10/01/2013 Question Time


10/01/2013

David Dimbleby chairs the first Question Time of 2013, from Lewisham. Joining him on the panel are: Ed Davey, Lord Prescott, Nadine Dorries, John Bird and Camilla Cavendish.


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Transcript


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Tonight we are in Goldsmiths College in Lusa Sobral in South

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London -- in Lewisham in South Good evening. Of course, a big

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welcome to our audience in Lewisham. Tonight our panel has on it the

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Energy and Climate Change Secretary, the Liberal Democrat Ed Davey.

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Labour's former Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott.

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The Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, still suspended from the

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Parliamentary party because she went on Am A celebrity, John and

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the Times column Nis, Camilla Cavendish -- columnist, Camilla

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Thomas Sturge has the first question of the year. S-the 1%

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benefits cap fair? Is the 1% benefits cap fair? John Prescott?

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Certainly not however you measure it. The Government says their

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policies must be fair. They say they have a difficulty, I

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understand the point, but if you take 1% of somebody on benefit,

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let's say job allowance and 1% on the 500 average wage, then clearly

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the differences are considerable and they are not fair. Leaving out

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the real problem, if you let millionaires have a cut basically

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down to 45 from 50% and they get �107,000 back, it maybe 1%, but by

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God it is not the same of somebody on a benefit on 1%. No, it is not

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:02:04.:02:14.

fair and therefore, it is wrong. APPLAUSE

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Your argument would be there is no discrepancy in agreeing to 1% on

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public sector workers, but not agreeing 1% for people on benefits?

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I think we are get nothing a mess about this welfare fronkly and I

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think -- frankly and I think politicians start thinking about

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the whole range because all the anomalies that are occurring, and

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the politicians are getting into the argument about the shirkers and

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the people who are working and we need to reform the welfare system.

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When it was set-up in 1947 at least we were dealing with the illnesses,

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the diseases, the poverty, of unemployment, of disease, that was

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a fundamental change. Things have changed considerably. And you have

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got to provide something which will cost you more money and perhaps you

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have got to ask what is the alternative expenditure, and you

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are seeing high expenditures going on at the moment and you are trying

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to force those on welfare to pay the price for the fault that they

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didn't occur. Looking back on it now, I was a great supporter of of

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Beverage, the five diseases he wanted to deal with, he did, but it

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has changed and we need to look at other principles that are going to

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govern the distribution of wealth and the power and dealing with

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those at the bottom of the thing that get a better chance than those

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at the top and that's what is going on at the moment.

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APPLAUSE Nadine Dorries? Well, can I deal

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with something that John said in that little ramble? You mentioned

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the tax rate going down. Yes, we did that, John didn't say when you

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were in Government, you were in Government for 4,000 days and you

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only put the tax rate up to 50% in your last 4 days -- 4 days. -- 4

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days. Can you answer? It is not a cut, it

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is a 1% increase that are are being capped.

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Is it fair? I have nurses and policemen in my constituency,

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policemen who go out on a Saturday night into Luton Town centre and

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who work in the public sector and had their pay frozen and while

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their pay was frozen benefits went up by 5.2%, we inherited the worst

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deficit in 2010 and I am afraid everybody has to bear the brunt of

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that and bear the cost. 1% cap on increase isn't a cut, it is a cap

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on the increase. I also think that we need to understand understand

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that it is not a permanent thing this. Is a temporary thing.

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don't the pensioners bear the same thing? Not only pensioners, but the

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disabled and the vulnerable are being protected... Why do you

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protect the pencors? Because pensioners are vulnerable.

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Because what? Because pensioners are... What? Why pensioners? Well,

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we have actually given pensioners an increase. Pensioners have

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contributed to our economy. 90% of people in this country working

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people and non working people were eligible for benefits. That means

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we are taxing people to give them back benefits. That's expensive and

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it doesn't work. What we need to do is to give those people who really

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do deserve benefits, better benefits going forward and we need

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to to simplify the tax system so we are not taking tax from you to give

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it back to you on benefits. APPLAUSE

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The woman in green up there. Yes, I am a public sector worker

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and I am not happy with this argument that is being put forward

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contrasting the effective cut in public sector salary with a cap on

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benefit. Why not? Well, I, of course, think

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it is not right that public sector workers should have their pay cut...

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Or frozen? It comes to the same thing if you take into account

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inflation and this is the fourth year, but to use that as a

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comparison as to why people on benefit should have theirs capped

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is wrong. It is a wrong comparison. It should be made between the

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people on benefit who are very poor or even much poorer than people who

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are working compared to the wealthy people and so I don't appreciate

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that. APPLAUSE

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You, sir. The man in the fifth row. Do the panel think it is helpful

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for politicians to engage in provocative language such as

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"strivers and shirkers." John Bird? I think it is dodgy for the

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comfortable to be passing judgement on the discomfortable by making

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them more uncomfortable. APPLAUSE

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I think that's a separate issue to the overhaul that we need to give

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to the welfare system. The welfare system needs to be a system which

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was invented as a springboard for those people who could use it. It

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was not invented as a place where we hair house some of the most

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disenfranchised people in Britain today. Something I tried to give Mr

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Mandelson many years ago when I said to him, "you have to farewell

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on welfare in order to say farewell to welfare." We have got hundreds

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of thousands of people who are stuck on welfare. They need to be

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reformed. They need to be brought into the workforce. They need to be

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put in colleges and universities. But don't at this moment start

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giving the poor a kicking specially from some of the of the most

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comfortable people who have ever run the British Government.

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APPLAUSE Ed Davey? When the coalition

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Government came to power we were borrowing �3 billion every single

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week. So we have had to take tough decisions with cutting spending in

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a number of Hall departments. We are asking, John, the rich to pay a

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lot more. Rightly so, they have got the largest shoulders, they should

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bear the highest burden. That's not the point. We got rid of the

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capital gains tax dodge that was brought in by Labour. It was an

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outrageous thing for Labour to do and the rich should be paying more.

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Last year, I was praud when the Liberal Democrats -- proud when the

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Liberal Democrats fought within the coalition Government to make sure

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that benefits did go up by inflation, 5.2% they went up, even

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though we were asking many workers in the public sector to have a pay

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freeze. I think it is right and fair that other people do have some

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of the burden. So it was fair last year, but it is not fair to do that

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in year? When the financial crisis happened, to when this Welfare

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Reform Bill is in place, wages will have gone up the same as benefits

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and I think if everyone is going up the same, everyone is is sharing

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the burden, that is right. The rich should pay more and that's what is

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happening. What do you say to John Prescott,

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that 1% to somebody on a low income is a great deal less than 1% to a

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person say on �20,000, or or �30,000 a year in the public

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sector? I understand that. That's why we are increasing the income

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tax allowance. �600 a year tax cut from this April if you are in work.

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�1200 if you have got to two in a couple. That is worth a lot more to

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the low paid. The real point is the message we

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send to the publish public and that is what we think the poor are

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responsible for themselves. They are responsible for the causes of

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their own poverty. If you look at the way in which the Social

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Security system was created over the years, when Margaret Thatcher

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closed down all the lame duck industries, they parked up nearly

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one million workers on Social Security and turned the Social

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Security system from a contributory system to a non non contributetry

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system. She should have been turning those miners into

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industrialists. APPLAUSE

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I thought you once said you were a Tory? This is so interesting. You

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get somebody quotes a little bit. I am a working class Marxist Tory

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with socialist liberal liberal leanings which means to say...

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APPLAUSE I find it incredibly difficult to

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fit into the left or the right. Like most people they are left on

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some things and right on others. Camilla Cavendish? I want to talk

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about the gentleman who talked about the provocative language. I

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think agree with you because I think the language of strivers and

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shirkers are distorting this debate and it is unhelpful and we should

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stop using it. I also think it disstracts from what we should be

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looking at at which is the whole welfare Bill. The whole Welfare

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Bill is too big and it is growing and the more we spend on welfare,

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the less we can spend on hospitals, the less we can spend on schools

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and the less we can spend on defence. That's just the reality.

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Somebody mentioned it earlier, the piece that has not been addressed

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in this welfare cap is the question of pensions which are, of course, a

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vast part of this Bill and pensioner benefits. It used to be

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true that being elderly, pretty much meant you were poor and when

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we needed to support those people people because it was hard to get

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through your old age and we have got a different situation. We have

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got a generation coming into retirement, which is the wealthiest

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generation of people we have seen. Those Peel are getting winter fuel

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allowance and benefits. Unless you address that there is an unfairness.

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There is a propaganda going on that, the fault is the welfare system,

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namely that it is paying too much. In reality, our welfare system is

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subsidising low pay with tax credits which we brought in, with

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low pay so the welfare is taken the heavy -- taking the heavy burden

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and at the same time it may only have been one year when you did the

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50 pence, it means that the millionaires, who are getting

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�107,000 back by the proposals that you make are blaming the welfare

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system. That's why we need to reform it. That's not true. The

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rich are paying more in tax than they have at any time in any year

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under the previous Labour Government. The rich will pay more

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this year in tax than they did in their 13 years. What you guys did,

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you allowed the rich and the wealthy to squirrel away their

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money away from the taxman. Bankers were paying lower tax their their

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cleaners. That was a scandal that you brought in and we have ended it.

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What about tax avoidance? The people who are not paying their tax

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and their businesses are taking money, salting it abroad and not

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paying their fair share. You are right, you did nothing

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Give the panel a chance to get their breath back and go to large

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numbers of people in the audience. If you could make your points,

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rather than ask more questions, we'll get more of you in. The man

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in the blue shirt on the right? It's surely inevitable that the

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result of this policy will be to depress economic activity in poor

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areas as people have less spending power. That will affect businesses,

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that will inevitably lead to more job losses, more division in

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society, possible social unrest and you will see more welloff people

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wanting to leave those areas and you set off a nasty vicious circle.

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Thank you, we'll keep that point. The woman in the black-and-white

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dress? How about Labour bear the brunt of the responsibility. You

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created a welfare state that threw money at people and left them

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trapped and now they are suffering. You didn't invest in education, you

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just threw money... I have a family who work for HMRC, there was a new

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benefit every couple of months, you threw money at people and now they

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are so dependent on benefits and the cuts, you know, they are

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suffering and it was your Government who overcomplicated the

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welfare state. You sold off our gold bullion, spent money that we

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didn't have on an illegal war. APPLAUSE. The woman on the left

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over there? I would like to pick up on Nadine's

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point which was where she talked about pensioners keeping benefits

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because they are vulnerable and have contributed to society. A lot

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of people who are on other benefit who is're out of work have

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contributed to society as well, we are not all scroungers who've never

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had a job. A lot of the so-called scroungers have children who're

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very vulnerable and those people are struggling to feed those

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children because of the rising costs of food, the rising costs of

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bills, the rising costs of rent and they're just not able to do that.

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We have to think about protecting those vulnerable people. Can I

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just... In a moment. I want a few more points in. Like John Prescott,

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if you could hold back for the moment. You on the right? Yes. My

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point is, Britain is a wonderful country to be in, and for many

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people, the reason they are here is because the benefits system works

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for them. You can stay at home and make a lot of money and those

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who're going to work are the ones that pay the price of going out. My

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children complain. Now, why is it that each time the public talk

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about their benefit cap or less taxation, they are talking about

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them. What needs to happen is that the system needs to be overhauled

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so that we know that to survive - see grease, it's suffering -

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somehow it sounds ungrateful that people don't see that it's better

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to make the sacrifice so the changes can happen than staying

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there as in we don't want the increase. It's not fair on those

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that are at work and pensioners. OK, they have benefits, but we need to

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look at reform and let the public understand that Britain needs to

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survive these hard times. Thank you.

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Now, we have still got a lot of hands up but I want the panel to

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have a chance to pick up briefly because we have other questions.

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The points were that business and demand will be affected by cutting

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benefits, not increasing them, that was the point made up there, Labour

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trapped people in the welfare state, the point about the pensioners and

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your point, madam, there. So Ed Davey, briefly? You are quite right,

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you need to make sure people can get by in work, that's why we are

:18:26.:18:30.

raising the tax allowance, taking two million low-paid out of income

:18:30.:18:34.

tax all together. What Labour did, they used to tax you then give it

:18:34.:18:38.

back to you as if they were giving you a present, you know. What we

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need to do is take it off them all together. Because we are doing that

:18:44.:18:50.

with income tax, 24 million people got a tax cut in April of �600.

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That is helping people on low and middle incomes. I'm not getting it

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because I'm on a high income, I shouldn't get it, people on low and

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middle incomes should get it. Prescott, the point about Labour

:19:04.:19:09.

having trapped people in the welfare state. You are going back

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after the war, that's a long time ago when there was mass

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unemployment, mass disease, education, all that was changed by

:19:16.:19:19.

the welfare state. We've now got to a stage where people are trying to

:19:20.:19:25.

blame it and there's heavy cost put on it so we need to make a

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fundamental reform in the system. That's what I'm arguing. People say

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we can do reform cheaper. All the benefits took three quarters of

:19:34.:19:39.

kids out of poverty, Tax Credit, minimum wage, so bear that in mind.

:19:39.:19:47.

But that hasn't solved the problem though. How would you want to see

:19:47.:19:53.

the reform of the welfare state? It's as fundamental as when

:19:53.:19:56.

Beverage started. Let's ask ourselves, do you want a welfare

:19:56.:20:03.

system? Is it to be fair? How will we measure that? Those are the

:20:03.:20:06.

arguments, so let's sit down and argue about that.

:20:06.:20:09.

APPLAUSE Nadine Dorries, can you pick up on

:20:09.:20:13.

the point that was made at the very beginning that the capping of

:20:13.:20:17.

benefits will only reduce demand, make people move out of certain

:20:17.:20:21.

areas, reduce prosperity generally? Obviously I wouldn't agree with

:20:21.:20:26.

that statement and the gentleman also said about declining

:20:26.:20:32.

employment. We have a million new jobs which have been created and

:20:32.:20:37.

240,000 of those were women the work place now have than there were

:20:37.:20:41.

in 2010, a million new jobs. For every job in the public sector

:20:41.:20:46.

which is lost, two jobs are created in the private sector so we are

:20:46.:20:50.

creating jobs, unemployment is falling. We have the lowest rate of

:20:50.:20:54.

youth unemployment in ten years, unemployment is falling - I'm

:20:54.:20:58.

afraid that's a fact. That's not true. It is because that's what the

:20:58.:21:04.

figures say, John. Tory propaganda. I'm sorry, it isn't, John. The lady

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who made the point about the pensioner benefits, I was talking

:21:09.:21:13.

about the basic state pension which I believe should be increased. That

:21:13.:21:16.

was the right thing to do. What I do question though, and I think you

:21:16.:21:21.

probably agree with me, is that we have some wealthy pensioners now

:21:21.:21:24.

who are, the winter fuel allowance I think should go to those

:21:24.:21:28.

pensioners who really need it, not to those who are wealthy, but I

:21:28.:21:32.

have heard some figures banded around which I don't agree with. I

:21:32.:21:36.

heard one the other day which said that pensioners who are on a joint

:21:36.:21:41.

pension of �25,000 a year shouldn't get the winter fuel allowance. I

:21:41.:21:44.

think that's on the edge of a limit really because I think that's not

:21:44.:21:49.

what I would call wealthy. I would call that people just about

:21:49.:21:51.

surviving. Thank you very much. Camilla Cavendish, do you want to

:21:51.:21:56.

pick up on any of the points made? John, I love your idea that we can

:21:56.:22:00.

now sit down and discuss what's fair now. I don't think we can do

:22:00.:22:03.

that if you won't even accept that actually the welfare bill is too

:22:03.:22:12.

large and that in fact people, wages aren't better on benefits.

:22:12.:22:16.

He's saying prove it. There is more money in this country to spend than

:22:16.:22:22.

at any time. The lady has a good point to make. If you go to the

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Department of Work and Pensions, there were 32 new benefits. Every

:22:25.:22:30.

time they introduced a new benefit, there was a new computer system and

:22:30.:22:35.

the system didn't work. There was an opportunity to streamline the

:22:35.:22:39.

system, focus it and make work pay and you didn't do it. You don't

:22:39.:22:43.

want to go over old ground but it's difficult to have that conversation

:22:43.:22:48.

now when so many middle class people have got child benefit, baby

:22:48.:22:52.

bonds, all the things that Labour handed out, now they don't want to

:22:52.:22:56.

give them back and that makes it really difficult to have this

:22:56.:23:03.

conversation. Every Government finds it difficult

:23:03.:23:06.

to govern and it's very, very difficult to govern the welfare

:23:06.:23:11.

system. One of the real things is, every Government's increased the

:23:11.:23:15.

size. This Government has just run out of money and it's not going to

:23:15.:23:19.

increase the size. One thing the Labour Government did and I think

:23:19.:23:25.

with some faults in a sense, that is the laws of unintended

:23:25.:23:32.

consequence - when they gave a lot of support to people in work they

:23:32.:23:37.

supported people in cheap jobs and the people who did well out of it

:23:37.:23:43.

were the shareholders. I think that is one of the unintended laws and

:23:43.:23:48.

consequences that we need to be very careful about. Whef we change

:23:48.:23:52.

something as big as the welfare state, still one to have most

:23:52.:23:56.

beautiful social creation of the 20th century, it has to be

:23:56.:24:01.

perfected. But its supporters have to reform it, we have to reform it.

:24:01.:24:06.

If we don't reform it, we leave it to its enemies and they'll make a

:24:06.:24:12.

pig's ear of it. APPLAUSE

:24:12.:24:18.

Now we must move on. You can join in the debate from home by texting

:24:18.:24:26.

or Twitter. The panellist tonight is a person from blog conspiracy

:24:26.:24:33.

and he's at the BBC extra text account. You can press red to see

:24:33.:24:37.

what others are saying. Let's change the topic and take a

:24:37.:24:44.

question from Karl Timberlake? politicians who court celebrity

:24:44.:24:51.

debase the honour of their own profession?

:24:51.:24:55.

APPLAUSE Well, I can't imagine who you are

:24:55.:25:01.

thinking of! Maybe the cap fits to all three politicians, I don't know.

:25:01.:25:08.

But, Camilla Cavendish, you start on this? Well, I have to admire

:25:08.:25:13.

Nadine, whom I assume your question is directed, for going out...

:25:13.:25:18.

necessarily you say. Prescott is it?! Cagey about it now? The cap

:25:18.:25:21.

fits and they've been doing some advertising, maybe. The question

:25:21.:25:26.

was, do politicians who court celebrity debase the honour? I have

:25:26.:25:29.

to admire Nadine for going to the jungle. I wouldn't have had the

:25:29.:25:33.

courage to do it but I would also say if I was an MP I don't think I

:25:33.:25:36.

would have done it because I don't think it was really the right thing

:25:36.:25:41.

to do. I know you have got a great line on it and you will defend it,

:25:41.:25:46.

but I just feel, as a woman, people are so cynical about politics and

:25:46.:25:50.

particularly women in politics. I think a lot of women MPs feel that

:25:50.:25:54.

they are seen as shallow or they're self-interested and I suppose

:25:54.:25:59.

that's maybe why I feel I wouldn't have done that. You would have felt

:25:59.:26:04.

uncomfortable. Right. Ed Davey? a certain extent we are all in the

:26:04.:26:08.

public eye and we are all wanting people to see us and hear from us.

:26:08.:26:12.

What do you think about this publicity? Focus leaflets in my

:26:12.:26:17.

constituencies and things like that. Your junior minister courts more

:26:18.:26:24.

publicity than you do. Seriously, what I want to do is answer the

:26:24.:26:29.

question and the point is, I think an MPs job is to represent their

:26:29.:26:32.

constituents. I do two advice surgeries almost every week so

:26:32.:26:36.

people come and see me face-to-face with their problems, whether it's

:26:37.:26:40.

benefits. Was she right to do that from the jungle? She could haven't

:26:40.:26:47.

done it from the jungle. I saw her eating sheep testicles, it made my

:26:47.:26:50.

stomach children. That's not the thing people elect their MPs to do.

:26:50.:26:56.

They should be campaigning hard for them, being there to represent them.

:26:56.:27:01.

Nadine will say 16 million people watch that programme, fewer than

:27:01.:27:05.

watch this programme, but the point is, what should an MP be doing?

:27:05.:27:14.

It's in their constituency and it's in Parliament.

:27:14.:27:18.

APPLAUSE Was the Conservative Party right to punish her by removing the

:27:18.:27:24.

whip? That's a matter for the Conservatives. Of course it is!

:27:24.:27:27.

What is your view?! APPLAUSE

:27:27.:27:32.

Well, if a Liberal Democrat... APPLAUSE

:27:32.:27:36.

If a Liberal Democrat MP would have done that, the whip would have been

:27:36.:27:42.

withdrawn. Nadine Dorries, in your own defence? Parliament was

:27:42.:27:47.

actually on holiday for nine of the 12 days I was in the jungle if you

:27:47.:27:50.

include the weekends either side. I worked through the summer recess

:27:50.:27:54.

because I was going and didn't take any holiday, only had four days'

:27:54.:27:59.

holiday in the wheel year because I knew I was doing this. We had a

:27:59.:28:03.

very in-depth meeting about this that I would be the first out. How

:28:03.:28:07.

did we know that? We looked at the fan base of everybody taking part.

:28:07.:28:11.

The small Estefan club was Ashley Roberts of 239,000 fans in the UK.

:28:11.:28:16.

I don't have a fan club, believe it or not, so we just knew that I

:28:16.:28:21.

would be first out. Someone shouted "Not surprised" from the back.

:28:21.:28:27.

may say so. And we knew exactly what we were doing. I missed no

:28:27.:28:30.

legislation whatsoever and I missed no votes. Despite what the press

:28:30.:28:37.

may have told you, I was away for 12 days, of which Parliament

:28:37.:28:41.

weren't sitting in nine. Even you weren't in Parliament when I was in

:28:41.:28:45.

the jungle. It was the right thing to do, and I'll tell you why. Most

:28:45.:28:48.

people when they look at or speak to politicians and I know this

:28:48.:28:52.

because I used to feel like this as well, I used to think, whatever,

:28:52.:28:58.

you know, less than 20% of people went out and voted recently in the

:28:58.:29:01.

PCC elections. The people are engaging in politics and with

:29:01.:29:05.

politicians and they're dropping like a stone in terms of numbers.

:29:05.:29:09.

People are losing interest. The only way politicians are presented,

:29:09.:29:15.

usually to people, is via the printed media. I think it's one

:29:15.:29:19.

million people watch this out of 65 million people. I beg your pardon.

:29:20.:29:28.

How many people watch this? million? It's nothing like...

:29:28.:29:33.

be honest, 2.5 million to 3 million people. I thought you would have

:29:33.:29:36.

done your in-depth research before you came on. It's my fifth time,

:29:36.:29:40.

I've forgot! It's a very select number of people who're interested

:29:40.:29:43.

in politics, they watch this programme, not the people who

:29:43.:29:46.

aren't interested. I did think long and hard about it. I'll tell you

:29:46.:29:50.

what happens to me now when I go into my constituency. The teenagers

:29:50.:29:56.

really want to talk to me. The teenagers want to know what's going

:29:56.:30:06.
:30:06.:30:08.

They say are you Nadine Dorries, are you the MP? I like the fact

:30:08.:30:15.

that they say, "Are you the MP?" They ask me a a lot of questions

:30:15.:30:19.

and they usually are about I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!.

:30:19.:30:22.

When they put a cross next to my name and they will know who they

:30:22.:30:25.

are voting for and I think that's important because quite often they

:30:25.:30:33.

don't. I notice the Labour Party have gone on to Dancing On Ice, he

:30:33.:30:37.

is paid and -- she is paid and I hope she does well because I would

:30:37.:30:41.

like to see politicians doing different things in a different

:30:41.:30:45.

form mat, finding out what they are like other than on the green

:30:45.:30:48.

benches or on Forums like this because there are a lot of people

:30:48.:30:52.

who don't watch this programme or read the newspapers that we engage

:30:52.:30:56.

with. You, sir, on the front row? Now to

:30:56.:31:00.

the not think there is a worry if you go on the public television

:31:00.:31:06.

programmes how the media portray you? That's an interesting point

:31:06.:31:14.

actually. And the man up there, you sir? Sympathetic as I am to your

:31:14.:31:18.

dedication to your job and the fact that you did move your holiday and

:31:18.:31:23.

I am sure you did work very hard over that summer holiday. Do you

:31:23.:31:26.

genuinely think that you did good for your constituency in that time

:31:26.:31:31.

in the jungle? I can only tell you the reaction of my constituents.

:31:31.:31:35.

You have And that's the important thing to know which has been

:31:35.:31:37.

tremendous. They know you as a celebrity on

:31:38.:31:41.

television. They don't know more about your policies as a result,

:31:41.:31:46.

they are not asking you about your policies. How was it meeting those

:31:46.:31:49.

other celebrities? They are and in fact... The man in the white shirt

:31:50.:31:55.

there. Diyou really believe that ITV would let you harp on in the

:31:55.:32:01.

jungle about your anti-abortion views and other right-wing views?

:32:01.:32:10.

No, I did not say they would either. John Bird? I have never said that I

:32:10.:32:15.

thought that is what I thought would happen. It is entertainment.

:32:16.:32:24.

It is a watershed moment when we realise that we need a different

:32:25.:32:32.

kind of of politics, we need our representatives, but it does shout

:32:32.:32:35.

out to the world in general that we need to change the kind of people

:32:35.:32:41.

who go into politics. I would like some firemen, I would like some

:32:41.:32:47.

nurses, I would like some people who had real experience and not

:32:47.:32:54.

just in publicity. The other thing I would like more participatory

:32:55.:32:58.

democracy, rather than representational democracy, which

:32:58.:33:02.

means that you lot have to join with people like me and try to do

:33:02.:33:06.

something profound about making our communities work and making our

:33:06.:33:10.

society work. And the problem is that we are all looking at

:33:10.:33:13.

Parliament to answer so many problems and they are not answering

:33:13.:33:20.

them. The answer lies with us in the same way around poverty, the

:33:20.:33:24.

answer lies with the poor. What about Nadine Dorries and the

:33:24.:33:28.

jungle? Briefly. I am a nurse. I was a nurse.

:33:28.:33:32.

I am glad you are a nurse. I thought you were a fireman!

:33:32.:33:35.

But the point is, I didn't know this lady, I don't watch that

:33:35.:33:39.

programme. When they asked me on, I was going to jump at the chance

:33:39.:33:45.

because I wanted to be up there saying Big Issue, Big Issue, but

:33:45.:33:49.

they changed their mind. If the lady feels she can prove that she

:33:49.:33:54.

is helping her constituents better than a lot of MPs help their

:33:54.:33:58.

constituents, great, but I would agree with the guy over here and

:33:58.:34:01.

the guy there that you have probably handed the argument over

:34:01.:34:06.

to the media and the media are not that interested in the real, deep,

:34:06.:34:11.

local politics. Yes? Well, Nadine mentioned low

:34:11.:34:14.

voter turnout is a reason for thinking the jungle was a good idea.

:34:15.:34:18.

Do you not think that one of the reasons that the public are losing

:34:18.:34:23.

faith in politicians is the disturbing similarities in the

:34:23.:34:26.

mechanics in politics and the mechanics of celebrity and the

:34:26.:34:31.

focus on spin and PR which is one of the main reasons why people

:34:31.:34:38.

don't trust politicians anymore? APPLAUSE

:34:38.:34:43.

John Prescott, you have attracted publicity in your time? I think you

:34:43.:34:48.

should go, John. Have you ever court it had? I was

:34:48.:34:51.

invited to do this programme and so was my wife.

:34:51.:34:59.

To go into the jungle p I didn't want to to do it because there

:34:59.:35:04.

wasn't any en-suite facilities. If the people don't like it, they vote

:35:04.:35:08.

them out. Nadine made that decision, I wouldn't have made that decision.

:35:08.:35:12.

I remember living in a council house, I think it was in Liverpool,

:35:12.:35:16.

looking at the difficulties people had living on that income. Now each

:35:16.:35:20.

can make a decision, but we get invited into situations that almost

:35:20.:35:25.

become celebrities. I didn't choose to be a celebrity, when a fella hit

:35:25.:35:31.

me with an egg and I disagreed, but I was turned almost as a celebrity,

:35:31.:35:36.

I went on Mr and Mrs with the wife for �30,000 for charity. And that

:35:36.:35:39.

was an opportunities because the media wants to have celebrities.

:35:40.:35:43.

There is a chance you could get �30,000 for a charity and it seemed

:35:43.:35:50.

worth doing and they see the other side of you. I am a serious

:35:50.:35:53.

politician who has done lots of of things for changes, I have never

:35:53.:35:57.

done a job anywhere else, I have done that. But in the process, the

:35:57.:36:01.

press and the media will turn you into some of the things you do into

:36:01.:36:04.

a celebrity and you have to live with that, but as long as you can

:36:04.:36:09.

use that power sometimes, bringing home to people you have known and

:36:09.:36:15.

acting in the good, well it is the safety at sea.

:36:15.:36:21.

So you are on her side? I think she is entitled to make that judgement

:36:21.:36:24.

and if the constituents don't like it, they have a chance to put her

:36:24.:36:26.

out. Why Why didn't you go into the

:36:26.:36:36.
:36:36.:36:42.

jungle? Did you see Galloway? APPLAUSE That wasn't the jungle.

:36:42.:36:47.

but I bet he would have preferred to have been in the jungle than

:36:47.:36:50.

drinking the milk out of that woman's hands.

:36:50.:36:56.

The woman there? Does the panel agree that the best way to get the

:36:56.:37:04.

public's attention is to eat testicles out of a bikini? Well, I

:37:04.:37:10.

guess they always say you get the politician you deserve. If it has

:37:10.:37:13.

made us more interested, that's the answer. I don't think it has made

:37:13.:37:17.

people more interested in politics and that's why it was a mistake to

:37:17.:37:24.

have done it. Kate Hennessy? David Cameron

:37:24.:37:27.

claimed that the NHS was safe in his hands. Given the cuts and

:37:27.:37:34.

closures around the country, is this still the case? David Cameron

:37:34.:37:44.
:37:44.:37:44.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 110 seconds

:37:44.:39:34.

claims the NHS was safe in his In. So they can put their voice to

:39:34.:39:40.

him. They can represent their people and we will have to await

:39:40.:39:44.

his decision. The A&E here is being closed

:39:44.:39:47.

because of a merger because the neighbouring lot went bust and were

:39:47.:39:56.

taken over. I want to draw you to the UK

:39:56.:40:03.

Statistics Authority. The UK Statistics Authority says in 2011,

:40:03.:40:07.

2012, the expenditure is less than it was before. The expenditure is

:40:07.:40:11.

going down. True or false? Well, when we set the Spending Review, we

:40:12.:40:16.

were saying that NHS expenditure would be kept at the right level.

:40:16.:40:20.

Under the Labour proposal... Were you right? They were going up.

:40:20.:40:24.

Under the Labour proposals, they were going to cut NHS spending.

:40:24.:40:29.

Hold on. The spokesman for Labour at the moment has said that they

:40:29.:40:34.

would cut health spending. Let's talk about your Central

:40:34.:40:37.

Government. The statistics show that spend something lower. Well, I

:40:37.:40:40.

haven't seen that report. What I have seen is the spending plans

:40:41.:40:45.

that we set out in 2010 and they show that over this Parliament,

:40:45.:40:48.

spending on the health will continue to go up. John Prescott?

:40:48.:40:52.

Well, does it mean that what the statistics people are saying in

:40:52.:40:56.

real terms you are spending less? You might say it is to do with the

:40:56.:40:59.

debt and blame everybody else for that, but that is happening and he

:40:59.:41:05.

said it would not happen. It is another promise... And why are you

:41:06.:41:10.

proposing to cut it? I don't know the quote that you have got. He is

:41:10.:41:19.

asking you what doested statistical body say? They say it is in fact

:41:19.:41:24.

reduced. I have been saying that the spending plans... I know what

:41:24.:41:30.

you are saying, what about the cuts? I have seen some of the of

:41:30.:41:34.

the health reforms that are really difficult that that we have put, we

:41:34.:41:39.

are putting power gh power in the hands of local GPs. Under Labour

:41:40.:41:44.

all the decisions were made centrally. They didn't take account

:41:44.:41:52.

of what what what was happening in local communities. I have to say

:41:52.:41:55.

John, our reforms, yes, they are difficult, but we are trying to

:41:55.:42:00.

make sure that local people have a voice and I hope they have a voice

:42:00.:42:03.

here in Lewisham. The woman in the front row? That

:42:03.:42:08.

really isn't true, the views of the people in Lewisham, the views of

:42:08.:42:14.

the GPs in Lewisham have been ignored by Kershaw.

:42:14.:42:20.

Who is the man in charge of the man in charge of the Trust? He is the

:42:20.:42:23.

Trust administrator. And the plan for Lewisham Hospital was hidden

:42:23.:42:30.

away in an annex to an appendix in the draft report. It was not in the

:42:30.:42:34.

con consultation document and when I looked at the plan, every single

:42:34.:42:39.

entrance to the hospital was going to be sold off and our brand-new

:42:39.:42:43.

A&E, maternity care and urgent care centre were going to be part of the

:42:43.:42:53.
:42:53.:43:01.

land that would be sold off. APPLAUSE

:43:01.:43:04.

There is a problem here because you have a particular issue here in

:43:04.:43:06.

Lewisham as other parts of the country do. The question was a more

:43:06.:43:09.

general question and Nadine Dorries perhaps you would like to answer

:43:09.:43:11.

that which Tories claimed the NHS was safe in their hands. The

:43:11.:43:15.

statistics show spending is not keeping up with the real cost of

:43:15.:43:20.

the NHS. Do you still argue that it is safe in Tory hands? I I do and

:43:20.:43:24.

there is a commit m to increase db -- commitment to increase real-time

:43:24.:43:27.

spending. Can you say that again? There is a

:43:27.:43:30.

commitment to continue increased spending in the NHS. There is a

:43:30.:43:34.

commitment to that. But spending or spending in real

:43:34.:43:40.

terms? Spending in real terms. So why is the statisticsical

:43:40.:43:46.

authority saying that has not happened? I have not heard of them.

:43:46.:43:51.

Andrew Dilnot, he is a well respected figure, you know Dilnot,

:43:51.:43:56.

he said it. I don't take my information from Dilnot.

:43:56.:44:00.

You take it from Cameron then? Well, he is wrong.

:44:00.:44:06.

Well, what I do know and I have looked at it today and I have

:44:06.:44:10.

spoken to the protesters about what is happening in this situation. I

:44:10.:44:16.

know that the South London Trust has two hospitals in it which in

:44:16.:44:23.

1998 were sat up on a PFI agree which means one hospital pays �36

:44:23.:44:30.

million and another �35 million a year in interest rate payments. How

:44:30.:44:34.

Gordon Brown and Ed Balls thought that a hospital would exist with

:44:34.:44:39.

that level of debt and unfortunately, Lewisham which was

:44:39.:44:45.

set upon a better system, it performs well and it is a good

:44:45.:44:50.

hospital, has been looked at by Kershaw to come in and Lewisham is

:44:50.:44:55.

coming in to save the bad bad financial financial arrangements

:44:55.:44:59.

that were set-up for the other two hospitals.

:44:59.:45:03.

How is that fair? I trained as a nurse in a hospital that is very

:45:04.:45:07.

much like Lewisham, I have one in my constituency, were people are

:45:07.:45:11.

born, they have their babies, they die, they have their major

:45:11.:45:14.

illnesses, it is a hospital that people care about because it is

:45:14.:45:17.

such a part of the community and the reason why that hospital is

:45:17.:45:22.

under threat now is because what Gordon Brown and Ed Balls set up

:45:22.:45:25.

for the other two hospitals in the past and that is shame on the

:45:25.:45:34.

previous Labour Government. I hope it is saved and and Jeremy Hunt

:45:34.:45:39.

made no decision yet. The decision will be made in the future. He is

:45:39.:45:44.

going to look at it. I do know this, I know there is a xaint there is --

:45:44.:45:48.

xaint. I spoke to the protesters and they said what you have said,

:45:48.:45:52.

about clinicians, local people and patients, nursing staff, they were

:45:53.:45:58.

not listened to. I tomorrow, will speak to to Jeremy Hunt and take

:45:58.:46:02.

those message back to Jeremy, because if my party is about

:46:02.:46:06.

anything, it professes to be about localism and if it is about

:46:06.:46:09.

localism then it will take those people's opinions into account.

:46:09.:46:19.
:46:19.:46:23.

Will you go with her tomorrow? Actually, tomorrow I'm in my

:46:23.:46:27.

constituency. Simon Hughes has put in a submission to the

:46:27.:46:30.

administrator and Liberal Democrats locally are campaigning on it and I

:46:30.:46:35.

know the local MPs, because Jeremy Hunt said they'll meet him and

:46:35.:46:39.

that's how it should be. Back to Kate Hennessey's question, which

:46:39.:46:42.

was the NHS Scaife in David Cameron's hands. A lot of people

:46:42.:46:46.

don't feel that because of this issue. But back to the point. You,

:46:46.:46:51.

Sir, on the left? The coalition Government broke its pledge not to

:46:51.:46:58.

introduce any top down change by introducing the biggest top down

:46:58.:47:02.

social care and health bill. It's the biggest introduced by this

:47:02.:47:05.

coalition Government. Do you feel that because you work in the NHS or

:47:05.:47:11.

are a patient? I work in the NHS. You work in it? Yes. As what?

:47:11.:47:16.

doctor. And the coalition is pushing on more than �20 billion

:47:16.:47:21.

worth of savings over the next three years and the NHS Bill, total

:47:21.:47:25.

funding is about �85 billion, giving an idea of some perspective

:47:25.:47:30.

about it. A Scaife hospital locally is about to close, now make a

:47:30.:47:40.
:47:40.:47:46.

judgment, is the NHS Scaife with this coalition Government?

:47:46.:47:51.

APPLAUSE I was very disappointed, as you were, that the Health Bill

:47:51.:47:56.

last year focused so exclusively on structures and moving the chess

:47:56.:47:59.

pieces around for something that is quite expensive is sucking up a lot

:47:59.:48:04.

of money and a lot of energy at a time when the service needs to save

:48:04.:48:11.

money. I was also disaed that because it was so focused on

:48:11.:48:16.

structures it wasn't focused on the vital issue for patients which is

:48:16.:48:23.

nursing care. People were having to drink water from vases. Those are

:48:23.:48:32.

extreme examples but there are actually too many of those examples.

:48:32.:48:37.

There was some fundamental failures in the NHS. If you come back to

:48:37.:48:44.

Lewisham. That's what's happened in the South London care trust. They

:48:44.:48:49.

haven't been able to manage things. I had a couple of calls from

:48:49.:48:52.

doctors because they knew I was coming on the programme, and it's

:48:52.:48:58.

very clear to me that it's not sustainable that they are spending

:48:58.:49:02.

�70 million a year propping up one hospital, you are taking that from

:49:02.:49:05.

another hospital to prop it up so it's not free money and you have

:49:05.:49:09.

got to stop and put better management in.

:49:09.:49:14.

I thought, sometimes you have to close things. We can't all live in

:49:14.:49:17.

a world when we pretend every single thing has to open and there

:49:17.:49:21.

are some A&Es that will have to close. This area, it seems very

:49:21.:49:27.

surprising to me that after a very rushed consultation, they're saying

:49:27.:49:33.

they want to close Lewisham A&E and move people what, five miles down

:49:33.:49:41.

to Woolwich, quite a long way. They are actually in a way, all that's

:49:41.:49:46.

doing is rewarding the bad management.

:49:46.:49:51.

APPLAUSE Lewisham Hospital is a solvent

:49:51.:49:55.

hospital, giving perfectly good care. A lot of people care about it.

:49:55.:49:58.

There is apparently a proposal which I think Jeremy Hunt should

:49:58.:50:04.

look at which is Lewisham Trust said it's happy to go in and take

:50:04.:50:08.

over Woolwich and try and apply better management to it. That's a

:50:08.:50:13.

way out of this problem and Jeremy Hunt should give that a try.

:50:13.:50:18.

APPLAUSE John Bird? Well, I was speaking to

:50:18.:50:21.

people outside and one of them suggested to me, and I hope it's

:50:21.:50:26.

not true, that there's a bit of gerrymandering going on here, that

:50:26.:50:31.

what you have got is Lewisham because it's largely probably a

:50:31.:50:37.

leftish or working class area is hit while the other areas which are

:50:37.:50:42.

more likely to vote Conservative are going to be left with their

:50:42.:50:46.

hospitals. That's not true. APPLAUSE

:50:46.:50:51.

That may be a scurryless piece of information which I've now passed

:50:51.:50:56.

on to you. I think as a person who's used the hospital system on

:50:56.:51:00.

and off for many years, with many broken toes and noses, I can tell

:51:00.:51:05.

you that probably since the mid 80s, the National Health Service has

:51:05.:51:11.

been in a permanent state of rebuilding, renaming, rethis,

:51:11.:51:19.

rethat. I think we must try and find a way of stopping this

:51:19.:51:28.

permanent state of repainting, problems that we are facing. I also

:51:28.:51:32.

want to ask the leading question, which I think all of us who're

:51:32.:51:35.

concerned about health should ask, why is it that the National Health

:51:35.:51:40.

Service, which was started as a National Health Service, which was

:51:40.:51:44.

more about self-health so people would make themselves healthy, why

:51:44.:51:49.

is it that only 1% of the budget of the National Health Service is

:51:49.:51:54.

spent on prevention? We know that prevention is much better than cure.

:51:54.:52:04.
:52:04.:52:07.

OK. I see from the clock we only have a few minutes left. You are

:52:07.:52:12.

looking very keen to come in. Very quick, if you promise? Thank you. I

:52:12.:52:15.

don't think the NHS is Scaife at all in David Cameron's hands

:52:15.:52:19.

because he has actually quite blatantly lied. Nadine, if you are

:52:19.:52:22.

going to see Jeremy Hunt tomorrow, would you take some of us with you

:52:22.:52:27.

because we are trying to get a meeting with him and he doesn't

:52:27.:52:35.

want to talk to us because he thinks this is a sham. You can meet

:52:35.:52:41.

her after the programme. I want to get to one other topic before we

:52:41.:52:45.

end tonight. Damon Briggs? Should David Cameron take notice of the US

:52:45.:52:49.

warning not to leave the European Union? Should David Cameron take

:52:49.:52:54.

notice? A shot has been fired across his bow by saying America is

:52:54.:52:58.

against any decision on that. The Irish Prime Minister said exactly

:52:58.:53:02.

the same, it would be a disaster if we left the European Union. Germany

:53:02.:53:12.

pitched in today saying you can't black other states, it's neither

:53:12.:53:17.

wise nor advisable to open the box -- blackmail. We think the Prime

:53:17.:53:21.

Minister will make a speech on this, it's very much on the agenda.

:53:21.:53:25.

Should the Government take notice of what the Americans are saying?

:53:25.:53:30.

Ed Davey? Yes, when our closest allie, the United States, and the

:53:30.:53:34.

Irish and Germans, but not just that, British business people, are

:53:35.:53:38.

saying that we must be careful, David Cameron must be very careful,

:53:38.:53:42.

we don't want to sleep walk out of the European Union, they are saying

:53:42.:53:46.

it for a very good reason. First of all, they are saying it because

:53:46.:53:49.

they know it's in Britain's economic interests to be in the

:53:49.:53:54.

European Union. Jobs are what's critical. We need jobs and trade

:53:54.:53:57.

for the European Union. Are you saying David Cameron's got it

:53:57.:54:01.

wrong? We haven't heard the speech yet, but what I do think is, if you

:54:01.:54:06.

listen to what the Americans are... Referendums? What the Americans are

:54:06.:54:10.

saying is that we have got greater influence if we are in the European

:54:10.:54:14.

Union. I think that's what Beijing probably thinks, I think New Delhi

:54:14.:54:17.

and the world thinks that the UK has more influence and is stronger

:54:17.:54:21.

and more secure if it's in the European Union. Let me give you one

:54:21.:54:25.

other example about why I think Britain should stay in the European

:54:25.:54:28.

Union. The cooperation that we are having now with European colleagues

:54:28.:54:32.

on tackling crime is not talked about but it's really significant.

:54:32.:54:36.

This country's threatened by international crime, Mafia,

:54:36.:54:42.

organised crime, human trafficking, drugs. You have to be in the EU to

:54:42.:54:46.

control crime? No, seriously, it helps us... I'm not saying you are

:54:46.:54:51.

not being serious, but is it relevant? Very. Until we have the

:54:51.:54:57.

European arrest warrant, rapists and murderers are going to Spain

:54:57.:55:01.

and escaping the law. The European Union brought in the arrest warrant

:55:01.:55:05.

and those wicked people are serving time behind bars, that's the sort

:55:05.:55:09.

of thing we can get by staying in the European Union. That's not the

:55:09.:55:15.

point that was being made by the US or the Irish or Germans. We only

:55:15.:55:22.

have a couple of minutes left, I'm afraid. Can I disagree with Ed very

:55:22.:55:26.

briefly? Yes, that would be great. Ed's portraiting the US message as

:55:26.:55:30.

a sign of our weakness really. I think it's a sign of our strength.

:55:30.:55:33.

We are the fifth largest economy many the world. We are the only

:55:33.:55:39.

country in the European Union which has a really functioning mill Tyre.

:55:39.:55:43.

-- military. When America wants to go into war, whether you agree with

:55:43.:55:46.

that or not, it doesn't pick up the phone to Brussels, but London. It

:55:46.:55:49.

wants us in the European Union because we are strong and I think

:55:49.:55:55.

there's too much defeatism about this issue. We can, if we negotiate

:55:55.:55:59.

properly, negotiate some of those powers back. I don't want to go

:55:59.:56:02.

into the drug laundering or the crime, but there are powers that we

:56:02.:56:07.

need to take back. We don't want to be run by Europe. The working time

:56:07.:56:13.

directive... I said we had a couple of minutes... Let's not be

:56:13.:56:17.

defeatist. Let's not be defeatist about what the Government is

:56:17.:56:22.

intending to do by negotiation. It's about our strength. John Bird,

:56:22.:56:28.

briefly, if you would? Briefly, I think the problem with Europe is

:56:28.:56:33.

that nobody has really educated us correctly as to what is actually

:56:33.:56:36.

happening, what are our advantages or disadvantages? There are many

:56:37.:56:40.

disadvantages. The greatest disadvantage for me is when I hear

:56:40.:56:46.

some of those plans that come out of Strasbourg and the other places

:56:46.:56:50.

where you actually think there is another Government telling us what

:56:50.:56:55.

to do which we would don't that way, we'd do it totally different. There

:56:55.:57:00.

are too little understandings of the pluses and minuses. I would

:57:01.:57:06.

like a referendum. I would like one based on the fact that it was done

:57:06.:57:11.

because we had the cognitive ability to understand what were the

:57:11.:57:15.

pluses or minuses on should we stay in or should we go out.

:57:15.:57:20.

APPLAUSE John Prescott, faced with the

:57:20.:57:24.

warnings from America, Germany and Ireland, what is your reaction?

:57:24.:57:29.

Just to say, I led a campaign against going into the Common

:57:29.:57:34.

Market, we had a referendum and we lost. They don't come easy that way.

:57:34.:57:38.

These are global problems and we need probably solutions.

:57:38.:57:41.

Environment and Kyotos are examples of that. You have to negotiate with

:57:41.:57:46.

these, Ed. Europe is an important card. Don't lose sight of America.

:57:46.:57:51.

America looks to its own interests, not ours. They like our acceptable

:57:51.:57:55.

face in Europe, but what they do, if you look at the climate change,

:57:55.:57:59.

they refused internationally and still do, to join up to a global

:57:59.:58:02.

solution because that is in their interests. You are saying ignore

:58:02.:58:05.

the advice coming from America? Listen to it but don't forget that

:58:06.:58:11.

the Americans are looking after their interests, not our interests

:58:11.:58:13.

and sometimes we are the acceptable face.

:58:13.:58:21.

Nadine, very briefly? We spend �53 million a day from the UK into

:58:21.:58:25.

Europe. One day of that should save Lewisham Hospital. I would like not

:58:25.:58:30.

to send that money to Europe every day and I think the Americans

:58:30.:58:32.

should look after America's businesses and we should look after

:58:32.:58:36.

our own thank you very much. Thank you. Well, we must stop.

:58:36.:58:41.

We'll come back to that topic no doubt next week and maybe the week

:58:41.:58:45.

after. We are in Lincoln next week and the week after that we'll be in

:58:45.:58:52.

Weymouth. Join us, by amaying on the website -- applying on the

:58:52.:58:55.

David Dimbleby chairs the first Question Time of 2013, from Lewisham in south London.

Joining him on the panel are: Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary; Lord Prescott, former deputy prime minister; Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire; John Bird, founder of the Big Issue; and Times columnist Camilla Cavendish.


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