

:27:19.:27:25.

one. Just short of a million people work for the big four supermarkets,

:27:25.:27:30.

many tell the same story. On the whole the pay, I don't think it is

:27:30.:27:37.

enough to live on. I am in arrears with my rent at the moment. Not by

:27:37.:27:44.

a lot, but it is there, and I have received letters saying that I

:27:44.:27:50.

could be thrown out of the house if I can't catch up with my acareers.

:27:50.:27:55.

I'm also behind with my council tax, I just don't even want to think

:27:55.:27:59.

about that, I'm so far behind with that, and the same with the water

:27:59.:28:04.

bill. Supermarkets pay low wages. Many on

:28:04.:28:10.

the lowest hourly rates survive only by claiming in-work benefits.

:28:10.:28:13.

Sarah, not her real name, because supermarket workers are not allowed

:28:13.:28:19.

to talk to the press, earns �200 a week working nights, and relies on

:28:19.:28:25.

�129 a week of tax credits, including Child Tax Credit to make

:28:25.:28:31.

ends meet. Soon, as her child turns 16, she will lose most of that.

:28:31.:28:35.

petrified at what is going to happen. I really don't know how I'm

:28:35.:28:40.

going to be able to continue to work on the wage that I'm actually

:28:40.:28:46.

going to be living on, basic clo, and support my son and the rest of

:28:46.:28:54.

my family, I don't think I will be able to do it. I don't know what

:28:54.:28:58.

the alternative is, except going on job seekers, which doesn't make a

:28:58.:29:03.

lot of sense. I don't think for me in my situation going out to work

:29:03.:29:10.

does actual low pay. Supermarkets have a lot of power.

:29:10.:29:14.

Their price wars can move inflation figure, their expansion policies

:29:14.:29:17.

can make-or-break town centres. Now they are creating tens of thousands

:29:17.:29:25.

of new jobs, when it comes to politicians, everybody wants to be

:29:25.:29:29.

the supermarkets' friend. David Cameron even used a supermarket as

:29:29.:29:35.

a stage to make a point about benefits. Are you happy that your

:29:35.:29:39.

taxes are going towards families, where no-one is working, and they

:29:39.:29:44.

are earning over �26,000 in benefits. Is that fair?

:29:44.:29:48.

That's a good question. But here is another one, why do so many people

:29:48.:29:53.

with jobs earn so little that they have to rely on in-work benefits to

:29:53.:29:58.

survive. Why do so many of them work for supermarkets?

:29:58.:30:02.

Why, in other words, does the taxpayer have to fund the pay bill

:30:03.:30:08.

of these big four employers? Well, for supermarkets, pay is a

:30:08.:30:12.

touchy question. When researchers from the Fair Pay Network tried to

:30:12.:30:17.

survey supermarket workers about their pay, they ran into a problem.

:30:17.:30:20.

We encountered, from day one, universally, across the four

:30:20.:30:25.

regions we worked, a pretty pathological fear of engagment with

:30:25.:30:31.

us. I think if you look for example, at Tesco, part of the employment

:30:31.:30:34.

contract includes forbidding discussing Tesco matters with

:30:34.:30:38.

anyone outside. We lost a lot of people that, in principle, wanted

:30:38.:30:42.

to talk to us. The fear was too great. In fact our research teams

:30:42.:30:46.

were followed, they were founded around. This was a pretty straight

:30:46.:30:51.

forward social survey. And wherever it was discovered to be going on, a

:30:51.:30:58.

culture of pro-hib Biggs went down across the bored -- prohibition

:30:58.:31:03.

went across the board. Here the words are spoken by actors. Woman

:31:04.:31:07.

that lives in private association flat with seven-year-old son, has

:31:07.:31:11.

two jobs, 16 hours a week as shelf stacker, and the rest of the time

:31:11.:31:16.

as a waitress. Without my rent cap my housing benefit, my tax credits,

:31:16.:31:21.

we would be out on the street, both of us. If I work for the

:31:21.:31:31.
:31:31.:31:32.

supermarket full-time, and not in the cafe, we would be worse. At the

:31:32.:31:38.

cafe I get tips. A mother of two, husband has two jobs, and works

:31:38.:31:45.

herself, gets benefit. At least I'm out and about with people working

:31:45.:31:49.

in the supermarket, I don't want to beg, to be honest, I would be

:31:49.:31:54.

better off on benefits. I would get the same pay on job seekers, I

:31:54.:32:00.

don't want to live that way or this way. They won't pay us any more,

:32:00.:32:04.

there are no jobs around here, if you slack, someone else can take

:32:04.:32:07.

your place after they sack you. They always say that, they could

:32:07.:32:10.

fill your job before you get your coat. Though they have been

:32:10.:32:16.

squeezed by the economic downturn, the supermarkets made �4 billion in

:32:16.:32:20.

pre-tax profits together in 2011. Campaigners acknowledge the profits

:32:20.:32:25.

might be less if the wages were higher, so too would the bill to

:32:25.:32:29.

the taxpayer. Do we as tax-payers think it is acceptable to have four

:32:29.:32:34.

employers, employing almost 900,000 people, the second-biggest employer

:32:34.:32:38.

outside the NHS, who don't pay their staff a sufficient wage,

:32:38.:32:41.

despite turning billions in profits, and paying executives tens of

:32:41.:32:45.

millions, we make up the difference. Is that fair, do tax-payers think

:32:45.:32:49.

that is fair. All the big four supermarkets pointed out they

:32:49.:32:54.

provide discount cards, bonuses and training. Morrisons and Sainsbury's

:32:54.:33:02.

refused to discuss hourly rates. Asda told us its hourry rates from

:33:02.:33:06.

above the minimum wage. None of the employers wanted to appear on

:33:06.:33:11.

camera, but were happy for their trade association to speak for them.

:33:11.:33:16.

The Government's policy is a national minimum wage, and we, not

:33:16.:33:19.

only meet, but exceed the requirements of the national

:33:19.:33:24.

minimum wage. We help a lot of people who otherwise would be

:33:24.:33:28.

dependant on benefits, because we provide flexible and part-time

:33:28.:33:33.

working that enables them to combine the world of work, with

:33:33.:33:37.

their caring and studying and other responsibilities. People who can

:33:37.:33:42.

only work part-time through illness. That is a significant benefit to

:33:42.:33:45.

those individuals who are much more independent than they otherwise

:33:45.:33:50.

might be, and to society by reducing the cost of benefits.

:33:50.:33:53.

message is be grateful you have a job, and it is not our problem if

:33:53.:34:02.

you can't live on the wages? retailers provide the rate for the

:34:02.:34:07.

job, they pay wages that are similar to other sectors, including

:34:07.:34:11.

the public sector, they meet all of their obligations and go further,

:34:11.:34:15.

and yes they provide lots of opportunities for people to develop

:34:15.:34:21.

themselves, and to further their careers into higher paid jobs in

:34:21.:34:25.

the future. What the campaigners want is something called a living

:34:25.:34:30.

wage, calculated at �7.20 outside London, �8.30 inside the capital.

:34:30.:34:35.

Banks, law firms and some public sector employers have signed living

:34:35.:34:38.

wage agreements for their lowest paid staff, and the politicians

:34:38.:34:42.

have lauded the idea. You asked for a living wage in the

:34:42.:34:47.

public sector, and as you know, I think this is a good and attractive

:34:47.:34:52.

idea. Those who have studied the existing schemes are blunt about

:34:52.:34:57.

the advantages. The living wage would be a huge benefit, mainly to

:34:57.:35:02.

the taxpayer at the present period of time. So if you moved people

:35:02.:35:07.

from the minimum wage to the living wage, the taxpayer would probably

:35:07.:35:14.

benefit by about �50 per week, per5 worker. For supermarkets employing

:35:14.:35:19.

100,000 workers getting tax credits, which is plausible. If each one of

:35:19.:35:22.

them got �50 a week from the employer, rather than the taxpayer,

:35:22.:35:26.

you are talking about hundreds of millions of pounds every single

:35:26.:35:28.

year. The taxpayer would be benefiting there, the Treasury

:35:28.:35:32.

would be benefiting. For those who stack the shelves,

:35:32.:35:37.

though, it is about fairness. This was our shop workers reaction when

:35:37.:35:43.

we told her that supermarket CEOs earn between �3-�7 million. I had

:35:43.:35:48.

no idea at all, I thought something around about �100,000 or something

:35:48.:35:54.

like that. But not, millions. No, that is completely wrong. In fact

:35:54.:36:00.

you have opened my eyes, greatly, I am absolutely shocked that they do

:36:00.:36:07.

get that kind of money. It is unbelievable. When surveyed,

:36:07.:36:10.

supermarket workers say they do appreciate the flexibility, the

:36:10.:36:14.

training, the management style, but if we are now reliant on these big

:36:14.:36:17.

four employers to create jobs, we may have to accept the fact that

:36:18.:36:21.

hundreds of thousands of workers do not earn enough to live on, and

:36:21.:36:28.

that the taxpayer takes up the slack. I'm joined now by Neal

:36:28.:36:33.

Lawson, the left-leaning pressure group who supports the idea of the

:36:34.:36:38.

living wage, and Sheila Lawlor. Sheila Lawlor, we heard from the

:36:38.:36:42.

women, they didn't want to beg but be in work, whether it paid more or

:36:42.:36:46.

not, they wanted to be out there. You heard from the woman saying

:36:46.:36:53.

�200 was what she earned, and �120 in benefits. That is not right, is

:36:53.:36:57.

it? Isn't it better to have some in-work benefit than entirely on

:36:58.:37:01.

benefit for having no job at all. Remember the downside of this

:37:01.:37:05.

report, which painted a very rosy picture of what the campaigners

:37:05.:37:12.

called a living wage. The downside is that the more we make employment

:37:12.:37:15.

cost money, the less productive companies will be, and they will go

:37:15.:37:20.

out of work. We have already seen unemployment go up from 8.3% last

:37:20.:37:25.

quarter to 8.4% this quarter. And we have almost 2.7 million people

:37:25.:37:30.

out of work. If it is expensive to employ people, and wages are not

:37:30.:37:35.

the only cost. There are lots of non-wage costs an employer has to

:37:35.:37:38.

meet. What is wrong with that, the wage costs are something which

:37:38.:37:42.

every single one of these supermarkets faces? We heard this

:37:42.:37:45.

argument exactly the same argument over the minimum wage. It is a

:37:45.:37:48.

crying wolf, saying that loads of people will lose their jobs, and

:37:48.:37:53.

loads of people didn't lose their jobs. On the economic argument, in

:37:53.:37:56.

fairness, I don't know how anyone manages to live and bring up a

:37:56.:38:00.

family on even �8 an hour, if you had a living wage. That seems to me

:38:00.:38:04.

an incredible burden, you have to do two shift, you have to find

:38:04.:38:07.

other work, you never see your kid, you can't read them a bed time

:38:07.:38:10.

story, you don't see your partner, it is a terrible social cost of

:38:10.:38:14.

this stuff. But even on the economics, that what we are doing

:38:14.:38:17.

is breaking the back of the state, because the state have to pick up

:38:17.:38:22.

the bill, that costs all of us huge amounts of money. The workers on

:38:22.:38:26.

these benefits, you think they should get the benefits? We have a

:38:26.:38:29.

system. I would rather, we have enough money to pay people as much

:38:29.:38:35.

as we could possibly pay them. Provided it was viable in terms of

:38:35.:38:38.

competition. Do you think the supermarkets, because the

:38:38.:38:42.

supermarkets know full well about the range of benefits, in a sense,

:38:42.:38:46.

they are relying on that cushion, they themselves know that they can

:38:46.:38:49.

pay the workers these wages, because guess what, the taxpayer

:38:49.:38:54.

can pick up the slack? That's one way of looking at it, I don't think

:38:54.:38:59.

it is the only way. If you look at wage bills, they are very, very

:38:59.:39:04.

high, because you have to take and factor in the non-wage costs of

:39:04.:39:07.

every employer. Look at the profits? You put an extra cost

:39:07.:39:10.

across the board on any company, and they will start shrinking the

:39:10.:39:14.

number of workers. In the supermarket chains they will be

:39:14.:39:19.

moving to more automatic tills, where you swipe in and out yourself.

:39:19.:39:25.

The cost of this sort of well intentioned measure is to lose jobs

:39:25.:39:28.

overall. Surely, it is the Government in the dock here not the

:39:28.:39:32.

supermarkets. The supermarkets are just capitalist? They are just

:39:32.:39:35.

capitalist, they will push wages down as far as they can, they

:39:35.:39:39.

wouldn't have a minimum wage, they would pay �4, �3, if they could get

:39:39.:39:44.

away with it. That essentially is immoral? It is both immoral, bad

:39:44.:39:48.

for the state, but actually bad for the companies and economies as well.

:39:48.:39:53.

Henry Ford was a God capitalist, he knew he had to -- a good capitalist,

:39:53.:39:57.

he knew he had to pay the wages that would buy the cars. The great

:39:57.:40:01.

thing about the report, it says the people working in the figure four,

:40:01.:40:05.

don't shop in the big four, they go to Aldi and Lidl, that is where

:40:05.:40:09.

they can afford. These people are destroying their own productive

:40:09.:40:13.

base. It would generate growth if you paid people enough money that

:40:13.:40:18.

they could spend on the things their family needed, books, food,

:40:18.:40:22.

travel? Do you want an economy where we price labour out of the

:40:22.:40:26.

market, where we pay the social consequences of people having no

:40:26.:40:31.

job, you heard some of the ladies who were interviewed on this show

:40:31.:40:36.

say they would much prefer to have a job and not to be begging. What

:40:36.:40:41.

they were also saying was it was absolutely crippling them? It is,

:40:41.:40:44.

the price of living is crippling people, why is it crippling people,

:40:44.:40:49.

because already we have very, very high costs in the economy, we

:40:49.:40:53.

cannot compete globally we can't sell our goods overseas, we can't

:40:53.:40:59.

compete in a global market, our unemployment is going up, our wage

:40:59.:41:03.

costs are not competitive. Every independent economic survey will

:41:03.:41:09.

say the unit cost of production in the European Union and Britain is

:41:09.:41:14.

cripplingly high and we can't xot in a much wider market. -- Compete

:41:14.:41:18.

in a much wider market. It is surely better that Tesco and

:41:18.:41:22.

Morrisons and all the supermarkets are expanding and bringing jobs to

:41:22.:41:31.

areas where none exists? Of -- Existed? It is, but this is not a

:41:31.:41:35.

non-competitive market, -- this is a non-competitive market, this is

:41:35.:41:39.

the only place they can sell food in Britain, we have �4 billion in

:41:39.:41:43.

profit, and chief executives making �7 billion, it is abhorrent they

:41:43.:41:48.

are employing people at miserable, slave wages, if they don't do

:41:48.:41:51.

something about it, it is up to us as a society to say we will force

:41:51.:41:54.

you to pay a wage at which you can live. Can you force them? If you

:41:55.:41:59.

have a law, and you heard the people, on the programme saying, we

:41:59.:42:03.

have the minimum wage. I think it is very, very wrong and

:42:04.:42:07.

irresponsible, especially at this time, with such rapidly rising

:42:07.:42:13.

unemployment in Britain, to started a vow Kateing more cost on

:42:13.:42:17.

employers. - advocating more costs on employers. David Cameron talked

:42:17.:42:22.

about the living wage, he supported it? Politicians are very much in

:42:22.:42:25.

the market for encouraging people to think they are on their side,

:42:25.:42:29.

that is what politics is about. It is not on the side of Britain for

:42:29.:42:33.

the long-term future. Why doesn't the Government, if they think it is

:42:33.:42:37.

such a great thing, just go ahead, institute the living wage? I think

:42:37.:42:42.

they should do. But we have been locked into this 30-year, free

:42:42.:42:46.

market fundamentalism that says that the people at the bottom have

:42:46.:42:51.

to be pushed down and can't earn a decent wage, where those at the top

:42:51.:42:55.

can earn as much as possible and can all let rip. We have paid the

:42:55.:42:58.

price of that and the economy has, we need a different way of locking

:42:58.:43:02.

at it. Do you think that is immoral, that the CEOs get millions and

:43:02.:43:07.

other bonuses as well? What is immoral is the vendetta we have

:43:07.:43:10.

seen against independent, legal decisions made against companies

:43:10.:43:15.

paying out wages. This week and last week. And yes, by all means,

:43:15.:43:19.

bring in a law, if that has the support of parliament. But this

:43:19.:43:25.

sort of pressure is, as one leader of a small business has said, it

:43:25.:43:33.

was a vend det at that and witch- hunt against companies -- vendetta

:43:33.:43:36.

and witch-hunt against companies making money for this country and

:43:36.:43:39.

employing many people. Nothing will change in the foreseeable future,

:43:39.:43:43.

because as Sheila Lawlor says, there are plenty of people chasing

:43:43.:43:46.

jobs? We shouldn't be exploiting those people, we should be paying

:43:46.:43:49.

them a wage that they will then go and spend their money in the

:43:49.:43:52.

economy and help us get out of the mess we are in, and we will help

:43:52.:43:56.

them socially, morally and economically as well.

:43:56.:44:06.
:44:06.:44:06.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 53 seconds

:44:06.:44:59.

Thank you very much. The front Harry Redknapp will get �4 million,

:44:59.:45:09.

That's all from Newsnight tonight, Gavin will be with you tomorrow,

:45:09.:45:19.
:45:19.:45:44.

from all of us here tonight, good Another wintry night out there,

:45:44.:45:47.

further know across the Midland, further counties of England

:45:47.:45:51.

drifting into the south-east of Wales. A covering in many places,

:45:51.:45:55.

5cms, maybe more in some spots. The snow clears away sharply on Friday,

:45:55.:46:02.

then things brighten up on eastern areas. Plenty of sunshine in

:46:02.:46:05.

Lincolnshire, temperatures struggling to get above freezing. A

:46:05.:46:08.

bright sparkling day for the Midlands, East Anglia and the

:46:08.:46:12.

south-east, again it is cold. After a wet start in the south west,

:46:12.:46:16.

dryer and brighter, the rain looking clinging on to Cornwall

:46:16.:46:23.

late in the day, as it does in Pembrokeshire.

:46:23.:46:26.

It will stay dull across the east of Northern Ireland, but

:46:26.:46:30.

temperatures here much higher, a mild eight or nine Celsius, some

:46:30.:46:34.

brightness across the west in Northern Ireland, western Scotland

:46:34.:46:37.

stays dull. Some brightness in parts of the north, particularly in

:46:37.:46:41.

the Moray firth. It stays cloudy in Scotland and Northern Ireland into

:46:41.:46:44.

the weekend, it crucially stays milder, there will be some rain

:46:44.:46:48.

especially in northern Scotland. For England and Wales, plenty of

:46:48.:46:52.

winter sunshine, a cold start and plenty of sunshine through the day.

:46:52.:46:57.

It will turn a bit grey by Sunday. It will also cloud across on

:46:57.:47:01.

Kirsty Wark has the latest on attempts to negotiate a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout for Greece.

There is a report on the battle for Homs, the kind of armaments on either side, and whether in response to the ongoing violence other nations are intending to step up arms supplies to the Free Syrian Army.

And as the debate rages about who will replace Fabio Capello as England manager, Peter Marshall asks whether the biggest problem with the game is actually the prevalence of big money.


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