25/04/2013 Newsnight


25/04/2013

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


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The United States has decided that chemical weapons have been used in

:00:13.:00:20.

the Civil War in Syria. What now? Remember this? If you make the

:00:20.:00:23.

tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences

:00:23.:00:29.

and you will be held accountable. Today's accusation is incendiary,

:00:29.:00:34.

can they prove it? We will speak to the former

:00:34.:00:38.

presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, who believes the

:00:38.:00:42.

United States has to act. Also tonight, official figures show the

:00:42.:00:47.

economy isn't in recession, but does that add up to a growth

:00:47.:00:52.

strategy. As rescuers continue the frantic

:00:52.:00:58.

search for survivors of the Bangladesh garment factory fire. We

:00:58.:01:04.

explore the appetite for cheap clothes has created there. With our

:01:04.:01:14.
:01:14.:01:17.

guests we ask who is gaining most from this trade?

:01:17.:01:21.

Chemical weapons have been used in the Civil War in Syria. Both

:01:21.:01:25.

Washington and London say they believe the evidence is persuasive.

:01:25.:01:30.

Now Barack Obama has already said that if President Assad were to

:01:30.:01:34.

start using chemical weapons he would be crossing a red line which

:01:34.:01:37.

would change everything. Yet the White House hasn't threatened

:01:37.:01:41.

American military action in Syria. The approach is in great contrast

:01:41.:01:45.

to the controversial assertions about Saddam Hussein's supposed

:01:45.:01:49.

weapons of mass destruction. Senior Republican figures though say the

:01:49.:01:53.

evidence is compelling enough for America now to start giving guns to

:01:53.:01:57.

the opposition. Here is what the US Secretary of State of defence,

:01:57.:02:03.

Chuck Hagel, said earlier. The US intelligence community assesss with

:02:03.:02:07.

some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian regime has used

:02:07.:02:14.

chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria. Specifically the chemical

:02:14.:02:18.

agent sarin. As I have said, the intelligence community has been

:02:18.:02:20.

assessing information for some time on this issue. The decision to

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reach this conclusion was made within the past 24 hours.

:02:26.:02:31.

diplomatic editor is here. What sort of attacks are we talking

:02:31.:02:34.

about by the Syrians? There have been incidents we have known about,

:02:35.:02:41.

if we plot them on the map one was late last year near Homs in central

:02:41.:02:46.

Syria, another last month near Aleppo in the north. That at the

:02:46.:02:51.

time many explained as a shell shitting a chemical depot and

:02:51.:02:56.

releasing some chlorine, not nerve gas, not sarin. After that a couple

:02:56.:03:01.

of villages near Damascus were said to be the site of the attacks.

:03:01.:03:07.

Today's accusations about sarin. That is a nerve agent, a pin-head

:03:07.:03:14.

drop sized bit of that could kill many people. These incidents only

:03:14.:03:18.

involved a few people. So it is still a mystery whether the persons

:03:18.:03:23.

have got something new. They have talked about an intelligence

:03:23.:03:26.

assessment formed in the last few hours. The American line is very

:03:26.:03:30.

uncertain? It is clearly uncertain. Today's news, sparked by the

:03:30.:03:35.

release of a letter to Senator McCain and others from a White

:03:35.:03:40.

House legal council. They say they assess with varying degrees of

:03:40.:03:48.

confidence. That is an alluding to that there are agency differences

:03:48.:03:52.

that what it means that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons,

:03:52.:03:57.

on a small scale, specifically sarin, that nerve agent. Then it

:03:57.:04:04.

says this a sment is based, in part, on -- assessment is based, in part,

:04:04.:04:07.

on physiological samples. There are suggestions there that the

:04:07.:04:10.

Americans may have looked at people who might have been affected, maybe

:04:10.:04:13.

blood or hair or other tissue. It is known that they have got people

:04:13.:04:18.

on the ground, these different countries, looking for evidence.

:04:18.:04:22.

With the opposition forces, and they have given them equipment like

:04:22.:04:26.

this. This is a French chemical agent monitor, a French army one. A

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more sophisticated version of the same. You can sample the air or put

:04:30.:04:36.

a sample in here for analysis. Also looking for biological weapons this

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device could help you detect the presence of those live agents like

:04:41.:04:49.

antthrax and plague -- an thrak and plague. Even if you make the claim

:04:49.:04:54.

as Britain and France did last week it is hard to butress it. According

:04:54.:04:58.

to one export here. I wouldn't believe they would say that unless

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they had seen credible evidence to that degree. The challenge and the

:05:02.:05:06.

reason we haven't seen activity from the crossing of the red line

:05:06.:05:11.

is because that evidence is not, it doesn't follow all the rules of

:05:11.:05:21.

chain of forensic evidence. It is not absolutely conclusive. We don't

:05:21.:05:25.

know who used the chemical weapons. It could be the regime, it could be

:05:25.:05:28.

the Syrian opposition. That is the factor missing at the moment.

:05:28.:05:32.

do you think the Americans will do about it? The political position

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would seem to be quite clear, wouldn't it. Based on that

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statement from President Obama late last year. Let's remind ourselves

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of that have again. The world is watching. The use of chemical

:05:46.:05:53.

weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. If you make the

:05:53.:05:56.

tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences

:05:56.:06:02.

and you will be held accountable. Now, that puts the President in a

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very, very tricky situation. He can't suppress evidence that's

:06:06.:06:10.

coming to light and hence you have today's disclosure. On the other

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hand if you announce it, it creates an imperative for action. Could it

:06:14.:06:19.

be military action? Well we know there are contingency teams of

:06:19.:06:22.

specialists, Special Forces, chemical weapons experts in place

:06:22.:06:26.

in Turkey and Jordan. But in the short-term he may be thinking of

:06:26.:06:32.

something not quite as escaltory as that, perhaps a new diplomatic

:06:32.:06:37.

offensive to try to get UN inspectors into the country.

:06:37.:06:41.

Senator John McCain was the man who brought about today's revelations

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after writing to President Obama asking him to reveal what evidence

:06:44.:06:48.

is known about the use of chemical weapons. He received the White

:06:48.:06:58.
:06:58.:06:58.

House's reply today. He joins us now. The samples referred to,

:06:58.:07:01.

physiological samples, do you know anything more about what they were?

:07:01.:07:05.

No, our chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has

:07:05.:07:09.

more information than I do said that it is without a doubt that he

:07:09.:07:15.

has crossed the red line. The Israeli intelligence alleged the

:07:15.:07:21.

same. Your British intelligence spokesman said we have limited but

:07:21.:07:24.

persuasive information from various sources. But I would like to make

:07:24.:07:28.

two points, one, why are we worried about that? We should have

:07:28.:07:33.

intervened a long, long time ago. We have watched 70,000 people being

:07:33.:07:38.

massacred, destablising the neighbouring countries, Jihadists

:07:38.:07:42.

pouring into the country. Why should the litmus taste be a red

:07:42.:07:48.

line of use of these weapons when the President has given these

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people, Bashar al-Assad, the green light to massacre his own people

:07:52.:07:57.

and destablise the entire region. And second of all, should anybody

:07:57.:08:01.

be surprised if Bashar al-Assad used a chemical weapon. He has said

:08:01.:08:06.

and shown he will do anything necessary to stay in power. In your

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judgment, whatever the rights and wrongs of what President Obama has

:08:10.:08:15.

or has not done, the tipping point has now been reached where he has

:08:15.:08:23.

to act? I believe that he had to act two years ago. So I can't, I

:08:23.:08:33.

wouldn't be surprised at all if the White House said well as your

:08:33.:08:39.

people are discussing this saying we need more he have evidence --

:08:39.:08:44.

evidence and we need more evidence. They are very clear that this White

:08:44.:08:49.

House, watching Iraq deteriorate, equiffcating on a force leaving

:08:49.:08:55.

behind in Afghanistan and a statement that the "tide of war is

:08:55.:08:59.

receding", doesn't want to be involved. I'm sorry if I'm cynical

:08:59.:09:03.

but I have watched the withdrawal of the US and the consequences for

:09:03.:09:09.

which we will pay a heavy price for in the future. Do you think his

:09:09.:09:19.
:09:19.:09:23.

credibility is at stake? I don't know. He has an adoring media, so I

:09:23.:09:27.

don't know. His credibility evaporated when he said he wouldn't

:09:27.:09:32.

do anything to these people unless there was chemical weapons, giving

:09:32.:09:37.

a green light for Bashar al-Assad to massacre his people. I wish the

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BBC would go to these refugee camps and see the people who have been

:09:42.:09:45.

raped, tortured skilled and driven out of their home. Destablising

:09:45.:09:52.

Lebanon and Jordan where they have had to flee to. And Jihadists

:09:52.:09:58.

fleeing in from all over the world. All the consequences that would

:09:59.:10:02.

happen if we intervened have taken place if we didn't intervene.

:10:02.:10:06.

would be equally unacceptable, would it not, if the chemical

:10:06.:10:11.

weapons were to fall into the hands of the anti-Government forces?

:10:11.:10:14.

depends on whose hands it falls into. If two years ago we had

:10:14.:10:20.

established the safe zone, which we still need to do, helped organise,

:10:20.:10:26.

train, equip and govern, as we did as in Benghazi in Libya we wouldn't

:10:26.:10:32.

face the problem. Yet we need to be ready to go in or have, let me be

:10:32.:10:38.

careful with my choice of words here, make sure these chemical

:10:38.:10:43.

cachets of chemical weapons are secured and do not fall into the

:10:43.:10:47.

wrong hands. The more Jihadists that go in, the greater their

:10:47.:10:51.

influence and more likely they get hold of these weapons. You are

:10:51.:10:55.

conceding that if the chemical weapons, which everyone is so

:10:55.:10:59.

alarmed about, if they are such a risk, the only thing the United

:10:59.:11:07.

States and her allies can do is to secure them herself? Well it

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depends again. If we gave the resistance and the people that

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should, the good people that are fighting for the freedom of the

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Syrian people if we gave them the wherewithal to fight and defend

:11:26.:11:30.

themselves we wouldn't have had to worry about them if it happened a

:11:30.:11:34.

year ago. A year on there may be a superiority of them. The trend is

:11:34.:11:38.

in the wrong direction. Its our fault, not their's. I wonder if you

:11:38.:11:42.

look at the experience of Afghanistan and indeed elsewhere in

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the world, early days of Iraq for example, whether we actually know

:11:46.:11:52.

for sure who the good guys are? sure I can tell you, I have met

:11:52.:11:55.

with them. I have met with the good guy, I know who they are, and so

:11:55.:12:00.

does everybody else. But they feel betrayed. They are bitter and angry.

:12:00.:12:08.

I was in a refugee camp in Jordan and this woman said see all these

:12:08.:12:12.

children they will take revenge on the people who refused to help them.

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I know who she was talking about. These are the sort of people you

:12:15.:12:18.

think you can trust with chemical weapons? I'm not saying I could

:12:18.:12:21.

trust them with chemical weapons, but I could trust the people I know

:12:21.:12:24.

that are the leaders of the National Council and the national

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army that I could trust them, yes, I could trust them. They would need

:12:29.:12:33.

our assistance, but I would be very reluctant to put American boots on

:12:33.:12:38.

the ground. What about the position of Russia? We keep beating that

:12:38.:12:42.

drum. How many times are we going to see that movie, it will be the

:12:42.:12:45.

Russians, they will take Bashar al- Assad, that was two years ago. New

:12:45.:12:49.

York Times still keeps saying it. It is becoming, if it wasn't so sad

:12:49.:12:56.

it would be amusing. That we are relying on Russia to make Bashar

:12:56.:12:59.

al-Assad behave. The Iranians are now training Syrians and bringing

:12:59.:13:03.

them back. Hezbollah is there on the ground, the Iranians are on the

:13:03.:13:10.

ground. Russian arms supplies have ined, that is doing a lot of good -

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- increased, that is doing a lot of good isn't it. Hang out the bunting

:13:13.:13:17.

and three cheers for George Osborne we are not in recession, we are not

:13:17.:13:20.

in yet another recession right now, on the basis of figures which may

:13:20.:13:24.

yet be modified. The fact that a growth rate in the first quarter of

:13:24.:13:30.

this year of 0.3% can be treated like the second coming tells you a

:13:30.:13:33.

lot about the state of the British economy. But we shouldn't be too

:13:33.:13:36.

dismissive of small mercies for there aren't any bigger ones on

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offer. One for Comrade Mason, I think.

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If you are the kind of person that gets annoyed when economic stories

:13:47.:13:55.

start nought point something. Today's nought 0.3% growth is small

:13:55.:14:00.

but it is something we can expect. It means the UK economy has grown

:14:00.:14:03.

by �5 billion more in the last three months than it did three

:14:03.:14:07.

months before Christmas. It is not much, but politically it is enough.

:14:07.:14:13.

It saved goorn a lot of trouble. -- George Osborne a lot of trouble.

:14:13.:14:17.

This is a modern depression, the graph shows the size of the economy

:14:17.:14:20.

which fell dramatically during the financial crisis of 2008 and has

:14:20.:14:25.

not recovered. Despite today's positive figure. If you look at how

:14:25.:14:30.

the economy expanded since 2000 you can see what's lost. This dotted

:14:30.:14:33.

line shows the long-term trend. The gap between that and where we are

:14:33.:14:40.

is growth that can never come back. I think it is more politically

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important than economically important. Anything in the region

:14:42.:14:49.

of minus two to plus two would have shown we were stagnant. Being

:14:49.:14:53.

positive is fractionally better. It is only half the growth rate which

:14:53.:14:56.

in the past we would have considered normal trend growth. It

:14:56.:15:01.

is very slow indeed. If you look at the detail, nearly all the growth

:15:01.:15:06.

from January to March came from the service sector, that added 0.5% to

:15:06.:15:10.

GDP, but that was offset by stagnant manufacture and a

:15:10.:15:14.

shrinking construction sector, together with agriculture, also

:15:14.:15:22.

shrinking, subtracted 0.2%, leaving the final figure 0.3%. If you could

:15:23.:15:25.

speed construction up, or even stop it shrinking you could have a

:15:25.:15:31.

recovery. That is not what the plan is. When they designed the

:15:31.:15:35.

austerity plan in 2010, the Government said really clearly it

:15:35.:15:39.

wouldn't work unless the UK economy rebalanced, away from high finance

:15:39.:15:44.

and house prices and towards exports and manufacturing. Today's

:15:44.:15:48.

figure show really clearly that's not happening. That is why the

:15:48.:15:54.

political size of relief -- sighs of relief were not that big. These

:15:54.:15:57.

are encouraging signs the economy is healing. Despite a tough

:15:57.:16:00.

economic situation we are making progress. Of course we have still

:16:00.:16:04.

got difficult decisions to take, there aren't easy answers. People

:16:04.:16:08.

understand that. But that's what we have to do. We have to go on taking

:16:08.:16:10.

those difficult decisions and fronting those problems if we are

:16:10.:16:15.

going to build an economy fit for the future. What can the Government

:16:15.:16:20.

do? The UK's top civil servant recently let slip there are too

:16:20.:16:23.

many answers. Vince Cable wants to fix the banks, George Osborne to

:16:23.:16:27.

fix the construction industry, David Cameron to boost exports and

:16:27.:16:32.

Nick Clegg to boost the regions. think the Government recognises

:16:32.:16:36.

that probably should have spoken more about growth at an earlier

:16:36.:16:40.

stage, perhaps it should have pitched the whole strategy,

:16:40.:16:45.

spending cuts and so on in terms of boosting growth. Now we are

:16:45.:16:49.

flailing around trying a multistrand approach, four

:16:49.:16:55.

different people pursuing four different basis for pursuing growth,

:16:55.:17:00.

I don't think that is the best idea. One economist from a think-tank has

:17:00.:17:03.

drawn handy map of all the options being presented to George Osborne.

:17:03.:17:08.

What is your best guess at when we finally recover as an economy?

:17:08.:17:12.

know I think it is just so hard to say. It really actually depends on

:17:12.:17:20.

what George Osborne decides to do next, I think. What if he does

:17:20.:17:24.

nothing? There is a danger we end up in the low-growth state bouncing

:17:24.:17:32.

along the bottom. On a zero point something day, all

:17:33.:17:38.

the data was sobering for manufacturing, it grew by a zer we

:17:38.:17:44.

are becoming used to 0.0. David Gauke is here for his routine

:17:44.:17:50.

appointment. When the Chancellor says the economy is healing, by

:17:50.:17:55.

when will it be healed? It is an encouraging sign that the economy

:17:55.:17:58.

is growing. That is what we have seen today. We have got a long way

:17:58.:18:02.

to go, we have some fundamental problems that we have to address,

:18:02.:18:09.

that built up over many years. We are making progress. We have seen a

:18:09.:18:12.

1.25 million private sector jobs created, the deficit is down by a

:18:12.:18:15.

third. We have low interest rates, there is encouraging signs but we

:18:15.:18:21.

have a long way to go. Let's have a look at the chart this is the state

:18:21.:18:26.

of the economy. You call that good do you? It is a difficult economic

:18:26.:18:35.

climate and I don't look. That looks like a coma not a healing?

:18:35.:18:38.

growth in the first quarter of the year. We are forecast to grow more

:18:38.:18:42.

than France and Germany this year and next year. We want to be very

:18:42.:18:46.

straight forward, these are difficult economic circumstances.

:18:47.:18:51.

We see the eurozone in recession, we are recovering from a major

:18:51.:18:55.

banking crisis. We have to deal with the big deficit. There is a

:18:55.:19:01.

tiny bit of growth, a tiny bit of growth, negative growth, negative

:19:01.:19:06.

growth, a bit more growth, negative growth, and a bit more growth. That

:19:06.:19:11.

is not healing? We are forecast by the independent Office of Budget

:19:11.:19:14.

Responsibility to grow this year. We have actually grown more than

:19:14.:19:18.

people had predicted for this first quarter. And, as I say, we are

:19:18.:19:22.

creating a lot of jobs in this country, private sector growth is

:19:22.:19:29.

strong. We are also getting the deficit down by a third. If your

:19:29.:19:31.

argument is these are difficult economic circumstances and growth

:19:31.:19:35.

is not as strong as we would like it to be, I can't disagree with you.

:19:35.:19:40.

I'm a taking you up on your leader's view that it is a healing.

:19:40.:19:45.

I was wondering when we might be back to pre-crash levels? I'm not

:19:45.:19:53.

here to make predictions. The forecast of the Office of Budget

:19:53.:19:56.

Responsibility ...The Graph shows us what happens at least, you have

:19:56.:20:00.

no idea what is going on. You have no idea what the next set of

:20:00.:20:04.

figures are going to be like do you? I'm not making any predictions.

:20:04.:20:07.

The Office of Budget Responsibility predicts we will grow as the year

:20:07.:20:11.

goes on. It is an encouraging sign. We shouldn't deny that. But it is

:20:11.:20:16.

in a climate that is difficult for the economy. Your bosses may made

:20:16.:20:20.

predictions, I would like to remind you of his prediction of how we are

:20:20.:20:24.

going to get out of the mess we are in. Let's hear what he had to say

:20:24.:20:27.

about growth strategies? We want the words "made in Britain, created

:20:27.:20:32.

in Britain, designed in Britain, invented in Britain" to drive our

:20:32.:20:37.

nation forward. A Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers.

:20:37.:20:41.

That is absolute rubbish, isn't it? What is striking about the

:20:41.:20:46.

manufacturing numbers. I think the rubbish you are looking for is

:20:46.:20:49.

"yes"! What is striking about the manufacturing numbers is if you

:20:49.:20:54.

look at the domestic-facing parts of the economy, in the first

:20:54.:20:57.

quarter of the year we did well, that is where the serves are. If

:20:57.:21:01.

you look at manufacturing which relies on exports, it is a really

:21:01.:21:04.

difficult time. There is another graph there, contribution of

:21:04.:21:10.

manufacturing to growth of GDP, 0.0%, a negative quantity, a little

:21:10.:21:16.

bit of positiveness, negative, neglective, 0.0, does that look to

:21:16.:21:20.

you like growth? The position on manufacturing is clear.

:21:20.:21:23.

Manufacturing depends to a very large extent upon our export

:21:24.:21:28.

markets. That has been very, very difficult when the eurozone has

:21:28.:21:32.

been in recession. It is also just worth pointing out that if you look

:21:32.:21:36.

at the manufacturing numbers, we had a very, very bad January and a

:21:36.:21:42.

bit of a recovery in February and March. Would you say we are being

:21:42.:21:46.

carried aloft by the march of the makers, we are not? No. It was a

:21:46.:21:51.

pretty Silvio thing to say? manufacturing has got to play an

:21:51.:21:54.

important part in our recovery. It is very difficult when the eurozone

:21:54.:21:58.

is in the state that it is in. When our manufacturing is quite so

:21:58.:22:02.

dependant on that. That is why, for example, we need to do more to

:22:02.:22:08.

export to the like of China and India and we have seen some drat

:22:08.:22:12.

makes increases -- dramatic increases in exports to those

:22:12.:22:15.

markets. We need to do more of that and that is a folks cuss of the

:22:15.:22:18.

Government. But the strategy hasn't worked, clearly. You have just said

:22:18.:22:22.

it hasn't worked because things are a bit difficult? The environment we

:22:22.:22:27.

are in is difficult, nobody can deny that. Whoever was in

:22:27.:22:29.

Government would have to wrestle with some of those prob epbl. I

:22:29.:22:35.

come back to the point that we have create -- problems. I come back to

:22:35.:22:39.

the point we have created 1.25 million private sector jobs. We

:22:39.:22:42.

have low interest rates and maintained the credibility of the

:22:42.:22:46.

markets, and we have reduced the deficit by a third. It would be

:22:46.:22:51.

lovely if everything was rosy and the world economy was growing great

:22:51.:22:54.

guns, that isn't the wags we are in, and it is difficult for the British

:22:54.:23:03.

people. But the evidence we saw -- position we are n it is difficult

:23:03.:23:07.

but there is evidence that the position we are in there is growth.

:23:07.:23:11.

How about Chorley wood, are people happy there? They are, it is a

:23:11.:23:14.

happy place. People think the economy is getting better and

:23:14.:23:18.

better, because your experience is doubtless the same as most people's

:23:18.:23:22.

experience in that they are very unhappy out there. There is a

:23:22.:23:26.

microclimate in Chorleywood is it? It is a very nice place to live.

:23:26.:23:30.

There are different experiences in different parts of the country, I

:23:30.:23:36.

don't deny that. We face some significant challenges. The economy

:23:36.:23:40.

is growing, it is forecast to continue to grow. It is forecast to

:23:40.:23:45.

grow faster than in France or Germany. If we have huge steps to

:23:45.:23:50.

take like the help to buy process, Funding For Lending, it is why we

:23:50.:23:53.

are switching expenditure to current capital to improve our

:23:53.:23:56.

infrastructure. It is why we have got ourselves the most competitive

:23:56.:24:00.

tax system in the G20. That is the direction we are going in. That is

:24:00.:24:04.

why we are looking at the rules and regulations that inhibit businesses

:24:04.:24:07.

from growing. Those are steps a sensible Government has to take.

:24:07.:24:14.

What isn't the answer and we haven't turned to this is to go on

:24:14.:24:18.

some spending a borrowing splurge, that would be a huge mistake.

:24:18.:24:22.

tiring being so optimistic all the time? We have some real challenges.

:24:22.:24:27.

We have been realistic. It is healing? On the evidence of today's

:24:27.:24:33.

numbers it is. On the evidence of the 1.25 new jobs created in the

:24:33.:24:37.

private sector and the deficit has come down. You have no idea what

:24:37.:24:40.

the figures will be next time round? Those are the figures we

:24:40.:24:42.

have at the moment in difficult circumstances. This is a difficult

:24:42.:24:47.

time for the economy. And we accept that, whether it is in Chorleywood

:24:47.:24:51.

or elsewhere. But we are making difficult decision at a time when

:24:51.:24:56.

there are big challenges. Thank you very much. The precise

:24:56.:25:00.

figures are elusive, but it seems that about 250 people may have been

:25:00.:25:04.

killed in the collapse of a building, where Bangladeshi workers

:25:04.:25:09.

made western clothing. Household name companies are now suddenly

:25:09.:25:13.

publicity shy for the tragedy raises nasty Questions. Whose fault

:25:14.:25:18.

is it? The factory boss who is kept one of the people in one of the

:25:18.:25:23.

poorest countries on earth at their machines despite warnings. The poor

:25:23.:25:27.

construction that seems endemic in Bangladesh. The western retailers

:25:28.:25:35.

whose appetite for profits keeps the orders rolling. You and my

:25:35.:25:40.

guiltless pleasure in consuming. We have this report. The full scale of

:25:40.:25:49.

this catastrophe is still emerging. The UK's Primark just one of many

:25:49.:25:52.

western retailers buying clothes from factories inside the collapsed

:25:52.:25:55.

building. The company says it is shocked and saddened by what

:25:55.:26:00.

happened. But critics say the Bangladeshi

:26:00.:26:10.
:26:10.:26:12.

garment industry was already cracking at the seams. This woman

:26:12.:26:19.

has paid the price too. Thanks to the west's appetite for cheap

:26:19.:26:27.

clothes she had a steady job in the industry. But then her daughter

:26:27.:26:36.

started work in a factory too. Just a week later the plant caught fire,

:26:36.:26:46.
:26:46.:26:49.

killing her and more than 100 other workers. From the charred ruins

:26:49.:26:54.

emerged evidence of rampant cost cutting and safety abuses. Nearly

:26:54.:27:03.

six months later no-one has been prosecuted or even arrested. Still

:27:03.:27:12.

living near the abandoned factory her life is in ruins too.

:27:12.:27:16.

TRANSLATION: I couldn't work after she died. Now I have to because we

:27:16.:27:21.

are in debt. If I ever see the owner I will burn him alive. Just

:27:21.:27:30.

like he burnt my child to ash and emptyed a mother's chest.

:27:30.:27:35.

industry has grown fast, to fast say some. With new factories

:27:35.:27:43.

opening all the time. Attacked by its cheap labour British retailers

:27:43.:27:53.
:27:53.:27:54.

have flocked here. Turning Bangladesh into its bargain tamor

:27:54.:27:59.

of choice. At this factory they make nearly 20 million garments a

:27:59.:28:06.

year for major British brands. This plant is known for the high

:28:06.:28:15.

standards. When the clothes leave here. They are ready to be put

:28:15.:28:23.

straight on the shelves. You could say this is Bangladesh's Industrial

:28:23.:28:28.

Revolution. Making cheap clothes for the UK and other western

:28:28.:28:32.

markets, now employs millions of people. It is also helping to

:28:32.:28:35.

empower Bangladeshi women. But the industry is under constant pressure

:28:35.:28:40.

to keep costs down. While this is one of the better factories, in

:28:40.:28:46.

others the practices that led to the fire still continue. The

:28:46.:28:49.

capital, Dhaka, is full of smaller factories where safety standards

:28:49.:28:57.

and working conditions are much worse. To keep costs down it is an

:28:57.:29:00.

open secret that many companies often sub contract to these

:29:00.:29:04.

sweatshop operations. The checking up is almost impossible. We have

:29:04.:29:08.

learned that there are many back street operations in this part of

:29:08.:29:12.

Dhaka doing sub-contracting work for other factories, including one

:29:12.:29:16.

that has business with the UK. The only way to see for ourselves is to

:29:16.:29:21.

use concealed cameras, some of our team are going to go inside, posing

:29:21.:29:31.
:29:31.:29:38.

as local businessmen. The way in is the only exit, if there is a fire.

:29:38.:29:45.

Buckets of sand the only equipment for fighting a blaze. On the shop

:29:45.:29:55.
:29:55.:29:56.

floor we see children working, flouting the official ban. The

:29:56.:30:01.

owner says almost all his work is sub-contracted from other factories

:30:01.:30:05.

that use him secretly to fulfil their orders. Some of the clothes

:30:05.:30:13.

made here have been destined for the UK. Even for factories with the

:30:13.:30:17.

best reputations, the pressure is growing. Here they insist

:30:17.:30:26.

everything is done in-house, with no sub-contractors. Our existing

:30:27.:30:32.

customer, they are more vigilent now. They are frequently visiting

:30:32.:30:38.

with notice and no notice. Wur also ourselves motivating people. We are

:30:38.:30:42.

on high -- we are also ourselves motivating people, we are on high

:30:42.:30:45.

alert and taking initiative. Definitely this is a wake-up call

:30:45.:30:49.

for us. Do you think there needs to be more Government regulation?

:30:49.:30:55.

have a regulation but the implementation is not about. From

:30:55.:31:02.

the offices of her small labour union Nasma campaigns for better

:31:02.:31:06.

conditions and workers' rights. It is risky work, last year one

:31:06.:31:11.

organiser was found murdered. The case is still unsolved. She says

:31:11.:31:16.

western buyers are complicit too for turning a blind eye to the

:31:16.:31:23.

industry's cut-price practice. buyer is showing they are sleeping,

:31:23.:31:30.

but really they are not sleeping. They know all the thing behind what

:31:30.:31:35.

is going on and their showing they don't know anything. Their double

:31:35.:31:38.

face is there. They are always cutting and asking for better

:31:39.:31:44.

compliance. But some factories still have

:31:44.:31:52.

questions to answer. We follow one of the Government's new fire

:31:52.:32:02.
:32:02.:32:14.

This plant also make clothes for the UK. Then they test a smoke

:32:14.:32:24.
:32:24.:32:24.

alarm. It doesn't work. It is an embarrassing and potentially deadly

:32:24.:32:34.
:32:34.:32:37.

lapse. The plastic seals are still on the battery. With so many

:32:38.:32:42.

Bangladeshis on the wrong side of the track, in this densely

:32:42.:32:44.

populated country, it desperately needs the jobs the clothes business

:32:44.:32:54.

provides. The Government says it is determined to improve conditions

:32:54.:33:00.

and to close down the worst franc tros. But the message to --

:33:00.:33:04.

factories, but the message to western countries is "don't push us

:33:04.:33:08.

too hard". If they really want this human rights to be maintained, that

:33:08.:33:13.

is the biggest human right, the right for survival, the right for a

:33:13.:33:16.

better life. That is very important. Number two is there must be also

:33:16.:33:24.

ready to pay us the real wages. is not clear if any extra money

:33:24.:33:34.
:33:34.:33:38.

would actually reach the people who need it most. Six months since her

:33:38.:33:45.

daughter's death Rumana finally build up the courage to visit her

:33:45.:33:54.

grave. Now hundreds of other Bangladeshis are mourning. And the

:33:54.:34:01.

price of feeding the west's hunger for cheap clothes keeps rising. To

:34:01.:34:08.

talk about this we are joined by Jeff Banks, a fashion designer and

:34:08.:34:14.

who launched the fashion chain Warehouse, he also launched the

:34:14.:34:20.

Clothes Show. Katharine Hammnett, who has campaigned since the 1980s

:34:20.:34:25.

for better ethics in the fashion industry and a designer. And

:34:25.:34:29.

Rushanara Ali, was born in Bangladesh and looks into the

:34:29.:34:33.

industry in India. Who benefits most from the trade?

:34:33.:34:38.

think it is 50/50. There is a desire in the west to keep on

:34:38.:34:42.

buying economical clothes. I think we are all guilty of it. I would

:34:42.:34:47.

like to say I think that the clothing industry generally tonight

:34:47.:34:51.

is grossly ashamed of what's gone on in the last week in Bangladesh.

:34:51.:34:57.

I think it's actually having a riveting effect on a lot of chief

:34:57.:35:01.

executives as the way they handle their business going forward.

:35:01.:35:05.

Regretably it has had an effect. On the other side, I do believe that

:35:05.:35:10.

nations that are actually endeavouring to pull themselves up

:35:10.:35:16.

by the bootstraps do look forward to this kind of manufacturing and

:35:16.:35:21.

I'm afraid these indiscretions, even though the majority of

:35:21.:35:26.

companies retain companies to look after the efficiency with which

:35:26.:35:31.

things are dealt with, some slip through the net. Katharine Hammnett

:35:31.:35:37.

who do you think benefits from this trade? From this, the people at the

:35:37.:35:43.

top of the big brands, the people that are floating around in their

:35:43.:35:47.

�100 million yachts. You would accept that clearly in terms of the

:35:47.:35:50.

employment and national income it has benefits for a country like

:35:50.:35:54.

Bangladesh this trade? It is one of their biggest exports. Wait the

:35:54.:35:58.

workers are paid and treated, it is hard to say whether they are better

:35:58.:36:04.

off. I suppose they just manage to eat. But a lot of this

:36:04.:36:09.

manufacturing goes on in export processing zones which are actually

:36:09.:36:16.

exempt from even local labour laws. Any dissent or demands for higher

:36:16.:36:21.

wage or attempts at collective bargaining are assessed by the

:36:21.:36:25.

military. It has a he will had of a long way to go. Rushanara Ali,

:36:25.:36:29.

would you accept it is a lot to do with corruption in Bangladesh and

:36:29.:36:32.

people not implementing regulation that should be, it is not entirely

:36:32.:36:37.

the fault of western retailers? think that the fault lies with both

:36:37.:36:44.

the companies of those countries, like Bangladesh, as well as the

:36:44.:36:50.

businesses, western businesses that are involved in there. I do believe

:36:50.:36:53.

they have a much greater responsibility to work toward

:36:53.:36:58.

having basic minimum standard. These are multibillion pound

:36:58.:37:04.

operations. Around the world. In garments factories. If they

:37:04.:37:08.

exercised their influence and power to ensure the conditions were met

:37:08.:37:12.

you would have better results. Countries like Bangladesh need the

:37:12.:37:16.

inLuiz Eduardo investment. The Governments would take action if

:37:16.:37:19.

business applied its pressure appropriately. That is not

:37:19.:37:23.

happening. It is very peace meal what they do. -- piecemeal had a

:37:23.:37:26.

they. Do I have seen some of the work they do, it is good work but

:37:26.:37:31.

insignificant compared to the scale of the problem. In the case of this

:37:31.:37:34.

particular tragedy, we know there was a crack in the building,

:37:34.:37:38.

warnings were given about it, the warnings were ignored, people felt

:37:38.:37:42.

compelled to go to work. What responsibility is that of a British

:37:42.:37:45.

or European retailer or importer? There should be, I believe there

:37:45.:37:50.

should be international agreements on basic minimum labour standards

:37:50.:37:54.

and conditions, within which businesses can operate effectively.

:37:54.:37:57.

It is true businesses can't enforce those changes on their own, they

:37:58.:38:02.

have a very important role to play. Reputationally there is huge damage

:38:02.:38:08.

to businesses and their brands. It is not really in the interests of

:38:08.:38:11.

the business or the country concerned, if there is a case of

:38:11.:38:14.

irresponsible capitalism, this is a clear example of it and business

:38:14.:38:18.

need to step up. You said some businesses are beginning to

:38:18.:38:24.

recognise it? Many of the companies named there Next, Tesco, they

:38:24.:38:31.

employ a group called Suvaro, based in Hong Kong, they would have

:38:31.:38:35.

170,000 employees that are retained to go and ensure that standards of

:38:35.:38:39.

minimum wages, hospital arrangements, number of toilets per

:38:39.:38:44.

head, all of those things are abided by. And they what advise

:38:44.:38:49.

companies to withdraw should shows not be complied with. The question

:38:49.:38:56.

mark over this build something would that organisation have had a

:38:56.:38:59.

structural engineer look at the safety of the building. I think not.

:39:00.:39:03.

We don't know that? Having said that, the chairman of Matalan

:39:03.:39:07.

issued a directive to awful his procurement people that in future

:39:07.:39:13.

that has to be added to the list. The what are son is, you think

:39:13.:39:19.

about the old sweat -- comparisons is this, you think about the old

:39:19.:39:22.

factories here and weaving factories and the like, conditions

:39:22.:39:26.

were pretty terrible. Can we expect to have similar conditions in the

:39:26.:39:30.

developing world to the sort of conditions we expect to take for

:39:30.:39:32.

granted here? We should have similar standards. I think we

:39:32.:39:39.

should have a decent living minimum wage, we should have freedom of

:39:39.:39:43.

association, access to healthcare, building regulation check. I think

:39:44.:39:46.

that actually you could have legislation in those countries, but

:39:46.:39:50.

it doesn't seem to work, we actually need to have legislation

:39:50.:39:55.

in our countries that goods coming into our countries are certificated

:39:56.:39:59.

to these standards and inspected properly to force the change. The

:39:59.:40:03.

problem is, the big brands are really happy. The Chinese

:40:03.:40:08.

Government official told me once that the reason they haven't

:40:08.:40:12.

improved their labour standards, their human rights, is because the

:40:12.:40:17.

big brands were pressuring them not to. The key thing will be, let me

:40:17.:40:22.

play you a bit of tape, this afternoon we went out to talk to

:40:22.:40:25.

the people just outside Primark. Their views are quite interesting.

:40:25.:40:31.

It is very short, just listen to it. Have you heard about the factory

:40:31.:40:36.

collapseded in Bangladesh? No. people have been killed. One of the

:40:36.:40:44.

shops they supply to is Primark. didn't know that. Will that affect

:40:44.:40:49.

whether or not you go to Primark? Yes. Why? That is outrageous. If I

:40:49.:40:53.

had known that before I went in I wouldn't have gone in. Why do you

:40:53.:40:59.

shop in Primark? Because it is cheap. For the price. Do you worry

:40:59.:41:06.

about where and how it is made? Not at all. What a pity, but not at

:41:06.:41:11.

all. Do you ever think about where they are made? I know they are made

:41:11.:41:20.

in Bangladesh and I have heard the news about it collapsing. I'm a

:41:20.:41:24.

lecturer and we were talking about it today. Why did you still go in?

:41:24.:41:29.

These don't say Bangladesh I don't know where they were made. What did

:41:29.:41:34.

you buy? A T-shirt and basic things. What did you make of the story when

:41:34.:41:39.

you saw the pictures of the factory collapse, more than 200 people

:41:39.:41:45.

died? I felt bad for them, then I thought a person alone not buying a

:41:45.:41:49.

T-shirt in one shop wouldn't make a difference. What if everyone

:41:49.:41:52.

stopped buying T-shirts? I hope they do, but I don't think that

:41:52.:41:56.

time will come soon. We have got a different attitude to clothe,

:41:56.:42:01.

haven't we. To the fact that you should be able some how to buy

:42:01.:42:04.

cheap clothes. They are not intrinsically cheap? I think they

:42:04.:42:09.

are cheap. When you look at prices back in the 1980s that if you look

:42:09.:42:17.

at the price of a Lewin shirt at �20 these days, it was probably �79

:42:17.:42:21.

back in the 80s. The cost of clothing, relative to the rest of

:42:21.:42:25.

the economy has remained permanently cheap. That is the

:42:25.:42:28.

desire of the consumer. It is interesting what those people are

:42:28.:42:33.

saying. I think if you don't comply, socially, I think the consumer will

:42:33.:42:37.

vote with their wallet. I think a lot of people will be turned off

:42:37.:42:42.

Primark as a result. The one thing I would like to say is that only 35

:42:42.:42:48.

years ago in streets not too far from here was the centre of the rag

:42:48.:42:55.

trade. With sweat shops on every flour. In 1976 the minimum leaving

:42:55.:43:01.

school age of a schoolgirl was raised to 16. Prior to that there

:43:01.:43:06.

would be rows of 15-year-olds sitting on sewing machines. What we

:43:06.:43:10.

expect in the west is the rest of the planet will catch up with the

:43:11.:43:15.

situation today. When Katherine talks about Chinese situations, in

:43:15.:43:21.

fact the Chinese textile development council employ over

:43:21.:43:26.

2,500 people that look after the way human rights are actually

:43:26.:43:30.

activated in China. A lot of the manufacturing that you go to now,

:43:30.:43:33.

theity and standard of manufacturing and factories there

:43:33.:43:37.

is higher than you would certainly get in a lot of western European

:43:37.:43:43.

factories. Let's leave the Chinese, because we are at a bit of a loss

:43:43.:43:47.

and specific references to China. When you look at the question of

:43:47.:43:51.

consumer pressure and this industry, do you believe that such a thing as

:43:51.:43:59.

an ethical rag trade is feasible? think consumers are driving it. The

:43:59.:44:04.

rag trade by itself would probably have done nothing. But increased

:44:04.:44:08.

consumer awareness of these issues is making people not buy things

:44:08.:44:11.

because they are concerned about where they come from and how they

:44:11.:44:15.

are made. Marks & Spencers have got figures on this which are

:44:15.:44:18.

surprisingly high H something like 60% of consumers have not bought

:44:18.:44:23.

something because of these kinds of concerns. I disagree. These are the

:44:23.:44:29.

ones that are driving the industry to remove. Clothes have come down

:44:29.:44:33.

and are incredibly cheap. They are not cheap when you consider the

:44:33.:44:37.

true cost is paid in human suffering and environmental

:44:37.:44:42.

degradation in the bottom of the ply chain. When you look at the

:44:42.:44:47.

role of Government, the British Government or the EU, what can they

:44:47.:44:52.

do? They have a very important responsibility to set the standards.

:44:52.:45:01.

We have seen that with child labour. Years ago there was much concern

:45:01.:45:05.

about child labour. Governments came together and companies worked

:45:05.:45:08.

with the Governments to effect change. You need people to campaign

:45:08.:45:13.

and Governments to act. I think it does concern me the comments that

:45:13.:45:17.

Jeff has made. If we don't have high expectations, we are never

:45:17.:45:22.

going to change anything. The idea that people's lives should be at

:45:22.:45:26.

risk in those countries is just unacceptable. I represent the

:45:26.:45:31.

constituency that had the rag trade. That doesn't make it OK that you

:45:31.:45:36.

have the kinds of deaths and destruction in factories in those

:45:36.:45:41.

countries. The pay is less than �1 a week in some of these places. The

:45:41.:45:45.

majority of garments workers are women. It is clear those countries

:45:45.:45:48.

need the investment and the economic development. But you

:45:48.:45:53.

cannot have the kind of damage to people's lives that we have seen,

:45:53.:45:57.

not just in Bangladesh, but Pakistan, numerous accidents. We

:45:57.:46:00.

need business to work responsibly with Governments and we need

:46:00.:46:04.

international agreements that are properly honoured. Businesses will

:46:04.:46:09.

need to be required to act if they don't show results. We haven't seen

:46:09.:46:13.

the kind of results we need to protect people. You have an

:46:13.:46:17.

organisation that employs 170,000 people, acting own behalf of

:46:17.:46:22.

companies like Tesco and Next, that are actually ensuring that the

:46:22.:46:29.

requirement? They are the exemption peculiars. They are standard, it is

:46:29.:46:33.

the odd few not necessarily doing T again the restriction in law, it

:46:33.:46:37.

happened in India that the law was changed about people and

:46:37.:46:40.

responsibilities in employment and pensions and immediately hundreds

:46:40.:46:45.

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