20/03/2012 Newsnight


20/03/2012

Will the 50p tax band be scrapped? Can the Chancellor sell it? The case for Shale gas. And we talk to Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes. With Jeremy Paxman.


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Transcript


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Yes, we will cut income tax for the richest people in Britain, but

:00:08.:00:11.

don't look at that, look at what else we are doing, that seems to be

:00:11.:00:16.

the Government line tonight on the eve of the budget. So how does the

:00:16.:00:21.

country's most powerful heir to a Barnetcy make pleasing the rich

:00:21.:00:26.

look like benefiting the poor. In tomorrow's budget the personal

:00:26.:00:30.

tax threshold will be raised to over �9,000, and the rich will be

:00:30.:00:34.

hit by higher stamp duty. With slow growth and massive

:00:34.:00:38.

austerity ahead, can they do anything more than just tinger

:00:38.:00:41.

around the edges. Somewhere near Blackpool is a

:00:41.:00:46.

promise that by drilling down into Lancashire, we could dramatically

:00:46.:00:49.

cut energy bills, is the technique of fracking for natural gas one

:00:49.:00:53.

that we can really trust. We can assure people thatm so of the

:00:53.:00:56.

concerns you have regarding oil and gas drilling will not happen on our

:00:56.:01:03.

watch. # I won't let love

:01:03.:01:08.

# Disrupt or interrupt me He's famed as one of the finest

:01:08.:01:12.

rock by starrists, this being Newsnight, we asked Jack White who

:01:12.:01:18.

he votes for. He refuse to vote for President, I don't believe in the

:01:18.:01:22.

Electoral College, it is outdated from 200 years ago that doesn't

:01:22.:01:30.

make sense for modern times. One thing we definitely can be

:01:30.:01:33.

grateful for in tomorrow's budget, even if it does result in the

:01:33.:01:36.

Chancellor sticking his hands further into our pockets, we shan't

:01:36.:01:40.

have to listen to people telling us what he's going to say. Perhaps the

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most fatuous piece of news today was a poll showing that half of

:01:44.:01:47.

voters expect George Osborne to reward the rich. Well, perhaps he

:01:47.:01:52.

will. But the person from whom you will learn most this evening is

:01:52.:01:57.

Newsnight's political editor. You better deliver.

:01:57.:02:01.

So what we know this evening is that they will be increasing the

:02:01.:02:07.

personal tax allowance to �9,05, as said in the menu. This is important

:02:07.:02:11.

because it is money back in people's pockets. We had David Laws

:02:11.:02:14.

on the programme a month ago saying they want to go further and faster

:02:14.:02:23.

on this, they wanted to go to �8,100, up to �8,700, now it is the

:02:23.:02:26.

�9,200 figure. It is a tacit addition that people need money to

:02:26.:02:29.

spend money now, and the economy needs people to spend money. It is

:02:29.:02:32.

also the beginning of a shift we will see completed tomorrow, this

:02:32.:02:35.

one from income to wealth. They will come forward with

:02:35.:02:39.

announcements on a higher rate of stamp duty for those who have �2

:02:39.:02:43.

million houses. It won't be a pure mansion tax, but a form of it. Yes,

:02:43.:02:47.

they are also highly likely, in fact, definitely getting rid of the

:02:47.:02:51.

50p rate. But again that fits the John Stuart Mill thing of, we have

:02:51.:02:59.

made a film about this. Shifting from income to wealth, it is bit et

:02:59.:03:03.

a big shift. -- quite a big shift.

:03:03.:03:08.

It has been a very odd process? Sources point to Sweden where, in

:03:08.:03:11.

the UK we have this emphasis on the one event, the Chancellor's

:03:11.:03:14.

announcement, actually in other countries they do bits and bobs,

:03:14.:03:17.

and lots of people get to announce things. They say it makes for a

:03:17.:03:20.

better budget. I think as long as the coalition las we will have

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budgets like this, -- coalitions lasts, we will have budgets like

:03:24.:03:28.

this, and we won't have one of the old type for many years or never

:03:28.:03:32.

again. What is busy today? The look at 50p and why they feel they can

:03:32.:03:36.

scrap it. Tomorrow's events in the palace of

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Westminster, will have a feeling of austerity. But today's state

:03:40.:03:45.

occasion was far more convivial. 24 hours before one of the most

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anticipated budgets, today's chatter will have been of tax cuts,

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and not any old tax cut, the big one .Le These chaps probably earn

:03:54.:04:00.

too little for it to affect them, so do these two. And most of these

:04:00.:04:02.

distinguished crowd also. The centre piece of this year's budget

:04:02.:04:07.

looks like it will affect people a bit nearer to the Monarch's league.

:04:07.:04:11.

Which certainly means one former PM. Despite the almost unprecedented

:04:12.:04:15.

pre-briefing, the Prime Minister himself, was rather quiet today.

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REPORTER: Are you looking forward to the budget? Even the Prime

:04:19.:04:23.

Minister's own advisers, who once upon time, hated the idea of

:04:23.:04:28.

ditching the 50p rate, well, they are now on side with the

:04:28.:04:31.

Chancellor's push. What they will do is a series of measures that

:04:31.:04:34.

will show the rich will pay, more than under the 50p regime, so they

:04:34.:04:38.

are going ahead with it. And once upon a time, we didn't think that

:04:38.:04:43.

would be true. Scrapping the 50p rate of tax fares badly in opinion

:04:43.:04:50.

poll, today's Guardian ICM poll showed 67% of voters wanted to the

:04:50.:04:57.

rate. Even among Tory spers, numbers that want to people is 65%.

:04:57.:05:04.

YouGov found similar figures. But 48% wanted tax reduced in a future

:05:04.:05:08.

budget. The Government think the public will be won round showing

:05:08.:05:14.

how little the tax has raised. predicted �2.6 billion, they

:05:14.:05:18.

thought that prudent. In response to similar changes in the US you

:05:18.:05:21.

are closer to �1 billion, the outturn may be lower than that.

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Even if the economics take their of themselves, is the political

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message of scrapping it a sensible one. I'm concerned about that, I'm

:05:28.:05:33.

concerned because the 50p tax rate sends out an important message. The

:05:33.:05:36.

message is, literally, we are all in this together, higher earners

:05:36.:05:40.

have to pay their share. The only way to go down well, I believe,

:05:40.:05:43.

with my constituents, is if two things take place. One the message

:05:43.:05:47.

is clearly conveyed, that higher earners are taking their share. I

:05:47.:05:52.

would use as an example of that, take ago I way child benefit from

:05:52.:05:56.

the top 15% of earners. That is a difficult thing for tax-payers to

:05:56.:05:59.

have to endure. The second thing is, we have to be absolutely

:05:59.:06:04.

LCH.Clearnet, the reason to take away the 50p tax rate, is to

:06:04.:06:09.

stimulate growth. If they are not clear about that, stories worried

:06:09.:06:13.

that they will have taunts from the Labour Party that they are in

:06:13.:06:20.

league with the superrich. Labour are not against the 50p rate

:06:20.:06:24.

cut, so it gives breathing room for the Chancellor. People are worried

:06:25.:06:27.

by high petrol and energy prices, they want action from the

:06:27.:06:31.

Government to help middle and lower income families. All we hear from

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Osborne is the budget will cut taxes for people earning above

:06:35.:06:39.

�150,000. People will say, that's out-of-touch, we want a budget for

:06:40.:06:43.

jobs and families which is fair, that is what we need from the

:06:43.:06:47.

budget. So tomorrow the megawealthy look set to be introduced to a new

:06:47.:06:51.

regime of tax breaks ended and allowances curtailed. The idea is

:06:51.:06:55.

they pay as much tax under the new system as the old. Two weeks ago

:06:55.:06:59.

Nick Clegg called that a tycoon tax, now people in this building are

:06:59.:07:02.

reluctant to give it that name in the budget tomorrow. The Tories

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feel they should get as much credit for this as the Lib Dems want to

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get. Whoever is the true author of this fresh crackdown on the

:07:10.:07:12.

superrich, Nick Clegg has some exacting members of his own party

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to please. If the 50p rate of tax on the top

:07:16.:07:21.

earners is going to go, then we need a policy which will be good

:07:21.:07:25.

for the people at the bottom end of the scale. We want to see the

:07:25.:07:28.

income tax threshold raised to �10,000. Nick Clegg set out his

:07:28.:07:30.

stall on that, he made it clear that is what the Liberal Democrats

:07:30.:07:34.

are asking for. That is what we have to get tomorrow.

:07:35.:07:40.

The Chancellor has been studying how Conservatives cut taxes in the

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80s, they did their tax cuts in the early periods, immediately after

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elections, and plenty of time before the next. If he's going to

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do it at all, he's got to do it now. All this happens amid the

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encirleling gloom to which we have now become rather accustomed, there

:07:56.:08:00.

was better news today, inflation has fallen, we are massively in

:08:00.:08:04.

debt as a nation, the economy is hardly growing, and unemployment is

:08:04.:08:14.
:08:14.:08:20.

higher than for 17 years. He talks big, and never brings it on?

:08:20.:08:24.

have seen the set of leaks going on over the last few days. This is

:08:24.:08:30.

detail. The budget, I'm told, by sources, tonight, that it will be

:08:30.:08:32.

fiscally neutral, the important thing there, is for the markets,

:08:32.:08:35.

for the people who lend us the money, it means that the overall

:08:35.:08:40.

plan to get the deficit down is not changing. What is changing is the

:08:40.:08:44.

mix of tax and spending cuts. What they are doing here is they are

:08:44.:08:48.

reducing the tax. It will be a net tax cutting budget, I'm told, they

:08:48.:08:56.

will replace it with spending cuts. You will be stunned to know, ...For

:08:56.:09:02.

Those who don't inhabit the dismal science, what does fiscally neutral

:09:02.:09:05.

mean? It means they won't borrow more or less than they said they

:09:05.:09:09.

would. The course of setting the deficit right is as it was. But you

:09:09.:09:13.

will be stunned to know that nobody is briefing us as to what is to be

:09:13.:09:18.

cut, to pay for this. The danger with relying on extra cuts, the

:09:18.:09:22.

smart money is on more welfare cuts, actually. Is that you have still

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got to do them. 5% of these cuts lie ahead, and what the market --

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85% of these cuts lie ahead. What the markets are worried about, is

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if they do most of that by cutting, how will they do it. Is this good

:09:37.:09:40.

for persuading people they want to lend us money? It is a little worry

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for them. Last week, I think it was FITCH, the ratings agencies, put

:09:45.:09:48.

Britain on negative watch, worrying about getting pushed off the

:09:48.:09:53.

deficit reduction target. You have seen today in parliament the end,

:09:53.:09:59.

what looks like the end, a huge row between the parties over the NHS,

:09:59.:10:05.

the NHS, in technical terms, isn't being cut. Yet it has caused 18

:10:05.:10:08.

months of political pain. The cuts lie ahead, and for the last three

:10:08.:10:11.

years of the cuts programme, we don't know what will be cut. The

:10:11.:10:17.

NHS after the next election, tech clo and easily could be cut. The

:10:17.:10:25.

politic -- technically could easily be put. The bend and ratings agency

:10:25.:10:31.

guise worry about the scale of the cuts, and tomorrow if there is more

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cuts, which we are not briefed about, as well as the people who

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oppose cuts will be worried, the markets will not be particularly

:10:38.:10:42.

ecstatic, I don't think. Thank you very much. Most of the

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headlines are so far about what George Osborne may do to help or

:10:46.:10:56.
:10:56.:10:57.

Hurd the rich. The former City Minister, Lord Myners, who now

:10:57.:11:00.

chairs Sevian Capital, and Kate Robertson, the marketing executive,

:11:00.:11:05.

they are not short of a bob or two or an opinion or two. At a time

:11:05.:11:09.

when the nation is short of cash, what is gained by cutting taxes for

:11:09.:11:15.

the rich? The gain to the country is the signal to business worldwide,

:11:15.:11:20.

that Britain is open for business. At the moment really, nothing else

:11:20.:11:23.

is more important, no other signal is more important.

:11:24.:11:27.

So you know loads of people who are not invest anything this country,

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because the rate of tax is 5p higher than it will be apparently

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after tomorrow? I certainly know some, I don't know if it is loads

:11:37.:11:40.

proportionally, it is enough to be making a difference. It certainly

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makes enough difference to my clients and to me in business.

:11:44.:11:48.

at the deterred? We are deterred, it is not just that tax rate itself.

:11:48.:11:54.

But by the fact that we are not showing confidence in the country

:11:54.:11:57.

and the economy. The other thing that is said about

:11:57.:12:01.

this tax is it doesn't bring in any money, which is rather at variance

:12:01.:12:04.

of it deterring people, if it doesn't bring in any money it is

:12:04.:12:09.

crazy to keep it? We haven't enough evidence yet, Jeremy. The

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Chancellor said he was going to commission a review of the impact,

:12:14.:12:17.

unfortunately he has done it through HMRC, rather than the

:12:17.:12:20.

Office of Budget Responsibility. It is not really an independent review.

:12:20.:12:25.

There is only one year of data. But there is a contradiction here, that

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the rich are saying we don't have any incentive to work hard because

:12:29.:12:34.

of the high rate of taxation, therefore it is not raising

:12:34.:12:36.

additional tax. They are getting around it through clever tax

:12:36.:12:40.

management. They can't have it both ways.

:12:40.:12:44.

So you will pledge, you are not in a position to make a pledge, do you

:12:44.:12:46.

think the Labour Party should pledge they will restore the 50p

:12:46.:12:49.

rate if indeed it is reduced tomorrow? I think the Labour Party

:12:49.:12:52.

will make their decisions on what they will put in their manifesto,

:12:52.:12:59.

when we get to 2015. But you think it will do nothing to

:12:59.:13:02.

distract from their claim of economic confidence to promise to

:13:02.:13:06.

do so? It is not a priority to reduce the tax on the superrich.

:13:06.:13:10.

There are far more pressing needs. Alistair Darling said when it was

:13:10.:13:14.

mooted he thought it was a temporary measure? The fiscal

:13:14.:13:18.

stance we take for the manifesto in 2015 will be determined at that

:13:18.:13:24.

time, it will be foolish to anticipate it, James, I mean Jeremy,

:13:24.:13:32.

sorry. That is twice, that's all right! What about the other thing,

:13:32.:13:36.

that will will be an increase on stamp duetyo for more expensive

:13:36.:13:40.

houses. Its not quite the Lib Dem mansion tax, but something along

:13:40.:13:44.

those lines, will that deter people from coming to this country? That

:13:44.:13:47.

is not the issue. The issue isn't whether it will deter them from

:13:47.:13:50.

coming to this country. The real issue is businesses in this country

:13:50.:13:55.

are sitting on piles and piles of cash, don't really have the

:13:55.:14:02.

confidence to invest, therefore, we are not able to create jobs. As

:14:02.:14:04.

soon as you are looking at an economy and saying businesses are

:14:04.:14:07.

not confident and we are not sure where this is going, then you have

:14:07.:14:10.

the situation we are in at the moment. We are only growing at

:14:10.:14:15.

about 1%. We should be at about 3%. Is there anything that the

:14:15.:14:18.

Chancellor could say tomorrow, which would be likely to change

:14:18.:14:24.

that? I think a first sign at cutting tax, at cutting the top

:14:24.:14:29.

rate is a start. It is a sign of confidence, Jeremy, it is nothing

:14:29.:14:34.

else it is that. If you are saying is there anything else he could be

:14:34.:14:38.

doing, absolutely. Paul raised the point about raising the �10,000

:14:38.:14:42.

threshold, raising the 40p threshold, lowering corporation tax

:14:42.:14:45.

to 20%, for me, all of those would stimulate business, they would

:14:45.:14:51.

stimulate my businesses, all of my clients' businesses, it would be

:14:51.:14:54.

brilliant. Don't you worry about how devisive it is going to be?

:14:54.:14:58.

Even most Conservative voters are against reducing the top rate of

:14:58.:15:02.

tax? It is devisive depending on the headline that, with the

:15:02.:15:08.

greatest of respect, you yourself, and the media, put it on it. Is the

:15:08.:15:13.

headline "tax cut for the rich" or "Britain open for business". How do

:15:13.:15:17.

you want it to play? Growth will only come from business. Jobs will

:15:17.:15:21.

come from business and not from the state sector. Forget about it, that

:15:21.:15:25.

is not going to happen. How much room for manoeuvre do you think he

:15:25.:15:30.

has tomorrow? Not a great deal. A broadly physicaly neutral stance is

:15:30.:15:36.

probably right, but he's -- fis fiscally neutral stance is probably

:15:36.:15:43.

right. We need a budget for the millions not the millionaires. We

:15:43.:15:45.

need to get the economy growing and create employment. The nation will

:15:46.:15:50.

say what are the priorities when you are cutting tax for the top 1%,

:15:50.:15:54.

and yet you can't do anything to help those who are at the most risk

:15:54.:15:58.

in the economy, the poor and those on low incomes. And that, I think,

:15:58.:16:04.

is the issue of justice, that this budget, if it is correctly leaked,

:16:04.:16:07.

doesn't appear to be able to address satisfactorily. Who knows

:16:07.:16:11.

if it is correctly leaked, it may be spun. That is what politicians

:16:11.:16:17.

and Governments generally. Do we will find out tomorrow.

:16:17.:16:21.

There is no justice without jobs, Lord Myners, there have to be more

:16:21.:16:25.

jobs. That is what I'm saying. First, second, third and last, when

:16:25.:16:28.

you say setting the priorities, and it is justice, and looking after

:16:28.:16:33.

the poorest. How? And with what? With what money? If there aren't,

:16:33.:16:37.

if there isn't stimulus for business and more jobs, forget

:16:37.:16:42.

about it, it cannot happen. We are not Russia or China, it won't work.

:16:42.:16:46.

Last year, Kate, the Chancellor said he would put fuel in the tank

:16:46.:16:49.

of economic recovery, it would be a march of the makers, that is proven

:16:49.:16:52.

to be nonsense, the economy has barely grown over the last 12

:16:53.:16:57.

months. Unemployment is rising, we now have over one million young

:16:57.:17:02.

people unemployed. We have just seen the national minimum wage held

:17:02.:17:05.

static for young people. I don't disagree with you here. That is

:17:05.:17:10.

where the effort needs to come. is not growing enough, that is true.

:17:10.:17:14.

Has he put fuel in the tank, not really, but the tax cuts aren't

:17:14.:17:17.

coming at the moment. We are talking about tax cuts not anything

:17:17.:17:22.

else. We better talk when we resume this and we know what we are

:17:22.:17:25.

talking about, rather than speculating. A new approach! Thank

:17:25.:17:30.

you, after 11.00 we will look at what the budget is do to help

:17:30.:17:33.

Britain' recovery, and what briefings the papers have had with

:17:33.:17:36.

a journalist and economist. The world is running out of energy,

:17:36.:17:40.

what brilliant news that there is a way of extracting vast quantities

:17:40.:17:45.

of natural gas from the earth, which might bridge the looming gap.

:17:45.:17:48.

Last year two earthquakes hit Blackpool, little ones, of course,

:17:48.:17:52.

but these were different, they were not natural phenomena, they were

:17:52.:17:56.

caused by efforts to extract methane gas from the ground, in a

:17:56.:18:00.

process known as fracking. No big deal, say the energy companies, who

:18:00.:18:03.

think fracking is hugely promising. It is huge in the states, but

:18:03.:18:07.

environmentalists hate it, and it is banned in France. Any day now

:18:07.:18:17.
:18:17.:18:17.

the Government is expected to allow it to resume here. Do we want it.

:18:17.:18:21.

It was extremely unlikely there would be no earth tremors, there

:18:21.:18:25.

have already been two. earthquakes in two months won't

:18:25.:18:32.

stop gas drilling for good. Last year, Blackpool was hit by two

:18:32.:18:35.

small earthquakes. The tremors didn't amount to much,

:18:35.:18:41.

but these were no natural phenomena. By trying to extract methane gas

:18:41.:18:45.

from beneath the earth's surface, engineers had triggered a seismic

:18:45.:18:51.

response. The technique is known as fracking.

:18:51.:18:58.

Over 800 wells were planned Forsyths here on the Fylde tennis

:18:58.:19:02.

la, operations were called to -- peninsula, operations were called

:19:02.:19:06.

to a halt and the Government called for a review. The decision on

:19:06.:19:10.

whether they can start up again is gettinged any day now. But

:19:10.:19:15.

Newsnight -- expected any day now. But Newsnight has discovered

:19:15.:19:19.

regulation is not keeping pace with the industry. An industrial process

:19:19.:19:22.

that caused earthquakes clearly isn't great, even if it is only

:19:22.:19:27.

small, local tremors. And these quakes have focused opposition,

:19:27.:19:31.

raising a host of other questions about the impact of National

:19:31.:19:37.

Infrastructure Plan on this coastal lant scape of the Lancashire pen --

:19:37.:19:40.

landscape of the Lancashire peninsula.

:19:40.:19:45.

So what is fracking? Or to give it its proper name, hide drollic

:19:45.:19:50.

fracturing. -- hydrolic fracturing. From a

:19:50.:19:55.

plait pad, a mobile rig drills down 7,000 feet to reach the gas.

:19:55.:20:00.

Precision drilling follows a gentle curve, so the end of the well has a

:20:00.:20:04.

horizontal view of the rock, and maximum access to the trapped gas.

:20:04.:20:09.

The well is lined with alternative layers of metal tubing a cement

:20:09.:20:12.

casing, and then completed with controlled explosions that open up

:20:12.:20:17.

fractures in the surrounding rock. Then comes the fracking. Millions

:20:17.:20:21.

of gallons of water, at high pressure, are pumped into the well,

:20:21.:20:26.

along with sand and chemicals, which prop open the fractures and

:20:26.:20:32.

help the gas to escape for easily. It it is this process that

:20:32.:20:37.

inadvertantly caused the earthquakes. Mike Hill is a

:20:37.:20:42.

technical adviser to Fylde borough council, he's a technical expert

:20:42.:20:45.

that used to work in the industry. He is not against it but wants to

:20:46.:20:49.

make sure it is done properly. you have a seismic event,

:20:50.:20:52.

relatively small, you might feel shakes in the house, my concern

:20:52.:20:56.

isn't houses or buildings, it is more the cement around the borehole.

:20:56.:21:02.

If that gets cracked, that is when you can get contamation, and

:21:02.:21:06.

pollutants migrating away and moving away from the borehole, we

:21:06.:21:12.

must prevent that at all costs. He is concerned after America's

:21:12.:21:18.

experience with fracking. Internet videos showed flaming taps as gas

:21:18.:21:22.

escaped into drinking water. Some companies denied that such leaks

:21:22.:21:26.

were happening. But America's second largest natural gas company,

:21:26.:21:31.

Chesnot peek energy, admitted to Newsnight, that it had found

:21:31.:21:35.

evidence of gas leaks and had changed procedures. In some cases

:21:35.:21:40.

it looks as the cement was drying, the high pressure shallow methane

:21:40.:21:46.

kept it from drying properly, and allow channelling to develop on the

:21:46.:21:51.

outside of the casing which could allow methane to move up and get

:21:51.:21:55.

into fresh water. We found regulators trying to catch up and

:21:55.:22:04.

impose rules after serious problems had already occurred.

:22:04.:22:09.

I'm Mark Miller, the CEO. The main players in UK Shell Gas

:22:09.:22:14.

Exploration, have tried to make the case for fracking. We are drilling

:22:14.:22:17.

a new exploration well to 9,000 feet near Blackpool. They insist

:22:17.:22:22.

they are a responsible company. We employ all state-of-the-art

:22:22.:22:26.

equipment. Even down to the actual operation of it. His point is, that

:22:26.:22:31.

it will all be done safely. We can assure people that some of the

:22:31.:22:34.

concerns that we have regarding oil and gas drilling, will not happen

:22:34.:22:39.

on our watch, and will not happen with wells we drill in this area.

:22:39.:22:43.

Blackpool is a folkal point now, it sits on one of the UK's most

:22:43.:22:49.

promising sites, the Boland Shale, but Lancashire is not the only

:22:49.:22:55.

place with shale gas resources, there are shale basins from

:22:55.:22:59.

Blackpool to scar bore roing row, from the Midland valley in Scotland,

:22:59.:23:04.

and southern England. Estimates vary on how much gas it

:23:04.:23:08.

might be possible to extract, the British Geological Survey reckons

:23:09.:23:16.

on the equivalent of 18 months gas needs. Qaud drill la says it

:23:16.:23:22.

calculates there krb -- Cuadrilla says it calculates many years

:23:22.:23:28.

supply worth billions of pounds. To get an overview of just how big

:23:28.:23:32.

an impact fracking could have on the landscape, it helps to get a

:23:32.:23:39.

bird's eye view. This part of Lancashire is heavily

:23:39.:23:46.

populated, with Blackpool on the coast and Preston further inland.

:23:46.:23:50.

What makes people anxious, here in the UK, is that drilling sites are

:23:50.:23:56.

so close to where people live. However much Cuadrilla vows to keep

:23:56.:24:01.

its operation safe, people worry that other companies may not be as

:24:01.:24:05.

conscientious. Christine Dickinson runs a caravan

:24:05.:24:09.

site, close to where they might drill, and just down the road from

:24:09.:24:14.

the local bird sanctuary. No, we don't want it, on here, on our

:24:14.:24:17.

doorstep. Where it could contaminate the water, where the

:24:17.:24:21.

birds are, it could contaminate our spring water. I have got a spring

:24:21.:24:29.

here. We don't want to take that risk.

:24:29.:24:33.

We approached Cuadrilla where former head of BP, Lord Brown is a

:24:33.:24:37.

director, for an interview through their PR consultants in London. We

:24:37.:24:41.

wanted to ask them about their practices, regulation and local

:24:41.:24:45.

concerns, but they declined. In response to our questions they said,

:24:45.:24:48.

Cuadrilla believes that the tough and comprehensive regulatory regime,

:24:48.:24:52.

that is now in place, would ensure the UK can benefit from shale gas,

:24:53.:24:56.

safely and securely. They said they have an on going

:24:56.:25:01.

dialogue with local residents and believe shale gas could have a

:25:01.:25:05.

transformative effect on the local and national economy.

:25:05.:25:09.

But just how tough and comprehensive is the regulatory

:25:09.:25:17.

regime that Cuadrilla refers to. Mike Hill took us to the site near

:25:17.:25:22.

Blackpool, it is the only one in the UK that has been partially

:25:22.:25:25.

fracked. Cuadrilla agreed to stop work after the earthquakes while

:25:25.:25:28.

the Government review took place. That was months ago, but the

:25:28.:25:31.

leftover fracking fluid is still here, because Cuadrilla has no

:25:31.:25:35.

permit to move it. The water they are storing is radioactive, because

:25:35.:25:39.

it has picked up natural radiation from underground. It is only a low

:25:39.:25:42.

level, but above that allowed by the Environment Agency.

:25:42.:25:49.

When you frack a well, you put about two millions of water down it,

:25:49.:25:55.

one million flows away with the fracking chemicals, into the

:25:55.:25:58.

formations and we don't know where it goes, the other comes back up

:25:59.:26:07.

the well, half a million gallons per well, so up to 800 million

:26:07.:26:14.

gallons of water that needs to be disposed of with up to nine-times

:26:14.:26:20.

the radioactive levels. The Health and Safety Executive regulate this

:26:20.:26:23.

industry. How many times have you come down, I asked them, how many

:26:23.:26:28.

times have you inspected, when Cuadrilla say they are doing X, Y

:26:28.:26:32.

and Z, how much times have you checked? The answer, none, not once

:26:32.:26:37.

in two years has the HSE visited any of the wls in Lancashire to

:26:37.:26:42.

test, or verify for themselves. sounds as if your concern over

:26:42.:26:45.

regulation is left to the industry itself, rather than pro-active

:26:45.:26:50.

regulation? It is entirely left to the industry itself. We asked the

:26:51.:26:56.

Environment Agency, what plans it has to deal with the flow-back

:26:56.:27:02.

fluid stored in Blackpool, and how it wants to regulate in the future.

:27:02.:27:08.

And how they appear to be relying on assurances from Cuadrilla.

:27:08.:27:13.

They say the company will have to seek a permit to dispose the fluids.

:27:13.:27:23.
:27:23.:27:38.

If the industry rides out local opposition, here in Lancashire, and

:27:38.:27:43.

finds it really can extract as much as it hopes, and safely, the impact

:27:43.:27:47.

of shale gas in the UK could be dramatic.

:27:47.:27:53.

It is already bringing down gas prices in the US.

:27:53.:27:57.

This poses a dilemma for the Government. Turning to gas for a

:27:57.:28:02.

few more years pushes visions of a carbon-free energy supply further

:28:02.:28:07.

into the future. But it could help to solve fuel poverty and boost the

:28:07.:28:11.

economy, as it ponders this potential new source of home-grown

:28:11.:28:19.

energy, that promise may prove too tempting to resist.

:28:19.:28:25.

Two people whose positions on fracking are hopelessly irrock

:28:25.:28:30.

consieming, Al Green, a shale gas Evangelist. And the only Green

:28:30.:28:36.

member of parliament. What would the exploitation of gas,

:28:36.:28:40.

only available through fracking do to the price of gas? I estimate it

:28:40.:28:44.

would drop it by at least half by 2020. So we will be paying half

:28:44.:28:49.

what we now pay for gas? That's correct. With the results in effect

:28:49.:28:53.

on industry, and of course on electricity prices. Do you have any

:28:53.:28:59.

evidence to support that claim? Certainly we are talking about

:28:59.:29:05.

supply and demand here. They said there there was 150bcm, that is an

:29:05.:29:10.

outdated figure that the British Geological Survey is changing. This

:29:10.:29:15.

is not one North Sea, this is several North Seas worth of natural

:29:15.:29:20.

gas. It is transforming world energy markets. And it will do the

:29:20.:29:26.

same in Lancashire. So you don't dispute that, that if there is.

:29:26.:29:30.

do. I dispute the issue of the cost saving that Nick has just put

:29:30.:29:36.

forward. If you lock at someone like Deutsche Bank says, they are

:29:36.:29:39.

hard-headed economists, they say in the UK context, the chances are

:29:39.:29:42.

that shale gas won't reduce the price of gas significantly at all.

:29:42.:29:46.

Because we are far more densely populated than the US. At the US

:29:46.:29:51.

they are the only place exploiting shale gas. It has cut gas prices?

:29:51.:29:54.

It has, what Deutsche Bank says it is unlikely to do that to any

:29:55.:29:59.

extent through the UK, we are far more densely populate and it will

:29:59.:30:03.

take far longer to get agreement to go ahead with mining. Why not take

:30:03.:30:08.

the commercial risk? I want some facts on the table. Let's lock at

:30:08.:30:12.

dech bank about the cost, and the pollution side of it as well, my

:30:12.:30:16.

worry is when Nick says there is several North Seas worth of gas,

:30:16.:30:22.

the truth is, even if we were to exploit 20% of the licensed area in

:30:22.:30:29.

Lancashire, we would use up to 15% of our CO2 budget to 2050. If we

:30:29.:30:36.

are serious about reducing climate figures we can't afford to extra

:30:36.:30:42.

Kate that amount of gas. When you see -- Extricate that amount of gas.

:30:42.:30:48.

When you see people setting fire toe their taps it is difficult.

:30:48.:30:51.

is emotional. How is it emotional, you want to have a wash and there

:30:51.:30:55.

is a fire, of course it is emotional! That has no connection

:30:55.:31:02.

to fracking at all. Are you certain about that? Beyond a shadow of a

:31:02.:31:05.

doubt. It is impossible that was caused by fracking? That is correct,

:31:05.:31:10.

it has been proved many, many times. Or asserted many times? Even proven.

:31:10.:31:14.

For example, if anybody would just go to Google News, and do a search

:31:14.:31:21.

for water on fire, you will see, in Google News, north American

:31:21.:31:26.

newspapers going back to the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, with taps on fire.

:31:26.:31:30.

don't think we should get too diverted by that particular image,

:31:30.:31:33.

it was shocking but there are plenty of other shocking images

:31:33.:31:37.

around shale gas. Partly around the links to water contamination,

:31:37.:31:41.

through the chemicals that are being used. But also the fact that

:31:41.:31:45.

the first dash for gas we had was not a bad thing, it replaced coal.

:31:45.:31:51.

This new dash for gas is likely to replace energy efficiency. That is

:31:51.:31:54.

the real tragedy. That is a political point of view, you think

:31:54.:31:59.

that all fossil fuel energy should eventually be replaced by energy

:31:59.:32:05.

from renewable sources? Eventually. If we accept we need gas as

:32:05.:32:09.

transitional fuel, don't use shale gas, it is more carbon intensive

:32:09.:32:13.

than other gas. The would you accept it if you were satisfied it

:32:13.:32:16.

was properly regulated, the exploitation and the regulations

:32:16.:32:20.

and the way it works? It would be better than it is at the moment. I

:32:20.:32:23.

still don't think it is the right way forward, for the reason I have

:32:23.:32:29.

said, it is far more carbon intensive, contributing more to CO2

:32:29.:32:33.

levels. Here in the world we are in the middle of an economic crisis?

:32:33.:32:37.

We are saying this gas will be more expensive, potentially, than

:32:37.:32:41.

conventional gas, and we are saying it is more carbon intensive. It is

:32:41.:32:45.

a no-brainer. If they want to take the commercial risk, who are you to

:32:45.:32:48.

stop them? It is not just a commercial risk, it is an

:32:48.:32:53.

environmental risk, and locking us into a fossil fuel structure in our

:32:54.:32:58.

energy supplies, at exactly the time we want to move on from that.

:32:58.:33:02.

That is an ideolgical point? It is how to reach the climate change

:33:02.:33:05.

objectives, agreed by the Government. We have the Climate

:33:05.:33:10.

Change Act, saying we have to reduce our CO2 emissions by 2050,

:33:10.:33:13.

we don't do that going down the Shell route. Let's park that and

:33:13.:33:17.

the question of commercial risk. If an energy company decides it wants

:33:17.:33:21.

to try to exploit this resource, is there any way, in your judgment, it

:33:21.:33:24.

can be proper low and safely regulated? I think the jury is out

:33:24.:33:29.

on that. Not east because, if we are serious about making this a

:33:29.:33:33.

significant percentage of our energy supply. We might need 3,000

:33:33.:33:41.

we wills, just to produce 10 -- wells, just to produce 10,000

:33:41.:33:47.

thousands of gas supplies. This can create a huge amount of wealth for

:33:47.:33:52.

the nation, which will be taxed, in this nation, and not exported to

:33:52.:33:56.

the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, or to fund the Royal Family of

:33:56.:33:59.

Qatar. There will be plenty of money to

:33:59.:34:05.

pay for teachers, nurses, doctors, and HSE inspectors and regulators.

:34:05.:34:10.

This is the best news for the economy, and for the environment.

:34:10.:34:17.

Because a true dismal sign has been energy.

:34:17.:34:22.

He might have become a priest, instead a rock star. The story of

:34:22.:34:27.

Jack White, considered one of the world's most influential guitarists,

:34:27.:34:32.

has a Picaresque quality. The man who did or didn't marry the man who

:34:32.:34:36.

wasn't his sister, and later got divorced from someone he married in

:34:36.:34:43.

a ceremony in a canoe, keep up. He is ranked number 70 in the Rolling

:34:43.:34:48.

Stone list of greatist by starrists of all time. He has been speaking

:34:48.:34:58.
:34:58.:35:01.

exclusively to US. They were the are they aren't they rock combo,

:35:01.:35:06.

Jack White and his wife, Meg, or was she his sister, either I would

:35:06.:35:14.

White Stripes were a big noise, but now the band has folded.

:35:14.:35:21.

Hello. Welcome to London. Do you have the money in a suitcase.

:35:21.:35:23.

Always. As you know, when the stars talk,

:35:23.:35:28.

they talk to Newsnight, quite often, and Jack White is dropping in the

:35:28.:35:33.

former County Hall in London, to discuss a new solo album,

:35:33.:35:37.

Blunderbuss. I always loved the word, as a child there was a street

:35:37.:35:42.

near my house, I lived near a fort and they were all military streets,

:35:42.:35:49.

I loved the word "Dragoon", I thought they misPresident Yeltsin

:35:49.:35:59.
:35:59.:35:59.

"dragon", it is the piss -- Do you keep other words in there,

:35:59.:36:05.

or is that not your tip? American as I am I don't have any

:36:05.:36:10.

firearms. You are weapons-free at this time? Hands free!

:36:10.:36:15.

# I want love to walk up and bite # Grab a hold of me and fight me

:36:15.:36:20.

# Leave my dying on the ground Rock'n'roll wasn't White's only

:36:21.:36:24.

career option, he also considered the priesthood. I was accepted at a

:36:24.:36:29.

semry when I was younger, but I didn't go. I changed my mind at the

:36:29.:36:36.

last second. You could have been Al Greene, and he has done well. What

:36:36.:36:40.

happened then, you suddenly thought, I can't go through with this?

:36:40.:36:44.

crunched some numbers, and the pay didn't look very good, so. Watching

:36:44.:36:47.

the US election process from a distance, it seems as though

:36:47.:36:53.

religion is a really big factor this time, does that strike you?

:36:53.:36:57.

I'm not too political a guy, I do know America is quite addicted to

:36:57.:37:03.

fear. They will take through religion if they need to, or go and

:37:03.:37:07.

pay for it at the box-office to watch a movie or whatever it is.

:37:07.:37:11.

Fear is a big addiction in America. Of course people are going to

:37:11.:37:17.

exploit that through religious means. What about the little matter

:37:17.:37:23.

of the American presidential campaign. Who has the guitarist's

:37:23.:37:28.

vote? I refuse to vote for a President, I don't believe in the

:37:28.:37:32.

Electoral College, I think it is an outdated mode from 200 years ago

:37:32.:37:37.

that doesn't make any sense for modern times. We just saw that in

:37:37.:37:40.

recent elections with George Bush, that he did not win by the popular

:37:40.:37:43.

vote. I think the popular vote should elect the President, the

:37:43.:37:46.

more votes you get, think you should be the President of the

:37:46.:37:50.

United States. It seems quite a divided society as well. No, I

:37:50.:37:56.

think there is, it has always been simplified, two-party system, in

:37:56.:37:59.

any country, it is kind of ridiculously simplified, there is

:37:59.:38:08.

not only two sides of the story. Some bad news, Jack White confirmed

:38:08.:38:12.

there will be no more from him and Meg as the White Stripes, but were

:38:12.:38:17.

they or weren't they an item. and I had really no idea what

:38:17.:38:22.

people wanted from a male and female on stage, we didn't really

:38:22.:38:31.

know what part of the deal was. you were happy to keep it fairly

:38:31.:38:38.

opaque, you weren't going to be Sonny and Cher? It was a feeling

:38:38.:38:44.

that what we wanted to represent was feminity and mass kallinity,

:38:44.:38:51.

telling both sides of the story that was being performed. Finally

:38:51.:38:57.

an insight into how we Brits are going down in White's home land.

:38:57.:39:02.

This mean British celebrity vibe has gone on for the past few years,

:39:02.:39:11.

with the Simon Cowells. Mean as in? Judgmental and harsh, vicious and

:39:11.:39:18.

nasty was the chef. Ramsey? Gordon Ramsey, and Simon Cowell, in

:39:18.:39:23.

America it comes off as Ricky Gervais. That is how we are seen

:39:23.:39:26.

now. Nasty British celebrities. are not like that? You guys are

:39:26.:39:32.

great. I love you guys. That is very sincere, thank you!

:39:32.:39:36.

Back to the budget now, by this time tomorrow we shall have

:39:36.:39:40.

discovered whether we really are all in this together, or some are

:39:40.:39:44.

more in it than others, as a nation among other nations, Britain, of

:39:44.:39:49.

course, isn't it in it alone, time to root Paul Mason out of the

:39:49.:39:54.

basement again. He was going to come here with a wonderfully

:39:54.:40:00.

elaborate, semi-high-tech tablet to display graphics showing our

:40:00.:40:03.

international performance, but it doesn't work. Tell us about it?

:40:03.:40:10.

This is not British technology. OK, the British economy is going quite

:40:10.:40:14.

sluggish low. That is the background to the budget we have --

:40:14.:40:18.

sluggishly, that is the background to the budget we have now. We had a

:40:18.:40:24.

0.2% shrinkage in the last few year, it is locking like 0.8% growth

:40:24.:40:28.

overall -- looking like 0.8% growth overall this year. The question

:40:28.:40:31.

George Osborne has to address in tomorrow's budget, the question

:40:31.:40:35.

that hangs over beyond politic, left and right both know this, is

:40:35.:40:42.

that cutting tax for a hedge fund manager to bring him back to London,

:40:42.:40:46.

and cutting tax for his cleaner, the two headlines, does not a

:40:46.:40:50.

growth strategy make. You have to come up with convincing turn around

:40:50.:40:54.

in some of the key figures. Now, what are those figures? One is the

:40:54.:41:03.

level of GDP. The level of UK GDP has fallen during, in analog, I

:41:03.:41:06.

could use my hand instead of the tablet machine. It has fallen and

:41:06.:41:11.

stayed tag nant, it is not coming back in the same -- stagnant, and

:41:11.:41:15.

not coming back in the same way as other countries. America is

:41:15.:41:17.

recovering, Britain is not recovering anything like as fast.

:41:17.:41:21.

The second set of metrics we have to look at is on industrial

:41:22.:41:28.

production, industrial production is a geeky term. But America is

:41:28.:41:32.

recovering, we are not. Despite this we have classy numbers out of

:41:32.:41:36.

the car industry, we are exporting cars like crazy. It doesn't look

:41:36.:41:41.

like that alone can turn Britain around. The final thing is

:41:41.:41:43.

unemployment. We have managed to get away without the worst of the

:41:44.:41:50.

unemployment that America has. America has, and the Euroland, have

:41:50.:41:55.

had some very horrible unemployment figures. Ours are still rising,

:41:55.:41:59.

while their's are falling. This is the challenge Osborne has to hit

:41:59.:42:02.

tomorrow, he has to at this time it with a convincing story, that goes

:42:02.:42:07.

beyond, as I say, the individual tweaks. Even the people briefing

:42:07.:42:11.

tonight, this story about tax cut, are careful from the Treasury to

:42:11.:42:15.

say it is at the edges, the story remains the same. Six years of very

:42:15.:42:20.

hard graft, physically. Thank you very much.

:42:20.:42:23.

-- fiscally. Thank you very much, clearly we are

:42:23.:42:28.

lagging behind, what can George Osborne do to help. The economist

:42:28.:42:34.

Megan Greene and Sam Fleming are here to share their ideas. Is he

:42:34.:42:36.

likely to produce anything unexpected, something more

:42:36.:42:40.

optimistic to say about the economy than the old merchant of gloom

:42:40.:42:44.

here? It is critical he does produce a convincing narrative. I

:42:44.:42:47.

agree with that. There will be certainly things that he has held

:42:47.:42:56.

back. There always are. This has been a heavily breech -- briefed

:42:56.:43:02.

budget as everyone saying. His room for manoeuvre is prodigious, he

:43:02.:43:08.

needs to show the fiscal projective. He has put emphasis on maintaining

:43:08.:43:14.

the credibility of the markets. And unfortunately for himself, he has

:43:14.:43:18.

given huge status to the triple-A rating, which he has to show he

:43:19.:43:24.

wants to maintain. This fiscally neutral budget, in terms of

:43:24.:43:27.

increasing and reducing borrowing, will be one of the underlying

:43:27.:43:32.

messages of the budget tomorrow. He's not short on vanity, like most

:43:32.:43:35.

Chancellor of the Exchequers, can anything he does make much

:43:35.:43:40.

difference? This is the thing, I think the Government has very

:43:40.:43:44.

little room for manoeuvre, this rebalancing story is a slow burner.

:43:44.:43:50.

What Britain needs to do is reduce its dependance on domestic demand

:43:50.:43:56.

and financial services and slowly try to shift it towards export

:43:56.:44:00.

orientated executors, that will take time. There is little to

:44:00.:44:04.

announce tomorrow. That will take a generation? There is little to

:44:04.:44:07.

announce to shock everyone in a good way that Britain has a new

:44:07.:44:10.

fast growth strategy. We are looking at these numbers, or not

:44:10.:44:14.

locking at the numbers, we would have been locking at the numbers.

:44:14.:44:20.

If it had worked! As a terrible problem, if Euroland and the US are

:44:20.:44:24.

beginning to grow more strongly this is the best news we have had

:44:24.:44:28.

this year. Why are Euroland and the US growing faster than we are?

:44:28.:44:32.

First of all, Euroland is Germany, that is driving that, we are not

:44:32.:44:35.

talking about Italy or Greece, we are talking about Germany. They

:44:35.:44:40.

still make things? It is in an economic sweet spot, they spend ten

:44:40.:44:43.

years cutting costs and making themselves more competitive as an

:44:43.:44:48.

economy. It is a long turn around, that is what Britain faces. It

:44:48.:44:52.

can't be done jofr night. Germany is testament to that, if they are

:44:52.:44:56.

seeing a real recovery, that is good news, that is one of the

:44:56.:45:00.

massive export markets too, the states. I don't think the eurozone

:45:00.:45:06.

won't grow more than the UK this yo, that will probably contract and

:45:06.:45:10.

stagnate. Germany sure as hell will? That isks imbalances within

:45:10.:45:14.

the eurozone. Germany is having to come up with an entirely new growth

:45:14.:45:19.

strategy. It is doing exactly the opposite of the new and foster

:45:19.:45:23.

domestic demand. Germany has been in a sweet spot in part because it

:45:23.:45:27.

is doing better with competitiveness. The vast majority

:45:27.:45:36.

of German experts go not just to the eurozone but to the BRIC.

:45:36.:45:40.

Brazil, Russia, India and China? Yes, and they are not interested in

:45:40.:45:45.

the UK's financial services, most of the UK's exports are going to

:45:45.:45:50.

the eurozone, that won't provide much demand any time soon. What

:45:50.:45:53.

about the ernest protestations we hear about cutting the 50p rate of

:45:53.:45:57.

tax for the richest people in society is some how going to effect

:45:57.:46:02.

economic transformation in this country? It won't effect an

:46:02.:46:05.

economic transformation and it is being oversold in that respect. It

:46:05.:46:10.

is about politic. There is a role in Government to provide signal,

:46:10.:46:14.

there are many different signals you can send, one of the important

:46:14.:46:18.

signals is we are open for business as an economy. The 50p rate has

:46:18.:46:21.

this extraordinary state tuts, when you speak to business people --

:46:21.:46:26.

status, when you speak to business people, they bring up the 50p rate,

:46:26.:46:30.

the first thing you mention. If you were George Osborne cutting

:46:30.:46:35.

corporation tax at 23%, with the 50p rate sitting over through r you,

:46:35.:46:39.

it is a real problem sitting across from the table to the

:46:39.:46:43.

multinationals and explaining the attractions of Britain. It is an

:46:43.:46:49.

issue about politics and signals, I think it is signalling in in a bad

:46:49.:46:53.

way. The Government have said we are in bad way and deleverageing

:46:53.:46:57.

everything, and now cutting taxes for the wealthiests, it is a bad

:46:57.:47:01.

signal, undermining the solidarity the Government has been trying to

:47:01.:47:03.

convey. Some of tomorrow morning's front

:47:03.:47:09.

pages now, the Times, they are all basic clo going with various leaks

:47:09.:47:19.
:47:19.:47:39.

and nudges and wink -- basically That is all for Newsnight, the race

:47:39.:47:44.

has hoted up to avoid having to host the Eurovision Song Contest in

:47:44.:47:49.

2014, that is the penalty for winning this year. Britain may have

:47:49.:47:59.
:47:59.:48:00.

entered the 75-year-old Englebert Humperdink, there is a rapper going

:48:00.:48:10.
:48:10.:48:14.

in talking about the structural # With contributions from the

:48:14.:48:16.

institution # To find solution for pollution

:48:17.:48:26.
:48:27.:48:46.

Good evening, a chill in the air for some of you tonight. Another

:48:46.:48:49.

mild day tomorrow, the best of the brightness will be across eastern

:48:49.:48:54.

areas, a wet and windy start to north western Scotland. Most stay

:48:54.:48:58.

dry. Sunny spells across many parts. That said, a little bit more cloud

:48:58.:49:00.

for northern England and the Midlands, compared with this

:49:00.:49:04.

afternoon. We won't quite get to the 17 degrees, some parts of

:49:04.:49:09.

Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. By contrast, southern areas sunnier.

:49:09.:49:13.

Temperatures here 15-16 degrees, likely in a few spots. That low

:49:13.:49:17.

cloud first thing in the morning will lift and break, seeing the

:49:17.:49:21.

sunny spells coming through. Wales, sunshine in the south compared with

:49:21.:49:25.

today. A bit more cloud further north, remaining cloudy across

:49:25.:49:28.

Northern Ireland, even here it will be one or two brighter breaks, just

:49:29.:49:33.

possible in the north. North West Scotland, wet and windy start,

:49:33.:49:38.

turning dry later, many western areas cloudy. To the east highs

:49:38.:49:42.

possible, sunny spells, into Thursday we swap the fortunes round.

:49:42.:49:46.

North western areas will fare better. Manchester and Belfast

:49:46.:49:50.

becoming brighter. South-easterly winds will develop. London 17

:49:50.:49:54.

degrees, Birmingham 15, across other parts of eastern England in

:49:54.:49:57.

particular will see mist and low cloud to begin the day. Burning

:49:57.:50:02.