18/10/2013 Newsnight


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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The row over HS2: Newsnight has obtained government figures which


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


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


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


Minister of Scotland. Plebgate and Andrew Mitchell - a new


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


Commissioner who condemns the Independent Police Complaints


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


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


bring you extraordinary scenes from their extraordinary lives.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Scotland could suffer substantial losses from the scheme as currently


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


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


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


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


new study by the accountants KPMG, describing the fantastic benefits


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


Liverpool stronger, Leeds stronger, Sheffield stronger, Birmingham


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


annual boost to our economy. Unfortunately, nowhere in the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


thinks about the relative productivity, the relative wages.


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


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


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


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


Birmingham benefit from productivity increase and am or able to compete


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


infrastructure to be able to continue the kind of contribution


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


money on things that would achieve more benefit for the British


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


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


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


who. These figures could increase -- the


release of these figures could increase the pressure on ministers


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


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


give any figures for the places which would actually suffer annual


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


places directly on that network would benefit from the released


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


example, electrification of the great Western mainline will help


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


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


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


this question of connectivity in isolation. The KPMG figures assumed


the transport connectivity is the only supply side constraints to


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


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


assumption because people move businesses due to Labour, whether


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


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


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


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


factors are there, it shows the connectivity can bring really


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


the railways are becoming increasingly full. Unless we tackle


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


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


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


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


Now, The Scottish National Party have been holding their annual


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


asked Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon what she


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


that you are reporting tonight simply confirm and underline the


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


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


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


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


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


Scottish parliament is talking to the UK government. Aberdeen could


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


specific components, helping energy efficiency and more vulnerable


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


that everybody, regardless of their income, regardless of their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Westminster Treasury that come to Scotland, the emissions trading


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


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


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


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


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


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


million directly from the Scottish Government and another ?120 million


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a little earlier. In a moment, Pussy Riot.


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


week after the Prime Minister suggested the former Chief Whip


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


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


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


made by Mr Mitchell. The Independent Police Complaints Commissioner waded


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


be disciplined. Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Ron


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


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


Zoe Conway reports. On Wednesday the never ending saga


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


Police Complaints Commission, suggested that the police had


changed its mind over whether to discipline police officers for being


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


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


this led to speculation that senior police officers could have


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Newsnight. So he has been able to prove what he


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


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


the action returns to Westminster next week when senior police


officers give evidence about Plebgate to the home affairs select


committee. The Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball told


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


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


considerable loss of trust and confidence in the police and they


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


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


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


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


misrepresented what happened in the interview with Andrew Mitchell. So


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


constituted huge concern in publicly in questioning the integrity and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Chief Constable because what I did was commission investigations. That


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


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


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


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


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


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


unreasonably there needs to be communication between them. I want


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


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


Deborah Glass appears to have produced a gross distortion of what


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


letter she sent to me has been interpreted that everybody takes


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


officers intervened and changed it to come to a completely different


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


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


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


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


The Independent Police Complaints Commission says that Deborah Glass


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


an earlier draft recommended misconduct. She is not impugning


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


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


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


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


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


taken that senior officers intervened to change that report.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


out. And you can see the full 90 minute


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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