21/06/2012 Question Time


21/06/2012

Joining David Dimbleby in West Bromwich are Ken Clarke, Andy Burnham, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, economist Ruth Lea and Midlands businesswoman of the year Julie White.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 21/06/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

We are in West Bromwich tonight, and welcome to Question Time. On

:00:16.:00:21.

the panel, the Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, the Shadow Health

:00:21.:00:26.

Secretary, Andy Burnham, the general secretary of Britain's

:00:26.:00:31.

biggest trade union, then McCluskey, the economist Ruth Lea, and the

:00:31.:00:34.

Midlands businesswoman of the year, who runs a company that uses

:00:34.:00:44.
:00:44.:00:54.

diamond drills to break-up concrete, You can use your diamond drills on

:00:54.:01:00.

the members of the panel! Let's have our first question.

:01:00.:01:06.

celebrities who avoid paying tax the moral equivalent of benefit

:01:06.:01:11.

cheats? That is a quote from Danny Alexander of the Liberal Democrats

:01:11.:01:19.

today about Jimmy Carr and his tax affairs. Ken Clarke, are they the

:01:19.:01:24.

moral equivalent of benefit cheats? Well, there is a difference between

:01:24.:01:28.

people who cheat legally and people who cheat illegally. Presumably if

:01:28.:01:31.

somebody has not broken the law, they are not guilty of any criminal

:01:31.:01:35.

offence. But I think the public probably disapprove of wealthy

:01:35.:01:38.

people who find ingenious ways with the help of brilliant accountants

:01:38.:01:43.

of really avoiding paying any tax, with the same sort of disapproval

:01:43.:01:47.

that they disapprove of people who fiddle their benefits. The question

:01:47.:01:52.

is, whether it is a fedora crime. I think at the present time, it is

:01:52.:01:55.

not surprising that people get angry when they discover somebody

:01:55.:01:59.

who earns a very large amount of money can get away with paying

:01:59.:02:03.

hardly any tax. Was it right of the Prime Minister to single out Jimmy

:02:03.:02:09.

Carr and to say that his behaviour was quite frankly morally wrong? Is

:02:09.:02:12.

it the business of the Prime Minister to give views about

:02:12.:02:16.

individual citizens? Adair a very large number of people agreed with

:02:16.:02:21.

the Prime Minister. -- I'd bet at large number of people. But was he

:02:21.:02:26.

right? He was singled out by the press. If the Prime Minister had

:02:26.:02:29.

named some well-known person out of the blue and gone into his tax

:02:29.:02:32.

affairs, no Prime Minister would do that, but it was suddenly all over

:02:32.:02:36.

the press. There was no denying that he had paid next to no

:02:36.:02:42.

taxation on a large income, so I think the Prime Minister's reaction

:02:42.:02:47.

was probably shared by a very large majority of the British public.

:02:47.:02:51.

When Lord Ashcroft's tax affairs were up for discussion in 3rd

:02:51.:02:56.

December years ago, David Cameron said, I am not possible for

:02:56.:02:59.

responsible for everybody's tax payments. It is a matter between

:02:59.:03:03.

them and the Revenue. I do not think he was saying he was

:03:03.:03:06.

responsible. He is the Prime Minister of a Government that has

:03:06.:03:09.

put a great deal of effort into tackling Tax abuse, which has gone

:03:09.:03:14.

on for years. We have brilliant accountants who try to keep one

:03:14.:03:17.

foot ahead of the Treasury. The Revenue's spend their entire time

:03:17.:03:21.

trying to block loopholes. George has finally managed to get, in the

:03:21.:03:26.

Finance Bill, which he has announced and we will do it, a

:03:26.:03:29.

general anti- abuse provision, which we have never been able to

:03:29.:03:34.

persuade Parliament to contemplate before. It will be easier to react

:03:34.:03:37.

when tax things are designed plainly for the purpose of getting

:03:37.:03:42.

away from the intention, the spirit of the bill, the bill passed by

:03:42.:03:45.

Parliament and put into the law. Obviously we must be more effective

:03:45.:03:49.

in dealing with tax abuse. We are putting in more effort than people

:03:49.:03:57.

have put into it for many years. Andy Burnham. Schemes like this are

:03:57.:04:00.

unacceptable and I am glad Jimmy Carr has recognised his mistake.

:04:00.:04:03.

But I think politicians need to tread carefully before commenting

:04:03.:04:07.

on individual's tax affairs. After all, it is our primary

:04:07.:04:10.

responsibility to ensure there are fair rules in place and loopholes

:04:10.:04:14.

are closed down. Probably all politicians should look at this and

:04:14.:04:18.

say, we should have done more. Before we rush after individuals we

:04:18.:04:23.

should get the tax rules in order. There are two things I would say

:04:23.:04:27.

about Mr Cameron. He has opened a can of worms for himself. The

:04:27.:04:30.

question I would ask, what is the difference between Jimmy Carr and

:04:30.:04:34.

Lord Ashcroft, other than that one is a major Tory donor who

:04:34.:04:38.

bankrolled the last Tory party election campaign? The second thing

:04:38.:04:42.

I would say is that he is in absolutely no position to dish out

:04:42.:04:46.

lessons on tax morality when he had a Budget just a few months ago that

:04:46.:04:51.

handed out �14,000 tax breaks to millionairess, at the same time as

:04:51.:05:01.
:05:01.:05:03.

taking working tax credit of And taking benefits of disabled

:05:03.:05:12.

people. Where is the morality in that? The man in the back row.

:05:13.:05:16.

think time would be better spent on the abuses of large corporations

:05:16.:05:19.

and the amounts of money, the vast amounts of money they get away

:05:19.:05:23.

without paying, rather than individuals, which is insignificant

:05:23.:05:30.

in comparison. Ruth Lea. Going back to Jimmy Carr, I think he was so

:05:30.:05:35.

picked out because he was mocking a Barclay's Bank scheme for a 1% tax

:05:35.:05:40.

scam, and lo and behold, he was doing exactly the same thing. So I

:05:40.:05:44.

think there is a smell of hypocrisy round here as far as he is

:05:44.:05:47.

concerned. He has lost an awful lot of street cred, I would have

:05:47.:05:52.

thought, with his audience, and no wonder he has backtracked quickly.

:05:52.:05:56.

But I would certainly say there is still obviously quite a lot of tax

:05:56.:06:00.

avoidance. There is no question about this. Ken Clarke has

:06:00.:06:05.

mentioned the anti-avoidance rule that George Osborne introduced in

:06:05.:06:09.

the Budget and I say, good luck to the Revenue to try and track this

:06:09.:06:13.

stuff down him, because the Revenue must be losing up to �5 billion

:06:13.:06:20.

each year, and that is your money and my money. I am sure that under

:06:20.:06:23.

those circumstances we wish the Revenue all the best in tracking

:06:23.:06:27.

these people down. But is it morally wrong to use a tax

:06:27.:06:30.

avoidance scheme that is legal because the Treasury has not got

:06:30.:06:34.

around to banning it? It is difficult because part of me says,

:06:34.:06:38.

yes, it is morally wrong. I pay more than my share of taxes and

:06:38.:06:42.

ironically the people who pay 50% of tax, they pay a lot of tax as

:06:42.:06:51.

well. How do you pay more than your share? You are very sharp tonight,

:06:51.:06:55.

David! I just think it was the turn of phrase. I was feeling slightly

:06:55.:07:01.

sorry for myself. Put it this way, I pay my share of tax. I do think

:07:01.:07:05.

Jimmy Carr and everybody else who is avoiding tax through some clever

:07:05.:07:08.

scheme because of their accountants, I think they should be paying their

:07:08.:07:13.

tax as well. The man in the third row. Up in areas of deprivation,

:07:14.:07:17.

like here in Sandwell, and other parts, it is galling that people

:07:17.:07:23.

like Jimmy Carr, and people there who do not pay their taxes, we have

:07:23.:07:26.

to hear stories of people spending time and effort avoiding paying

:07:26.:07:36.

taxes. It is calling. -- it is a galling thing. I think it is

:07:36.:07:39.

morally reprehensible and the Prime Minister and the Government were

:07:39.:07:45.

right to expose and respond to the Times newspaper's article. But

:07:45.:07:49.

unfortunately there is a big whiff of hypocrisy. Our colleague at the

:07:49.:07:53.

back made the point about corporate tax avoidance. We have been saying

:07:53.:07:58.

for years that tax avoidance is a serious problem. Independent fiscal

:07:58.:08:04.

bodies tell us that the Treasury loses up to �40 billion a year

:08:04.:08:08.

through tax avoidance. �40 billion. That is absolutely staggering. The

:08:08.:08:12.

Government, although they are making these noises in response to

:08:12.:08:14.

the type of investigative journalism that we have seen in the

:08:14.:08:19.

Times, they are absolute -- actually being hypocritical. Ken

:08:19.:08:22.

Clarke says that more effort is being put into closing these

:08:22.:08:30.

loopholes and collecting tax. That is absolute nonsense. Her Majesty's

:08:30.:08:33.

Revenue and Customs are currently about to lose a third -- a further

:08:33.:08:39.

10,000 jobs, the very people who we are looking to to collect the tax.

:08:39.:08:45.

Tax compliance officers actually collect �630,000 a year on average.

:08:45.:08:49.

And his Government is about to make them redundant. So it is hypocrisy

:08:49.:08:53.

for the Government to say one thing, pass things through Parliament, but

:08:53.:08:58.

with no effort whatsoever to tackle what is an absolute disgrace, and

:08:58.:09:03.

that is the super rich and the corporate giants who do not pay tax.

:09:03.:09:07.

We have got chief executive officers of major companies who pay

:09:07.:09:11.

less tax than the cleaners who actually clean their buildings.

:09:11.:09:21.
:09:21.:09:22.

It's a disgrace! But if what these people are doing

:09:22.:09:26.

is illegal, it does not matter how many tax inspectors you have. They

:09:26.:09:31.

will say, it was legal. It is the law that needs changing. Yes,

:09:31.:09:38.

absolutely. Tax avoidance is legal. Not tax evasion. Heaven knows how

:09:38.:09:42.

much we lose their. Tax avoidance is a serious problem and we need a

:09:42.:09:46.

Government that has the courage to close the loopholes. And we need

:09:46.:09:50.

staff to collect it and not be made redundant. That is why members will

:09:50.:09:54.

be on strike on Monday, 50,000 of them, to defend their jobs and

:09:54.:09:57.

bring to the public's attention that we are being ripped off on

:09:57.:10:07.
:10:07.:10:08.

this tax avoidance. Julie White. Back to Jimmy Carr. As you said,

:10:08.:10:14.

was it legal? Yes, he was following every rule in the book. Is it moral,

:10:14.:10:22.

No, it was not. He has withdrawn it, hasn't he. As you said, I think

:10:22.:10:28.

David Cameron has opened up a huge can of worms. Because K2 is not the

:10:28.:10:33.

only scheme out there. And also, with Jimmy Carr, there are another

:10:33.:10:38.

1000 people in there. How many Tory backbenchers, how many people that

:10:38.:10:41.

support David Cameron will come out of the woodwork? I do not think we

:10:41.:10:46.

have heard the last of this, I can tell you that. The other thing is,

:10:46.:10:50.

as you said, Jimmy Carr has withdrawn and said he will be a

:10:50.:10:55.

good boy from now on. Was that because David Cameron said so, or

:10:55.:11:02.

was it Twitter? There's a question to ask their. You are a business

:11:02.:11:07.

woman. Don't you do your best to keep to the lowest level of tax

:11:07.:11:12.

that your business pays? Do you not take advice from accountants?

:11:12.:11:17.

take advice. It would be great if we could get 1%, but we do not. We

:11:17.:11:21.

take advice. We try to take tax breaks if we can, but not down to

:11:22.:11:28.

as low as 1%. That is like nothing. The man in the front. The only

:11:28.:11:33.

reason Jimmy Carr is upset is because he has been found out.

:11:33.:11:38.

why was he pointed out first? I know that it was leaked. I would

:11:38.:11:43.

hate to have anything leaked about myself. Why was he pointed out?

:11:43.:11:47.

man in the second row from the back. Pre-Jimmy Carr has apologised. Is

:11:47.:11:57.
:11:57.:11:59.

If he had not been exposed, perhaps he would still be doing what he is

:11:59.:12:02.

doing. You have to hope it is genuine and he is reflecting on

:12:02.:12:05.

some of the reaction. I want to come back to the point that the

:12:05.:12:09.

gentleman made. It seems there is an elite that are living by

:12:09.:12:13.

different rules to the rest of us. They have not been watching what is

:12:13.:12:16.

going on in the last couple of years. They are paying accountants

:12:16.:12:23.

to take them out of tax. We read that top pay rose by 12% last year.

:12:23.:12:27.

My constituents would find that absolutely unacceptable. Why are

:12:27.:12:30.

they still able to pay themselves well above the odds, well above

:12:30.:12:34.

what everybody else is getting? The statement that we are all in it

:12:34.:12:38.

together rings more and more hollow every day that goes by. The

:12:38.:12:43.

Government came forward with top pay proposals this week. Watered

:12:43.:12:45.

down, completely ineffectual and nothing like what Vince Cable

:12:45.:12:50.

originally promised. This discussion has taken a peculiar

:12:50.:12:55.

turn. Nobody has said that something should not be done about

:12:55.:12:59.

tax abuse. Everybody has been saying that for as long as I can

:12:59.:13:03.

remember. The idea that recruiting a few 1000 tax inspectors will

:13:03.:13:09.

solve it is simplistic. The idea that some party political point,

:13:09.:13:12.

when we succeeded a government that did not trouble the super rich for

:13:12.:13:16.

the slightest in the 13 years it was in power, is faintly ridiculous.

:13:16.:13:21.

It is, I'm afraid, question of lawyers, of tax law. It is in the

:13:21.:13:28.

Budget. Before there was any fuss or any Raul, there has been a

:13:28.:13:32.

significant step, a genic -- a general anti- abuse provision. It

:13:32.:13:36.

means that the law does not have to in detail. If you contradict what

:13:36.:13:39.

Parliament intended, the Revenue will get the money. We have to pass

:13:39.:13:44.

it, and I am sure the Labour Party will not a pose. And we have to

:13:44.:13:49.

then enforce it. It is tricky. They are clever, these accountants. But

:13:49.:13:54.

we are putting effort into it. But these are knockabout. So we are

:13:55.:13:58.

making. What is the difference between Jimmy Carr and Sir Philip

:13:58.:14:04.

Green? Philip Green who owns Top Shop should have paid �285 million

:14:04.:14:07.

worth of tax last year to the Treasury to look after our schools

:14:07.:14:13.

and our roads. How much did they pay? Nothing. Why? Because his wife

:14:13.:14:19.

owns the company, who happens to be domiciled in Monaco. No tax. What

:14:19.:14:24.

did the Prime Minister do? Did he castigates Philip Green? No, he

:14:24.:14:28.

invited him in to advise the Government. There is a whiff of

:14:28.:14:38.
:14:38.:14:39.

hypocrisy. Action speaks louder This idea of which individuals we

:14:39.:14:44.

like and which we don't is populist nonsense. What's morally wrong,

:14:44.:14:50.

even when it's legal, is a really aggresive tax scheme which is

:14:50.:14:54.

plainly using something for tax- evasion purposes for which it

:14:54.:14:59.

wasn't dined. These fiddles around Gordon Brown's film grants when the

:14:59.:15:02.

people putting their money into it couldn't care less about films or

:15:02.:15:06.

where they are made are the ones that will get strict tures. This

:15:07.:15:14.

will probably turn out to be what this comedian's contributions went

:15:14.:15:21.

into. If you put a money into a charitable trust and put it into

:15:21.:15:27.

Romania you save an awful lot of tax. Don't encourage people. You're

:15:27.:15:33.

costing the Treasury billions. he say Romania? The woman in the

:15:33.:15:42.

third row in. I agree with Ken, we should stop focusing on individuals

:15:42.:15:47.

and all the opportunities they have to illegally avoid tax, not if it

:15:47.:15:51.

was Jimmy Carr, Gary Barlow, not the people but the opportunities

:15:51.:15:56.

that exist for them to do what they do. OK. The woman in the fourth row

:15:56.:16:01.

in the back. I think what's morally wrong is that the people who are

:16:01.:16:05.

the lowest paid in this country are paying the highest proportion of

:16:05.:16:11.

tax and are not able to find ways of employing people to fiddle their

:16:11.:16:18.

tax. OK. I will take one more point. The man in orange. If MPs are the

:16:18.:16:21.

most notorious public figures for tax evasion how is the public

:16:21.:16:26.

supposed to trust them to sort this out? Why do you think they are?

:16:26.:16:30.

They are always in the news for tax evasion aren't they? They are not

:16:30.:16:33.

setting a great example are they? APPLAUSE We had better move on, we

:16:34.:16:41.

have a lot of questions tonight. If have a lot of questions tonight. If

:16:41.:16:46.

you are tweeting tonight and it is clearly more powerful tonight than

:16:46.:16:51.

the television or anything else. We welcome tweets. If you prefer,

:16:51.:16:57.

you can still text us 83981 but that apparently is dying a death

:16:57.:17:00.

quite soon. Our next question is quite soon. Our next question is

:17:00.:17:06.

from Craig hill please. Should the UK scrap GCSEs and return to O-

:17:06.:17:13.

level-style exams? This would be England wouldn't it, because

:17:13.:17:23.

Scotland and Wales are different. Michael Gove announced this

:17:23.:17:26.

apparently today, somewhat to the surprise we are told of people in

:17:26.:17:31.

Cabinet who didn't know it was coming up. Andy Burnham? When I was

:17:31.:17:33.

Shadow Education Secretary I remember saying that coalition

:17:33.:17:38.

education policy reminded me of a film Back To The Future that.

:17:38.:17:44.

Starred a man called Michael who was trapped in the 1950s that.

:17:44.:17:48.

Begins to provide a good summary of this current Secretary of State.

:17:48.:17:52.

Firstly his policies are backward- looking. He brought forward an

:17:52.:17:59.

English baulk lariat a year or so ago which found -- baccalaureate a

:17:59.:18:09.

year or so ago which found room for Hebrew but not England ICT. The

:18:09.:18:14.

second thing... Don't read your notes. He focuses on Oxbridge and

:18:14.:18:23.

the top 30% to the detriment of the 70%. APPLAUSE I think this policy

:18:23.:18:29.

would cement that. It would be divisive, it would create winners

:18:29.:18:34.

and losers at a young age and make some kids second class citizens. I

:18:34.:18:40.

cannot accept that some kids are second class citizens at 13 or 14.

:18:40.:18:45.

It speaks volumes that this was leaked on a day when people were

:18:45.:18:50.

taking their GCSEs. APPLAUSE I you just would say this to broaden it a

:18:50.:18:54.

bit. And I speak about my own party too here. I think politicians of

:18:54.:18:59.

all sides haven't focused anything like enough on the 50 or more per

:18:59.:19:04.

cent of young people not planning to go to university. That must be

:19:04.:19:08.

corrected. We must do more to raise the aspirations of those kids. I'm

:19:09.:19:12.

not against GCSE reform. I'm not against making it more rigorous. I

:19:12.:19:16.

think one exam board is good, but it makes me laugh that competition

:19:16.:19:20.

amongst exam boards is a bad thing but amongst schools is a good thing

:19:20.:19:25.

that. Seems to be a contradiction with Mr Gove. A unified

:19:25.:19:28.

qualification is the right thing. This latest proposal - I will

:19:28.:19:32.

finish on this - is more evidence of a man with a plan for some

:19:32.:19:36.

schools and some children, not all schools and all children. He gets

:19:36.:19:39.

feted by the right-wing press as the great reformer, but what I see

:19:39.:19:48.

when I look at him is an old- fashioned elitist. APPLAUSE

:19:48.:19:55.

Julie White? Well, I just see it so complicated, it must be so

:19:55.:19:58.

frustrating for students, parents and teachers. I can only talk on

:19:58.:20:02.

the business side of it. As a business person employing, I want

:20:02.:20:06.

to know when someone arrives in front of me and they've got a grade

:20:06.:20:11.

B and it is not an A in another exam board or a C in another exam

:20:11.:20:16.

board. It is frustrating. I think we should make a decision, stick

:20:16.:20:20.

with it, simplify it have one example board and really stick with

:20:20.:20:25.

it. Do you trust, one of the complaints is they say businesses

:20:25.:20:31.

can't trust the GCSE results that come through? One of Gove's idea is

:20:31.:20:37.

that the O-level is a more rigorous academic test. It would give me a

:20:37.:20:43.

better clue. An A would be an A, a B and so on. I feel they are

:20:43.:20:47.

messing around with children's education and that's what will be

:20:47.:20:52.

taking this country on. We are just meting around with their education.

:20:52.:20:58.

You sir on the gangway. It is the latest bad idea from Mr Gove which

:20:58.:21:03.

started with the withdrawal of millions of pounds of money from

:21:03.:21:07.

Sandwell for investment in its schools. APPLAUSE The man in the

:21:07.:21:12.

front row. I would like to ask you, Andy Burnham, what you and your

:21:12.:21:16.

colleagues would do different. You've opposed every single Tory

:21:16.:21:22.

measure so far in this Parliament and to be a credible opposition you

:21:22.:21:27.

need credible policies. You haven't got it and it is not good enough.

:21:27.:21:30.

That's a fair challenge. We are rebuilding an opposition. It

:21:30.:21:35.

wouldn't be right for us to come out straight and see here are our

:21:35.:21:39.

policies when we are only a year or two out of Government. When I was

:21:39.:21:44.

shadow secretary I proposed a UCAS- style system for apprenticeships. I

:21:44.:21:49.

wanted kids to be able to apply for apprenticeships in the same way

:21:49.:21:53.

that kids on the academic route can apply for university. I want them

:21:53.:21:58.

to have the same sense of ambition when they are in year eight or year

:21:58.:22:03.

nine at school. That's what I was talking about when I said focus on

:22:03.:22:10.

the 50%. Can you advise the rest of your colleagues from prancing

:22:10.:22:16.

around the BBC studios and saying you have to wait for our manifesto.

:22:16.:22:22.

Angela Eagle said yesterday you have to wait until 2015. It is not

:22:22.:22:27.

good enough. The man in the check shirt. An issue I would like to

:22:27.:22:32.

highlight here, the only reason I can see that we are reverting back

:22:32.:22:39.

to the O-level system is that GCSEs are easy. I worked damned hard for

:22:39.:22:43.

my GCSEs... APPLAUSE And for someone to tell me they are easy is

:22:43.:22:49.

ridiculous. And he wants to reform A-levels and make them harder? If

:22:49.:22:56.

he wants to sit them for me... APPLAUSE I'm going to try and

:22:56.:23:01.

defend Michael Gove. I'm not sure I will be the most popular person in

:23:01.:23:06.

the building. What he is generally trying to do is raise educational

:23:06.:23:12.

standards across the board. Less reliance on modules and the 16-

:23:12.:23:16.

year-old examination as well. To have a harder - I take your point

:23:16.:23:21.

that the GCSEs is not a give away - but have harder exams at 16 so that

:23:21.:23:25.

people would be better equipped to go on to A-levels. There are a lot

:23:25.:23:30.

of criticisms in schools that the GCSE doesn't always equip the

:23:30.:23:34.

pupils well fluff to go on to A- levels. There's a big gap of

:23:34.:23:38.

ability and standards between the GCSEs and the A-levels. I think he

:23:38.:23:42.

is trying to push up the O-levels to get near tore the A-levels.

:23:42.:23:50.

about these steered away from O- levels? I heard Ken baker this

:23:50.:23:56.

morning. He is keen on technical academies. It picks up on what Andy

:23:56.:24:00.

Burnham said about the apprenticeship scheme. You have to

:24:00.:24:04.

think carefully about the people who aren't going to go down this

:24:04.:24:08.

new route. Look at Germany, Switzerland and Austria. These

:24:08.:24:12.

countries explicitly stream people very carefully but they are very

:24:12.:24:19.

carefully worked out sul buses for sifrt people's apt tueds --

:24:19.:24:24.

syllabuss for different people's apt tueds. They regard technical

:24:24.:24:32.

ability and craft skills almost as well as academic skills.

:24:32.:24:36.

reality is that what he has done strikes me as nothing short of

:24:36.:24:41.

arrogance. The image of this Government being out of touch is

:24:41.:24:45.

once again demonstrated. Like the young gentleman there, I've got a

:24:45.:24:50.

15-year-old daughter. To suggest that GCSEs are easy, and that young

:24:50.:24:54.

students today don't work hard is an absolute disgrace. What's being

:24:54.:24:59.

done here is unbelievable. Not even his Cabinet colleagues know about

:24:59.:25:04.

it. We've got the Liberal Democrats, part of the coalition, who are

:25:04.:25:10.

saying, Nick Clegg is indicating he is going to block it. The arrogance

:25:10.:25:15.

of Michael Gove knows no boundaries. It is a second class ti tore second

:25:15.:25:19.

class citizens and it is a disgrace. If there is going to be

:25:19.:25:22.

improvements in our educational standards they should be properly -

:25:22.:25:26.

ed with the professions and with all parties. Hundreds of thousands

:25:26.:25:31.

of young people like my daughter are now going to be demotivated as

:25:31.:25:36.

they go in to take GCSEs that they are already getting told are going

:25:36.:25:41.

to be told are second class qualifications. How does that help?

:25:41.:25:47.

APPLAUSE Alright. Ken Clarke, just to pick up on what Mr Clusclus said.

:25:47.:25:53.

Did you know -- on what Mr Len McCluskey said, did you know about

:25:53.:25:57.

this? It's a good old-fashioned leak. I don't think anybody outside

:25:57.:26:01.

the Department for Education knew much about it. Was that the first

:26:01.:26:06.

time you saw it? Mr Gove is the best leaker in Whitehall. How do

:26:06.:26:10.

you feel about the Secretary of State for Education leaking to the

:26:10.:26:14.

Daily Mail and not telling you? the Secretary of State for

:26:14.:26:17.

Education leaked it I would feel strongly, but I don't think he did.

:26:17.:26:21.

It is not the first leak we've had in British Government. This has

:26:21.:26:24.

been worked out in the Department for Education. When it is finished

:26:24.:26:27.

it will then go to a Cabinet Committee, the chairman is Nick

:26:27.:26:31.

Clegg and the deputy chairman is me. Will it be considered collectively.

:26:31.:26:35.

What I like about the noises about it, because the leaker knows what

:26:35.:26:40.

he or she is talking about when they talked to the Daily Mail, I

:26:40.:26:44.

think most people have agreed that the ideas of the exam boards

:26:44.:26:50.

competing in the way they do has to be stopped, because it is annoying

:26:50.:26:57.

for people who worked for a good GCSE find you could get a good

:26:57.:27:00.

result if the teachers hold a conference and know what the

:27:00.:27:05.

answers should be. Are you defending your GCSEs? I think the

:27:05.:27:09.

issue with exam boards is a farce. How can one grade be different to

:27:09.:27:17.

another? An A is an A. The idea of actually apresentistships for

:27:17.:27:25.

example, of course we are increasing, boosting the number of

:27:25.:27:30.

apprenticeships, paying more money towards them, even in these

:27:30.:27:33.

difficult times, and real apprenticeships, offered by

:27:33.:27:37.

employers, not calling it an apprenticeship if you go to a

:27:38.:27:41.

further education college on a course. A lot of things need to be

:27:41.:27:49.

done and we need to give the best ones proper status. A Rolls-Royce

:27:49.:27:53.

apprenticeship is as good as a degree. We need more of these.

:27:53.:27:56.

you will remember, it was Margaret Thatcher's Government that

:27:56.:28:04.

introduced GCSEs. And it was Keith Joseph as Secretary of State. He

:28:04.:28:12.

said it will do more than O-levels to stretch the Abe lest pupils, it

:28:12.:28:15.

will grade candidates better than now and be clear tore candidates,

:28:15.:28:19.

their parents and employers than the current system, and it will be

:28:19.:28:24.

more cost effective. Why are you going backwards? Because a quarter

:28:24.:28:27.

of a century later, many Secretaries of State, a lot of time

:28:27.:28:30.

has passed, it hasn't been developed in that way, it is not

:28:31.:28:35.

providing that. The key thing with this is we are in a terrible

:28:35.:28:37.

economic crisis, the worst sufferers are the young. The people

:28:37.:28:42.

who are really getting the rough end of there recession are people

:28:43.:28:46.

about to leave school or university. One of the things we have to face

:28:46.:28:51.

up to is our education standards are no longer world class. We are

:28:51.:28:55.

not fitting enough of these people for a modern height high-tech

:28:55.:29:02.

economy. To hear, when we talk about restoring academic standards

:29:02.:29:07.

in academic subjects, to hear people saying it is elitist is 1960.

:29:07.:29:11.

I remember students coming out with that type of thing years and years

:29:11.:29:15.

ago. You need qualifications, vocational and academic, genuinely

:29:15.:29:21.

match up to what our competitors in Asia and Singapore are going to

:29:22.:29:27.

provide. Is it not going to happen? Nick Clegg found us a leak...

:29:27.:29:32.

said it is not going to happen, that he is against it. It will come

:29:32.:29:40.

to a committee which he chairs. It is true usually when you get a leak

:29:40.:29:45.

of something you don't want to leak it comes from somebody inside your

:29:46.:29:50.

department who doesn't like what you are doing. If Nick is alarmed

:29:50.:29:56.

by what he has seen in the Daily Mail, he will be chairing the

:29:56.:30:00.

committee. I will be there and we'll talk about raising academic

:30:00.:30:10.
:30:10.:30:10.

standards in this country and The woman in pink, and then the

:30:10.:30:17.

woman below. Reverting to the old- style O levels and emphasising on

:30:17.:30:22.

how difficult they are will put off youngsters carrying on with

:30:22.:30:30.

education. So what is the point in that? And you? From my experience,

:30:31.:30:36.

I did not learn to write until I was 16. What worries me about the

:30:36.:30:40.

proposals is that you can think it is elitist but at 14 you are making

:30:40.:30:45.

a judgement about someone. People develop at different levels. I was

:30:45.:30:50.

very lucky in 1969 and I went to a good further education college in

:30:50.:30:56.

London, and I spent five years there. I did O-levels, GCSEs, A-

:30:56.:31:01.

levels, I went to South Bank Polytechnic. I am the first in my

:31:01.:31:04.

family to get a degree. I could have been written off, like a lot

:31:04.:31:09.

of young people. What worries me with the education system today, if

:31:09.:31:13.

you are selecting a 14 and saying, somebody has more hands-on

:31:13.:31:17.

experience, someone is more academic, you are not actually

:31:17.:31:22.

giving the opportunity to people to develop. You need a system which is

:31:22.:31:26.

flexible enough that will develop people, and as people get older

:31:26.:31:30.

they develop in different ways. And you can combine academic and

:31:30.:31:34.

practicality. In fact, you need to do both.

:31:34.:31:44.
:31:44.:31:45.

I would like to make two points. The first is about schools picking

:31:45.:31:49.

easy GCSEs to teach. There is a lot of pressure on schools to do well

:31:49.:31:54.

in league tape -- league tables. The teaching of students to pass

:31:54.:31:58.

exams. If they do not do that, they will not do well in the league

:31:58.:32:02.

tables. The second point is that the Government approach on reform,

:32:02.:32:06.

I agree that changes need to be made but it is more of a top-down

:32:06.:32:10.

approach. We are looking at reforming A-levels and GCSEs but

:32:10.:32:14.

you should focus on early-years and making sure primary school kids

:32:14.:32:18.

leave with reading and writing skills to do well in later life.

:32:18.:32:25.

The man in the white shirt. There is a bigger issue than that. We

:32:25.:32:31.

have to stop these kids, in future years, taking any sort of belief in

:32:31.:32:36.

their GCSEs they are going to be taking. The year 9 pupils now will

:32:36.:32:42.

be in total flux come 2014. They will not know what they are doing.

:32:42.:32:52.
:32:52.:32:53.

The present pupils will not value their GCSEs. The transition from O-

:32:53.:32:57.

levels to GCSEs did not have that effect. That is an argument for

:32:57.:33:02.

never changing anything. The point was very good about primary and

:33:02.:33:06.

early-years. We have seen the biggest rise in class sizes over-

:33:06.:33:09.

thirties in primary schools because there is a shortage of primary

:33:09.:33:13.

places all over the country, but Mr Gove is throwing all of the Monir

:33:13.:33:18.

free schools, not putting the money where it is needed. Disgracefully,

:33:18.:33:22.

the money was taken off Sandwell earlier in his Government. I have

:33:22.:33:26.

been to some of those schools and they are struggling. That money

:33:26.:33:31.

should have gone are here. I think the lady put it perfectly. It is

:33:31.:33:36.

nudges and winks back to grammar schools. As somebody who came

:33:36.:33:40.

through the comprehensive system and went to Cambridge, I believe

:33:40.:33:42.

passionately in the comprehensive principle. Yes, it can be improved

:33:43.:33:46.

and we need more aspiration, but let's not have been whittled away

:33:46.:33:56.
:33:56.:33:59.

by these reforms From Mr Gove. -- let us not have it whittled away.

:33:59.:34:04.

It must be frustrating for teachers and children. We learnt the basic

:34:04.:34:09.

things in life, reading, writing and adding up. Starting from there

:34:09.:34:14.

we have seen, in the Black Country, you had all of the pupils'

:34:14.:34:18.

developing, educated from that to become millionaires. Surely you

:34:18.:34:22.

start from the beginning, reading, writing and adding up. So you are

:34:22.:34:28.

with Michael Gove? Start at the beginning, with the basic skills.

:34:28.:34:34.

Reading, writing, adding up. Start from there and then progress. The

:34:34.:34:39.

it must be so frustrating now. Each Government has different ideas, and

:34:39.:34:46.

where are the kids today? I agree with the lady at the back. We do

:34:46.:34:50.

not put enough emphasis on vocational qualifications and the

:34:50.:34:55.

fact that somebody who may not be brilliant, literally, at literacy,

:34:55.:35:00.

but who is remarkable with their hands, we have not enough people in

:35:00.:35:02.

the construction industry. We are trying to develop skills and

:35:03.:35:06.

apprenticeships and give people a chance in construction. It was not

:35:06.:35:09.

consider glamorous but it is an essential part of the economy going

:35:09.:35:13.

forward. If we do not start to invest in what we need in future we

:35:13.:35:17.

will find ourselves back to the labour shortages that we had 20

:35:17.:35:26.

years ago. Nodding in agreement. Yes, I am in construction. We were

:35:26.:35:29.

talking earlier and we were saying that people are coming into

:35:29.:35:34.

apprenticeships because they think it is a second class thing. But it

:35:34.:35:37.

is not. It is amazing. If you get into a company like mine, a true,

:35:38.:35:44.

old fashioned apprentice. You come, you learn the trade, mentored by an

:35:44.:35:47.

older Diamond driller. You can get a bonus, the same as the older

:35:47.:35:52.

workers. And you are guaranteed a job, because I have invested in you,

:35:52.:35:57.

you know the process from start to finish, and I am doing the

:35:57.:36:05.

apprenticeship course. I got one Shia see in religious education and

:36:05.:36:10.

I am running a multi-million-pound company. -- a GCSE. I am taking the

:36:10.:36:15.

course because I want to see what my men are doing, I need to see it.

:36:15.:36:19.

Why can we not follow Germany or Switzerland? An apprenticeship is a

:36:19.:36:22.

fantastic thing. There should be more people doing it. There are

:36:22.:36:26.

lots of kids getting on the bandwagon of apprentices and they

:36:26.:36:36.

are falling off. There are so many hands up. I take issue with Andy

:36:36.:36:39.

Burnham who was sitting there nodding to one of those comments.

:36:39.:36:42.

The problem with apprenticeships was that the last Labour Government

:36:42.:36:46.

pushed and pushed my generation that you had to go to university,

:36:46.:36:52.

get as many people to university as possible. What was wrong with only

:36:52.:36:55.

the best people going to good universities and taking the country

:36:55.:36:58.

forwards, rather than people going to do hairdressing at university,

:36:58.:37:02.

which they could have done at college or at school? They get lots

:37:02.:37:10.

of debt for nothing. I have a vested interest, not only

:37:10.:37:14.

because I have two grandson's in state education, but I am also

:37:14.:37:17.

chair of governors at this college. I know that every child is

:37:17.:37:22.

different and we get lost in this argument about whether it is

:37:22.:37:25.

vocational, or whether it is academic. This college, among many

:37:25.:37:29.

others, does both sides of things. Whether you want to be a motor

:37:29.:37:33.

vehicle engineer, a dental nurse, or whether you want to follow the

:37:33.:37:37.

path into academia, that is fine. You can cater for everybody, but it

:37:37.:37:41.

is wrong to say that everybody should be treated the same because

:37:41.:37:44.

we are not the same. Our children are not the same. Let's make sure

:37:44.:37:48.

we give them a breadth of opportunity. Next time you want a

:37:48.:37:52.

plumber, it is no good looking to somebody who is great at cracking

:37:52.:37:57.

codes. We have to get the balance in society right. If we celebrate

:37:57.:38:00.

those differences, we will have a more rounded society and will not

:38:00.:38:04.

have a lot of the problems we currently have.

:38:04.:38:13.

And are you in support of Michael Gove and the proposals for

:38:13.:38:18.

reintroducing O-levels? What we had seen so far is the headline. As Ken

:38:18.:38:24.

Clarke said, this has some distance to travel. GCSEs have been in place

:38:24.:38:28.

for 30 years. Any system needs to be looked at again, possibly

:38:28.:38:32.

revised. If we need to move with the times and compete with the rest

:38:32.:38:36.

of the world, we have to take the right sort of actions. I cannot

:38:36.:38:39.

tell me whether I am in favour until I see the whole argument set

:38:39.:38:45.

out. -- I cannot tell you. Let's move on because we have other

:38:45.:38:51.

questions. We have a question from Kanti Patel. Do I have more chance

:38:51.:38:55.

of attending a state banquet than of seeing banks increasing lending

:38:55.:38:59.

to small businesses? You are thinking of the Mansion House

:38:59.:39:08.

banquet. Julie White. Are you critical of the banks? Are they

:39:08.:39:12.

lending money that you need? They are not lending money, let me tell

:39:12.:39:18.

you. I have a company that is growing, 20% a year on year, but

:39:18.:39:22.

they are not lending. They are looking in the past, on the balance

:39:22.:39:29.

sheet. We know what we have been through. 2008-2010 was horrendous

:39:29.:39:32.

for the construction industry. They are always looking backwards. They

:39:32.:39:37.

want to look forward now. We are all looking positive. It was great

:39:37.:39:42.

that the Government was boosting 145 billion into the economy for

:39:42.:39:45.

the banks to lend, but why are they not watching what is coming out the

:39:45.:39:49.

other end? They are not watching what the banks are sending out to

:39:49.:39:54.

small businesses. Half the time, they give you products that you do

:39:54.:40:01.

not want and there is no way you can actually take them. So we need

:40:01.:40:05.

them to start lending to us companies to grow, to employ, to

:40:05.:40:08.

bring on apprentices and get the economy going.

:40:08.:40:16.

You were Chancellor of the Exchequer once. You cannot order

:40:16.:40:23.

the banks to lend to businesses, can you? What do you do? No, you

:40:23.:40:27.

cannot. We might get on to the macro-economic questions later. If

:40:27.:40:31.

you come to this country and you ask, what is the biggest single

:40:31.:40:36.

problem facing us trying to get our economy to recover, it is that the

:40:36.:40:39.

banks are not providing credit to small businesses. Every small

:40:39.:40:43.

business will tell you it is very difficult to get working capital,

:40:43.:40:47.

New Investment for start-ups, very difficult. Why are they scared of

:40:47.:40:53.

doing it? They are sorting out their balance sheets, easier ways

:40:53.:40:56.

of making bigger margins. You give them low-cost loans and they

:40:56.:41:00.

actually have to rebuild their own balance sheets. So you cannot make

:41:00.:41:05.

it happen? We have an agreement and a kind of hip the figures. We just

:41:05.:41:09.

announced, at the Mansion House, actually, Georgia announced his

:41:09.:41:16.

latest idea. We have tried credit easing and it has had some effect.

:41:16.:41:21.

-- George announced his latest idea. Now, the Bank of England will make

:41:21.:41:24.

available money with conditions attached that they would get it if

:41:24.:41:27.

it is used for lending to small business. You still need the bank

:41:27.:41:31.

to decide whether the small business is viable. It is no good

:41:31.:41:38.

losing money on over-optimistic schemes. This is a monster scheme.

:41:38.:41:43.

I have put in for that and they have come back and so that I am too

:41:43.:41:53.
:41:53.:41:55.

good. Is that the credit guarantee scheme? Yes. They have said you are

:41:55.:41:59.

too big for it. The new one is still being designed. It was

:41:59.:42:08.

announced 10 days ago. It is a colossal sum of money. But will you

:42:08.:42:18.

get there? You say it is better, but... It will not get there. Let's

:42:18.:42:23.

consider having our own British Investment Bank. We have poured

:42:23.:42:28.

hundreds of billions of pounds into the banks. We owe no RBS and Lloyds,

:42:28.:42:38.
:42:38.:42:40.

so let's turn it into a British Julie has had to move to a Swedish

:42:40.:42:45.

bank in order to help her develop. There are thousands of great

:42:45.:42:50.

entrepreneurs like her who want to stimulate the economy. The

:42:50.:42:54.

announcement at Mansion House by the Governor of the Bank of England

:42:54.:42:58.

that there is �100 billion that they are going to make available

:42:58.:43:02.

was an admission that the Government's strategy is failing.

:43:02.:43:06.

There is no growth in our economy. If the banks will not lend, we need

:43:06.:43:10.

to take control of the banks because we own them. We have put

:43:10.:43:16.

hundreds of billions of pounds, and we should be investing in companies

:43:16.:43:21.

like Julie's and many, many others, to invest in British communities,

:43:21.:43:26.

British jobs, British manufacturing. That is the way to get us kick-

:43:26.:43:33.

started on growth. In the white shirt. Up I would not want the

:43:33.:43:38.

Government to look after any more money. I certainly would not want

:43:38.:43:42.

anything to do with the Government with money. I have seen the

:43:42.:43:47.

catastrophe over the road with the building called the Public. This

:43:47.:43:52.

building was made by private money, made on time, on budget, and look

:43:52.:43:59.

at it, perfect, no problem. All that we want is a situation that

:43:59.:44:04.

works. Let's just get business to run things, not politicians.

:44:04.:44:08.

what do you do, going back to the question, if the banks will not

:44:08.:44:11.

lend the money to people like Julie all the businesses who are talking

:44:11.:44:17.

about? They have got to lend them the money. Something has got to

:44:17.:44:20.

change because we cannot keep talking about what the answer is

:44:20.:44:30.

but then not giving them money to I think you are right not to want

:44:30.:44:34.

the Government to do too many things directly. We all agree that

:44:34.:44:38.

small businesses do struggle to get loans from the banks, especially at

:44:38.:44:41.

an interest rate that they can afford. There are regulations on

:44:41.:44:45.

the banks, becoming tighter and tighter. They have to hold more and

:44:45.:44:50.

more capital, they have to shrink their balance sheets because of the

:44:50.:44:55.

Troubles over the financial crisis of 2008 and that makes it harder

:44:55.:45:04.

for banks to lend. They haven't shortened their bonus My turn. The

:45:04.:45:12.

Government obviously recognises this and so does Sir Mervyn King.

:45:12.:45:17.

Ken Clarke mentioned the loan guarantee scheme, it is early days.

:45:17.:45:21.

What about the �100 billion announced at the Mansion House.

:45:21.:45:26.

is called Funding for Lending. This is what you are referring to, Ken.

:45:26.:45:30.

The idea that the Bank of England will lend cheap money to the

:45:30.:45:35.

commercial banks. It could be 3-4% lower than otherwise would be the

:45:35.:45:38.

case, which would be a terrific fillip for small businesses. And

:45:39.:45:43.

the commercial banks on commercial criteria will lend to small

:45:43.:45:48.

businesses. Is it going to work? haven't got the details yet but it

:45:48.:45:52.

is as good as it gets, because it is the Bank of England behind it.

:45:52.:45:57.

And it is a sizeable amount of money. An extraordinary amount of

:45:57.:46:03.

money. An extraordinary amount you say. Yes. We are missing the point

:46:03.:46:08.

in that I think the reasons why banks won't do it are twofold. One,

:46:08.:46:14.

they would be held accountable for some of the disastrous things they

:46:14.:46:18.

do and it might eat into their bonuses, and we couldn't have that,

:46:18.:46:23.

could we! I'm a social entrepreneur and work

:46:23.:46:26.

with Mo other social entrepreneurs who find it difficult to find

:46:26.:46:29.

capital, because the banks don't understand what the social economy

:46:29.:46:35.

is around and about. Sorry, for the sake of clarity, what kind? We are

:46:35.:46:39.

businesses that put into the economy but we make sure the

:46:39.:46:45.

outcomes of our work has a social good to it. What's your business?

:46:45.:46:50.

work with young people, the intermediate labour markets, retail,

:46:50.:46:54.

ground maintenance and catering, a number of things in the Black

:46:54.:46:59.

Country. I've approached our social enterprise partnership and they've

:46:59.:47:04.

agreed to take a risk to create social enterprise zones across the

:47:04.:47:09.

Black Country area. Part of that model is we release capital, get

:47:09.:47:13.

businesses working with each other. Public sector, private sector and

:47:13.:47:19.

civil society working together to make sure that business is good.

:47:19.:47:24.

Are you short of cash? Are you offering? We are always short of

:47:24.:47:27.

cash, because the banks, I have a good relationship with them, but

:47:27.:47:30.

trying to get them to understand what the social economy is about is

:47:30.:47:34.

a difficult model for them. So you have to try to get money from

:47:34.:47:39.

elsewhere and it is more expensive than a high street bank. OK. Andy

:47:39.:47:43.

Burnham? I hope somebody in the Treasury is sitting listening to

:47:44.:47:48.

Julie tonight, as maybe it will shake them out of their complacency.

:47:48.:47:52.

What she says really has to be heard. I will be at the Lee

:47:52.:47:55.

Business Forum tomorrow morning and there'll be the same complaints

:47:55.:48:01.

again. They will all be saying, we can't get any support from the

:48:01.:48:05.

banks. These companies have been here a long time. They've got a

:48:05.:48:08.

solid track record. The banks know who they are. They understand their

:48:08.:48:13.

business, so why are they still not lending to them? Small businesses

:48:13.:48:18.

must feel so frustrated. It must look like the voice of big business

:48:18.:48:23.

is heard in Government but never the small business. Len McCluskey's

:48:23.:48:27.

business about the banks, the country sorted them out a few years

:48:27.:48:32.

ago. They said we understand the effect on the economy if they don't,

:48:32.:48:38.

lit drag them down But they are suiting themselves and it is not

:48:38.:48:44.

acceptable. We say how can the banks do it? We own a large chunk

:48:44.:48:49.

of the banks, we have the Merlin agreement, and we were promised the

:48:49.:48:52.

money would come through but it never has. The one thing I would

:48:52.:48:57.

say, you mentioned what's going on with the LEP. I thought this

:48:57.:49:03.

Government was cavalier in wiping away good things that were working.

:49:03.:49:07.

Advantage West Midlands, the RDA, was a good thing, to bring

:49:07.:49:12.

investment in. Why just wipe it away. Splim it down a bit, refocus

:49:12.:49:17.

it a bit, but taking it away has set all of the regions back. They

:49:17.:49:21.

said because Labour did it we are just going to get rid of it.

:49:21.:49:29.

APPLAUSE We only have under ten minutes left. I want to take this

:49:29.:49:32.

one from Harry Roberts please. doctors right to strike, or should

:49:33.:49:42.
:49:43.:49:48.

Yes they were. The doctorings are the lathe es in a number of public

:49:48.:49:52.

sector workers who veryjected the Government's attempt to steal money

:49:52.:49:56.

out of the pension funds. The Government's plans are to make

:49:56.:50:00.

public sector workers pay more, get less and work longer. There is no

:50:00.:50:04.

legitimacy for it, because the pension funds that are there to

:50:04.:50:08.

govern what public sector workers get are sustainable. That argument

:50:08.:50:12.

that the Government put forward at the beginning of this campaign,

:50:12.:50:15.

that it wasn't affordable, because blown out of the water. I have no

:50:15.:50:21.

doubt that there'll be people on this panel who will want to attack

:50:21.:50:26.

doctors and public sector workers. We shouldn't demonise public sector

:50:26.:50:31.

workers. They are the people who teach our kids, heal our sick, care

:50:31.:50:35.

for our elderly and vulnerable, encourage our youth, clean our

:50:35.:50:39.

streets, collect our refuse, the very people who create the

:50:39.:50:44.

civilised fabric of the communities in which we live. They didn't cause

:50:44.:50:47.

this crisis. Private sector workers and ordinary people didn't cause

:50:47.:50:53.

this crisis. It was the spivs and the speculators. APPLAUSE It was

:50:53.:51:03.

the spivs and the speculators, the greedy fat cat bankers and CEOs in

:51:03.:51:06.

boardrooms who caused the crisis. The Government should be attacking

:51:06.:51:15.

them, not decent men and women. APPLAUSE Are you saying that there

:51:15.:51:19.

is no financial problem at all with public sector pensions? There is no

:51:20.:51:25.

financial problem whatsoever. The deal cut in 2008 with the then

:51:25.:51:29.

Labour Government, pensions is highly economy kaicted. Actuaries

:51:29.:51:38.

go into -- highly complicated. Actuaries go into depth and all the

:51:38.:51:42.

schemes that cover public sector workers are in surplus. All the

:51:42.:51:47.

Government are doing is they are simply stealing out of workers'

:51:47.:51:51.

back pockets. Why? We heard all this stuff about gold plated

:51:51.:51:57.

pensions. In the NHS the average pension is �4,000. The same in

:51:57.:52:03.

local government. Doctors work eight years to get, do any of us

:52:03.:52:08.

trust our doctors here? I suspect we all do. They work hard. They get

:52:08.:52:13.

a decent pay. They put into a pension scheme so they can have

:52:13.:52:17.

dignity in requirement. They didn't cause it. Len McCluskey, thank you.

:52:17.:52:22.

I want to ask Ken Clarke to comment on this. On the question, we'll

:52:22.:52:27.

find out tomorrow about 9 out of 10 doctors will have decided that this

:52:27.:52:32.

was one of the more silly things the BMA decided to do for a very

:52:32.:52:36.

long time. We do all respect our doctors. I strongly suspect the

:52:36.:52:41.

vast majority of doctors did not take action, which can only have an

:52:41.:52:45.

adverse effect on patients. They turn up to get paid and they don't

:52:45.:52:48.

treat the pensioners and they expect tow sympathise with their

:52:48.:52:57.

claims on their pensions? Why did they vote for it if you say

:52:57.:53:00.

(Inaudible) Because like the last Government they thought it would

:53:00.:53:04.

back down when threatened by doctors, which is when they got

:53:04.:53:08.

their colossal pay and pensions settlement through. It hasn't

:53:08.:53:12.

worked. Len McCluskey says there is no problem. I'm afraid I was trying

:53:12.:53:17.

to keep a straight face during that. If we don't, we should have tackled

:53:17.:53:22.

public sector pensions a long time ago. If we don't tackle it and make

:53:22.:53:27.

it fair now, all we are doing is piling up a bigger problem. It is

:53:27.:53:34.

no good looking at today's payout, it is going up astronomically. On

:53:34.:53:40.

funding obligations, Get your facts straight. As part of the GDP, which

:53:40.:53:45.

is what the pension schemes are based on, and the actuaries and

:53:45.:53:49.

experts in pension, not only is it affordable, but it is coming down.

:53:49.:53:54.

We have a fundamental disagreement on that. Lut me bring Andy Burnham

:53:54.:54:03.

in. If you were a self employed person and you bought the pension

:54:03.:54:08.

it could cost you �1.5 million to �2 million per person to get that

:54:08.:54:11.

pension commitment for their retirement when it comes. They've

:54:11.:54:17.

all been having to cut back. They will still be more attractive than

:54:17.:54:21.

private sector pensions by far. We are getting back to sanity, common

:54:21.:54:26.

sense and it has to affect doctorers just as much as it has to

:54:26.:54:30.

affect nurses, teachers and everybody in the public sector.

:54:30.:54:34.

Andy Burnham? I don't think the strike was justified. I said so

:54:34.:54:38.

clearly, because in the case of doctors, obviously there's a direct

:54:38.:54:43.

impact on vulnerable people and on patients. It always would have to

:54:43.:54:48.

be an absolute last resort, extreme measures. I don't think those

:54:48.:54:53.

criteria were met. Having said that, I'm not here to have a go at

:54:53.:54:57.

doctors. I completely understand how they feel and how angry they

:54:57.:55:00.

feel. When they came into Government this was a Government

:55:00.:55:05.

that was going to listen to doctors. Doctors were going to be at the

:55:05.:55:12.

centre of things. They've sought confrontation with their pension

:55:12.:55:18.

and more than that... Do you think there's a problem? We did make

:55:19.:55:23.

changes in 2008. Of course, as the population ages we need to look to

:55:23.:55:26.

the long term to make it sustainable. The point where you

:55:26.:55:31.

cut me off, the point I was going to make, the doctors have warned

:55:31.:55:35.

David Cameron about the dangers of NHS reorganisation. What are we

:55:35.:55:40.

seeing now? Crude, random rationing across the NHS. There was a report

:55:40.:55:45.

that operations are being... Hang on, we only have a couple of

:55:45.:55:48.

minutes. They said they would listen to doctors and they didn't.

:55:48.:55:57.

Are you on their side? The NHS, the they said the NHS is like a

:55:57.:56:02.

supertanker heading for an iceberg. Parents unforgivable what David

:56:02.:56:06.

Cameron has done to the NHS. If we had listened to doctors we wouldn't

:56:06.:56:10.

have the NHS in a very dangerous situation as we have right now.

:56:10.:56:15.

sorry to rush you but we are coming to tend. Doctors have to realise

:56:15.:56:19.

which child they love, the pension or the patient? I can't believe

:56:19.:56:23.

we've got to this situation. Yes we are all working hard erpblgts,

:56:23.:56:29.

working longer for less -- working harder, working longer for less

:56:29.:56:33.

money. I'm sorry, it is hard out there. They are a pillar of the

:56:33.:56:37.

community. I think that we should reward them well, but come on, this

:56:37.:56:44.

is the real world. Ruth Lea? Picking up on what Julie has been

:56:44.:56:50.

saying, the doctors, and I am a great respecter of doctors, the

:56:50.:56:54.

doctors are well paid, especially after the 2004 settlement, and they

:56:54.:57:00.

are extremely well pensioned. If you retire at 60 on a �120 a year

:57:00.:57:06.

salary, you have a pension of �48,000 a year. Who else has that

:57:06.:57:14.

in this room? A tax-free lump sum of �140. When you talk about paying

:57:14.:57:18.

in, the point is that these pensions are 80% of their pensions

:57:18.:57:25.

are paid for by the taxpayer.. 80%. We know what the public finances

:57:25.:57:31.

look like. Those are the facts Len. Bless them. Although I love the

:57:32.:57:36.

doctors well, they are well positioned. Even after these

:57:36.:57:40.

changes the Government's proposed they will be extremely well

:57:40.:57:43.

pensioned in comparison with people in the private sector. I'm sorry, I

:57:43.:57:48.

have to stop. We are only allowed one hour by BBC One and our hour is

:57:48.:57:52.

one hour by BBC One and our hour is up. So apologies. We are going to

:57:52.:57:57.

be in Luton next week. We'll have the actor and comedian Tony

:57:57.:58:02.

Robinson on the panel, Justin Greening for the Conservatives,

:58:02.:58:12.
:58:12.:58:17.

Tessa Jowell for Labour. The week after that we'll be in Derby.

:58:17.:58:23.

Dame Tessa Jowell I must say. never use titles on Question Time.

:58:23.:58:30.

David Dimbleby chairs from West Bromwich. On the panel are justice secretary Ken Clarke, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, general secretary of the Unite trade union Len McCluskey, economist Ruth Lea and Midlands businesswoman of the year Julie White.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS