28/06/2012 Question Time


28/06/2012

David Dimbleby chairs from Luton. With Transport Secretary Justine Greening, Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, Paddy Ashdown, Tony Robinson and Terry Smith.


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Transcript


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Tonight, we're in lieu on the. Welcome to Question Time.

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-- we're in Luton. Welcome to Question Time.

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And on our panel here, the Transport Secretary, Justine

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Greening, the shadow Olympics Minister, Tessa Jowell, who was

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Culture Secretary when London won the Olympic Games. The former

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leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown. The chief executive

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of the leading City of lon brokerage firm, Terry Smith and the

:00:40.:00:50.
:00:50.:00:58.

-- Tony Robinson. Good. It is very, very hot in here,

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so forgive us if we all pour sweat through the programme! Let's have

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the first question, which will bring sweat to any brow. From

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Andrew Collon. Is there any integrity left in British banking?

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It is almost like they are not human, isn't it? You look at them

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and think, these people do not live in the same world as us! Before the

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crisis happened they were decimating the high street banks,

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laying off all their staff, putting us all on computers when they

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clearly had not developed the technology. They told us they were

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doing that to make things better for us. They didn't. They made

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things worse for us. It was simply in order to collect up an enormous

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amount of money that they could invest in the casino of

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international banking and they blew it buzz they did not understand it.

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We -- because they did not understand it. They do not end us

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money, even though they have promised to do so.

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APPLAUSE And they then have the gall to

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increase their wages by 12%, to give themselves bonuses and say,

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we've got to do this, because if we don't, we'll leave the country. All

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the time, actually, in the background, they are committing

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acts, which in any other business I think would be seen as criminal.

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APPLAUSE I remember a time when the bank

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manager, along with the doctor and the magistrate was the person who

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signed your passport - the person for whom society had an enormous

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amount of respect. I don't know about you, I have no respect for

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British bankers and the British banking system at all. They've

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dragged us into that situation. It about about time they started

:03:06.:03:16.
:03:16.:03:17.

getting us out of it. APPLAUSE

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Terry Smith? Yes, it is very difficult. I suppose I've got to

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agree with Tony Robinson on one point - which is the criminality

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point. Seeing what happens with this scandal which broke today, it

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must be very difficult for ordinary people looking at that. If you

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defrauded somebody on your mortgage application you would probably go

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to jail. This is an action which has been taken which certainly

:03:44.:03:48.

affected the price you pay for your mortgage. Why isn't anyone going to

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go to jail? I have to say, I think there is a case to answer there. As

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for the point about bankers leaving the country, I too have heard that

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raised many times by them. In relation to the way people have

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behaved in recent years - if they do, good. Do you think there should

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be criminal prosecutions? Or is it impossible to prosecute people for

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lying about interest rates? It is possible. There is the Theft Act,

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1968, which was updated in 1986, as the fraud act. It is a good piece

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of law that people can employ for that. Going back to the point of

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any integrity - I think there are two types of banking I would

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distinguish between. One is the trading bit, with the big bonuses

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and massive losses. Buried within those banks are some decent people

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who operate in the retail branches, who have struggled, even though

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they have not been given the tools. APPLAUSE

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Justine Greening? I think it does seem hard to find a lot of

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integrity left in the banking system at times. What has broken

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today, the FSA's investigation and the Barclays is unacceptable. It

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shows a culture of greed which had sprung up in the banking industry.

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We will look at how we can introduce criminal sanctions to

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take action on this sort of behaviour. They are not there at

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the moment. We have to look to the last Government as to why they were

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so lax on putting any of this infrastructure in place. If these

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criminal sanctions had been there before people might have looked

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more carefully about their behaviour. We will look at that. In

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terms of what happens with these particular individuals, the FSA is

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talking to the Serious Fraud Office already about whether we can look

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at sanctions that are in place now to tackle what has happened. Going

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forward we do need some criminal sanctions. I think that is long

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overdue. What is the charge you made against the previous

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Government? There was a code of conduct about how they worked in

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the labour market. Instead of putting it on the statute books,

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which they did and putting teeth on it and saying, if you don't follow

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this there will be criminal sanctions against you. They just

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did that. It was a light touch. There was no teeth to it. That is

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one of the reasons why we've ended up with the culture which has led

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to today's investigation. Obviously we have to wait and see about the

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20 other institutions which are being looked into. It could be a

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wide-ranging investigation. It is utterly shocking to see what has

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happened. I agree with Terry - this has affected all of our mortgages

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possibly. I am shocked by what has gone on. I hope we can take some

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serious action about it. Certainly, in Parliament, this Government will

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look at what we can do for criminal sanctions as well. The man in red

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there, in the third row from the back.

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I think I agree with Tony. It is a very easy excuse for the

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Conservative Party to blame the last Labour Government for

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absolutely everything. Fraud is fraud. If people are frauding the

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British banking system, they should be investigated. They should be

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locked up. APPLAUSE

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The person in the second row from the back.

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Yes. How long does the coalition Government intend on blaming the

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last Government for mistakes that have been made and they've done

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nothing to rectify? Now you are saying, I think it is a good idea

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if we maybe look at this. We are bringing forward regulation of the

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banking industry right now. That is why we can take some action on this.

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This fraud case which was uncovered and the fine which came out today

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related to a fraud which took place during the last Government. Even

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Labour in the House of Lords has admitted they sould have had a

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criminal offence in place -- should have had a criminal offence in

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place already. We can make sure we take action now. This report is now

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out. We know there is probably more investigation to happen. That's why

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we are determined to take some action. Tessa Jowell? Of course the

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point is that when we were the last Government, it was the

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Conservatives that were criticising us for being over regulatorry with

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the banks and what hindsight has shown is we did not do enough. In

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March, when it was Labour who proposed putting the rate that is

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now at the centre of the controversy today on the statutory

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footing, it was simply brushed aside by the Treasury Minister. The

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fact is, this is an appalling situation. What we have to

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establish is who knew what? How high up Barclays this went? Over

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the next period of few days and weeks, we'll find out whether this

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practise was actually operating in other banks as well. It is

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absolutely appalling. Do you get the feeling that the bankers run

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rings around the politicians? APPLAUSE There is a very important

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point here and I think the gentleman already made this point,

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you know, you can have all the regulation in the world, but if

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people are not acting honestly, with integrity and decency,

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respecting and understanding the importance of the money they are

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handling on behalf of clients, then most people, if they are set on

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that, will beat the system. It was day day day who talked about the

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cull -- it was Bob Diamond who talked about the culture of what

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happens when no-one is watching. What this revealed is just how

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rotten that culture is. There are lots of people are hands up. Paddy

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Ashdown you have not spoken. You have hit the nail on the head,

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David, that the British public thinks that the bankers and the

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rich run rings around politicians. I have to say, it's all too true

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and Tessa agreed with that by saying they did too much. One

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reason is because of the rich and politics and of the funding of

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political parties and their ability... By the way you have seen

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it in the press as well. The question is not, how did we get

:10:43.:10:49.

here? The question is, what do we do next? Andrew said, have we got

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any moral trust in the morality of bankers? Listening to the news I

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was reminded of a poem by Phillip Larkin. He said "England a cast of

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crooks and tarts." In this sense, all those who are the most powerful,

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all that we trusted, the establishments of the establishment

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seem to fall below the standard of public service. There is something

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big here we need to tackle T first question is, how do we tackle this

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issue we heard about today? The British public, one of our national

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pastimes is moral outrage. We love to do it. On this occasion it is

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entirely justified. Here is some things we need to do. I am

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delighted the coalition is strengthening regulations. I hope

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the Labour Party will, I hope it gets through fast. If there is a

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case, and my learned friends tell me they think it is tricky to bring

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criminal actions against these people at the moment - but if we

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can, we should. Watch out bankers, there are civil cases coming your

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way, not least from the United States. Secondly, we should be

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limiting. There are more to come out, then their operations in the

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speculative marketplace should be limited. I see no reason why that

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should not be a sanction taken against banks, who behaved in an

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outrageous fashion. The last point is this, and it refers to the

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personality of Bob Diamond, there has been a clear, systemic failure

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in Barclays and more important than that there has been a complete

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breakdown of the moral culture of a bank that allows its supporters to

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do that. I am afraid Mr Diamond is in a fool or nave situation. If he

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did know, he was a nave and if he didn't, he was a fool. Frankly I

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think his position is untenable, unless new facts come to light and

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I doubt they will. I hope he'll take the appropriate action.

:12:54.:13:03.
:13:04.:13:06.

APPLAUSE The do you agree? I agree. He

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touched upon something... I know I am here to answer questions, but I

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wanted to ask one. If the Government is serious about dealing

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with this, why won't it split these banks between casino and retail

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operations? The case would be unanswerable. I agree.

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Justine Greening? I am sure we will look carefully at what this shows

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for regulation on banking. We are taking a bill through Parliament

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right now which tackles a lot of these regulatory problems we

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inherited. We had a big inquiry. We are taking on bored those

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recommendations. We are clear we need -- on board those

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recommendations. We are clear we need to regulate that. The woman in

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green at the very back there? got a comment for Justine Greening.

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I'm actually fed up of hearing from the Conservative Party, oh we've

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inherited this from the previous Government. Can I just ask, why on

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earth did you bother to seek power if you could not undo or improve on

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what the previous Government did? We are. We are and there are lots

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of different things we as a Government need to work on. Sorting

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out this regulatory system which failed, which is part of the reason

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people get bored of, because they have heard it for two years.

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The man there in the blue shirt. Is it not true that as a result of

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all this, that the greater the good of the nation have been -- the

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great and the good of the nation have been found in not just banks,

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for "cash for questions", in mobile phone hacking, the whole, everybody,

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all of them seem to be let down the general public over and over again?

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:15:12.:15:12.

Anyone in the audience from the finance or business industry?

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brave person ?! You in the spectacles? It's very simple to say

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more regulation is needed but more regulation without effective

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supervision takes you nowhere. you, Sir? Are you also a banker?

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work in accounts but somebody touched on it earlier - Tony said

:15:34.:15:39.

that they threaten to leave if we dare say anything to them, why

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don't we just let them leave? I want to go back to you, Sir. You

:15:45.:15:51.

said it's all very well to make the changes in regulation, but can't do

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anything without it being properly policed. Do you think it's

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impossible to be policed? No. a complex thing about understating

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the interest rate that you are getting on your money and that sort

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of thing and people clearly chatting behind-the-scenes and

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bleaking open the champagne and thank you for this and thank you

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for that, you don't see that, do you, that's the trouble, it's not

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there on the surface? I don't think it's impossible to have effective

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supervision, but rather like the poacher being the most effective

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gamekeeper, giving control back to the Bank of England so people who

:16:22.:16:26.

understand the system and know what tricks are being played, they are

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in a better position to control the investment part of banking. Do you

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think the Bank of England could control things? I think it can

:16:34.:16:37.

control things better than the authorities. It would be hard to be

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worse, wouldn't it? APPLAUSE

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There's one other remedy which nobody's mentioned yet, which is

:16:48.:16:51.

absolute financial transparency. The reason that the libel rate was

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fiddled was mainly I think because Barclays wanted to obscure what

:16:55.:17:01.

kind of cash that it had at that time. In fact, the reason why so

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many European countries are doing so badly is because nobody really

:17:05.:17:10.

knows how much the banks are worth so it becomes, as I said, a casino

:17:10.:17:16.

with people gambling on who's got how much. The one thing above

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everything else I think which would really help us get to grips with

:17:19.:17:24.

the financial crisis and get the bankers in tow would be financial

:17:24.:17:27.

transparency, if we knew how much the banks were worth and also if we

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split the banks in two between the high street sector and the

:17:31.:17:33.

commercial sector. APPLAUSE

:17:33.:17:38.

Let's just remember one thing. I'm a Liberal and used to not being in

:17:38.:17:42.

the majority, if you wouldn't be a Liberal:

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I hesitate to come out and defend the bankers, but let's just

:17:46.:17:50.

remember one thing. This is one of our nation's great industries.

:17:50.:17:54.

Before we send them all down the plug hole, we ought to consider how

:17:54.:17:58.

to make it better. The gentleman's point over here about oversight

:17:58.:18:02.

reinforces the point made by Terry, the right point by the way. If you

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split the speculative from the domestic banks, you have a much

:18:05.:18:08.

tighter system, it's easier to provide the oversight for it. So

:18:08.:18:14.

that is one of the key reforms that we have to institute. We'll bring

:18:14.:18:18.

in a financial conduct authority that will have more teeth and work

:18:18.:18:24.

effective, more effectively than the FSA. That's been one of the

:18:24.:18:30.

challenges. You will regulate this issue of Liboy? Eye yes. When?

:18:30.:18:35.

We'll look at whether we can bring that or other legislation forward -

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- Libor. We have a lot to get through.

:18:40.:18:44.

We always welcome your comments on the programme if you are watching

:18:44.:18:54.
:18:54.:19:01.

at home. There was an outcry about me saying texting was under threat,

:19:01.:19:06.

we are now trying to find ways of keeping it going, so keep talking

:19:06.:19:11.

about it stopping, because it won't because you did complain. That's

:19:11.:19:16.

people power for you. We need some of that in the banks. People like

:19:16.:19:19.

watching this programme with comments underneath. We are trying

:19:19.:19:25.

to think of a way of putting Twitter on the vein as well but

:19:25.:19:29.

it's very technical and very important. Keep at it, if you would.

:19:29.:19:39.

April Saunders, please? scrapping the petrol duty rise a

:19:39.:19:42.

sensible thing given how much the Government is in debt? Tessa

:19:42.:19:46.

Jowell? We are glad the Government's decided to defer the

:19:46.:19:52.

petrol duty until January because it will bring a little bit of

:19:52.:19:56.

relief to families who're under enormous pressure. We also, Labour,

:19:56.:20:02.

put forward a proposal as to where the money should come from and we

:20:02.:20:06.

haven't yet heard that from the Government and this appears to have

:20:06.:20:11.

been a rather extraordinarily stitched up decision over a couple

:20:11.:20:16.

of hours. It would be very good to know when Justine was told about it

:20:16.:20:19.

- was she told about it before George Osborne announced it? But

:20:19.:20:24.

the fact is that families are facing a terrible squeeze and

:20:24.:20:29.

deferring yet a further increase on petrol will help. But of course,

:20:29.:20:34.

whey did they ever get into this position in the first place because

:20:34.:20:38.

her here is yet another U-turn and we've heard a lot about the

:20:38.:20:44.

omnishambles of the Budget. Here's another bit, but a bit from which a

:20:44.:20:47.

specific proposal from which families will benefit. That's a

:20:47.:20:52.

good thing. Plauz mauz

:20:52.:21:02.
:21:02.:21:09.

APPLAUSE Greening,, Justine Greening, you

:21:09.:21:12.

said this week that you were not going to lobby the Treasury to

:21:12.:21:17.

delay or abandon the 3p rise, did it come as a surprise to you when

:21:17.:21:21.

the Chancellor suddenly announced it? No. I was informed before he

:21:21.:21:26.

made the announcement. I think having spent my time in Treasury

:21:26.:21:29.

before I went into the Department for Transport, there are several

:21:30.:21:34.

tax rises that had been pre-laned into the public finances so I spent

:21:34.:21:39.

a lot of time in Treasury looking at how you can avoid them. -- pre-

:21:39.:21:42.

planned. We have cut fuel duty so far in one case and worked hard to

:21:43.:21:47.

delay the other planned increases that were already set in stone.

:21:47.:21:50.

So I think we have done the right thing and actually... When you say

:21:50.:21:54.

it wasn't a surprise, on Tuesday you were saying one thing, then the

:21:54.:21:58.

Chancellor was saying another thing? Well, it's never been my

:21:58.:22:01.

sense that giving a running commentary on what Government's

:22:01.:22:04.

thinking of doing maybe is a good idea. I don't think there's any

:22:04.:22:08.

point in raising expectations if you then don't know that you can

:22:08.:22:11.

necessarily meet them and I think George Osborne was pretty pragmatic

:22:11.:22:15.

in saying we'd got a bit of flexibility opening up in this

:22:15.:22:18.

year's finances so I'm delighted that the first thing he chose to

:22:18.:22:23.

look at what he could do to help out on was to push back that fuel

:22:23.:22:26.

duty rise. I think that's absolutely the right thing.

:22:26.:22:32.

wouldn't want to obsess about when and why and how you knew, but...

:22:32.:22:37.

Yes you would! You would love to. wouldn't because the process is one

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thing but it's the decision that interests me. Paddy Ashdown, what

:22:40.:22:46.

do you make of the decision and the way it was taken? I'm not sure my

:22:46.:22:49.

party was terrifically happy because we have to sustain the

:22:49.:22:54.

attack on the deficit. We also think that there's a real case here

:22:54.:22:57.

for creating a more fuel efficient society. But on the other hand, let

:22:57.:23:01.

me put this point to you. If the deficit is the major thing we have

:23:01.:23:05.

to do, and it is, nevertheless we are largely I think because of

:23:05.:23:08.

external factors like for instance the euro crisis and the huge rise

:23:08.:23:11.

in oil prices and commodity prices earlier in the year, the economy's

:23:12.:23:17.

now in a difficult state. So we've got to get people with more money

:23:17.:23:25.

in their pockets and able to spend. Talking about attacking the deficit

:23:25.:23:28.

but also you have to get the economy moving. When you balance

:23:28.:23:31.

these things out, that was the right thing to do for now in the

:23:31.:23:34.

present economic situation. The fact that it wasn't a few months

:23:34.:23:37.

ago was because we were in a dufrpbt situation. At the present

:23:37.:23:40.

moment, while continuing to attack the deficit, it would have been

:23:40.:23:45.

wrong to have used the extra money that would have been generated here

:23:45.:23:48.

to put into deficit Dutting and better to put it into people's

:23:48.:23:53.

pockets to get the economy moving again. My judgment on balance, the

:23:53.:23:56.

right decision. There was no knead for any of this. This is what I

:23:56.:24:00.

find galing. Oil in the oil fields has gone down something like 30% in

:24:00.:24:04.

the last few months as the economies of the world have got

:24:04.:24:08.

poorer. And yet, petrol at the pumps has gone down, not by 30%,

:24:08.:24:15.

but by 6%. If it was the other way around, if the price of oil had

:24:15.:24:18.

gone back, you could imagine the increase would be in the pumps the

:24:18.:24:23.

next day. We have seen another example of powerful big business

:24:23.:24:29.

actually taking advantage of us while the recession is on. We

:24:29.:24:34.

shouldn't have to have this argument because petrol ought to be

:24:34.:24:37.

significantly cheaper. You are absolutely right.

:24:37.:24:43.

APPLAUSE And that was one of the points I

:24:43.:24:47.

was making earlier on this week, it's why I challenged the petrol

:24:47.:24:53.

retailers to start passing on the reductions and wholesale prices to

:24:53.:24:56.

consumers. We have laid down the gauntlet and said it's time for

:24:56.:24:59.

them to be more transparent about what they are doing. I've already

:24:59.:25:03.

had a good response for one of the retailers, ASDA. I think we can do

:25:03.:25:08.

a huge amount more to make sure they play their role alongside what

:25:08.:25:15.

we are trying to do as a government. Why wouldn't you lobby the Treasury

:25:15.:25:21.

then to abandon the 3p rise? first port of call is to get the

:25:21.:25:24.

petrol retailer to play their role, rather than taking money out of

:25:24.:25:28.

public finances. But I think given that clearly there was some room

:25:28.:25:34.

opened up in this year's finances, it was absolutely right... Hang on,

:25:34.:25:38.

you could have taken it off the autumn Budget couldn't you. You are

:25:38.:25:40.

Secretary of State for Transport, you are involved in everybody's

:25:40.:25:44.

business on the roads, the cars, the petrol prices and all that.

:25:44.:25:47.

That's right. At the beginning of the week you said you were not

:25:47.:25:51.

going to reduce the 3p, it has to stick and suddenly the rug's pulled

:25:51.:25:56.

out from under you. Because it was going to cost �1.5 billion and now

:25:56.:26:03.

it costs about �500 million so the figures have shifted. That's

:26:03.:26:07.

because if you... How do I know? I'm no longer a minister.

:26:07.:26:10.

reason why is that if you did a long-term cut in fuel duty, it

:26:10.:26:17.

costs you every year. We've just delayed the rise. Get it again in

:26:17.:26:21.

January? Less. That's all we can afford to do. It will come in

:26:21.:26:26.

January? Correct. And you won't be lobbying for the Treasury?

:26:26.:26:29.

constantly trying to make sure we do our level best to make sure

:26:29.:26:32.

motoring is affordable. We have challenged the retailers, I'm

:26:32.:26:36.

working with the Ministry of Justice to tackle whiplash and try

:26:36.:26:41.

and make sure insurance stays lower. I'm working with the garage

:26:41.:26:45.

industry to make sure we can keep services your Carloer. I'm sure you

:26:45.:26:50.

are doing all that. Let's stick with the petrol duty rise. The

:26:50.:26:54.

woman there? I'm a student and I'm about to sit my driving test in two

:26:54.:26:58.

weeks' time. What will the cost of fuel be like in 50 years' time when

:26:58.:27:03.

I've still got a car and need to get about - why are people focusing

:27:03.:27:07.

on what's happening now instead of what's going to happen in 20 or 30

:27:07.:27:12.

years' time. How would you want them to do that? Just by saying,

:27:13.:27:16.

about what they're going to do and what they want to highlight.

:27:16.:27:19.

Everybody's focusing on what's happening now. You want a strategy

:27:19.:27:25.

for the use of fuel? For the long- term future. You, Sir?

:27:25.:27:28.

I personally support the Government. I don't think it's a U-turn, I

:27:29.:27:33.

think it's the right turn for the Government at the moment for our

:27:33.:27:41.

suffering and I give them that. Terry Smith? You have got to

:27:41.:27:44.

distinguish the wood from the trees and Paddy Ashdown said the deficit

:27:44.:27:47.

is the single biggest problem we face. In the light of that, in

:27:47.:27:52.

round number terms, as we know, 0s mean nothing so we can take them

:27:52.:27:56.

off the end, the Government has a basic income of �6 and is spending

:27:56.:28:01.

�7. In the face of that, do anything that takes the �6 down

:28:01.:28:05.

strikes me as the wrong decision. So you would have kept that or

:28:06.:28:08.

increased it? I don't think increasing it is necessarily the

:28:08.:28:12.

way to go. Why do you think it's been reduced? I don't know.

:28:13.:28:17.

economy's doing very badly. We are in double-dip recession. Maybe he's

:28:17.:28:20.

trying to stimulate the economy? I'm not sure we are in a double-dip

:28:20.:28:23.

recession, I don't think we ever got out of one. If you think the

:28:23.:28:26.

very modest improvement we had in any kind of economics in the last

:28:26.:28:32.

year or so were after �500 billion of deficit, �3 25 billion of

:28:32.:28:35.

quantitive easing and interest rates at their lowest level for 300

:28:36.:28:40.

years. The economy was only just about alive at that point. Does

:28:40.:28:44.

this do anything to help the economy? Not really. The order of

:28:44.:28:47.

magnitude is not capable of touching it. We've got an annual

:28:47.:28:52.

deficit of �25 billion. surprise me a little. You are a

:28:52.:28:57.

highly successful businessman. that what surprises you? No, I'm

:28:57.:29:01.

utterly delighted. The more the better, especially if they'll...

:29:01.:29:07.

Never mind! Look, you don't run your business on one policy, you

:29:08.:29:12.

run it on a combination. There is a priority but you run it on a

:29:12.:29:15.

combination. The Chancellor has to do the right thing. He has to

:29:16.:29:19.

address the management of the economy, the priority is to bring

:29:19.:29:23.

down the deficit but also to make sure we get businesses and economic

:29:23.:29:27.

growth generated again and therefore at this point when we are

:29:27.:29:31.

tackling the deficit effectively, to do something even quite small,

:29:31.:29:34.

to get the growth going, to get money in people's pockets, to get

:29:34.:29:44.
:29:44.:29:45.

them spending, surely is the right You go into a service station, they

:29:45.:29:50.

might have adverts saying cheaper petrol, but you go inside they

:29:50.:29:57.

charge you �8 for a bag of maltesers. You can't win. We can't

:29:57.:30:03.

advertise! I am staggered by the naivety that

:30:03.:30:08.

Tony Robinson gave out earlier on. If we reduce the price of petrol,

:30:08.:30:12.

we reduce the tax take. What services would he like the

:30:12.:30:17.

Government to cut to make up for the cut taxes? I don't think

:30:17.:30:21.

reducing the price of petrol is the big issue that people say. I do

:30:21.:30:26.

agree with you, that the problem with reducing it is that you end up

:30:26.:30:31.

with half a billion or whatever the money is, which we've got to find

:30:31.:30:35.

from somewhere else. What I'm saying to you is actually it is the

:30:35.:30:40.

oil companies which have taken that money out of the economy. We could

:30:40.:30:47.

have inveed that into boost for -- invested that into boost the growth.

:30:47.:30:53.

I don't think that is naive, I think it is a justified. On the far

:30:53.:30:57.

right there? I like to build on someone else's point about the

:30:57.:31:01.

short-term nature of this. It seems the Government is short-term. This

:31:01.:31:05.

is a 3p tax they could have cut earlier. Everything is too short-

:31:06.:31:09.

term, we are not thinking about the long-term. If you realised this was

:31:09.:31:12.

going to come about then we could have done something about it

:31:12.:31:17.

earlier. It is similar with the banking thing, you've had two years

:31:17.:31:21.

in power, you never put the legislation in place. Now the

:31:21.:31:26.

problem has occurred you are saying that you blame Labour. We need to

:31:26.:31:30.

get rid of this short-term and look at the long-term. The debt is meant

:31:30.:31:34.

to rise in 20 years' time because of the pension crisis. We need to

:31:34.:31:38.

look more at the long-term rather than looking at the short-term.

:31:38.:31:43.

APPLAUSE Thank you. If you would answer the

:31:44.:31:50.

question point on the short-term, U-turns and this fuel duty. We need

:31:50.:31:56.

to stop making... In the terms of short-term, it took two years to go

:31:56.:31:59.

through the bill on the financial regulation. To the lady's point at

:31:59.:32:04.

the front, you are right, the best way we can help motorists is to get

:32:04.:32:08.

them off the petrol hook in the first place... You are not

:32:08.:32:13.

answering his point. He said you've had U-turns on the Budget, now you

:32:13.:32:18.

have an announcement on tax. He said you are acting in a short-term

:32:18.:32:23.

way. Why should this be later? You have done other measures quickly,

:32:23.:32:27.

like the rise in VAT was done quickly. Why is this taking so much

:32:27.:32:32.

longer if it is just as important? Especially with the U-turns they

:32:32.:32:42.
:32:42.:32:42.

are quite sherp. At the time of -- Therm. At the time of the Budget,

:32:43.:32:46.

now into this financial year there is head-room opening up. The

:32:47.:32:50.

Chancellor was able to say, it looks like we might have some money

:32:50.:33:00.
:33:00.:33:01.

to spend here,ly use it to try and delay this petrol rise. We can

:33:01.:33:06.

start to allow people into hybrid and electric cars. That feels like

:33:06.:33:10.

it is some time off now. I am looking at what we can do to speed

:33:10.:33:15.

up that process, so people have the choice the next time they buy a car.

:33:15.:33:19.

One of the big problems is affordability. We have grants

:33:19.:33:25.

available to help people buy hybrid and electric cars.

:33:25.:33:30.

Thank you very much. We will move on to a question from Julie Searle.

:33:30.:33:35.

Why should me and my partner continue working, paying taxes,

:33:35.:33:41.

struggling on a tight budget when those on benefits do nothing and

:33:41.:33:48.

get paid a lot more? APPLAUSE

:33:48.:33:53.

I am not sure you should. I suspect from, the way you asked that

:33:53.:33:59.

question you are the sort of person who will. You raise an important

:33:59.:34:04.

point - benefit reform was in the news this week. I think one of the

:34:04.:34:07.

things that I would hope people would admire and we will see in a

:34:07.:34:11.

moment is people telling the truth about the situation we're in.

:34:11.:34:15.

There's been a marked absence of truth and straightforwardness about

:34:15.:34:21.

the situation of our country in the last couple of years. Given we are

:34:21.:34:25.

spending �7 for every �6, there'll have to be big cuts. Benefits will

:34:25.:34:30.

have to be one of them. In terms of anybody who is on the

:34:30.:34:37.

receiving end of the cuts, one thing I might sympathise is being

:34:37.:34:45.

told your benefits are going to be cut, by an old Etonian might ring a

:34:45.:34:53.

little hollow. Do you agree - those on benefits do nothing.... No. No.

:34:53.:34:57.

You don't agree? You are miss representing what she said. If I

:34:57.:35:03.

understood you right, Julia, what you were saying was, you work hard,

:35:03.:35:09.

you look after your family, and why should you bring home less than

:35:09.:35:15.

people who are on benefits and choose not to go out to work. Of

:35:15.:35:22.

course we should have a welfare state for people who are unable for

:35:22.:35:27.

periods of time or in the long-term, unable to provide for themselves.

:35:27.:35:32.

We shouldn't have a welfare system where it's more financially

:35:32.:35:38.

beneficial to be out of work and at home, rather than in work. Now,

:35:38.:35:43.

that is a very easy ambition to state. In order to get to that

:35:43.:35:49.

point, you have to have very clear commitment over a long period of

:35:49.:35:54.

time to making sure that young people leave school with the skills,

:35:54.:36:02.

that there are jobs in a growing economy, that particularly

:36:02.:36:07.

expensive times of family's lives with childcare and so forth, help

:36:07.:36:13.

is provided in order to make precisely that degree of self-

:36:13.:36:16.

sufficientsy and independence that most families want for themselves.

:36:16.:36:22.

I am absolutely with you. I think the problem with the Prime

:36:22.:36:26.

Minister's speech this week is that it's like a sort of Christmas tree

:36:26.:36:34.

of new initiatives and criticisms. Unsubstantiated. Some of these

:36:34.:36:38.

instances of young people under 25 are very difficult. A lot are kids

:36:38.:36:43.

who have left care. They are kids who may be orphans, may not have

:36:43.:36:48.

parents to look after them. So, the hard cases can sometimes defeat the

:36:48.:36:52.

best argument. That's why you've got to think this through carefully.

:36:52.:36:57.

Once you embark on it, you've got to be prepared to see it through.

:36:57.:37:06.

And what we have at the moment is, as the Government - the coalition

:37:06.:37:10.

Government - promised a radical programme of welfare reform. The

:37:10.:37:17.

implementation of those changes in two very important respects are

:37:17.:37:22.

already behind time and over budget. What you are saying to her is that

:37:22.:37:28.

there's nothing that can be done because you have to wait until....

:37:28.:37:32.

No, I am not. The people on benefit their lives need to be improved.

:37:32.:37:36.

She cannot look for any change in the short-term. For instance David

:37:36.:37:42.

Cameron says you should scrap Housing Benefits for under 25s.

:37:43.:37:48.

We're struggling. We earn �6 too much to get any more help, so... I

:37:48.:37:53.

would get �200 a month better off if I was on benefits.

:37:53.:38:01.

I will come back to you in a moment... Maybe. We all want a fair

:38:02.:38:07.

benefit system. It must be more than frustrating. It depends what

:38:07.:38:12.

fair means? It does, absolutely. It depends on how well organised and

:38:12.:38:18.

policed our benefits are. I think one of the reasons why people get

:38:18.:38:21.

so angry and frustrated so because so many people appear to receive

:38:21.:38:26.

benefits that they are not really entitled to. That is again because

:38:26.:38:30.

of these mad cuts at the Department of Work and Pensions. It's a

:38:30.:38:35.

nightmare trying to get the benefit that you genuinely ought to receive.

:38:35.:38:40.

I would remind people that actually we all pay in and most of us have

:38:40.:38:45.

paid in for the best part of 50 years, not to something called

:38:45.:38:48.

national handout or national welfare, we pay into national

:38:48.:38:52.

insurance. That is for when times get hard.

:38:52.:38:58.

The one thing out of this debate I would hate to see is to feel that

:38:58.:39:03.

people who do draw benefits and draw them legitimately feel in some

:39:03.:39:07.

way guilty, feel in some way they shouldn't do it, when that is

:39:07.:39:10.

something they is worked their lives to guarantee they would get

:39:10.:39:19.

at the end of it. APPLAUSE

:39:19.:39:25.

It seems to me we're at risk of getting this interpretation of

:39:25.:39:29.

poverty, where we say these people deserve benefits and these don't.

:39:29.:39:35.

We should have a benefit system or none at all. I've gree it should be

:39:35.:39:40.

national insurance. -- I agree it should be national insurance. Tessa

:39:40.:39:44.

Jowell said that orphans, for instance, like my father was

:39:44.:39:48.

orphaned at 12 and worked every day of his life. One cannot say these

:39:48.:39:52.

people deserve and these don't, and therefore we should scrap it.

:39:52.:39:58.

OK, the woman up there. I work in a university. A considerable amount

:39:58.:40:02.

of my salary goes on tax and national insurance. I would like to

:40:02.:40:07.

see the legal loophole closed that allows people to pay but 1% income

:40:07.:40:16.

tax. APPLAUSE

:40:16.:40:20.

I think we should see it as a safety net rather than as a

:40:20.:40:25.

lifestyle. I think some people see it as a lifestyle rather than a

:40:25.:40:29.

safety net. There are people older than me who live near me that have

:40:29.:40:33.

not worked a day in their life. I think that is disgraceful. We need

:40:33.:40:38.

to change people's attitudes. I feel sorry for the lady who is

:40:38.:40:42.

worse off than on benefits. At leeths I would say at least it is

:40:42.:40:48.

more -- at least I would say to her, at least it is self-respecting and

:40:49.:40:51.

pride. You earn your own money. The man up

:40:51.:40:57.

there in the short-sleeveed shirt. Don't we think it is almost crazy

:40:57.:41:03.

that someone wants to work 37.5 hours a week but is better off 30

:41:03.:41:08.

hours a week. They are better sitting on 30 hours and want to

:41:08.:41:12.

work more when work is available, but they thid it is not beneficial

:41:12.:41:16.

- there's no incentive to do that. Paddy Ashdown?

:41:16.:41:22.

The - let's see if I may have some historical background to this. The

:41:22.:41:28.

welfare system was set up in 1945/46. It is something that I

:41:28.:41:38.

think was a most magnificent and wonderful achievement. It gave

:41:38.:41:43.

people a chance. That system, by the way built on the principal,

:41:43.:41:50.

which is giving people a hand up rather than a handout has

:41:50.:42:00.
:42:00.:42:01.

degenerated. It is tangled and out of sink.

:42:01.:42:05.

It is shared by all political parties.

:42:05.:42:09.

Government after Government, since I have been in politics, 20 years

:42:09.:42:14.

and more, nearly 30 now, have said, we'll reform the system, we'll live

:42:14.:42:22.

up to the principals of Beveridge, and do it in a new way all have

:42:22.:42:26.

ducked the challenge. They have fiddled at the edges. You don't

:42:26.:42:32.

think what Cameron is suggesting... Hang on. I don't want you to talk

:42:32.:42:36.

forever. I don't think I will talk forever. If you didn't interpret

:42:36.:42:41.

perhaps I would not have to talk so long. That is a very rude thing to

:42:41.:42:45.

say. Let's not go on with this argie-bargie. Here is what I have

:42:45.:42:51.

to say - I am proud that this Government has begun to try and

:42:51.:42:57.

tackle that. Some ideas from Iain Duncan Smith and Steve Webb, I

:42:57.:43:00.

think Universal Credit are an attempt to move us back to this.

:43:00.:43:04.

One of the reasons it has been slowed up is it has been

:43:04.:43:07.

persistently opposed by Labour in the House of Commons. There is a

:43:07.:43:13.

change coming. When you change there are some uncomfortable

:43:13.:43:16.

moments. Individuals will get caught out. I am clear the

:43:16.:43:20.

proposition is put forward now where they will fundamentally

:43:20.:43:24.

change this system that you want and everybody else here has sought

:43:24.:43:28.

as well. I think the idea of a benefit system is valid and no-one

:43:28.:43:33.

would argue with that. I think the idea about poverty and the

:43:33.:43:39.

principals of poverty has been skewed. If people can afford to go

:43:39.:43:43.

out drinking and buy cigarettes and have Sky Television, the idea of

:43:43.:43:47.

poverty has changed in our country. APPLAUSE

:43:47.:43:50.

Do you agree with that Justine Greening?

:43:50.:43:58.

I think, in many respects, I think what you say is correct.

:43:58.:44:04.

Actually we have introduced the Universal Credit. That is coming in,

:44:04.:44:08.

precisely to address the point the man made at the back - work has to

:44:08.:44:13.

pay. At the moment we have a welfare system where it does not

:44:13.:44:18.

too often. Also, in my experience as an constituency MP, it is about

:44:18.:44:23.

complexity. It got so complicated that many of my constituents had no

:44:23.:44:29.

idea what they were and were not entitled to. So, they had no

:44:29.:44:32.

understanding of how to navigate their way through the benefit

:44:32.:44:36.

system either. It got out of whack. So the first thing to do is bring

:44:36.:44:42.

in a welfare cap, so that we actually put an upper limit on how

:44:42.:44:50.

much people can get in welfare, which is fair. Make sure we make

:44:50.:44:53.

sure that work does always pay and there is a transition which will go

:44:53.:44:58.

through. Let's put some money into that transition process, so for the

:44:58.:45:02.

people who will see a change of benefit, there is some support

:45:02.:45:06.

there as we go through the process. It is a big change. It massively

:45:06.:45:10.

matters because the final point is we have to have a welfare system

:45:10.:45:14.

that people buy into. At some point we lost that and we have to get it

:45:14.:45:24.
:45:24.:45:24.

Tony mentioned about national insurance. The figure of over a

:45:24.:45:29.

million people in this country having not worked for ten years or

:45:29.:45:33.

more, that's staggering. At the same time we have had immigration

:45:33.:45:36.

going up exso there have been jobs but obviously some people do not

:45:36.:45:42.

want to take up the jobs. APPLAUSE

:45:42.:45:44.

There's another point about the national insurance system. It's

:45:44.:45:48.

been mentioned several times sofar which is that people who've been

:45:48.:45:50.

paying into the national insurance contributions for many years are

:45:50.:45:53.

rightly very upset that they are now being told that whatever it is

:45:53.:45:56.

they knead in terms of benefits or pensions might not be available

:45:56.:45:59.

because frankly there is no money any more. That's because the

:45:59.:46:02.

Government's spent that money at the time. They didn't establish a

:46:02.:46:05.

fund with investments in it. I think something that would be good

:46:05.:46:09.

for us all is if Governments in relation to certain things like

:46:10.:46:15.

pensions had to put investments in to a fund and so that this couldn't

:46:15.:46:18.

happen in future. It would also hopefully, apart from making sure

:46:18.:46:23.

you had contributed your pension would be there when you needed it,

:46:23.:46:26.

would stop people promising things that wouldn't come up in their

:46:26.:46:31.

lifetime. Tessa Jowell? I'm really worried that we have now a million

:46:31.:46:36.

young people in our country who're out of work and we all know that if

:46:36.:46:40.

young people don't get the habit of working, it becomes progressively

:46:40.:46:44.

more difficult to get them into work and there's a sense of

:46:44.:46:47.

hopelessness about that. One of the proposals that we've put forward is

:46:47.:46:56.

a tax on bankers' bonuses to raise �2 billion in order to get more

:46:56.:47:01.

than 120,000 young people every year into work. That's a very

:47:01.:47:05.

constructive, positive and specific proposal that will go a long way to

:47:05.:47:08.

building a long-term solution in response to what I was saying

:47:08.:47:13.

earlier to you, Julie. OK. Another question, from Tom

:47:13.:47:18.

Danaher, please? Is the sudden urgency about House

:47:18.:47:22.

of Lords reform a way of keeping the Liberal Democrats quiet in the

:47:22.:47:31.

coalition? The sudden urgency about the House of Lords reform?!

:47:31.:47:36.

APPLAUSE Paddy Ashdown? Well, if you call

:47:36.:47:40.

asking for House of Lords reform for 100 years urgency, sudden

:47:40.:47:45.

urgency, then I suppose it is, Tom. Look, let's see if we can make one

:47:46.:47:50.

or two points quickly - better make them quickly - the first is, is

:47:50.:47:55.

this a priority. It is a prayerty. You think you have an economic

:47:55.:47:58.

crisis in the western democracy, there is a desperate crisis growing

:47:58.:48:02.

up separating Government from Government. You have a second

:48:02.:48:05.

chamber in this country in which in order to get into the House of

:48:05.:48:08.

Lords you have got to be a friend of the Prime Minister or your great,

:48:08.:48:12.

great grandmother had to slaep with the King. Now, in a modern

:48:12.:48:16.

democracy, sorry, call me old- fashioned but I actually believe

:48:16.:48:19.

that the principle of democracy is those who make the people's laws

:48:19.:48:23.

are the people's representatives. I don't think it's acceptable in the

:48:23.:48:26.

modern democracy like ours to have membership of the House of Lords

:48:27.:48:30.

based on the fact that you have the Prime Minister's approval or you

:48:30.:48:35.

are the long-term descendant of an aristocratic lady of uncertain

:48:35.:48:39.

virtue in the past. We have to try and make our democracy now a

:48:39.:48:44.

genuine democracy. Young men go out to fight, young British soldiers

:48:44.:48:47.

for democracy to die and to kill others and yet we don't have a

:48:47.:48:51.

proper democracy in this country. Now, those who say it's not a

:48:51.:48:55.

priority, I think that's the most ridiculous excuse there is. Even

:48:55.:48:58.

leaving aside the democratic crisis for the moment. Take a look back,

:48:58.:49:04.

when this country was struggling for its very survival, when person

:49:04.:49:06.

putting troops across the Normandy beaches, the House of Commons was

:49:06.:49:11.

still able to discuss the better education Act. We should do it! If

:49:11.:49:15.

we allow a system to continue of pat Ronage in the second chamber

:49:15.:49:19.

where the second chamber does not do its job? Holding the government

:49:20.:49:22.

to account, when we have far too weak a House of Commons, the only

:49:22.:49:25.

thing that will be damaged is our democracy and the only thing that

:49:25.:49:28.

will continue to grow is the gap which is already dangerous between

:49:28.:49:31.

Government and Government in this country. This needs to be done and

:49:31.:49:37.

needs to be done now. APPLAUSE

:49:37.:49:40.

Tessa Jowell, the accusation against Labour is you were all for

:49:40.:49:43.

it at the election but now you are not doing the right thing to get it

:49:43.:49:47.

through, you are not insisting on a timetable for it so that it will

:49:47.:49:51.

actually happen, you are making mischief with this to disturb the

:49:51.:49:58.

coalition? No, I mean that's not true. Let me just begin by saying...

:49:58.:50:00.

In what sense is it not true because you are not doing it, are

:50:00.:50:04.

you? Nobody's raised House of Lords reform with me on the doorstep but

:50:04.:50:08.

we need a better Parliament than we have. And so yes we should reform

:50:08.:50:15.

the House of Lords, we should have an elected House of Lords and we

:50:15.:50:19.

should have the legislation properly scrutinised. There are

:50:19.:50:23.

about 1,000 questions that have not been answered by the proposals that

:50:23.:50:28.

have been published, so we'll support the Bill when it's

:50:28.:50:33.

introduced... 1,000 questions? least. We'll support the Bill.

:50:33.:50:36.

There are 845 members of the House of Lords so they've all got at

:50:37.:50:39.

least a question each. We'll support the Bill when it comes

:50:39.:50:49.

before Parliament at the beginning of July but we will also to make

:50:49.:50:53.

sure - make sure that major constitutional change has the

:50:53.:50:57.

opportunity of being properly scrutinised. We'll also put down

:50:57.:51:00.

amendments calling for a referendum because we, you know, it's a

:51:00.:51:04.

convention in this country that we have referenda where there's a

:51:04.:51:08.

major constitutional change to our country and I think, as my party

:51:08.:51:11.

thinks, that people should be asked their view on that.

:51:11.:51:16.

You, Sir? I would like to point out the fact that within the House of

:51:16.:51:22.

Lords, the positions have also been given to experts, the best in their

:51:22.:51:27.

field. Mr Ashdown's comment implies that what little progress had been

:51:27.:51:34.

made is completely pointless, but progress, however little, has been

:51:34.:51:38.

made. There does need to be reform but it needs to be far more radical.

:51:38.:51:41.

The current House is a way for people to extend their career and

:51:41.:51:46.

get a nice cup of tea. It needs to be replaced by a House for the

:51:46.:51:50.

people. If there can be a jury of 12 ordinary people choose on

:51:50.:51:55.

someone's life, I think there should be a House for general

:51:55.:51:59.

people to sit and oversee and bring politicians to account when they

:51:59.:52:06.

don't doe what they've been voted to do.

:52:06.:52:10.

Terry Smith? I would tend towards that gentleman's comment which is

:52:10.:52:14.

to say that I would suggest a much simpler reform of the House of

:52:14.:52:17.

Lords which is if there is a referendum, I hope this question is

:52:17.:52:22.

included which is that it's an an act row ni-sm, why not abolish it.

:52:22.:52:29.

Just have one House? Yes. I think you need a second chamber to lack

:52:29.:52:32.

at the Bills that the House of Commons is bringing forward, but I

:52:32.:52:36.

agree, I think it's time to get on with this. I think if you had a

:52:36.:52:40.

blank piece of paper and proposed what we'd got now, people would say

:52:40.:52:45.

that's totally unacceptable, it's based on who you know, your birth

:52:45.:52:49.

and the gentleman's right, there is a role in the House of Lords going

:52:49.:52:54.

forward for experts and that's why we are proposing 80% should be

:52:54.:52:57.

elected but 20% should still be apointed and I hope we can really

:52:57.:53:01.

keep all those people that bring some real expertise. It's time to

:53:01.:53:05.

get on with this. We've talked about it for a very long time. I

:53:05.:53:09.

think we've ended up almost in the worst of all worlds where at least

:53:10.:53:18.

there was some randomness almost with hereditary peers, there's none

:53:18.:53:22.

know -- none now. It's who you know and to some extent how much money

:53:22.:53:28.

you have got. It's unacceptable. My ask from Tessa would be don't vote

:53:28.:53:31.

against this programme motion which will mean we could end up clogging

:53:31.:53:33.

up the House of Commons, people have other priorities they want us

:53:33.:53:38.

to work on too. Let's get on with this... The programme motion is the

:53:38.:53:42.

timetable? How much time we spend and we have pencilled in a lot, so

:53:42.:53:45.

let's get on with this and get it through and let's come back to

:53:45.:53:48.

everything else that people need sorting out in this country. What

:53:48.:53:53.

about the 100 or so Conservatives who don't want it? Well, I respect

:53:53.:53:57.

their... Will you win them round? respect their Points of View, I

:53:57.:54:01.

think we'll win many round, I just disagree with them and I think many

:54:01.:54:05.

of them who were there in 2005 in the last Parliament like me voted

:54:05.:54:09.

for an 80% elected chamber so. Now is the time to crack on, make this

:54:09.:54:13.

change and then we'll have a much stronger second chamber and I think

:54:13.:54:16.

it will do what that gentleman wants which is it will be for

:54:17.:54:23.

people again which it should be. OK. The woman in green, then you,

:54:23.:54:28.

Sir. If you have two Houses which have been elected, what happens

:54:28.:54:34.

within they don't agree? Quite right, a good point. Fundamental

:54:34.:54:37.

question. A key question. That's why in this Bill we are bringing

:54:37.:54:40.

forward it's clear that ultimately the House of Commons has the final

:54:40.:54:44.

say. We've got the Parliament Act at the moment which is, if you like,

:54:44.:54:48.

how we regulate it right now under the current system, but we'll make

:54:48.:54:53.

sure we keep that in place so we make sure that isn't the gridlock.

:54:53.:55:00.

That was a major complaint about the gridlock legislation. The House

:55:00.:55:06.

of Commons has the final say. heard from the last question that

:55:06.:55:11.

the country's in deep economic mire, so what practical benefit will the

:55:11.:55:15.

man in the street deprive from a reform? Do you think there's any

:55:15.:55:22.

point in it? Absolutely not. Tony Robinson? I beg your pardon, sorry,

:55:22.:55:26.

David. If you would have had an eelected second chamber, you would

:55:26.:55:32.

not have had an Iraq war or the poll tax. Tony Robinson? There is a

:55:32.:55:35.

terribly important principal at stake here which is that those who

:55:35.:55:40.

write the law ought to be elected by people who live under the law.

:55:40.:55:46.

It's feeling to me like a principal that goes back to Magna Carta and

:55:46.:55:50.

the fact that we haven't addressed that seems daft. We have all three

:55:51.:55:54.

leaders agreeing that we should do some reform. OK, I agree with you,

:55:54.:56:00.

it's not going to be the perfect reform, it never is going to be the

:56:00.:56:03.

refect reform, but we've got all three leaders agreeing with it, so

:56:03.:56:11.

let's go ahead and bite the bullet. Some people say it's the wrong time.

:56:11.:56:17.

That's the argument that's always levelled. For 100 years people have

:56:17.:56:22.

been saying it's a good idea but it's not the right time. People say

:56:23.:56:27.

it's expensive, but if we cut down from 90 representatives to 300 and

:56:27.:56:32.

they won't get as much money as they get, that would be a non-

:56:32.:56:37.

starter. I have a caveat. I don't want to see us move from unelected

:56:37.:56:44.

peers to political cronies. We've got to make really sure that the

:56:44.:56:48.

system that's put in place doesn't guarantee that the leader of the

:56:48.:56:51.

party in Government and the Leader of the Opposition can deluf that.

:56:51.:56:55.

But please -- deliver that. But please, I ask the representatives

:56:56.:57:00.

of all three political parties, go with this, don't scupper it for

:57:00.:57:02.

short-term political advantage, please.

:57:02.:57:04.

Before we finish this, Paddy Ashdown made an interesting point

:57:04.:57:09.

that I would like to put to the politicians of the other two

:57:09.:57:12.

parties. He says there would have been no Iraq war if there had been

:57:12.:57:15.

an elected chamber and he says there would have been no poll tax.

:57:15.:57:20.

Do you agree? No, I don't agree with either of those assertions.

:57:20.:57:25.

Why has he got it wrong? Well, I mean I think that's... I don't know

:57:25.:57:30.

what the evidence is for that quite honestly. Paddy was against the

:57:30.:57:35.

Iraq war. OK. Be brief? I'll be as brief as I can. The House of

:57:35.:57:38.

Commons is the executive's poodle and allows the executive to get

:57:38.:57:42.

away with doing stupid things. If you had a second chamber acting as

:57:42.:57:46.

a check and balance, those two issues would have been debated

:57:46.:57:49.

fully and, in my view, none would have got through. You said the

:57:49.:57:53.

House of Commons has ultimate praim si? But if the House of Lords force

:57:53.:57:59.

add debate and expressed a democratic view, my view is there

:57:59.:58:06.

is a... I can't prove it to you but there's a high probability that's

:58:06.:58:10.

the case. The Tories might have been grateful if there was no poll

:58:10.:58:16.

tax? Who knows. They rebelled a lot when the Thatcher Government was in

:58:16.:58:20.

power. It's time to get on with this. The final point I make is

:58:20.:58:23.

that it's quite South East centric at the moment, the House of Lords,

:58:23.:58:27.

because of the whole network, if you like, that helps create it. I

:58:27.:58:29.

think it's time to have it generally more representative of

:58:29.:58:34.

our country as a whole. Get away from Putney. Our hour is up now, we

:58:34.:58:40.

have to stop. We'll be in Derby next week, we are not South East

:58:40.:58:44.

centric by any means. Only panel we'll have Labour's former Home

:58:44.:58:47.

Secretary, Alan Johnston, so if you would like to come to the last

:58:47.:58:50.

Question Time of this run and put questions to our panel, you can do

:58:50.:58:57.

so by applying on the website. You can also call us. Thank you all

:58:57.:59:01.

David Dimbleby chairs Question Time from Luton. On the panel: Transport Secretary Justine Greening MP, Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell MP, former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown, comic actor & broadcaster Tony Robinson and the businessman Terry Smith, chief executive of the City brokerage Tullett Prebon.


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