20/03/2014 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Warrington. On the panel are Danny Alexander, Andy Burnham, Dominic Raab MP, Jill Kirby and crime writer Val McDermid.

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And evening all, whether you are at home or here in the audience waiting


to put questions to our panel and I'm always asked this - no, they do


not know the questions in advance. Our panel tonight, one of the


authors of yesterday's budget, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to


the Treasury, Danny Alexander. Labour's shadow Health Secretary,


Andy Burnham. A Conservative MP, Dominic Raab who


has been making a name for himself on the backbenches and former direct


or director of the think-tank, Jill Kirby and a crime writer who has


written 28 novels which have sold 12 million copies worldwide, Val


McDemid-. And David Burgess Joyce, your


question, please. It would appear to us northern folk that the economy is


being driven by the south-east. Does the panel have any idea when the


rest of us will feel some of that heat? When is it going to reach


here? Val McDermid? It is hard to say when it will. We seem to have


been saying the same thing for the last 35 years. I can remember


working and living in the north-west of England for most of that time. It


does seem there is a strong focus on what happens down the south and we


end up with what is leftover on the table. Most of us who remember the


'80s remember how deeply our traditional sfris cut in the north


and doing was done to replace them. -- traditional industries.


Yesterday's budget didn't offer anything for those stuck out in the


regions. Do you think it is deliberate regret? I don't think it


is deliberate. I don't think they. Dominic Raab First of all the


recovery is going well. We have record jobsworth. There has been 1.


7 million new jobs in the private sector under this Government. Double


the record of a decade under Labour and I don't accept that it has been


all down in the south or in London. Up here in Warrington, for example,


unemployment is down 30% since this Government. There have 2,500 new


businesses between 2010 and 2012 but I accept we need it make sure we


have a more balanced recovery and stronger economic competitiveness


across the whole country. That's what, for example, investigating in


shale gas which will hopefully reap dividends across the country and


what things like HS2 are supposed to do and even with this week, we have


heard with the new updates with the plans that Hitachi have said they're


going to base their global rail business in the UK and build another


factory in the north. We are getting there, slowly but surely. I accept


the premise. In practice we are making gross. Juf said it is varied


but 80% of new jobs are created are in London and four out of five are


in low-paid sectors. If only 20% of the new jobs are coming to the


north, there is a disproportion to that. You cannot say we are all


recovering the say. We are not in all this together. The south are


getting 08% more jobs than the north. Andy Burnham, answer that. My


point back to Dominic would be - recovery going well for who? You


look for the for unemployment across the north-west? We then the up this


week in the north-west. It is an indictment. Look at the Budget. The


Evening Standard last night proclaimed it a Budget for London


and announced the investment for the different pet schemes people were


raising in London. What was in it for the north or north-west? I


didn't hear T you put your finger on it. They talk about private sector


jobs. How many are part-time? How many of them are zero hours


contracts. I forever have people in my surgery saying - they won't let


me work more than 23 hours because they don't want ton pay the extras


or we have people on zero hours contracts, so they can't find out


what they will earn one week to the next, so they cannot plan for their


life, get a loan or a mortgage. That's the reality of the economy.


Too much in the north. I have said this, for many years, we flif a


London-centric country. We live in. Policies designed for London, not


the whole country and this has to change.


APPLAUSE Danny Alexander? Well, I think the


questionnaire raises one of the most important points for the UK economy,


which is how can we make sure that growth is balanced, that the future


of our is balanced and benefits everyone across the whole of the UK.


Frankly, we had several decades of governments that were obsessed with


the City of London, banking system and financial service, spent all


their time as Andy and his colleagues did, going on prawn


cocktail offensives to charm the bankers and City Whizz Kidz to pay


more tax on the basing that would support everything. And the things


like manufacturing community, for the whole of the country,


particularfully Scotland, and in the north, were neglected. The decline


that Labour had. That's wrong. Some of the things we were doing


yesterday, to directly answer your question, supporting energy


intensive industries, chemical and steel works and the big


manufacturing companies through changes on energy policies,


supporting manufacturing businesses to invest, in new plant and


equipment by doubling capital allowances available to businesses


to invest in growing their own business, additional support for


apprenticeships, crucially important for growing the skills we need for


future economy. There was more money to encourage small and medium-sized


businesses to take on apprentices. One of the things I'm proud of. So,


when he says the evening Papers in London said it was a budget for


London and it is London-centric, say that's what they are, but not what


you were? That is what I would say. I said in Scotland it was a budget


for Scotland because we are supporting investment in the oil and


goes sector which is crucially important to the UK UK economy. Do


you agree with him, it is a budget for everybody? I must confess, I


thought the budget was OK. It wasn't a criticism. Coalition government,


who I think are doing a reasonable job. It was more around pushing


people out of London into the provinces with their businesses. I


used to work in HR. I still keep an eye on all the jobs now seem to be


advertised, even the senior jobs and it is almost like there is a retreat


into London. It is a different country from the rest of the UK and


this is' quite worrying. -- and that's quite worrying.


APPLAUSE The woman at the back in orange.


Could I just ask about youth employment? You mentioned


apprenticeships but it is still a big concern in the north-west,


certainly. I think youth employment is a big concern across the whole


country. Youth unemployment is starting to come down but we need to


do more to help. One of the things I'm proudest of as a Liberal


Democrat in the Coalition Government is the massive expansion in the


apprenticeships we have presided over. It is a good way for


businesses to take on young people and for young people to gain the


skills they need for the future of our economy. That alongside the big


cuts to income tax for people on lower incomes, are two of the areas


where I think the Liberal Democrats have made the biggest contribution


to getting the country back on the right track. I share the concern


that too much of the growth and wealth is concentrated in the


south-east. We need to look at Government's policies, both this


Government and its predecessor, one of the most damaging policies as


Danny alluded to is carbon tax on industries, industries that were


successful. Places like Stoke-on-Trent not far from here and


in the north. You cannot expect the whole country to unite around the


same jobs that are happening in London. We can't all be dependent on


consumer spending and debt-fuel growth. We knead to be making and


exporting but that doesn't just happen through special little


allowances and a little bit of money here and there. It is fundamentally


changed by the kind of energy policies we have. If we are making


it impossibleably expensive to manufacturer He this country and all


the other energy intensive industries which are clobbered by


green taxes which are OK in London at Metropolitan dinner parties but


in the country have had a profound effect in the economy. We cannot


reinvent those things and bring those jobs back overnight. We will


not do it by tinkering with the carbon floor price. We need to do


much more. Woman at the back there. Well, I feel this is all started in


Liverpool in the '80s and I believe Margaret Thatcher had a big Nelson


Mandela this process but Dominic mentioned HS2 bringing income to the


North West. It is not stopping anywhere here. It is stopping at


mnch Europe and then carrying on. You will get people flying into


Manchester Airport, straight out of the north-west. I don't understand


how you feel that's going to be bringing much benefit.


On that point, the interim report that came in this week on this, said


one of the things - two key things - first, we need to get more value for


money out of the project. I know there are concerns about that. But,


also, we want to bring forward the extension of phase 1 so it


incorporates Crewe as a regional hub. You are trie. Can't just be an


elevator between north and south. -- you are right. It needs to promote


greater connections between people and businesses.


We will take a question on this. We will stick with the idea of the


north/south but a question from Leanne Round on HS2. Is the high


speed rail link worth the money? Is it worth the money and will it


achieve what you were saying? What do you think? Are you for it? I am


for the principle but we will have to see whether it is worth the


money. You know, there can't be a blank cheque as Ed Balls has said. I


grew up in this area and know it well. I observe the routes south are


full. The West Coast Main Line and M6 are full. We cannot carry on as


we are, we will not be able to move. The principle is a good one but the


precise plan, I don't think does maximise the benefit for the


north-west. I have had to ask some tough questions about HS2. It comes


right through my constituency in Leigh T causes maximum disruption in


my view but offers very little benefit as the lady at the back was


saying. -- it causes. I have called for


changes, I have said there needs to be changes to maximise all of the


north-west. How do you do that? You are all talking about the north not


benefitting. David Higgins said that. You are saying it got behind


because of Labour but what you have done, Jill Kirby says is not enough.


How is this part of the country going ever to catch up and balance?


Is it possible it can balance with the south-east and London, or is it


a pipe dream that politicians talk about and never achieve. He has said


there need to be changes to improve connectivity. I agree. Coming back


to Danny. He said the north went into decline in the Labour years. I


fundamentally object to that. I saw Liverpool and Manchester go into


massive decline in the 1980s and 1990s. I had to leave Warrington, as


a young man, after university to get a job in the south because there was


nothing here. Liverpool revived, Manchester revived this. Area


revived under our Government. You took away the north-west development


agency, which in my view was a disastrous step and has made it


harder for this region to go in and win the inward investment we need.


Well I'm not here to defend the record of the Tory Government. You


said we did nothing. Of the Tory Governments in the 1980s and 1990s.


I agree of much of what you intad that. I have to say to have a Labour


spokesman coming on and talking about the economy without


recognising the mess your party made of the economy, without


recognising... APPLAUSE AND BOOS Recognising the way the financial


system collapsed because of the lack of regulation under Gordon Brown,


the way in which Labour was running a structural deficit before the


crisis. I think a simple apology. You can write it down if you don't


want to say it. Can I just say, there is nothing


more annoying to someone outside the political loop to hearing


politicians continually blaming the ones who came before.


APPLAUSE Surely there has to be some kind of


statute of limitations on a big boy did it and ran away.


The one thing Danny won't admit is he inherited a growing economy from


us and his Government put it back into recession. Let's take Val's


advice and not fight the battles that are over and look ahead to the


problems that this part of the world is now facing. There is a hand up


there. I don't see who it is attached to. The man there.


If you are on about HS2. Why not start it at the north and go down?


Are you going to say you are going to do that? One of the things David


Higgins was saying in his report this week was we should get the


northern section going more quickly. That we should get a new hub in


Crewe, to be opening at the same time as the Birmingham link opens,


to get economic benefits to this part of the country more quickly.


That must be right. The other thing he was saying and Andy is right


about this, is that it is important to use HS2. It is not just about


connecting Manchester or Birmingham to London. It is actually about


getting connections between northern cities quicker, more effective.


Speeding up a transport system and infrastructure system in the north.


I am a backbencher, I understand the fors and against it, I think we need


to make it work. I'm not clear if Labour are sitting on the fence. Are


you foreor against this major infrastructure project there to


boost the economy as a whole but also particularly the north? Jtsds


give me a better plan for the people of Warrington, for the people in


Liverpool? You haven't done that. He wanted to go - Give me a better


plan. That is what David Higgins said. It's not good enough to sit on


the fence. The North doesn't end here. I have lived in


Northumberland. When you say LS2 is going to the North they say, no it's


going to Manchester. They don't think that's the North. All right.


There is a whole chunk of the country north of here. Hello,


trains! We will move onto another aspect of this Budget. Hang on.


Another aspect of this Budget. Remember, you can join in this


debate right now, texting or Twitter.


this is another aspect of the Budget, before we leave the Budget.


Catherine Whitley, please. Is the Chancellor right to trust pensioners


not to blow their pension pot, or will they spend it on booze, Bingo


and buy-to-let? APPLAUSE


Booze, bingo and buy-to-let. Booze and bingo is a sore point with you,


Danny Alexander, you said its with a grass grass the way the Tories


published it. I thought it was a spoof? The Chancellor right to


pensioners not to blow their pension? We can trust pensioners to


use their money that they have saved for their whole lives for their own


retirement responsibly to make the best choices for themselves.


Particularly now, that we've cleared away the bureaucracy of means


testing thats with a big part of the pension system until recently. We


are moving to a situation from 2016 where we have a single-tier pension.


The level of the basic state pension will on its own lift people out of


the means testing process. A strong platform for people to save on.


There is a basic level of support which means people will not fall


back on the state additionally. It's right to say, if you have saved all


your life. Put money aside, you should have flexibility to choose


how you use to to benefit yourself rather than being constrained to


annuity which have been criticised as not offering the best value for


me. It's absolutely right to trust the people to make the right


decisions for themselves. Do you agree? The temptation will be there


for people to spend it on something else. Do you think that matters?


Probably not, no. A major change this, isn't it? Before we were told


what to do with our pensions we are free to do what we want. People


should be trusted with their own money, money they saved. The theory


if people know they have more freedom when they get to retirement


they are more inclined to feel to save for it. The principle is


obviously a good one. I think, we should bear in mind that the reason


why annuities are so appalling unremowntive at the moment is


because of Government policy and QE saversers have had a desperately


hard time this policy is something that will possibly make life a


little bit better. It doesn't go very far. All the people... All


those pensioners who have already retired, and are stuck with the


annuities they have got, will get no comfort for this. So, you know, it's


not all Rosie in the pensioners' garden because of this


liberalisation. In principle, it is a good move. A good thing. Do you


think it's a good thin, sir? I think if a pensioner is lucky enough and


intelligent enough to save money for their retirement, they are


intelligent enough to spend it. The real question is, will Andy Burnham


rebell if he doesn't get his station at Leigh like he said at a public


meeting? Sorry? What you do you mean - will he rebell? He said if he


didn't get a public station? I'm driving a hard bargain. I want a


station. Will you rebell? I will wait to see what the plan is. Did


you say you would rebell? We were talking about pensions. You answer


him? It's in the the next parliament we don't have a plan yet. Will you


rebell? Is answer the question. I said to the Government we need


changes. David Higgins said there will be changes to the northern


section. Will you rebell, you know you won't get a on... He will not


answer. Let's move on. Well tried, sir. Well trierd! Up there. As an


addition to the question that the lady asked about the changes in


pensions. Yes. Does the panel believe that this could just be a


cynical way of the Government raising billions in tax revenue?


What do you think? I think this whole conversation about what we


will do with our ill-gotten gains or our hard saved money is a diversion.


Yesterday's Budget, for me, was a very good Budget. I have a


pensioners pot, ISA and premium bonds. It was a Budget for people


who have. I don't like paying my taxes any more than anybody else. My


tax bill drops into my inbox my heart sinks. I pay the taxes, it's


the cost you pay for living in a civilised society. A civilised


society is how we take care of people who don't have.


APPLAUSE All this conversation about will we


spend our pension pots On holidays or pay off our mortgages or be


sensible or invest it? It's a diversion from what is ailing this


country at the moment, the tight, tight budgets that so many of our


people are living on. Not just pensioners, people across the board.


Young people who have been betrayed by the promises made to them. Who


have gone off to university got degrees, run up huge amount of debts


and pushing a trolley up-and-down a train because there aren't graduate


jobs for them. That upsets me that I care about. Yesterday's Budget was


for the haves, can we think of the people who are not served by the


Budget, who are not the haves? APPLAUSE


The first and most important thing, if you are the most vulnerable in


our society, the unemployed, creating new jobs, 1.7 million jobs


in the private-sector is critical. It's for the economically most


vulnerable. I would also point out that if you're... The changes we are


making, some have been difficult, from my own experience some people


are struggling with the cost of the living. The raw fact of the matter


is elderly poverty, child poverty, fuel poverty, inequality, believe it


or not, under the statistics, the objective statistics is lower now


than it was under Labour. I want to pick up on the point about savings.


We all talk about Government spending and Government debt,


household debt, private debt in this country, is bigger as a proportion


of GDP than Government debt. There are measures to encourage saving.


From a pensioner bond to scrapping the 1 o 0p rate of saving for low


earners. That is incredibly important. Saving is one of the


economic virtures in the economy. When you get to the end and worked


hard and saved, of course people should be able to have the freedom


to spend that money how they want to. The idea that we suddenly jump


in and boss them around at that stage and have rigidity and they can


only go down the the annuity route is crazy. The man there. I would


like to raise the point that the Budget provided nothing for young


people at all. The legacy of this Government will be a lost


generation. We -- the first thing this Tory-led Government was cut


youth and career services. You burnt the bridge for young people getting


into employment straightaway with that. I keep on hearing tonight that


the economy is in recovery. Can you tell me, why the rise for food banks


is just so high? Answer the food banks first before


we forget and his point about young people. We are seeing an increase in


food banks in a range of developing countries, in Germany, in Canada, in


those countries... Always someone else... You are seeing greater use


of food banks. Of course, there are people who are having to rely on


food banks. That is for a whole range - a whole number of people are


relaying on food banks. Because their benefits are delayed or they


are out of work. A range of circumstances. We are working so


hard to create more jobs in this country. The answer to the point of


the young man at the back about young people there, a number of


things. Firstly, creating jobs in this country, 1.6 million jobs


created since 2010, expansion in apprenticeships there are a bigger


range of options for young people to get the skills and employment they


need. Taking away national insurance from employers who employ Under-21s


to make it more attractive for employers to take on young people to


work. Cutting income tax for people who pay tax at the basic rate,


lifting the tax threshold to ?10,500. Tax cut to ?800 to 25


million working in this country, it's helping to make work pay


better, particularly for people on low paid work. There is a lot in


this Budget to answer the question that you raised, sir. There there


you are. Andy Burnham what do you say, he has the answers? To listen


to the Chancellor yesterday and to Danny now, you would think the


biggest problem we have is where we invest our spare cash we have left


over, the savings we have got. They didn't...


APPLAUSE They didn't mention the cost of


living once. The Chancellor didn't mention it. It doesn't appear in the


Budget statement. The biggest problem we have, is people keeping


their heads above water, isn't it? Making the ends meet and feeding the


kids. That is happening now. This Budget was silent on that. Nothing


to say to the 900,000 young people who can't find a job. Nothing to say


to the proud people reduced to using food banks. That's not true. Mothers


coming in with health problems and they're feeding their children. They


have not ate for three days. They have nothing to say on these issues.


Nothing at all. The thing I want to finish off by saying, this is the


week when Oxfam said that five families in this country have have


more wealth between them than the bottom 20%. The IFS said today that


the people hardest hit by all of their budgets, outside of the top


10% are the bottom 10%. That is outrageous. This is what you get.


APPLAUSE When you get budgets written by, as


Michael Gove said, public schoolboys. Public schoolboys have


no idea what life is like for ordinary people in Warrington and


elsewhere. APPLAUSE


A class matter? When we get on to Eton we know there is nothing of


substance coming from the Labour Party. Michael Gove said it! Michael


Gove said it. Can I answer the lady's question. I opened a food


bank which is a well off village in one of the most affluent parts of


the country. Cost of living is affecting everyone across the


country. The Trussell Trust is the nation co-ordinator, number one


co-ordinator for the food banks, they say the two biggest causes are


global food prices and energy prices. There isn't a huge amount we


can do about global markets. There something you can do. In this


country, about ?400 goes on the average families annual food bill


from agriculture subsidies. We want to reform the policy in the EU. On


energy, we have to to be energy self sufficient. Andy needs to explain


why they closed down seven nuclear powerser stations one of the reasons


why we have such energy prices now. There are specific reasons why we


have this problem with food banks. Politicians shouldn't get off the


hook that easy. What are you going to po it? I want to move on. We have


a lot more questions to come. I don't want the moment to pass


without drawing your attention, in case you missed it, to Ed Balls new


uf missism for death when he was talking about pensions. He said,


when retirement comes to an end. Did you hear him say this? I didn't hear


it. When retirement comes to an end. That is what happens now. We will


break away entirely from this. It may come up in some other form. This


is from Susan Wright, please. Are we witnessing the dawn of a new cold


war with Russia as a result of imposing sanctions against them? It


a new cold war we are facing with Russia? Yes. I think we might go


further back than that. I think actually everyone has been rather


brought up short by the fact that things that used to happen and used


to provoke wars, going back some way now, can happen again, countries can


annex another country. Russia can move in on the Crimea there is


nothing very much that the US or the EU can do about it. We are left


looking rather empty in our rhetoric and Putin is clearly away there is


nothing very much we can do to follow-through. Do you say there is


nothing we can do? If we have a sanctions war with them it won't do


Russia any more harm with them than the rest of us. The Europe is


terrifiified because countries are dependant on energy. Cyprus and


Greece are dependant on Russian money am. They bought a lot of their


debt. We don't have any prospect I think of having any kind of combined


EU policy on how to deal with this. I don't think we will be able to do


very much about it. I think it's a reflection of a long period of


rather empty foreign policy in this country and indeed the Obama


approach to foreign polling Sid, which is to talk big, but have very


limited ability to do anything about it. We needed to think about these


things when we have our defence reviews rather than just assume we


don't have kind old fashioned war any more. We have to wonder whether


it might be possible for Russia to expand its ambitions further and


being complacent in assuming by forbidding someone to come to the G8


that will be enough toll halt Putin's advance. I don't think it


is. We need to really reassess what is we have been doing and the


signals we have been giving in our foreign policy by threatening to get


involved in Syria, but knowing we can't. Backing off. Putin saw that


and he drew his own conclusions. No, I think it's potentially very


serious, I think it should be a very sharp reminder to the US, to the EU


in particular and to Britain that to go grandstanding on a world stage,


when you have no ability to follow-through, very limited


capacity to do anything about it, is perhaps not wise. Indeed, could be


quite destabilising. Thank you. The former Conservative Foreign


Secretary said that the EU's reaction was pathetic and feeble. Do


you agree with that? Do you think the Government and the EU are doing


the right thing? They are very limited options. One of the things,


something we should not be doing, is going down a knee-jerk reaction of


saying it is the Cold War all over again. I think it is much more


complicated. I think the Joe yoe politics are more complicated. I


think part is a hangover from the Soviet system where the Russians put


their own level of people into all the Soviet republics to run them for


mother Russia. Those people got left behind. Those people are now under


pressure culturally, where they got left behind. This is them saying to


Putin, you are the strongman, do something. I don't think it is a


land grab, we have to find a different way of approaching this. I


am not a politician. I don't know the answers. It is more than saying,


let's do these sanctions. Maybe the way we resolved the Balkans might


show us a different way of coming at this, although I'm not sure what it


would be? Kosovo? Maybe not that one.


Well I do think it is pathetic and feeble and I think if the UK


Government don't intervene, it is going to have a destabilising impact


in the Balkans. I served 22 years and this is' what I believed. What


would you do? I think Val is right. It is more complicated than going


back to the gold war. It seems to me Putin is trying to have it both


ways. He wants to strut the world stage at the Sochi games, getting


the respect, supposedly of the international community for hosting


that, and days later, wants to invade the Sovereign territory of a


neighbouring country. He can't have it both ways. I think he is trying


to call everyone's bluff. He is saying - take May on if you dare. I


think, you know, I welcome what Obama has said today. I think the


Obama foreign policy is a big improvement, actually on his


predecessor and he isp toughening the rhetoric. -- he is. I would say


- we had the Sochi Winter Olympics, 2018 we are supposedly all going to


the World Cup in Russia. Now, are we comfortable with that idea? Let's do


something that the ordinary Russian on the street will understand. I


can't see how we should all now just say... You think cancelling the


World Cup will make a difference? I'm just saying, on every level we


have to send a different message and we have to be prepared to take him


on. I would say it is FIFA's decision but they need to revisit


that. He can not pretend he is part of the club, strutting the world


stage and taking steps like this, that are fundamentally in violation


of international law. We are part of NATO. NATO was set up to stop


Russian expansionism. I have not heard NATO mentioned by any


politicians was wrefr. We want it seem to use economic sanctions. --


bhasever If we -- whatsoever. If we pulled together as NATO and invited


Ukraine to join us, Russia would stop.


Danny Alexander, Just wait a second, you don't have a microphone.


I would say this is an incredibly serious situation, because what you


are saying s a violation of international law, the sort that we


haven't seen for many decades in our hinterland in Europe. One country


invading, annexing a piece of territory from another Sovereign


state is a serious thing. This isn't some far away country where we can


just stand idly by. We have to make sure we speak with one voice in


yumplt it is, of course, difficult sometimes because we have 28


different countries to pull together. -- in Europe. But we as


Britain as lone do not have the influence by ourselves to thing


this, but the European Union is Russia's major trading partner. A


major customer for energy industry. I think the sanctions the Americans


have put in place, the further saengess is very well. There is a


European summit going on at the moment. -- further sanctions. What


would you like to see Europe do? At the moment, the reaction from Moscow


is to street them as a joke. A cause of irony and sarcasm.


Putin's advisor said the only thing that interested him about America is


Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock. Well, I don't know about that but what is


on the agenda at the European Council tonight and tomorrow is a


stiffening of sanctions, more embarrows against people and asset


freezes. To take on Jill's point we have to potentially move to


targeting the economic area. Russia's economy is heavily


dependent on exports and so on. If we move to the next stage when


sanctions haven't been effective, we need to move to more targeted and


economic trade issues that. Might hurt us but it'll hurt the Russians


more, and will send a strong message that what they are doing, violating


international law, is not acceptable. Do you think Europe can


agree on a common policy? There are 28 different interests. Doesn't it


demonstrate the limitations of trying to work with Europe and have


a common policy? The opposite. I think you are Europe has a strong


common interest in the rule of international law. We cannot say


international law stops at the boundaries of the European Union.


That would be to go back to a 19th century way of looking at T Does


that mean a European Defence Force will move in? ? We have to work hard


to get agreement. That's what we are doing today. Seeing strong signals


from the Germans, frechl and so on, that we are killing to move to the


next stage. -- French. We have agreed at a European level a staged


approach, escalating sanctions and we need to make sure we


follow-through. Do you see it, as the way the questioner is asking,


the dawn of a new Cold War? I agree with Val. I don't think you can


express it as is employsically as that. But I think it is one of the


biggest challenges for the framework of international law and regulation


that we have seen. -- simplistically. We don't know if


Putin is doing this domestically. He is weak at home. I agree with


Malcolm Rifkind, the I's response has been sof riffic at best and not


nearly with enough teeth. I think we should be kicking them out of the G8


and the Council of Europe or suspend them and the sapgss should be


tougher with the threat, a week ago of trade sanctions. -- and the


sanctions should be tougher. We need to know how to get out of this and


not into it. Russia has a point about Ukraine, if you look at


Finland and neutrality that should be on the table to assuage the


legitimate concerns and you can look at the illegitimate ones. The young


lady here is saying the interim government is Ukraine is not the


most enlightened. You put it a different way. Not the most


enlighten enlightened bunch of leaders.


So they have to be pushed to reach compromise and Putin knows there is


a price to pay and a clear mix of carrots and sticks for the steps he


needs to take next. The woman behind? They are talking about Putin


and Russia trespassing into the Ukraine and Crimea but the people of


Crimea actually asked for his help. Their leader went to Russia for help


and the people of Crimea wanted to go to Russia. The same as the people


of the Falklands wanted to stay part of Britain rather than Argentina.


Who are we to butt in and tell them how to do things? Rather than token


gestures around sporting veents or other international events like that


-- events - I find myself agreeing with Danny Alexander, there has to


be enforceable, diplomatic economic sanctions. Ironically, Russian's own


sanctions, regarding energy, would damage what slr a Frank tile


economy. They may end up shooting themselves in the foot. -- would


damage what is already a fragile economy.


Would you like to pick up that point, about the overwhelming wish


of the people of Crimea? You have to be careful to treat in anyway


legitimate or serious, to take a referendum that was organised it at


the point of a gun in 11 days. Do you dispute what Putin says, 82%


voted and 96% voted in favour I think there is no evidence it was a


referendum conducted in a free and fair way. Therefore, I don't think


you can take that argument seriously, otherwise you would say -


any country can run into some other country, organise a trumped-up


referendum with a few days' notice and say they are being invited in.


But Ukraine don't conduct their own affairs that well. The point about


NATO. If Ukraine joined NATO that would be disastrous. Where are the


UN? Ban Ki-Moon making a token appearance in Russia, a farce. Why


weren't they there three weeks ago when a democratically-elected


government in Ukraine were overthrown by a main or the? I will


move on. Thank you to the audience for their contributions. I will go


on to Naomi Capper. With teachers now working an average


of almost 60 hours per week and only one-third of those spent actually


teaching children, can the panel understand why many no longer wish


to remain in the profession? You are a teacher. Do you want to leave? I,


like many teachers, I love my job. I I'm very privileged to do my job. I


spend the majority of my time with the children, watching them grow,


nurturing them and I see a lot of things that their parents don't see.


But Your problem is that of the 60 hours... The 60 hours... That most


of the time is not spent teaching. It is form-filling, ticking boxes.


Analysing data. Getting ready for it change after change after change.


Danny Alexander, is that the position? Well, I think that most


teachers are lake you - that I know, they are utterly dedicated


professionals, who want to see the children in their classes doing as


well as possible and work incredibly thoord do that. I pay credit do you


and your colleagues for what you do. - in incredibly hard to do that.


There is a problem about too much bureaucracy and rules in the


classroom which you have drawn attention to. That's why we are


trying to give more fliblingts and freedom to headteachers. -- more


flexibility. To make sure the school is organised in the right way. Why


we have put more money into schools through the pupil premium. Michael


Gove has had four years to get rid of the things that are complained


about. Form-filling, the most common reason given for the hours that they


work. Michael Gove strikes me as the kind of person who would object to


that And there is more to be done. The point I was going to make is we


are also trying to make sure that every child leaves school with the


best-possible skills and education to get on in life. One assumes that.


That's why we are skewing reforces more towards kids from the most


disadvantaged backgrounds because over decades we have seen far too


many children leaving school. You are not answering the question. I


am. I'm talking about how resources going into schools are skewed


towards enabling teachers like Naomi to do what they want to do, to


devote to the kids... Why are they spending 40 hours form-filling and


only 20... I don't know if the survey is accurate? Well, it is a


Department of Education survey of primary schools. I maybe wrong.


Michael Gove might have actually got the survey wrong. I have not seen


the details of the survey. I will not go into the detail. I'm saying


we are trying to make sure teachers have more time to spend,


particularly with the kids who need the help most. Jill Kirby? I think


it demonstrates how very hard the Government needs to work to try to


row Bakke on some of the form-filling that has accrued over


the many years. -- row back. We couldn't trust people to do things


and everything had to be established in wrieteding. I think Michael Gove


have made moves in the right direction by giving more


independence to schools. But actually the coalition for a


Liberal-Conservative organisation, which ought to be more liberalising,


has been frightened about getting rid of CRB checks and databases


without which nobody is trust to do anything, so amongst not only


teachers but social workers and public servants, the compulsion to -


write it down and have forms to fill in about somebody's rediness before


you hand them on to a preschoof school to primary school, has driven


many good early years workers away from the profession. I think Michael


Gove has been trying to work in that direction but there is still a lot


of paper work going on in the early years. We must become, as a nation,


less reliant on having everything written down and on a day tie base


and less willing to let people trust each other and form an understanding


of a child's needs and use their common sense rather than have having


tab lighted and everything to pass a set of regulations.


On form-filling and when the Conservatives came in last time,


they introduced form-filling in hospices. A dedicated nurse, a very


good friend of our, who dedicated nine/ten years of her life looking


after patients that will not be there much longer was told, if you


don't fill that paperwork out. You have lost your job. Andy Burnham was


Health Secretary under Labour, what do you make - not perhaps that


point, the education point and the general principle of filling in


forms. It happens at the BBC? I will not say there wasn't frustrations


when we were in Government. The big point I make, I recognise the


disillusionment you are speaking of. My brother is a secondary school


teacher here in Warrington. An excellent school Birchwood High


School, he feels disill Lewesed he has seen affects of the Michael Gove


reforms on the ground. They are soul destroying. A free school arrived


even though there were ur surplus places in Warrington. That


destabilised - All school results have improved under Michael Gove's


regime. Have you to acknowledge that children who were making poor


headway are making better progress. So I think to ignore that, Andy,


claim everything was good before mg got busy is to misrepresent the


situation. Mitt My point was, I don't think they understand actually


how good some of the state schools there are in places like Warrington


and, I want to make this point, what we had here is a Secretary of State


who came in, testing for phonics in primary schools. It was about the


English Baccalaureate prescribing what subjects were acceptable and


those were not. It has been an elitist agenda. Kids not taking the


English Baccalaureate subjects have been pushed to one side. The Michael


Gove agenda to me, for me, is about some children in some schools, not


all children and all schools. That, for me, is why it's fundamentally


flawed. Let us go back to the question. The question is about the


burden on teaching. I go back to the questioner? Speaking on behalf of


schools, I would say that I think Michael Gove has lost sight that the


most important resources are -- a school has are the children in the


school, enthusiastic teachers who aren't completely exhaust and the


support of the families of the children in the school. It doesn't


necessarily come to money, it comes down to people who have the energy


to do the job properly. You think it's the bureaucracy that is zapping


the energy? I have been a teacher for 10 years, now that I have my own


family I feel that I can't be an effective parent and an effective


full-time teacher. I can't see myself doing this at 60 or 65. The


man in the pink shirt up there, then I will come to you. Do you think we


should go back to educating children instead of forming committees and


so-called experts and filling forms in, like it was in my day? When we


went to school and we were educated. Now they are all filling forms in


for hours on end? Dominic. I sit on the Education Committee in the House


of Commons that scrutinises policy. The key thing here is that we know


that on the international rankings that notwithstanding the money that


went in under Labour, 15-year-olds plummeted on the rankses for


numeracy literacy and science. The key is good teaching. Aunderstand


the frustrations with red tape that has been expressed. We are trying to


bring in reforms like performance-related play to


encourage teachers and make them feel properly rewarded. Can I finish


the point. Don't teach for the excellent wages. You should know


that! -- teachers don't teach for the excellent wages. You should know


that! It's not all about the money. We know that. The international


evidence. We had the Head of the OECD education guy come, in the key


is to great teaching is a better structure for the profession.


Greater autonomy in schools. That is what the free school and the academy


programme is about. He was firm about this, very rigorous


inspections. All of these things we are trying to introduce to boost the


standards of teaching. We equip our young people with the skills they


need to make the best of themselves and the economy. You end up with 20


hours teaching out of 60 hours working as a teach sner I accept the


point you don't want unnecessary form-filling, you want greater atomy


along with those inspections. That is the formula. The person in the


blue shirt there. Then you, sir. I have been teaching for 20 years,


politics must just come out of education. I don't -- heaven knows


how many Education Secretaries have come and go. They want to promote


their careers, they have to bring in a new idea each time. As teachers we


have to deal with those ideas. You are cynical about Secretary of State


for Education? Yes, just let teachers teach. That is all we want.


APPLAUSE Let teachers teach. We just went to


school and got taught? That is what I was about to say, your point


there. People who have the gift for teaching do not necessarily have a


gift for administration. People who have a gift for administration do


not necessarily have a gift for teaching in the classroom. Why is it


we expect people to have a skill for it teaching to have the skill for


administration. Why can't we separate the functions. Some


administration is necessary. Give that to people who like filling in


forms and doing assessments, let the teachers who can teach, who have a


gift for dealing with pupils in the classroom, let them teach and do


what they are best at. You get the best results out of people when they


can examiner countries their talents and skills to the maximum. A very


brief point. I want to gate last question in. That is a really


important point. There is a contradiction. Michael Gove is


piling bureaucracy on some schools, but to free schools he is saying,


can you employ unqualified teachers and opt-out of the national


consider. That doesn't seem to be right to me. There is a


contradiction of the heart of education. Are you U turning on the


U-turn now? The point says we should idealise the past of our education


isn't right. We shouldn't be saying things were better 20, 30, 4 o 0


years ago, we should look at what other countries around the world are


doing. If you look at the education system in European countries and


south Korea, teaching people more languages than we teach in this


country. Teaching - You said would you make a quick point. You have


made it. Thank you very much. James Waring. Is it time the BBC reviewed


its licence policy as suggested this week by Noel Noel Edmonds. Said the


licence fee is no longer appropriate. He wants to buy the


BBC. I don't know where he would get the money from that. Licence fee? I


think with the move towards taking more of those services online, I


think there is an inherent problem. I think inevitably over the


long-term they will have to move to a subscription model. With the BBC


you still have a public subsidy to fill that public... That sort of


quality television and radio gap that otherwise you wouldn't get in


the marketplace. I still think there is a need for that and an important


case for protecting it. The BBC, like everyone else, has to move with


the times. How quickly it will happen, how contentious it will be,


I'm not sure. I think it's almost inevitable. You, sir, up there. I


work abroad. I watch occasionally BBC World Service, there is Toye


advertising on that season. -- advertising on that season. If the


BBC isn't supposed to advertise, why is it advertising on its Worldsome


service? It doesn't go to the licence payer, that is why. Oh. They


are allowed to flog the product. It's the BBC? Yes it is. Should the


licence fee end? We should move to the subscription model and a slimmed


down version of the BBC. Keeping Question Time, obviously! Very


necessary. Can you all applaud this.


Plagues Thank you. Very significant point.


When you look at things only the BBC can do and the stuff that the BBC


does do, much of which is it could do commercially and in some cases


does, the licence fee payer doesn't see much of that. You look at the


things the BBC is doing which could be on commercial TV. There is no


justification for the BBC providing them as a niche. I would think


everybody would get much betteral value if we moved to a subscription


model. People could download what they want to watch or watch what


they want to watch, pay-as-you-go. People are are paying too much for


the TV they consume. A big imowe potion on a family budget, you talk


about people going to food banks, when you think of what they are


forking out for BBC. Than watching Sky? If Sky can get away with what


it charges, then I'm sure the BBC could. Another argument for


subscription model. I'm disturbed to be agreeing with Dominic. There are


many ways in which we should pay for what we consume and the whole issue


of iPlayer, watching again, people having, and putting a subscription


model would allow people to watch overseas when they can't watch


stuff. There needs to be a safeguard of the core functions of public


service broadcasting which a commercial broadcaster that will not


do. There isn't a broadcaster who does the kind of things at the core


in terms of what the BBC does in terms of its public broadcasting. Do


you think everybody should have a television set should in the next


period, when the charter comes up, be expelled to pay a sum of money to


the BBC to keep it going or risk being tang to court It may come out


of general taxation so everybody who consumes it, however we consume it,


puts something in into it. 608 seconds left for your answers. To to


Noel Edmonds I will say no deal! I think that we, I think the BBC is


one of the jewels in the crown. I think the licence fee is the right


way to pay for, it sharing the cost across the population. I would keep


it and make sure the next charter protects the independence of the


BBC. You have 30 seconds. Here is a note of unity to end the programme.


I agree with what Danny just said. We are good in this country in


running down the things that are best about, it the NHS, I would add


the BBC. Renowned around the world. We would miss it terribly when it's


gone. It's not about what you pay and get. They help to build the


society where we are, where we can have debates like that and news that


hasn't got a commercial slant on it. It's really, really important to our


democracy. David, your job is safe with us! Your presence on the pan


sell safe too. You did that in 30 seconds. We have to stop now, our


hour is up. Apologies. Next week we will be in Brighton. We have Roman


Abramovich -- Diane Abbott for Labour. The Chief Executive from


Next and Mick Hucknell. Get with it! He is an old one, you should know.


He is - I know! He will be here too. My pension will be coming to an end.


OK. Mick Hucknell. The week after that we will be in Bristol. The two


B's. Apply in the usual way, the website is on the scene. If you are


listening to it on Five Live the debate goes on in Question Time


Extra Time. Thank you to our panel, particularly those who picked me up


on names I get wrong. Getting my own back. To all of you who came here to


Warrington to take part. Until next Thursday on Question Time, from all


of us here, good night.


David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Warrington. On the panel are chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham MP, Conservative Dominic Raab MP, former director of the Centre for Policy Studies Jill Kirby and crime writer Val McDermid.

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