17/03/2016 Question Time


17/03/2016

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Chelmsford. On the panel: Nicky Morgan MP, Emily Thornberry MP, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP, Roger Helmer MEP and Mark Littlewood.


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Transcript


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Tonight we're in Chelmsford, and this is Question Time.

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Good evening and welcome to you,

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whether you're watching or listening.

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On our panel tonight,

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the Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

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Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, Emily Thornberry.

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The SNP Trade and Industry spokesperson at Westminster,

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Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.

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Ukip's leader in the European Parliament, Roger Helmer.

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The director of the think-tank the Institute Of Economic Affairs,

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Mark Littlewood.

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APPLAUSE

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Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

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Don't forget you have, at your service at home,

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Facebook, text or Twitter, to comment on what's said here.

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There are the details on the screen.

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Let's have our first question from Graham Bartlett tonight, please.

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Why is this Government cutting corporation tax

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at the expense of the disabled?

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The result of yesterday's Budget.

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Nicky Morgan.

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Well, we aren't doing that.

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Let's push back on that immediately.

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Yesterday's Budget was about putting the next generation first.

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It was about continuing to repair the damage done to our economy

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by the Labour Party when they were in government.

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What we've found, in terms of corporation tax, for example,

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is that if you lower the rates, actually, you get more money in.

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And that's a good thing

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for all the things we want to spend our money on,

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like, in my case, obviously, schools and education. But...

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Sorry, can I just check one thing? You say we're not doing that.

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You do agree with Mr Bartlett you are both cutting corporation tax

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and making savings on the disabled?

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No. Because I agree about the corporation tax.

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But we are not making savings on the disabled,

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because we are, at the moment, consulting on making some changes

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to the way that Personal Independence Payments...

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What's the figure of £4.4 billion saving

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from January 2017 to do with it

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if it's not to do with making a saving?

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No, no. It's about less, but overall

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the amount of money we are spending on disability benefits

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actually rises throughout the Parliament.

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By the end of this Parliament, we will be spending £3 billion more

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on Personal Independence Payments than we were in 2010,

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or the equivalent benefit - Disability Living Allowance.

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We spend £50 billion on disability benefits in this country.

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That's more than we're spending on, for example, police and defence.

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It's more than the schools budget.

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Sorry, I don't want to stop you again,

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but the Institute For Fiscal Studies,

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who we know are sort of great gurus on this,

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say that 370,000 people could lose up to £3,500 a year

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as a result of these measures you're taking.

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Are you saying nobody's going to lose out?

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No. What we are saying is

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that this is about the way that people's needs are assessed

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and making sure that the benefit is targeted

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absolutely at the right people.

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Personal Independence Payment,

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I know as a constituency Member of Parliament,

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having constituents who claim it, who go through the system,

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is there to help people to live independently.

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It's about making sure the money we are spending -

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we are spending more, as I say, on disability benefits -

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is going to the right people to help them with the right needs.

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And I think, overall, you know,

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we want there to be control of the welfare budget,

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that's something we've made very clear in our manifesto.

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We also made very clear we're not going to balance the books

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on the back of the most vulnerable and the disabled.

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And we absolutely still hold to that promise.

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Mr Bartlett, does that answer your question? Has she got it right?

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No. They're targeting the disabled at the expense of the corporations,

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who are getting away with it.

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They should pay more money

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so we can have better facilities for the disabled.

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-But they will pay more money.

-No.

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I'll come back to you, Nicky.

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Emily Thornberry.

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Well, you're right, Graham. Of course they are.

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They're targeting those who they think won't be able to fight back.

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They're going to change the rules

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so that if you need assistance in going to the loo,

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assistance in getting dressed,

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then they will look again

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at how much Personal Independence Payments you can get.

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And that's going to cost the disabled £67 a week.

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It is outrageous.

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And this idea that, "Oh, we're cutting corporation tax

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"in order to be able to gather in more money,"

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I mean, what kind of Alice In Wonderland world are we living in?

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You know, are we saying, oh, we're cutting corporation tax

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and so, therefore, people won't fiddle

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their corporation tax any more?

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Shouldn't we actually be making sure

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the corporations and the very rich pay their taxes

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and we make sure that we look after the most vulnerable in this society?

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This Budget...

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This Budget is about choices

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and, frankly, I think that George Osborne

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has shown his true colours here

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by picking on those who can't fight back.

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How much did you raise corporation tax by when you were in Government?

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-Do you remember?

-No, I don't remember. I don't remember. But...

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-I don't think you did raise it, did you?

-Yes, but they're cutting it.

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I mean, what are you saying?

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And at the moment, you know, what are we doing?

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We're actually cutting corporation tax down

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to the same rate as Google might be prepared to pay it?

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What kind of...? I mean, this is not right.

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All right. Mark Littlewood.

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Well, listen, I want lower, simpler taxes.

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I'm a low-tax kind of guy.

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I think that helps the economy, it helps employment,

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it helps economic growth.

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And ultimately, if you can find the sweet spot,

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it helps Government revenues as well.

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We have previously had taxes that are so high

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that you don't actually get as much revenue as you might off them.

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So I don't mind corporation tax going down.

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But I do mind this...

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Politicians of all stripes have got to work out

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how they're going to make savings.

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We are still, after six years of so-called austerity,

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having a Government that is living well beyond the means of taxpayers

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to the tune of tens of billions of pounds a year.

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Most independent experts believe that George Osborne

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only has a 50/50 chance, possibly worse,

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of balancing the books by 2020.

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So we've got to find some savings.

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But...what the Conservatives have extremely unhelpfully done

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is to ring-fence core constituencies,

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largely of Conservative voters -

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for example, affluent pensioners

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still receiving their winter fuel allowance.

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And if you ring-fence huge areas of Government spending,

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then the axe falls unfairly.

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And I would have thought

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about the last thing you should be looking to cut

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is assistance to the disabled.

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But if you've ring-fenced so many other things,

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2% on defence, 0.7% on international aid,

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then you get these arbitrary cuts in spending.

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So let's get taxes down,

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that's the right way to boost our economy,

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but let's actually put all Government departments on the table

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for efficiencies in savings.

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That's the only way I think we will balance the books in 2020.

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Nicky Morgan, just pick up briefly on what Mark said, would you?

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That you've ring-fenced so many things

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you end up going for areas that perhaps you shouldn't go for.

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Well, we certainly have, obviously, set out protections,

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but I think they are areas which are very important. So...

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-Affluent pensioners?

-..2% defence spending,

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0.7% on international aid,

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our health budget.

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Affluent, middle-class pensioners -

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they're protected and ring-fenced by your Government.

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-No.

-But it's true.

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The Prime Minister has made a clear commitment to pensioners

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about benefits which they rely on hugely and are very important.

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Things like bus passes, for example, and Winter Fuel Payments.

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But I think this is completely the wrong argument to be having.

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The point is, actually, over the course of the last six years,

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we have brought things under control.

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We are much closer to living within our means.

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If you look at the Budget book, you can see we're much closer

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to spending what we are raising in taxes.

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We have got further to do,

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and the Chancellor has been honest about that.

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And we're dealing with the particular issue that arose.

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The person there in the fourth row.

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I'd like to know why there's two different rules -

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one for corporations, and one for ordinary people.

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And why the Conservatives are so happy

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to try and appease the corporations by cutting taxes,

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whereas individuals are being forced to pay their taxes,

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the disabled are being forced

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to reduce their standard of living,

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yet corporations, we're so happy for them to reduce it,

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when some companies are trying to avoid paying taxes altogether.

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All right. And the woman over there on the far right, yes.

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You said that you ring-fenced the spending on the healthcare,

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but the NHS is on its knees.

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It can't meet its demands. It doesn't need ring-fencing.

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It needs more money.

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By cutting corporate taxing and ring-fencing the NHS,

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it's sort of like saying that you appreciate Google

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more than you appreciate the NHS.

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So why don't you invest?

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And by cutting disability benefits, by cutting social services,

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all you're doing is bringing the NHS down to its knees.

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The NHS won't be around for another couple of years

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-if you continue to do this.

-Nicky, I'll come back to you,

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but, Roger Helmer... Then I'll come back to you.

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Well, Nicky has said that this is a Budget for the next generation.

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And, of course, it's no such thing.

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It's a Budget for the next three months.

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Because George Osborne's job, and his boss' job,

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depend upon them winning the referendum

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and they are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink,

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at that project.

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Coming back to the specific question...

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Hang on, what is it in this Budget

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that will help win the referendum, in your view?

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Well, there are tax reductions for large numbers of smaller businesses,

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so there's quite a range of people there

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who will be helped by the Budget and...

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-And middle-income and richer people...

-Yep.

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..who the Conservatives are hoping to keep on side.

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But the point I would like to make is that I agree with Mark

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that lower corporation tax is not about making gifts to companies,

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it's about making Britain an attractive place to invest,

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an attractive place to build factories,

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create jobs and all those things.

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Where I think George Osborne has got it dramatically wrong is,

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as the questioners have been suggesting,

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is to pick on the disabled.

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There are all sorts of groups in society

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you might want to look again at the benefits they get,

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but the disabled...?

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And whereas for a single disabled person

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the loss of £3,500 a year, for them, is an enormous amount of money,

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according to the statistics I've seen, over the next five years,

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the total saving for the Government

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is of the order of £4.5 billion.

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Well, if we leave the European Union after 23rd June,

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we'll get that amount of money back in three months.

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OK. Tasmina.

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George Osborne has failed on debt, on deficit, on growth,

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on trade and exports.

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He's failed on everything

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and he wants the disabled people of this country to pay for it

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and it is not on.

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Tory austerity...

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APPLAUSE

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Tory austerity - which isn't working - is a choice, not a necessity.

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Penalising the disabled people by having £4.4 billion of cuts

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on money they should be getting is a choice, not a necessity.

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And to say this is for the next generation is highly questionable.

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In fact, George Osborne mentioned the next generation, I think,

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at least 18 times in his speech yesterday.

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What has he done for the next generation?

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He doesn't want 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

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He's cut student maintenance allowances.

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He's cut allowances for student nurses.

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He's cut allowances for 18- to 21-year-olds who are unemployed

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who need housing benefit.

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That is not somebody who's planning for the next generation,

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that's someone who's planning for himself.

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And the time has come to call time on this Chancellor,

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because the disabled people of this country cannot take any more.

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The Resolution Foundation, having looked at all the figures,

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have come to the conclusion, which is one with which I agree,

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the top 10% of households in this country

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will be 20 times better off

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as a result of yesterday's Budget.

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-Tasmina, do you...?

-We have to look at ourselves as a country

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and think, is this where we want to go?

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Is this a reflection of ourselves?

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Why are we not looking after the people who need our help the most?

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Tasmina, in...

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The Government has a majority of 12.

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We hear today that 20 Conservative MPs

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have written to say that they're very concerned

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about the disability changes.

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Do you think that it'll get through,

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or do you think it will be rejected by the House of Commons?

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Because, presumably, the SNP will use its strength to vote against it.

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Absolutely, and without a doubt.

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And I'm very pleased to see

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that there are voices across the House of Commons and in Government,

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on the Government benches, who are voices of reason,

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to see that this is absolutely not the right way forward.

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The Government faces another difficulty

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and another defeat, potentially.

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Nicky Morgan, do you think the Chancellor will lose the vote?

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Well, first of all, we've got to finish the consultation

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and the conversations that we're having with MPs,

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but also with disability groups and others

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before we even bring any legislation forward.

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Can I just pick up the point that the lady in the audience made

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about the taxes for businesses and the taxes for individuals?

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Sorry, can I just come back to that other thing?

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Are you saying this is just for consultation,

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this wasn't an announcement on saving money?

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It was in the Budget speech.

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No, no, it wasn't in the Budget speech, actually.

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What are we talking about, then?

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Just something you were half-thinking about?

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No, no, there's been an independent review that has happened.

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Proposals have been put forward

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and we are continuing the conversation about this,

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to make sure, as I said in my original answer,

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that the Personal Independence Payment

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is targeted at the right people.

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-Is that how you see it? Not in the Budget?

-No, I don't see it.

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I remember Cameron saying that, on Personal Independence plans,

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he said, "This is our measure and we will enhance and safeguard it."

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That's what he said before the general election,

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-and he has gone back on his word.

-Hang on a second. But...

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-No, no, that is what he said before the election.

-Yes, absolutely.

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The Prime Minister didn't deliver the Budget yesterday,

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the Chancellor did. This is a measure...

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Oh, they don't talk to each other?

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This is a measure that is still being discussed in Government.

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And, as I say, it's about making sure that the welfare spending...

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So he didn't say, "Look, George, I promised not to do anything

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"to personal independence plans.

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"In fact, I promised to enhance and safeguard it,

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"so please don't touch it"? He didn't tell them that?

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If the entire Budget's up for discussion,

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I'm very interested in having this discussion now,

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because that certainly wasn't how it was played.

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And indeed, Graham Ellis, one of your own members,

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who was on the executive of the disabled group

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in the Conservative Party, actually resigned as a result of that.

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There are serious issues surrounding this.

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He said he couldn't possibly fathom being a member of a party

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that was going to have such a terrible impact

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-on the disabled people.

-That's why we're still discussing it.

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Disabled people in this country

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have committed suicide as a result of some of the cuts

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that have been brought forward by this Government.

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-It is unforgiveable.

-The woman here in the front.

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The lady said about the suicide...

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With the disabled people,

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with them having their money cut,

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surely there will be more distress?

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Because people can't get anywhere, they get depressed even more,

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it'll cost them more,

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and then, as you say, they commit suicide.

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So, you know, they're making it worse for them.

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-People's mental health issues, absolutely.

-Hold on, Tasmina.

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Just clarify this,

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and then we must just talk about the corporation-tax part of this.

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This £4.4 billion saving by 2021...

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on disability -

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you're saying that is not a policy? That just doesn't exist?

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It's a fantasy?

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No, no, it is something that has been put forward.

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There has been a review, there has been a suggestion.

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We are not ready to bring the legislation forward.

0:15:180:15:20

Can I just ask you, then, how does it square

0:15:200:15:22

with what the Prime Minister said before the last election?

0:15:220:15:25

"We haven't created this to undermine it.

0:15:250:15:27

"We want to enhance and safeguard it.

0:15:270:15:29

"The most disabled should always be protected."

0:15:290:15:31

Well, that's exactly what I'm saying.

0:15:310:15:33

There's been a suggestion

0:15:330:15:35

of a change in the way the personal independence needs are assessed.

0:15:350:15:39

And that's something we all continue to discuss.

0:15:390:15:42

So is it all up for debate? Can we argue other things, too?

0:15:420:15:44

Are there other things that...?

0:15:440:15:46

I'm sure you'll argue lots of things, Emily.

0:15:460:15:48

The Budget is merely a suggestion, is it?

0:15:480:15:50

Can I just answer the question?

0:15:500:15:51

Hold on. All right. One at a time.

0:15:510:15:53

Corporation tax and personal tax - I think this is really important.

0:15:530:15:56

I do think that if you bring down taxes on companies -

0:15:560:15:58

we want them to set up and we want them to invest in this country,

0:15:580:16:01

we want them to employ people.

0:16:010:16:02

But I should also just point out

0:16:020:16:04

that yesterday the Chancellor also said

0:16:040:16:06

that the income-tax personal allowance

0:16:060:16:08

is going to go up again in April, and it will go up again next year.

0:16:080:16:11

31 million people are going to be paying less tax -

0:16:110:16:14

individuals, as a result of changes introduced under the last government

0:16:140:16:18

and in the current government.

0:16:180:16:19

We're also introducing the National Living Wage,

0:16:190:16:22

so that people's wages will be going up, too.

0:16:220:16:24

So to say that we are somehow ignoring individuals

0:16:240:16:27

and focusing on business is not right.

0:16:270:16:29

But, of course, we need people to come to this country to invest,

0:16:290:16:32

because they're the ones that are going to employ people.

0:16:320:16:35

What about the employment support allowance cut by £30 per week?

0:16:350:16:39

-What about that?

-Can we just clarify one thing?

0:16:390:16:41

Because it does sound, from what you're saying -

0:16:410:16:43

I don't know whether I'm misinterpreting this, Nicky...

0:16:430:16:46

You've got 20 Conservative MPs opposed to this policy,

0:16:460:16:49

written to the Chancellor -

0:16:490:16:50

it sounds as if you may be saying that this £4.4 billion saving

0:16:500:16:55

isn't actually now going to happen.

0:16:550:16:57

On reflection, the opposition to it is so great

0:16:570:17:00

you may have to reconsider.

0:17:000:17:02

Wouldn't the Chancellor have even more difficulty balancing the books?

0:17:020:17:05

Then let me just hear the answer to the question.

0:17:050:17:07

Well, we are absolutely still engaged in a discussion on that

0:17:070:17:10

with both Members of Parliament,

0:17:100:17:12

as I say, with disability groups and campaigners, very much.

0:17:120:17:15

That's political speak for, "We aren't going to do it."

0:17:150:17:19

This is clearly an issue about...

0:17:190:17:20

This is another £4.4 billion that has to be found from somewhere else.

0:17:200:17:23

Hang on a second. People can't have it both ways.

0:17:230:17:25

They can't, on the one hand say, "You can't make this change,"

0:17:250:17:28

and then say, "You're not going to."

0:17:280:17:29

-That's not what we said.

-We have a track record, as a government...

0:17:290:17:32

Tasmina, you must let her just finish her sentences. Like I must!

0:17:320:17:35

We have a track record, as a government, of making savings.

0:17:350:17:38

They're difficult decisions to make, as ministers,

0:17:380:17:41

but they are the right thing to do

0:17:410:17:42

for exactly the reason, when we stated this discussion,

0:17:420:17:44

that we want to live within our means as a government.

0:17:440:17:47

That's what we ask people to do in their lives.

0:17:470:17:49

-It's what we should do as a government.

-The woman in pink there.

0:17:490:17:52

Yes. If we've decided to cut corporation tax

0:17:520:17:54

to make the UK an interesting place and a good place to invest in,

0:17:540:17:59

hasn't David Cameron shot himself in the foot

0:17:590:18:01

by actually bringing along an EU referendum

0:18:010:18:03

where, actually, we could be outside Europe now

0:18:030:18:06

and less attractive to business?

0:18:060:18:08

Emily Thornberry, can you answer that?

0:18:080:18:09

I mean, I agree with you. Of course I do. But, you know, I...

0:18:090:18:12

You mean you agree with her that cutting corporation tax

0:18:120:18:15

is a good idea to encourage business? That's what's she said.

0:18:150:18:17

No, what she said was, if we're going to cut corporation tax

0:18:170:18:20

in order to make the UK more attractive,

0:18:200:18:22

then surely an even bigger threat is leaving the EU?

0:18:220:18:24

And I agree with that.

0:18:240:18:25

I think that leaving the EU is a threat to inward investment,

0:18:250:18:28

and at a time when we're not getting

0:18:280:18:30

enough inward investment into this country -

0:18:300:18:32

is one of the many problems that we have.

0:18:320:18:34

You know, the borrowing has gone up by 35 billion since November.

0:18:340:18:39

You know, the Chancellor was saying one sum

0:18:390:18:41

and then a few months later it's £35 billion more.

0:18:410:18:44

And it seems like we've got another £4 billion to add on top,

0:18:440:18:46

given the U-turn we've heard tonight.

0:18:460:18:49

But we have a Budget that doesn't actually address the real issues.

0:18:490:18:52

The real issues are people's wages are not going up

0:18:520:18:54

at the same rate as prices,

0:18:540:18:56

we have a housing crisis and we're not getting enough houses built,

0:18:560:19:00

we're not getting enough investment into our country.

0:19:000:19:02

You know, our growth is slowing down,

0:19:020:19:04

our tax burden, as a whole, is going up,

0:19:040:19:07

and very rich people and big businesses

0:19:070:19:09

are not paying their taxes.

0:19:090:19:10

And what would Labour do about all this?

0:19:100:19:12

The first thing... I mean, I can talk all night

0:19:120:19:15

about what we would do instead. So, let me not.

0:19:150:19:17

-One thing we would do...

-On the issues that the Chancellor...

0:19:170:19:20

You wouldn't have cut taxes?

0:19:200:19:22

One of the things that I would do is I would invest in homes.

0:19:220:19:25

-I would invest in more houses.

-We are.

0:19:250:19:28

Nicky's going to tell you that's what she's going to do.

0:19:280:19:31

If we were to be doing something in order to save money later,

0:19:310:19:33

how about building some homes for the younger generation?

0:19:330:19:36

Where are our kids going to live if we don't build them homes?

0:19:360:19:40

And if we want to cut the budget,

0:19:400:19:42

if you want to cut the amount of money we pay out on benefits,

0:19:420:19:45

how about building some homes so that rents are no longer so high

0:19:450:19:48

so we don't have to pay out so much money in housing benefit?

0:19:480:19:51

-Let's address the corporation tax.

-Let's stick with corporation tax.

0:19:510:19:54

The big question I would have for George Osborne, if he were here...

0:19:540:19:57

He's not in the audience anywhere, is he? No.

0:19:570:19:59

What is the point of, on the one hand saying,

0:19:590:20:03

"We are going to be really decisive

0:20:030:20:05

"and we are going to lower corporation tax,"

0:20:050:20:07

and on the other hand say,

0:20:070:20:09

"Yes, but we're withdrawing an awful lot of tax allowances and so on,

0:20:090:20:13

"so that, in effect, you drive them up again"?

0:20:130:20:17

And I think that's a rather curious situation.

0:20:170:20:20

It's not my job to come to the defence of George Osborne,

0:20:200:20:23

but I understand that he has at least made some moves

0:20:230:20:26

to prevent large companies from exporting tax.

0:20:260:20:29

And that is absolutely right and he should have done it long ago.

0:20:290:20:32

Just stick with tax, Mark, and then we'll move on.

0:20:320:20:35

On corporation tax, do you agree with Roger

0:20:350:20:36

that he's given with one hand and taken away with the other?

0:20:360:20:39

He has somewhat, yes.

0:20:390:20:40

Because his new target is to reduce corporation tax to 17%,

0:20:400:20:44

but to make it harder to offset your previous losses

0:20:440:20:47

against your current profits.

0:20:470:20:48

So that's the allowance he's got rid of.

0:20:480:20:50

I can understand why people get furious about corporation tax,

0:20:500:20:53

because I can see, on the face of it,

0:20:530:20:55

that it looks like there's a big cheat going on.

0:20:550:20:57

But we're going to have to modernise our tax system.

0:20:570:20:59

This was a tax that was brought in in the 1930s -

0:20:590:21:02

a much simpler time.

0:21:020:21:04

When you are now dealing with companies

0:21:040:21:06

that have an algorithm in Los Angeles,

0:21:060:21:09

their website hosted in Holland,

0:21:090:21:11

the intellectual property registered in Singapore,

0:21:110:21:15

it's very difficult to work out precisely

0:21:150:21:17

where the economic activity is taking place.

0:21:170:21:19

Back in simpler times

0:21:190:21:20

when we just went to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker

0:21:200:21:23

on the high street,

0:21:230:21:24

it was much easier to work out where economic activity was taking place.

0:21:240:21:27

Do you agree with the woman in pink when she says

0:21:270:21:29

we need to get corporation tax down to get business into Britain?

0:21:290:21:33

Yeah, I would abolish corporation tax altogether.

0:21:330:21:36

I want to encourage all companies to come here, invest,

0:21:360:21:39

employ people who, by the way,

0:21:390:21:41

then pay income tax and VAT when they go out to the shops.

0:21:410:21:45

And the problem is, I think, if you don't abolish it,

0:21:450:21:48

these huge internet multinational companies

0:21:480:21:50

have different IP registered all over the place,

0:21:500:21:53

perfectly rationally, intelligently,

0:21:530:21:54

and it's the little guy with the little corner shop

0:21:540:21:56

who actually gets penalised.

0:21:560:21:58

It's the smaller companies that get penalised.

0:21:580:22:00

Isn't that another argument for the EU?

0:22:000:22:02

I mean, isn't it about time

0:22:020:22:03

the countries of the EU actually stuck together

0:22:030:22:05

and said to these large companies, "You must pay your taxes,

0:22:050:22:08

"and we, the EU, will not let you get away

0:22:080:22:11

"with not paying your taxes any more"?

0:22:110:22:13

I would prefer our taxes to be set

0:22:130:22:15

by our democratically elected parliament

0:22:150:22:18

rather than the European Commission.

0:22:180:22:19

But if we were able to club together

0:22:190:22:21

and make sure that they did it properly?

0:22:210:22:23

The European Union has proved itself completely incapable

0:22:230:22:26

of dealing with issues like that.

0:22:260:22:28

It is fantasy to think that they help.

0:22:280:22:29

OK, we'll come to the European Union maybe in a moment.

0:22:290:22:32

It will be no surprise. Yes, you.

0:22:320:22:34

Is cutting corporation tax a last-ditch attempt

0:22:340:22:37

to keep the big businesses, like HSBC, in our country,

0:22:370:22:40

because we're scared that we will actually leave the EU?

0:22:400:22:43

-Is that what you think it is?

-Yes.

0:22:430:22:46

I'm asking, is it?

0:22:460:22:48

It's that I thought it could well be.

0:22:480:22:50

Are they trying to appease companies like HSBC

0:22:500:22:53

to keep their big, huge headquarters here,

0:22:530:22:56

because they're worried they'll actually leave if we leave the EU?

0:22:560:22:59

Nicky Morgan, briefly, is that the argument?

0:22:590:23:01

No, I think it is about making sure that companies know

0:23:010:23:04

that Britain is a good place for them to invest and to employ.

0:23:040:23:07

I mean, companies like HSBC and others,

0:23:070:23:09

they employ a lot of people in this country

0:23:090:23:12

who, as Mark says, then pay their personal taxes.

0:23:120:23:15

Emily and I are not going to agree on very much tonight,

0:23:150:23:18

but I think the one thing we can agree on

0:23:180:23:20

is that, actually, we should stay in a reformed EU.

0:23:200:23:23

Just to answer the lady's question...

0:23:230:23:25

There isn't a reformed EU to stay in!

0:23:250:23:27

Which reformed EU?

0:23:270:23:29

Nicky, please. Which reformed EU? There is no reformed EU.

0:23:290:23:32

There is a reformed EU.

0:23:320:23:33

I'm not a seer about the way this programme will go,

0:23:330:23:36

but there just might be a question on Europe.

0:23:360:23:39

So let's take another aspect to headline from the Budget.

0:23:390:23:44

But before I do, let me just say about Question Time's plans.

0:23:440:23:47

We're off the air for Easter.

0:23:470:23:49

If you want to come to Question Time,

0:23:490:23:53

we're in Ilford, curiously -

0:23:530:23:56

not far from Chelmsford -

0:23:560:23:58

on April 7th.

0:23:580:23:59

Ilford. We call it East London,

0:23:590:24:01

to separate it from Chelmsford, Essex.

0:24:010:24:03

And then in Doncaster the week after that.

0:24:030:24:06

That's April 7th and then 14th April 14th.

0:24:060:24:09

And you can apply. The details are on the screen now,

0:24:090:24:11

the television and the website.

0:24:110:24:13

But I will give them at the end in more detail.

0:24:130:24:15

Just so you know, cos you'll be extremely welcome.

0:24:150:24:18

Jennie Stanton, you're very welcome, too. Can we have your question?

0:24:180:24:21

The sugar tax will add about 25p per bottle of soft drink.

0:24:210:24:26

Will that really deter parents from buying it?

0:24:260:24:30

Mark Littlewood.

0:24:300:24:31

This is a disastrous, pernicious,

0:24:310:24:34

unfair, regressive tax

0:24:340:24:36

that will do absolutely nothing to help public health.

0:24:360:24:39

Absolutely nothing.

0:24:390:24:41

The economic evidence is pretty clear on this point.

0:24:410:24:44

Wherever these things have been tried,

0:24:440:24:46

whether it's been on sugar or sugary drinks,

0:24:460:24:49

in, say, Mexico, when it's been on a fat tax,

0:24:490:24:52

tried in Denmark, it actually gets you virtually zero of the way

0:24:520:24:56

towards improving public health.

0:24:560:24:58

-Why?

-Well, because for example, people will trade down brands.

0:24:580:25:02

So rather than buying perhaps a premium brand of cola,

0:25:020:25:07

you will simply switch to buying the local brand

0:25:070:25:09

or a less-recognised brand,

0:25:090:25:11

quite possibly consuming still more sugar.

0:25:110:25:13

So people switch their shopping habits.

0:25:130:25:16

And what really appalled me about seeing this in the Budget

0:25:160:25:20

was politicians on both sides of the House,

0:25:200:25:22

Conservative and Labour, sort of congratulating themselves

0:25:220:25:26

that they have brought in a new taxation

0:25:260:25:29

which is going to hit you in the pocket.

0:25:290:25:30

It's all very well for Nicky to say your income tax is going down,

0:25:300:25:33

but your shopping bill is going to go up

0:25:330:25:36

on the grounds that this will help public health. It won't.

0:25:360:25:39

And I was particularly upset

0:25:390:25:40

to see the Labour Party warmly applauding it.

0:25:400:25:43

This is a tax that is regressive and hits the poorest hardest.

0:25:430:25:48

To actually see the Labour opposition

0:25:480:25:51

almost warmly applauding George Osborne for bringing it in

0:25:510:25:53

I thought was absolutely horrific.

0:25:530:25:55

So this is a bad tax, it's going to the poor,

0:25:550:25:57

and it will do nothing to improve the health of our children

0:25:570:26:00

or, indeed, the adult population.

0:26:000:26:02

APPLAUSE

0:26:020:26:05

You, sir.

0:26:050:26:06

So what can be done to reduce the cost of healthy food?

0:26:060:26:10

APPLAUSE

0:26:110:26:15

Well, everybody always looks at the food side of it.

0:26:150:26:18

I think the real problem is exercise, actually.

0:26:180:26:21

Calories, generally going down.

0:26:210:26:24

Sugar consumption is generally going down year-on-year in Britain.

0:26:240:26:28

If there is an obesity epidemic,

0:26:280:26:30

it is not being caused by sugar consumption going up at all.

0:26:300:26:33

It's caused by us having a sedentary lifestyle.

0:26:330:26:35

So don't play football on your PlayStation,

0:26:350:26:37

go and play it in the park, is what we've got to tell our kids.

0:26:370:26:39

Man in the yellow shirt, yes. Go on.

0:26:390:26:42

I have to disagree with the man who just spoke,

0:26:420:26:44

because we tax alcoholic drinks because they are unhealthy.

0:26:440:26:47

Why not tax sugary drinks? Because they're definitely unhealthy.

0:26:470:26:51

Tasmina.

0:26:510:26:52

George Osborne would have absolutely loved

0:26:520:26:55

all of the headlines about this Budget to be about the sugar tax,

0:26:550:26:59

but they weren't, and events took over from it.

0:26:590:27:02

However, I would say, in terms of public health,

0:27:020:27:05

whilst I don't believe it will stop people from drinking sugary drinks,

0:27:050:27:09

not least children,

0:27:090:27:11

it will raise awareness, in terms of health issues,

0:27:110:27:13

which is an important effect of it.

0:27:130:27:16

We need to do something about obesity in this country.

0:27:160:27:20

Is this going to be the answer? Absolutely not.

0:27:200:27:22

Can it be part of an answer? Yes, it can,

0:27:220:27:25

in terms of how we encourage the people of this country

0:27:250:27:28

to try and eat better.

0:27:280:27:30

And one of the ways we are doing that in Scotland

0:27:300:27:33

is by free school meals,

0:27:330:27:34

which we have for primary-one-to-three children,

0:27:340:27:37

where they're guaranteed a healthy meal every single day.

0:27:370:27:40

-And that's now being extended in the next year.

-So...

0:27:400:27:42

Please, it's worthwhile listening. I'm talking about children.

0:27:420:27:45

We're actually talking about the sugar tax, soft drinks,

0:27:450:27:47

not about Scotland's policy on meals for children.

0:27:470:27:51

Why not raise awareness of it?

0:27:510:27:54

Don't raise a tax to raise awareness of it,

0:27:540:27:56

just raise awareness of it.

0:27:560:27:57

It's a bizarre way to set your tax policy.

0:27:570:28:00

But I will finish my answer, because it's important.

0:28:000:28:03

We were talking about health in the main.

0:28:030:28:05

And in the main, Nicola Sturgeon has also confirmed that,

0:28:050:28:10

in the next parliament, we'll be also ensuring

0:28:100:28:12

that children that go to nursery get a meal a day.

0:28:120:28:15

And what we need to be looking...

0:28:150:28:16

I am sorry, look, it's all very well to sit here

0:28:160:28:19

and talk about Scottish policy on children.

0:28:190:28:22

What is your answer to Jennie Stanton's question?

0:28:220:28:25

Is it going to make a difference?

0:28:250:28:26

I'm saying it will, in terms of raising awareness.

0:28:260:28:29

That was the first part of my answer.

0:28:290:28:31

Well, then, that's fine. That's all we need.

0:28:310:28:33

Roger Helmer.

0:28:330:28:34

I'm just amazed by Tasmina.

0:28:340:28:37

-She is prepared...

-It has to be part of a health initiative.

0:28:370:28:40

Hang on, the chair has just given...

0:28:400:28:42

You are prepared to apply a regressive tax

0:28:420:28:46

which affects lower-income, poorer people disproportionately,

0:28:460:28:51

merely so that you can have the satisfaction of raising awareness.

0:28:510:28:53

I think that is tragic, coming from a left-wing...

0:28:530:28:56

That's not what I said at all.

0:28:560:28:57

Well, that's exactly what you said.

0:28:570:28:59

Word for word, that is what you said.

0:28:590:29:01

Nicky Morgan, you come to the defence of it.

0:29:010:29:03

I do think it's the right thing to do.

0:29:030:29:05

And I have to say, I've had my mind converted on that,

0:29:050:29:08

because I think behaviour does need to change,

0:29:080:29:10

and I think that there is an issue about wider health and exercise

0:29:100:29:14

and everything else.

0:29:140:29:16

-But when I looked at the figures...

-What converted you?

0:29:160:29:18

Was it the Prime Minister changed his mind,

0:29:180:29:20

-you thought you'd better stay alongside him?

-Absolutely!

0:29:200:29:23

It hasn't worked in other countries.

0:29:270:29:29

Of course I always support my Prime Minister. Of course I do. But...

0:29:290:29:31

-Whichever way he goes, you'll be with him?

-No, no, no.

0:29:310:29:34

Look, we debated this, I think, when I was on a previous Question Time.

0:29:340:29:38

It was one of the warm-up questions.

0:29:380:29:40

But, you know, the biggest single source of sugar intake

0:29:400:29:42

in young people's diets is sugary drinks.

0:29:420:29:45

And when you've got one in ten young people

0:29:450:29:47

starting primary school obese,

0:29:470:29:48

and it rises to two in ten leaving primary school obese,

0:29:480:29:51

there is clearly an issue in this country.

0:29:510:29:53

So what about latte macchiatos, and all those things I don't understand,

0:29:530:29:57

that are absolutely full of sugar?

0:29:570:29:58

The medical evidence is that, actually,

0:29:580:30:01

in spite of the sugar in those sort of drinks,

0:30:010:30:03

actually, the milk and presumably the calcium and everything else

0:30:030:30:06

is still beneficial to people.

0:30:060:30:08

-But let me say to you one other thing.

-Not if it's full of sugar.

0:30:080:30:11

Well, look, Roger, there is medical evidence.

0:30:110:30:14

And that's how this policy has been developed.

0:30:140:30:16

Oh, come on. That's an excuse.

0:30:160:30:18

-Hang on.

-Why have you frozen cider duty and beer duty,

0:30:180:30:21

which are considerably worse for you than a cup of lemonade?

0:30:210:30:24

So you're going to increase...

0:30:240:30:25

We're talking about young people's health.

0:30:250:30:27

They're not drinking cider and beer, one assumes.

0:30:270:30:30

So you want an 18-year-old to switch

0:30:300:30:31

from drinking Coca-Cola and start drinking cider?

0:30:310:30:34

That's the economic incentive you've set up in your Budget. Ridiculous.

0:30:340:30:37

The other thing...

0:30:370:30:39

One at a time. One at a time.

0:30:390:30:40

The other thing is the drinks industry has got two years

0:30:400:30:43

in which to reduce the sugar content of its drinks,

0:30:430:30:47

in which case there won't be a tax on those drinks.

0:30:470:30:49

And we've seen that some companies -

0:30:490:30:51

because we're on the BBC, I won't mention names -

0:30:510:30:53

but there are some companies that have already done that

0:30:530:30:55

and that behaviour has changed.

0:30:550:30:57

And, therefore, those drinks are healthier for young people.

0:30:570:30:59

It is perfectly possible to do it.

0:30:590:31:01

So what will George do for his £520 million

0:31:010:31:04

if, in fact, people are going to change their habits

0:31:040:31:06

and stop consuming sweet drinks?

0:31:060:31:08

Well, that's something that, obviously,

0:31:080:31:10

we will look at as part of the Government.

0:31:100:31:12

-Another part of the Budget that's a suggestion.

-No.

0:31:120:31:14

The woman up there. And then I'll come to you, Emily.

0:31:140:31:17

This tax might never actually be paid

0:31:170:31:19

if recipes are changed and sugar is dropped.

0:31:190:31:22

So that money should be going into sports in primary schools -

0:31:220:31:25

As Mark said, really, exercise is key to reducing obesity.

0:31:250:31:30

So if that tax isn't raised,

0:31:300:31:32

then the sport in school won't increase.

0:31:320:31:34

And that will be three years in the future, so what happens now?

0:31:340:31:36

Emily Thornberry.

0:31:360:31:38

I mean, I think, again, it just shows, I think,

0:31:380:31:40

that this Government is just making it up as it goes along.

0:31:400:31:42

I mean, in 2012, after the Olympics,

0:31:420:31:45

there was supposed to be the sports premium.

0:31:450:31:47

And yet, at that stage, the Government cut back

0:31:470:31:50

on the two hours a week that young people were supposed to spend

0:31:500:31:53

doing physical education.

0:31:530:31:54

And now we're saying, well, we're going to have a sugar tax

0:31:540:31:57

and the money from that sugar tax is now going to pay for PE in schools.

0:31:570:32:01

I mean, I support a sugar tax as part of an overall strategy,

0:32:010:32:06

as part of an obesity strategy.

0:32:060:32:07

The government keeps talking about

0:32:070:32:09

being about to have an obesity strategy.

0:32:090:32:11

He's put it off, I think, five times.

0:32:110:32:13

The Prime Minister is supposed to be the person who's leading on it.

0:32:130:32:16

We still await this obesity strategy.

0:32:160:32:18

It does seem to me that part of it has to be getting kids more active.

0:32:180:32:22

The difficulty is, we are in a changing society.

0:32:220:32:26

And to be quite honest,

0:32:260:32:27

we all know that at home, kids are tending not to go out as much,

0:32:270:32:30

they tend to be in front of computers much more,

0:32:300:32:33

which makes the job at school being that much more important

0:32:330:32:36

to make sure that kids get active and actually enjoy being active.

0:32:360:32:39

And that's a really important part of it.

0:32:390:32:42

But as part of the sugar tax, we also, I think,

0:32:420:32:44

have to look at advertising.

0:32:440:32:46

I think we have to look at the fact that you can have cartoons,

0:32:460:32:48

you can have personalities, endorsing, you know, sugary drinks.

0:32:480:32:52

And as the guy said in the middle here,

0:32:520:32:54

you know, who's there to promote carrots?

0:32:540:32:56

You know, you don't get the same sort of publicity.

0:32:560:33:00

It does seem to me...

0:33:000:33:01

Can I suggest parents are perhaps there to promote carrots?

0:33:010:33:04

Of course, parents. But do you know what?

0:33:040:33:06

There are poor children being born today

0:33:060:33:08

who will not live as long as their parents.

0:33:080:33:11

We have to do something about the obesity in our society.

0:33:110:33:16

We must tackle it. We can't just keep talking about it.

0:33:160:33:18

OK. Let us talk about it a bit more with our audience.

0:33:180:33:21

The woman there first of all.

0:33:210:33:23

If the policy is successful

0:33:230:33:25

and manufacturers convert their sugar into, say,

0:33:250:33:28

saccharin or aspartame, what would the impact be?

0:33:280:33:32

-Because I thought they were meant to be more unhealthy?

-As bad.

-Yes.

0:33:320:33:35

And you, sir, in the yellow waistcoat.

0:33:350:33:37

Instead of the sugar tax, isn't it time that this,

0:33:370:33:40

all of us, in fact, swallowed the bitter pill

0:33:400:33:43

of a dedicated tax to help fund the NHS?

0:33:430:33:45

All right.

0:33:450:33:47

And the woman in the spectacles there at the back.

0:33:470:33:50

For me, the sugar tax is a real red herring.

0:33:500:33:53

I think a far more worthwhile policy would be helping children

0:33:530:33:56

to learn how to cook and teaching them more about nutrition.

0:33:560:33:58

Because people are getting fatter

0:33:580:34:00

because they don't have the time or the inclination to cook properly.

0:34:000:34:03

OK, and you up there.

0:34:030:34:05

The person up there at the back.

0:34:060:34:09

Surely it's about time to educate parents

0:34:090:34:11

not to give children sugary drinks.

0:34:110:34:14

They ought to start promoting giving them tap water,

0:34:140:34:17

which is a lot cheaper.

0:34:170:34:19

So it doesn't matter if you come from a poor background,

0:34:190:34:22

or sort of what income you have,

0:34:220:34:24

-water is cheap.

-OK.

0:34:240:34:26

And you, sir, on the gangway here. Yes.

0:34:260:34:29

Yes, the issue is consumption, not production.

0:34:290:34:32

And if the government was sincere about the health of the children,

0:34:320:34:35

they would actually legislate

0:34:350:34:37

to limit the amount of sugar in the drinks in the first place

0:34:370:34:39

and not just apply a tax that won't affect very many people.

0:34:390:34:42

Good points. Can we go on?

0:34:420:34:44

Let's go on to another question, then.

0:34:440:34:45

Amber Finch, let's have your question, please.

0:34:450:34:48

Will forcing schools to become academies raise standards,

0:34:480:34:51

or will it just be the same school with same problems just rebranded?

0:34:510:34:54

Very interesting. We've had a lot of questions about academy schools.

0:34:540:34:57

And the policy is that all schools, within six years,

0:34:570:35:01

are going to be academy schools.

0:35:010:35:03

Will it raise standards,

0:35:030:35:05

or will they just be the same schools with the same old problems?

0:35:050:35:08

Emily Thornberry, you kick off on this.

0:35:080:35:11

-I think that the way...

-It was Labour policy,

0:35:110:35:13

it should be said, wasn't it, to start with?

0:35:130:35:15

Labour's policy was to introduce academies

0:35:150:35:17

where a school was failing.

0:35:170:35:19

And, as part of a larger package, was to make a school an academy

0:35:190:35:22

as an attempt to try to raise standards.

0:35:220:35:25

What the government is doing

0:35:250:35:27

is they have introduced, on the basis of dogma,

0:35:270:35:29

they have decided that all schools should be academies,

0:35:290:35:31

whether they want to be academies or not.

0:35:310:35:34

And most primary schools do not want to be academies.

0:35:340:35:36

Eight out of ten primary schools are either good or outstanding.

0:35:360:35:40

You know, so why do they need to be made academies?

0:35:400:35:43

Why do they need to be made academies?

0:35:430:35:44

What do they lose by being an academy?

0:35:440:35:46

Just for the sake of people who are not up to speed on this.

0:35:460:35:49

So if you're an academy,

0:35:490:35:51

it basically means you're a stand-alone school.

0:35:510:35:53

So the head teacher, who's having problems with not enough staff,

0:35:530:35:56

with 8% cuts to their budget, you know, a whole range of problems,

0:35:560:36:00

problems about attainment, all kind of crises,

0:36:000:36:02

the new Sats, which the government have introduced

0:36:020:36:05

without giving any proper details,

0:36:050:36:07

the new GCSEs, the new A-levels...

0:36:070:36:09

All these different things, that head teachers have to deal with.

0:36:090:36:12

Instead, they have to stop doing all of that,

0:36:120:36:14

they have to go off and find some trustees,

0:36:140:36:15

they have to set themselves up as an independent school.

0:36:150:36:18

If they're a small primary school in a village,

0:36:180:36:20

where they've got, let's say, 120 kids,

0:36:200:36:22

they're not going to be allowed to be an academy by themselves.

0:36:220:36:25

So they're going to have to find themselves another school

0:36:250:36:28

to become an academy with,

0:36:280:36:29

or join one of these dreadful academy chains,

0:36:290:36:31

which the Chief Inspector has said

0:36:310:36:33

some of them are worse than some of the worst local authorities.

0:36:330:36:36

You know, it's not just me, Nicky, who criticises the academies

0:36:360:36:39

and the way in which you're insisting

0:36:390:36:41

all schools become academies.

0:36:410:36:43

If you listen to the spokesperson

0:36:430:36:44

from the Local Government Association, who's a Tory,

0:36:440:36:47

I mean, he is quite astounded

0:36:470:36:48

that you're insisting on all primary schools,

0:36:480:36:51

all schools becoming academies.

0:36:510:36:53

He says it defies reason

0:36:530:36:55

that councils are being portrayed as barriers to improvement,

0:36:550:36:58

given that 82% of council-maintained schools are good or outstanding.

0:36:580:37:04

So what they're doing is,

0:37:040:37:05

instead of actually dealing with the problems that they have,

0:37:050:37:08

and they have a number of problems -

0:37:080:37:10

not enough maths teachers, not enough physics teachers,

0:37:100:37:13

the number of pupils going up,

0:37:130:37:14

the amount of money going into the budgets going down...

0:37:140:37:17

Instead of addressing any of that, they decide to simply follow dogma

0:37:170:37:21

and make all schools - force all schools to - become academies.

0:37:210:37:24

-It's not thought through.

-All right.

0:37:240:37:26

Just a reminder that it was...

0:37:260:37:28

It was, nevertheless, Labour that started the ball rolling.

0:37:300:37:35

But only for failed schools.

0:37:350:37:36

This is like Lansley.

0:37:360:37:38

Why would it do better for failed schools?

0:37:380:37:41

Because when you had tried everything else, in the end,

0:37:410:37:44

what you would do is allow a school to be essentially reborn.

0:37:440:37:48

You would put in support from elsewhere,

0:37:480:37:50

you would put in additional money,

0:37:500:37:52

you would quite often put in...

0:37:520:37:54

You would help rebuild the schools.

0:37:540:37:56

And then you would put focus on that school

0:37:560:37:58

and it would be given a great deal of support and assistance.

0:37:580:38:01

Instead, what this government's doing

0:38:010:38:03

is allowing all the school, forcing all the schools

0:38:030:38:06

to become independent, without that sort of support.

0:38:060:38:08

Nicky Morgan.

0:38:080:38:09

Yes, academisation does absolutely raise standards.

0:38:090:38:13

We've got 1.4 million more children in schools rated good or outstanding

0:38:130:38:17

than we had in 2010.

0:38:170:38:19

And what we see is that, actually, having a sponsor,

0:38:190:38:22

having somebody else running the school than a local authority,

0:38:220:38:27

absolutely does drive school improvement.

0:38:270:38:29

-There is no evidence.

-Hold on. You had a long go.

0:38:290:38:31

-Let her answer.

-There is plenty.

0:38:310:38:33

-There is no evidence.

-Emily, do let her just answer.

0:38:330:38:35

There is plenty of evidence.

0:38:350:38:37

Results in primary sponsored academies,

0:38:370:38:39

they're improving faster than local-authority schools.

0:38:390:38:41

We see that in secondary converter academies,

0:38:410:38:43

their proportion of GCSEs being passed

0:38:430:38:45

is higher than in local-authority schools.

0:38:450:38:47

-You're using jargon about converter schools.

-I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

0:38:470:38:50

Just to clarify.

0:38:500:38:52

-If a school is made to become an academy...

-Yep.

0:38:520:38:54

..does it have to look for a sponsor

0:38:540:38:57

or can it just find a group of trustees and they do it?

0:38:570:39:00

They can do it both ways. So if a school wants to convert...

0:39:000:39:03

And what we've seen is many schools become academies on their own

0:39:030:39:06

in the course of the last six years,

0:39:060:39:08

because they're strong enough to do that.

0:39:080:39:10

But if there is a problem, if a school has been failing,

0:39:100:39:12

or if its pupils are not making the progress that they should be,

0:39:120:39:16

then we will find them a sponsor.

0:39:160:39:18

And supposing a head teacher is happy

0:39:180:39:20

with his or her own arrangements within a council,

0:39:200:39:22

why are you forcing them to become academies?

0:39:220:39:25

Well, because we know...

0:39:250:39:26

What we're seeing in the system is more collaboration,

0:39:260:39:28

more schools working together.

0:39:280:39:30

And the ultimate thing is,

0:39:300:39:32

we believe the people who are best capable of running schools

0:39:320:39:35

are the heads, the teachers and the governors.

0:39:350:39:38

And if they say they don't want to be academies?

0:39:380:39:41

Well, we think... We do want all schools to become academies.

0:39:420:39:45

I mean, that's the direction of travel.

0:39:450:39:47

We don't have the capacity

0:39:470:39:48

to run two different systems in this country -

0:39:480:39:50

some local-authority, some academy schools.

0:39:500:39:52

Academy schools are hugely successful. There are...

0:39:520:39:55

And some are not.

0:39:550:39:57

Well, where they aren't, Emily,

0:39:570:39:58

actually, we will intervene much more swiftly.

0:39:580:40:01

You have a school in your own constituency

0:40:010:40:03

which languished in local-authority control in special measures

0:40:030:40:06

for six years.

0:40:060:40:07

That will not happen with the academy system,

0:40:070:40:10

because we will intervene much more swiftly to turn them around.

0:40:100:40:12

It's a universal policy, in other words. Roger Helmer.

0:40:120:40:15

I don't pretend to know a lot about education.

0:40:150:40:17

But I do know a lot about managing large groups of people,

0:40:170:40:20

because that's what I used to do before I got into politics.

0:40:200:40:22

You may think you've got the greatest idea in the world

0:40:220:40:25

for academies.

0:40:250:40:26

And there are similar comments that can be made

0:40:260:40:28

about the health service and the junior doctors.

0:40:280:40:31

Isn't it part of your job

0:40:310:40:32

to sell your ideas to people instead of just saying,

0:40:320:40:35

"That's what you've got to do"?

0:40:350:40:37

To get them on board, so they're enthusiastic?

0:40:370:40:40

But we see that. People are adopting the academisation,

0:40:400:40:43

people are converting voluntarily.

0:40:430:40:45

And if you go to schools up and down the country,

0:40:450:40:47

as I do, day in and day out,

0:40:470:40:49

you see fantastic heads and teachers running their schools,

0:40:490:40:53

working with other schools,

0:40:530:40:54

making a difference to the young people in their charge.

0:40:540:40:57

That is what I want to see.

0:40:570:40:58

And at the end of the day, Roger, as Secretary of State,

0:40:580:41:01

people do expect me to set out my vision for the education system,

0:41:010:41:05

to lead and to work with others.

0:41:050:41:07

That's exactly what our white paper today is all about.

0:41:070:41:10

It's answering the questions that we started in the last government

0:41:100:41:12

and saying, "This is where we are headed.

0:41:120:41:14

"We are all going towards this place."

0:41:140:41:17

All right, let's hear..

0:41:170:41:18

But what is absolutely clear is

0:41:180:41:20

you are insisting on people choosing the route that you've set

0:41:200:41:23

and not having a choice whether to become academies or not.

0:41:230:41:26

We are reaching a tipping point, as I say,

0:41:260:41:29

and, actually, we want to run one system

0:41:290:41:30

where the money goes directly to the schools,

0:41:300:41:32

-and it's the schools that manage themselves.

-I think we've got that.

0:41:320:41:35

Let us hear from the audience. You, sir.

0:41:350:41:38

I'm sorry, this is just not going to solve the crisis

0:41:380:41:40

in recruitment, in retention in schools,

0:41:400:41:42

which is getting worse and worse

0:41:420:41:44

and will not change unless you make significant steps

0:41:440:41:46

improving the workload and the pay of teachers.

0:41:460:41:50

All right. And the woman there.

0:41:500:41:52

APPLAUSE

0:41:520:41:55

By turning schools into academies,

0:41:560:41:59

are we passing off the government -

0:41:590:42:00

using that to pass off responsibility for failing schools

0:42:000:42:03

-to the local authorities and the trustees of the schools?

-No.

0:42:030:42:07

-Is that what you think?

-I do, yes.

0:42:070:42:09

-Do you want to answer?

-No. Absolutely not.

0:42:090:42:12

What we are saying is the Department for Education,

0:42:120:42:14

me as Secretary of State -

0:42:140:42:16

we have these eight regional school commissioners around the country -

0:42:160:42:19

absolutely get involved in schools that are failing.

0:42:190:42:22

The whole purpose of the Education Adoption Act that we just passed,

0:42:220:42:25

that got Royal Assent yesterday,

0:42:250:42:26

is about identifying schools, both maintained and academies,

0:42:260:42:29

that are failing, or are coasting, and actually intervening swiftly.

0:42:290:42:32

Can I just come back to the point

0:42:320:42:34

the gentleman made about teacher recruitment?

0:42:340:42:36

Because it is very, very important.

0:42:360:42:38

The biggest thing that improves the life chance of young people

0:42:380:42:40

is the quality of the teaching

0:42:400:42:42

and having enough great teachers in the classroom.

0:42:420:42:45

And if you look at the white paper that we published today,

0:42:450:42:47

the whole thing is about setting out

0:42:470:42:49

and supporting teachers as professionals.

0:42:490:42:51

It's about making sure that they are absolutely in control,

0:42:510:42:54

that we've got the best teachers in our classrooms,

0:42:540:42:57

and they're supported by their head teachers.

0:42:570:42:59

Is anyone here - you've got experience of this around here -

0:42:590:43:03

in favour of the academy schools?

0:43:030:43:06

You are, sir.

0:43:060:43:07

You are.

0:43:070:43:09

You've spoken already. You've spoken already, too!

0:43:090:43:13

Anybody else who has not spoken already?

0:43:130:43:15

Well, OK, go on, then, quickly, you in pink there.

0:43:150:43:17

-And then I'll come to you.

-It's moving forward.

0:43:170:43:20

And it's taking schools to the next level.

0:43:200:43:23

It's investment.

0:43:230:43:25

And I think the Conservatives are doing a great job

0:43:250:43:27

-in making that move.

-Tasmina.

0:43:270:43:30

Of course, education is devolved to Scotland.

0:43:300:43:34

But we're always very keen to learn from good practice

0:43:340:43:37

for our systems up north as well.

0:43:370:43:39

But in terms of these academies,

0:43:390:43:41

I can't help but think,

0:43:410:43:42

because they are being imposed upon rather than through choice,

0:43:420:43:46

that we may well be creeping towards a system where,

0:43:460:43:48

depending on where you live and who is running your school,

0:43:480:43:51

will depend on the type of education that you get.

0:43:510:43:54

And, you know, education for our young people

0:43:540:43:57

must be based on absolutely their ability to learn,

0:43:570:44:00

not their ability to pay or where they might live.

0:44:000:44:02

But, Nicky, you can't help but find yourself in a situation

0:44:020:44:05

where, if every school has to be an academy,

0:44:050:44:08

whether they like it or not,

0:44:080:44:10

you will have some schools who are more willing to do it than others.

0:44:100:44:13

You will have different terms and conditions in different schools.

0:44:130:44:16

You will have an issue in terms of recruitment

0:44:160:44:18

and in terms of the breadth of pupils

0:44:180:44:20

who are going to those schools.

0:44:200:44:21

Then, why wouldn't you get that with local-authority control?

0:44:210:44:25

-Pardon?

-Why don't you get that with local-authority control?

0:44:250:44:28

Well, with local authority control you can be guaranteed there is,

0:44:280:44:31

in terms of a comprehensive education system, David,

0:44:310:44:33

you can be guaranteed that everyone can benefit from the same education.

0:44:330:44:38

What can happen in certain areas,

0:44:380:44:39

particularly if people don't want to do it...

0:44:390:44:42

Because, remember, this is not through choice.

0:44:420:44:44

You can apply for free schools if you wish in Scotland through choice

0:44:440:44:47

and people make applications,

0:44:470:44:48

but that's because the parents and the head teachers want it to happen.

0:44:480:44:52

You have a different set of circumstances

0:44:520:44:54

where that is imposed upon you.

0:44:540:44:56

And what we need to make sure that we're protecting national pay,

0:44:560:45:00

we're protecting national terms and conditions.

0:45:000:45:02

What we don't have is different terms and conditions

0:45:020:45:04

across different schools, because it's the children that will suffer.

0:45:040:45:08

OK, I think you've made the point.

0:45:080:45:10

Mark Littlewood.

0:45:100:45:11

The more I hear these sort of debates,

0:45:110:45:14

the more I become more and more persuaded

0:45:140:45:16

that we've got to get politicians and bureaucrats

0:45:160:45:19

out of our education system altogether.

0:45:190:45:21

APPLAUSE

0:45:210:45:23

I am, therefore, sympathetic

0:45:280:45:30

to the direction of travel that Nicky is going in.

0:45:300:45:33

I'm sympathetic to it. I don't necessarily sign up to all of it.

0:45:330:45:36

But I'm sympathetic to it.

0:45:360:45:38

Because I don't really want local-education authorities,

0:45:380:45:41

politicians, meddling in it.

0:45:410:45:42

The one thing I hope we don't swap out

0:45:420:45:45

is if we remove the local bureaucracy,

0:45:450:45:48

I hope that's not replaced by central diktats being issued

0:45:480:45:52

by the Secretary of State for Education,

0:45:520:45:54

however charming and well-intentioned she may be.

0:45:540:45:57

We have got to let teachers teach again.

0:45:570:46:00

We are having political arguments that lead to endless form filling,

0:46:000:46:04

tick boxes, incredibly prescriptive national curriculums

0:46:040:46:09

about exactly what each pupil needs to learn when.

0:46:090:46:12

Let's put our faith back in the teaching profession.

0:46:120:46:16

Let them design the curriculum.

0:46:160:46:18

Let them work out what happens in the classroom.

0:46:180:46:20

More power to the teachers, less to the politicians,

0:46:200:46:23

and we'll have a much better education system in the UK.

0:46:230:46:26

All right. One more point from you, sir.

0:46:260:46:29

The point made here...

0:46:290:46:30

When you came to being Education Secretary in 2014,

0:46:300:46:34

you said - September, at the Conservative conference -

0:46:340:46:38

you said you were going to reduce the teachers' workload.

0:46:380:46:42

What happened?

0:46:420:46:43

We have taken steps absolutely to do that.

0:46:430:46:45

APPLAUSE

0:46:450:46:47

What about the extra hour, Nicky?

0:46:470:46:49

Is that going to help teacher recruitment?

0:46:490:46:51

It doesn't have to be run by teachers.

0:46:510:46:53

The whole point about extracurricular activities

0:46:530:46:56

is that other people can come in and run the sport.

0:46:560:46:58

Very briefly.

0:46:580:46:59

We have absolutely made a commitment of not introducing changes

0:46:590:47:02

midway through the year, lightening the Ofsted load, we've more say.

0:47:020:47:05

There are three working groups looking at the things

0:47:050:47:07

that teachers most complain about -

0:47:070:47:09

marking, data collection and lesson-planning.

0:47:090:47:12

and I'll have more to say about that next week.

0:47:120:47:14

Can I just raise a point?

0:47:140:47:15

There are some parts of the country where all these schools,

0:47:150:47:19

in an area where you have grave concerns about education standards,

0:47:190:47:22

they are all academies.

0:47:220:47:24

And you have nothing, no you have answer

0:47:240:47:26

to how to raise the standards there.

0:47:260:47:28

If you're only way of raising standards, as you say,

0:47:280:47:31

is by turning a school into an academy,

0:47:310:47:33

you know, you don't have the answers.

0:47:330:47:35

You need to read the white paper,

0:47:350:47:37

because that is exactly what we cover in the white paper.

0:47:370:47:39

I'm a bit weird - I have.

0:47:390:47:41

And what you've got is, in order to be able

0:47:410:47:43

to get more teachers into the profession,

0:47:430:47:45

you're setting up a website.

0:47:450:47:46

You're setting up a website.

0:47:460:47:48

We have had four years

0:47:480:47:49

with more teachers leaving the profession

0:47:490:47:51

than we've had coming into the profession.

0:47:510:47:53

You have a crisis,

0:47:530:47:54

in terms of recruitment and retention of teachers.

0:47:540:47:57

Yes, you may have more teachers than ever,

0:47:570:47:59

but you have more pupils than ever.

0:47:590:48:02

We have these ginormous great schools,

0:48:020:48:04

we have, you know, so many children in classes of more than 40,

0:48:040:48:07

and you're not addressing that.

0:48:070:48:08

It is becoming like Andrew Lansley

0:48:080:48:10

and the health service all over again.

0:48:100:48:13

Nicky, I'll give you a sentence or two.

0:48:130:48:15

We have a challenge in teacher recruitment,

0:48:150:48:18

but particularly because there are certain subjects...

0:48:180:48:21

Maths, physics...

0:48:210:48:23

Please, don't interrupt each other. Please. Or we'll never get anywhere.

0:48:230:48:26

Just let each other speak.

0:48:260:48:28

Fewer people took them and studied them to A-level and beyond

0:48:280:48:31

under the last Labour government

0:48:310:48:33

and, therefore, that has led to issues around teacher recruitment.

0:48:330:48:36

Doctor Catherine Gouveia, please.

0:48:360:48:39

I think it may be our last question. Let's have it.

0:48:390:48:42

Thank you. I'm a junior doctor,

0:48:420:48:44

my husband works in financial markets,

0:48:440:48:46

yet between us we find it difficult

0:48:460:48:48

to evaluate the pros and cons

0:48:480:48:50

of making a voting decision in the EU referendum.

0:48:500:48:53

Have the public been well prepared to vote in this referendum?

0:48:530:48:57

Right. When you say, "I'm a doctor and my husband works in finance,"

0:48:570:49:00

you mean that... we ought to understand it?

0:49:000:49:02

Yes.

0:49:020:49:04

That's saying a lot!

0:49:040:49:05

LAUGHTER

0:49:050:49:08

Mark Littlewood, the question is an important one,

0:49:080:49:10

and we get it all the time.

0:49:100:49:11

The pros and cons of the EU referendum.

0:49:110:49:13

Have the public been prepared to vote?

0:49:130:49:15

Do they know enough? Has enough been said? Is it clear enough?

0:49:150:49:18

Your go. Fire away.

0:49:180:49:20

By June 23rd, I'm pretty sure you and your partner

0:49:200:49:23

will be heartily sick of another 99 days

0:49:230:49:27

of people fighting about the European Union.

0:49:270:49:29

Look, I think this is going to be a major decision

0:49:290:49:32

that is going to have an impact on the UK

0:49:320:49:36

for potentially generations to come.

0:49:360:49:38

I don't have an issue

0:49:380:49:39

in which I have a different opinion to my partner,

0:49:390:49:42

I have an issue in which I have a different opinion

0:49:420:49:45

to be the one I had 20 years ago.

0:49:450:49:47

You were a federalist?

0:49:470:49:49

Yeah, I was a former keen pro-European.

0:49:490:49:53

I love the idea of a European Union

0:49:530:49:56

that is liberal, democratic,

0:49:560:49:59

a brotherhood of man, light-touch regulation.

0:49:590:50:03

And if that European Union does exist

0:50:030:50:05

somewhere in a parallel universe,

0:50:050:50:07

then that's great for that parallel universe.

0:50:070:50:09

Oh, it's reformed. Nicky's already told us.

0:50:090:50:11

But it doesn't exist here.

0:50:110:50:13

So you're going to have to, just as you do in a general election,

0:50:130:50:16

or I think this decision is more important, however,

0:50:160:50:18

you're going to have to listen to all sides of the debate

0:50:180:50:20

and you're going to have to decide who you trust

0:50:200:50:23

and what, in your heart and your head, feels right.

0:50:230:50:26

And I think it is absolutely right and proper

0:50:260:50:29

that this decision is being batted to you, the electorate,

0:50:290:50:32

not the politicians on this panel.

0:50:320:50:35

-What, you that it was right to have a referendum?

-Yes.

0:50:350:50:38

And it wasn't just to save the Conservative Party

0:50:380:50:41

from its divisions?

0:50:410:50:42

I'm sure it was to save the Conservative Party

0:50:420:50:44

from its divisions.

0:50:440:50:45

But even if that was the trigger for it, I'm delighted that we've got it.

0:50:450:50:49

Finally, at last, after decades of arguing about it,

0:50:490:50:53

you, the people, are actually going to decide

0:50:530:50:55

on the future of our nation.

0:50:550:50:56

-And your vote - decided?

-I will vote to leave.

0:50:560:50:58

You're going to vote to leave. All right.

0:50:580:51:00

And even if you find it boring and technical

0:51:000:51:02

and there's mudslinging involved,

0:51:020:51:04

I just implore you, do your best

0:51:040:51:06

to try and make the best judgment you can.

0:51:060:51:08

Because what you do on June 23rd

0:51:080:51:09

will have an impact for a very long time to come.

0:51:090:51:12

APPLAUSE

0:51:120:51:14

And it's been noticeable, Emily Thornberry,

0:51:140:51:17

that the Prime Minister and the people around him

0:51:170:51:19

who want to remain have been vociferous,

0:51:190:51:22

and Labour's been strangely silent about this whole issue.

0:51:220:51:26

Not speaking out. Why is that?

0:51:260:51:28

I don't think we're not speaking out.

0:51:280:51:31

-We never hear you.

-Well, all right.

0:51:310:51:32

You know, well, let's talk a bit louder.

0:51:320:51:35

Labour is in favour of remaining in the European Union

0:51:350:51:38

because, over and above everything else,

0:51:380:51:41

we need to make sure that people have jobs,

0:51:410:51:44

and we need to make sure

0:51:440:51:45

that we have investment coming into this country.

0:51:450:51:47

And we believe, at a time when there may be cold winds

0:51:470:51:50

blowing through the economies of the world in the near future,

0:51:500:51:53

we must stay in the European Union.

0:51:530:51:55

It is to the advantage of all of us.

0:51:550:51:58

Do you believe the ground has been well prepared?

0:51:580:52:00

And that's why I asked you the question about Labour.

0:52:000:52:02

Do you think the issues have been spelled out

0:52:020:52:04

in a way that somebody with a busy life, a professional life,

0:52:040:52:07

listening to the arguments, can make up their minds?

0:52:070:52:10

I think that jobs and investment are two very important reasons.

0:52:100:52:15

I think that if we were to go off as an island

0:52:150:52:17

off into the Atlantic all by ourselves,

0:52:170:52:20

I think we would be putting ourselves at risk.

0:52:200:52:22

I think the world is getting to be a smaller place

0:52:220:52:25

and I think we've talked about it tonight -

0:52:250:52:27

you know, some of these multinational companies

0:52:270:52:29

do not care about national borders any more.

0:52:290:52:31

We need to be able to remain within the European Union

0:52:310:52:34

so that we are big enough to stand up to these companies.

0:52:340:52:37

And also there are issues such as climate change

0:52:370:52:40

which do not recognise national borders.

0:52:400:52:42

We need to be able to work within a bigger union.

0:52:420:52:45

That's why we are safer.

0:52:450:52:47

I think we are in one of the safer corners of the world

0:52:470:52:49

and we should keep it that way.

0:52:490:52:51

Do you think the arguments have been well put?

0:52:510:52:53

APPLAUSE

0:52:530:52:55

I think the arguments have been very much focused

0:52:550:52:57

towards the economic side, but what about the cultural side of things?

0:52:570:53:00

So I think that we as a nation, and in Chelmsford in particular,

0:53:000:53:03

I feel like we're very naive about other cultures.

0:53:030:53:07

And surely by leaving the EU

0:53:070:53:08

we would become more naive

0:53:080:53:10

because we wouldn't learn about the other cultures in Europe.

0:53:100:53:12

All right. And at the very back there,

0:53:120:53:15

do you think that we are being well prepared for this vote?

0:53:150:53:18

I don't think we're being very well prepared at all.

0:53:180:53:20

I haven't heard - purely because I'm 17 -

0:53:200:53:24

I haven't heard much about how it's going to impact

0:53:240:53:27

the next generation at all.

0:53:270:53:29

All right. And you, sir, up there on the gangway.

0:53:290:53:33

I'm a little bit more concerned that the politicians don't know

0:53:330:53:37

whether we should stay in the EU or leave the EU.

0:53:370:53:40

And I'm a little bit concerned that having a Prime Minister

0:53:400:53:44

that's so set on staying in the EU, when we have the chance to leave it,

0:53:440:53:48

will create more economic uncertainty if we do vote to leave.

0:53:480:53:51

All right. Roger Helmer.

0:53:510:53:53

Well, what we get is, we get people, as in this audience,

0:53:530:53:56

saying, "Tell us the facts."

0:53:560:53:58

Now, what we're looking at is the future,

0:53:580:54:00

two years, five years ahead,

0:54:000:54:02

and nobody can be sure what is going to be happening

0:54:020:54:05

two years or five years ahead.

0:54:050:54:07

Although we have a pretty clear idea of the sort of trade terms -

0:54:070:54:11

it can't be worse than WTO trade rules -

0:54:110:54:13

and we will get a free trade deal which will be better.

0:54:130:54:16

But the question I would put to those who want to stay in,

0:54:160:54:19

what is the European Union going to look like in five years' time?

0:54:190:54:23

In five years' time, those million migrants in Germany,

0:54:230:54:26

if they've stayed in Germany,

0:54:260:54:28

will have a right, under free movement,

0:54:280:54:30

to come to any other member states, including to Britain.

0:54:300:54:34

And right as we speak,

0:54:360:54:37

there is this European Council going on today and tomorrow,

0:54:370:54:41

where they're discussing this absolutely bizarre deal with Turkey,

0:54:410:54:44

where Turkey takes one person back from Greece

0:54:440:54:47

in exchange for Greece taking one migrant from Turkey.

0:54:470:54:51

And we're paying 6 billion euros for the privilege.

0:54:510:54:55

And we are fast tracking visa-free access to the Schengen area.

0:54:550:54:59

And we've agreed to fast-track Turkish membership.

0:54:590:55:03

Turkish membership is 75 million Turks.

0:55:030:55:07

Now, I'm not going to suggest for a moment

0:55:070:55:09

that 75 million Turks are coming to Britain.

0:55:090:55:11

But it is quite reasonable to suppose that several million

0:55:110:55:15

might move to Western Europe in the interests of...

0:55:150:55:18

All right. The woman there.

0:55:180:55:21

Three in. Yes.

0:55:210:55:23

I think it's amazing

0:55:250:55:26

how inarticulate the politicians are with this.

0:55:260:55:29

I think if you were to ask people why to stay or why to go,

0:55:290:55:33

you would have better conversations in the pub

0:55:330:55:35

than you would hear in the House of Commons,

0:55:350:55:38

and ones which people would understand.

0:55:380:55:40

I work in marketing

0:55:400:55:41

and I think they're two of the worst campaigns I've seen.

0:55:410:55:44

I think you should be very clear

0:55:440:55:45

about what we would gain if we stayed

0:55:450:55:48

and what we would be losing if we left.

0:55:480:55:50

Those are the two questions we need answering before we can vote.

0:55:500:55:53

APPLAUSE

0:55:530:55:56

Tasmina.

0:55:560:55:57

Thank you, David.

0:55:590:56:00

If I may go back to the lady who asked the initial question,

0:56:000:56:03

is the ground well prepared? No, it's not.

0:56:030:56:05

It certainly isn't yet.

0:56:050:56:06

And that's one of the reasons why

0:56:060:56:08

we didn't want to have the referendum so close,

0:56:080:56:10

because we want to give the people of this country

0:56:100:56:12

an opportunity to have a national conversation.

0:56:120:56:15

One which we enjoyed in the Scottish independence referendum,

0:56:150:56:18

where all of the arguments, for and against -

0:56:180:56:21

and, of course, there are two sides to every story -

0:56:210:56:23

are played out, so people can make an informed decision

0:56:230:56:26

based on fact, not based on fear.

0:56:260:56:29

What we've seen at the moment, however,

0:56:290:56:31

is men in suits involved in this debate from beginning to end,

0:56:310:56:35

and there need to be more women involved in this debate.

0:56:350:56:38

And I think we'll see... We will have a changing face of this debate

0:56:380:56:42

when this happens, because we need to see and think about

0:56:420:56:45

what membership of the EU means for women,

0:56:450:56:47

what it means for young people, for farmers and fishermen.

0:56:470:56:50

All of the sectors that make up our society

0:56:500:56:53

should have a say in this debate.

0:56:530:56:55

We shouldn't try and stifle the debate

0:56:550:56:57

by saying people are going to be bored by it,

0:56:570:56:59

this is a matter of great importance.

0:56:590:57:01

And to the lady who's 17 at the back,

0:57:010:57:03

I voted for you to have a vote in this referendum -

0:57:030:57:05

you should most certainly be having one.

0:57:050:57:07

Nicky Morgan, can you pick up the point that Tasmina made

0:57:070:57:10

that this is being done in a rush? Why is it being done in such a rush?

0:57:100:57:13

No, I don't think it's being done in a rush.

0:57:130:57:16

But I think we've got time to debate the issues

0:57:160:57:18

between the end of February or the middle of February,

0:57:180:57:21

when the Prime Minister negotiated the deal,

0:57:210:57:23

right through to the 23rd of June.

0:57:230:57:25

And from the lady who talked about the campaigns,

0:57:250:57:28

I mean, I think this is what we want to see, the conversations happening.

0:57:280:57:31

-It shouldn't be happening just in Westminster.

-Briefly.

0:57:310:57:34

Yes, I must come back on Emily's point. She's worried about jobs.

0:57:340:57:36

I'm worried about jobs, too.

0:57:360:57:38

I'm worried about the jobs we've lost in the steel industry,

0:57:380:57:41

the jobs we've lost with aluminium plant closures,

0:57:410:57:43

the jobs we've lost in the chemicals industry

0:57:430:57:45

and the fertiliser industry.

0:57:450:57:46

-All as a direct result of European policies...

-Nonsense.

0:57:460:57:50

..which have driven up energy prices. Look at the facts.

0:57:500:57:52

We have to stop. We've run out of time.

0:57:520:57:55

Way run out of time. I'm so sorry to those of you who had your hands up.

0:57:550:58:00

We will come back to it, but it won't be in Chelmsford.

0:58:000:58:03

I know. What can be done?

0:58:030:58:05

Question Time is back after Easter, on 7th April.

0:58:050:58:09

We're going to be in Ilford.

0:58:090:58:10

Come to Ilford. We have on the panel

0:58:100:58:12

the novelist, the author of Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh,

0:58:120:58:16

and the Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson.

0:58:160:58:19

I don't know who the politicians are going to be yet.

0:58:190:58:21

And the week after that we're going to be in Doncaster.

0:58:210:58:23

So if you want to come to either Ilford or Doncaster,

0:58:230:58:26

there are the details on the screen.

0:58:260:58:27

You can phone us or you can go to our website.

0:58:270:58:30

If you phone us, it's...

0:58:300:58:33

On Radio 5 Live, of course, this debate carries on into the night.

0:58:330:58:37

But my thanks to our panel

0:58:370:58:39

and all of you who came to Chelmsford to take part.

0:58:390:58:41

Until a fortnight or so from now, from Question Time, goodnight.

0:58:410:58:45

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Chelmsford. On the panel: Conservative education secretary Nicky Morgan MP, Labour's shadow defence secretary Emily Thornberry MP, the SNP's trade and industry spokesperson Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP, Ukip's leader in the European Parliament Roger Helmer MEP and director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Mark Littlewood.


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