14/02/2013 Newsnight


14/02/2013

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark.


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Ed Miliband has finally found a tax policy for a new Labour Government.

:00:13.:00:18.

It's one they are familiar with. We will put right a mistake made by

:00:18.:00:22.

Gordon Brown and the last Labour Government. We would use the money,

:00:22.:00:27.

raised by a "Mansion Tax", to reintroduce a lower, 10p starting

:00:27.:00:32.

rate of tax. The Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury is here

:00:32.:00:36.

to reveal whether this is a manifesto promise. So these have

:00:36.:00:39.

been closed down for how long? of the Government's ideas,

:00:39.:00:43.

channelled through Queen of shops, Mary Portas, was to quick start the

:00:43.:00:47.

high street. Why have so few towns used the money they were given to

:00:47.:00:53.

do just that. Is the largest democracy in the world, but why do

:00:53.:00:58.

so many of India's serving politicians stand accused of

:00:58.:01:03.

serious crimes. It is an astonishing fact that half

:01:03.:01:06.

the ministers in the Uttar Pradesh Government are charged with crimes,

:01:06.:01:11.

ranging from rape, murder and robbery. This is a nationwide

:01:11.:01:15.

problem. The Olympic and Paralympic athlete,

:01:15.:01:18.

nicknamed "blade runner", Oscar Pisorius, has been charged with the

:01:18.:01:21.

murder of his girlfriend, in a shooting in his house in preoria.

:01:21.:01:31.
:01:31.:01:32.

We will speak to the man who helped write his autobiography.

:01:32.:01:36.

Good evening, it was a very bad mistake. That was Ed Miliband's

:01:36.:01:42.

verdict today on Gordon Brown's scrapping of a 10p tax rate in 2008,

:01:42.:01:45.

as he readopted the policy, saying he was determined to put it right

:01:45.:01:49.

after the election. He swiped one of the Lib Dem policies, the

:01:49.:01:54.

"Mansion Tax", to help pay for it, promising the tax would be levied

:01:54.:01:58.

on property worth more than �2 million. They accuse the Government

:01:58.:02:02.

of rewarding those at the top, while squeezing everybody else.

:02:02.:02:07.

Paul Mason is with me. As taxes go, this one is a bit familiar? In the

:02:08.:02:12.

great political chess game over tax and spend, someone is finally

:02:12.:02:15.

getting round to moving the first chess piece. It is Ed Miliband,

:02:15.:02:19.

into the middle of the board, with the proposal to cut taxes for 24

:02:19.:02:23.

million people, a bit, and pay for it by taxing housing worth more

:02:23.:02:29.

than �2 million. We we call in political speak, "mansions". The

:02:29.:02:34.

Institute for Fist * studies, that everybody likes -- The Institute

:02:34.:02:40.

for Fiscal Studies, that everybody likes to quote. Says it is not

:02:40.:02:45.

clear whether the tax would pay for the 10p tax rate. The politics are

:02:45.:02:50.

clear. We reported this back in 2007. Labour people lived through

:02:50.:02:55.

it. It was the moment where the political class, and the media, to

:02:55.:03:00.

an extent, suddenly discovered there were people who earned

:03:00.:03:05.

�12,000, and Gordon Brown had discovered how to make them very

:03:05.:03:07.

annoyed. And people in Labour date that moment as the day the wheels

:03:08.:03:11.

came off the cart. The problem with political chess, is once you move

:03:11.:03:15.

your piece, somebody else can move their's. While this was designed as

:03:15.:03:20.

a long-term gambit, a big idea, a blue sky thinking turned concrete.

:03:20.:03:23.

As we are about to Lear, the other political parties also have ideas

:03:23.:03:33.
:03:33.:03:34.

in the short-term about how to respond.

:03:34.:03:38.

Ten pennies, to be exact, scrapping the 10p tax rate for low earners

:03:38.:03:45.

was, for many, the point at by Gordon Brown lost the plot. He

:03:46.:03:51.

reduced the rate to 20p but ending the rate for the lowest paid. Then

:03:51.:03:55.

he paid for it again at the polls. In hindsight he wished he hadn't.

:03:55.:04:00.

What happened with 10p? It stunned me, because it really hurt, that

:04:00.:04:04.

suddenly people felt I wasn't on the side of people on middle and

:04:04.:04:09.

modest incomes. Because on the side of hard working families is the

:04:09.:04:15.

only place I have ever wanted to be. But, Labour's political currency

:04:15.:04:20.

was tarnished. So today, like a new penny, Ed Miliband turned up with

:04:20.:04:24.

that rare thing in opposition politics, a commitment! Let me tell

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you about one crucial choice we would make. Which is different from

:04:29.:04:34.

this Government and different from the last Government. We will tax

:04:34.:04:39.

houses worth over �2 million. And we would use the money to cut taxes

:04:39.:04:44.

for working people. We will put right a mistake made by Gordon

:04:44.:04:48.

Brown and the last Labour Government. We would use the money,

:04:48.:04:54.

raised by a "Mansion Tax", to reintroduce a lower 10p starting

:04:54.:05:01.

rate of tax. David Cameron has focused on taking the low paid out

:05:01.:05:05.

of income tax all together, by raising the starting point for

:05:05.:05:10.

paying. Some Conservatives would like to copy today's move. We have

:05:10.:05:14.

taken two million people out of tax all together. We have cut taxes for

:05:14.:05:18.

20 million lower earners, that is the right thing to. Do we have

:05:18.:05:22.

raised the threshold to nearly �10,000 before people pay tax.

:05:22.:05:24.

After that, rather than continuing raising the threshold, which is

:05:24.:05:28.

actually very expensive. What we should do is focus on restoring the

:05:28.:05:33.

10p income tax rate. Something and inexplicably got rid of by Gordon

:05:33.:05:38.

Brown. I have called this, campaigning over the many months,

:05:38.:05:41.

the great Gordon Brown repeal bill. Labour is pitching this as the

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first of its big ideas for the future, but some Lib Dems see it as

:05:45.:05:48.

the basis of a cunning and rather immediate plan.

:05:48.:05:55.

Are they serious when they say they want a "Mansion Tax" and want the

:05:55.:05:59.

rich to pay their fair share. If they are, let's see the colour of

:05:59.:06:03.

their money. Why not put it forward in the Finance Bill, why not move

:06:03.:06:09.

an amendment with to the budget. If they move to a core Lib Dem

:06:09.:06:13.

flagship policy like that, why wouldn't Liberal Democrat MPs

:06:13.:06:18.

support it. Is this political posturing, or is it for real.

:06:18.:06:25.

But Labour is playing a longer game. It is called "subverting the Tory

:06:25.:06:28.

catchphrase", they have done it with the words "one-nation", and

:06:28.:06:32.

today went to the birth place of a slogan they would like to haunt the

:06:32.:06:38.

Conservatives at the next election, think 1957. Some genial

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commentatored said I coined the phrase which had a certain

:06:42.:06:47.

popularity, I don't know who it was, who said something like, "you never

:06:47.:06:51.

had it so good". It was the Tory Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan,

:06:51.:06:56.

who coined those words, in Bedford, in the days of black and white, to

:06:56.:07:00.

signal an era of rising living standards. Ed Miliband wants to

:07:01.:07:04.

make stagnating living standards the issue now. Look at this graph,

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showing real average earnings, they are falling as David Cameron comes

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to office, and on both key measures, they are not expected to recover

:07:11.:07:17.

much by 2015. Though, after that, the feel food factor fight -- fool

:07:17.:07:21.

good factor right come back. Labour wants to fight the election on the

:07:21.:07:25.

bays of pennies in your pocket. So -- basis of pennies in our pocket.

:07:25.:07:33.

It is starting by pledging to took back the -- put back the ten deadly

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pennies Gordon Brown took off people back in the day.

:07:36.:07:40.

The Eastleigh by-election is two weeks away, the seat vacated by the

:07:41.:07:43.

fast-driving Chris Huhne. Our political editor has been there all

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day ahead of a report on that election battle for tomorrow's

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programme. First of all, any sense that Labour

:07:51.:07:55.

know exactly how this is going to be received? Ed Miliband did intend

:07:55.:07:59.

for that policy to be something of a Valentine's Day present to the

:07:59.:08:02.

low-paid around the country, but also in Eastleigh. Having been out

:08:02.:08:08.

and about today, it doesn't feel yet that it is mere hours old that

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it is playing. This is a by- election where we are hearing

:08:12.:08:15.

immigration a lot, and Europe a fair amount. There is the cost of

:08:15.:08:18.

living and the economy is issues up and down the high street, there are

:08:18.:08:21.

four or five shops boarded up, they are fed through these decisions

:08:21.:08:26.

rather than at the forefront of voters' minds. Today I did put to

:08:26.:08:30.

the Conservative candidate, wasn't it a bit galling that a Labour

:08:30.:08:33.

leader is announcing tax cuts today, even though's not in Government,

:08:33.:08:36.

rather than a Conservative one, and she wriggled a bit. That is really

:08:36.:08:39.

the heart of it. My sources, my Conservative sources are saying to

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me, this is smart politics by the Labour leader. They are rather

:08:43.:08:48.

envious, they suggest that very hard at the next budget coming next

:08:48.:08:51.

month, that the Chancellor, George Osborne, is looking carefully what

:08:51.:08:54.

he can do in this area. It won't be funded by a "Mansion Tax", but what

:08:54.:08:58.

else can he do to bring down the cost of living and down tax. This

:08:58.:09:03.

is about a real change in Labour strategy? I don't think it should

:09:03.:09:07.

be overdone. I think it is a real change. There is three key things

:09:07.:09:11.

for me, but I don't think today we saw the Labour leader set out an

:09:11.:09:14.

economic strategy. They are not seen spinning it like that. The key

:09:14.:09:19.

things are these, the first is that oppositions like to set the agenda,

:09:19.:09:23.

they don't get to do it often, he has done that today. You have

:09:23.:09:26.

Conservatives and Lib Dems, as we heard in the package, scrabbleing

:09:26.:09:33.

to have their answer. The second is this is a signal of intent, it is a

:09:33.:09:35.

value, it is something politicians get to do, it is cheap and free,

:09:35.:09:39.

and they are held to it. That is what he has done, he has said if I

:09:39.:09:42.

get in power this is the sort of thing I will do, not the whole

:09:42.:09:47.

thing I will do. The third thing is this, when the voters are showed

:09:47.:09:51.

pictures of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, they say Gordon Brown, that

:09:51.:09:57.

is a problem for the Labour leader and the Shadow Chancellor who have

:09:57.:10:03.

worked so closely with Gordon Brown. Such a public trouncing of a man

:10:03.:10:08.

once their mentor is still alive today. The one series of detailed

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questions that we will all have to answer, I will have to answer, when

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I'm not in Eastleigh, concludes is this something a Labour Government

:10:17.:10:21.

will say they will do now, nowhere near power now, or will they do it

:10:21.:10:25.

when they are in power. They are saying it is not a manifesto pledge,

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for many people that feels like weird political sophistry. I asking

:10:32.:10:36.

Rachel Reeves in a moment, Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary to the

:10:36.:10:39.

Treasury whether it will be a manifesto commitment. As was said,

:10:39.:10:44.

a lot of people, still at the top, are tainted by the dropping of the

:10:44.:10:48.

10p tax. At the time it happened, Ed Miliband said the dropping of

:10:48.:10:53.

the 10p tax was part of a fairer system. I mean, he was clearly,

:10:53.:10:57.

either he had his fingers and toes crossed, or he genuinely thought it

:10:57.:11:01.

was a fair system and it burnt you? What Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have

:11:01.:11:04.

said today, is it was the wrong decision. They got it wrong, Gordon

:11:04.:11:08.

Brown got it wrong when he was Chancellor. And that we would not

:11:08.:11:11.

just apologise for it, but if we were in Government we would put it

:11:11.:11:18.

right by reinTateing that 10p rate of tax. -- reinTateing that 10 --

:11:18.:11:21.

reinstating that 10p tax. They are taking responsibility, they were in

:11:21.:11:24.

Government at the time, they made a mistake, the last Labour Government

:11:24.:11:29.

made a mistake, it is something we want to rectify. But basically, now,

:11:29.:11:33.

what you are saying is, that it puts Labour and Ed Miliband said it

:11:33.:11:36.

puts Labour back on the side of working people. So you weren't on

:11:36.:11:39.

the side of work people before, you weren't on the side of working

:11:39.:11:43.

people since before you scrapped it? We introduced tax credits in

:11:43.:11:47.

Government, which helped people, working families. We got that one

:11:47.:11:51.

wrong. We were wrong to get rid of the 10p tax rate. Politicians don't

:11:51.:11:54.

often admit they have made mistakes. We have said we would make a

:11:54.:11:58.

mistake and also that we would put it right. Is it a priority for you

:11:58.:12:01.

and a manifesto commitment? next election is still more than

:12:01.:12:06.

two years away. We have been clear that we will not write our

:12:06.:12:08.

manifesto two-and-a-half years ahead of the next election. But it

:12:08.:12:12.

is something that we want to do, if we were in Government today we

:12:12.:12:17.

would do it. And in the package earlier today it was said something

:12:17.:12:20.

that could be done today by the Government. Ed Balls and Ed

:12:20.:12:22.

Miliband said we will work with the Liberal Democrats and the

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Conservatives if they want to do this on bringing it forward in the

:12:25.:12:28.

budget this year in this parliament. Let's just be clear, on the

:12:28.:12:30.

question of the "Mansion Tax", which you think will raise whatever

:12:30.:12:34.

it is that you need, �2 billion. If the Liberal Democrats put that

:12:34.:12:37.

forward, or indeed you put it forward, you would vote that

:12:37.:12:42.

through? We would support a "Mansion Tax", but using that money

:12:42.:12:46.

to cut taxes for ordinary working families. 25 million of them.

:12:46.:12:49.

would definitely vote for that, no question? We are saying today that

:12:49.:12:53.

is what we would do if we were in Government today. We said we would

:12:53.:12:57.

work with other parties. What would stop you producing this 10p tax,

:12:57.:13:01.

what would make you ditch it, for example? We don't intend to ditch

:13:01.:13:05.

it. We're not going to start writing a manifesto in a piecemeal

:13:05.:13:11.

way. It is only �2 billion of �670 billion of spending? It is �2

:13:11.:13:14.

billion here and there. This is a costed policy, it is something we

:13:14.:13:18.

want to do, we plan to do but we are still more than two years away

:13:18.:13:20.

from an election. It does seem that you are trying to change the

:13:20.:13:24.

weather. You are trying to say, look, we are now on the side of

:13:24.:13:27.

working people, we made a massive mistake, this is actually only a

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very small part. OK you are making some kind of nod towards a future

:13:31.:13:35.

Labour Government's economic policy, but actually, it is such a small

:13:35.:13:39.

part. If it is totemic and says you are on the side of working people,

:13:39.:13:42.

commit to it now? If you lock at what the Conservatives and Liberal

:13:42.:13:45.

Democrats did two years before the election, the Conservatives said

:13:45.:13:48.

they would raise inheritance tax threshold to a million pounds, the

:13:48.:13:51.

Liberal Democrats said they would get rid of tuition fee, and they

:13:51.:13:54.

came into Government and didn't do those things. That shows the

:13:54.:13:56.

dangers of making promises two years before the election. This is

:13:56.:14:00.

something we want to do, we plan to. Do but we are not going to write

:14:00.:14:03.

our manifesto two years ahead of an election. We have been very clear

:14:03.:14:07.

today. If we were in Government now, and at the next election we want to

:14:07.:14:11.

do this. We want to ask more of those with broadest shoulders, and

:14:11.:14:14.

use that money to cut taxes for ordinary people struggling right

:14:14.:14:20.

now with the rising costs of living. The IFS says it is something like

:14:20.:14:25.

7p a week in the end. It is not that much? The "Mansion Tax", the

:14:25.:14:29.

IFS have said the calculation it would bring in about �2 billion.

:14:29.:14:33.

They don't know how it will be valued yet? They say it sounds

:14:33.:14:36.

reasonable, and those are the estimates others have come up with.

:14:36.:14:41.

A �2 billion revenue, could, for the 24 million basic rate tax-

:14:41.:14:46.

payers, save them �100 each year. That is �2 a week. For a family

:14:46.:14:48.

that is struggling at the moment, with rising gas and electricity

:14:48.:14:51.

bill, rising train fares, the rising cost of food, this could

:14:51.:14:55.

make a substantial difference to them. But the problem is, this was

:14:55.:14:59.

an idea you had, you ditched the idea, it was a policy you had had,

:14:59.:15:04.

you ditched that, now you are reheating it. And the IFS is saying,

:15:04.:15:07.

and the words they said is "there is no plausible economic

:15:07.:15:11.

justification for this". What the IFS said, when we introduced the

:15:11.:15:15.

10p rate of tax is it was the wrong thing to do. It was a very popular

:15:15.:15:19.

tax. They did say that today? the IFS have never been in favour

:15:19.:15:24.

of the 10p rate of tax. They think it is an overcomplication of the

:15:24.:15:28.

tax system. The reality is the 10p rate of tax sent a very good signal

:15:28.:15:32.

that work pays, it was a popular tax and it improves those work

:15:32.:15:36.

incentives for people on lower incomes to go back to work, to take

:15:36.:15:39.

more hours. We think it is the right thing to do to reintroduce

:15:40.:15:44.

that 10p rate. What the IFS are not saying is it is not affordable.

:15:44.:15:47.

What they are saying is they don't think it is the right priority

:15:48.:15:54.

priority. However it was a popular rate of tax and improved work

:15:54.:15:58.

incentives. This is not a big, bold idea, it is safe stuff? If you are

:15:58.:16:05.

a family earning, a mum or dad earning � 12,000-�20,000 a year,

:16:05.:16:10.

and this means you are �100 better off, this is a difference,

:16:10.:16:17.

especially at a time when every penny counts. Are you worried about

:16:17.:16:21.

restructuring the tax system, and we don't know whether it will be in

:16:21.:16:25.

the manifesto or not and depends on whether we get in, why not say here

:16:25.:16:30.

is something bold and new, rather than relying on trashing Gordon

:16:30.:16:35.

Brown? People want something to address their concerns, that is the

:16:35.:16:38.

rising cost of living and waging going down. This will put money in

:16:38.:16:41.

the pockets of ordinary people, we think that is a priority, and we

:16:41.:16:44.

will fund it by asking a bit more from those who live in the biggest

:16:44.:16:51.

houses in this country. In a moment, what hope for the high street? And

:16:51.:16:55.

why do so many of India's serving politicians stand accused of

:16:55.:16:58.

serious crimes? TRANSLATION: This charge is a

:16:58.:17:00.

conspiracy against me. It was slapped on me during the last

:17:00.:17:10.

Government. It is a conspiracy. The Government's big idea to revive

:17:10.:17:14.

the high street was to put Mary Portas on the case. The fairy Queen

:17:14.:17:18.

of shops took our her wand and point today 12 troubled town

:17:19.:17:23.

centres in England, including Croydon, Dartford and Stockport.

:17:23.:17:29.

Then the gift of money to 12 every year to spread her fairy dust on

:17:29.:17:33.

the chosen high street. A freedom of information request has revealed

:17:33.:17:39.

in total less than 15% of the money has been spent.

:17:39.:17:44.

It is the bleakest of times for the high street. Caught between out of

:17:44.:17:48.

town retail parks and on-line competition, town centres have been

:17:48.:17:52.

shedding jobs and shutting shops in far greater numbers than they did

:17:52.:17:55.

at the depth of the recession. The Government's announced a high

:17:55.:18:00.

street Innovation Fund, urged lower business rates, and appointed a TV

:18:00.:18:04.

guru, as their retail Tsar. Prime Minister asked retail expert,

:18:04.:18:08.

Mary Portas, to take a look at what could be done. She has come forward

:18:08.:18:11.

with 28 recommendations. It is my job, as Government minister to take

:18:11.:18:20.

a look at those recommendations and see what we can get into place.

:18:20.:18:24.

Mary Portas became famous for telling shops how to smarten up

:18:24.:18:29.

their offerings on TV. A key recommendation of her's was a

:18:29.:18:32.

competition. Local people would form town teams to come up with

:18:32.:18:36.

ideas for revitalising their high streets. She wanted radical,

:18:36.:18:39.

creative thinking. Stockport is full of creative people, one of the

:18:39.:18:43.

things it is lacking is a social hub where these people can come

:18:43.:18:47.

together and collaberate. That is what she saw in this submission by

:18:47.:18:52.

Stockport, filmed by a local student. In pay Stockport was one

:18:52.:18:56.

of 12 lucky winners to become a "Portas Pilots" pilot town. The

:18:56.:19:02.

plan was to revive the local area with young people. Mary Portas came

:19:02.:19:07.

and saw what we are all about. town was awarded about �100,000 of

:19:07.:19:10.

central Government money, to put its plans into action. In Stockport

:19:11.:19:15.

seven months later, less than a tenth of money has been spent.

:19:15.:19:18.

have been pretty frustrated by the way it has gone. Really we wanted

:19:18.:19:22.

to build on our creative ideas and get things going in Stockport, in

:19:22.:19:25.

this part of the town. It has been hard to do that and get things

:19:25.:19:30.

going, with the way that it has been set up. That money, doled out

:19:30.:19:33.

by Grant Schapps in May, was supposed to kick start the revival

:19:33.:19:38.

of the high street, and get the "Portas Pilots" going. Disclosures

:19:38.:19:40.

under the Freedom of Information Act reveal just how little of that

:19:40.:19:50.
:19:50.:19:59.

Of the �1.2 million handed out to Town Halls by Grant Schapps, less

:20:00.:20:03.

than 15% has been use. Grant Schapps has now moved on to a new

:20:03.:20:07.

job. In the underbanks area of Stockport, they are still waiting

:20:07.:20:12.

to be revitalised. It has rather run down over the years. There used

:20:12.:20:16.

to be more shops there, there is a bed shop under that unit. They

:20:16.:20:20.

demolished it and rebuilt and it has never opened it. That was a

:20:20.:20:25.

hair dretser, that closed the same time -- dresser, that closed the

:20:25.:20:29.

same time that was rebuilt much that was a God pine furniture shop,

:20:29.:20:39.
:20:39.:20:40.

that moved out to one of the mills, hasn't been rebuilt. John runs a

:20:40.:20:45.

Christian bookshop, and has to compete with on-line and big out of

:20:45.:20:50.

town shops. We were here a couple of week ago with Mary Portas doing

:20:50.:20:53.

a photo shoot. I haven't noticed any long-term lasting effects yet.

:20:53.:20:57.

They put some money, I think into the Dickens Festival, early

:20:57.:21:01.

December. I think there is plans for some of the money to go into

:21:01.:21:06.

something happening in June. But long-term, no, I don't know what

:21:06.:21:08.

the investment objectives are. have also seen a breakdown of

:21:08.:21:11.

exactly what the town teams have been spending their money on. I

:21:11.:21:21.
:21:21.:21:32.

will give awe few examples. In the The second key part of the

:21:32.:21:36.

Government's strategy was to set up the high street Innovation Fund,

:21:36.:21:41.

for the towns with the most vacant shops. In April 100 towns got

:21:41.:21:45.

�100,000 each. How much of that money has been spent? Judging by

:21:45.:21:48.

the figures we have seen, very little. Five councils revealed out

:21:48.:21:53.

of that money they had spent nothing at all. So why not? Joe

:21:53.:21:59.

thinks that in Stockport it has got bogged down in bureaucracy. They

:21:59.:22:03.

have selected the usual suspect, the Chamber of Commerce, large

:22:03.:22:06.

retailers and the local shopping centre, and they haven't really

:22:06.:22:09.

engaged with local community. Portas wanted any interested local

:22:09.:22:15.

to get involved. So in Stockport, 259 people are on the town team.

:22:15.:22:19.

They vote on every single spending decision. So far they can't even

:22:19.:22:22.

agree a promotional website. Obviously the more democracy you

:22:23.:22:26.

inject in something the longer it can take. But also, I think, there

:22:26.:22:30.

is an issue about making sure the money is spent wisely. I think what

:22:30.:22:36.

would be absolutely the wrong thing to do is to say we can spend

:22:36.:22:40.

�100,000, �200,000 on day one. That is great, we will spend it on a

:22:40.:22:44.

project. It turns out to be wrong, and the project is not sustainable,

:22:44.:22:47.

a year later we are saying that was wasted money, wasn't it. Retailers

:22:47.:22:52.

say the Government is giving �11 million for high street revival

:22:52.:22:56.

with one hand, and taking away �175 million with another. That is what

:22:57.:23:01.

it will cost shops when business rates rise in April. That is the

:23:02.:23:04.

third key part of the Government's strategy, help with rates. The

:23:04.:23:08.

localism act gave councils the power to cut rates for struggling

:23:08.:23:12.

businesses. Are they doing that? The reality is for the council, of

:23:12.:23:16.

course, that we are also facing huge cuts, and we need it make the

:23:16.:23:25.

books balance. If we give discounts to business rates, that is cuts to

:23:25.:23:28.

services. That is a big challenge for us. We are looking at targeting

:23:28.:23:31.

cuts to business rates. It would be wrong to say we could afford to

:23:31.:23:35.

make really big cuts. In the toughest areas, business is

:23:35.:23:40.

so bad that shop rents have fallen by nearly a third. Yet rates are

:23:40.:23:45.

still based on boom time rents from 2008. The Government said it won't

:23:45.:23:50.

revalue them to 2017. In the moon time, no amount of

:23:50.:23:54.

creative thinking is likely to stop shops from shutting.

:23:54.:23:59.

We asked the Government to appear tonight, but no minister was

:23:59.:24:04.

available. Joining me from Lyndon is Sara Scott, part of the group

:24:04.:24:13.

which successfully bid to make MarketRasen a "Portas Pilots". And

:24:13.:24:18.

the writer of Sold Out, about the death of the high street. Is your

:24:18.:24:25.

view this is good money after bad? Yes, I'm afraid it is.

:24:25.:24:29.

We have a situation where ghost town Britain, boring town Britain,

:24:29.:24:35.

call it what you like. The indisputable facts are that 50

:24:35.:24:39.

stores a day are closing down. But it's not just the high street that

:24:39.:24:44.

has the problem. It is also the out of town parks. We have seen six

:24:44.:24:49.

major chains in a year go bust. Isn't if a laudible aim to bring

:24:49.:24:54.

back life to the high street, to bring it a hub of the town?

:24:54.:25:01.

Absolutely. There are good parts of the "Portas Pilots" review --

:25:01.:25:04.

Portas review. Not when they can't make a decision? If they are going

:25:05.:25:09.

to spend money on Peppa pig, we have a problem. The issue is a

:25:09.:25:12.

community issue, and communities that have the local economy rooted

:25:12.:25:22.
:25:22.:25:32.

in the community will be successful. It is not just a retail issue.

:25:32.:25:36.

You were given �98,000 how much have you spent? Half of it. Did you

:25:36.:25:41.

have a plan? We have a plan and are putting it in place. We were a

:25:42.:25:45.

local group it took time to be constituted and a bank account open.

:25:45.:25:50.

We didn't have a penny at our disposal for three months. But we

:25:50.:25:53.

got on and made things happen. It is not about how much you get and

:25:53.:25:56.

how people are spending it, it is the results generating and the

:25:56.:25:59.

ideas. It is public money, surely it is about getting results?

:25:59.:26:02.

Absolutely, and that's what the focus should be. I think today

:26:02.:26:06.

there has been a lot of coverage about how quickly people are

:26:06.:26:09.

spending, and that's not really the case. It takes a little while to

:26:09.:26:18.

get projects on their feet and get momentum behind. That certainly for

:26:18.:26:23.

us the projects are all in full swing. Have you put retail units in,

:26:23.:26:25.

or found different ways of utilising shops. Have you managed

:26:25.:26:30.

to reopen shops? For us, in the six months since we have had the cash

:26:30.:26:36.

in place, we have managed to cut vacancy rates on the high street by

:26:36.:26:41.

50%, that is a substantial increase in occupancy. We have opened two

:26:41.:26:44.

community shops to allow our independent artists and producer as

:26:44.:26:49.

route on to the high street. Do you think this sounds more optimistic.

:26:49.:26:52.

Do you think they will be able to survive without a further cash

:26:52.:26:56.

injection, it will make a long time for the shops to make money,

:26:56.:26:59.

especially with the rates? This investment is a drop in the ocean.

:26:59.:27:04.

Long after the cameras have stopped rolling and the reality TV has gone.

:27:04.:27:07.

Because that is what will come out of this for Mary Portas. The TV

:27:07.:27:12.

programme is being made now. But this is a PR fluff that is going on.

:27:12.:27:18.

What we need is to concentrate on what the town centres need. It is

:27:18.:27:22.

not a retail destination. Make it residential? Make it a combination

:27:22.:27:26.

of things. I do think town teams need to be set up with local

:27:26.:27:30.

business people, local residents, and they need to concentrate on

:27:30.:27:36.

making their town unique. For the local community. Isn't the problem

:27:36.:27:42.

that people in Market Rasen go elsewhere for shopping. There can't

:27:42.:27:45.

be social engineering to stop them going to where they think the

:27:45.:27:48.

better shops are? That's right, if it is just about shopping. But I'm

:27:48.:27:51.

with Bill on this one. It is about creating an inviting community

:27:52.:27:55.

space that people want to come and spend some time. It is about

:27:56.:27:59.

reinventing the high street, not just trying to recreate something

:27:59.:28:02.

that has had the day. For example we know that all over the country

:28:02.:28:06.

libraries are shutting down, what do you do, take an empty shop and

:28:06.:28:10.

turn it into a library. What are the more creative ways to

:28:10.:28:15.

revitalise the high street, then? Exactly that. We did a survey of

:28:15.:28:19.

our high street visitors last summer, and we analysed that really

:28:19.:28:21.

carefully to find out what was missing. One of the things people

:28:21.:28:26.

wanted was a bookshop. Bookshops are quite hard to run these days at

:28:26.:28:29.

a profit. We have created a book swap on the high street and put it

:28:29.:28:32.

at the heart of a community store. It gets people in, talking to each

:28:32.:28:36.

other. Connecting in a way that unfortunately had become lost in

:28:36.:28:40.

some communities. You are shaking your head here. The facts are the

:28:40.:28:46.

general public are changing the way we behave, and our values have

:28:46.:28:49.

changed. Shopping on-line will be a very real thing in the future. Two

:28:49.:28:55.

week before Christmas, Amazon reported for the first time in

:28:55.:29:02.

history, they sold more e-books an hard copy books. What future

:29:02.:29:06.

Waterstones and other high street book shops, none. Customers are not

:29:06.:29:10.

going to the high street in sufficient numbers to make it a

:29:10.:29:14.

viable proposition as a retail destination. It needs to be, what

:29:14.:29:18.

was said, a complete package, based on residential, entertainment,

:29:18.:29:24.

restaurants, arts, and that's where Mary Portas has got the right idea

:29:24.:29:28.

in some of her 28 recommend David Kellys. About the town teams and

:29:28.:29:32.

the local communities. But we have to recognise that the high street

:29:32.:29:37.

that we once knew -- recommendations, about the town

:29:37.:29:39.

teams and local communities. We have to recognise that the high

:29:39.:29:45.

street we knew is dead and not coming back. I would say on the way

:29:46.:29:48.

to revitalisations with the right ideas from town teams across the

:29:48.:29:53.

country. David Cameron is making a three-day

:29:53.:29:57.

visit to ind next week. He will be arriving in a country still

:29:57.:30:00.

traumatised by the gang rape of a Delhi student, just before

:30:00.:30:04.

Christmas. Who later died of her injuries. It set off weeks of

:30:04.:30:08.

protests over Indian attitudes towards women. It is also prompting

:30:08.:30:12.

deeper questions in the world's largest democracy about how it runs

:30:12.:30:16.

itself. As many of its serving politicians are themselves accused

:30:16.:30:24.

of rape, murder and other serious crimes.

:30:24.:30:29.

It was an he eruption many Indians believed was waiting to happen. The

:30:29.:30:33.

Delhi rape case has unleashed a torrent of anger at the old order.

:30:33.:30:42.

Bringing a darker side of India's democracy to light. The Government

:30:42.:30:48.

is promising speedier justice and tougher laws.

:30:48.:30:53.

Attempt to murder. Forgery, murder. But the suspected criminals, this

:30:53.:30:58.

activist is investigating, are the ones making India's laws, and he

:30:58.:31:02.

says these politicians are evading justice.

:31:02.:31:08.

The problem is that our judicial system takes such a long time, and

:31:08.:31:14.

those people in politics, because at times they get in this seat of

:31:14.:31:19.

power where they can delay their cases, not just four years but for

:31:20.:31:26.

decades. We have come to India's heartland,

:31:26.:31:31.

and its most popular state Uttar Pradesh.

:31:31.:31:35.

It is one of the engines of Indian politics, controlling the most

:31:35.:31:45.
:31:45.:31:45.

number of seats in parliament. Down the line from Delhi is the small

:31:45.:31:54.

town of Nagina. The name means "jewel", here Manoj Kumar Paras is

:31:54.:31:58.

king. He is a minister in the state

:31:58.:32:05.

Government. He has also been charged with gang rape, and six

:32:05.:32:12.

years later there has been no prosecution or movement in his case.

:32:12.:32:15.

We find him at his home with his constituents, hearing pleas for

:32:15.:32:25.
:32:25.:32:29.

help. He says the rape charge has been fabricated by his rivals.

:32:29.:32:32.

TRANSLATION: This charge is a conspiracy against me. It was

:32:32.:32:37.

slapped on me during the last Government it is a conspiracy. But

:32:37.:32:40.

before the election, people in my constituency knew about it, and

:32:41.:32:49.

they could see through it, and that's why I won by 30,000 votes.

:32:49.:32:53.

lot of people find it hard to understand how ministers such as

:32:53.:32:59.

yourself, and other politicians can uphold the law if they are facing

:32:59.:33:05.

serious charges themselves? TRANSLATION: Just charging someone

:33:05.:33:14.

is not enough. You have to wait until you are convicted. Anyone can

:33:14.:33:24.

be charged for any number of reasons. But in many other

:33:24.:33:28.

countries, in many other democracies. Please stop the camera,

:33:28.:33:33.

please. In many other countries, no, if we could carry on. Please stop

:33:33.:33:37.

the camera. Why do you want to stop, I wanted to ask you another

:33:37.:33:42.

question? Then the minister is gone. His supporters make their feelings

:33:42.:33:52.
:33:52.:34:00.

clear. Nothing more. For many, Uttar Pradesh is a harsh place.

:34:00.:34:04.

Millions live in extreme poverty, their lives governed by caste and

:34:04.:34:09.

tradition. Here it's rare for women to press charges at all. Many never

:34:09.:34:16.

even report an assault, because of the social stigma. We are looking

:34:16.:34:25.

for the woman the minister is accused of raping.

:34:25.:34:33.

Is she here? The woman seems to have disappeared. And we are coming

:34:33.:34:37.

up against a wall of silence here. Everyone seems to be too scared to

:34:37.:34:47.
:34:47.:34:48.

tell us where she is. One villager asks who will save

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

them if they go against the establishment. In 2012, these are

:35:01.:35:06.

the 370 is attempted murder. This man says he tried to go against the

:35:06.:35:10.

establishment. He accuses his local minister of trying to kill him,

:35:10.:35:13.

after he challenged him in a local election. The police documents show

:35:13.:35:19.

there is a case to answer. TRANSLATION: I am a common man, and

:35:19.:35:27.

this was my first election. He was a sitting politician, if it was a

:35:27.:35:33.

false charge the police would never have resisted a case against him.

:35:33.:35:39.

But there has been no movement in the case so far. Like so many in

:35:39.:35:45.

India's overloaded justice system. We are on our way now to find

:35:45.:35:51.

member member Ali, the man accused of -- Mehboob Ali, the man accused

:35:51.:35:57.

of attempting to kill his rival. It is not just attempted murder he's

:35:57.:36:03.

charged with, but many others, including robbery and kidnapping.

:36:03.:36:07.

This is Mehboob Ali's town, he has won four elections here, and been

:36:07.:36:12.

in power for over 15 years. We pay him a surprise visit, and

:36:12.:36:22.
:36:22.:36:24.

find him surrounded by supporters. Mehboob Ali! Mehboob Ali. They are

:36:24.:36:28.

celebrating because he has just been promoted to Transport Minister.

:36:28.:36:35.

The police are here to guard him, not arrest him. He disputed whether

:36:35.:36:41.

he's even been charged with attempted murder. TRANSLATION:

:36:42.:36:45.

my political career, 150 people have fought elections against me,

:36:45.:36:49.

there is not a single person who can say I harmed him. Not one

:36:49.:36:54.

person. You can say anything about anyone if you want to. But this is

:36:54.:36:58.

now an official charge. The police have registered this, they have

:36:58.:37:02.

accepted it as an official charge, and so it has to go to court.

:37:02.:37:07.

Shouldn't you stand down until you can clear your name? No, no.

:37:07.:37:12.

But how can people trust you to uphold the law, if you are wanted

:37:12.:37:20.

by the law? Maybe there's a complaint in a court or a police

:37:20.:37:23.

station, everyone has the right to make a charge. But maybe after an

:37:23.:37:26.

investigation it might be found to be untrue. I don't know anything

:37:26.:37:36.
:37:36.:37:43.

about this. Religion is one clue to

:37:43.:37:49.

understanding how things work here. The minister is Muslim, and he

:37:49.:37:52.

delivers Muslim votes for the ruling party. And whatever the

:37:52.:37:56.

charge, politicians can stay in office as long as they are not

:37:56.:38:03.

actually convicted. It is the start of a new session at the Uttar

:38:03.:38:08.

Pradesh State Assembly. Both ministers are in the chamber. And

:38:08.:38:14.

in their element. They are far from the only ministers here with

:38:14.:38:17.

spending cases, yet many wonder who is benefiting from the policies

:38:17.:38:23.

they are making. It is an astonishing fact that half

:38:23.:38:27.

the ministers in the Uttar Pradesh Government are charged with crimes.

:38:27.:38:31.

Ranging from rape and murder to robbery. And this is just the

:38:31.:38:36.

starkest example of what is a nationwide problem. A third of all

:38:36.:38:45.

India's elected politicians are facing some kind of criminal charge.

:38:45.:38:49.

The shadow over India's democracy goes all the way to Delhi. All the

:38:49.:38:52.

main parties have promised change, but instead the number of alleged

:38:52.:38:59.

criminals in their ranks keeps rising.

:38:59.:39:03.

At this Delhi-based watchdog, they have been campaigning against what

:39:03.:39:08.

they call the criminalisation of Indian politics for years. Staff

:39:08.:39:12.

have built a database of accused politicians, based on the

:39:12.:39:15.

declarations they all have to make before an election. If India's

:39:15.:39:19.

justice system can't bring them to account, its director warns the

:39:20.:39:25.

damage will spread. If you want to give somebody poison, it doesn't

:39:25.:39:30.

matter whether you are giving a full bottle of poison or a

:39:30.:39:36.

tablespoon of poison. Poison is poison. One of the reports said

:39:36.:39:39.

that criminalisation is poison. We are not talking about a tablespoon

:39:39.:39:43.

of this sort of people, we are talking about a full bottle of

:39:43.:39:47.

these guys. A judicial commission appointed by

:39:47.:39:50.

the Indian Government recently recommended all politicians facing

:39:50.:39:57.

charges should resign. But with a general election

:39:57.:40:01.

election in India next year, many suspected criminals are preparing

:40:01.:40:07.

to return to power. Before the end of the programme, we

:40:07.:40:11.

will have tomorrow morning's front pages. First, to millions Oscar

:40:11.:40:15.

Pisorius is a hero, the South African athlete, dubbed "blade

:40:15.:40:19.

runner", is an Olympic and Paralympic star. But today he was

:40:19.:40:23.

charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steencamp, after

:40:23.:40:27.

a fatal shooting in the early hours of the morning at his home in

:40:27.:40:33.

Pretoria. The man who ghost wrote his autobiography spoke to us via

:40:33.:40:38.

Skype from his home in Italy. I began by asking him how well he

:40:38.:40:43.

knew Pistorius? I think that I know him quite well. But I know the

:40:43.:40:50.

Pistorius of before. The new Pistorius is somebody that, for me,

:40:50.:40:54.

is completely unknown. Is that because you think he has changed a

:40:54.:41:03.

lot since stardom? When he was training here in Italy, his life

:41:03.:41:08.

was very quiet, very normal, and especially he was only focusing on

:41:08.:41:17.

working very hard. I found the new situation very difficult. Only

:41:17.:41:23.

sometimes from South Africa where having some information regarding

:41:23.:41:28.

some behaviour that was not nice and simple as the one that he has

:41:28.:41:31.

expressed here in Italy. Of course we don't know yet what actually

:41:31.:41:35.

happened, though he has been charged with murder. When you say

:41:35.:41:38.

that you heard from South Africa that there were some things that

:41:38.:41:44.

weren't so nice, what kind of behaviour are you talking about?

:41:44.:41:50.

The situation in his party when he has had big argument with a

:41:50.:41:54.

girlfriend of one of his friend that at the end he finished to go

:41:54.:42:00.

to the police station to explain his behaviour. Tell me, though, do

:42:00.:42:08.

you think that you ever saw any sparks of volatile, difficult

:42:08.:42:12.

behaviour when you were working alongside him in Italy? No, never.

:42:12.:42:18.

Never because he was always very pleasant with everybody. Maybe that

:42:18.:42:23.

one time he was a little bit serious, because sometimes he was

:42:23.:42:32.

closing himself because he wanted perhaps to save his privacy.

:42:32.:42:41.

shocked are you about this arrest and charge? It is a big shock.

:42:41.:42:45.

Because we came early in the morning that the first time I

:42:45.:42:51.

thought that was a nightmare, and I was still sleeping, I thought I was

:42:51.:42:56.

still sleeping, because I couldn't believe it. I know that in South

:42:56.:43:03.

Africa and a young boy can have a violent reaction, because the

:43:03.:43:08.

society there is quite violent with a lot of guns around. But I

:43:08.:43:14.

couldn't believe that he can kill a person. That is something that I

:43:14.:43:22.

cannot accept and that I cannot forgive. If at the end of this,

:43:22.:43:28.

Oscar Pisorius is found guilty of murder, do you think that will

:43:28.:43:32.

destroy him, it lobbously have destroyed his career? That's for

:43:32.:43:38.

sure. The career is normal. But the problem will destroy him as a human

:43:38.:43:45.

being. I don't know how he will survive. -- inside a jail. Because

:43:45.:43:51.

you know, he is a man that has fought for the freedom of the

:43:51.:44:01.
:44:01.:44:01.

people, the freedom to be normal. If he finshes in jail, I don't

:44:01.:44:04.

understand what his reaction will be. Thank you very much for joining

:44:04.:44:08.

us tonight. Thank you to you. Of course we will hear more from

:44:09.:44:12.

the court in Pretoria tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning's front

:44:12.:44:22.
:44:22.:44:22.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 48 seconds

:44:22.:45:11.

pages, that story makes most of the Love is supposedly in the air

:45:11.:45:16.

tonight. Unless you are at work, that is. After a brief trawl of

:45:16.:45:20.

Valentine's pictures from around the world, we quite liked these,

:45:20.:45:23.

lanterns being released into the sky in Taiwan to much flash

:45:23.:45:33.
:45:33.:45:35.

photography. From all of us here, # Love is waiting there

:45:35.:45:41.

# In my beautiful balloon # Way up in the air

:45:41.:45:46.

# In my beautiful balloon # For we can fly

:45:46.:45:56.

# We can fly # Up up and away

:45:56.:46:06.
:46:06.:46:15.

# My beautiful Good evening, what a difference the

:46:15.:46:19.

day makes. It has felt much milder today. A little chilly Friday,

:46:19.:46:23.

first thing, there could be the odd patch of ice and pocket of fog to

:46:23.:46:27.

watch out for. Otherwise it looks largely dry and fine for many of us,

:46:27.:46:30.

with some good spells of sunshine. Certainly so across many parts of

:46:30.:46:35.

northern England, eight or nines, those temperatures on a par with

:46:35.:46:39.

what we have seen today. A shade lower because it will start

:46:39.:46:42.

slightly colder. Good spells of sunshine, slight winds, very

:46:42.:46:46.

pleasant, and essentially dry, there is the joud site chance of

:46:46.:46:49.

the odd shower popping up in western areas. That is more likely

:46:49.:46:53.

as we head our way further north. Even here, through parts of North

:46:53.:46:57.

West England and Northern Ireland, far fewer showers than we have seen

:46:57.:47:01.

during the day today. They will be light as well. One or two through

:47:01.:47:05.

Dumfries, Ayrshire and Galloway, up to the north of Scotland, here too

:47:05.:47:09.

much dryer than it has been during the day today. And less windy as

:47:09.:47:12.

well. The prospects, as you can see, through Friday and Saturday through

:47:12.:47:15.

the northern half of the country, bring rather more cloud in through

:47:15.:47:19.

Saturday. Fog in the morning as well. That weather front bringing a

:47:19.:47:24.

smattering of rain, potentially, fog could be an issue for east

:47:24.:47:27.

Wales and England on Saturday morning. It look like a cloudier

:47:27.:47:32.

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