24/05/2012 Newsnight


Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on the UK's growth downgrade and the Eurozone crisis. Plus, the vast sums of money the NHS pays for gluten-free foods. With Emily Maitlis.

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Think a Greek exit from the euro might be a good thing? The deputy


PM says you are deluded. Faced with the shrinking economy at home, Nick


Clegg was in Berlin today, and says Britain faces dire consequences if


Greece leaves. I don't think the break-up of the eurozone, or Greece


coming out of the eurozone, can in any way be described as a recipe


for success. Instead, I see it as a harsh begin injure, if it were to


happen, of even greater instability. For a view of what the future holds,


we hear from the former Foreign Secretary, and head of the high


street chain Next, Simon Wolfson. Why did the Prime Minister put his


culture secretary in charge of the BSkyB deal, when he told him weeks


before he was in favour of the deal. Disgraceful misuse of public money,


a whistle-blower tells MPs that corruption at A4e was widespread.


The company is accused by the audit of systemic abuse, and this time on


the coalition's watch. We will ask Chris Grayling if we can trust how


public money is being spent. A pizza base on prescription for �17.


We reveal the vast sums of money paid out for glutton-free food.


Nick Clegg has warned of dire consequences if Greece leaves the


euro. Unemployment would go up and a grinding slowdown in economic


activity, he says. His words come as latest figures show the economy


shrank more at the beginning of the year than previously thought.


Suggesting the double-dip recession could be prolonged.


Greece only accounts for half of a per cent of Britain's exports, the


equivalent of a corner shop in a big city. However its leaving the


euro would be catastrophic, according to the Deputy Prime


Minister. No-one should labour under the false hope that some how


Greece leaving the eurozone can provide instant relief to the


problems we face. But Mr Clegg's partner in Government, David


Cameron, was an awful lot more equivocal. The eurozone is at a


crossroads, it either has to make- up, or it is looking at a potential


break-up. That was a view shared in Germany, when the Bundesbank said


the Greek exit would be regretable, but manageable. Further bail out


fees should be paid to Greece once Athens makes the cuts announced


last March. It appears a schism is developing in Europe, between those


who think Europe will get over a Greek exit, and those who think it


should be avoided at all costs. Lofg aside the horrendous impact of


a return to the drachma for Greece itself what would it mean here to


the UK economy. The immediate but most intannable


impact will be on confidence. -- intangible impact will be on


confidence. You wouldn't know it from those enjoying the sunshine


today, but Britain is in recession, and figures show it is even deeper


than we thought. A break up of the single currency would accentuate


and prolong that. British firms sitting on a cash pile worth


billions, would hold off even longer before hiring new staff or


making big investments. That would create another credit crunch, where


banks would be aed frayed to lend to each other and other countries,


damaging exports. 40% of British exports are sold into the eurozone,


and 15% to the weakest countries in the eurozone. If there was to be a


Greek exit, it makes selling goods into those markets extra tough. Add


in a stronger pound, you can see why British exporters are


particularly worried. The best estimates of what would happen if


the Greeks left in a disorderly fast,, is a serious recession in


Europe, with the loss of up to 6% of GDP across the euro area over


the next two to three years, that is the optimistic case pr. It to be


a serious financial crisis then the element of damage to GDP would be


worse than that, and the impact on UK exports would be more severe.


The most severe impact will be felt in the services sector.


The services sector is the single biggest component in the British


economy, it includes our lawyers, doctors, dentists, and, of course,


our bankers. The instability caused by a Greek exit from the eurozone


could be immense, especially to the financial services sector. In the


past few weeks we have already seen some turmoil in the financial


markets, equity prices falling sharply in the UK as well as


elsewhere. We are already seeing the effects on the financial sector


in the UK. If we do see a wider eurozone meltdown o even just a


contained break-up, -- meltdown or even a contained break up, that


will have an effect on the banking system. Because that is so


important to the economy, it would have wider impact. British tourists


might benefit, the cost of a holiday in Corfu would half, and


other Greek products would be cheaper. Either way, contingency


plans are being drawn up all over Europe to mitigate what many fear


would be Europe's Lehman moment. Earlier I spoke to the Deputy Prime


Minister, I started by asking whether the break-up of the


eurozone is something he could countenance? No, I don't believe


the eurozone will break up. It is hitting the most serious crisis


since it was formed, and arguably this is the most serious economic


and political crisis that the European Union as a whole has faced,


I would say, since the early 1970s. With the benefit of hien sight, it,


of course, -- hindsight, it was of course tragic that the monetary


union was established in a way in which the rules were not adhered to,


and the homework, the reforms that should have accompanied the launch


of the monetary union, never took place, partly, frankly, because


money was so cheap, money was sloshing around. Everyone was able


to borrow money at extraordinarily low rates, everyone lived on the


never-never. That has caught up with the whole European continent.


We have to deal with this huge hangover of that credit binge,


which went on for so long. And I think it is really important that


the eurozone now re constitutes itself, on a more balanced footing,


that requires monetary regulation, long-term competitiveness, making


sure the banks are properly capitalised. Sharing some kind of


fiscal arrangement, so richer parts of the eurozone could help poorer


parts and so on. What is missing is putting all those things together n


a grand bargain, at the same time. The point is, David Cameron has


said very clearly, make-up or break-up. He has countenanceed that,


does it borey you? I don't think the break -- worry you? I don't


think the break-up of the eurozone or Greece coming out, can in any


way be described as a recipe for success. I see it as a harbing er,


of greater uncertainty and instability. Not just in Greece or


south-east Europe, but across Europe, in the UK, and the global


economy as a whole. When our economies are as fragile as they


are, I don't think anyone rationally could advocate that


degree of further instability as a route out of the problems we


presently face. That is what, by the way, the Prime Minister


believes as well. Can you paint a picture of us of what you think


Britain would be like if Greece left the euro, practically, what


would we see? I think the potential risk is what you get then is an


immediate question mark about the ability of Portugal, Spain, Italy


and other, bigger countries, to pay their way, sort out their public


finances, and rescue their sick banking system. That in turn has a


knock-on effect on the British banking system which, is very


exposed, one way or another, to those other economies. Then, of


course, that, in turn, could set off a chain of uncertainty. The


thing that is most person ni, to an emerging economic recovery, is more


uncertainty, more big question marks about the future. That is


what we must avoid, I have no doubt in my own mind, that Greece exiting


from the eurozone increases rather than decreases those question marks.


Apart from a sense of uncertainty, do you think it would mean more


unemployment, less growth, that we would stay in recession for longer?


I have no doubt in my mind that if you have a chain reaction in the


eurozone, where you get this contagion effect, as they call it


in the jargon, from Greece to other, bigger countries, that will


undoubted lie lead and could lead to higher unemployment --


undoubtedly lead and could lead to higher unemployment, less foreign


investment, companies sitting on their hands. Not investing in new


plant machinery, and factories like this. In other words, a grinding


slowdown in economic activity, which is already fairly fra guy. It


is something that I think nobody -- fairly fragile, I think it is


something nobody could rationally wish for. You say that the economy


is on the road gently to recovery, people would say we are going the


other way in recession, downgraded growth today, but the rest of the


eurozone is stable? It is disappointing enough that the


figures for GDP in the first quarter were negative, and they


have been downgraded further. I think it means we need as a


Government to shift up a gear, to redouble our efforts, to do more to


help support demand in the British economy, whilst, of course, at the


same time, making sure that we continue to enjoy the confidence of


the market, so we have the space to do those things. What do I mean by


that? Well, I think the fact that we have done this heavy lifting


over the last two years, to prove our credentials in sorting out the


sky high structural deficit that this country has inherited from the


previous Government, should now be used, that credibility should now


be used as a guarantee, if you like, as an insurance kol policy to get


more money into the British -- insurance policy to get more money


into the British economy, into homes, and small and medium-sized


enterprise who can't get hold of credit from banks at reasonable


rates, and creating more jobs for young people. With me now to


discuss the difficulties in the eurozone and at home, the chief


executive of Next, and Tory peer, Lord Wolfson, and David Miliband,


is here also. I'm wondering when you look at the eurozone, Simon


Wolfson, do you think we are beyond political solutions, what does the


hard-headed businessman want to do? I think the biggest problem in the


eurozone is being largely ignored. The biggest problem in the eurozone


is the structural lack of competitiveness of places like


Greece and Spain. Over the last ten years wages in Spain and Greece


have gone up by 20-30% relative to Germany. Their goods are simply too


expensive. It used to be cheap to go on holiday to Spain or Greece,


now it is expensive. That lack of competitiveness means they have


between 20-25% unemployment. How can an economy dig itself out of a


hole when it has 25% unemployment. Even those people advocating


helping them are saying you have to have less austerity. You are sort


of saying free them from this, get them out? It is difficult to see


how anything other than devaluation can get them out of the hole they


are in. That means leaving the euro? Exactly. David Miliband, it


is ironic that such a deeply undemocratic institution like the


EU is now having its fate decided by the electorate in Greece?


don't accept that, what is happening is that Greece, a


relatively small part of the European economy, with a deep-


seated set of problems, that weren't address two or three years


ago, is threatening to upend the whole of the European project. The


economics and politics are pulling in opposite directions. The first,


best solution, is actually to keep Greece in. To avoid the risks that


are attendant on its department tue, but just mudling along, and failing


to address the lack of debt mutualisation, on the one hand, the


financial instability in the Spanish banks, remember Spain and


Greece are not in the same catagory. You think they are mudling along?


There has been a chronic lack of leadership. What has happened since


the famous walk on the beach in Deauville, and President Sarkozy


basically rolled over, for the past few years you have had Mrs Merkel


with no counter balance in Europe to Germany orthodoxy. The one hope


is the election of President Hollande in France does change the


balance. There is a chance, not to put off reform, but to combine


reform, with a change to this austerity package, which frankly,


is killing any chance of growing the European economy. Is Hollande a


game-changer here, he spooked the austerity central politicians


hasn't he? He has, unfortunately, a little less austerity, there will


be austerity in Spain and other places anywhere, but it won't get


them out of the hole. It comes back to the lack of competitiveness. The


Germans are to lend more money to keep things going, there is no


state solution here, it is just a Band Aid. Do you think we have to


see Merkel cave on this one? That is down to the German people.


Ultimately the German people and the Government are the people being


asked to pay. I don't think that for British politicians or


businessmen to dictate to the German people, they have to make


that decision themselves. Do you notice the rhetoric changing now


since Hollande won, do you think the left here is learning lessons


from Hollande? Remember Prime Minister Monti, a centreist


technocrat, and in Spain, they are desperate for a way out of this


Bermuda triangle they have got. On the one hand they have deficits and


debts, and then financial institutions and then no growth.


They have to break out of that. The election of President Hollande


offers them a chance to join the debate they can't start but want to


be part of. I think what has happened is collective austerity,


everybody cutting their budgets at the same time has fallen foul of


the basic rules of economics, if consumers aren't spending and


businesses aren't investing, export markets are down and Government


starts cutting. Germany is doing well on it? It is exporting to


China. The truth about the rest of the eurozone and us is more than


50% of our trade is with each other. We are a case study of that in the


UK. I guess the business model, if these countries, if the pigs,


receipt let's say, were not doing well as independent parts of your


venture, you would let them go, you can't do that politically?


someone is so burdened with debt, they never have a chance to pay you


back, they can't go out and get a job, because they are so busy


labours to pay your debt, then you have to say you will have to write


some of that debt off. You will have to put them back in a position


where they can begin to grow. I can't see how that will happen


without devaluation. One thing I don't agree with David, I don't


think Europe can borrow its way out of a debt crises. What about the


bigger question of a referendum on EU membership, it is looking almost


certain that Labour would put it in the next election manifesto, should


they? I voted in the House of Commons last year against a


referendum to be held at the moment. The priority is jobs and the


priority is getting to grips with this eurozone cry is is. The


tragedy in Britain at the moment -- crisis. The tragedy in Britain at


the moment, is on the economics the Government are backing the wrong


horse, which has led to a double- dip recession. On the politics they


have withdrawn to the edge Europe. When people say to me, look this


fiscal pact, are you for it origins it, I'm against it for different


reasons to David Cameron. He's against it on political ground this


fiscal pact, which is about the here and now of the European


economy. I'm against it on economic grounds, that is the agenda that


British people want to address. Sure, you can come to questions of


the democratic deficit in Europe, what exists today is a delivery


deficit, and the lack of leadership is an absolutely chronic problem.


This is beigeer question, it will increase as a bigger - bigger


question, it will increase as a bigger problem. Would you call for


a referendum on something that is clearly a big part of what the


British public are talking about? I'm sure that Ed would advise me,


rather than me advising him, if I want to offer him advice I will do


that through him and not through you. It is a empt iting offer you


are giving me. There is -- tempting offer you are giving me. There is a


bigger game here, what is the politics and economics of the


future of Europe. I think it is very important that we understand


that for 40 years British Governments, Tory and Labour, Mrs


Thatcher and Tony Blair, have insisted Britain has to be at the


top table. The truth today is we are not in the room. Would you go


for a referendum on this? I don't think so, the membership of the EU


is another matter all together. We have to focus on preparing Britain


for the impending crisis in the eurozone, there is a lot that can


be and needs to be done. If someone wrote you a note saying


something would be a great thing, would you assume they were neutral


enough to oversee a judgment about that thing. That is the question


the Prime Minister faces after another day of the Leveson Inquiry.


The inquiry was told that Jeremy Hunt had written to his boss four


weeks before he was put in charge of the judicial decision that he


thought the deal was a good idea. We watched the day in court.


In this massive sprawling inquiry, there have been many highlights,


but perhaps the most incendiary part was the publication last month


of the 163-pages of e-mails, that suggested, at least, a remarkable


level of collusion, between a company making a commercial kid bid,


and the minister deciding the -- commercial bid, and the minister


deciding the fate of that bid. For the most part the e-mails were


written by this chap, Frederic Michel, head of corporate affairs


for News Corporation in Europe. There were reports back to his


colleagues about his contact with this chap. Adam Smith, was, until


recently, special advise Tory the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. --


adviser to Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Today we got to hear


from both people. Frederic Michel repeatedly had the question, did


the e-mail reflect what he had said, or had he puffed himself up to


impress his boss. My memos, internal e-mails, were an accurate


account of conversations we had. it that you believe this is a


communication with the Secretary of State, through the mouth of Mr


Smith? I believe that whatever Mr Smith tells me represents the view


of the Secretary of State. Time and to imagain, Mr Michel denied that


there was -- time and time again Mr Michel denied there was anything


improper with this contact. Time and time again he also denied he


had any clue of what Jeremy Hunt's view of the bid was. It is


something I can't say. Counsel for the inquiry seemed to have some


trouble with this account of events. Particularly as he began to take


the witness through pages and pages of e-mails. One in particular, from


January 23rd of 2011. Again, it is a report back from a


conversation with Smith, decribing Jeremy Hunt's view, it is almost,


he writes, game over for the opposition. He says that he


specifically said he was keen to get the same outcome and wanted JRM,


that is James Murdoch, to understand he needs to build some


political cover over the process. Later he says, that they would get


there in the end, and that he shared their objectives. That means


only one thing, that he shared the ultimate objective of News


Corporation, which was to secure the remaining shares in BSkyB.


with due respect, you wouldn't take that leap in terms of interpreting


it. Next up, was, Adam Smith, he's already resigned from his job as


special adviser to hunt hut hunt, over this affair. He told the


inquiry that he saw his role at the time as acting as a sort of point


of contact for the interested parties in the bid. However, under


questioning, he conceded that the only interested party that he had


any contact with, whatsoever during this whole time, was, News


Corporation. As Mr Smith approached to give


evidence, he gave the briefest glance at Frederic Michel, who was


leaving. Mr Smith refused to accept that his old boss was always a


committed supporter of the bid, that he had already made up his


mind. Today, though, he was presented with a memo. Written to


David Cameron on the 19th 2010, he writes, James Murdoch is pretty


furious at Vince Cable's referral to Ofcom. He writes that if they


block their media sector they will suffer for years. He thinks it


would be totally wrong to cave into the Mark Thompson/Channel


4/Guardian line that this represents substantial change of


control. In terms of his judgment he was favourable to the bid?


I suppose the personal view there was, yes. This personal view wasn't,


as it were, a revelation, it is true it has been communicated


privately to the Prime Minister, but it is a view which you knew any


way? And had been publicly stated. I asked you a quarter of an hour


ago was he supportive of the bill, you gave me a non-committal answer.


We are now reaching a point where you might agree with me that he was


supportive of the bid. One month after he wrote this memo, hupbtd


Hunt was handed responsibility for -- Jeremy Hunt was handed


responsibility for the bid. Vince Cable was striped of the role,


having been caught on tape by undercover reporters that he had


declared war on Rupert Murdoch. There were questions for Jeremy


Hunt, he insisted he followed the advice of independent regulators


and hasn't done anything wrong. There are questions too for the


Prime Minister, not least, if Vince Cable was unsuitable to decide the


bid, because he had declared strong views on the subject, why was


Jeremy Hunt suitable to decide the bid, when he had already declared


his views, although in the opposite direction. Tomorrow Adam Smith will


continue his evidence, perhaps as early as next week, his former boss


too will take the stand. Is the welfare-to-work business, a


multibillion pound scandal, that is what a former auditor told


parliament in secret this week, now we can reveal the testimony in full.


He claims there is an unethical culture at companies like A4e,


fraud is rife, and the bosses are dishonest, and untalented, but pay


themselves handsomely. Public money is being chronically misused. The


document put before MPs describes serious problems at another body


called Working Links, part-owned by the Government.


We will put that to Chris Grayling in a moment. First we have this.


This is a story about a company that has just been cleared of


systemic fraud. About civil servants who don't see the point of


investigating that company's past activities, and a committee of


companies who didn't want you to hear the evidence you are about to.


The company is A4e. Its only source of income is contracts from the


Government, main low placing unemployed people into jobs. A


business -- main low placing unemployed people into jobs. A


business that made Emma Harrison, the head, millions last year. A man


called Eddie Hutchinson has told companies the company tolerated


systemic fraud. Mr Hutchinson joined A4e in October 2010, about a


year before David Cameron made this official visit to the firm. Soon


the whistle-blower became concerned of the incidents of frauds and


irregularities, there is no suggestion that anybody in these


pictures is involved. But, the whistle-blower says, he ran up


against a complete absence of corporate governance and


accountability. On Tuesday, the whistle-blower told this committee


of companies, sitting in private, that the frauds generally involved


falsifying the outcome of job placements, for the which the


company was paid thousands at a time. He said some of the issues


had existed for a considerable time, including systemic fraud, that had


been perpetrated and continued to be undertaken within the company's


operations. It gets curiouser, a year before Mr Hutchinson joined


the company, this report, leaked to Newsnight two months ago, was drawn


up by one of his predecessor, in it there is a warning of potential,


systematic failure, to mitigate the risk, towards fraud. Knowing the


DWP was suggesting A4e, we handed this report to civil servants, now


we know what happened to it. What should be published and what


should not be published when it comes to an internal investigation?


Once the committee went into public session, the civil servant in


charge told MPs his investigators were focusing on the current risk


of fraud in A4e, not those revealed in the 2009 document. You were


happy to say that only three, A4e, it tells you nothing about the


company, does it? Let me say it again, that report says they


believe there could be fraud in nine case. A4e as a company believe


they did further investigation to conclude only three of them were


fraudulent. You are quite happy. am not quite happy, my letter makes


it very clear I am now reviewing every single one of the nine cases.


When Mr Hutchinson, the whistle- blower, found out about this report


he was puzzled. The civil servants had already been assured that


nothing was wrong before this. He This is what Mr Hutchinson has to


say about the bosses of A4e, and another company called Working


Links, where he worked and claimed to have found similar evidence of


fraud. While many people employed in these organisations are honest,


highly capable and talented individuals, I do not see the same


characteristics in others in the most senior positions in these


companies, whose interests, it would appear, is to serve only


themselves, regardless of unethical behaviour persisting around them.


He says it was disgraceful misuse of Government and taxpayer funding,


characterised by unethical behaviour, mismanagement,


inadequate corporate governance and risk management. And excessive


payments, in the form of salaries and bow news et cetera. Paid to


those who head up these organisations. In short, I see it


as a multibillion pound scandal. Both A4e and Working Links, deny


widespread fraud within their organisations.


A4e told us in statement tonight, the majority of allegations made by


Mr Hutchinson are unfounded and unstrew. From the evidence we have


seen, we can state the remaining small number of allegations, which


had any substance, were fully examined, in all but one of those


cases, it was concluded there was no case to answer. None of the


issues raised prove there was systemic fraud, at A4e, all relate


to historic contracts. Chris Grayling joins me now. Let's go


through some of the quotes from Eddie Hutchinson now. The incidents


of fraud and irregularities was a major problem for the company, ever


increasing volume of frauds, a multibillion pound scandal. Is this


something you are going to reinvestigate? Let's be clear.


First of all, important to say this is not about the coalition's work


programme. There is no suggestion in any of this, the NAO, the


National Audit Office, has given it a completely clean bill of health.


We have ring-fenced the taxpayer, the money into welfare-to-work is


paid for by companies like A4e themselves, we only pay them months


down the track when someone is in work. There is a lot of contracts


that have been awarded, this comes 2010, 2011, when you were in power?


We are talking about the tailend of the contracts introduced by the


previous Government. The ones we scrapped a few months into taking


office. Paul Mason made reference to the document made two months ago.


Two months ago we decommissioned a detailed investigation. We sent in


independent accountants, and called in a third firm of independent


accountants to look at the issue. Are you saying it is completely


clean now? They have come back to us and said they have found no


evidence of systemic fraud. What they did find was evidence of lax


management in one contract, I terminated the contract. If I find


it again I will terminate other contracts. We have not found


evidence of systemic fraud. There has been no contract issued since


this was looked under, all those contracts are now ended?


contracts have all ended, more than a year ago. This is from 2010-2011,


it can't have ended, he is talking about that? The work programme took


over from all programmes in 2011, it is a payments by results. We


don't pay anything other sthan a small attachment fee until they


have kept something in work for six months. At that point the taxpayer


get a good deal. Is this a fit and proper company? What we have here.


That is a simple question, is it a fit and proper company, from


everything you have heard here? There are question marks about the


evidence delivered to the select committee. This are question marks


about the individual who gave that evidence. I have sent in. What does


that mean, you don't believe him? won't sit in the media and give a


detailed examples. I have significant doubts about the


information to the select commity. I have sent our independent


solicitors in to see if there is systemic fraud. They said no, they


had found in one contract lax management, and I terminated the


contract immediately. This company something you and the Government


want to be associated with? I have to be careful. What I can't do is


just terminate contracts without evidence, possibly on the say so of


a former employee, who stayed for a few months. What I should do, lodge


clo, is send in the accountants, and the independent auditors. And


they have not found evidence of Isis temic fraud. You didn't --


Systemic fraud. You didn't send them in to look at allegations in


2009, and this is what we are talking about 2010/11? The things


talked about we are looking at. And we are also calling on former


Labour ministers, to release to us the contracts. We can't see as


ministers the documents before 2010. We are asking them to make those


documents public so, we can see what previous ministers, including


Margaret Hodge, who was Employment Minister in the last parliament.


this was a fraudulent benefit claimant, you would be in there


like a tonne of bricks, why not here. If somebody walked in and


said this woman is dodgy, you would not expect us to racket on the hoof


and confirm up dodgey. You have to be very careful when a whistle-


blower, about whom there are certainly question marks, and makes


allegations which is not consistent in what independent auditors have


said. A quick question on the Leveson Inquiry before, was Jeremy


Hunt the right person to put in charge in a quasi-judicial role, in


a bid he clearly favoured. Was that a misjudgment by the time? The key


point about Jeremy Hunt, clear all the way through. He took all the


independent advice he was given, at each stage of the process, he


called in the appropriate external advice. He already had a memo


saying hunt unhunt was in favour of the bid, why would he do that?


the hunt had been cleared publicly before that about his view. He said


nothing was consistent. He took over a prohe is is, he followed the


letter of the process, he took the independent advice he was supposed


to take. He took the advice and followed the rulings, suggestions


and advice. He think he behaved completely properly in managing the


process. Lt most people order pizza picking up the phone, some do it


with a prescription from the NHS. The health service spent �20


million on glutton-free prescriptions, including cakes and


biscuits for people who have an intolerance for wheat and glutton.


What was not recorded is the handling figures. One NH Trust was


led to spend �17 on a single pizza base. Many worry the hidden costs


of prescriptions is giving people a bad name. We will ask if the cost


is prohibitive and should the NHS pay at all. Spring time in the Lake


District, where nicer for a little picnic.


OK, I admit it, it is not the healthiest food I could have chosen.


All these types of foods are available for free on the NHS.


So how can this be happening? With an estimated one in 100 of us


having coeliac disease, the NHS's resources are being asked to


stretch to fatty foods like these, all available on prescription, from


your doctor. I think it is quite perverse,


considering the fact that we are facing time of global obesity. This


country is now the fattest nation in Europe. As clinicians we should


be doing what we think is best for our patients and their health. We


are sending the round message to people if we are prescribing foods


that are high in sugar and processed cash hide demonstrate.


rural areas like Cumbria, the local pharmacy is the nearest source of


food for coeliacs, they have an intolerance to glutton, found in


wheat, Barlow and rye. Eating it can lead to debilitating health


problems. Prescribing it is costing the NHS dear. Across the Pennines


in Rotherham, an investigation into the rising costs led to an


unappetising discovery. One prescription comes to mind, the


cost of the two pizza bases was �8.99, we incurred handling charges,


which made the total cost of prescription �35 for two pizza


bases. Here is how it breaks down, two glutton-free pizza bases come


in at �8.95, admin is �10, handling and delivery costs �13, �1.77


covers formcy costs. Lofg the NHS with a bill of �-- leaving the NHS


with a bill of �33.29, four-times more than the original product. It


is not the only example. Dr Fayyaz Chaudri overhauled the system in


Cumbria. His reforms also uncovered some indigestible hidden costs.


was something we weren't really aware of until we actually started


analysing the whole scheme. We were quite shocked by some of the costs


we saw that there were, occasions when there was a bread loaf costing


�2.50, and there was a handling fee of �32. We approached leading


manufacturers who blamed extra charges on the wholesaleers. They


told us they would be keen to investigate any relevant cases.


The arguments are having an impact on people like Geoff Martin, he


lives in Oxfordshire. Another area reviewing whether to continue


funding glutton-free products. He reLois on his prescription to


ensure a decent range of food. is a lifetime Complaint, when you


have it, there is no cure for it. There is no remedy. The only


solution is eating food that is glutton-free. It is different if


you live near a large supermarket, this one in the Lake District


stocks a big range of glutton-free products. It it is more expensive


than normal food. Which is why the NHS is being asked to provide


staples like bread and pasta. Only last year coeliac qu.ish oud


guidelines saying foods like -- issued guidelines that foods like


this should be prescribed, only in exceptional circumstances. We have


heard from five NHS Trusts who haven't even issued the guidelines.


We have been told that some people are getting these prescriptions


from their doctors, even though they haven't been diagnosed with


coeliac disease. When we reformed the prescribing of glutton-free


products, the minority of people were accessing treatments and


didn't have a diagnosis of coeliac disease. We have a diagnostic


pathway, to make sure all patients with access to the products have a


definite diagnosis of coeliac disease. If they are not diagnosed


formally they shouldn't been entitled to the prescriptions at


all. GPs need to be aware of that. Never the less, in Cumbria and


elsewhere, the numbers of people being diagnosed are going up. For


many of them, prescriptions of glutton-free foods, are an


invaluable service. But hand-outs of cakes and biscuits, increasingly


there being seen as rations, which the NHS can't afford.


We ask for an interview with a minister from the Department of


Health, nobody was available. They have since issued a statement


With me now, Jeremy Woods, managing director of glutton-free company,


and David Craig, order of Fleeced, locking into Government waste. Does


it really cost that -- looking into Government waste. Is there really


that much to do with cost, the price is exorbitant? Ten years ago


the only way coeliacs, and it is a very debilitating disease. We must


remember they have to have glutton- free food. Ten years ago the only


way of getting it was through the pharmacies. Nowadays many


supermarkets, as you showed in the film. A lot of food does not have


glutton in, that they can eat. They can buy alternatives to the stuff


they can't? A lot of the supermarkets have special fixtures


for glutton-free food. If we follow the example of Norway, where the


Government issues those prescribed with coeliac's disease with


vouchers, and can redeem with a scannable barcode.


Are we pulling the wrong people -- putting the wrong people in charge


of this, or would it happen whatever was in charge? When it


comes to the NHS, it is such a hopelessly managed organisation


nothing surprises me. A couple of figures, ten years ago we had 12


hospital beds per manager, now it is down to four managers. In 2006


we knew it was a catastrophy, it would never work, two of the major


splierd said they didn't want any part of it. As an NHS stakeholder


does it strike you as slightly ridiculous that you can't buy


Avastin, a cancer judge, but a blueberry muffin on prescription?


You can't believe the NHS, the only way ten years ago was to get a


prescription from a pharmacy. You could say the NHS is slow to wake


up to there beg more products available. It is really the met --


being more products available. It is really the method we are arguing


about here. Will people need more vouchers, will we feel better about


the price of a pizza base? If it is a good idea, but with the NHS it


will take five to ten years to adopt it. You can't be defeatist,


and say what can be done not really what happens? The NHS has suffered


for years from appallingly bad top leadership. The management leftful


NHS, I have worked with -- managing level of the NHS, I have worked


with them years, and they speak management that nobody understands.


Why do you think that level is so predictably bad? The NHS, I'm


speechless, it is so badly managed, it wastes so much money. Whenever


somebody tries to change the NHS, because their managers can't work


with people, they bring in consultants, they are the only


people who speak the same language as NHS manager. It is a


catastrophic situation. We have 17,000 people a year die in the UK


unnecessarily, because we can't match the same survival rates as


other countries. The NHS say they are shocked, will it change?


should, we have to be careful that solebacks don't lose the food


available to them. It is a question of the economics of the delivery


method, there is plenty of solutions as I have outlined. What


we mustn't allow them to do, is say they can't have prescription food,


they should be free to make their own choice.


The Times has Tory MPs saying Greek MPs force a referendum, and David


Cameron facing demands in the Greek The Independent, Cameron knew Hunt


would back the BSkyB bid, and the more Levitt. Plenty more tomorrow


more Levitt. Plenty more tomorrow night, that's all tonight. Goodbye.


There's more very warm sunny weather to come over the next few


days. We will find an easier low breeze on Friday. Particularly


across the south on Friday. -- easterly breeze on Friday.


Particularly across the south. A dry and sunny day. High thump


temperatures to the west of the Pennines. It will be dry and sunny.


Temperatures in the south-east won't be as high today. There will


be that noticable breeze. That will just make it feel a little fresher,


but still the sunshine will be very strong. Most of the south-west it


will be a fine day, very warm start across Wales as well. Those


temperatures wide low getting into the mid-20s in the sunshine. A


lovely say in Northern Ireland, temperatures like today. High


temperatures if inland in Scotland. Dry with no thundery showers. That


low cloud takes a while to clear away. Should be sunnier and warmer


on Saturday. Temperatures into the mid-20s in Manchester Friday and


Saturday. High temperatures to come across the southern half of the UK.


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