27/10/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Lord Heseltine and shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Hope you enjoyed


the extra hour in bed, and that you've realised it's not 12:45. It's


11:45! It's getting stormy outside. But they're already battening down


the hatches at Number Ten because coalition splits are back, with


bust-ups over free schools and power bills. We'll speak to the Lib Dems,


and ask Labour who's conning whom over energy.


EU leaders have been meeting in Brussels. But how's David Cameron


getting on with that plan to change our relationship with Europe? We


were there to ask him. Have we got any powers back yet? DS!


Foreign companies own everything from our energy companies to our


railways. Does it matter who And in the East Midlands, we hear


from the jobless youngsters who say they've disappeared from the


unemployment figures. And up for sale again ` what's the future for


the East as many daily journeys made by bus


than by tube, so why is the planned investment in buses not keeping


pace? And with me, three journalists


who've bravely agreed to hunker down in the studio while Britain braces


itself for massive storm winds, tweeting their political forecasts


with all the accuracy of Michael Fish on hurricane watch. Helen


Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Nick Watt. Now, sometimes coalition splits are


over-egged, or dare we say even occasionally stage-managed. But this


week, we've seen what looks like the genuine article. It turns out Nick


Clegg has his doubts about the coalition's flagship free schools


policy. David Cameron doesn't much like the green levies on our energy


bills championed by the Lib Dems. Neither of them seems to have


bothered to tell the other that they had their doubts. Who better to


discuss these flare-ups than Lib Dem Deputy Leader Simon Hughes? He joins


me now. Welcome. Good morning. The Lib Dems spent three years of


sticking up for the coalition when times were grim. Explain to me the


logic of splitting from them when times look better. We will stick


with it for five years. It is working arrangement, but not


surprisingly, where there right areas on which we disagree over


where to go next, we will stand up. It is going to be hard enough for


the Lib Dems to get any credit for the recovery, what ever it is. It


will be even harder if you seem to be semidetached and picky. The


coalition has led on economic policy, some of which were entirely


from our stable. The one you have heard about most often, a Lib Dem


initiative, was to take people on blowing comes out of tax. The


recovery would not have happened, there would not have been confidence


in Britain, had there not been a coalition government with us in it,


making sure the same policies produced fair outcomes. We are not


going to leave the credit for any growth - and there has been very


good news this week. We have played a part in that, and without us, it


would not have happened. Does it not underline the trust problem you


have? You promised to abolish tuition fees. You oppose nuclear


power, now you are cheerleading the first multi-billion pounds


investment in nuclear generation. You are dying out on your enthusiasm


on green levies, and now they are up for renegotiation. Why should we


trust a word you say? In relation to green levies, as you well know, just


under 10% is to do with helping energy and helping people. Unless


there is continuing investment in renewables, we will not have the


British produced energy at cheaper cost to keep those bills down in the


future. At cheaper cost? Explain that to me. Off-shore energy is


twice the market rate. The costs of renewables will increasingly come


down. We have fantastic capacity to produce the energy and deliver lots


of jobs in the process. The parts of the energy bill that may be up for


renegotiation seems to be the part where we subsidise to help either


poor people pay less, or where we do other things. Too insulated the


homes? Are you up to putting that to general taxation? Wouldn't that be


progressive? I would. It would be progressive. I would like to do for


energy bills what the Chancellor has done for road traffic users,


drivers, which is too fuelled motor fuel -- to freeze new to fall. That


would mean there would be an immediate relief this year, not


waiting for the election. So there is a deal to be done there? Yes We


understand we have to take the burden off the consumer, and also


deal with the energy companies, who look as if they are not paying all


the tax they should be, and the regulator, which doesn't regulate


quickly enough to deal with the issues coming down the track. We can


toughen the regulator, and I hope that the Chancellor, in the Autumn


statement, was signalled that energy companies will not be allowed to get


away with not paying the taxes they should. And this deal will allow


energy prices to come down? Yes How could David Laws, one of your


ministers, proudly defend the record of unqualified teachers working in


free schools, and then stand side-by-side with Mr Clegg, as he


says he is against them? David Laws was not proudly defending the fact


that it is unqualified teachers He said that some of the new,


unqualified teachers in free schools are doing a superb job. But you want


to get rid of them? We want to make sure that everybody coming into a


free school ends up being qualified. Ends up? Goes through a process that


means they have qualifications. Just as we said very clearly at the last


election that the manifesto curriculum in free schools should be


the same as other schools. It looks like Mr Clegg is picking a fight


just for the sake of it. Mr Clegg was taught by people who didn't have


teaching qualifications in one of the greatest schools in the land, if


not the world. It didn't seem to do him any harm. What is the problem?


If you pay to go to a school, you know what you're getting. But that


is what a free school is. No, you don't pay fees. A free school is


parents taking the decisions, not you, the politicians. We believe


they would expect to guarantee is, firstly that the minimum curriculum


taught across the country is taught in the free schools, and secondly,


that the teachers there are qualified. Someone who send their


kids to private schools took a decision to take -- to send their


children there, even if the teachers were unqualified, because they are


experts in their field. Someone who send their kids to free schools is


because -- is their decision, not yours. Because some of the free


schools are new, and have never been there before, parents need a


guarantee that there are some basics in place, whatever sort of school.


So they need you to hold their hand? It is not about holding hands, it is


about having a minimum guarantee. Our party made clear at our


conference that this is a priority for us. Nick Clegg reflects the view


of the party, and I believe it is an entirely rational thing to do. Nick


Clegg complained that the Prime Minister gave him only 30 minutes


notice on the Prime Minister Buzz 's U-turn on green levies. That is


almost as little time as Nick Clegg gave the Prime Minister on his


U-turn on free schools. Aren't you supposed to be partners? Green


levies were under discussion in the ministerial group before Wednesday,


because we identified this as an issue. We do that in a practical


way. Sometimes there is only half an hour's notice. We had even less than


half an hour this morning! Simon Hughes, thank you.


So the price of energy is the big battle ground in politics at the


moment. 72% of people say that high bills will influence the way they


vote at the next election. Ed Miliband has promised a price freeze


after the next election, but will the coalition turned the tables on


Labour, with its proposal to roll back green levies. Caroline Flint


joins us from Sheffield. It looks like the coalition will be able to


take ?50 of energy bills, by removing green levies. It is quite


clear that different parts of the government are running round waking


up to the fact that the public feel that this government has not done


enough to listen to their concerns. Last week, there was a classic case


of the Prime Minister making up policy literally at the dispatch


box. Let's see what they say in the autumn statement. The truth is,


whatever the debate around green levies, and I have always said we


should look at value for money at those green levies. Our argument is


about acknowledging there is something wrong with the way the


market works, and the way those companies are regulated. Behind our


freeze for 20 months is a package of proposals to reform this market I


understand that, but you cannot tell as the details about that. I can.


You cannot give us the details about reforming the market. We are going


to do three things, and I think I said this last time I was on the


programme. First, we are going to separate out the generation side


from the supply side within the big six. Secondly, we will have a energy


pool, or power exchange, where all energy will have to be traded in


that pool. Thirdly, we will establish a tougher regulator,


because Ofgem is increasingly being seen as not doing the job right I


notice that you didn't mention any reform of the current green and


social taxes on the energy bill Is it Labour's policy to maintain the


existing green levies? In 2011, the government chose to get rid of warm


front, which was the publicly funded through tracks a scheme to support


new installation. When they got rid of that, it was the first time we


had a government since the 70s that didn't have such a policy. What is


your policy? We voted against that because we believe it is wrong. We


believe that the eco-scheme, a government intervention which is ?47


of the ?112 on our bills each year, is expensive, bureaucratic and isn't


going to the fuel poor. I am up for a debate on these issues. I am up


for a discussion on what the government should do and what these


energy companies should do. We cannot let Cameron all the energy


companies off the hook from the way in which they organise their


businesses, and expect us to pay ever increasing rises in our bills.


There is ?112 of green levies on our bills at the moment. Did you vote


against any of them? We didn't, but what I would say ease these were


government imposed levies. When they got rid of the government funded


programme, Warm Front, they introduced the eco-scheme. The


eco-project is one of the ones where the energy companies are saying


it's too bureaucratic, and it is proving more expensive than


government estimates, apparently doubled the amount the government


thought. These things are all worth looking at, but don't go to the


heart of the issue. According to official figures, on current plans,


which you support, which you voted for, households will be paying 1%


more per unit of electricity by 2030. It puts your temporary freeze


as just a blip. You support a 4 % rise in our bills. I support making


sure we secure for the future access to energy that we can grow here in


the UK, whether it is through nuclear, wind or solar, or other


technologies yet to be developed. We should protect ourselves against


energy costs we cannot control. The truth is, it is every fair for you


to put that point across, and I accept that, but we need to hear the


other side about the cost for bill payers if we didn't invest in new,


indigenous sources of energy supply for the future, which, in the long


run, will be cheaper and more secure, and create the jobs we


need. I think it is important to have a debate about these issues,


but they have to be seen in the right context. If we stay stuck in


the past, we will pay more and we will not create jobs. How can you


criticise the coalition's plans for a new nuclear station, when jeering


13 years of a Labour government you did not invest in a single nuclear


plant? You sold off all our nuclear technology to foreign companies


Energy provision was put out to private hands and there has been no


obstacle in British law against ownership outside the UK. Part of


this is looking ahead. Because your previous track record is so bad


What we did decide under the previous government, we came to the


view, and there were discussions in our party about this, that we did


need to support a nuclear future. At the time of that, David Cameron


was one of those saying that nuclear power should be a last


resort. And as you said, the Liberals did not support it. We


stood up for that. We set in train the green light of 10 sites,


including Hinkley Point, for nuclear development. I am glad to


see that is making progress and we should make more progress over the


years ahead. We took a tough decision when other governments had


not done. You did not build a new nuclear station. When you get back


into power, will you build HS2? That has not had a blank cheque


from the Labour Party. I am in favour of good infrastructure. Are


you in favour of?, answer the question? I have answered the


question. It does not have a blank cheque. If the prices are too high,


we will review the decision when we come back to vote on it. We will be


looking at it closely. We have to look for value for money and how it


benefits the country. Have you stocked up on jumpers this winter?


I am perfectly all right with my clothing. What is important, it is


ridiculous for the Government to suggest that the answer to the loss


of trust in the energy companies is to put on another jumper.


The coalition has taken a long time to come up with anything that can


trump Ed Miliband's simple freezing energy prices, vote for us. Are


they on the brink of doing so? I do not think so. They have had a


problem that has dominated the debate, talking about GDP, the


figures came out on Friday and said, well, and went back to talking


about energy. My problem with what David Cameron proposes is he agrees


with the analysis that the Big Six make too many profits. He wants to


move the green levies into general taxation, so that he looks like he


is protecting the profits of the energy companies. If the coalition


can say they will take money off the bills, does that change the


game? I do not think the Liberal Democrats are an obstacle to


unwinding the green levies. I think Nick Clegg is open to doing a deal,


but the real obstacle is the carbon reduction targets that we signed up


to during the boom years. They were ambitious I thought at the time


From that we have the taxes and clocking up of the supply-side of


the economy. Unless he will revise that, and build from first


principles a new strategy, he cannot do more than put a dent into


green levies. He might say as I have got to ?50 now and if you


voters in in an overall majority, I will look up what we have done in


the better times and give you more. I am sure he will do that. It might


be ?50 of the Bill, but it will be ?50 on your general taxation bill,


which would be more progressive They will find it. We will never


see it in general taxation. The problem for the Coalition on what


Ed Miliband has done is that it is five weeks since he made that


speech and it is all we are talking about. David Cameron spent those


five weeks trying to work out whether Ed Miliband is a Marxist or


whether he is connected to Middle Britain. That is why Ed Miliband


set the agenda. The coalition are squabbling among themselves,


looking petulant, on energy, and on schools. Nobody is taking notice of


the fact the economy is under way, the recovery is under way. Ed


Miliband has made the weather on this.


It UK has a relaxed attitude about selling off assets based -- to


companies based abroad. But this week we have seen the Swiss owner


of one of Scotland's largest industrial sites, Grangemouth, come


within a whisker of closing part of it down. So should we care whether


British assets have foreign owners? Britain might be a nation of


homeowners, but we appear to have lost our taste for owning some of


our biggest businesses. These are among the crown jewels sold off in


the past three decades to companies based abroad. Roughly half of


Britain's essential services have overseas owners. The airport owner,


British Airports Authority, is owned by a Spanish company.


Britain's largest water company Thames, is owned by a consortium


led by an Australian bank. Four out of six of Britain's biggest energy


companies are owned by overseas giants, and one of these, EDF


Energy, which is owned by the French state, is building Britain's


first nuclear power plant in a generation, backed by Chinese


investors. It's a similar story for train operator Arriva, bought by a


company owned by the German state. So part of the railways privatised


by the British government was effectively re-nationalised by the


German government. But does it matter who owns these companies as


long as the lights stay on, the trains run on time, and we can


still eat Cadbury's Dairy Milk? We are joined by the general


secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow, and by venture capitalist Julie Meyer.


They go head to head. Have we seen the consequences of


relying for essential services to be foreign-owned? Four of the Big


Six energy companies, Grangemouth, owned by a tax exile in Switzerland.


It is not good. I do not think there is a cause and effect


relationship between foreign ownership and consumer prices. That


is not the right comparison. We need to be concerned about


businesses represented the future, businesses we are good at


innovating for example in financial services and the UK has a history


of building businesses, such as Monotypes. If we were not creating


businesses here -- Monotise. Like so many businesses creating


products and services and creating the shareholders. Should we allow


hour essential services to be in foreign ownership? It was


demonstrated this week at Grangemouth. If you do not own the


industry, you do not own it. The MPs of this country and the


politicians in Scotland have no say, they were consultants.


Multinationals decide whether to shut a company down. If that had


been Unite union, they are the ones who saved the jobs. They


capitulated. They will come back, like they have for the past 150


years, and capture again what they lost. If it had closed, they would


have lost their jobs for ever. If the union had called the members up


without a ballot for strike action, there would have been uproar. This


person in Switzerland can decide to shut the entire industry down. The


coalition, the Labour Party, as well, when Labour was in government,


they played a role of allowing industries to go abroad, and it


should be returned to public ownership. Nestor. It has


demonstrated that the Net comes from new businesses. We must not


be... When Daly motion was stopped by the French government to be sold,


it was an arrow to the heart of French entrepreneurs. We must not


create that culture in the UK. Every train running in France is


built in France. 90% of the trains running in Germany are built in


Germany. In Japan, it has to be built in that country, and now an


energy company in France is reducing its nuclear capability in


its own country and wants to make profits out of the British industry


to put back into it state industry. That happened with the railway


industry. They want to make money at the expense of their own state


companies. We sold off energy production. How did we end up in a


position where our nuclear capacity will be built by a company owned by


a socialist date, France, and funded by a communist one, China,


for vital infrastructure? I am not suggesting that is in the national


interest. I am saying we can pick any one example and say it is a


shame. The simple matter of the fact is the owners are having to


make decisions. Not just Grangemouth, businesses are making


decisions about what is the common good. Not just in the shareholders'


interest. For employees, customers. What is in the common good when


prices go up by 10% and the reason is that 20 years ago they shut


every coal pit down in this country, the Germans kept theirs open and


subsidised it and now we have the Germans doing away with nuclear


power and they have coal. Under the Labour government, in 2008, the


climate change Act was passed. Well before that, and you know yourself,


they shut down the coal mines to smash the National Union of


Mineworkers because they dared to stand up for people in their


community. Even if we wanted to reopen the coalmines, it would be


pointless. Under the 2008 Act, we are not meant to burn more coal


The can, as if you spent some of the profits, you could have carbon


catch up. That does not exist on a massive scale. You are arguing the


case, Julie Meyer, for entrepreneurs to come to this


country. Even Bob Crow is not against that. We are trying to


argue, should essential services be in foreign hands? Not those in


Silicon round about doing start ups. I am trying to draw a broader


principle than just energy. Something like broadband services,


also important to the functioning of the economy. I believe in the


UK's ability to innovate. When we have businesses that play off


broadband companies to get the best prices for consumers. These new


businesses and business models are the best way. Not to control, but


to influence. It will be a disaster. Prices will go up and up as a


result. Nissan in Sunderland, a Japanese factory, some of the best


cars and productivity. You want that to be nationalised and bring


it down to the standard of British Leyland? It is not bring it down to


the standard. The car manufacturing base in this country has been


wrecked. We make more cars now for 20 years -- than in 20 years.


Ford's Dagenham produced some of the best cars in the world. Did you


buy one? I cannot drive. They moved their plants to other countries


where it was cheaper labour. Would you nationalise Nissan? There


should be one car industry that produces cars for people. This week


the EU summit was about Angela Merkel's mobile phone being tapped,


they call it a handy. We sent Adam to Brussels and told him to ignore


the business about phone-tapping and investigate the Prime


Minister's policy on Europe instead. I have come to my first EU summit to


see how David Cameron is getting on with his strategy to claim power was


back from Brussels. Got any powers back yet? Yes! Which ones? Sadly,


his fellow leaders were not as forthcoming. Chancellor, are you


going to give any powers back to Britain? Has David Cameron asked you


for any powers back? The president of the commission just laughed, and


listen to the Lithuanian President. How is David Cameron's renegotiation


strategy going? What's that? He wants powers back for Britain. No


one knows what powers David Cameron actually wants. Even our usual


allies, like Sweden, are bit baffled. We actually don't know yet


what is going through the UK membership. We will await the


finalisation of that first. You should ask him, and then tell us!


Here is someone who must know, the Dutch Prime Minister, he is doing


what we are doing, carrying out a review of the EU powers, known as


competencies in the jargon, before negotiating to get some back. Have


you had any negotiations with David Cameron over what powers you can


bring back from Brussels? That is not on the agenda of this summit.


Have you talked to him about it This is not on the schedule for this


summit. David Cameron's advises tummy it is


because he is playing the long game. -- David Cameron's advisers tell me.


At this summit, there was a task force discussing how to cut EU red


tape. Just how long this game is was explained to me outside the summit,


by the leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament. I think


the behind-the-scenes negotiations will start happening when the new


commissioner is appointed later next year. I think the detailed


negotiations will start to happen bubbly after the UK general


election. That is when we will start getting all of the detail of the


horse trading, and real, Lake night negotiations. Angela Merkel seems


keen to rewrite the EU's main treaties to deal with changes in the


Eurozone, and that is the mechanism David Cameron would use to


renegotiate our membership. Everyone here says his relationship with the


German Chancellor is strong. So after days in this building, here is


how it looks. David Cameron has a mountain to climb. It is climbable,


but he isn't even in the foothills yet. Has he even started packing his


bags for the trip? Joining us now, a man who knows a


thing or two about the difficulties Prime Minister 's face in Europe.


Former Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine. We are nine


months from David Cameron's defining speech on EU renegotiation. Can you


think of one area of progress? I don't know. And you don't know. And


that's a good thing. Why is it a good thing? Because the real


progress goes on behind closed doors. And only the most naive,


because the real progress goes on behind closed doors. Because, in


this weary world, you and I, Andrew, know full well that the moment you


say, I making progress, people say, where? And the machine goes to work


to show that the progress isn't enough. So you are much better off


making progress as best you can in the privacy of private diplomacy. It


is a long journey ahead. In this long journey, do you have a clear


sense of the destination? Do you have a clear sense of what powers Mr


Cameron wants to negotiate? I have a clear sense of the destination,


which is a victory for the campaign that he will win to stay inside the


European community. That is the agenda, and I have total support for


that. I understand that, but if he is incapable of getting any tangible


sign of renegotiation, if he is able only to do what Wilson did in 1975,


which was to get a couple of token changes to our membership status, he


goes into that referendum without much to argue for. He has everything


to argue for. He's got Britain's vital role as a major contributor to


the community. He's got Britain's self interest as a major


beneficiary, and Britain's vital role in the City of London. He's got


argue for that now. He could have a argue for that now. He could have a


referendum now. He doesn't want one now. I haven't any doubt that he


will come back with something to talk about. But it may be slightly


different to what his critics, the UK isolationist party people, want.


He may, for example, have found that allies within the community want


change as well, and he may secure changes in the way the community


works, which would be a significant argument within the referendum


campaign. Let me give you an example. I think it is a scandal


that the European Commission don't secure the auditing of some of the


accounts. Perhaps that could be on the agenda. He might find a lot of


contributing countries, like Germany, like Colin and, would be


very keen. -- like Holland. David vetoed the increase in the European


budgets the other day, and he had a lot of allies. So working within


Europe on the things that people paying the European bills want is


fertile ground. Is John Major right to call for a windfall tax on the


energy companies? John is a very cautious fellow. He doesn't say


things without thinking them out. So I was surprised that he went for a


windfall tax. First of all, it is retrospective, and secondly, it is


difficult to predict what the consequences will be. I am, myself,


more interested in the other part of his speech, which was talking about


the need for the Conservative Party to seek a wider horizon, to


recognise what is happening to the Conservative Party in the way in


which its membership is shrinking into a southeastern enclave. Are you


in favour of a windfall tax? I am not in favour of increasing any


taxes. Do you share Iain Duncan Smith's point of view on welfare


reform? I think Iain Duncan Smith is right. It is extremely difficult to


do, but he is right to try. I think public opinion is behind him, but it


isn't easy, because on the fringe of these issues there are genuine hard


luck stories, and they are the ones that become the focus of attention


the moment you introduce change. It requires a lot of political skill to


negotiate your way through that. But isn't Iain Duncan Smith right to


invoke the beverage principle, that you should be expected to make a


contribution for the welfare you depend on? Yes, he is. I will let


you get your Sunday lunch. Thanks for joining us.


Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I will be looking


In the East Midlands: No work, no training and no benefits ` the young


people who say they're disappearing off the jobless figures too. We are


not on any kind of database. And a survey of voters in the East


Midlands says protect services for the elderly but services for the


young can go. Council cuts, council cuts. Cuts


from services for the young or the elderly, any opinions?


Hello, I'm Marie Ashby. Here to add their expert insight, my guests this


week are the Loughborough MP and newly`promoted Treasury Minister


Nicky Morgan and Labour's Lilian Greenwood, the Nottingham South MP


and Labour's spokesman for rail. Let us start with rail and something


which concerns both of you. The Government is beginning the process


of re`privatising the East Coast Mainline which runs through Newark


and Grantham. It was taken over by the Government


when National Express handed back the franchise because it could no


longer afford it. Since then passenger numbers are up and it's


paying back ?200 million this year to the Government. But there've also


been problems with delays caused by bad weather and engineering work


over`running. So, Nicky, with your new role in the


Treasury, is this a bit of an embarrassment, the fact that it's


running better as a state`owned operation than as a private one? I


think it is encouraging that it is running well but be the government


feels the private sector brings more expertise to running the railway


lines. This is for the private sector to do. We are starting the


process of looking for the right person to run it. If it is not


broken? It is fine at the moment but the government is not there to run


railway lines. There are many other railway lines being very well run by


the private sector and East Coast mainline, we want them to join it.


Surely, Lilian, this is a good time to privatise it? It is the wrong


time. East Coast was taken over in 2009. Since then, it has had its


best ever punctuality, its best ever customer satisfaction, it is paying


more back to the Treasury. By the time it is re`franchise, it will


have paid back almost ?1 billion and all of the profits, ?48 million,


have been invested in the service. It is ideological. Really


disappointing. I work with Nicky on getting improvements to rail lines,


why don't they just do the same `` the sensible thing and concentrate


on other franchises that have been delayed? Lilian makes some good


points. We are delighted the service is being run so well. We think it it


could be run even better in private hands. It is a question of what


passengers want. They wanted to be well`run and on time and working for


them. Passengers are at the heart of this. Would you renationalise the


whole of the sector? We have said the East Coast should state in the


public sector where it is doing a good job. It has had problems will


stop there are problems with infrastructure. The money is going


to go in to improve the rolling stock but the money is coming from


the taxpayers `` it has had problems. Two people walked away


from the franchise at huge cost to the government. It does not make


sense to put it back out to the private sector while there are


others to fix. Well, from earning money to saving


it. As we've reported on this programme before, several of our


councils have begun consulting with you to find out where they can make


millions of pounds worth of cuts. And, the first to report back is


Leicestershire County Council which carried out a survey of council tax


payers in the county and there were some surprise results.


According to the survey, the top candidates for cutting our street


lighting, community grants, funding for agencies, travel to schools and


grass cutting. The services people most wanted to see preserved work


gritting, community services for older people, roads and paths,


mental health services and help for physical and learning disabilities.


Good news for the council perhaps was that 69% of people were prepared


to see a rise in council tax but the bad news was that the areas


identified for savings only account for ?32 0


identified for savings only account for ?32 million of the Council's


spending. Some interesting results there,


including, it seems, permission to raise council tax. What does the


council make of it? It is always very difficult to ask people to make


decisions or to help make a decision over the substantial cuts because as


you know we have got to make ?110 million savings over the next four


years. What helps is not necessarily what you want to cut but what you


want to protect. There are always going to be surprises but the real


surprise to us was the respondents who said, over 60% of them, who said


that they favoured a council tax increase.


As a Leicestershire MP, you must take a close interest in this. Are


surveys like this useful? Very useful . This has been the largest


consultation. People are interested and prepared to share their views.


It is a difficult time. We are asking councils to save money. It is


right we should listen to the people who will benefit from the services


and rely on them. The county council should listen. People are prepared


to make some cuts but not necessarily to front line services.


The choice people are being asked to make is impossible in the same way


the choice councillors are being asked to make is impossible. These


are government cuts that are being forced on us. What 0


are government cuts that are being forced on us. What people don't see


is the choice is the government is making and in lots of cases it is


places like Nottingham which have got a very high level of deprivation


who are having much larger cut than the better off parts of the country.


That is not fair. The reason we're making these choices is because the


last government carried on spending much more than it was earning four


years. But you have been in power long enough now. This is systemic.


The last government spent more than it earned for many years. You cannot


do that at the county council level. This is about the choices you


are making. That is why we are asking people what you think. 69% of


people say they would rather pay more council tax than see services


cut. They are trying to tell you something. It is very interesting.


The Conservative group went into the last election and were elected again


in May on the basis that they would put up council tax. We would much


rather see people keep their own money and decide how to spend it.


People are saying, we would be prepared to pay a bit more in order


to save these particular services. They have also said... Grass


cutting, obviously some people feel that as a service they could do


without in order to protect things with mental health. But it will not


save a lot of money. The other thing you have not covered is the way that


people are saying, services could be run differently. We are going to see


a lot more in Leicester City partnership working. We need to see


health and social services system is working better together. Huge


opportunities for doing things differently. That was picked up in


the survey. We are all for things being run efficiently. Many councils


have already pursued some of the `` lots of the opportunities for


efficiency savings. Some councils are worried whether they can carry


on with the statutory services, the things they are required by law to


do. In my experience, people do one the grass cut but they are left with


a choice of whether we look after older people or children in care or


get our grass cut. Where do you think we are going to get the money


from? Ed Balls wants to carry on borrowing. As we saw on Friday, we


have growth returning to the economy which is a good thing and it means


if we have more successful private sector businesses paying more taxes,


there will be more money. We have had a lot of contraction. Where


would you get the money 0 had a lot of contraction. Where


would you get the money from? Where is the money going? The cuts are


disproportionately falling on those places that can least afford to take


the cuts. The question back to Nicky is not is the situation going to be


difficult? Of course it is. It is the choice about where you put the


money. Why are rich areas getting more money and be poor areas are


getting hit? The point is that under the last government the shire


counties lost out in terms of funding. This government is trying


to rebalance that as well as protecting services.


Just going back to that survey and the more eagle`eyed among you may


have noticed a large vote for keeping services for older people,


but a willingness to see services for young people cut. Not surprising


perhaps when you hear that the over 55s accounted for 65% of respondents


and people under 35 made up just 7.5%. So Des Coleman's been to


Loughborough to find out what the young people of Leicestershire


think. Council cuts. Cuts from services for the young or the


elderly? Any opinions? Being epileptic, I need travel to school


otherwise I cannot get him to school. I feel it is very unfair to


cancel that sort of service. It is not fair because kids need a lot to


learn so the future leaders... A lot of people like us, we are not


earning but we have a lot of expenses now. Everything is being


cut for us like University and stuff. Prices are going up. We are


being affected by it all. I do not think they should cut children


support services or free travel to school because the children have not


done anything. They are going on about young families who cannot


afford anything, why take stuff away from them? They need the support.


Fair distribution between all of us. I think it is unfair how they are


trying to cut hours when we are the future generation `` cut ours. They


have not had to work to get their education.


Quite a lot of the younger people there feeling hard done by,


particularly when it comes to education. They feel they're being


penalised. No decisions have been taken. This was a consultation. The


youth Council and the youth panel have been involved in this. There


were lots of other stakeholders as well. The Cabinet will make a


decision. This is not the end. There will be an opportunity for young


people if they feel they have not had a voice so far, they will have


their voice. The county councils will be aware. If you talk to older


residents in Loughborough, I am sure you would have got a different


picture. Middle`aged people would young children, a different picture


again. Everyone is very focused on what they know best. Use a prized?


No, I was not. `` were you surprised? The economy growing is


welcome but what you see in that film is that people are finding it


difficult to get by. A real crisis in cost of living. Inevitably, they


are feeling sore when people talk about taking with services that they


rely on or asking them to pay more. Is it the fault of the young people


for not getting more involved in politics? Are they to blame? There


is a responsible itty on politicians to find ways to consult and engage


with young people `` responsibility. We are going out and


talking to communities and talking to people about what matters. You


cannot expect people to come to you. Engaging young people is a big


issue. This is their future. I think that two weeks ago I was at the


youth Council in Loughborough and we had a good discussion there. It is


up to politicians to engage. I think the county council will be very


aware they need to have a cross`section. The other people you


have not spoken about are the staff at the county council who also had


input. Staying with the plight of young


people, unemployment nationally is falling, but youth unemployment


remains stubbornly high. It's a particular problem in the East


Midlands where the number of NEETS, that's young people not in


education, employment or training, is above the national average. Our


political editor John Hess has been to see a pioneering scheme in


Nottingham aiming to give young people hope. In this part of


Nottingham, youth unemployment is a real problem. The number of people


on jobseeker's allowance is double the national average. Even though


statistics mask the reality. This is the reality for a group of NEETs.


They volunteer to smarten up the pathways and gardens around


Nottingham's estate. It keeps them off the streets. I have known a few


of them since they will it also it has made it big difference for them.


It is part of a community initiative with Nottingham City Council. This


is about them building self worth in the community, giving them


experience, working with professionals and it makes them want


to go out and get work. Volunteering for this work has cost some of these


lads their jobseeker's allowance because of tough new eligibility


rules introduced a year ago on claiming the jobseeker's allowance.


It is worth ?56 80 a week. When Jacob missed a Jobcentre interview


because of a college appointment, he was sanctioned, lost his dole money


and disappeared off the register. Does not fair. We are not even on


the unemployed register. `` it is not fair. If you are not with the


Jobcentre or if you have been sanctioned, you are not on the list.


This man's jobseeker's allowance was withdrawn. How much do you rely on


getting the jobseeker's allowance to keep going? I pay my mum some money


and feed myself and travel to go and find a job. In the East Midlands,


there are 96,000 NEETs. 18% of the region 16 to 24`year`olds are


classified as NEET. The average for England is 15.5%. If finding work


for young people on estates like this is tough, it is about to get


tougher. Claiming jobseeker's allowance will mean more stick and


carrots. We have brought renewed contract which gives us extra money


to give more people below the age of 24 a real chance at apprenticeships.


`` we have brought the youth contract. They cannot see the


point. They do not think the Jobcentre does anything for them.


That is the message going to Iain Duncan Smith next week and whether


the sanctions policy is massaging the reality about rising youth


unemployment. Taking that last point first. A lot of people feel they


have dropped off the list. They do not appear in the official


unemployment figures. Is that right? You only get sanctioned if


you have turned down three reasonable job offers in a year.


What opportunities had they been given? One wrist and a permit


because of college. The whole point of jobseeker's allowance is that you


are ready and willing to work. Many hard`working people in my


constituency do not get a choice about whether they get up and go to


work. They might not enjoy their job but they need the money. That is why


you get jobseeker's allowance. Who is keeping track of the people who


have dropped off the list? They are being scooped up. The government has


given millions... Who does know? I do not think people fall off the


list. The Department for Work and Pensions tells us they do not keep a


record of how many people are sanctioned. No one does know how


many people have fallen off the unemployment list. The figures for


youth unemployment could be worse than we are told. At the general


election, what I'm twice as many young people now. How do we know if


no one is keeping track of this? We have set up this scheme to help


people back into something so that not working and not being in


education or training, it is not an option. We need them to make sure


they have got proper of June to use, whether... They want to work? I


think they do. People will say, they missed their appointment is, why


should we feel sorry for them? Nicky's response was out of touch. I


have met many people who tell me about their experience of trying to


claim and being sanctioned for ridiculous things, very similar to


the young man in the story. Someone had to go to college appointment


which clashed with the Jobcentre appointment. They told them, I


cannot go to the college appointment and they said, get an appointment


card from the college and they did not accept it. A lot of people do


not want to turn up. No doubt there are people who do not play the


system properly but there are lots of people being sanctioned who are


trying to do the right thing. That young man really wanted to get a


job. We need proper action to get these young people into work. Do you


have any sympathy for these young people? I have sympathy for the fact


that they want to work. The real sympathy I have is that often they


have been let down by the education system over many years. There was a


scheme in Loughborough but a lot of the young people do not have basic


skills like English and maths and employability skills. The counsellor


in the clip talked about giving people skills. That is where the


system has let them down. They need help. This week the government's own


advisory body Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has said


that your youth contract is not working. I think it has taken time


and I think solving youth unemployment is not easy. Anyone who


thinks it is easy... It is not just a question of finding a job, it is


about building confidence, helping them to be good at interviews, basic


things like turning up for work on time. Things that the rest of us


take for granted but often people do not have those skills. Youth


unemployment started rising under labour. It has gone up under this


comment but they have not taken action. There are things that can be


done `` under this government. The contracts are offered to big firms


who put young people into a job for a short period of time and then they


lose the job so the firms who are taking them on can do it over again


and get the subsidy again. We should be looking at schemes like the one


in the film and saying, what can we learn from that? The social mobility


on child poverty commission suggested bringing in something like


labour's work guarantee scheme. The point is about sustainable


employment. The last government got people into work for a month or so


and then they did not 0 people into work for a month or so


and then they did not last in jobs. There is no point giving people an


sustainable jobs. That is where the youth contract is having success.


This is going on for a long time. No one is tracking whether they are


permanent jobs. The clip was right about smaller schemes that are


effective. They also have an important role to play in the


system. We will have to leave it there.


Time for a round`up of some of the other political stories in the East


Midlands this week. Here's John with 60 Seconds.


Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have celebrated a 10% drop in crime


in the East Midlands. Labour's and the told a Westminster debate that


cuts mean fewer people are arrested `` labour MP. The police cannot


arrest because they have nowhere to put the drunks and the fighters on a


Friday and Saturday night. A warning to motorists with new figures


showing we have some of the most dangerous roads in the country.


According to the road safety foundation, three of the top ten


deadliest roads are in the Peak District. The A605 in


Nottinghamshire is that number four. Going underground without leaving


home, they scan of Nottingham's caves is under way. The project is


funded by local authorities and the University of Nottingham. The


remarkable images are online. Who would have thought all of that is


underground in Nottingham? That's the Sunday Politics in the


East Midlands. Thanks to Nicky Morgan and Lilian Greenwood for


being our guests. free school area for into that


Is Labour about to drop its support category. Thank you.


Is Labour about to drop its support for High Speed 2, a rail line the


party approved while in government? for High Speed 2, a rail line the


these green shoots? These are all questions for The Week Ahead.


So, HS2. Miss Flint wouldn't answer the question. She's in northern MP


too. Ed Balls is comparing it to the Millennium Dome.


too. Ed Balls is comparing it to the minute's silence for HS2? It will


not be quite as crude as that. They will not stand up and say, we


not be quite as crude as that. They senior Labour person said to me it


would be a bit senior Labour person said to me it


that Gordon Brown and Ed Balls set for the euro back in 97. They will


be chucking lots of questions into the air, and the questions will


create doubt, and will create the grounds for Labour to say, at some


point, we think there is a much much better way of spending the money. It


isn't ?42 billion, because that includes a contingency. Let's see


what Peter Mandelson had to say about HS2. He was in the government


when Labour supported it. Frankly, there was too much of the argument


that if everyone else has got a high-speed train, we should have won


too. Regardless of need, regardless of cost, and regardless of


alternatives. As a party, to be frank, we didn't feel like being


trumped by the zeal of the then opposition's support for the


high-speed train. We wanted, if anything, to upstage them. So they


didn't really need it, and we're only talking about ?50 billion. Why


would you take a decision involving ?50 billion in a serious way? For


David Cameron, if it becomes clear Labour is against it, he cannot


proceed. He indicated last week that he wouldn't proceed if the certainty


wasn't there. For Labour, HS2 is really a debate about the deficit by


proxy. They think that if you don't go ahead with HS2, that releases


tens of billions of pounds to spend on other things, such as public


services, without going into boring. I don't think that works because


there was a difference between cancelling something that already


exists to pay for something else, and cancelling something that does


not yet exist and will be paid for over decades to pay for something


here and now. Can Labour do this? I know that the line will be, we are


not going to build this railway because we are going to build


200,000 houses a year. Can they do this without political cost? I think


there will be political costs, but they will play this card of we have


changed our mind. I think Cameron's line has been very clever, saying we


cannot do it without labour. You can put it in two ways. Sorry, we cannot


go ahead with it, but Labour has ruined your chance of prosperity, or


they can tie themselves to it, and then Labour cannot attack it on


great grounds when costs do spire. You can write Labour's script right


now. They can say, if we were in charge, the financial management


would be much better. This raises some really important questions for


the government. They have utterly failed to make the case for HS2


There is a real case to make. Between London and Birmingham it is


about capacity not speed. North of Birmingham, it is about


connectivity. It is a simple case to make, but it is only in the last


month that they have been making that case. It shows really terrible


complacency in the coalition that they haven't done that. We'll HS2


happen or not? I think it will. For the reasons that Nick outlined,


there is not of a constituency for it amongst Northern areas. -- there


is enough of a constituency for it. There is private investment as well.


It isn't like Heathrow. I say no, because I think Labour will drop


their support for it. Caroline Flint said she was in favour of the


concept of trains generally, but will it go further than that? It is


difficult to see how it will go ahead if Labour will not support it


after setting five tests that it clearly will not meet. Some will


breathe a sigh of relief. Some will say, even in the 20th century, we


cannot build a proper rail network. The economy was another big story of


the week. We had those GDP figures. There is a video the Tories are


releasing. The world premiere is going to be here. Where's the red


carpet? It gives an indication of how the Tories will hand Mr Miliband


and labour in the run-up to the election. Let's have a look at it.


These graphics are even worse than the ones we use on our show! How on


earth would you expect that to go viral? It did have a strange feel


about it. It doesn't understand the Internet at all. Who is going to


read those little screens between it? Put a dog in it! However,


putting that aside, I have no idea that that is going to go viral. The


Tories are now operating - and I say Tories rather than the coalition -


on the assumption that the economy is improving and will continue to


improve, and that that will become more obvious as 2014 goes on. We


just saw their how they will fight the campaign. Yes, and at the


crucial moment, you will reach the point where wages. To rise at a


faster pace than inflation, and then people will start to, in the words


of Harold Macmillan, feel that they have never had it so good. That is


the key moment. If the economy is growing, there is a rule of thumb


that the government should get a benefit. But it doesn't always work


like that. The fundamental point here is that Ed Miliband has had a


great month. He has totally set the agenda. He has set the agenda with


something - freezing energy prices - that may not work. That video shows


that the Conservatives want to get the debate back to the


fundamentals. That this is a party that told us for three years that


this coalition was telling us to -- was taking us to hell on a handcart.


That doesn't seem to have happened. The energy price was a very clever


thing, at the party conference season, which now seems years ago.


They saw that the recovery was going to happen, so they changed the


debate to living standards. Some economists are now privately


expecting growth to be 3% next year, which was inconceivable for five


months ago. If growth is 3% next year, living standards will start to


rise again. Where does Labour go then? I would go further, and say


that even though Ed Miliband has made a small political victory on


living standards, it hasn't registered in the polls. Those polls


have been contracted since April -- have been contracting since April.


That macro economic story matters more than the issue of living


standards. The interesting thing about the recovery is it confounds


everybody. No one was predicting, not the Treasury, not the media not


the IMF, not the academics, and the only people I can think of... I fit


-- I thought they knew everything! The only people I know who did are


one adviser who is very close to George Osborne, and the clever hedge


fund is who were buying British equities back in January. Because


the Treasury's record is so appalling, no one believe them, but


they were saying around February, March this year, that by the end of


the summer, the recovery would be gathering momentum. For once, they


turned out to be right! They said that the economy would be going gang


bust is! Where did the new Tory voters come from? I agree, if the


economic recovery continues, the coalition will be stronger. But


where will they get new voters from? For people who sign up to help to


buy, they will be locked into nice mortgages at a low interest rate,


and just as you go into a general election, if you are getting 3%


growth and unemployment is down the Bank of England will have to review


their interest rates. People who are getting nice interest rates now may


find that it is not like that in a few months time. The point John


Major was making implicitly was that Mrs Thatcher could speak to people


on low incomes. John Major could not speak to them -- John Major could


speak to them. But this coalition cannot speak to them. This idea


about the reshuffle was that David Cameron wanted more Northern voices,


more women, to make it look like it was not a party of seven men. When


David Cameron became leader, John Major said, I do not speak very


often, but when I do, I will help you, because I think you are good


thing and I do not want to be like Margaret Thatcher. But that speech


was clearly a lament for the party he believed that David Cameron was


going to lead and create, but that isn't happening. And energy prices


continue into this coming week. We have the companies going before a


select committee. My information is they are sending along the secondary


division, not the boss. How can they get along -- get away with that I


got the letter through from British Gas this week explaining why my


bills are going up, and at no point since this became a story have any


of the big companies handled it well. I will have to leave it there.


Make sure you pay your bill! That's it for today. The Daily Politics is


back on BBC Two tomorrow. I will be back here on BBC One next Sunday.


Remember, if it's Sunday, it is The Sunday Politics.


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