03/04/2014 Question Time


03/04/2014

David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Bristol. The panel includes Vince Cable MP, Peter Hain MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Camilla Cavendish and Julie Bindel.


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Transcript


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welcome to Question Time. Good evening to you at home and to

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our audience who will be putting questions to our panel, who do not

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know the questions that are going to be put. Tonight, the Liberal

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Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable, Labour's former Northern

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Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, feminist campaign and Guardian

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columnist Julie Bindel, author, former fund manager and Conservative

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MP, Kwasi Kwarteng, and associate editor of the Sunday Times, Camilla

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Cavendish. So, our first question from Anthony

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Ward, please. Has the sale of Royal Mail been a first-class disaster for

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the taxpayer? Royal Mail, whose shares are worth 67% more than when

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they were launched shortly ago. Peter Hain, has it been a first

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class disaster for the taxpayer? Yes. Not only a disaster but a total

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scandal, because what the government has done is to nationalise the depth

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of the Post Office by taking on the pension fund for ?9 billion of

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taxpayer liability, and then sold it off at a cut-price, at a really

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cheap rate, quick and easy, for far less than they needed to. Having

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allowed the Royal Mail to start making profit, they waited for it to

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make profit, and then they sold it. So the taxpayers got short-changed

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in every possible way, and the way that it was done, with 16, a

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gentleman 's agreement, 16 fund managers getting the prime cut on

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the basis that they would become long-term stakeholders, what do they

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do, they immediately start selling the shares and their clients make a

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massive killing at the expense of us. We owned the Post Office in the

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first place, all of us. And then they sell it off.

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APPLAUSE Are you saying this was a cock up,

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or was it motivated, is their policy behind it?

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Much of what this government does is a shambles, frankly, but I do not

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know whether that was the reason. They were so keen to get rid of it

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and reward their mates in the city, that they were prepared to do it,

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come what may, regardless of the fact that actually we could have

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built a lot more hospitals and schools with that money, which have

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all been cut. And that is why I call it an absolute scandal. Vince Cable,

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you were in charge of the sale, accused of rewarding your mates in

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the city and of a gentleman 's agreement with 16 people who got

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preferential treatment. I do not have many mates in the City. We have

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done what the last government were planning to do, having committed

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themselves to bringing private capital into the Royal Mail, as we

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have. They backed off because the Communication Workers Union vetoed

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it. They were going to sell a chunk. They were going to privatise it.

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Still majority public ownership, actually. That was Peter

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Mandelson's idea. We wanted to put the Royal Mail in a position where

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it can compete in a very, very intensive, competitive market. It

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was losing market share, faced with furious competition from Corriere

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companies. And it has to be able to finance the universal service

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obligation, delivering to every house at the standard rate, six days

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a week. So what we determined to do was to sell a majority of shares,

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some of them to the public, retail, some of them to institutional

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investors, long-term institutional investors. And a substantial chunk,

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also, to the workforce. This has become a controversy this week

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because of the report of the National Audit Office. Their

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comment, which you could take as a criticism but could be treated as a

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compliment, is that the government was cautious. It was cautious. And

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it was cautious for several reasons. The sale took place under threat of

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a strike from the Communication Workers Union. We now know they were

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bluffing but we did not know at the time, and neither did the investors.

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So that induced caution into people buying the shares. More important,

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there was a memory of lots of other attempts to float shares. Facebook,

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the most famous brand in the world, had had a flop. Their share price

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had fallen by half when they tried to float a few months earlier. So

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did the leaning mining company. Previous attempts by different

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governments to sell shares, BP, Britoil, had all failed. So the

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people who did this in my department took the view, on independent

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financial advice, that they should be cautious. And they consulted 500

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companies as to what the price would be. And we sold at the upper end of

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that range. Of course, the price now is significantly higher. It may stay

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that way, it may not. If there is a return of industrial relations

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trouble it could be hit badly. If the Royal Mail is unable to compete,

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and it is a ferocious market, the price could drop. But it is

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currently strong. You blame the unions forgetting the price wrong

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because you say they bluffed the strike so you had to sell it cheap.

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I am not blaming them but it was a fact that had to be considered. One

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of the positive things that has come out of this, instead of having years

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in which the union were trying to disrupt the work of the Royal Mail,

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they now own a substantial chunk of it. Why is it so critical, the

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report? They said we were cautious. They said you could have achieved

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better value. They said we could have, not that we should have. They

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said there was a risk, had we proceeded a significantly higher

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price, that the whole thing would have flopped. They did say that this

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deep caution, the price of which was borne by the taxpayer. Anthony

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Ward, you asked the question, what is your view? It is very easy to be

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wise after the event. It is notoriously difficult to predict the

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future value and price people will pay for shares. It was important to

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have a successful sale. If Peter Hain is outraged, perhaps he could

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tell us why Gordon Brown sold off all our gold reserves?

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APPLAUSE It annoys me when you try to make

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political capital out of these kind of issues. Who is making political

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capital? Peter Hain. He is coming out with huge hindsight. Where were

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the arguments at the time? I think losing an estimated 1 billion, up to

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one and a half billion, from this sale we potentially could have had,

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it is not cautious, it is reckless, and the public have been shafted

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once again. What is really obvious to me is that the bankers are

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laughing all the way back to the bank, because they are the ones, of

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course, who, through organising this sale, have dragged in millions.

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Somebody made the point today that politicians make bad bankers and I

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think that is right. But the public have lost out on this. Every time

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there is one of these big sell-outs of public amenities, we know that

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wages are slashed, services are cut to the bone and people suffer, and

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we never get that back. We just have to look at the rail system. I want

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to get back to Anthony's point. You have made more sense than anyone on

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the floor of the house this week. It's very difficult to get pricing

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right. If the price had been too high and it had flopped, Peter Hain

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would be saying it was a disaster, the government had not done its

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homework and they completely cocked it up. As it was, the government was

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cautious, the price was low. We had no idea what the market would do in

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the last six months. The economy is getting better and the stock market

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has done appreciably better, but there was no way we could see that

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in November, October, when the sale happened. How much did they go up in

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the first day, the shares? 38%. But the point that Anthony makes is

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true. If it had flopped, there would have been an inquest and an enquiry

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and Peter Hain and Julie Bindel would have made the same points in

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the reverse way. Peter Hain, you stand accused that Gordon Brown sold

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the gold, so you are no wanted to, and secondly that you are using

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hindsight. I was opposed to the sale. That is my point. Of Royal

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Mail. Of Royal Mail. When we looked at doing it, selling off half of it.

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The other thing that worries me a great deal about this situation, and

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the price of a stamp is rocketing, and packets, so you will pay for it

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twice, having been short-changed by the sale. But the thing that worries

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me most, now that it has happened, is that I think the Royal Mail

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should have at their level playing field with the competition. A lot of

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the competitors do the easy to Bristol, and if it is an outlying

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village in Somerset, Gloucestershire or somewhere, they pop it into the

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Royal Mail to do the hard stuff. But Royal Mail has an obligation. They

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are not competing on a level playing field, they are creaming off the

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profitable traffic. I think what Vince Cable should do is to create a

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level playing field for all competitors in the Royal Mail. You

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said, which is a serious accusation, that he was rewarding his mates in

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the City. In what way were they rewarding their mates? Knowingly

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getting them to take shares which they knew they would then sell on

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and make profit? They were so ideological and dogmatically

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determined to sell it anyway, they did it recklessly, rather than

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responsibly, and they were prepared to give their mates in the City a

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good deal, rather than the taxpayers. That is my point. It is a

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bit worrying that in a few years the government is going to have to sell

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the banks back. If it struggles to sell an institution which is worth a

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couple of billion, how is it going to sell the dozens of billions,

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maybe hundreds of billions of shares back at a reasonable rate for the

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taxpayer? You are thinking the same problem. Camilla Cavendish. There is

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an answer, which is to sell more slowly. I think Anthony is right, it

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is easy to be wise after the event. It was difficult to price because

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the unions were threatening to strike, so I can see the

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difficulty. But you did not have too sold 60%. You could have sold 25%,

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you could have seen what the price was going to be. You could probably

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do the same with the banks, test the market. The NAO, you say they paid a

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compliment. The NAO were scathing about this sale. And the problem

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was, you were cautious on price but you were reckless in how much you

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sold, and the combination was devastating. But there is an upside.

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We should the upside, which is the people with money and pension funds,

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who I suppose is what Peter Means by the mates in the City, have done

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well because the pension funds all sold at ?5 50. And luckily, the

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postal workers who bought shares, at least they have got something out of

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it. Let's go to the point Camilla made about the report from the

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National Audit Office saying you should retain 49%, you should have

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kept for the taxpayer 49%. Why did you go for 30%? We had to sell

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enough to get the thing off the government's borrowing requirements.

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That was the problem. In order for the Royal Mail to survive and

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compete, it has to borrow in the markets and it will not get the

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money from the government. So it had to be a significant majority in

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private shares to do that. But not all at once. Peter says that somehow

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or other I should manipulate the amount of competition that is

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allowed. I am not allowed to do that. That is set by an independent

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regulator which the last government established, setting the rules of

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competition. You can ask them to change the re-met. We get this

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moralistic lecture on privatisation. One of the models I looked at when

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we decided how to do this was what the Labour government did when it

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did its own privatisation. They sold a defence company, for example, and

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after it was sold, the price increased by a factor of ten. It was

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ten times what they sold it for. I am not making an ideological point.

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How big was that? Considerably smaller than the Royal Mail. It was

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not a vital public service. The universal service obligation is an

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obligation that the new Royal Mail has to observe. And we have created

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a position where it can draw capital from the market and compete, and

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meet the social obligation. As an ordinary taxpayer, the scandal was I

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was only entitled to ?270 worth of shares. The big city investors who

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would sell them very quickly, were able to have what they wanted. I

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would with have invested, I did in fact have money set aside, up to

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?10,000 to invest. I didn't go over ?10,000, I would have got nothing.

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That is where the scandal was. It wasn't offered... It wasn't offered

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equally to the taxpayer, as it was - Not at all. Why was that? Most

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people would consider that a reasonable investment. He wasn't.

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Many of the institutional investors were not able to invest either. Can

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I correct you. Private investors got ?700. You got less ?200. ?270. It

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was oversubscribed we wanted 700,000 people to have a share. If we had

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allocated it all to the very wealthy investors, then small investors

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would not have the had anything. The wealthy investors were... They are

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not wealthy. Are much wealthier now than when they bought the shares. If

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I describe who they were. The Legal I describe who they were. The Legal

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General, which has hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of

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members, we are talking about Royal London, classic insurance companies.

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Talking about local authority pension funds. Several of them,

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Labour councils in some cases, invested their funds in the Royal

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Mail. These are the wicked financial institutions - What about the hedge

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funds? Very few hedge funds represented. The one that did buy in

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has disappeared. Most of these are long-term pension funds. Run? They

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did, actually. The people we wanted to sell to were the serious

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long-term investors who have the Royal Mail's interest at heart. They

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are still there. There is still a substantial of majority of shares

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held by companies of that kind. A couple more points. You, sir.

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Briefly, if you would. What sticks in my throat, I was unfortunate

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enough to go margin Ali over the limit. I was eliminated totally

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because Vince thought I was a city speculator, I think were the words.

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Never mind about that. One thing that does bother me... Serious

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accusation. One thing that bothers me, is it now Labour Party policy

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that the hundreds of thousands of loyal employees, the small

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shareholders in Royal Mail, and the many, many members of pension funds,

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should not have benefitted from this privatisation. Are you saying that

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no employee in a company that goes private, from the public sector

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should benefit? I'm not saying that. That is what you are saying? I would

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not have done it in the first place. They wouldn't have benefitted at

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all. Since the Government was determined to do it, they did it in

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a reckless way and shortchanged the taxpayer. That is my point. A point

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from you. The six energy companies are privatised and makings assive

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profits. The Government are doing nothing to protect the working-class

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people from being squeezed right at the root. They are finding it

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difficult to make ends meet. Why is privatisation always the best way

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forward? APPLAUSE

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As ever, you can join in this debate by text or Twitter tonight.

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I'm going on to another question, this from Oliver Sloane. Is it

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embarrassing that the Deputy Prime Minister was outclassed by Nigel

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Farage in last night's debate on EU membership? Yes. 27% Nick Clegg won,

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68% Nigel Farage won. Vince Cable, he is the leader of your party, what

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do you say? I think he deserves a lot of credit for showing the bottle

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to go out and debate this very difficult issue. The the people who

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actually lost were the two party leaders who couldn't be bothered and

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didn't want to confront the issue. The fact is, there is a lot of very

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eurosceptic feeling in the country. Some of it is rationally based, some

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of it is based on myth, someone had to confront it. On that scale do you

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think 68% to 27%? We don't know what they would vote before the debate

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started or they will vote in a referendum. Farage, to give him

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credit, if a very effective debater. He scored his points effectively. We

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acknowledge that. That merely underlines the extent of the

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argument that we now have to make. I mean, I spent the day in Bristol

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talking to manufacturering and other companies, and really underlining to

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me how many livelihoods in this area depend on the European Union. Airbus

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and its supply chain companies are dependant on the European Union. If

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question marks were put over its future, there would be serious

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doubts over the many jobs associated with it. I had to answer today

:20:14.:20:18.

interviews with your local press about a survey that the BBC has done

:20:19.:20:23.

in this area, which suggested that of local companies, half of them

:20:24.:20:27.

were wholly committed to the European Union and seriously

:20:28.:20:30.

concerned about the consequences of leaving. 18% were opposed. That is

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the balance of people who actually are providing livelihoods and jobs.

:20:38.:20:41.

We think in this country about 2.5 million, 4 million jobs are tide up

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directly or indirectly with the European Union. Nick Clegg deserves

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credit for having to take on on this debate and trying to tackle the

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myths. The argument is he took on the debate, but lost. You, sir. Does

:20:53.:20:59.

the panel think the three other major party leaders should have the

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bottle to debate with Nigel Farage? I've debated with Nigel Farage on

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Question Time. I disagree with him absolutely on a whole number of

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things, including Europe. I agree with the points that Vince has made,

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that for us to consider leaving Europe would be to turn our back on

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at least 3.5 million jobs, dependant on trade with Europe, a whole lot of

:21:24.:21:27.

other benefits that we get. Why did Nigel Farage win the debate

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according to all the surveys? Nigel is very good at what he does. He's a

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normal bloke. I don't think anybody would elect him to be Prime

:21:38.:21:42.

Minister, but he benefits from the enormous anti-politician feeling

:21:43.:21:50.

that there is. Vince and I we are disliked as a professional - we may

:21:51.:21:56.

not be as individuals, as a group we are disliked. Nigel Farage ploughs

:21:57.:22:00.

that seed effectively. He does it very well. That is one of the

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reasons why I think he trounsed Nick Clegg last night, not least because

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Nick Clegg is at the other end of the spectrum of popularity. It's not

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just because politicians are unpopular. It's because Nigel Farage

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puts his finger on something that a lot of politicians seem unwilling to

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really talk about, which is that we have an overcentralised, brur

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cattic, undemocratic EU, which has actually, because of the euro, made

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millions of people in Spain and Greece incredibly poor. Has not

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taken responsibility for that. Is not taking any action. I thought the

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debate last night came when someone in the audience asked - how will the

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EU look different in 10 years time? Nick Clegg said, I think it will

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look about the same. I thought, if you don't understand urgency of the

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question. If you don't understand what people are worried about. It

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doesn't mean they want to walk away. It doesn't mean they think Nigel

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Farage has the answers. Peter, if you don't understand. If

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politicians, I don't mean you personally, politicians come across

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as complacent not willing to address that issue, you are going to find

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that Nigel Farage wins every single time. I agree with you.

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APPLAUSE You, sir. I would like to know what

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the point of these debates are. Whether Nigel wins or anybody else

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wins the debate, unless the people are actually going to get a

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referendum and a say in it, what is the point of having the debate?

:23:33.:23:40.

Oliver made a great point. Nigel Farage won comprehensively that

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debate. 68-27 is a massive 2-1 victory. As Camilla said, he is

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definitely hit the popular nerve. I was a week old when the referendum

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happened in 75. Anyone who is 18 years older than me and younger has

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never actually had a say on this issue. There is a huge demand from a

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large section of people to finally deal with this question of the EU. I

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think there is a feeling that political elites in Westminster, we

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are guys in suits, with white shirts, and all the rest of it, are

:24:13.:24:16.

completely detached from people on this issue. Does that vote suggest

:24:17.:24:19.

to you that is how people would vote in a referendum or not? I don't

:24:20.:24:23.

think so. I think people are fair-minded and will hear the

:24:24.:24:25.

arguments when the referendum happens. There is a demand to have

:24:26.:24:29.

this debate questioned and to have a say. If we were to have a referendum

:24:30.:24:34.

tomorrow, with the anti-European propaganda that has been fed to us

:24:35.:24:38.

on a daily basis by the likes of the Daily Express, it costs us less per

:24:39.:24:44.

day than a copy of the Daily Express to be a member of the EU. I would

:24:45.:24:50.

insist upon, we all would, proper information in an accessible way to

:24:51.:24:53.

the general public about what the benefits are. Why, don't we appoint

:24:54.:24:58.

an independent research to examine what the benefits and what the

:24:59.:25:03.

issues would be. The effect on the economy and on the political system

:25:04.:25:08.

if we left the EU, which I think would be a complete disaster. We

:25:09.:25:12.

don't just make money from the EU. We have millions of jobs, a legal

:25:13.:25:15.

system that protects us. In terms of these two men debating, I think that

:25:16.:25:20.

Farage and Clegg sounded a little bit like each other. Really? I

:25:21.:25:29.

really think - Really? Not in terms of policies. If they were at public

:25:30.:25:33.

school together they might be taking their trousers down to see whose

:25:34.:25:40.

one's biggest! The woman at the back there. Yes. What worries me, if and

:25:41.:25:46.

when we get a chance to get a referendum, most people's decision

:25:47.:25:51.

will be based on who comes up with the best rhetoric on TV rather than

:25:52.:25:55.

any information that we are not currently being given. You in the

:25:56.:25:59.

fourth row. Back to the actual... Rather than talking about the

:26:00.:26:02.

political bickering about whether we should have been in and out it was

:26:03.:26:05.

Nick Clegg's performance at the debate that was particularly

:26:06.:26:09.

disappointing. The way he was so patronising to people watching,

:26:10.:26:14.

something called the Lisbon Treaty. As if no-one has ever heard of that

:26:15.:26:19.

thing. On one question - someone asked a question on public services

:26:20.:26:23.

his answer was - which she picked up on - that's the problem when you

:26:24.:26:27.

have people. Which didn't make any sense. When you tried to get an

:26:28.:26:32.

answer out of him... You, sir, in the third row. I think Nigel Farage,

:26:33.:26:39.

we should not ignore Nigel Farage he is ride what the political

:26:40.:26:48.

representative in France has been doing, she is riding high. For me,

:26:49.:26:54.

Nigel Farage is riding on what is happening on France. We should keep

:26:55.:26:59.

an eye on that. The man in front there. My question really, which

:27:00.:27:03.

nobody has answered, should there be a debate before the general election

:27:04.:27:07.

which includes Nigel Farage, no-one has answered that. Miliband said he

:27:08.:27:11.

wouldn't debate Farage in the general election in the leadership

:27:12.:27:15.

debate. Why not, what is Cameron afraid of? He was talking about the

:27:16.:27:20.

European election. In the Guardian about a general election. What he

:27:21.:27:24.

said all along. It's a matter for the broadcasters of the BBC and

:27:25.:27:28.

others to determine who should appear. Not according to the

:27:29.:27:33.

Guardian today. There are lots of debates that will involve Nigel. I

:27:34.:27:37.

have taken part in a lot of them, including on this programme. That is

:27:38.:27:41.

absolutely right. This programme is a discussion programme, not a debate

:27:42.:27:45.

in the same way. The question is he asking - should Farage be given the

:27:46.:27:50.

standing to stand alongside the Prime Minister, the leader of the

:27:51.:27:53.

Liberal Democrats and the Labour leader as an equal? That is what I'm

:27:54.:27:57.

about to come to. Nigel Farage does not have a member of parliament. The

:27:58.:28:00.

Green Party has a member of parliament. Should the Green Party's

:28:01.:28:05.

leader be on that platform as well? You are choosing who you want to be

:28:06.:28:08.

the Prime Minister. That will either be David Cameron or Ed Miliband. Why

:28:09.:28:12.

is Nick Clegg there? Because Nick Clegg is in coalition he had a big

:28:13.:28:17.

bunch of MPs, much less than the Conservatives and Labour.

:28:18.:28:21.

Ultimately, this is a broadcasting matser. It's not a question of being

:28:22.:28:24.

afraid to debate. This is a choice for the country as to who you want

:28:25.:28:32.

to be Prime Minister. The 15% for UKIP and 9% for the Liberal

:28:33.:28:36.

Democrats. Let's go back to the issue of the debates and we must

:28:37.:28:40.

move on. You there, on the side. I don't think he has earnt his space

:28:41.:28:45.

at the general election debate, so far they are a fringe party that

:28:46.:28:50.

have risen to prominence on one issue. The general election debate

:28:51.:28:54.

won't be on Europe. Who here can tell you what UKIP's economic

:28:55.:28:58.

policies are? How would they reform the NHS. We don't know these things.

:28:59.:29:03.

So far they are the party who are anti-everything. Until they come up

:29:04.:29:09.

with some credible alternatives he should not be at a general election

:29:10.:29:13.

debate. He hasn't earned that space right. You are right. I think the

:29:14.:29:19.

media dressed him as a cuddly teddy bear, that is why he is seen as the

:29:20.:29:26.

man of the people. He hates the working-classes, hates women,

:29:27.:29:32.

immigrants - that is why he is seen as the a member of the people. This

:29:33.:29:34.

is a nonsense. I don't agree with everything he

:29:35.:29:47.

says but to demonise him as the National Front, a hater of all these

:29:48.:29:54.

people, is absolutely wrong. He wants to cut taxes for the rich and

:29:55.:29:58.

raise taxes for the rest. He wants a flat tax of 31p. In terms of the

:29:59.:30:06.

debate, I have a clear view. I think it should be a two person debate

:30:07.:30:11.

between the people who are likely to be next prime minister, Ed Miliband

:30:12.:30:15.

and David Cameron. That is my view, because we know these are the people

:30:16.:30:18.

who are going to be prime minister after 2015. It is a binary choice.

:30:19.:30:25.

It is a straight choice and I think we should have a debate between the

:30:26.:30:29.

Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. We go on to our next

:30:30.:30:41.

question. Will a monthly ?10 membership fee encourage citizens to

:30:42.:30:48.

value the NHS? A proposal by a former Labour health minister that

:30:49.:30:51.

everyone should pay ?10 per month towards the NHS. You are a nurse in

:30:52.:30:56.

the NHS. What do you think of this idea of people paying a ?10 on top

:30:57.:31:03.

of their tax for the NHS? I am wholeheartedly against that, but I

:31:04.:31:09.

do find that people are feeling demoralised in my profession and

:31:10.:31:12.

there is a general feeling that the general public are complacent about

:31:13.:31:16.

the NHS and do not appreciate it. The new boss of the NHS is on record

:31:17.:31:22.

as saying the NHS has the most sustained budget crunch in its

:31:23.:31:25.

history facing it. Camilla Cavendish, what do you think of it?

:31:26.:31:29.

It is dangerous but there are good reasons for it. The fact that the

:31:30.:31:36.

NHS is a universal service, free at the point of need, free when you

:31:37.:31:40.

really need it, is really precious and we shouldn't lose that. If we do

:31:41.:31:44.

lose that, a whole lot of things slide.

:31:45.:31:45.

APPLAUSE But I also agree with you that I

:31:46.:31:57.

think we have come to take the NHS for granted.

:31:58.:32:02.

And we think of it as free. It is not free, we are all paying for it.

:32:03.:32:06.

But because we think of it as free, there are more and more people who

:32:07.:32:11.

are abusing it. AGP rang me yesterday to complain about

:32:12.:32:14.

something I had written, and he rang because he had time because he was

:32:15.:32:17.

sitting through his third missed appointment of the day. Nurses have

:32:18.:32:23.

said to me, why don't we put the price on medicine? Why don't we tell

:32:24.:32:27.

people that the antibiotics they cannot be bothered to finish costs

:32:28.:32:33.

?30? Why don't we tell them the equipment they take home and do not

:32:34.:32:37.

bring back costs money? I think you are right, if people were more aware

:32:38.:32:41.

of the real cost of the NHS, they would value it more. I don't think

:32:42.:32:46.

the answer is to slap a ?10 charge on it. Lord Warner, who made the

:32:47.:32:51.

proposals, is a thoughtful man, a former Labour Health Secretary.

:32:52.:32:56.

There were a lot of other proposals he made. But I do think we might

:32:57.:33:01.

think about what we do when someone misses an appointment. What do we do

:33:02.:33:07.

when someone rings 999 because they have a sore throat? What do you do,

:33:08.:33:14.

find them? There are lots of doctors and nurses I have spoken to who are

:33:15.:33:16.

getting to the point where we must not lose the principle of free at

:33:17.:33:21.

the point of need, but we have to say, if you fail to show up three

:33:22.:33:24.

times in a row, there has to be a price for that. I don't know how you

:33:25.:33:29.

do it, but we need to put the value back, because otherwise we are going

:33:30.:33:32.

to find that we can't afford the NHS any longer.

:33:33.:33:33.

APPLAUSE I would agree with Camilla's point,

:33:34.:33:48.

but I think you should extend it to people going out and getting drunk

:33:49.:33:50.

on Saturday night. If they turn up at Accident

:33:51.:33:53.

Emergency, they should get an invoice for their hotel room for the

:33:54.:33:59.

night. Secondly, I am a healthy individual and I pay ?10 a month,

:34:00.:34:03.

but do I get that back in the end of the year because I have not used the

:34:04.:34:09.

NHS? Why should I be penalised, as a healthy citizen, for some people

:34:10.:34:16.

being irresponsible? You know why? Because it is a collective. We need

:34:17.:34:20.

to look after people who have made mistakes and fallen on hard times.

:34:21.:34:24.

You can't start charging everybody who makes a mistake or gets a

:34:25.:34:33.

particular disease. As I understand it, the proposal was for ?10 per

:34:34.:34:39.

visit to a GPU. I think it is a seriously bad idea and Camilla's

:34:40.:34:45.

introduction, I agreed with it. Once you start dismantling the principle

:34:46.:34:48.

of free at the point of use, the edifice starts to crumble. For a lot

:34:49.:34:54.

of people, ?10 is a lot of money and some of them have to go regularly,

:34:55.:34:58.

so they don't go, and they don't go until it is too late and the disease

:34:59.:35:04.

is too late. Others will try to avoid it by going to Accident

:35:05.:35:07.

Emergency, which is already swamped with people. We are trying to get

:35:08.:35:11.

people to GPs, not into Accident Emergency. And obviously, if people

:35:12.:35:16.

are very poor, you have to let them off, so you create a means test in

:35:17.:35:23.

the GPs surgery. Receptionists are already swimming in red tape and

:35:24.:35:28.

would then be filling in forms, so it becomes self-defeating. There is

:35:29.:35:31.

a general problem but -- about funding in the NHS. We realise that.

:35:32.:35:37.

What do you make of the points about telling people what things cost,

:35:38.:35:41.

charging them if they don't turn up, punishing people for abusing the

:35:42.:35:47.

NHS. Trying to demonstrate the value. There is already charging for

:35:48.:35:52.

certain kinds of medicine. The mechanisms are in place, but what

:35:53.:35:56.

does punishment actually mean? How do you know whether somebody has

:35:57.:36:01.

actually used the antibiotics when they take it home? I can understand

:36:02.:36:05.

the frustration of genuine medics when they are dealing with patients

:36:06.:36:09.

who do not take treatment seriously, but trying to have this policing of

:36:10.:36:14.

the system is not practical, rather like this proposal. You were nodding

:36:15.:36:17.

in approval when Camilla was talking. I remember a doctor coming

:36:18.:36:26.

into my surgery as an MP and saying that one fifth of his appointments

:36:27.:36:30.

do not show, and that is a chronic waste of his resource. It is also

:36:31.:36:35.

terrible, because sometimes people in England have to wait a month to

:36:36.:36:39.

get an appointment with their GP. Clearly, something needs to be done

:36:40.:36:44.

about that, whether it is saying, if you don't show and provide an

:36:45.:36:47.

explanation, if you ring up next time you will be at the back of the

:36:48.:36:53.

queue, or whatever. But I agree that if you start down the road of

:36:54.:36:57.

charging, it will never end, and you will hit those who need it most the

:36:58.:37:03.

hardest. One other point, I think the National Health Service needs

:37:04.:37:06.

better funding and I think it needs better funding from taxation, and it

:37:07.:37:11.

is the cheapest health provision in the world, much cheaper than

:37:12.:37:16.

America. America is private but it costs, per capita, much, much more

:37:17.:37:21.

than the National Health Service costs us per head of population. We

:37:22.:37:27.

should cherish it, and we should cherish community nurses like you

:37:28.:37:29.

and support you, not attack you the whole time and denude the service of

:37:30.:37:36.

the funding it needs. APPLAUSE

:37:37.:37:44.

The woman next to the question. I am an ex-nurse, and I would agree

:37:45.:37:48.

that it is about time that patients were aware of the costs involved,

:37:49.:37:51.

particularly medication and treatment in hospital. Also, I would

:37:52.:37:58.

happily pay ?10 to see my GP if it meant I could go at the time I

:37:59.:38:01.

wanted and I could get an appointment on the day of my choice.

:38:02.:38:11.

I appreciate what you are saying and I agree with Camilla's points but I

:38:12.:38:16.

think that would create a two tiered system where those who could afford

:38:17.:38:19.

?10 would get the best appointments, and those who can't would be

:38:20.:38:22.

waiting, and those are often the ones that are the least advantaged.

:38:23.:38:27.

I don't think you were quite saying that, were you? It is not about

:38:28.:38:33.

priority, but about getting an appointment when you need one. That

:38:34.:38:39.

is not priority, is it? I appreciate your point and I can see why you are

:38:40.:38:44.

making it. I have called and been told there is not an appointment for

:38:45.:38:48.

a week, or I have to wait all day. When you are busy, or you have

:38:49.:38:53.

childcare, it is impossible. But I still think it would set up a two

:38:54.:38:57.

tiered system where those who can afford it would get the better

:38:58.:39:04.

appointments, those that are when they want them. I do think we should

:39:05.:39:10.

appreciate the National Health Service. I do think we value it.

:39:11.:39:15.

Remember, it is ours, we pay for it. It is not free. We pay for it

:39:16.:39:19.

through prescription charges, through other ways, whether we

:39:20.:39:24.

volunteer, there are all manner of ways in which we respect our health

:39:25.:39:28.

service and it should continue. Perhaps it would be good to educate

:39:29.:39:33.

people about the cost of medicine. Maybe it would. I have dumped think

:39:34.:39:37.

tank pieces, and sometimes they get covered, sometimes they don't. -- I

:39:38.:39:42.

have done think tank pieces. What do you mean? I have written think tank

:39:43.:39:49.

pieces. Sometimes they get picked up in the media and people sometimes

:39:50.:39:54.

criticise them. What this man is trying to do, yes, it is

:39:55.:39:58.

controversial, but we have to have a mature debate about funding the NHS

:39:59.:40:02.

in the future. People are getting older. The demands on the service

:40:03.:40:09.

are increasing. If you look at age expectancy, it has risen 20 years

:40:10.:40:15.

since the NHS was founded in 1947. Clearly, there will be more and more

:40:16.:40:20.

costs. We have to think about how we are going to fund this. I completely

:40:21.:40:25.

agree with Camilla, but to rely on the old methods and think we can

:40:26.:40:28.

raise the money through more taxation is unrealistic. If you take

:40:29.:40:34.

away the appointment system and you are ill and go to the GP, you will

:40:35.:40:37.

not have anyone sat there waiting for someone to turn up. If you go,

:40:38.:40:43.

you are sick, someone is waiting to serve you when you arrive, as

:40:44.:40:46.

opposed to booking an appointment to see the GP, I would like to go today

:40:47.:40:49.

but I can't because the appointment is in three weeks. Then you don't

:40:50.:40:54.

bother to go and you end up with people becoming more unwell because

:40:55.:40:56.

they have got a little better than become worse. You prefer the system

:40:57.:41:02.

of sitting in the waiting room and taking your term. I have lived in

:41:03.:41:09.

Wales and it works there. Wales does not have the best NHS reputation

:41:10.:41:17.

today. When we are in Wales, everybody complains about the NHS.

:41:18.:41:21.

When I am in England, everybody complains about the NHS. I have an

:41:22.:41:25.

elderly relative who has just been discharged after a serious operation

:41:26.:41:31.

who has not yet seen a GP after being a month out of the hospital,

:41:32.:41:34.

and supposed to be getting care in the community which just does not

:41:35.:41:40.

exist. Before I retired, I work as a Project surveyor in hospitals. I

:41:41.:41:44.

agree that clinical costs are horrendously high. But like all

:41:45.:41:50.

large institutions, there is a mindset where it is spending other

:41:51.:41:54.

people's money and they really don't care. They think in telephone

:41:55.:41:59.

numbers. I worked in a hospital where they completed a new maternity

:42:00.:42:04.

complex. The doctor who laid out the brief realised he had not put in a

:42:05.:42:08.

recovery room for the theatres. So they ripped out half of the whole

:42:09.:42:14.

project. Your point is that big institutions always waste money. One

:42:15.:42:20.

hospital I worked in, the only time it was cured, each department was

:42:21.:42:23.

given its own budget and was not allowed to step outside that, and

:42:24.:42:28.

that brought the cost right down, when people realised how much they

:42:29.:42:32.

were spending. You think if clients of the NHS realised how expensive it

:42:33.:42:40.

was it would make a difference. I think we should resist all attempts

:42:41.:42:44.

to start charging people to see their GPs, because the only ones

:42:45.:42:47.

that are going to lose out by this are the most vulnerable, which is

:42:48.:42:52.

the very reason the NHS was set up in the first place.

:42:53.:43:00.

APPLAUSE Let's go back to domestic politics

:43:01.:43:09.

for a moment. If Maria Miller is not diligent

:43:10.:43:13.

enough to reconcile her expenses how can she stay in her job? The Culture

:43:14.:43:24.

Secretary, who had to apologise to the House of Commons, why should she

:43:25.:43:27.

keep her job if she can't get her expenses right? Obviously, we have

:43:28.:43:34.

heard a lot over the last few years about whether it is expense over

:43:35.:43:40.

claiming or fiddling. I am grateful that we have been informed in detail

:43:41.:43:45.

about the fact that so many serving members of Parliament are scamming.

:43:46.:43:48.

But there are many who are not. And I think it is disgraceful what she

:43:49.:43:53.

has done, and I think that the fact that she seems to have committed an

:43:54.:43:56.

act of fraud, whether it is criminal or not, rather than made a mistake,

:43:57.:44:01.

which definitely had happened with some of the cases, it is a real

:44:02.:44:06.

scandal. And I think the apologies we are hearing over and over again

:44:07.:44:12.

are just getting a little banal. So I want to see real accountability

:44:13.:44:16.

with all public servants. Whether or not she has committed a worse

:44:17.:44:21.

crime, if you like, than others, I don't know, but certainly it has

:44:22.:44:24.

reopened the debate and I can imagine there will be others

:44:25.:44:28.

following her. Peter Hain, you resigned as a minister over a

:44:29.:44:34.

failure to declare. It was nothing to do with parliamentary expenses.

:44:35.:44:41.

It was to do with not declaring donations to a deputy leader

:44:42.:44:43.

campaign within the time limit. I went over the time limit. When I

:44:44.:44:47.

discovered the problem I reported it and was then attacked. I thought the

:44:48.:44:51.

best thing was to resign. I cleared my name and I went back to the

:44:52.:44:56.

Cabinet. Do you think Maria Miller should do the same? It seems that

:44:57.:45:02.

some MPs were treated in one way and she seems to have been treated in

:45:03.:45:07.

another. That is the problem here. But what is also the problem is that

:45:08.:45:10.

this is a hangover from the old system. The new system that has

:45:11.:45:15.

operated since the last general election is extremely rigorous,

:45:16.:45:20.

very, very clearly policed and use and he cannot do the kind of thing

:45:21.:45:26.

that brought us all into disrepute. That minority of MPs did more to

:45:27.:45:29.

destroy a trust between the voters and politicians like me than almost

:45:30.:45:33.

anything else that has happened in the last few generations. And they

:45:34.:45:41.

deserve every attack they get. In what way has she been treated

:45:42.:45:46.

differently Labour colleagues have served prison sentences. They did

:45:47.:45:51.

illegal things and were convicted. Is I will not have a go at Maria

:45:52.:45:55.

Miller, she has been treated leniently compared to how others

:45:56.:46:01.

have been treated. The public have an enormous comtempt for politicians

:46:02.:46:05.

who scam their expenses. That is what I think. There is a problem

:46:06.:46:10.

with expenses. There is the rule of law in Britain. If you break the law

:46:11.:46:14.

there is a judicial process. People who broke the law, colleagues of

:46:15.:46:17.

ours, have been sent to jail. They have done their time. Yeah. There is

:46:18.:46:24.

no indication, no-one is suggesting that she broke the law. She was

:46:25.:46:30.

accused of something, John Mann, parliamentary colleagues on the

:46:31.:46:33.

Labour side, the investigation on John Mann what he said I understand

:46:34.:46:39.

she was exonerated. She apologised fully. People say the apology could

:46:40.:46:44.

have been longer. I think, as it stands, she should be allowed to

:46:45.:46:47.

continue in her job. Is the Immigration Minister, Mark Harper,

:46:48.:46:51.

resigned because she didn't know whether his cleaner had - Yes, I

:46:52.:46:55.

think that was very harsh. At the same time - He choose to resign. He

:46:56.:47:01.

was the Immigration Minister. It's different! There was a peculiar

:47:02.:47:05.

sensitivity about that, given the fact he was the Immigration Minister

:47:06.:47:11.

employing an illegal immigrant there was paradox. You thought his

:47:12.:47:16.

resignation... He wasn't forced to do. It he behaved honourably and

:47:17.:47:21.

handed in his resignation. Vince Cable I worry when I hear people

:47:22.:47:28.

bandingy about words like "fraud". There is a distinction between fraud

:47:29.:47:32.

and cheating and scams on the one hand, and mistakes on the other. I

:47:33.:47:37.

don't know the details of this case, the people who investigated it,

:47:38.:47:41.

there is a Parliamentary Standards group, people from each of the

:47:42.:47:44.

different parties are represented on it, who looked at this case and came

:47:45.:47:49.

to the conclusion, on the facts, that she was not involved in

:47:50.:47:53.

deliberate deception, but that there had been a mistake. Why did she have

:47:54.:47:59.

to apologise then? To for making a serious mistake. She repaid the

:48:00.:48:03.

money. There was a proper process. I mean, had she been involved in

:48:04.:48:09.

anything dishonest, and had the standards Committee found that she

:48:10.:48:13.

would have had to go and had to face police action, as some of our

:48:14.:48:17.

colleagues would. There was a clear distinction. An independent body

:48:18.:48:20.

established there was no fraud in this case. Apology was for the way

:48:21.:48:26.

that that she handled the commissioner's inquiries. That is

:48:27.:48:29.

the point. What I find depressing about this, I don't know the

:48:30.:48:32.

details, she obviously was exonerated. What I did read was that

:48:33.:48:39.

the inquiry had found that she was unco-operative. That is what

:48:40.:48:43.

depresses me about this. She may have been above board, it may have

:48:44.:48:48.

been fine... APPLAUSE

:48:49.:48:51.

You know, you have to have the grace, as a public servant, to treat

:48:52.:48:56.

these inquiries seriously. The woman there shouted out. The apology was

:48:57.:49:01.

for obstructing the investigation, that is what she was apologise

:49:02.:49:04.

guising for. What does that say about her character? Should she

:49:05.:49:10.

really be... Do you think she should have resigned? Yeah, yes, I do. On

:49:11.:49:16.

the left there. I want to get people who haven't spoken. She should have

:49:17.:49:19.

been sacked. This is black-and-white. At the end of the

:49:20.:49:24.

day, take law out of the equation, she is an MP and there is a moral

:49:25.:49:27.

grounds here for her to be sacked. There is one thing to make a mistake

:49:28.:49:32.

over a couple of months. This is over a prolonged period of time. She

:49:33.:49:35.

claimed for interest she wasn't being charged. I work in the

:49:36.:49:40.

private-sector, if I made mistakes on my expenses every month, I would

:49:41.:49:48.

be sacked. APPLAUSE

:49:49.:49:50.

You are a colleague of hers in the same party. Briefly answer that

:49:51.:49:54.

point. I want to go on to another question. She is capable minister.

:49:55.:50:01.

She is doing a very good job. She is in a moral position, she is an MP,

:50:02.:50:05.

voted in. She should be sacked. She has grounds to live up to. Going to

:50:06.:50:10.

say that the the rules she was living with at the time mean that

:50:11.:50:13.

she didn't have to live up to a certain code is irrelevant as well.

:50:14.:50:17.

She is in a role. She has a moral code to live up to. She failed that

:50:18.:50:26.

and she failed the public. APPLAUSE

:50:27.:50:28.

I know passions are strong here. I disagree with you. I don't think

:50:29.:50:32.

there was an independent inquiry. There was an independent inquiry

:50:33.:50:36.

that exonerated her. Other colleagues of mine have faced

:50:37.:50:39.

criminal charges and they have been convicted and they have been sent

:50:40.:50:44.

down to court... Sent down to jail. I don't think this is a resigning

:50:45.:50:49.

matter. You, sir, in the tie. You can't say that. Ultimately what this

:50:50.:50:53.

is about is the three of you telling us you are whiter than white. Simple

:50:54.:50:58.

as that. I'm a civil servant. If I did that, I would be sacked. We must

:50:59.:51:05.

leave this. You are saying he is right she should resign. I'm not

:51:06.:51:10.

saying she should resign or be sacked, that is a matter for others.

:51:11.:51:14.

When politicians don't pay a price, when something like this happens, it

:51:15.:51:18.

brings us into even more contempt. It does. Let us go on to another

:51:19.:51:29.

question. One more. Joseph Llewellyn has it, please. Is it a good idea

:51:30.:51:34.

for children to start school at the age of two or should we allow them

:51:35.:51:40.

to be children for a little longer? Ofsted's boss, was suggesting this

:51:41.:51:44.

today, that children should start their schooling at the age of two,

:51:45.:51:51.

Camilla, what do you think of that proposal. I have three quite small

:51:52.:51:55.

children, so I don't know how you would answer the question, I suspect

:51:56.:52:01.

by the wayer asking it, you think children should be allowed to be

:52:02.:52:04.

children. Him, he will tell you. You tell us first. I think a child being

:52:05.:52:08.

allowed to run around and play is massively important part of growing

:52:09.:52:11.

up. To make them start school at the age of two doesn't make sense to me.

:52:12.:52:15.

I have recently come out of school, I have had five years of continuous

:52:16.:52:18.

exams. It's been horrible. I hated it. To give give the contact. He

:52:19.:52:24.

said that more than two-thirds... He stressed of our poorest children in

:52:25.:52:29.

some of our poorest communities, that is eight children out of ten,

:52:30.:52:32.

go to school unprepared. They can't hold a pen. They have poor language

:52:33.:52:36.

and communication skills. They don't recognise simple numbers, and they

:52:37.:52:40.

can't use the toilet independently and so on. So it seems to be that

:52:41.:52:45.

that he is aiming at, including everybody in it? Exactly. The point

:52:46.:52:49.

is what you mean by "school"? I have a lot of time for Michael Willshaw.

:52:50.:52:57.

He did brilliant work as teacher in Hackney, what he did for

:52:58.:53:00.

disadvantaged children who before then had no hope, he is

:53:01.:53:02.

extraordinary. He is genuinely concerned about that group of

:53:03.:53:05.

children that you are talking about, David, who clearly are not getting

:53:06.:53:08.

the kind of learning that they need, which is pretty basic at that age. I

:53:09.:53:12.

don't think he is suggesting they should all sit down at tables and

:53:13.:53:19.

recite their times tables. Which would be completely ludicrous. I

:53:20.:53:26.

city on Frank Field's Early Years Foundation Trust, we are looking at

:53:27.:53:29.

the huge disadvantage that kids from certain backgrounds start with at

:53:30.:53:33.

the age of five. You know, you can't make up for that later. All the

:53:34.:53:37.

studies now show if you arrive at school without those basic things,

:53:38.:53:42.

without your basic vo calibry you are so far behind. You are overtaken

:53:43.:53:46.

so quickly by children who have a better home life and who have

:53:47.:53:50.

parents who provide those things. I think it's absolutely vital for

:53:51.:53:54.

social mobility that we look seriously at that group of children.

:53:55.:53:59.

But it's equally vital if we want to send them back to school, whatever

:54:00.:54:02.

we mean by that, we have to absolutely top quality people doing

:54:03.:54:05.

that job. I think just sort of sticking them in a factory, around a

:54:06.:54:11.

desk, certainly isn't going to work. Yes, definitely I would suggest that

:54:12.:54:14.

as a really good way forward. It would benefit parents, it would

:54:15.:54:18.

particularly benefit single parents, in the main single mothers. Those

:54:19.:54:23.

working-class children that don't have a house full of books. Parents

:54:24.:54:27.

that have the time to engage with them. Because of the stress of

:54:28.:54:32.

living on benefits, below the poverty line, ing three jobs, for

:54:33.:54:37.

whatever reason. The rich kids, the kids from middle-class backgrounds,

:54:38.:54:41.

wealthier backgrounds, should go to school with those kids from lower

:54:42.:54:46.

social groups because it's a brilliant equaliser. I think that it

:54:47.:54:51.

would be amazing for children to start mixing together across class

:54:52.:54:56.

and races and cultures at such a young age before prejudices set in

:54:57.:55:00.

and before disadvantage sets in. What do you make of the point about

:55:01.:55:06.

should we allow them to be children for longer? I would accept that. The

:55:07.:55:11.

way in which society has evolved is that the schools for two-year-olds

:55:12.:55:17.

wouldn't be fully comprehensive in the way you describe. I'm sure

:55:18.:55:21.

richer people would pay to send their children at that age to

:55:22.:55:27.

private schools. If we had a proper comprehensive system and abolished

:55:28.:55:31.

the private system then it would. Nobody is suggesting that. The

:55:32.:55:34.

former Children's Minister said today, what next, he said SATS tests

:55:35.:55:43.

for embryos? That's nonsense! Tim, has his own way of expressing

:55:44.:55:46.

himself. I think he make as good point. I don't think - He does make

:55:47.:55:51.

a good point. Don't think two-year-old children should go to

:55:52.:55:55.

school. Let me tell you. I will get to the bottom of this. Willshaw

:55:56.:56:02.

said, let's not pander to those who think children's childhoods are

:56:03.:56:08.

being toll stolen... I agree there are huge social problems that we

:56:09.:56:14.

face as a society. There is massive inequality that we face. I don't

:56:15.:56:18.

think that is solved by forcing two-year-olds, every two-year-old to

:56:19.:56:23.

go to school. I don't think... We should address social causes and not

:56:24.:56:29.

force everyone to go to school. Speak to teachers in nursery and

:56:30.:56:32.

reception classes and some even in the first year of primary school,

:56:33.:56:36.

the kids come, not even being able to go to the toilet. Not being able

:56:37.:56:41.

to hold knives and forks, let alone read a book. Not just for the

:56:42.:56:44.

reasons Julie says, which are valid in terms of very poor parents,

:56:45.:56:49.

parents need to take their responsibilities properly. I speak

:56:50.:56:52.

as a parent and a grand parent. One. Things we have to do, we are

:56:53.:56:57.

creating an enormous problem that stacks up for schools when they get

:56:58.:57:00.

into schooling unless we deal with the problem - This isn't about...

:57:01.:57:06.

APPLAUSE This isn't or shouldn't be about

:57:07.:57:09.

sending two-year-olds to formal school. There are some very good

:57:10.:57:12.

education systems in northern Europe where people don't start until six

:57:13.:57:18.

or seven. The issue, several of the panellists identified, this enormous

:57:19.:57:23.

gulf we find five or six you can predict how children will succeed or

:57:24.:57:28.

fail. Somehow or other one has to counter that disadvantage. What my

:57:29.:57:32.

side of the coalition has done done in the Government introduced a Pupil

:57:33.:57:37.

Premium, it applies in school, also applies to pre-school and helps with

:57:38.:57:43.

breakfasts or helping in nursery schools and helping those children

:57:44.:57:50.

between two and five to get up to a reasonably equally playing field

:57:51.:57:53.

when they are at school. Agree with the proposal? I agree with the

:57:54.:57:57.

proposal of helping not children. It's not sitting two-year-olds in

:57:58.:58:00.

formal classroom setting. That is not the issue. It's giving people

:58:01.:58:05.

from disadvantaged backgrounds proper help, proper support, so when

:58:06.:58:09.

they do go to school they are there on a level playing field. Time is

:58:10.:58:13.

up. We must stop. Next week, we will be in West London, Harriet Harman

:58:14.:58:19.

will be among the politicians on the panel. Sir Martin Sorree ll and

:58:20.:58:30.

Billy Brag. We will be back on 1st May in Leeds. To make a note. Next

:58:31.:58:34.

week, we will be in West London, and in Leeds three weeks away. If you

:58:35.:58:37.

would like to come to either programme, as I always say, if you

:58:38.:58:42.

can read it on your television, the address is there. #6 the telephone:

:58:43.:58:50.

number: do apply. If you are listening on 5 Live this debate goes

:58:51.:58:55.

on. As far as Bristol is concerned, this debate comes to a halt. My

:58:56.:59:00.

thanks to all of you on the panel. Thanks to you the audience here,

:59:01.:59:05.

until next Thursday, on Question Time, good night.

:59:06.:59:09.

APPLAUSE

:59:10.:59:17.

David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Bristol. The panel includes Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable MP, Labour's former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain MP, Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng, associate editor of The Times Camilla Cavendish and Guardian columnist Julie Bindel.


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