18/10/2013 Newsnight


18/10/2013

With Gavin Esler. An exclusive reveal of the hidden cost of the HS2 rail scheme, more on plebgate and who are the Russian protest group Pussy Riot?


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Transcript


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The row over HS2: Newsnight has obtained government figures which

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show some areas will be big losers if the scheme goes ahead. Aberdeen

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could lose up to ?220 million a year, Cambridge ?126 million a year.

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We'll hear from HS2's chief executive and from the Deputy First

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Minister of Scotland. Plebgate and Andrew Mitchell - a new

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twist tonight. We'll hear live from Warwickshire's Police and Crime

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Commissioner who condemns the Independent Police Complaints

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Commission for a "gross distortion of what actually took place."

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And Pussy Riot - the Russian protesters serving time in jail. We

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bring you extraordinary scenes from their extraordinary lives.

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Good evening. Like one of those magic cabarets where the audience is

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invited to pick a number - any number - the numbers to do with the

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costs and benefits of building a new high speed rail link are open to a

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lot of guesswork. But the government insists they have had the experts

:01:10.:01:13.

assiduously studying the case to build HS2. The accountants KPMG have

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concluded that it could be a ?15 billion-a-year boost to the UK

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economy. Now Newsnight, through a Freedom of Information request, has

:01:21.:01:23.

discovered that behind that national figure, cities from Cambridge in the

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East of England, to Bristol in the West and Aberdeen in the north of

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Scotland could suffer substantial losses from the scheme as currently

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planned. David Grossman has the story - and the figures they did not

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want to publish. No-one can accuse the people behind

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HS2 of being pessimists - glass half full doesn't come close: the HS2

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glass is brimming over. Last month the Transport Secretary unveiled a

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new study by the accountants KPMG, describing the fantastic benefits

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that they said would flow from the new line. High Speed 2 will make

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Liverpool stronger, Leeds stronger, Sheffield stronger, Birmingham

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stronger, Manchester stronger, Britain stronger. A ?15 billion

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annual boost to our economy. Unfortunately, nowhere in the

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58-page report - nor in its 34-page technical appendix - was there room

:02:35.:02:38.

to detail the towns and cities and regions across the UK that would

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lose because of HS2. But thanks to a Freedom of Information request, we

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can now reveal those figures - suggesting some places are going to

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lose big because of the new line. The study says that by the time HS2

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is built in 2037, there could be big losers right across the UK - every

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one of these red dots is a place losing money as a result of the new

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line. Now we can put figures to the dots. Cardiff could lose ?70 million

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every year. For Peter Brooke, ?66 million a year. For Bristol, over

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?100 million a year. Norfolk could lose nearly ?200 million.

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Cambridgeshire is set to lose ?235 million. Even Aberdeen's oil-fuelled

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economy is susceptible, apparently - it could lose ?220 million every

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year - that's 1.3% of its GDP. It is really disappointing to see a

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negative impact on the north-east of Scotland. Looking at further depth,

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it is compounded by negative, indeed relatively large impact on Dundee.

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When you put that together for the north-east, you're looking at a lost

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GDP of over ?330 million, which is significant to say the least. We

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showed the figures to economic 's confessor Henry Overman at the LSE.

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He used to be an adviser and he says it stands to reason that some

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locations will miss out. When a firm is thinking about where to locate it

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thinks about the relative productivity, the relative wages.

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HS2 shifts that around so if you are on the line and you get productivity

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improvement, that makes you a better place than somewhere off the line

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that has not happy productivity improvement. The other way in which

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it happens is that firms compete for business. So firms that are in

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Birmingham benefit from productivity increase and am or able to compete

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in the British market, and that gives them advantage to firms say in

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Bristol, that are not on the line. -- and are more able to compete in

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the British market. Business leaders and Cambridgeshire -- in Cambridge

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are sceptical that their specialist knowledge will be harmed by HS2 but

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they said investment could be better spent. Free review want to drive our

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economy forward in the UK, -- if we ready want to drive our economy

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forward, then what you should do is put that money into the really

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successful economies, like Cambridge. And make sure we have the

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infrastructure to be able to continue the kind of contribution

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that we make to UK plc. Could the damage to some parts of the UK done

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by HS2 really be as large as these figures suggest? Professor Overman

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believes not. He thinks both the positive and negative impacts of HS2

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are overstated by a factor of somewhere between four and six. If

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the projected benefits are ?15 billion a year, what do you think we

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should discount? I think the kind of benefits that they are trying to

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pick up here, I think the number would more reasonably be 2 billion

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to 3 billion. If I was off the line, even if I was on the line, my

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major worry would be, could we be spending 40 to ?50 billion worth of

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money on things that would achieve more benefit for the British

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economy, and I am pretty clear that the answer to that is yes. So far

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the debate around HS2 has been dominated by those near the proposed

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line who are concerned about damage to their communities, and those

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who. These figures could increase -- the

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release of these figures could increase the pressure on ministers

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to reconsider. Joining us now is Alison Munro, chief executive of the

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HS2 project. In all the 92 pages of the original KPMG report, you didn't

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give any figures for the places which would actually suffer annual

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losses. Why did you hide be bad news. We did not hide the bad news

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at all. We published a map and the numbers that you talk about other

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numbers that lie behind that map. We were quite open. We needed a Freedom

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of Information request to get these figures. You trumpeted these losses

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just the same as you trumpeted the ?15 billion that would benefit the

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economy? They were in the report that was published in September, we

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have not hidden that fact. I think this has been totally overplayed. I

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don't get one will truly expect, if you were providing a high-speed line

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which was a major north-south network, you would expect that the

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places directly on that network would benefit from the released

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capacity, those places would benefit most from that investment. You can't

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look at it in isolation. Are you saying that these figures were

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clearly printed in the report and you were delighted to the people of

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Kettering they could lose 2.3% of GDP, Suffolk West 1.4%. You told

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people that in the report? We published the map which showed the

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places that would win relatively and those that would not. We did not

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provide the figures, there is a lot of information in that report. The

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general picture was there for people to see. But not the figures? We did

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not provide the figures but if you let me finish, it is showing, I

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don't think it is a disappointing that the places on the high-speed

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network, the places that enjoy new services and released capacity will

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then fit most from High Speed 2. But High Speed 2 is not the only

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investment the government is making -- will benefit most from High Speed

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2. To be clear, you did not provide the figures. We did not. We have

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been entirely happy to provide the figures, we are not hiding anything.

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You're happy now to provide them, now that we have got them. We're

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absolutely happy to provide them. There is no secret, High Speed 2

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will benefit our major cities which are on the network and places which

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will also benefit from services on the existing light -- line that will

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get extra services. No one would expect High Speed 2 to deliver the

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same benefits in Cornwall as Leeds and Manchester. We are not arguing

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that but we would expect that someone engaged in a major project,

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spending ?50 billion of public money, would be open as to who will

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benefit and how much people will lose if they do not benefit. Yellow

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we published the map. If we go -- We published the map. Why should we

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believe any of the figures you have come up with, it is all voodoo?

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These are predictions we are having to make into the future. We have

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also calculate it in fits and costs of transport investment. Those don't

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-- calculated benefits and costs. You would expect to see a

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concentration of growth in the future in the areas served by High

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Speed 2. This is against the background when the economy will be

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growing, it is not that the other places are losing, they are not

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growing as fast as the places that will be served by High Speed 2. You

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are talking about High Speed 2 in isolation, the government is

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spending a massive amount of money to help other places. So for

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example, electrification of the great Western mainline will help

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Cardiff and Swansea. Electrification of the Midland Main to places like

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Corby. Massive -- Midland mainline. You can't just look at what is

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happening with High Speed 2 in isolation. What you can't do is put

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this question of connectivity in isolation. The KPMG figures assumed

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the transport connectivity is the only supply side constraints to

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business location, it is not. It recognises, if you read the report,

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it recognises the fact it is making that assumption. It is the wrong

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assumption because people move businesses due to Labour, whether

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they can build on land, so to make the assumption it is about

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connectivity is nonsense. It is showing the connectivity of --

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showing what the connectivity benefits could be. High Speed 2 is

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not going to solve every problem in the country but if those other

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factors are there, it shows the connectivity can bring really

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substantial benefits to the economy for the future. We need to remember

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the railways are becoming increasingly full. Unless we tackle

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the capacity on the railways, the economy will come to a halt. If we

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don't have the ways for people to get around, for businesses to do

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their business. We will have more lorries travelling on the road. We

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need to address the capacity issue. We will leave it there.

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Now, The Scottish National Party have been holding their annual

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conference in Perth today and shortly before we came on air, I

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asked Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon what she

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made of those figures Newsnight had obtained. The figures I have seen

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that you are reporting tonight simply confirm and underline the

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view of the Scottish Government. HS2 will be stronger, the business case

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for it will be stronger if it comes to Scotland, if it links up Scotland

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and England. Also, the benefits to Scotland obviously require it to

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come to Scotland. That is why the Scottish woman is talking to the UK

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government make sure proper planning is being done -- that is why the

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Scottish parliament is talking to the UK government. Aberdeen could

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lose 220 million a year, 1.3% of GDP. Dundee and Angus, a loss of

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1.9%. Do you oppose it as currently planned, if it is not extended to

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Scotland? The figures we are seeing are of concern. These are figures

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that we have now seen but they back up what our concern has always been.

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If you have HS2 that only goes as far as the current plans, it would

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be to Scotland's disadvantage. That is why we are doing so hard and have

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been talking to the UK government, we are in the process of trying to

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finalise vans for a study to link in Scotland and England -- finalise

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plans. I think there is another important point, the business case

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for HS2 is stronger if it includes Scotland. We know the government

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south of the border is ready under pressure for people worried about

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the project and that it might be over budget, that it is not being

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managed as well as it could or should be. It is important they have

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as strong a business case as possible and it is stronger if

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Scotland is included. You were clear in what you were intending to do

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about any geek costs, you were planning -- about green energy

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costs. Isn't it taking it out of one pocket

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and giving it to the other? The announcement I made was about to

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specific components, helping energy efficiency and more vulnerable

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customers. The trouble with having these levied on the energy bill is

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that everybody, regardless of their income, regardless of their

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financial position, has to pay that. We know the people are feeling

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pressure from rising energy prices. If we take that out of the bill and

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fund the scheme centrally, we can cut the pain of the energy bills,

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but it also means we can better integrate and join up the energy

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efficiency schemes. But you'll raise taxes to do it. You have to find the

:15:24.:15:30.

money from somewhere. We are not proposing raising taxes. We will

:15:31.:15:33.

budget as we do for the existing commitments as a Scottish government

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to make sure we prioritise the energy efficiency schemes. You will

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cut something else? There will be other revenue sources that go to the

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Westminster Treasury that come to Scotland, the emissions trading

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scheme for example, so we can take budget decisions that allow us to

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prioritise the things that matter. The important points are that it

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will reduce the pain that people are feeling from energy bills, and 5%

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reduction energy bills will come, but it will allow us to have energy

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efficiency schemes and I will reiterate the point I was going to

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go on to make, that we fund those schemes to the tune of about ?80

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million directly from the Scottish Government and another ?120 million

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comes from the energy companies. That makes it difficult to organise

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and deliver the schemes as effectively and we would want to.

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This is a common-sense solution that people will welcome -- as we would

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want to. Another common-sense solution debated in Westminster day

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was whether we should put on another woolly jumper. What is your advice?

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As I understand it that comment came from Downing Street spokesperson,

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and that signifies a government that is deeply, deeply out of touch with

:16:46.:16:49.

the pain that people are suffering from energy bills that are going

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totally in the wrong. What we need are common-sense, level-headed

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solutions, which is why the announcement I made today would be

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welcomed across the board. Nicola Sturgeon, speaking to me from Perth

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a little earlier. In a moment, Pussy Riot.

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The row over who said what to whom in the Plebgate affair deepened this

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week after the Prime Minister suggested the former Chief Whip

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Andrew Mitchell was owed an apology. Three police officers from the

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Midlands who met Mr Mitchell after his row in Downing Street gave a

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public account of their conversation which was at odds with a recording

:17:34.:17:37.

made by Mr Mitchell. The Independent Police Complaints Commissioner waded

:17:38.:17:40.

in and questioned the integrity of the officers and whether they should

:17:41.:17:42.

be disciplined. Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Ron

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Ball told Newsnight on Wednesday that he wanted to get to the bottom

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of what had happened, and tonight we will see if he has done so. First,

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Zoe Conway reports. On Wednesday the never ending saga

:17:52.:18:00.

of Plebgate took a surprising turn. Deborah Glass, the Independent

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Police Complaints Commission, suggested that the police had

:18:04.:18:06.

changed its mind over whether to discipline police officers for being

:18:07.:18:10.

misleading about a meeting they had with Andrew Mitchell last year. She

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said in a letter to Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner:

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this led to speculation that senior police officers could have

:18:33.:18:37.

interfered with the investigation and got the report changed. So why

:18:38.:18:47.

were there to different reports and why the apparent change of mind?

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This was the Commissioner two nights ago. When you say what happened,

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what do you mean? How they can come to contradictory conclusions and

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then apparently ignore the request from the IP CC to reconsider? Since

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I have had that information I have had nothing other than media

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interviews. I've not had the opportunity to talk to the Chief

:19:13.:19:15.

Constable about it. I most certainly will ask the question, the people to

:19:16.:19:21.

explain to me how the process happen. Since then he has been doing

:19:22.:19:26.

some digging. And he now says, in a statement written exclusively for

:19:27.:19:27.

Newsnight. So he has been able to prove what he

:19:28.:19:55.

said was true, and what the police officers said was untrue. The drama

:19:56.:20:01.

is far from over. The police are now reviewing their investigation, and

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the action returns to Westminster next week when senior police

:20:05.:20:07.

officers give evidence about Plebgate to the home affairs select

:20:08.:20:11.

committee. The Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball told

:20:12.:20:15.

us on Wednesday that he wanted to get to the bottom of what went on,

:20:16.:20:20.

and he joins us now. You said that the three police officers had caused

:20:21.:20:22.

considerable loss of trust and confidence in the police and they

:20:23.:20:25.

should reflect on this. What do you want them to do? What I want is for

:20:26.:20:30.

the truth to be out in all of this and for the public to know what

:20:31.:20:34.

happened, and to get a proper investigation done. Those three

:20:35.:20:40.

officers clearly, the view of the public is, they misled and

:20:41.:20:44.

misrepresented what happened in the interview with Andrew Mitchell. So

:20:45.:20:51.

should they apologise? The trouble with the word apologise is its

:20:52.:20:55.

almost use these days as a word or weapon to demean people. What I

:20:56.:20:59.

think is those officers should reflect on the fact that there is

:21:00.:21:04.

great reputational damage being done to the police in this country by it.

:21:05.:21:08.

There is great damage being done to their fellow officers, and, in my

:21:09.:21:13.

view, they should find some way of acknowledging that to the public.

:21:14.:21:17.

Have you got to the bottom of this? What did take place? Unfortunately I

:21:18.:21:24.

do not have all of the information today. I was hoping that by this

:21:25.:21:27.

evening I would have it. I've commissioned a report and I said I

:21:28.:21:31.

wanted it really quickly. It looks as though the complete report is

:21:32.:21:35.

going to be available on Monday, but there is enough information for me

:21:36.:21:38.

to be able to say that I am really concerned. You do seem to have

:21:39.:21:43.

enough information to condemn Deborah Glass. You said what she did

:21:44.:21:48.

constituted huge concern in publicly in questioning the integrity and

:21:49.:21:51.

judgement of senior officers, and perhaps it is her job to do that if

:21:52.:21:57.

she thinks they have failed. Provided it can be justified. The

:21:58.:22:00.

letter sent to me has left an impression. I have spoken to a

:22:01.:22:03.

number of members of the public to find out what their perception is.

:22:04.:22:08.

Sorry to interrupt, but their perception is interesting, but the

:22:09.:22:11.

people who know what went on presumably the Chief Constable. The

:22:12.:22:16.

perception is incredibly important. But you knew what the perception was

:22:17.:22:21.

on Wednesday. The question is what happened? Have you spent time with

:22:22.:22:30.

the Chief Constable to find this out? I haven't spent time with the

:22:31.:22:33.

Chief Constable because what I did was commission investigations. That

:22:34.:22:35.

is what is taking place at the moment. I want that information to

:22:36.:22:37.

be available for the home affairs committee when the officers can be

:22:38.:22:41.

grown. You are the Warwickshire Police and crime Commissioner, so

:22:42.:22:44.

people would think you should find it out and get on with it? That is

:22:45.:22:48.

what I am doing. I am setting in motion the investigation to be done

:22:49.:22:53.

as quickly as possible. There are three forces involved, so not

:22:54.:22:56.

unreasonably there needs to be communication between them. I want

:22:57.:23:00.

an accurate report, not a report in 24 hours that is misleading. I

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understand that, but on what basis can you say that Deborah class --

:23:07.:23:11.

Deborah Glass appears to have produced a gross distortion of what

:23:12.:23:15.

took place when you don't know what took place? I'm able to say that the

:23:16.:23:24.

letter she sent to me has been interpreted that everybody takes

:23:25.:23:29.

that that there was a report that recommended one thing, and senior

:23:30.:23:32.

officers intervened and changed it to come to a completely different

:23:33.:23:36.

conclusion, and there is no evidence to support that. There is evidence

:23:37.:23:41.

to support a different view. If that were true, if that assertion were

:23:42.:23:47.

true, why did Deborah Glass not do what she is perfectly capable of

:23:48.:23:50.

doing, which is take over the investigation? Why didn't she do it?

:23:51.:23:57.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission says that Deborah Glass

:23:58.:24:00.

did not suggest that senior officers had changed the statement, just at

:24:01.:24:04.

an earlier draft recommended misconduct. She is not impugning

:24:05.:24:08.

anybody there, that is the statement they gave. Very clever wording. Very

:24:09.:24:13.

clever wording. This is why I have done the survey as to what people

:24:14.:24:19.

think, and she is perfectly aware of the fact that out there a message

:24:20.:24:23.

that has gone, the thing that has done reputational damage, including

:24:24.:24:28.

to my chief officer, and she's perfectly happy for the view to be

:24:29.:24:32.

taken that senior officers intervened to change that report.

:24:33.:24:37.

There is no evidence of that. The fact they have said that to my

:24:38.:24:41.

justifies my stance on it. Thank you for joining us.

:24:42.:24:44.

The feminist band members Pussy Riot scandalised some in Russia, or, more

:24:45.:24:49.

accurately, in the Kremlin, with their protest activities, including

:24:50.:24:52.

in a church. They are now serving jail sentences. One of the band

:24:53.:24:56.

members was reported today to have been moved from a Corrective Colony

:24:57.:25:00.

outside Moscow to a new jail after a period on hunger strike. So who are

:25:01.:25:04.

these young women? Our colleagues on BBC Storyville have been finding

:25:05.:25:05.

out. And you can see the full 90 minute

:25:06.:31:13.

Storyville documentary on Monday night at 10:00pm on BBC Four. That's

:31:14.:31:20.

it for tonight. After hearing that members of parliament were not very

:31:21.:31:23.

good at giving up their seat for their colleague Liberal Democrat Jo

:31:24.:31:26.

Swinson, we decided to see if the general public were any more gallant

:31:27.:31:30.

on the London Underground. As it happens, they were. And remember,

:31:31.:31:38.

wrap up warm this weekend. My name is Claire Adams and I am eight

:31:39.:31:43.

months pregnant. I will be going on the tube, in the commuter rush hour,

:31:44.:31:47.

to see how ready people are to give up their seat for me. Wish me luck.

:31:48.:31:51.