30/01/2018 Newsnight


30/01/2018

A look at BBC pay, reform in Saudi Arabia and the House of Lords discusses Brexit. Plus, wood burning stoves and the sinking of the Empress of Britain.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Until now, the BBC has been offering

helpful lessons in how not to handle

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the issue of gender pay..

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Today, it tried to offer some

lessons on how to get it right..

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After months of terrible

publicity, it's preparing

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a thorough pay overhaul.

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But still claiming there's no

systematic gender bias.

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Can that really be true?

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We'll ask the head of BBC news how

can that really be true.

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Do you have a wood burning stove?

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Enjoy coming home to a real fire?

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Prepare to become a social pariah..

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Michael Gove says they're

seriously polluting our air.

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We'll debate the latest government

thoughts on restricting

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the burning of wood and coal.

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And this...

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the story of the sinking

of the Empress of Britain.

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I never knew the name of the chap

who saved me until I bought a book

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and suddenly there was a section

where it became very emotional.

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Because I realised it was writing

about me.

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Hello there.

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After three uncomfortable weeks

in which it has had little to say

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in answer to critics of its unequal

pay structure, the BBC came back

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with its own analysis today.

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With other companies being forced

to address THEIR pay gaps this year,

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the BBC's defence may turn out to be

a template for the arguments

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playing out elsewhere.

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It was compiled by the accountants

PwC and you could summarise it as -

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"there is no problem,

but yes, we are going to solve it".

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On the "no problem" side,

it looks at the pay of news

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presenters and on-air journalists

and finds that gender is not

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an issue - even though women

are paid less on average.

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It's mostly down to the fact

that the women have on average,

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arrived more recently, it suggests.

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More men were taken on in days

when media pay rates

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were more generous.

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But the report also says,

a problem needs solving:

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that the pay at the top level

is a mess, and needs

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to be more structured.

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Our business editor,

Helen Thomas reports.

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Public pay packets for high earners,

the gender pay gap and now on-air

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talent. Questions of pay, fairness

and equality has certainly knocked

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the BBC off balance. The report

today by PWC looked at 824

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presenters, editors and

correspondence who appear on screen.

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The gender pay gap between the

median of women salaries and men's

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was 6.8%, that is lower than the

9.3% for the BBC overall and the

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national gap of 18.4%. But in 656

lower profile roles, the gap was

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12.6%. And for the highest profile,

the report found the range of pay

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was much too wide with more men at

the top than women. But the BBC is

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trying to address two quite separate

issues, the first is the gender pay

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gap. Every company with more than

250 employees must now publish

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various measures of the gap between

the average of men's pay and

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women's. That gap can sometimes be

partially explained by skills,

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seniority or by type of work.

EasyJet posted a 45% gap because

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most of its highly paid pilots are

men and most of its cabin crew are

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women. But the BBC is grappling with

another issue, equal pay. That is

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the allegation that men and women

have not been paid equally for doing

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jobs that are essentially the same

or for work that are of an equal

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value to the organisation.

It is not

an audit of equal pay across the

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BBC, it is a particular sort of

report that the BBC has ordered and

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without being cynical, it seems to

be the report that the BBC wanted. I

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hope that other employers and

employees are looking at all of

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theirs, I am sure they are bored

with the shenanigans that the BBC,

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but the central thrust of what we

are about is about telling other

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people that if it has happened to

us, it is almost certainly happening

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to you or another woman that you

care about.

PWC said they had found

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no evidence of gender bias in paid

decision-making but it criticised a

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lack of structure in setting pay and

a lack of consistency and

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transparency. Today the BBC pledged

to address that with the new paved

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framework, more information on pay

and a faster push towards equal

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representation of men and women on

air. These may be TV presenters with

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6-figure salaries but discrimination

lawyers say that the issues raised

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are the same as another equal pay

cases.

The principle is the

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principal and reminds me of the

cases I did local authority bonuses

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for manual workers and the women who

were not getting the bonuses and

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whether or not the bonuses were

representing productivity. In the

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past, they might well have been

productive, but in the time that we

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were doing the cases, it had become

basic pay, they were coming up with

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the usual pay packet and that is the

analogy here, there may well have

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been a time when this extra pay was

merited, but that was then and this

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is now and they should have

therefore change the page.

The most

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eye-catching part of the BBC

response so far has been pay cuts,

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for high-profile men, but that some

say is a debatable approach.

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It is basically telling the women

that if they raise an equal pay

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case, they are going to punish the

men as a result. It is a deterrent

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to women pursuing cases and it makes

them the villains, rather than

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actually being the victims. In the

US, it is common to have clauses

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that ban pay cuts, so if an employer

discovers that a woman is being

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underpaid, they must raise the pay

of women and not cut the pay of men.

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Carrie Gracie has accused the BBC of

illegal pay discrimination and

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tomorrow she will give evidence in

Parliament. The BBC's balancing act

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is not set to get any easier.

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Fran Unsworth is the

BBC's head of news.

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She's been in the job

a month, but was deputy

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for sometime before that.

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I spoke to her this evening -

does she really believe that when it

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comes to pay in news,

gender is not an issue?

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I don't think that's quite

what the report says.

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The report says that what the PWC

has done is that there is no

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systemic gender bias in the way that

pay has been set.

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That does not mean to say

that there aren't differences

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in men and women's pay.

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What the report is saying

there is that gender has not been

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the basis of the decision making,

that people have used when they have

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set somebody's salary.

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Isn't the real reason that

you do not want to admit that

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gender has been an issue,

a specific issue, is that it gets

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you into legal problems and you then

have to start paying back pay

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for six years for anyone who can

show that they are a victim of it?

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That's just too expensive

for the BBC to contemplate

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without having nightmares.

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I think that what the report

is saying, it might

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apply in some cases.

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That there is an equal pay issue.

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But there is no systemic issue.

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Can you imagine, six years

of back pay, in most cases

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where there is a gender issue?

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If we have broken the law

in an individual case,

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then we will have to

address that, yes.

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I think that part of the reason,

though, that there was this

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discrepancy, because the gender pay

gap is not the same as equal pay.

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That is two people in the same job

earning very different amounts.

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And some of the reasons why two

people in the same job may be

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earning different amounts of money,

the law says you have to justify it,

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so there might be justifiable

reasons why two people in the same

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job are on different salaries,

but those criteria will be around

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how long has the person been doing

it, what is their profile

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with the audience, does the audience

tune in to the programme

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because of that person?

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In which case, there is not an equal

pay claim under the law,

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but of course those are things that

have to be justified

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and they might be open

to debate as well, of course.

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The BBC argument has been,

the BBC has been proportionally

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The BBC argument has been,

the BBC has been disproportionally

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employing men in the era when money

was a little bit looser and then

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diversity came along,

the BBC made a big effort on that,

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just at that time when austerity

was beginning to bite

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and the money was much tighter.

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Would you acknowledge

there was systemic gender bias

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in the period say more than 5 years

ago, when the BBC was

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recruiting more men,

or a disproportionate

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number of them.

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Quite possibly, although there might

have been a smaller pool of women

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from whom to choose.

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For all sorts of social reasons.

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And that is something that we have

to address going forward.

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The Carrie Gracie case,

she has been at the BBC 30 years,

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Jeremy Bowen has been at the BBC

for 30 years, pretty

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different salaries,

I wonder whether you think,

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as you look at the salaries,

as you have gazed and eyeballed

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at them like everybody else did

when many were published last year,

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did you not think, that looks

strange, that looks a bit weird?

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Yes, we did.

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We very much did, yes.

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These salary issues were a matter

of individual negotiations up

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to a point, it was sort

of within a framework.

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They were confidential matters

and we were not setting them vis

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a vis other people in quite the way

that we should have done

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and disclosure, I think,

has thrown a very uncomfortable

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light on that which

needs to be addressed.

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You had access to that data

the rest of the world did,

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so the rest of the world saw it last

July and went, that

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looks a bit weird!

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You could have said

that at any time!

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You could have just looked at it

and said, that looks a bit strange,

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you were strangely not curious,

I suppose in not having

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raised this before.

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I think it is around

really not having a proper

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framework in which to do it

and that is what this report

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introduces now which says,

if you work on this type

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of programme, this is the type

of salary that you can expect to be

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paid within a range,

recognising those factors.

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That is what we did not do before.

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That is why, I think a lot of women

are quite reasonably saying,

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this was not transparent.

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Strangely, you did not even do it

knowing that they were going to be

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published last July,

you had a year's warning

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that they would be published.

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I think there was...

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Did you not even eyeball them

and say before the publication,

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we have got a problem looming here,

we as the bosses probably have

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to sort this out and make sure

we have got something to say

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to staff who are obviously going

to see anomalies all over the place.

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Many of them seem to be

quite gender specific.

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There was a bit of that,

but not enough and I would accept

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the premise of your question,

that we should have been

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on to this earlier.

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The eyes of the country are very

much on the BBC and the pay

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formation at the moment.

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People will be interested if the BBC

finds a system which is not

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replicated elsewhere.

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which is replicated elsewhere.

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If you have this BBC system

and you have a rate for a job,

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I don't know, the presenter

of the Ten O'Clock News,

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and you've got a range for that job

and then you want to employ someone

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from outside who is on a higher

salary than in our

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range, what do you do?

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It is a really good question,

which we have thought of and I think

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that we are taking the view

that we will have to stick

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within the ranges, broadly,

but what has changed,

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I do believe, is the market

for news presenters.

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Now, the BBC has been discounted

anyway, according to the market,

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but I think that we'll be continuing

with that process

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and I think it does...

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You will not employ someone higher

than that rate and if they don't

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come in for the going salary...

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I think there will be more of that,

yes, than there has been

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in the past, because if we don't

apply that, that is how things do

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get very out of line.

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Do you see that over

the next five years,

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the BBC saving money or spending

money on reforming this pay?

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I don't know the answer to that,

to be honest, that is probably,

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it might be that in the short term

they are spending, and in the long

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term, it is saving.

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We have not run the numbers on that,

we are still here and there

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are approximately 200 more cases.

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I do think, though, that this

will be a fairer, more transparent,

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and more justifiable to both

the public and to our workforce,

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and our way of paying people.

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Fran Unsworth, thank you very much.

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Thank you.

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Last week, our diplomatic editor

Mark Urban ran a piece

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on Saudi Arabia's richest

businessman, Waleed bin Talal.

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He was - you'll remember -

incarcerated as part

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of the anti-corruption drive

in the Kingdom.

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In Mark's film, we heard

from someone who'd been

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in video contact with him,

for the Saudis, and who said

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he did not look well,

was a different man

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and was twitching.

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Well, things moved on fast

after Mark's piece.

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Waleed Bin Talal was released over

the weekend, and just before that

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even appeared in a video suggesting

he'd been well looked after.

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I feel at home, no

problem at all here.

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Everything is fine.

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And all the rumours that appeared

on the BBC especially,

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you saw that and it upset me a lot.

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And it is all lies,

frankly speaking.

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All lies.

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You know, I have been

all the time here at this hotel

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and everything has been fine.

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And all these rumours

really upset me.

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Because they went so far.

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Which rumours in particular?

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You know I read about them and saw

them on the BBC and others saying

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Waleed was sent to some

other place, you know,

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the main prison.

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And that he had been tortured.

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All lies, you know.

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Here he is just two days

after his release...

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Arriving at work to applause.

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Is it a coincidence that

Prince Bin Talal was released soon

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after we ran our item?

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Maybe not - we've heard suggestions

that there was a link.

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I'm joined now from Cairo

by Hugh Miles, a journalist

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who specialises in the Middle East

and has done extensive research

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into corruption in Saudi Arabia.

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What do you think was going on last

week with the sequence of events?

I

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think BBC Newsnight was instrumental

in getting points to one released. I

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think the Saudis reacted to the

report, they were surprised and

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shocked to see the Newsnight report.

I do not think they had any plans to

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release him beforehand. And they

realised something had to be done

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because otherwise this news report

was going to dominate the news cycle

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and Davos was going on, the Saudis

keen to get investment. Mohammed bin

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Salman planning a visit to the UK,

to the west and this Newsnight

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report released on them because it

showed that Prince Waleed bin Talal,

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one of the most high-profile of all

the detainees with all the

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international connections, was being

abused in detention.

What did you

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make of his protests that he had

been in fact quite well looked

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after?

I do not think they are

credible at all. I think the BBC

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Newsnight report last week got it

right, I think the Saudis pulled out

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Waleed bin Talal to try to show and

convince the world that they're not

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torturing detainees, not doing a big

shakedown and taking all the assets

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of all the businessmen in the

kingdom. But I do not think Waleed

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bin Talal, that his video was

credible for a number of reasons. It

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was a performance, propaganda.

And

it is important to the Saudis to

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show they're not mistreating

businesspeople because they want

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investment in the country,

presumably?

They desperately want

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investment, they need foreign

investment to make their vision of

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success. If they do not get it it

will fail and the country will face

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serious economic problems. So they

need to try and keep coming and this

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parish has done a lot of damage to

their international reputation.

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Ironically like some of the other

plans that have gone wrong, the

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Yemen war, this has been quite

self-defeating, this purge. It has

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badly damaged investor confidence in

Saudi Arabia and who would want to

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put their money into such a system

is this that treats businessmen in

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this way. So it is an attempt to try

to rectify the self-inflicted wound

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that they have, that Mohammed bin

Soliman has done to the Saudi

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economy.

How secure is Mohammed bin

Salman, you say he has made a number

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of mistakes and locking up so many

princes in the Ritz-Carlton?

Where

0:17:570:18:05

does this leave him now? Well the

problem is the anti-corruption drive

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is backfiring on multiple levels. As

with his other projects. It is not

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going to get anywhere near as much

money as planned, it is difficult to

0:18:170:18:20

get back foreign assets put up and

the valuable assets are outside of

0:18:200:18:27

the kingdom and he has made little

progress getting hold of those.

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There's one problem but the other is

that the Royal Family who should be

0:18:300:18:36

his allies, and helping him, have

now been eliminated and are all in

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shock. And now Saudi Arabia is a

revenge culture and all the Royal

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Family have been affected by what

has happened because they're all

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intermarried and now they will want

revenge against Mohammed bin

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Sandman. There is a history to this

in Saudi Arabia, King Faisal was

0:18:530:18:58

murdered by his cousin in revenge

killings. And we have already seen

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signs of the Royal Family wanting to

take revenge. Mohammed bin Sandman

0:19:020:19:08

is good at locking them up, he did

that before the Ritz-Carlton, we

0:19:080:19:11

knew that there was a Saudi

programme to arrest Saudi dissidents

0:19:110:19:16

in the West for a couple of years

before this.

0:19:160:19:22

before this. A number of people have

been disappeared for a long time. So

0:19:230:19:28

he's trying to keep the Royal Family

down but they could strike back at

0:19:280:19:32

any time.

Another problem...

Really

briefly. He has undermined his

0:19:320:19:40

legitimacy, the Saudi government for

a long time has presented the Royal

0:19:400:19:43

Family as the the Troubles to the

country and this has been the

0:19:430:19:48

government message. And now the

Royal Family have been treated like

0:19:480:19:52

criminals, that is harmful to the

regime.

Thank you so much. And if

0:19:520:19:58

Waleed bin Talal would like to come

on the programme we would welcome

0:19:580:20:02

them at any time.

0:20:020:20:04

Most people go through sporadic

phases of respecting the House

0:20:040:20:07

of Lords, or hating it,

depending on whether it's last

0:20:070:20:09

important vote aligned

with their own opinion.

0:20:090:20:11

So be ready for a lot of discussion

about the constitutional role

0:20:110:20:14

of the Lords, now it has started

debating the EU Withdrawal bill.

0:20:140:20:16

Its Brexit discussions got

going today; lots of peers are down

0:20:160:20:19

to speak, and of course,

there are fears by some Brexiteers,

0:20:190:20:22

that the Lords could try simply

to delay or thwart the whole thing.

0:20:220:20:25

So - will they?

0:20:250:20:28

Our political editor Nick Watt

has been investigating

0:20:280:20:30

what the anti-Brexit peers

are up to.

0:20:300:20:38

It's a gilded palace whose grand

halls and corridors have echoed down

0:20:410:20:44

the ages to the footsteps

of monarchs and aristocrats

0:20:440:20:48

as they shaped our island story.

0:20:480:20:53

Now as the UK embarks

on a new journey, the Elysium Fields

0:20:530:20:58

of the House of Lords are serving

as the last redoubt of pro-Europeans

0:20:580:21:01

determined to challenge Brexit.

0:21:010:21:05

If you were to delve into the minds

of the 800 or so peers sitting

0:21:050:21:09

across the river in one

of the world's largest Parliamentary

0:21:090:21:11

chambers, you would find deep

misgivings about Brexit.

0:21:110:21:16

Most peers would say that

reversing Brexit is the last

0:21:160:21:18

thing on their minds.

0:21:180:21:22

But one told me privately, of course

I'm trying to obstruct Brexit.

0:21:220:21:27

It was just over a century ago that

peers ended up relinquishing

0:21:270:21:31

many of their powers after a seismic

battle with the elected

0:21:310:21:34

chamber over David Lloyd

George's People's Budget.

0:21:340:21:39

Today's peers have been warned that

if they overstep the mark on Brexit,

0:21:390:21:43

they could revive the people

versus peers battle.

0:21:430:21:48

One veteran would be delighted

if a challenge to the government

0:21:480:21:51

over Brexit led to the demise

of the House of Lords.

0:21:510:21:55

This place is a complete

anachronism.

0:21:550:21:58

You know, we send young

men and women abroad

0:21:580:22:00

to fight for democracy,

we haven't even got it

0:22:000:22:03

in our own country.

0:22:030:22:04

The House of Lords

as it presently is...

0:22:040:22:06

How do you become a Lord?

0:22:060:22:08

There's only two ways of doing it.

0:22:080:22:10

One is that you're a friend

of the Prime Minister and the other

0:22:100:22:13

is your great-grandmother slept

with a king.

0:22:130:22:14

I'm not entirely sure which of those

provides the better peers.

0:22:140:22:17

It is an anachronism.

0:22:170:22:18

We need an elected second chamber.

0:22:180:22:20

Though that is not the battle

we should be fighting at this stage.

0:22:200:22:23

So a more subtle game is being

mapped out in the House of Lords.

0:22:230:22:26

I understand that for the last few

months pro-European peers

0:22:260:22:29

from the four main groups,

the Conservatives, Labour,

0:22:290:22:36

Liberal Democrats and the nonparty

crossbenchers, have been talking

0:22:370:22:39

about how they can use the bill

to assert the overall authority

0:22:390:22:42

of Parliament and even to change

the nature of Brexit.

0:22:420:22:46

These pro-European peers hope

to amend the bill in four ways.

0:22:460:22:52

Firstly, challenge the use

of so-called Henry VIII clauses,

0:22:520:22:56

powers taken by ministers to put

thousands of EU regulations into UK

0:22:560:22:59

law without a full vote.

0:22:590:23:05

Second, to remove any

mention of the Brexit date

0:23:050:23:08

of the 29th of March 2019,

potentially turning the two-year

0:23:080:23:11

transition period into an extension

of the Article 50 negotiations.

0:23:110:23:19

Then to have a go at reintroducing

amendments, rejected by MPs,

0:23:200:23:23

to keep the UK in the single market

and the customs union.

0:23:230:23:31

But the highest hopes rest

on tightening a rebel amendment

0:23:310:23:34

passed in the House of Commons that

would give Parliament a meaningful

0:23:340:23:37

vote on the final stage,

whatever the outcome.

0:23:370:23:42

That would mean a vote

even if there is no deal.

0:23:420:23:47

One peer is so concerned

about the proposed transition phase

0:23:470:23:51

she hopes to see an extension

of the Article 50 negotiations.

0:23:510:23:57

If we have extended Article 50

rather than going into this

0:23:570:24:03

transition where we have left

with no way back, then

0:24:030:24:05

there would still be the option

of protecting the national interest

0:24:050:24:09

if it turns out that the

consequences of where we are heading

0:24:090:24:12

are far more dangerous and damaging

than people might

0:24:120:24:14

previously have realised.

0:24:140:24:19

Brexit-supporting MPs

believe unelected peers

0:24:190:24:22

should tread with care.

0:24:220:24:25

I would hope very much that

the wisdom that sits in the House

0:24:250:24:28

of Lords will know that fighting

the people's voice would not be

0:24:280:24:31

the way forward and that they should

not be thwarting the process of this

0:24:310:24:35

bill, but discussing it with them,

kicking around the issues as we have

0:24:350:24:39

done in the Commons,

raising those concerns and then

0:24:390:24:42

sending it back to the House

of Commons so that we can take it

0:24:420:24:45

through to Royal Assent.

0:24:450:24:52

The scene is set for

a very British showdown

0:24:520:24:55

in the riverside Royal Palace.

0:24:550:24:57

Peers are determined to carry

out their constitutional obligation

0:24:570:24:59

to revise legislation.

0:24:590:25:01

Even if that involves a fight.

0:25:010:25:03

The mood on the red benches

suggests peers will be

0:25:030:25:06

choosing their battles with care.

0:25:060:25:13

And Nick joins me now. It has been a

busy day on the Brexit front not

0:25:140:25:18

least because of the much discussed

speech in the opening day.

There

0:25:180:25:24

were high expectations of punchy

interventions this afternoon in the

0:25:240:25:28

House of Lords and so it proved when

Lord Bridges, a Brexit minister

0:25:280:25:32

until just before the general

election, stood up. This is what the

0:25:320:25:37

remain supporting pier had to say.

All that we hear day after day are

0:25:370:25:43

conflicting, confusing voices. If

this continues and ministers cannot

0:25:430:25:48

agree amongst themselves on the

future relationship the government

0:25:480:25:53

wants, how come this Prime Minister

possibly negotiate a clear, precise

0:25:530:26:00

terms of the future relationship

with the EU. My fear is we will get

0:26:000:26:05

meaningless waffle in a political

declaration in October. The

0:26:050:26:10

implementation period will not be a

bridge to a clear destination, it

0:26:100:26:14

will be a gangplank into thin air.

The significance of that

0:26:140:26:20

intervention, Lord Bridges are

saying publicly what many ministers

0:26:200:26:24

are saying privately that there is a

real potential danger to the UK

0:26:240:26:29

negotiating position because Theresa

May and the Cabinet have not yet

0:26:290:26:34

been able to pinpoint the precise

and exact nature of what they're

0:26:340:26:39

asking for, the future relationship

to be.

Well the other story today,

0:26:390:26:44

this leaked document on the economic

impact of leaving. All scenarios not

0:26:440:26:49

particularly good I suppose you

would say. And that has caused

0:26:490:26:54

problems.

So another insight into

the knees in government and that

0:26:540:26:59

spilled into the open after that

leak. Now the Brexit minister

0:26:590:27:04

earlier today in House of Commons

said to MPs that civil service

0:27:040:27:08

forecasts are as he said, always

wrong. But now this evening Doctor

0:27:080:27:14

Philip Lee, a Justice Minister, has

done a series of tweets in which he

0:27:140:27:19

has said you cannot just dismiss the

evidence and then look what he said

0:27:190:27:23

in his second tweet. He said if

these figures turn out to be

0:27:230:27:28

anywhere near correct there would be

serious questions over whether a

0:27:280:27:34

government could legitimately leave

the country along a path when the

0:27:340:27:38

evidence and the rational

consideration indicate would be

0:27:380:27:40

damaging. This shows the Prime

Minister's challenge. And he is a

0:27:400:27:50

minister in the government is a

neighbouring MP of Theresa May and

0:27:500:27:57

he has never before being an MP but

it is important to save the

0:27:570:28:00

government is saying the scenarios

being examined either known

0:28:000:28:03

scenarios and that report did not

model the government's preferred

0:28:030:28:10

option, of Opus book option. But of

course they have not outlined yet

0:28:100:28:14

what they want.

0:28:140:28:17

More than a million homes

in the UK use a wood

0:28:170:28:20

burning stove or real fire.

0:28:200:28:21

Sales are booming.

0:28:210:28:22

And we're not just talking

rural folks here, who may

0:28:220:28:25

not have natural gas.

0:28:250:28:26

We are talking city dwellers

who perhaps want to feel

0:28:260:28:28

a connection to a more rustic life.

0:28:280:28:30

One might even say it has become

something of an interior design fad.

0:28:300:28:33

But diesel cars were a fad too.

0:28:330:28:34

And stoves might be getting

that diesel stigma.

0:28:340:28:37

On the day that Britain was among

the EU countries to be reprimanded

0:28:370:28:40

for breaking clean air rules,

and on the day that London

0:28:400:28:42

hit its pollution limit

for the whole year -

0:28:420:28:45

at least on one measure -

the government opened a consultation

0:28:450:28:47

on the domestic burning

of solid fuels.

0:28:470:28:51

It worries that stoves are adding

to local air pollution.

0:28:510:28:53

The Mayor of London

is also concerned.

0:28:530:28:55

David Grossman has been

looking at the data.

0:28:550:29:03

Really not that long ago,

you could taste the air

0:29:040:29:07

in our cities, you could cough up

black globs of it.

0:29:070:29:10

That is, if it didn't

choke you to death.

0:29:100:29:14

If you looked at his x-ray,

you would see plenty...

0:29:140:29:17

Tens of thousands did die.

0:29:170:29:22

The days when massive structures

like this belched out black smoke

0:29:220:29:25

into our towns and cities

are fortunately long gone.

0:29:250:29:28

They were closed and

the air quality improved.

0:29:280:29:33

This one is now being

turned into luxury flats.

0:29:330:29:36

But the Environment Secretary has

identified another threat

0:29:360:29:38

to the air that we breathe.

0:29:380:29:40

On a much smaller scale.

0:29:400:29:42

People who burn wood

in their stoves and fireplaces.

0:29:420:29:47

This may come as something

of a surprise to lots of people,

0:29:470:29:50

and others, sat in front

of their fires this evening.

0:29:500:29:55

You might think burning

wood and coal at home

0:29:550:29:57

was a problem of the past,

a problem of the 1950s and 1960s.

0:29:570:30:00

But it is something that has

returned under the radar.

0:30:000:30:03

If you go into WH Smiths and pull

one of these home style

0:30:030:30:06

magazines off the shelves,

you will find pictures of people

0:30:060:30:10

in their lounges with wood burners.

0:30:100:30:12

And it is something

that has crept back in.

0:30:120:30:15

In the last five to ten years,

over 1.2 million wood stoves have

0:30:150:30:18

been sold in the UK.

0:30:180:30:23

And now somewhere between 30 and 40%

of the particle pollution

0:30:230:30:26

in our cities is coming from wood

burning at home.

0:30:260:30:31

A fire like this may

look and feel great.

0:30:310:30:34

But its impact may be much

bigger than many realise.

0:30:340:30:37

The permitted emissions

of particulates for the wood-burning

0:30:370:30:42

stove are actually six times greater

than for an HGV lorry.

0:30:420:30:45

Tell me what this is?

0:30:450:30:47

A poster about air pollution.

0:30:470:30:54

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has

talked about banning stoves.

0:30:540:30:57

The government says it isn't

planning to do that,

0:30:570:30:59

making an enemy of so many voters

may not be politically prudent.

0:30:590:31:02

But what else could they do?

0:31:020:31:03

Ultimately what we need

from the government is a new clean

0:31:030:31:06

air plan which will bring down

emissions to safe levels

0:31:060:31:08

across a whole range of sources.

0:31:080:31:11

So covering wood-burning,

covering cars.

0:31:110:31:18

With regards to wood-burning

in particular, there are some simple

0:31:180:31:20

things that we can do.

0:31:200:31:21

So burning wet fuel,

burning wet wood or wet coal is much

0:31:210:31:24

more damaging than dry wood.

0:31:240:31:25

So we can restrict the sales

of wet wood to discourage

0:31:250:31:28

people from doing it.

0:31:280:31:29

And we need to do more to get

the information and advice out

0:31:290:31:34

there so people know

that they shouldn't

0:31:340:31:35

be burning wet wood.

0:31:350:31:36

And they should always try it out

first to protect their family's

0:31:360:31:39

health and their neighbours' health.

0:31:390:31:40

But it could be argued

that the problem has been caused

0:31:400:31:43

by too much green legislation rather

than not enough.

0:31:430:31:46

We were after all encouraged

into diesel cars because

0:31:460:31:48

they emitted less CO2.

0:31:480:31:50

And wood-burning became attractive

partly because green levies made

0:31:500:31:58

more conventional

fuel more expensive.

0:32:000:32:02

No one can blame taxpayers

or consumers for these things,

0:32:020:32:04

they're responding either

to government incentives or even

0:32:040:32:06

just government advice.

0:32:060:32:09

People try to trust the government

on these areas for good or ill.

0:32:090:32:13

Really the problem comes

in when the government

0:32:130:32:15

tells them one thing,

incentivising the wrong way,

0:32:150:32:17

often using taxpayers money.

0:32:170:32:18

And then changes its mind

when the evidence changes.

0:32:180:32:20

Which I suppose is good,

but then ends up lumping taxpayers

0:32:200:32:22

and consumers with the cost.

0:32:220:32:24

And always with unintended

consequences, always taxpayers

0:32:240:32:25

and consumers who end up bearing

the brunt of it.

0:32:250:32:28

The government has so far only

launched a consultation

0:32:280:32:30

and since they say they will not be

banning wood-burning

0:32:300:32:33

in hearths or stoves,

their options seem limited.

0:32:330:32:35

Beyond perhaps educating us to use

cleaner, drier fuel.

0:32:350:32:43

Here with me are journalist and wood

burning stove owner Harry Wallop

0:32:450:32:48

and the Green party's Caroline

Russell.

0:32:480:32:54

What is better about fire heat,

Harry, than radiator heat?

It is

0:32:540:33:01

obvious, the reason why a man has

been rubbing sticks together has

0:33:010:33:06

been because it is warming and

comforting and for any of us who

0:33:060:33:10

live in a house that was built

before the war, all our sitting

0:33:100:33:14

rooms, the focus point is the fire

and the horrid and for an urban

0:33:140:33:19

dweller, in these uncertain times, a

wood-burning stove is a little dash

0:33:190:33:26

of rural comfort.

It is trouble,

buying the wood, lighting the wood

0:33:260:33:30

with the kindling, it is not like

turning on a boiler.

I love chopping

0:33:300:33:36

wood, but I forage for it.

You have

an open fire, Caroline.

I do, but I

0:33:360:33:45

do not use it. Michael Gove wants

nothing more than first in the

0:33:450:33:52

discussing how much Harry likes to

drink his cocoa and put his slippers

0:33:520:33:55

on and sit in front of the fire.

Today we have had the main pollution

0:33:550:34:02

breach in Brixton, I met parents

down there who were telling me how

0:34:020:34:05

worried they are about the impact of

air pollution on the lives of their

0:34:050:34:10

children.

Can we really believe

these figures that fires are causing

0:34:100:34:16

40%...

Fires are making a

contribution, fires produce small

0:34:160:34:23

particles, tiny particles which are

so small when you breathe them in,

0:34:230:34:27

they get into your lungs and those

other particles that cause cancer,

0:34:270:34:33

cause cardiovascular problems and

really make the lives of people

0:34:330:34:36

miserable. If you're living with

COPD, this particle pollution makes

0:34:360:34:42

your life a misery.

They don't give

out the same pollution as diesel, it

0:34:420:34:46

is a specific set of particles.

Burning wood in London has been

0:34:460:34:54

illegal since 1956 with the clean

air act. It is clap back again...

0:34:540:35:01

Greenhouse gas emissions are low,

you're talking about gas given away

0:35:010:35:05

more carbon dioxide.

We are talking

about public health, we are talking

0:35:050:35:10

about particles that are causing

lung problems that are stunting lung

0:35:100:35:16

growth in children, causing cancer,

this is a public health situation.

0:35:160:35:20

The point is that the government has

been avoiding doing what it is meant

0:35:200:35:25

to be doing to clean up our air, if

they are meant to comply and they

0:35:250:35:32

have not.

I want to bring Harry back

in, you have heard the case against

0:35:320:35:35

Harry, so what do you think... This

is a middle-class thing, a lot of

0:35:350:35:39

people, no one in a tower block and

have a big fire, a wood-burning

0:35:390:35:44

stove, they cannot have a

wood-burning stove.

First of all, it

0:35:440:35:48

is not illegal. Mine is cleared by

DEFRA, so

0:35:480:35:57

DEFRA, so though the figures are

that a particular matter is caused

0:35:570:36:00

by burning wood in the home, we

think only a small percentage of

0:36:000:36:02

this comes from wood-burning stoves,

most are open fires that are legal.

0:36:020:36:07

Those are worst. I have spent the

day with a thermal monitor which

0:36:070:36:11

measures these dangerous particles

and it is true that a wood-burning

0:36:110:36:14

stove gives out more than often a

busy street in London. Wood-burning

0:36:140:36:21

stove is micrograms per what ever,

thank you very much, and a busy

0:36:210:36:25

street can be less, but you go onto

the tube in London, that is

0:36:250:36:30

alarmingly high. There are so many

worse threats to our health than a

0:36:300:36:37

wood-burning stove.

It is a nice

smell in a village, but that is the

0:36:370:36:42

same as the particles, when you

smell that. You will still be

0:36:420:36:46

breathing those in. Do you think

that the government should ban

0:36:460:36:51

these, that effectively the

middle-class hobby of having these

0:36:510:36:54

fires, just makes it hard to ban,

even though the logic says

0:36:540:37:02

different.

They should be focusing

on the big picture of public health

0:37:020:37:05

and transport, that is whether

absolute focus should be. In terms

0:37:050:37:11

of these would fires, yes, they are

absolutely a problem and they need

0:37:110:37:14

to deal with them and they need...

Ban them or not? Make sure that

0:37:140:37:20

anyone who has a wood-burning stove

has one that is compliant, even the

0:37:200:37:25

compliant ones are more polluting

than a diesel car. This is a health

0:37:250:37:30

issue for the people who are

enjoying the fires as well as for

0:37:300:37:34

the people who are breathing the

smoke outside in the street.

Thank

0:37:340:37:39

you both very much indeed.

0:37:390:37:42

It's that time of year when we start

planning our summer holidays -

0:37:420:37:45

or so the advertisers seem to think.

0:37:450:37:46

Undoubtedly many of you are

partial to a cruise.

0:37:460:37:49

A tour of the Med aboard a huge

floating hotel is all very well,

0:37:490:37:52

but for sheer style,

it can't compete with the golden

0:37:520:37:54

age of the ocean liner,

which is celebrated

0:37:540:37:56

in a new exhibition

at the V&A in London.

0:37:560:37:59

Of course, there was maritime

tragedy, too, not least

0:37:590:38:02

the passenger ships sent

to the bottom by German U-boats

0:38:020:38:04

in the Second World War.

0:38:040:38:06

But in that era, you could actually

sail from Britain to New York in

0:38:060:38:09

a breathless three-and-a-half days.

0:38:090:38:10

Who better to recall it,

than our Deck Quoits

0:38:100:38:12

Correspondent, Stephen Smith.

0:38:120:38:20

Going anywhere nice

for your holidays?

0:38:260:38:28

Long before squabbles over sunbeds,

this was the last word

0:38:280:38:30

in getting away from it all.

0:38:300:38:33

The ocean liner, racing in style

between here and North America,

0:38:330:38:35

was the acme of civilised travel.

0:38:350:38:43

The ocean liner shaped the modern

world in so many ways.

0:38:490:38:52

Transporting millions of people

to new lives but also becoming one

0:38:520:38:55

of the great sort of aspirational

leisure activities

0:38:550:38:56

of the 20th century.

0:38:560:38:58

For many people their first

experience of the sort of modern

0:38:580:39:00

world was often getting

aboard a minor.

0:39:000:39:07

world was often getting

aboard a liner.

0:39:070:39:09

The liner came to represent

this idea of the future.

0:39:090:39:11

You know, a future life but also

the most modern technology

0:39:110:39:14

that they had ever experienced.

0:39:140:39:19

A new exhibition at the V&A

celebrate the high watermark

0:39:190:39:22

of the line between the wars.

0:39:220:39:24

It recreates the grand staircase

of a seagoing ballroom and opulent

0:39:240:39:28

fittings from the salon

of the French liner Normandy.

0:39:280:39:34

The Normandy was one of the greatest

objects ever created, really,

0:39:340:39:42

the great French ship

launched in 1935.

0:39:420:39:44

I mean, she was a sort of floating

fragment of France, a great sort

0:39:440:39:47

of expression of statehood.

0:39:470:39:52

And she had some of the most

magnificent interiors anywhere.

0:39:520:39:55

She was at the time

equated with Versailles.

0:39:550:39:57

Here is a metaphor come to life.

0:39:570:40:05

A deck chair from the Titanic.

0:40:080:40:09

A reminder of the old truce,

worse things happen at sea.

0:40:090:40:12

I name this ship

Empress of Britain...

0:40:120:40:14

In her day the Empress of Britain

was the largest, fastest,

0:40:140:40:17

most luxurious ship on the run

from Britain to Canada.

0:40:170:40:22

She was requisitioned as a troop

carrier in the Second World War.

0:40:220:40:30

But struck by a German bomber

and then a torpedo in 1940.

0:40:300:40:33

Some 40 lives were lost.

0:40:330:40:35

78-year-old Neville Hart Ives

was an infant travelling

0:40:350:40:37

with his family on the ship.

0:40:370:40:41

One of the crew saw me in the arms

of my mother and realised

0:40:410:40:44

she would not be able to go down

the Jacob's ladder.

0:40:440:40:47

And so he got a blanket,

wrapped it around him and pushed me

0:40:470:40:51

in in a papoose style arrangement.

0:40:510:40:55

And went down the ladder.

0:40:550:40:58

And I never knew the name

of the chap who saved me.

0:40:580:41:05

Until roundabout 2000, thereabouts,

I bought a book on the Empress

0:41:050:41:07

of Britain and there came a section

were suddenly it became...

0:41:070:41:12

Very emotional.

0:41:120:41:19

Because I realised it

was writing about me.

0:41:210:41:26

The man who saved Neville has died

but he is now in touch

0:41:260:41:29

with his rescuer's family.

0:41:290:41:32

Did you feel, you know, somebody up

there is looking after me?

0:41:320:41:36

I did feel that.

0:41:360:41:38

I mean, for this man to have

taken me on board and did

0:41:380:41:41

what he did and put himself at risk,

I think that is tremendous.

0:41:410:41:47

Yeah.

0:41:470:41:55

The reign of the ocean

liner could not last.

0:42:010:42:03

Airliners took their crown.

0:42:030:42:05

That said, whoever saw long-haul

air passengers looking

0:42:050:42:06

as jolly as this lot?

0:42:060:42:14

That's it for today,

which all true republicans

0:42:260:42:33

I will be back tomorrow, until then,

good

0:42:330:42:36

A look at BBC pay, reform in Saudi Arabia and the House of Lords discusses Brexit. Plus, wood burning stoves and the sinking of the Empress of Britain.


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