14/04/2016 Question Time


David Dimbleby chairs debate from Doncaster. On the panel are Daniel Hannan, Owen Smith, Angus Robertson, Baroness Jones and Dia Chakravarty of the TaxPayers' Alliance.

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Tonight, we are in Doncaster. And this is Question Time.


Good evening and welcome, whether you are watching on television,


listening on the radio, to our audience and our panel. The


Conservative member of the European Parliament, one of the leading


lights of the campaign to leave the EU, Daniel Hannan. Labour's Shadow


Work and Pensions Secretary, Owen Smith. The leader of the SNP at


Westminster, Angus Robertson. The Green Party's only member in the


House of Lords, Jenny Jones. And from the TaxPayers' Alliance, Dia


Chakravarty. Before our first question,


don't forget Facebook, text or Twitter to comment


on what's said here. Lets have our first question from


Jason Leeson, please. On a scale of one to ten, how genuine is is Jeremy


Corbyn's new-found support of the EU? Daniel Hannan. About two. The


guy has made a career out of not changing his mind and now for


political reasons he has to find a way of justifying switching to a


pro-EU position. And let's just think through the logic of what he


said today. He said, I'm in favour of the EU, but not this EU. I want a


completely different one, a social Europe with democracy and workers'


rights. Great, but that is not the one on the ballot paper. If the


Prime Minister's renegotiation taught us one thing, it is how


immune to reform Tom Howe intractable the European Union is.


Its second largest net contributor was about to vote on whether to


leave and it could not bring itself to make any changes. So the idea


that we will stick around and it will suddenly reform, we have had 40


years of Brussels becoming more remote, more corrupt, less


democratic. What, in that record, makes us think that if we stick with


it a little bit longer it will suddenly become more congenial?


APPLAUSE Owen Smith. I would say it was about


a seven. Only seven? Yes, because he reflects the country on this,


Jeremy. He said today that he has made his mind up, and I think the


country is making its mind up. That is the point I'm trying to get


across, that Jeremy is someone who used to be opposed to the EU,


clearly voting against it in the 1970s, thought it was problematic


when he was on the backbenches of the Labour Party. And in the last


few years, perhaps even the last few weeks, he has come to a different


view, a view which is now I think united with the Labour movement. We


now feel collectively that we should stay within the European Union. The


reason he has come to that view, perhaps it is not a ten, but the


reason he has come to that seven is because he things the jobs and


security we need in this country, the challengers to be met by this


country, whether tax avoidance or security for people, are best met by


us sticking together. That is at the heart of the Labour Party's core


beliefs, that we are stronger when we stick together. That is why he


has come, perhaps, on a journey. I think a lot of people in the country


are on that journey and I hope they get to the same place. What is


curious is when he was running for the leadership and was asked if he


would vote to leave he said, I would not rule out voting to leave. I


wonder whether it was Cameron's success in negotiating that finally


persuaded him. I don't think David Cameron persuades Jeremy Corbyn of


very much. Nothing else has changed in the year since he said he would


think of voting out. I have talked with him about this on several


occasions in the last few weeks and I genuinely think, like many of us


coming he has thought hard about whether we should be in or out and


has decided on balance that we should be in. I think that is a


reasonable, sensible view and I think lots of people will make


exactly the same choice. Do you think he might be up to ten out of


ten by the referendum? With a bit of luck. Jenny Jones, the Green Party


are all in favour of staying in, aren't they? Well, the parties in


favour of staying in the EU. Personally, I am a rebel and I am


voting out. APPLAUSE


The Green Party's analysis of the EU is that it is a badly flawed


organisation but it is better to stay in and try to reform it because


it does good at various levels. My personal view is that I agree with


the analysis, but it is unreformable. I regret that, because


I can see the value in many of the things the EU does. But at the same


time, for example they are doing fantastic things on air quality,


pressurising governments to clean up their act, to make sure we can


breathe our air, which is filthy in many cities. But at the same time it


is the EU's fault, because of corporate lobbying by various car


companies, that we took up so strongly with diesel and started


polluting towns and cities. So, with Daniel Hannan, you believe it is


unreformable. Dan and I are as one. Where do you stand, on the top left?


I agree with Jeremy, obviously. He properly takes the view that I do


that EU does have warts, and we know about them, but is it the right time


to come out, with the world being so unstable at the moment?


APPLAUSE Jenny, I did not ask, the question


was how genuine is Jeremy Corbyn's support. What is your answer? Two or


three at best. I feel deeply sorry for Jeremy because he seems to be


fitting into some sort of straitjacket within the Labour


Party. I have always said there is a place in the Green Party for him. We


have better social policies than the Labour Party these days and all the


green policies as well. I think Jeremy would fit in better with us.


What I wanted to ask was, do the panel actually feel that this is


really, the position on Europe, is really about ideology, this


referendum? What concerns me is that we are getting smoke and mirrors


politics about the choices, and not a clear debate. That is what


concerns me. In what way? At issue, what is it that concerns you? David


Cameron has issued contradictory statements on the European Union and


I feel that confuses people, when he is saying now that he wants to stay


in. Angus Robertson, this is getting like Strictly. One out of ten. You


can give your answer first. In Scotland we went through a


referendum process in 2014 so we have insight into how they happen.


One of the things that concerns me greatly is the extent to which, and


we are hearing it already, the personalisation of some of this.


Secondly, that the nature of some of the arguments are so unbelievably


aimed at scaring people. APPLAUSE


People in Scotland were not stupid, people in Doncaster and the rest of


the UK are not stupid either. I am pro-European. I wish Scotland and


the UK to remain within the European Union, but I would wish people to


make that decision to vote within the U -- to vote to remain within


the EU on the basis of confidence, positive arguments of why it is good


to be part of a large single market. I agree with Jeremy Corbyn, it is


not just an argument about a single market, but about workers' rights,


social rights, environmental progress. I know this argument is


lost sometimes, because it is about jobs and numbers and it is


confusing. Let Arsenal to forget how this came about, which is that we in


Europe had been unable to keep the peace between us for more than any


number of decades. After the Second World War, France and Germany and


then sometime later the UK got together and said, for all the


imperfections, for all the things that don't work well, and by


goodness there are a lot of things that need to be reformed and


improved, but we are far better working together as sovereign


states, and I would wish Scotland to be a sovereign state within the EU


at the top table two, but we are better working together in that


context. So it is not about Jeremy Corbyn and how persuaded I am. Am I


persuaded by his change? No, I don't find it tremendously persuasive, but


I do find the argument strong. So I am not going to second-guess the


motivation. APPLAUSE


On one out of ten, how genuine is is support for the EU? You see him week


after week, what do you think? I do think I have heard him ask a single


question about the European Union in the House of Commons since he became


leader of the Labour Party. If the European Union were an association


of sovereign states, no one would be against it and we would not be


having this referendum. Everyone is in favour of cooperating with


friends and allies. You would have to be insane to be against that. The


problem is that it has become remote, self-serving and corrupt.


And Angus is right, the arguments, the scare stories that it is the


only guarantee of equal pay, we had equal pay in an act in 1970 before


we joined. We had paid holidays introduced by Chamberlain in 1938.


The idea that we owe all of these things to Jean-Claude Juncker,


people know when they are being taken for. Dia Chakravarty, one to


ten, how genuine? Before I say anything I should make clear that


the TaxPayers' Alliance as an organisation of nearly 80,000


supporters across the country, we don't take a position on this. We


have supporters in both camps, and staff members in both camps. Having


said that, I am going to give you two answers on these numbers, David.


I apologise in advance. As a person, Jeremy Corbyn is a one, which is


about where I stand. As Labour leader, he is probably about seven.


He said today that the Labour Party was overwhelmingly in favour of


staying within the EU, which I imagine is, I can understand that.


And the reason why I think he agrees with me as a human being and he is


at one, this is where I disagree with the lady at the back, where you


claimed Jeremy shares your views. I think he shares my views for


precisely the same reasons, which are as follows. I think that the EU


is an unaccountable body. Most people have no idea who their MEP


is. If you do not know who your MEP is, how are you going to hold them


to account? Working at Westminster, I know how difficult it is to hold


MPs to account, and this is another step removed. Secondly, it is a very


wasteful body. We pay our MPs... I am so sorry, this is not a personal


attack. Usain nobody knows who their MEP is. -- she says. The Sun had


eight photographs years ago and they said, can you identify your MEP. If


we were invisible, you would have got 12.5% picking the right one by


the law of averages, but it was less than that. So we have a negative


visibility, antimatter. Nobody feels European in the same sense that they


feel Swedish, Portuguese or whatever.


APPLAUSE If the EU had developed without


people like you as MEPs, saving all that money and it had just been the


governments of the countries, would it be better? Yes, if it were an


intergovernmental association that did not presume to legislate for


member states, that did not have a legal system that can strike down


legislation of member states, then we would all be in favour of that.


No one is proposing that the alternative to the EU is not talking


to our friends and allies. We want the right to live under our own laws


while trading with our friends around the world.


APPLAUSE The third point that bothers me is


that from outside the EU it looks very much like a cartel of rich


countries that keep all the poorer developing countries outside the


trade block. And that bugs me. That is done in my name. I don't like


that and I don't know who to complain to. So it is a very


problematic situation for me. For that reason, and I think Jeremy


Corbyn would agree with those reasons, I cannot see myself voting


in. The woman on the gangway. I think if we do leave the EU, in


spite of all the glorious things which Daniel Hannan thinks will


happen, it will be just like animal farm. Something equally hideous will


arise with several heads, costing twice as much again, but with the


added disadvantage that we will have hacked off all our good friends and


neighbours in Europe by saying, we will be your friend but under our


terms and conditions. First of all, I feel British and


European. I feel very at home in Europe.




We can be fed a load of rubbish by the media for 20 years. The quote


from Rupert Murdoch saying he wants to leave the EU because in Downing


Street he gets listened to and in Brussels he gets ignored is telling


why the Sun are against the EU. If he gets listened to in Number Ten,


why is the Prime Minister staying in, not voting for Brexit? He still


gets listened to by David Cameron on a lot of other things. The man on


the right, I don't know if you are friends and agree with each other?


What I was going to say was, Owen's stated that the Labour Party has a


united position that it's pro-European, but how come there's


been a lack of cross party support. As a 17-year-old that can't vote in


the upcoming referendum, I find it absolutely insulting that to support


the in-campaign in such a divided form that it is, that compared to


the out-campaign is a shame on all that support Europe. It's simple. We


are making a specific case for Labour being in Europe. The


socialist case, today as Jeremy called it. He's genuinely come to


the view that we would see jobs in parts of Britain like Doncaster at


risk if we pulled out of Europe. In my part of the world, I know, Airbus


the great company based across the UK and in France this week only they


said and they support 15,000 jobs across the UK, they said this week


they wouldn't be in the UK if we were not in the UK. The world we've


got is one where we are in the EU right now and, if we vote to leave,


we'll see economic consequences for this country and jobs will be lost.


It isn't scaremongering, it's a statement of fact.


APPLAUSE We have created more jobs here than


in the other 27 member states put together. Plainly in the real word,


the world offive, not supposition, there is no lack of investment


coming in. We had exactly these arguments about the euro. Everyone


said the investment will go away and unemployment will rise. That did


happen in the eurozone. Can you name a single senior business person or


big company in this country who's advocating... Absolutely. I would


rather trust award-winning exporters like Dyson, legal general, Tate


Lyle... A simple question, do you think exporters will have exactly


the same deal in Europe as they have now, no tariffs? Yes. Or do you


think there'll be a bit of a tariff? I'm certain from 'll be no tariffs


at all. Better to go on evidence than supposition. There's in the a


single country in Europe, whether or not they are in the EU, that is


outside the tree trade area. You can go to non-EU Iceland to non-EU


Turkey and you do not come across a single EU trade barrier. To be fair,


you need to acknowledge then that if you are advocating the Norwegian


position which is not a member of the European Union but is a member


of the free trade association, that they still have to pay membership


subs. That is the way it works. My argument is, we should be better


reforming the long list of things that need reforming, rather than


taking ourselves out of the biggest single market in the world which by


the way has helped secure social rights, workers' right, gender


rights. These thingses matter. APPLAUSE.


Jason who asked the question, what is your mark for Corbyn out of ten?


We have been talking about Europe generally there, but going back to


Corbyn, he's been speaking about Europe for years. 40 years. He


should have stuck to what he believed in.


Yes. APPLAUSE. And we have been


vindicated me. Said the European Union will stop a left of centre


Government implementing its programme which is exactly what's


just happened in Greece. So I would not have voted for Alexis Tsipras,


but the case that Tony Benn under the Labour left used to make which


is democracy will be stop bid bureaucracy, has been absolutely


shown to be true. Another question here ready on Europe. We have heard


a lot of people pro--in, somebody who's in favour of out. Oh, my God!


I will take you in the second row from the back. I can't bring


everybody in. Nobody knows what will happen whether we stay in Europe or


leave Europe. I think it's about time politicians were honest. We


keep on getting this will happen, that will happen. Nobody knows. How


do you decide how to vote then? On what you see in your every day life.


You look around where you live and around the country, you see what you


see and you take a decision. I think our default position on Europe


should be, we are not paying, we will govern ourselves and, if you're


prepared to deal with us, we shall deal with you. OK. Thank you.


APPLAUSE. We'll move on. Time to talk more


about Europe, but there's a question because everybody wants to talk


about Europe. Over half the questions we had tonight were about


Europe. Question Time audiences are clearly not getting bored of that.


Andy Ramsbottom? Isn't it true that the only way to have control over UK


borders and immigration is to leave the European Union?


APPLAUSE. Owen Smith? I think it's clearly


true that if we weren't in the EU and wanted to be out of the single


market then Equitable exercise greater control, we could stop


having free movement of people. However, and Angus raised the


question about Norway earlier on, the reality is, the plain truth is


that all of the countries outside the EU that want to enjoy the


benefit of trade, Norway Switzerland, are subject to the same


rules. Norway has a higher proportion of immigrants versus its


country than the UK does, so does Switzerland and they also have to


enact their own national legislation, all of the EU rules...


Why do you say all the same thing would happen to Britain, a far


larger country than Switzerland or Norway? The gentleman who said a


moment ago said we don't know what is going to happen, that is right,


but we have a duty to lead and suggest what we think is likely as


politicians. On the basis of history and what we see around the rest of


Europe, the most likely scenario is that for us to be able to enjoy the


benefits of trade and take part in the biggest market across the world,


the 500 million people to whom we can sell and buy, we'll need to play


by the rules soyes, we can exercise more control but at what cost? Jenny


Jones? I don't think that in or out is going to make much difference to


levels of immigration because we have a moderately healthy economy,


people are always going to want to come and to get a piece of it and to


work here and personally, I think mile migration is a fantastic thing


because we need migrants. APPLAUSE. I just would like to point


out that migrants here in Britain pay more than their fair share of


taxes. APPLAUSE.


And they actually take less than their fair share of benefits. And so


migrants are actually good for Britain. The NHS would fall over


without enough migrants to fill the nursing jobs the service providers,


the doctors. APPLAUSE. But you are saying you


think there's no difference in your view in the ability to control


immigration even though every of the 500 or whatever million people in


the EU have the right to come here without question? You don't think it


will make any difference? I really don't. I think that migrants are


always going to want to come here, it's a very attractive country and


we need them. The difference is, at the moment, you have to let them in.


If you are out of the EU, will you still have to let them? ? What about


all the Brits that go abroad? We have a million Brits living in


Spain, two million in the rest of the EU and, not to mention Australia


and the US and so on, we are migrants too. All right. We have to


accept that they are a great thing. Dia Chakravarty? Well, as a first


generation immigrant, I happen to agree with Jenny, migration can be a


great thing. APPLAUSE. But I would like to take


it back to the point I was previously making about the EU, that


migration can be a great thing, free movement of people has benefitted


countries over the years. But, outside the EU, to the world, it


still looks very much like a cartel, so if you are outside the EU, even


if you have a skill that you can very well sell to the EU or the UK,


you can't bring it here as easily as you can than if you belong in the


EU. The EU is not really that free to the people outside that bloc and


I think that's a problem. Do you have a view about the level which


clearly Andy does, a view about the level of immigration? You say if we


left the EU, then it wouldn't be automatically getting in, you are


suggesting it would be easier to get inside the EU than it is at the


moment. You came from Bangladesh and you think it would be easier for


people to come from the Asian subcontinent to come here than it is


now? It would be beneficial to have a country where people can decide


what skill set of people can come into the country. That makes a lot


of sense. APPLAUSE. I want my country back and


I want freedom. APPLAUSE. When you say you want your


country back, what do you mean? I don't believe our country is free


any more. You only have to look at the European Union and what is going


on there. I want my country back, I want Britain to be Britain. I just


want. We are all so frustrated with all this talk about the EU and all


this rubbish we are hearing that. Gentleman there in the orange tie,


he knows what goes on in Europe. Absolutely. You wouldn't believe the


half of it. Angus Robertson, would you like to


answer her point directly? I think there is a challenge, because


outside the European Union, the UK and other states are able to


exercise border controls and within the European Union, there is free


movement of citizens within the European Union. We need to


understand there is a balance, because there's also rights to UK


citizens, the rights of the one million people from the UK who live


in Spain, the 300,000 people from the UK who live in France, the


nearly 300,000 UK passport holders who live in the Irish Republic.


There are huge advantages to people from UK to be able to live and work


elsewhere in Europe. Do you accept what Andy said, which was the only


way to have control over the borders is to leave the EU? Yes is the


answer. APPLAUSE. But, that is not what I


want. Because I'm in favour of people from this country being able


to live and work elsewhere in Europe too. I think we need to be honest.


APPLAUSE. We need to be honest. This is about sharing sovereignty and


there are up thes sides and downsides and anybody who's


suggesting there is not an issue with migration, with the


difficulties of millions of people who're fleeing for their lives,


please, and let's not forget that from Syria and elsewhere, and we


have responsibilities to deal with these issues, but let's not simplify


it down to being simply an issue of leaving the European Union and


everything will be fine. Because it will not.


OK. You, Sir? Well, if we come out the European Union and I want to


work in France, if I've got the skills, they'll let me work in


France. We don't have to be in the European Union for that. The woman


in the middle there, yes? I absolutely think we should stay in


Europe because we... APPLAUSE. We are talking about the


people in Britain going outside to have country to work in the rest of


Europe, but what about all the national companies that have come


here to build the car manufacturers here and build their products here.


If we are not part of the EU, they won't be able to sell their products


to the people all over the world who have trade agreements and it could


take years to build those trade agreements. So what about those


jobs? The key word in Andy's question was control. I'm in favour


of legal immigration. Economic migration. I think this country


benefits from the energy and enterprise of people prepared to


uproot themselves and cross half the world in some cases to come here. I


also think we are a generous one they will always make space for


people in need of sanctuary. But if we are to accept a measure of inward


migration, in return we ask for a sense of knowledge of who comes in.


We have a crazy policy where we have to open our borders to 600 million


people who happen to hold EU passports, but as Dia says, this


means in practise we have toe keep out people who may have family links


here, whose families may have fought for us in the two wars when we were


in trouble. There will be those who've had huge difficulties


Britaining auntie over for a wedding, never mind trying to setsle


here, because we have had to restrict visas for nationals in


order to free up unlimited space for people with no connection to this


country. It's unfair, immoral and makes no sense economically.


The migration crisis, like the Euro crisis, is deteriorating before our


eyes. Because we kept our border checks, and because we kept the


pound, we have other options. We don't need to make those problems


our problems. And the choice we face on the 23rd of June is, do we want


to embroil ourselves in the bailouts and more integration that is coming


because of the deteriorating crisis on the continent, or should we


follow a different trajectory, reorienting to the wider world, the


bits that are in fact growing? You seem to have got your passport


there. You don't need a passport for Doncaster. I was so desperate to


come that I flew in from Strasbourg to do it.


We go on to another question. Thank you very much for all that, but we


had half an hour and we have other questions to come. Join us in Exeter


next week, or in whole or week after. You can apply on our website.


I will give the details at the end. The next question from David


Clayton. Has the time now come to abolish inheritance tax, considering


it is a tax on already taxed income? This was raised in the House of


Commons, talking about inheritance tax and David Cameron's inheritance.


Dia Chakravarty, is it right to abolish inheritance tax? Yes, I


agree. It is indeed double taxation. There are other good reasons as


well. I think the most compelling reason, and this is why it


inheritance tax is the most hated tax in the country. There was a poll


done last year and it was found that even people who do not expect to pay


it hate it. It goes against the basic human nature and instinct to


provide for one's family and leave something behind. That is why it


just is such an unnatural law, that it is difficult to sell to anybody,


really. The third point is that it is a hugely complex piece of


legislation. It takes up 10% of our insanely complicated tax code, and


it brings in about 0.7% of revenue. And there are so many different


loopholes in that piece of legislation. You can declare it as


agricultural land and that means something else, etc. And some people


bring up the quality point about taking it from the very rich and


giving it to someone else, redistribution. The reality is that


the super-rich, the people at the top will always have different ways


of getting round it, precisely because it is such...


APPLAUSE Precisely because it is such a


complicated piece of legislation. So the people who are stuck with it are


the aspirational middle-class right in the middle. Since 2010, the


number of people paying inheritance tax has quadrupled. It is the people


in the middle who feel the pinch, so absolutely we should abolish it.


APPLAUSE Jenny Jones, do you think it is


right that parents should leave things to their children and be


taxed as low as possible, or are you in favour of inheritance tax as it


stands? As a general view on tax, I am very in favour of paying tax. At


the cost of a subversion of it is the cost of a civilised society.


Taxes pay for the things we all need at some point in our lives, whether


hospital care, schools or roads. But inheritance tax, I do think is


iniquitous. It is absolutely wrong that it is twice taxed money. There


are better ways. If we closed a view of the tax avoidance gaps...


APPLAUSE These legal loopholes that were


never designed to prevent people paying tax, but people have managed


to find and get round the regulations. Or follow up on some of


the tax evasion that is happening, which this Government doesn't seem


at all interested in getting to grips with. Another Green rebellion


before our very eyes. No inheritance tax. I am embarrassed to say I do


not know the party policy on inheritance tax, so I hope I am not


rebelling on this as well, but I think it is a ridiculous tax and it


should go. I am proud to be a taxpayer and proud that I should be


able to turn every single amount of money that I do learn and I should


be to spend or give it to whoever I'd choose I want to give it to. It


should not have to be double taxed. You, sir, on the third row. My big


worry is that we are creating a very selfish and insular society. This


idea that tax in any shape or form is wrong. As you rightly said, we


need these things to pay for the NHS, to pay for schools, to pay for


benefits. I feel there are quite a lot of people who feel as though, I


shouldn't pay any tax because... Well, maybe they earn enough to use


private health care, private schools and things of that nature, things I


know a lot of the Tory party already enjoy.


APPLAUSE My worry is that we should be


looking at tax as more of a moral obligation, than a legal obligation.


Change the narrative, yes. You want him to pay your tax bill. If he is


keen on paying tax, he can pay mine, for sure.


You need the NHS. I pay my tax and I am happy to, but we pay too much.


One of my early questions would have been, why does it cost so much to be


in Europe. It's ridiculous. It's because there are too many people


with first-class tickets on the gravy train. One of the things that


came up in the House of Commons, people are saying that as long as


you live seven years after you give money you do not have to pay


inheritance tax. Is that right? Should Labour crackdown on


Americans? Do you approve of people giving money to their children. --


should Labour crackdown on inheritance. The one good thing that


has come out of the extraordinary unseemly mess about tax and the


Panama Papers is that we are at last in this country having a serious


conversation about tax. Because for 30 or 40 years in this country, the


debate about tax, the crucial debate about how we raise enough revenue to


pay for hospitals and schools and all of the things to look after our


children and grandparents, has just sat there, with neither party,


frankly, bold enough to grab it. I am pleased that coming out of the


Panama Papers, which has revealed, as Dia says, that so many people who


are extraordinarily wealthy in this country and across the world are


avoiding their taxes, and in doing that they are robbing the rest of




Why, then, did Labour raise the level at which you have to start


paying inheritance tax by nearly a third? I think that was a mistake,


and I think the truth is that we have a yawning gap in this country


and across the Western world between a few percentage points of the


population who have an extraordinary amount of wealth, and the vast


majority who struggle to get by. If we don't have wealth taxes, and


inheritance tax at some level is a wealth tax, then we will continue to


see larger and larger amounts of money gather at the top of society,


in the hands of those few percentage points. And we will not see the rest


of society, including people here in Doncaster, enjoy the benefits of the


social provisions that come through those taxes. So we need to be tough


about this. You would like to reverse the change Labour made in


office on the threshold? I would reverse the change the Tories made


recently. Which one? They changed inheritance tax recently and made it


even easier to get rid of money, in the last but one Budget. They


changed it twice since they came in. Crucially, the decisions they have


made on tax reveal all you need to know about the Tories. They cut the


top rate for millionaires in this country. Everyone earning over


?150,000 got a big bar. In the last Budget, they took money from


disabled people. The wrong priorities. The woman up there. I


find the question for Doncaster quite ironic, because I see lots of


women, my friends. I am going to lose my job in two weeks because the


Tories have been stealing our tax and domestic violence services are


closing. Women's aid is closing in two weeks, having been here for 40


years, because of the Tories. Because of the Tories doing what? We


talk about the Panama Papers. It is the elephant in the room. The


question about inheritance tax is a small issue. The question of Google,


boots, you name it, Starbucks, the question of Tories, I don't know how


you dare talk about Europe being corrupt when we have Cameron who


said he would look after the vulnerable in 2010, and he has


stripped us of everything. APPLAUSE


Daniel Hannan. Thank you very much. The question was should we abolish


inheritance tax. Address what she has said, in major attack on your


party. Well, first of all, the big tax dodge, if you want to look for


one, is that Euro clap to not pay tax at all. In 2010, we were told a


lie, that we had to take austerity. We had to lose our jobs, our


libraries, house in Bath 's. And do you know what happened? Cameron did


not look after the vulnerable. He made sure the rich got richer and


richer, and the gap is like that! APPLAUSE


I would like to get back to the original question but since you say


it is not reasonable to link it to Europe, the Institute for Fiscal


Studies, between 2010 - 2015, during the coalition parliament, all of the


austerity cuts put together saved ?36 billion. It is a lie. Please


take the microphone away while Daniel answers, otherwise we can't


hear what he says. We heard what you said. We want to listen to him now.


You may not want to, but everyone else wants to. We can all remember


the circumstances in 2010, we had a bigger deficit than Greece and we


were in a bad place. We had to make some savings. According to the IFS,


although savings put together came to a total of ?36 billion. Over the


lifetime of that same Parliament, our gross contribution to the EU


budget was ?85 billion, our net contribution was ?42 billion. So it


is all the worry well to say you must not link the two things. Even


if you take the net figure, we could have wiped out every single one of


the austerity measures and still had enough left over to take a penny off


income tax. Let's talk about cuts to disabled people. If you are handing


taxes to millionaires... Hold on, Daniel. I know you are keen to go on


making the point about Europe but her question wasn't about that. Even


if it is Brexit, it is two years before, while you negotiate to get


out. She is talking about since the last election and measures taken


since 2010. It is all right, madam. I will do it for you for the moment.


Local services in Doncaster are up to the council in Doncaster. And


quite rightly so. The Government has cut the funding.


Can you feel the anger? Can you feel how unhappy people are in Doncaster


and elsewhere... APPLAUSE


About the fact that we know we have been played by an ultra rich elite


in this country and around the world, who fiddled their taxes,


whose salt it away in tax havens. And this government says the biggest


problem when it comes to the abuse is the abuse of benefits.


APPLAUSE In poor communities, pursuing the


poorest in society. I think the abuse of benefits is wrong, but


let's understand the order of the abuse that is going on. Just over ?1


billion is estimated to go in the direction of abuse of benefits. The


tax gap, from people who evade it and avoid it, is more than ?30


billion. That is going up. I ask you then,


why is it that the staffing levels in the HMRC who deem with pursuing


the richest in society are significantly less than they used to


pursue the poorest in society. It shows the priority of the Tories and


people should be very, very angry about that.


APPLAUSE. You said in the House of Commons they only had 300 people,


they said 26,000 people today. I asked about the ultra-rich. They


have 26,000 people doing enforcement and more than 400 on high net worth.


On papers, it's the ultra-rich. I'm asking why are there so few people


relative to the staffing levels dealing with the ultra-rich taking


their money elsewhere and not paying for hospitals and roads and Public


Services in Doncaster and they should be doing that. When an but


thes started speaking, there was a large shout of "rubbish" from


someone. Must have been me again! Oh, no, not you? Can you remember


when the banks went down and the deficit and the national debt. Has


everyone forgot about that or was that made up? Do you remember?


That's why there's been cuts and austerity. That's why we have got to


close the gap. People think it was made up.


This Government is closing HMRC. You would have thought they wanted to


get the tax money in. Wait a minute. The man in red. You


were talking over there and I'll keep the panel quiet for a minute.


There's over ?30 million in unpaid tax. If we close the tax loopholes,


get that ?30 billion in tax, we don't need to make austerity


measures, there we go. APPLAUSE. Do you want to come back


on this, Owen? The Gentleman's got a point. The truth is that the tax


gap, the gap between how much we should be getting and how much we


are getting in, according to the Government itself has gone up on


their watch. If they'd been so careful to clamp down on tax


avoidance as David Cameron would have us all believe, it would it


wouldn't be rising, it's up to ?34 billion. The question is, what are


the choices and priorities of the Government? Are they choosing in


this period of austerity, to ask those with the wider shoaleders to


bear the biggest burden, or are they instead looking for the little man,


whether it's the small business or individuals here and across the


country to carry the burden and I fear the last six years has seen the


little manukary the burden far too often. What would you be doing if


you were leading an independent Scotland with no money?


APPLAUSE. No, no, thank you Angus. We'll come


back to that. You in the green shirt there. I've heard it all now.


Inheritance tax is all Europe's fault. We look at the big guys who


avoid the tax, you know, the Googles of this world, middle tax is going


to hit a lot of people, especially in the London and the south-east


where they live in a din edgy semi. We may have to look at inheritance


tax for London and the South East and do a lot lower, for the rest of


the country, because a lot of the people who live in the south-east


have lived in these house force the last however many years and they've


gone up in value and there's nothing stopping them. We are talking about


cutting inheritance tax but we should be looking at the tax that's


gone up in the decades and is affecting the tax in the poorest


society. Stop VAT, you will get people buying again.


ALL SPEAK AT ONCE It will affect energy bills and the


whole economy. Hold on. Owen did just say VAT should be


abolished. A very good point. A very good point. Labour policy now under


your leadership to abolish VAT? No, cut VAT. The last Labour Government


cut VAT. We saw an extra ?5 billion in the economy. That cannot be done


while we are members of the European Union. In South America it's 5%,


but, you know. The man in the spectacles at the back? We have got


away from the real issue here. No, really? ! Which is inheritance tax.


Yes? I was reading on the equality trust website that one of the


reasons why people are rich in the UK is because they were born rich


and that's the purpose behind inheritance tax it's to deal with


that - shut up! The purpose behind the tax is to deal with that


trouble, whether it's an efficient tax is the question that needs to be


answered and if it's not we need to look at other ways to address the


issue of how prosperity wealth is derived from who your parents are,


rather than what you work for. APPLAUSE.


One more question? I don't disagree the gentleman's point about possibly


banding to it different levels because one of the points Cameron


made when commenting only finally deciding to tell us the truth was it


was only ?20,000 that he got, well, at the time, ?20,000 or ?30,000, was


two years' wages to somebody up here, so maybe you tax it based on


how much money the person it's going to's got rather than the gee


graphical area or something like that. OK. Ian Thompson, a last


question for us? At what stage is a politician's private life wandering


into the public interest. This is about the Culture Secretary John


Whittingdale and the stories that have emerged about him in the press


and about whether they should or shouldn't have done. Jenny Jones? I


believe that even Tory politicians deserve a private life. There's


something odd about this story because it was about actually the


sort of thing like a kiss-and-tell so I'm curious why this story didn't


run. There should be one rule for all Preferably that people


confidence a private life and that, when you have sex between consenting


adults, then that seems to be OK in most people's books. Hang on, so you


think it's OK to have a private life but you are curious why the press


didn't run it, those things are in conflict. Not at all. You think it


should have been run? In this instance I'm surprised they didn't


run it, they are usually quick to run stories about Blixes doing


anything wrong -- politicians doing anything wrong. Going to the,


cutting to the chase, the idea that it was put about is because he had


influence over the press they thought they could hold him hostage,


do you think that's right? I have absolutely no idea what the truth


is. Personally I think politicians, everyone should be able to have a


private life. Owen Smith? I think even politicians should be entitled


to have a private life and, therefore I don't think there is any


public interest ordinarily in the sex lives of politicians. In this


instance, I think there is... You think they are boring. There is a


question to be asked, which is because this man, John Whittingdale,


is in charge of determining whether we are going to have the second half


of the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking, into the corruption between


the police and the press that lay at the heart of the awful phone hacking


scandal that saw Millie Dowler's phone hacked and all of those other


dreadful things happen, John Whittingdale was someone very much


in favour when he was in charge of the culture committee, of the


Leveson Inquiry taking place. Can you get to the point... Well, I know


he's now changed his mind. What are you saying? If there's a question to


be asked, he can announce either he's going to have the second part


of the Leveson Inquiry and then there would be no evidence to


suggest there was no undue influence on him or he could say there was and


therefore I shouldn't take part in this inquiry. What about if it


wasn't and he shouldn't take part in the second part of this If he's


changed his mind... So you are using this to bully him? I'm using this to


ask a genuine question as to whether this important inquiry's been put on


the ling finger by the Tory party and was there any reason for this


minister wanting to do that? Daniel? I think if you are going to allege


something, allege it, but don't insinuate, it's cowardly. The reason


this story is not run because it wasn't a story. Single man has


girlfriend, it's not exactly Watergate. The newspapers didn't see


it as a huge issue and nor should they. What was extraordinary, all


those campaigning for newspapers not to run these stories, when the


system worked, when they'd got the outcome they were calling for, they


complained because they happen not to like the person who they think


should have been exposed and we can claw our own conclusions about their


motivation and hypocrisy. Dia Chakravarty? It's a non-story,


as Dan says, a single adult having a relationship with another single


adult so there is no story. I haven't seen any evidence to suggest


anything untoward happening so in the absence of that, it seems very


much in this case in particular the newspapers can't really win. If they


had gone ahead and published this non-story as I think it is, it would


have been entirely plausible that the campaigners would have said,


they are only publishing this story and making a male of it because they


have a grudge against this person, John whiting gale and now that they


haven't published it it seems the suggestion is something shady is


going on, but in the absence of any evidence, I don't see what the story


is or all the fuss is about? Angus? I was disgusted, it was a gross


invasion of someone I oppose politically and his private life. If


there are serious allegations to make, make them, don't give some


newspapers an excuse to print pictures of you, the woman you were


going out with, what she did et cetera, this is the same excuse and


tactic used in previous decades to say that gay men and women couldn't


serve in public life bawchz they could be blackmailed on different


issues. It was wrong then, it's wrong now. If there are allegations


that can be substantiated, make that argument. Make that argument. And


provide the evidence. APPLAUSE. So you disagree with Owen


Smith on this? Profoundly. The Labour Party let itself down by


allowings those who'd wish to print invasions of someone's privacy, and


they gave a... Come on, come off it, come off it. They gave a very slim


excuse. If there was evidence... If the Labour Party raised this issue,


the BBC chose to raise this issue. ... Some of your colleagues weren't


prepared to answer the question on the radio because they were so


embarrassed by what was being said. Owen, a last word to you, pause we


are running out of time? Why is it the second part of the Leveson


choir's not gone ahead? The Prime Minister promised Millie Dowler's


parents that it would go ahead. Our time is up. We have to stop. We are


going to be in Exeter next week. We have Liam Fox for the Tories, Kate


Howie for Labour, Paddy Ashdown for themselveses and the man who reasons


Wetherspoons so you can all come about your complaints about that.


And the week after we are in Hill. -- we are in Hull. If you are on


Five Live, as you know, the debate goes on through the early hours on


Question Time extra time, but here, the debate has to come to an end. My


thanks to our panel, to all of you who came to Doncaster tonight to


take part. And to you for watching, thank you. Good night.


David Dimbleby chairs debate from Doncaster. On the panel are Conservative Daniel Hannan MEP, shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith, Westminster leader of the SNP Angus Robertson, Green Party peer Baroness Jones and Dia Chakravarty of the TaxPayers' Alliance.

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