23/04/2013 Newsnight


Analysis of the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis. The fake bomb detector exposed by Newsnight, can independent Scotland keep the pound? And France v Britain on child care.

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$:/STARTFEED. This piece of rubbish was sold as a bomb detector to


Governments in some of the most violent countries in the world.


Newsnight exposed the conman behind this scam, today he was found


guilty at the Old Bailey. He said it does exactly what it is designed


to. I said what's that? I was expecting him to say it detects


explosives, ivory, gold, he never said that, he said it makes money.


If Scotland goes it alone will the Chancellor refuse to accept the


Scottish tenner? Why independence might kick it out the pound.


We go in search of perfect childcare as the Children's


Minister faces her critics on the hot issue at the moment. Welcome to


Newsnight all about the difference between England and France,


reception year and nursery. Going to enjoy this show, da-da-da-da!


Good evening, it started life as a novelty golf ball finder and it


helped end the lives of hundreds. A businessman took this gadget, a


mere aerial on a hinge and convinced Governments in some of


the most volatile countries in the world that it was a bomb detector.


Newsnight first revealed the scam in 2010, tonight we can reveal how


he bribed senior figures in Iraq to win an $85 million contract. This


afternoon he was found guilty of fraud by the Old Bailey. Caroline


Horley, who broke the original story, reports.


If you believe the sales pitch this called bomb detector could detect


explosives more than half a mile away. All powered by no more than


the user's static electricity. REPORTER: How many people's lives


were taken in Iraq. Today Jim McCormick was convicted of fraud at


the Old Bailey. His scam began with this, a novelty golf ball finder n


reality just an aerial on a hinge that couldn't find anything. Jim


McCormick bought hundreds of them from the US for $20 each, he put


his own label on them and sold them as bomb detectors for as much as


$5,000 a time. He then created a more advanced-looking version,


which he called the ADE 651, this time it came with special cards,


supposedly programmed to detect everything from explosives to ivory,


human beings or even $100 bill its. He sold this -- bills. He sold this


version for as much as $55,000 each. Iraq alone spent $85 million buying


thousands of them for use at checkpoints from Baghdad to Basra,


as protection from suicide bombs. We have been told that bribes to


senior Iraqi officials helped Jim McCormick sweeten the deal for the


bogus devices. This was just one of a series of ploifgss to rock


Baghdad in -- explosions to rock bad dad in late 2009. At the height


of the bombings there were call force the devices to be withdrawn.


Mr Jim here. Jim McCormick came to Iraq, and with the head of the


Baghdad bomb squad, organised a press conference to persuade Iraqis


that it worked. We have discovered that the general had been bribed by


Jim McCormick. He has now been jailed for corruption, thanks to


the work of this man. He's the Inspector General of the Interior


Ministry, Aqil al-Turehi. He says his investigation is backed by the


Prime Minister, but that other, high-ranking officials are


implicated in the conspiracy. TRANSLATION: I feel furious as a


citizen of Iraq when I think that this gang of Jim McCormick and the


Iraqis working with him killed my people in cold blood by creating a


false sense of security with a useless device. How many people


lost their lives in bombs that passed through checkpoints where


this device was being used? TRANSLATION: I think hundreds, I


don't have the exact statistics, but it was hundreds. For every bomb


stopped, he said, four got through. And the explosives that were found


were discovered because of tip-offs or by chance. Between 2008-2009


over 1,000 Iraqis died in bomb abacks in Baghdad alone, many more


were seriously injured. I met Haneen Alwan in Jordan, where she


has come for medical treatment. She has already had 59 operations after


she suffered horrific burns in a double bomb anything Baghdad in


early 2009. She had been two months pregnant at the time, and craving


ice-cream, which she had gone out to buy when she was caught in the


explosion. TRANSLATION: My life was completely destroyed, I lost


everything in an instant. I was left with nothing. I lost the baby


and my husband divorced me. She had trusted that Jim McCormick's called


bomb detector, used at virtually every checkpoint worked. What do


you think of the man who sold these devices? TRANSLATION: The man has


no conscience, he is morally bankrupt. How could he sell them


just for the money and destroy the lives of others. He has no humanity,


a useless person. What kind of man would sell fake bomb detectors to a


country where lives depended on it? This is Jim McCormick on a sales


trip to Niger, being filmed by a colleague who had believed the


devices worked. He has agreed now to talk exclusively to Newsnight,


as long as we conceal his identity. Which countries did you go to with


Jim McCormick to sell these devices? We flew all around the


world, Belgium, Romania, Hong Kong, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya. The training


for the Iraqis was done in Turkey. He started to have suspicions, and


then senior army officers in Niger complained that the detectors


didn't work. The whistleblower confronted McCormick. What happened


when you raised your concerns with Jim McCormick? Well, I said if this


doesn't work I can't be any part of it. He said it does exactly what it


is designed to I said what was that, I was expect him to say it detects


explosives, ivory and gold, he never said that, he said it makes


money. I said I didn't want nothing to do with it. He said suit


yourself, you are walking away from millions, said at least I can sleep


at night. The big contract was in Iraq, the trick was to find corrupt


middle men who would sign contracts to buy the ADE 651s, people like


the head of the Iraqi bomb squad. The middle men don't care if people


live or die, they are only interested in one thing, how much


will I get back, cash back. question at all that it was bribery


that oiled the wheels of this scam? Absolutely, absolutely. Apart from


Iraq, one of the places that Jim McCormick sold his bogus bomb


detectors was here in Lebanon. The country that had bounce the back


after the dark case -- bounced back after the dark case days of the


Civil War. He sold them to the Lebanese arm and the United Nations


peacekeeping force along the border with Israel. They became suspicious


when Mr McCormick couldn't produce evidence that showed they could


detect explosives. It conducted a series of tests and found they


didn't work. There was something else that brought Jim McCormick to


Beirut. The city, once the financial capital of the Middle


East, is still a playground for the rich. A free wheeling place where


money can be easily spent and laundered. It was, our source says,


where McCormick came to pay his bribes to the Iraqis. The


whistleblower says he came here to a bank in Beirut and witnessed Jim


McCormick organising the pay-offs. He watched as he arranged for bank


accounts to be set up under false names. Three Iraqis have so far


been arrested for corruption over the deals. But the whistleblower


said he saw a list of around 15 names. Our source says the Iraqi


officials were issued with bank cards which allowed them to take


out large sums of money from cash machines anywhere in the world


without being traced. He also says that electronic transfers were made


to other accounts. McCormick could afford to give bribes to the Iraqis.


He bought exclusive properties in Bath, including this one, sold to


him by Hollywood film star, Nicholas Cage. Complete with Roman-


style indoor swimming pool. His profits also funded a country home


in Somerset, smart cars and dressage horses. As well as houses


in Cyprus and Florida. And a yacht. It was Iraq that paid the price.


Shockingly the British Government had been alerted months before Han


in was injured, that the device was a scam, but nothing was done to


prevent the sale. When our whistleblower walked out on


McCormick in 2008, he made it his mission to take the bogus bomb


detector out of circulation, warning the Ministry of Defence and


those who bought the device. By 2009 the American military was


sounding the alarm. And Avon and Somerset Police began investigating.


But McCormick was freely plugging the ADE 651. In ideal conditions


you can be up to 1km away. kilometer, so this device will help


this device spot explosives a kilometer away. In ideal conditions


it will. Koerm did a BBC interview that said the cards were the key.


In early 2010 we decided to put the claims to the test with the help of


the Cambridge Computer Laboratory. McCormick said this had been


programmed to detect TNT, we decided to find out what was in it.


This is the cheapest bit of electronics you can get that look


vaguely electronic and are sufficiently flat to fit inside a


card. It couldn't be programmed to detect TNT? Absolutely not. The day


we broadcast our report in January 2010. Good evening a Newsnight


investigation has discovered that a called bomb detector produced by a


British company and sold to Iraq does not work.


British troops have now left Basra and the Americans have left Baghdad.


But at checkpoints across the capital and beyond, where bombs


remain a constant threat, the bogus detector is still being used. The


man who sold them now faces several years behind bars.


I'm joined now by Detective Superintendent Nigel Rock from Avon


and Somerset Police who was the senior investigating officer on the


case. You must be a very happy man this evening, Nigel Rock. This was


a conviction for fraud, which I guess in some ways just doesn't


quite cover it, does it, what would be your message to Jim McCormick


tonight? I think it does cover it in so much as the device doesn't


work, it could never work. Jim McCormick knew it didn't work and


the court accepted that. And then he told lies and a deception that


he practised and developed over ten years. I think fraud fits the crime.


Whether it fits the whole circumstances is a different matter.


Because clearly many people's lives have probably been affected by


McCormick and his useless device. Hundreds lost we were hearing


because of this? We have never been able to directly prove that the


device was directly responsible for killing people. But I find


inconceivable, there was 6,000 of these devices in Baghdad, in


environment of Baghdad. At one point there was there were 10-


12IEDs going off in the city how could that not be the device that


was thought to protect them. There are many still out there now?


it is unfortunate and despite messages from ourselves, messages


from Government departments, through the embassies, they are


still there and they are still in use on the streets in a number of


countries and the people operating them unfortunately still believe


they work. How can that be? That is one of the most extraordinary


things about this tale, the Home Office tested them, the UN tested


them, we know the American military were raising the alarm? Isn't it


very simple to work out if something that is a bit of plastic


works or doesn't work? It is, clearly the evidence we gathered


over a four-year investigation, or the best part of four years, firmly


established beyond doubt that the device doesn't work, could never


work. But McCormick had developed such a con, such a patter, such a


way of delivering the demonstration of the device that he was able to


convince some people that it worked. And he was still selling it whilst


these investigations were going on? He certainly has not sold one since


the moment he was are-ed in September 2009, up until that point,


yes, he was selling them. I can assure you that since we -- he was


arrested in September 2009, up until that point, yes he was


selling you. I can assure you since then he has not sold any more.


we claim them back the money from his assets? One of the things we


have done through the court is restrain his assets and the


investigation continues, hopefully with the assistance of the courts,


we will confiscate the assets we know about. It is highly likely


there are assets we will never trace. As you saw in the report


bank accounts were opened in parts of the world where it may be


difficult to get information. money claimed from the assets could


go back to refund some of the Governments who have paid out


money? The process is the assets are seized through the courts and


then the money is distributed through the police and the Crown


Prosecution Service. But clearly the civil cases are open to some


countries to try to get money back. Do you think you will get money


back from those who were bribed? That was a different situation.


There are a number of investigations going on in other


countries. We are supporting those, and clearly we have had a lot of


contact with the Ministry of Interior from Iraq. We are hoping


to assist them, we will give them all the information we can. Nigel


Rock, we really appreciate you coming in, thanks again.


Coming up: The difference between England and


France reception year and nursery. (applause) going to enjoy this show,


da-da-da-da-da! All that to come, will you still be


able to use a tenner in the new independent Scotland. The SNP would


like to say, of course, the Chancellor is not so sure. He's


warning, some would say fledening, that the UK -- threatening, that


the UK might not want to tie itself to a foreign currency. Many say


there is gentle political mischief being made. How realistic is it


that the two countries could share the same currency, a kind of


eurozone-light? At one time it was easier to imagine this happening


than Scotland politically separating from the rest of Britain.


But now political time is speeding up, we are starting not just to


imagine Scottish independent but to measure the cost. Let's be clear,


abandoning current arrangements would represent a very deep dive


indeed into unchartered waters. Would a newly independent Scottish


state be prepared to accept significant limits on its economic


sovereignty? To submit its bugetry plans to Westminster before


Hollywood? To constrain the degree of tax competition between Scotland


and the rest of the UK. To accept some continuing oversight by UK


authorities of its public finances. Those are good questions if you


want to leave Britain but keep the pound. So the Chancellor headed for


the kind of factory, high-tech, export-driven, partly reliant on


defence, where getting independence right would be make-or-break. He


asked an even more fundamental question. Why would 58 million


citizens give away their sovereignty over monetary and


potentially other economic policies to five million people in another


state. The SNP asserts that it would be in everyone's interest for


an independent Scotland to keep the pound as part of a eurozone-style


sterling zone. But the Treasury analysis we are publishing today


shows that is not the case. Treasury today laid out three


options after a Scottish "yes" vote, joining the euro, launching its own


currency or keeping the pound. The problem with all of them is


Scotland's economic shape, think oil, whiskey and banks. This


London-based economist who designed the residue of RBS and HBOS thinks


it is the size of the banking sector that dictates much else.


When you have a bank in trouble you have a Central Bank to support it,


and behind the Central Bank is always the taxpayer. That means if


you have an independent Scotland within a sterling area you need to


have a Central Bank, not only for monetary policy, but also banking


policy. That requires the big taxpayer, which is the rest of the


UK. That's where the complication becomes. Probably the most selling


graphs in today -- telling graphs today are these. It shows Scottish


exports declining to the UK over the past few years, but remaining


way above exports to the rest of the world. It is the same when it


comes to imports. Scotland's main trade route, effectively, runs down


the M6 and the west coast railway line between Gretna and Carlyle.


Confused? A lot of Scottish people are. I like the pound and what we


have got. I don't like the euro. Ideally I would like to see it as


it is at the moment. Just continuing with the Scottish notes.


If it came down to changing the currency I think that would swing a


lot of votes. We should create our own currency. With the oil still


flowing and the globally important engineering industry it has


produced, the SNP's argument is the rest of Britain that needs Scotland


to keep the pound. The rest of the UK needs Scotland within the


currency area to support the balance of payments. If they didn't


have access to Scotland's resources like our oil, that would be a loss


of �40 billion from the sterling balance of payments. That would


double the balance of payments deficit and cause all sorts of


problems. There is no need for. That they can continue to have


Scottish resources underpinning the sterling balance of payments. That


is why it is in the interests of the rest of the UK. What George


Osborne is effectively saying to Scottish voters is you can have


independence, but if you want to keep the pound you may end up


giving quite a lot of control over that independent Scottish economy


to London. So why doesn't Scotland opt, like Denmark, for its own


separate currency? This certainly is what some supporters of


independence see as the long-term goal? I think you have to


distinguish between the short-term and the long-term. The short-term


practically would have to be some arrangement whereby Scotland


continued to use sterling. I think the option of moving to the euro is


a non-starter. You could say that we have been in one dysfuntional


currency union in the UK kuorn union, why go into an even more


dysfuntional currency union. The preferred option is for our own


currency. It is the getting there that worries people and on both


sides of the border. The difficulty is how to get from where they are


today, with all of their contracts in sterling, to all of their


contracts being in a new currency that hasn't been set yet. And going


from where we are today to there, you run the risk of capital coming


out of the country. It is a big transitional risk, but in the


longer term it is a coherent solution.


But in the shorter term, come next September, the prospect is of a


Scotland-shaped economy using money issued by the bank of somewhere


else. The Scottish Finance Minister, John


Swinney, joins us from from Dundee. Thank you for your time this


evening. Let's imagine, if you like, that you have won, that Scotland's


independent. Why wouldn't a proud, new low- independent Scotland want


to have its own currency? What we have set out is a framework that is


well evidenced about the arguments which essentially create the


platform for a continuity of the business environment between


Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. That is one of the very


powerful attractions of the proposition we have put forward to


the rest of the UK into the bargain. That companies south of the border


would continue to be able to trade with Scotland in the same currency.


And visa versa for companies and organisations within Scotland. It


is a practical and sensible and rational approach which is in the


interests of everybody north and south of the border. In currency


terms Scotland couldn't go it alone then? I think that Scotland has all


the attributes to be a strong, independent country. Our


proposition is to ensure that our country is able to take all of the


decisions that are relevant and important to the economic and


fiscal interests of our country. But not with its own currency?


currency, you have looked at all the various options that the UK


Government has looked at into the bargain. We consider the best


approach for Scotland is to maintain the use of sterling as


part of a sterling zone. Is that just for a short-term transition or,


I mean is there a long-term goal for a Scottish currency?


proposition we have put forward is a strong and sustainable


proposition. It is one we put forward as a robust long-term


proposition to give the correct framework for the Scottish economy


and to enable the companies and businesses of Scotland to continue


to be able to trade effectively with the rest of the UK and for


other companies in the rest of the United Kingdom to be trading with


the companies and businesses in Scotland. It makes sense in the


interests of everybody in these islands to be taking that approach.


There seems to have been three identifyable positions on currency.


You were unambiguously committed to joining the euro in 1999, you were


in favour of pegging the Scottish pound to sterling. Now you are


staying with terling, if you got your own way -- sterling, if you


got your own way and there is no talk of a currency at all. It is


hard for people looking at your policies to work out what you


really mean isn't it? Over the years there has been a broad cross


section of political opinion that at some stage has supported


membership of the single currency, not least of which the last Labour


Government and the current Chief Whip to the Treasury and the Lib


Dem party. The issue of the single currency is broadly debated across


the political spectrum. What we have set out over some considerable


time is the advantages of Scotland retaining the pound, establishing a


sterling zone that would enable us to operate within a framework which


would essentially create the stability of a unified market


across these islands and that in the interests of everybody aclos


the UK. We have heard the -- Across the UK. We have heard the


advantages for Scotland, the Chancellor has laid down the


compromises you needed to make, significant limits, and submitting


plans to Westminster. Accepting continuing oversight of public


finances, you would be prepared to do that would you, under the Bank


of England? These are some of the overbearing interventions of George


Osborne. Why are they overbearing, they seem completely sensible don't


they? They are pretty overbearing. We have made it pretty clear that


we would see the logic and the rationale of some form of


"stability pact" arrangements in which we set out some strategic


rules around the management of the public finances in Scotland. With


particular agreements around the level of debt that we would incur,


or the level of borrowing we would be undertaking. When you talk about


strategic rules, a lot of tax- payers will be rembering that


billions were paid out to rescue Scottish banks, RBS and HBOS to be


rescued by the Bank of England. Would that continue? All of these


factors are part of the public finances of the United Kingdom as


we stand just now. Basically you would use the loans there are the


Bank of England without submitting any of our bugetry restrictions or


qualifications, you would be prepared to just take and not give?


What I said a moment ago is we accept the rationale for a


"stability pact" type arrangement, where the levels of debt we would


be incurring, or the level of borrowing we would undertake would


be part of the "stability pact". That would give Scotland a maximum


amount of fiscal flexibility to determine economic policy in the


interests of the community of Scotland and to create the


strongest possible economy. Chancellor said it was unworkable.


That is the argument to enable us to do that. The Chancellor said it


was unworkable. The Chancellor said why would the 58 million citizens


of the rest of the UK to give their sovereignty to share in a new kind


of eurozone with you? There are two reasons why that would be in their


interests, the first is there is a significant amount of trade between


Scotland and the rest of the UK, and crucially between the rest of


the UK and Scotland. And secondly, you can see, you saw in the clip


from the First Minister in the package that you just ran, Scotland


makes a significant contribution towards the balance of payments


situation for the United Kingdom, to the tune of �40 billion alone in


North Sea oil and gas revenues. That is a particular prize that I


think the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be determined to


get his hands on for the sterling zone benefits. Isn't the truth, as


was made clearly and succinctly by the woman in the film, that people


don't want to hear about any real change. They want to think you


still keep the pound and the Queen, nothing really changes. It is an


independance-light, where you take the good bits and leave the bad


bits, and you don't tell people exactly what they are settling for,


because it is easier to get them voting for you? People want to hear


is what it is possible to achieve within Scotland. What it is


possible to achieve is a much stronger economy, using the


economic and fiscal levers that countless other countries around


the globe take advantage of. To make sure we have a more prosperous


and fairer society. We live in the United Kingdom, in the fourth-most


unequal country in the IOC. It is high time we used our wealth,


imagination and talent to create a more prosperous and fairer country.


Thank you very much indeed. How do we want our kids to be


raised? What role should the Government have in looking after


them? If child minders were more qualified they could look after


more children at a time, childcare would cost less, children would be


better behaved? Make sense? The French does, and our Education


Minister, Elizabeth Truss, agrees with them. We went across the


channel to see if we could learn a lesson.


Look at these faces very carefully. They seem perfectly normal. But


from a very young age they have become more disciplined, more


socialised, more attentive, more mind-boggleing angelic! By the way,


they are French. If on the rare occasion a French child throws a


tantrum or throws food, it is because, we are told, they have


permission to do so. That is the idea we are going to test with a


Government minister on a trip to France. Before we head off to check


this little angel thesis, I want someone of my own to test any


claims that we hear in France. So, we have French mother Lola. She has


three children who -- Leila, she has three children who at various


stages of their upbringing have experienced both systems. We will


come back to her later. Until the children enter school parent are


really struggling here. Probably in France they do not as much. Last


Tuesday we got up and out with Government minister for children,


Elizabeth Truss. We are on a research expresident dix into early


years education. -- expedition into early years education. This is a


nursery, but more like a school, three-year-olds attend it, a year


earlier than attending school in the UK. A lot of problems in the UK


is quite a lot of kids arrive in school not able to sit and


concentrate in lesson. That means they will get behind further on in


their school career. What these children are doing is they are


being led by really qualified professionals, who know what they


are doing. Who can operate with large groups and encourage that


self-reliance amongst children. children here are not shouting out


or running about, they are concentrating on what the teacher


is saying. That is so important. You would see this in some nursery


in -- nurseries in the UK, but only a third of them, this is an


entitlement for all children in France. The headteacher has hosted


a large delegation from the UK, why does he think that they are


mesmerised by his school? Language is improving fast. We can see they


develop social relationships very, very quickly. They become quite


deep as well for this age. As well they improve their abilities about


being ready to learn how to read, how to write. What did Leila's son


make of the French school? He has take great advantage of being


schooled that early. He enjoyed it. He was ready to have other


relationships and that he started to build up his own path,


confidence, knowledge. What does the big sister think? They have


these sort of stricter methods of teaching children. Here we learn


through games and through all that. So we learn more discipline in


France. Discipline at three years old but also in the earlier years.


As we travelled around nurseries we met child minders with high


qualifications where one looked after eight two-year-olds.


Elizabeth Truss is shifting Britain to this French system, one to eight,


if the minder is looking after children at home, it will be one to


four. Elizabeth Truss has been much criticised for this shift, she


thinks it is possible. My colleague Jacob Reece-Mogg has four under-


fives and they are capable of looking after it and so should


child minders. We are saying it is down to individual child minders to


say how many children it is OK to look after and how it fits with


their life. Back in Oxford we had ratios that had a mixed report card.


When my last baby started in a French City Council nursery, she


was six months old, she was one of eight children for one carer. And I


thought it was a bit hard after the experience of the British ratios of


three children for one carer. Leila does agree with Elizabeth


Truss that all round provision in France is better. This means that


more French mothers than British mothers work. Two-thirds of mums in


Britain go out to work. I'm very concerned that those mums who often


have to go out to work for economic reasons, and this is a trend across


the world, in all developed countries dual-income families are


the norm, I'm concerned those mums are made to feel guilty about a


choice they don't really have. France probably the experiences of


women are the same as the experiences of British women. We


are juggling probably you know we have got our cultural habits of


raising children that are quite different from the more relaxed


approach of British women. I feel like English mums and parenting is


much more gentle and geared toward the children, where as in France


maybe we ask the children to fit into our lives more. With me now is


the Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss, also joined by Laura Perrins


who is the mother who challenged Nick Clegg on his radio programme.


And we have a member of the professional Association for


Childcare and early years. Elizabeth Truss do you think French


kids really are better behaved? What I noticed in the French


nurseries we visited is they do tend to be very calm and purposeful


and they are very good at actually improving the outcomes of children


later on in life. There has been some very good studies of the


impact of French l'ecole maternello Casanova which are positive. I


think the strong eacher leadership is really good. Is that the


qualification of the teachers in charge, or is it the numbers or a


discipline introduced or what is it? The qualifications of the


teachers is really important. That is one of the main factors in the


outcomes for children. The more qualified the teacher, generally


the better the outcomes are. That is true in studies in Britain, but


also for studies in France. I think though that the structured


environment they operate in enables them to hire those high-quality


teachers. There is a relationship between the two. What do you hear


when Elizabeth Truss talks about high-quality teaching and that


difference that we see in France? think there is a very different


language in terms of the conversations that we have with our


members, childcare professionals and nursery workers and childminder.


They talk about children enjoying their time in childcare, learning


through play, and having a very much mixed balance of child-led


experience as well as adult, teacher-led experience. That is at


the heart of the early years foundation stage we work with in


England. You can't disentangle high-quality from good


qualifications and ratios, it is both. What do you mean by that?


key factors for a good-quality experience for children are high-


quality one-to-one interactions with their adult carer, that is


about the number of children you are looking after at any one time,


that allows them to be provided by play-led opportunities. Play-led is


important? We are talking about structured play, of course we are


not talking about three-year-olds sitting down at desks writing


things. But we are talking about teacher-led activities. We do know


that the impact of the teacher is the most important thing. The level


of qualifications is the most important factor, it has been shown


to be the case in France as it has in England. Only a third of our


nurseries are led by graduate teachers, even though we know that


is the most important factor. So, yeah, interaction between adults


and children is important, but also socialisation between children is


important, learning to take turns is important, all of those kinds of


things. You do need structure. What I really worry about is some of the


children in the most deprived areas, who don't have structure in their


family backgrounds need that structure when they get to nursery


so they can learn and be ready forle skoo. What we know is a third


of -- school. What we know is a third of children arrive at school


without communication and language skills that more structured play


delivers. Don't they get that at home with their parents as opposed


to being in an organised group? think they get it in both groups.


I'm very supportive of more child minders, and I'm supportive of stay


at home parents. What we need is people to have a choice. The thing


I pointed out in the film is a lot of women, men, have to go out to


work for economic reasons, and we need to make sure the childcare


that they rely on is really high quality what you get in France is a


sense of a continuum, a system you can rely on so you can make your


choice, secure in the knowledge that your child is getting a really


good quality education. minister has accepted that many,


many parents have to go out to work. The reason for that is that this


Government has actively discriminated against stay at home


mums and single income families by penalising them in the tax system


and stag ma advertising them in the language they use, implying --


stigmatising them in the language they used and in the language they


use, implying they are lazy. Eight out of ten mothers say they would


like to reduce their hours to go part-time or full-time stay at home


mothers. The minister and the Government, instead of coming here


in here with this French fairytale of Ameila and Jacques sitting down


at desk, should think about Alice and John, the British children you


are elected to represent, they want to be at home with their parents.


And importantly, the key factor is those parents want to care for


their children at home. And your Government instead of coming in


here with this French fantasy, should instead do what they did,


and implement the promise in the coalition agreement to provide for


a transferable tax allowance. That would give a real choice to working


parents to stay at home for the crucial early years and care for


those kids at home. You have deprived them of that choice.


will be putting in the tax allowance for marriage. When will


that happen? Is that a promise on Newsnight? Let me finish responding


to your point. Let's just get to the bottom of that, is this a


marriage tax allowance that is coming in this parliament? This is


a commitment that the Conservatives have in our manifesto. Jo are you


going to act on it? I hope so, I'm very supportive of marriage in the


tax system. You hope so, are you going to act on a commitment, given


in the coalition agreement, parliamentary democracy is for the


children you represent, act on that commitment. This is crucial, we


have heard a lot about the marriage tax allowance t will come in, it


was a commitment, then a promise, it got dropped because now of the


Lib Dems, now you say it is a commitment and you hope it will be


brought in, before the end of this parliament? I hope so. I can't


commit that. I'm not the Chancellor, I can't say that. Why don't you


lobby the Chancellor to bring it in? I think it is important.


However, what I would say is we need to support all families. We


need to allow families to make choices. I don't think it is right


to pit one set of parents against another set of parents. We are


supporting those parent. What we have to recognise is that childcare


costs here in England are twice as high as they are in other countries


in Europe, it is very, very difficult for some families to get


by. Some families are on very low incomes. We need to make sure that


the childcare of those 66% of mums that go out to work can be relied


on and is good. There is an important factor that we need to


remember. The parents currently signing petitions to Governments


around the ratios have two messages, it is not about cost it is about


the quality of care for children. There is concerns about increasing


ratios, alongside proposals for qualification change that will take


longer than the ratio change. of parents are saying we spend an


enormous amount, a friend who had twins spent �2,500 a month, that


nearly broke them. Can't you say as a parent I want a better


qualification and I expect for more that money? Absolutely, one of the


lessons we need to recognise is countries like Holland and France


are investing far more in state- funded childcare. And alongside


that a greater contribution from employers. There is choices to be


made around how much childcare costs, will there is more that


could be done in terms of employer- supportive vouchers. We spend the


same as a proportion of GDP on early years that the French do. It


is about getting value for money for what we spend. We spend �5


billion. The figures on what you spend keep changing. We had the


lower ratios in Europe, and the average childcare worker gets �6.60


an hour, barely above minimum wage, we can't kid ourselves that the


system we have at the moment is right. Let's not kid ourselves that


you have any support for this change in ratio. The entire


industry is against you, most parents by the parenting forums are


against you, and Professor Nut Brown who commissioned the original


report has dismissed the ratio changes as nonsense. These ratios


are across Europe. You heard the film about the French system.


you interested in British children or British parents are you


interested in French parents and children. You can see the high


quality care works in France. A lot of childcare providers operate in


other countries with different qualifications and higher ratios.


Let's be clear we are only going to allow childcare providers who hire


high-quality staff to operate these ratios, there will be strict


criteria to operate the ratios. There is no link to child minders


for qualifications and ratios. is why we are having childcare


agencies. That is not about quality assurance through qualifications.


It is. I think the key issue for parents is absolute he cost but not


at the sacrifice of quality. But I don't think there is evidence


really for us to see that how changing ratio levels will really


change the cost of childcare. up to the professionals to decide.


I'm sorry we have run out of time, thank you for coming. I come to


these papers rather new so I will That's all we have time for tonight.


But Jeremy will be here tomorrow, from all of us here, a very good


Good evening. Wednesday will be a bit of a mixed picture across the


UK, some rain, some sunshine. The rain across primarily northern part


of the UK, during the first half of Wednesday. It turns brighter across


Scotland. Sparkling sunshine and fresh conditions, a little further


southwards in Northern Ireland it will remain cloudy. The north coast


getting sun but well and truly it is across Scotland where we will


have the best of the weather in the north of the UK. Then we get into


England, here it is relatively cloudy. To the east of the Pennines


there might be breaks in the cloud. A little bit more cloud across the


north Midland. For East Anglia and the south-east, a little bit more


cloud on Wednesday compared to what we had on Tuesday. So maybe the


temperatures in one or two spots won't be quite so high. For the


south west some low grey cloud and mist in one or two places affecting


areas deep inland, not just around the coast. Some of that may drift


up the Bristol Channel. Cloudy across Wales too. Let's look at the


outlook over the next couple of days. Wednesday and Thursday


temperatures across the north hovering around 1010 degrees. As


far as the Midland go on Wednesday. Already temperatures starting to


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