17/11/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


17/11/2013

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Justine Greening, Andy Burnham and Mark Pritchard.


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:36.:00:39.

Downing Street announces an inquiry into allegations of hardball tactics

:00:40.:00:42.

and intimidation by unions in industrial disputes. That's our top

:00:43.:00:47.

story. Thousands dead. Hundreds of

:00:48.:00:51.

thousands without homes. Millions affected. What is Britain doing to

:00:52.:00:55.

help the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan? We'll ask

:00:56.:00:57.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

:00:58.:01:02.

Winter is coming and so, it seems, is another crisis in England's

:01:03.:01:05.

hospitals. I'll be asking the Shadow Health Secretary how he'd put a stop

:01:06.:01:07.

to In the East Midlands: The fight for

:01:08.:01:14.

a fair deal for the countryside as campaigners say people living in

:01:15.:01:17.

rural areas pay more council tax but get less money spent

:01:18.:01:20.

fatalities on the capital's streets, and renewed calls to get lorries off

:01:21.:01:22.

the roads in peak hours. With me, the best and brightest

:01:23.:01:36.

political panel that money can buy. Janan Ganesh, Nick Watt and this

:01:37.:01:39.

week, Zoe Williams, who'll be tweeting their thoughts throughout

:01:40.:01:44.

the programme. The Government has announced a

:01:45.:01:47.

review to investigate what the Prime Minister has called "industrial

:01:48.:01:49.

intimidation" by trade union activists. Bruce Carr QC will chair

:01:50.:02:02.

a panel to examine allegations of the kind of tactics that came to

:02:03.:02:04.

light during the Grangemouth dispute, when the Unite union took

:02:05.:02:07.

their protests - replete with a giant rat - outside the family homes

:02:08.:02:14.

of the firms' bosses. Earlier this morning the Cabinet office minister,

:02:15.:02:18.

Francis Maude spoke to the BBC and this is what he had to say. To look

:02:19.:02:23.

at whether the law currently works and see if it is ineffective in

:02:24.:02:27.

preventing the kind of intimidatory activity that was alleged to have

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taken place around range mouth during the previous disputes --

:02:33.:02:41.

Grangemouth. We make no presumptions at the beginning of this. I do think

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it is a responsible thing for the government to establish what

:02:47.:02:51.

happened and really do a proper review into whether the law is

:02:52.:02:55.

adequate to meet the needs. That was Francis Maude. This is a purely

:02:56.:03:01.

political move, isn't it? Unite did this a couple of times, it is hardly

:03:02.:03:06.

happening all over the country but the government want to say, we are

:03:07.:03:09.

prepared to investigate Unite properly, Labour isn't. This seemed

:03:10.:03:16.

a lot worse when I thought it was a real rat. I thought it was a giant

:03:17.:03:23.

dead rat. I am not sure if you know much about rats but real rats are

:03:24.:03:26.

not this big, even the ones in London. The thing is, obviously it

:03:27.:03:32.

is naked politics but I think it is more intelligent than it looks. They

:03:33.:03:38.

are trying to taint Miliband as a week union puppet and that doesn't

:03:39.:03:44.

really wash. They hammer away with it and it might wash for some

:03:45.:03:49.

people. But it really castrates Miliband in the important issues he

:03:50.:03:53.

has to tackle. Zero hours, living wage, all of those things in which

:03:54.:03:57.

he needs to be in concert with the unions, and to use their expertise.

:03:58.:04:03.

He is making them absolutely toxic to go anywhere near. It keeps the

:04:04.:04:16.

Unite story alive, have to kill -- particularly since Mr Miller band is

:04:17.:04:18.

under pressure to reopen the investigation into what Unite are up

:04:19.:04:33.

to -- Mr Miliband. They are frustrated, not only at the BBC but

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the media generally at what they think is a lack of coverage. I see

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the political rationale from that respect. There is a risk. There are

:04:41.:04:46.

union members who either vote Tory or are open to the idea of voting

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Tory. All Lib Dem. If the party comes across as too zealous in as --

:04:52.:05:04.

its antipathy, there is an electoral consequence. Ed Miliband has been

:05:05.:05:11.

careful to keep a distance. Yes they depend on vast amounts of

:05:12.:05:16.

money. When Len McCluskey had a real go at the Blairites, Ed Miliband was

:05:17.:05:19.

straight out there with a very strong statement. Essentially Len

:05:20.:05:23.

McCluskey wanted Blairites in the shadow cabinet sacked and Ed

:05:24.:05:28.

Miliband was keen to distance himself or for that is why it is not

:05:29.:05:33.

quite sticking. Another story in the Sunday papers this morning, the Mail

:05:34.:05:38.

on Sunday got hold of some e-mails. When I saw the headline I thought it

:05:39.:05:43.

was a huge cache of e-mails, it turns out to be a couple. They peel

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away the cover on the relationship between Ed Miliband and Ed Balls,

:05:50.:05:56.

with some of Ed Miliband's cohorts describing what Mr balls is trying

:05:57.:06:03.

to do as a nightmare. How bad are the relations? They are pretty bad

:06:04.:06:07.

and these e-mails confirm the biggest open signal in Westminster,

:06:08.:06:10.

which is that relations are pretty tense, -- open secret. That Ed

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Miliband doesn't feel that Ed Balls is acknowledging the economy has

:06:17.:06:21.

grown that Labour needs to admit to past mistakes. The sort of great

:06:22.:06:28.

open signal is confirmed. On a scale of 1-10, assuming that Blair-Brown

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was ten. I think it is between six and seven. They occupy this joint

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suite of offices that George Cameron and -- David Cameron and George

:06:41.:06:46.

Osborne had. It is not just on the economy that there were tensions,

:06:47.:06:50.

there were clearly tensions over HS2, Ed Balls put a huge question

:06:51.:06:57.

over it at his conference. There will be more tensions when it comes

:06:58.:07:00.

to the third runway because my information is that Mr balls wants

:07:01.:07:05.

to do it and Ed Miliband almost resigned over it when he was in

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government. I don't think Ed Miliband is thinking very

:07:12.:07:13.

politically because he has tried live without Ed Balls and that is

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not tenable either. -- life without. He has defined a way of making it

:07:20.:07:23.

work. That is where Tony Blair had the edge on any modern politician.

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He didn't want to make Ed Balls his Shadow Chancellor, he had to.

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Somebody said to him, if you make Ed Balls Shadow Chancellor, that will

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be the last decision you take as leader of the Labour Party. Is it as

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bad? I was surprised at how tame the e-mails were. At the FT it is

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compulsory, one French word per sentence! To call him a nightmare,

:07:58.:08:01.

compared to what they are willing to say in briefings, conversations

:08:02.:08:06.

bits of frustrations they express verbally come what is documented in

:08:07.:08:09.

the e-mails is actually pretty light. It has been a grim week for

:08:10.:08:15.

the people of the Philippines as they count the cost of the

:08:16.:08:18.

devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan. HMS Daring has just arrived

:08:19.:08:24.

near the worst hit areas - part of Britain's contribution to bring aid

:08:25.:08:28.

to the country. It has been one of the worst natural

:08:29.:08:32.

disasters in the history of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan hit the

:08:33.:08:35.

country nine days ago, leaving devastation in its wake. The numbers

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involved are shocking. The official death toll is over 3600 people, with

:08:41.:08:45.

many thousands more unaccounted for. More than half a million people have

:08:46.:08:50.

lost their homes and the UN estimates 11 million have been

:08:51.:08:54.

affected. David Cameron announced on Friday that the UK government is to

:08:55.:08:58.

give an extra ?30 million in aid, taking the total British figure ?250

:08:59.:09:05.

million. An RAF Sea 17 aircraft landed yesterday with equipment to

:09:06.:09:07.

help aid workers get too hard to reach areas. HMS Illustrious is on

:09:08.:09:13.

its way and due to arrive next weekend. The British public have

:09:14.:09:21.

once again dipped into their pockets and given generously. They have

:09:22.:09:25.

given more than ?30 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

:09:26.:09:27.

The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, joins

:09:28.:09:31.

me now for the Sunday Interview Good morning, Secretary of State.

:09:32.:09:35.

How much of the ?50 million that the government has allocated has got

:09:36.:09:40.

through so far? All of it has landed on the ground now. HMS Daring has

:09:41.:09:45.

turned up, that will be able to start getting help out to some of

:09:46.:09:48.

those more outlying islands that have been hard to reach. We have

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seen Save the Children and Oxfam really being able to get aid out on

:09:54.:09:57.

the ground. We have a plane taking off today that will not read just

:09:58.:10:02.

carrying out more equipment to help clear the roads but will also have

:10:03.:10:09.

their staff on board, too. We have ?50 million of aid actually on the

:10:10.:10:16.

ground? We instantly chartered flights directly from Dubai where we

:10:17.:10:20.

have preprepared human Terry and supplies, and started humanity work

:10:21.:10:23.

-- humanitarian supplies. A lot of it has now arrived. I think

:10:24.:10:36.

we have done a huge amount so far. We have gone beyond just providing

:10:37.:10:41.

humanitarian supplies, to getting the Royal Air Force involved. They

:10:42.:10:44.

have helped us to get equipment out there quickly. We have HMS

:10:45.:10:49.

Illustrious sailing over there now. Why has that taken so long? It was

:10:50.:10:54.

based in the Gulf and is not going to get there until two weeks after

:10:55.:10:57.

the storm first hit and that is the one ship we have with lots of

:10:58.:11:01.

helicopters. The first decision we took was to make sure we could get

:11:02.:11:05.

the fastest vessel out there that was able to help HMS Daring. HMS

:11:06.:11:10.

Illustrious was just finishing an exercise and planning to start to

:11:11.:11:14.

head back towards the UK. We have said to not do that, and diverted

:11:15.:11:18.

it. Shouldn't it have happened more quickly? We took the decisions as

:11:19.:11:24.

fast as we were able to, you can't just turn a big warship around like

:11:25.:11:29.

the HMS Illustrious. We made sure we took those decisions and that is

:11:30.:11:32.

while it will be taking over from HMS Daring come and that is why HMS

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Daring is ready there. It will be able to provide key support and

:11:39.:11:42.

expertise that has not been there so far. The US Navy is doing the heavy

:11:43.:11:48.

lifting here. The US Navy had the USS Washington, there is an aircraft

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carrier, 80 planes, 5000 personnel and they have the fleet, they are

:11:53.:11:57.

doing the real work. We obviously helping but the Americans are taking

:11:58.:12:02.

the lead. It is a big international effort. Countries like the US and

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the UK, that have a broader ability to support that goes beyond simply

:12:07.:12:14.

call humanitarian supplies -- have made sure we have brought our

:12:15.:12:19.

logistics knowledge, we have sent out our naval vessels. It shows we

:12:20.:12:23.

are working across government to respond to this crisis. Why does

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only just over 4% of your aid budget go on emergency disaster and

:12:33.:12:36.

response? A lot depends on what crises hit in any given year. We

:12:37.:12:39.

have done a huge amount, responding to the crisis in Syria, the conflict

:12:40.:12:44.

there and the fact we have 2 million refugees who have fled the country.

:12:45.:12:48.

We are part of an international effort in supporting them. Shouldn't

:12:49.:12:54.

we beginning more money to that rather than some of the other

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programmes where it is harder to see the results question of if we were

:12:58.:13:03.

to give more money to the refugees, it would be a visible result. We

:13:04.:13:07.

could see an improvement in the lives of children, men and women.

:13:08.:13:14.

What we need to do is alongside that is stop those situations from

:13:15.:13:17.

happening in the first place. A lot of our development spend is helping

:13:18.:13:21.

countries to stay stable. Look at some of the work we are doing in

:13:22.:13:25.

Somalia, much more sensible. Not just from an immigration but there

:13:26.:13:32.

is a threat perspective. There is a lot of terrorism coming from

:13:33.:13:36.

Somalia. You only have to look at Kenya recently to see that. Which is

:13:37.:13:42.

why you talk about what we do with the rest of the spend. It is why it

:13:43.:13:46.

is responsible to work with the government of Somalia. Should we

:13:47.:13:52.

give more, bigger part of the budget to disaster relief or not? I think

:13:53.:13:57.

we get it about right, we have to be flexible and we are. This Philippine

:13:58.:14:01.

relief is on top of the work in Syria. Where can you show me a

:14:02.:14:08.

correlation between us giving aid to some failed nation, or nearly failed

:14:09.:14:12.

nation, and that cutting down on terrorism? If you look at the work

:14:13.:14:17.

we have done in Pakistan, a huge amount of work. Some of it

:14:18.:14:20.

short-term. It is written by terrorism. That is -- ridden by

:14:21.:14:28.

terrorism. That is not going to fix it self in a sense. Look at the work

:14:29.:14:36.

that we do in investing in education. The things that little

:14:37.:14:45.

girls like Malala talk about as being absolutely key. We are ramping

:14:46.:14:52.

up our aid to Pakistan, it will be close to half ?1 billion by the time

:14:53.:14:58.

of the election. Why should British taxpayers be giving half ?1 billion

:14:59.:15:05.

to a country where only 0.5% of people in Pakistan pay income tax,

:15:06.:15:09.

and 70% of their own MPs don't pay income tax. It is a good point and

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that is why we have been working with their tax revenue authority to

:15:20.:15:23.

help them increase that and push forward the tax reform. You are

:15:24.:15:34.

right, and I have setup a team that will go out and work with many of

:15:35.:15:40.

these countries so they can raise their own revenues. You really think

:15:41.:15:44.

you will raise the amount of tax by sending out the British HRM see How

:15:45.:15:57.

many troops I we sending out to protect them? They don't need

:15:58.:16:02.

troops. We make sure that we have a duty of care alongside our staff,

:16:03.:16:16.

but we have to respond to any crisis like the Philippines, and alongside

:16:17.:16:20.

other countries we have two work alongside them so that they can

:16:21.:16:25.

reinvest in their own public services. If they can create their

:16:26.:16:31.

own taxes, will we stop paying aid? We need to look at that but the new

:16:32.:16:36.

Pakistan Government has been very clear it is a priority and we will

:16:37.:16:43.

be helping them in pursuing that. Let me show you a picture. Who are

:16:44.:16:50.

these young women? I don't know I'm sure you are about to tell me. They

:16:51.:16:57.

are the Ethiopian Spice Girls and I'm surprised you don't know because

:16:58.:17:01.

they have only managed to become so famous because your department has

:17:02.:17:09.

financed them to the tune of ?4 million. All of the work we do with

:17:10.:17:13.

women on the ground, making sure they have a voice in their local

:17:14.:17:19.

communities, making sure they have some control over what happens to

:17:20.:17:24.

their own bodies in terms of tackling FGM, female genital

:17:25.:17:33.

mutilation... Did you know your department has spent ?4 million on

:17:34.:17:38.

the Ethiopian Spice Girls? Yes, I do, and we have to work with girls

:17:39.:17:46.

and show them there is a life ahead of them with opportunity and

:17:47.:17:50.

potential that goes beyond what many of them will experience, which

:17:51.:17:54.

includes early and forced marriage. It is part of the work we do with

:17:55.:18:06.

local communities to change attitudes everything you have just

:18:07.:18:10.

said is immeasurable, and they broadcast on a radio station that

:18:11.:18:14.

doesn't reach most of the country so it cannot have the impact. It only

:18:15.:18:26.

reaches 20 million people and the project has been condemned saying

:18:27.:18:26.

there were serious inefficiencies. That aid report was done a while ago

:18:27.:18:35.

now, and it was talking about the project when it first got going and

:18:36.:18:39.

a lot of improvements have happened since. I would go back to the point

:18:40.:18:45.

that we are working in very difficult environments where we are

:18:46.:18:47.

trying to get longer term change on the ground and that means working

:18:48.:18:53.

directly with communities but also investing for the long-term,

:18:54.:18:56.

investing in some of these girls start changing attitudes in them and

:18:57.:19:04.

their communities. Why does the British taxpayers spend ?5 million

:19:05.:19:13.

on a Bangladesh version of Question Time? We work with the BBC to make

:19:14.:19:20.

sure we can get accountabilities... That is bigger then the BBC Question

:19:21.:19:40.

Time Normal -- budget. That includes the cost of David Dimbleby's

:19:41.:19:48.

tattoo! We are working to improve people's prospects but also we are

:19:49.:19:52.

working to improve their ability to hold their governments to account so

:19:53.:19:56.

that when they are not getting services on the ground, they have

:19:57.:20:00.

ways they can raise those concerns with the people who are there to

:20:01.:20:08.

deliver services for them. In your own personal view, should the next

:20:09.:20:12.

Conservative Government, if there is one, should you continue to ring

:20:13.:20:18.

fence spending on foreign aid? But it is critical that if we are going

:20:19.:20:23.

to spend 7.7% of our national income, we should make sure it is in

:20:24.:20:28.

our national interest and that means having a clear approach to

:20:29.:20:32.

humanitarian responses, in keeping the country safe, and a clearer

:20:33.:20:37.

approach on helping drive economic development and jobs so there is a

:20:38.:20:43.

long-term end of the dependency Do you believe in an shrine in the

:20:44.:20:49.

percentage of our GDP that goes on foreign aid in law? Yes, and that is

:20:50.:20:55.

a coalition agreement. There have been a lot of agreements that you

:20:56.:21:05.

are sceptical about ring fencing. We are focused on shaking up the

:21:06.:21:09.

economy and improving our public finances. Why haven't you done that?

:21:10.:21:22.

At the end of the day we will be accountable but we are committed to

:21:23.:21:28.

doing that. You are running out of time, will you do it? I hope we can

:21:29.:21:34.

find the Parliamentary time, but even if we don't, we have acted as

:21:35.:21:40.

if that law is in place and we have already met 0.7% commitment. If you

:21:41.:21:46.

are British voter that doesn't believe that we should enshrine that

:21:47.:21:53.

in by law, which means that with a growing economy foreign aid will

:21:54.:21:57.

rise by definition, and if you think we should be spending less money on

:21:58.:22:01.

the Ethiopian Spice Girls, for whom should you wrote in the next

:22:02.:22:09.

election? I think we have a very sensible approach. I don't know what

:22:10.:22:15.

the various party manifestoes.. The only party who thinks we shouldn't

:22:16.:22:21.

be doing this is UKIP. I think you have to look at the response to both

:22:22.:22:31.

the Philippines crisis and Children In Need. Of all the steps we are

:22:32.:22:38.

taking to get the country back on track, it shows the British people

:22:39.:22:44.

will respond to need when they need it and it is one of the things that

:22:45.:22:51.

makes Britain's special. Thank you. "It's always winter but

:22:52.:22:54.

never Christmas" - that's how doctors describe life inside

:22:55.:22:57.

accident and emergency. The College of Emergency Medicine have warned

:22:58.:22:59.

that this year could bring the "worst crisis on record". If that

:23:00.:23:03.

dire prediction comes, expect a spring of political recriminations,

:23:04.:23:06.

but how prepared are the NHS in England? And what do they make of

:23:07.:23:10.

this autumnal speculation? Giles has been to Leeds to find out.

:23:11.:23:18.

This winter has already come to our hospitals. It had an official start

:23:19.:23:24.

date, November the 3rd. That is when weekly updates are delivered to the

:23:25.:23:33.

NHS's most senior planners, alerting them to any sudden changes in

:23:34.:23:38.

patient numbers coming in. Where do they numbers register most then

:23:39.:23:46.

A They are the barometer for what is going on everywhere else, and

:23:47.:23:50.

they are the pressure point, so if the system is beginning to struggle

:23:51.:23:55.

then it is in the A department that we see the problems. It is not

:23:56.:24:03.

that the problems are the A departments, but they are the place

:24:04.:24:09.

where it all comes together. Plans to tackle those problems start being

:24:10.:24:14.

drawn up in May and they look at trends, even taking notice of any

:24:15.:24:23.

flu epidemics in New Zealand. They also look at the amount of bets But

:24:24.:24:33.

the weather, economic realities structural reforms, and changes to

:24:34.:24:36.

the general health of the population, are all factors they

:24:37.:24:41.

have to consider. We get huge amounts of information through the

:24:42.:24:46.

winter in order to help the NHS be the best it can be, but we had to

:24:47.:24:51.

redouble our efforts this year because we expected to be a

:24:52.:24:56.

difficult winter. We know the NHS is stretched so we are working hard to

:24:57.:25:03.

be as good as we can be. That means they are looking at winter staffing

:25:04.:25:10.

levels, plans to ask for help from neighbouring hospitals, and

:25:11.:25:14.

dovetailing help with GP surgeries, and still having the ability to move

:25:15.:25:20.

up an extra gear, a rehearsed emergency plan if the NHS had to

:25:21.:25:26.

face a major disease pandemic. You spend any time in any of our

:25:27.:25:30.

hospitals and you realise the NHS knows that winter is coming and they

:25:31.:25:35.

are making plans, but you also get a palpable feeling amongst health

:25:36.:25:38.

workers across the entire system that they do get fed up of being

:25:39.:25:46.

used as a political football. Doctors and all health care

:25:47.:25:49.

professionals are frustrated about the politics that surrounds the NHS

:25:50.:25:55.

in health care. They go to work to treat patients as best as they can,

:25:56.:25:58.

and the political knock-about does not help anyone. I find it

:25:59.:26:05.

frustrating when there is a commentary that suggests the NHS

:26:06.:26:08.

does not planned, when it is surprised by winter, and wherever

:26:09.:26:15.

that comes from it is hard to take, knowing how much we do nationally

:26:16.:26:21.

and how much our hard working front line staff are doing. When the

:26:22.:26:30.

Coalition have recently tried to open up the NHS to be a more

:26:31.:26:36.

independent body, it is clear the NHS feel they have had an unhealthy

:26:37.:26:43.

dose of political wrangling between parties on policy. The NHS is not

:26:44.:26:47.

infallible or making any guarantees, but they seem confident that they

:26:48.:26:53.

and their patients can survive the winter.

:26:54.:26:56.

Joining me now from Salford in the Shadow Health Secretary, Andy

:26:57.:27:04.

Burnham. Tell me this, if you were health secretary now, you just took

:27:05.:27:09.

over in an emergency election, what would you do to avoid another winter

:27:10.:27:19.

crisis? I would immediately halt the closure of NHS walk-in centres. We

:27:20.:27:25.

heard this week that around one in four walk-in centres are closed so

:27:26.:27:30.

it makes no sense whatsoever for the Government to allow the continued

:27:31.:27:34.

closure of them. I would put nurses back on the end of phones and

:27:35.:27:40.

restore an NHS direct style service. The new 111 service is not in a

:27:41.:27:47.

position to provide help to people this winter. I think the time has

:27:48.:27:54.

come to rethink how the NHS care is particularly for older people so I

:27:55.:27:58.

propose the full integration of health and social care. It cannot

:27:59.:28:03.

make any sense any more to have this approach where we cut social care

:28:04.:28:09.

and let elderly people drift to hospitals in greater numbers. We

:28:10.:28:13.

have two rethink it as a whole service. So you would repeal some of

:28:14.:28:21.

the Tory reforms and move commissioning to local authorities

:28:22.:28:26.

so the NHS should brace itself for another major top-down health

:28:27.:28:32.

reorganisation? No, unlike Andrew Lansley I will work with the

:28:33.:28:36.

organisations ie inherit. He could work with primary care trusts but he

:28:37.:28:47.

turned it upside down when it needed stability. I will not do that but I

:28:48.:28:53.

will repeal the health and social care act because last week we heard

:28:54.:29:06.

that hospitals and health services cannot get on and make sensible

:29:07.:29:09.

merger collaborations because of this nonsense now that the NHS is

:29:10.:29:16.

bound by competition law. Let me get your views on a number of ideas that

:29:17.:29:20.

have been floated either by the press or the Coalition. We haven't

:29:21.:29:25.

got much time. Do you welcome the plan to bring back named GPs for

:29:26.:29:37.

over 75s? Yes, but it has got harder to get the GP appointment under this

:29:38.:29:41.

Government because David Cameron scrapped the 48-hour guarantee that

:29:42.:29:46.

Tony Blair brought in. He was challenged in the 2005 election

:29:47.:29:51.

about the difficulty of getting a GP appointment, and Tony Blair brought

:29:52.:29:55.

in the commitment that people should be able to get that within 48

:29:56.:30:02.

hours. That has now been scrapped. Do you welcome the idea of allowing

:30:03.:30:06.

everyone to choose their own GP surgery even if it is not in our

:30:07.:30:14.

traditional catchment area? I proposed that just before the last

:30:15.:30:19.

election, so yes. Do you welcome the idea of how a practice is being

:30:20.:30:22.

rated being a matter of public record, and of us knowing how much,

:30:23.:30:30.

at least from the NHS, our GP earns? Of course, every political party

:30:31.:30:34.

supports transparency in the NHS. More information for the public of

:30:35.:30:38.

that kind is a good thing. Do you welcome this plan to make it will

:30:39.:30:44.

form the collect in an NHS hospital -- make wilful neglect a criminal

:30:45.:30:51.

offence. It is important to say you can't pick and mix these

:30:52.:30:54.

recommendations, you can't say we will have that one and not the

:30:55.:30:58.

others. It was a balanced package that Sir Robert Francis put forward.

:30:59.:31:03.

My message is that it must be permitted in full. If we are to

:31:04.:31:06.

learn the lessons, the whole package must be addressed, and that includes

:31:07.:31:12.

safe staffing levels across the NHS. Staff have a responsible to two

:31:13.:31:17.

patients at the government also has responsible at T2 NHS staff and it

:31:18.:31:20.

should not let them work in understaffed, unsafe conditions -- a

:31:21.:31:33.

responsibility to NHS staff. Is there a part of the 2004 agreements

:31:34.:31:42.

that you regret and should be undone? A lot of myths have been

:31:43.:31:48.

built up about the contract. When it came in, there was a huge shortage

:31:49.:31:53.

of GPs across the country. Some communities struggle to recruit.

:31:54.:31:58.

This myth that the government have built, that the 2004 GP contract is

:31:59.:32:04.

responsible for the AM decries is, it is spin of the worst possible

:32:05.:32:12.

kind -- the A crisis. You would redo that contract? It was redone

:32:13.:32:17.

under our time in government and change to make it better value for

:32:18.:32:22.

money. GPs should be focused on improving the health of their

:32:23.:32:24.

patients and that is a very good principle. Not so great if you can't

:32:25.:32:32.

get 24-hour access. I agree with that. We brought in evening and

:32:33.:32:37.

weekend opening for GPs. That is another thing that has gone in

:32:38.:32:41.

reverse under Mr Cameron. It is much harder to get a GP appointment under

:32:42.:32:44.

him and that is one of the reasons why A is an oppressor. -- under

:32:45.:32:55.

pressure. What do you make of the review into intimidatory tactics by

:32:56.:33:00.

unions? If there has been intimidation, it is unacceptable,

:33:01.:33:04.

and that should apply to unions as well as employers. Was Unite wrong

:33:05.:33:12.

to turn up and demonstrate? I don't know the details, this review will

:33:13.:33:16.

look into that presumably. I need reassurance that this is not a

:33:17.:33:20.

pretty cool call by Mr Cameron on the designed to appear near the

:33:21.:33:23.

election -- that this is not a political call. Are you sponsored by

:33:24.:33:35.

unite? No. Do you get any money from Unite? No. What have you done wrong?

:33:36.:33:44.

It seems others are getting money from Unite. Can I tell you what I

:33:45.:33:51.

think is the scandal of British party political funding, two health

:33:52.:33:54.

care companies have given ?1.5 million in donations to the Tory

:33:55.:34:02.

party, they have ?1.5 billion in NHS contracts. I wonder why you don't

:34:03.:34:06.

spend much time talking about that and obsess over trade union funding.

:34:07.:34:11.

We are happy to talk about that. We see from e-mails that Mr Miliband's

:34:12.:34:18.

closest advisers regard Mr Ed Balls as a bit of a nightmare, do you see

:34:19.:34:23.

a bit of a nightmare about him as well? I don't at all, he is a very

:34:24.:34:29.

good friend. I can't believe that you are talking about those e-mails

:34:30.:34:32.

on a national political programme. My goodness, you obviously scraping

:34:33.:34:38.

the barrel today. I have been in front-line labour politics for 20

:34:39.:34:42.

years. I can't remember the front bench and the wider party being as

:34:43.:34:46.

united as it is today and it is a great credit to Ed Miliband and Ed

:34:47.:34:50.

Balls. We are going into a general election and we are going to get rid

:34:51.:34:53.

of a pretty disastrous coalition government. It was worth spending a

:34:54.:34:58.

few seconds to establish your not having nightmares. Thank you for

:34:59.:35:01.

joining me. It's just gone 11:30am. You're

:35:02.:35:04.

watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I'll be

:35:05.:35:06.

talking to the MP accused of In the East Midlands: The fight for

:35:07.:35:20.

a fair deal for the countryside, as campaigners say people living in

:35:21.:35:23.

rural areas pay more council tax but get less money spent on them. The

:35:24.:35:33.

current funding levels are unfair because essentially our residents

:35:34.:35:38.

are less and pay more and get less support from the government.

:35:39.:35:41.

And the unkindest cut of all? The impact budget savings are having on

:35:42.:35:45.

the arts in our region. I don't think it is so much how it will

:35:46.:35:51.

affect the theatre but the region. If you cut back on culture it is not

:35:52.:35:54.

good for the East Midlands in general.

:35:55.:35:58.

Hello, I'm Marie Ashby, and there's a noble air to the programme this

:35:59.:36:02.

week with a Dame and a Knight of the Realm as my guests. Sir Edward

:36:03.:36:05.

Garnier is the Conservative MP for Harborough in Leicestershire and

:36:06.:36:08.

Dame Margaret Beckett, Labour's MP for Derby South.

:36:09.:36:10.

Let's start with the Chancellor, George Osborne, who's been down

:36:11.:36:13.

Thoresby pit in Nottinghamshire. The Chancellor went underground with the

:36:14.:36:15.

Sherwood Conservative MP, Mark Spencer, to talk to miners and hear

:36:16.:36:19.

their concerns after the collapse of UK Coal. He also used the trip to

:36:20.:36:25.

announce that he was finding ?1.8 million a year to help out 2000

:36:26.:36:28.

former miners and their families who've lost out on concessionary

:36:29.:36:38.

coal allowances from the company. So the Chancellor helping out miners

:36:39.:36:42.

` nothing to do with the fact that Thoresby Pit is in Sherwood, a

:36:43.:36:54.

marginal Tory`held constituency? Well, you would never be cynical.

:36:55.:36:59.

These are people who have lost out through no fault of their own. It

:37:00.:37:07.

wasn't their fault that the pit closed or that the successor body to

:37:08.:37:12.

the coal board has closed. And along with it went there concession. It

:37:13.:37:20.

seems to me to be a sensible and straightforward piece of management.

:37:21.:37:27.

So it makes sense. The think it's good news? Yes, I do. It is part of

:37:28.:37:35.

what has been the background of the way people in the coal industry have

:37:36.:37:42.

been treated for many years. I am pleased and slightly surprised to

:37:43.:37:51.

see this government doing it. Some people say they would like to see

:37:52.:37:54.

more common`sense. This is a lot of money. It is a lot of money but

:37:55.:38:08.

compared to the overall government spend, which is measured in hundreds

:38:09.:38:12.

of billions, I think this is a sensible and humanitarian and

:38:13.:38:19.

genuinely sensible thing to do. I don't think there is any political

:38:20.:38:24.

animus between us. These people lost out because the body that used to

:38:25.:38:29.

get them at has gone. A Tory supporting the miners. Who would

:38:30.:38:35.

have thought? Probably not the miners. Plenty of people would like

:38:36.:38:47.

to see more help. They would and plenty of people would like to see

:38:48.:38:52.

the big six energy suppliers being more transparent in their pricing

:38:53.:38:55.

structures and making them easier to understand. I find it difficult

:38:56.:39:01.

enough to work out which is the best and cheapest tariff so what it must

:39:02.:39:05.

be like to people who don't have access to computers or advice.

:39:06.:39:11.

Anything we can do to reduce the cost of living and energy for

:39:12.:39:15.

individual citizens is to be applauded. Many people say they are

:39:16.:39:22.

not doing enough. Well, the water companies last week talked to their

:39:23.:39:27.

regulator up at price increases and the regulator said they had looked

:39:28.:39:33.

at the calculations and didn't think the price increase was justified.

:39:34.:39:40.

The energy regulator doesn't have those powers, though. We need to

:39:41.:39:47.

sort that out so there is an independent voice and someone who

:39:48.:39:51.

has power to say, no, it is not justified. The price freeze does not

:39:52.:39:57.

take account of world energy prices. I'm sure Ed Miliband is

:39:58.:40:04.

wonderful but he cannot control world energy prices.

:40:05.:40:13.

Now, if you look at the textbooks, they'll tell you politics is about

:40:14.:40:16.

the allocation of scarce resources. And that's never truer than in times

:40:17.:40:20.

of austerity. Well, now a campaign's underway and Edward Garnier is

:40:21.:40:22.

heavily involved to get funding switched from towns and cities to

:40:23.:40:25.

rural areas. According to the campaign, people living in the

:40:26.:40:28.

countryside pay an average of ?76 more in council tax than those in

:40:29.:40:32.

towns and cities and they have 50% less spent on them per head. In

:40:33.:40:35.

Edward Garnier's Harborough Constituency, they're backing the

:40:36.:40:38.

campaign. The current funding levels are

:40:39.:40:45.

unfair here because our residents are less, pay more and get less

:40:46.:40:49.

support from the government. We have service needs, too. We are a rural

:40:50.:40:56.

geography and we have a growing elderly population, transport

:40:57.:41:01.

needs, housing and health needs. We think that if the policy were to be

:41:02.:41:07.

adjusted by a small amount it would equate to around ?1 million per year

:41:08.:41:09.

to the District Council. So that's the view in the

:41:10.:41:12.

countryside, but what do people make of this in the urban areas? Well, at

:41:13.:41:16.

Allenton, in Derby, part of Margaret Beckett's constituency, the fear is

:41:17.:41:19.

that if money is diverted from inner cities back to rural areas, social

:41:20.:41:23.

problems and deprivation will become even worse.

:41:24.:41:26.

Derby has already been devastated by government cuts and we have launched

:41:27.:41:30.

a campaign for a fairer deal for Derby. If more money was taken away,

:41:31.:41:36.

it would devastate communities like Allenton. We have got on top of some

:41:37.:41:44.

problems thanks to the previous government and additional funding

:41:45.:41:46.

but if more funding is taken away I and deeply concerned for the future

:41:47.:41:57.

for places like Allenton. You're one of the main backers of

:41:58.:42:01.

this campaign. But surely, as we've just seen, urban areas, particularly

:42:02.:42:04.

inner cities, need more than leafy rural areas? We are just running up

:42:05.:42:09.

to the autumn statement so all interest groups are lobbying the

:42:10.:42:12.

Chancellor to get a fair crack of the whip. I understand the

:42:13.:42:19.

difficulties of running an inner`city authority just as I

:42:20.:42:22.

understand the difficulties of running a rural authority. The

:42:23.:42:30.

distinction in terms of amounts going to each is pronounced. We are

:42:31.:42:39.

not asking for a massive change, just a 10% adjustment between now

:42:40.:42:45.

and 2020. The numbers are very small indeed and it doesn't require

:42:46.:42:50.

turning oil tanker around, just a bit of sensitivity. 10% is not a

:42:51.:42:57.

huge amount. It sounds like a huge amount to me. I don't dispute that

:42:58.:43:03.

there are areas of poverty in rural areas but I think the case which is

:43:04.:43:10.

being presented is a little over simplistic and their isn't doubt

:43:11.:43:15.

that there is enormous deprivation in inner`city areas, who are losing

:43:16.:43:21.

out under this government. My understanding was that across local

:43:22.:43:26.

government people feel they are struggling with extra pressures and

:43:27.:43:29.

inadequate funding. I think we should be fighting side`by`side not

:43:30.:43:36.

to take chunks out of each other. Don't some people choose to live in

:43:37.:43:39.

the countryside? A bigger house or garden, higher council tax band,

:43:40.:43:42.

fewer services ` that's the price you pay. This is not Disneyland or a

:43:43.:43:47.

theme park, it is part of England. People don't always choose to live

:43:48.:43:54.

in the countryside. You need a car or two cars. In Margaret's

:43:55.:44:04.

constituency, the dustbins are five or ten yards apart, in my

:44:05.:44:09.

constituency they can be half a mile apart. It costs an additional

:44:10.:44:17.

expense. That is a simple point. It is not a question of either or, just

:44:18.:44:25.

rebalancing. Six and half years for 10%. What difference would this make

:44:26.:44:32.

to people in villages and towns? Well, as you heard a moment ago, if

:44:33.:44:40.

we adjusted it by 10% we would be talking about another ?1 million for

:44:41.:44:47.

an authority like mine. My district covers about one quarter of the

:44:48.:44:52.

landmass of Leicestershire so we are not talking about a small place, a

:44:53.:44:58.

large area of England. But taking money from Derby will only make the

:44:59.:45:03.

situation worse. I read the press release from this campaign and I am

:45:04.:45:08.

not unsympathetic to the problems in rural areas. 0

:45:09.:45:11.

not unsympathetic to the problems in rural areas. But when I read the

:45:12.:45:14.

background remarks, I didn't think the case stood up in the way they

:45:15.:45:20.

are presenting it. They are being slightly selective with the facts.

:45:21.:45:30.

There are pockets of real rural poverty, I don't dispute that. But

:45:31.:45:35.

there are also pockets of very considerable well`being. Across the

:45:36.:45:41.

country, funding has gone from inner`city areas under this

:45:42.:45:44.

government, with enormous problems, into rural areas where quite often

:45:45.:45:51.

they need is less. It won't be for everybody, I don't dispute that. In

:45:52.:45:57.

general, the problem is perhaps not quite so grave. In education,

:45:58.:46:04.

Leicestershire for some reason is the bottom are second bottom

:46:05.:46:13.

recipient of education spending. It costs just as much to educate

:46:14.:46:16.

children in my constituency than in years. Why is there a disparity?

:46:17.:46:25.

There are lots of comparisons you could make that don't stack up. In

:46:26.:46:34.

the middle of rural Derbyshire, the leaders of the local authorities

:46:35.:46:39.

would agree with me that there needs to be, not to steal from you, but a

:46:40.:46:46.

rebalancing. I am not even asking for equality, just a 10% adjustment.

:46:47.:46:53.

How likely is this change? Well, we will have to see. If the Chancellor

:46:54.:47:00.

has been visiting miners, maybe he will visit us.

:47:01.:47:05.

And now, as they say, for something completely different. Now is the

:47:06.:47:12.

winter of our ice content. Made glorious summer by this son of York.

:47:13.:47:16.

Actor Ian Bartholomew playing Richard III at Nottingham Playhouse.

:47:17.:47:19.

And it's another story of allocating resources. This time how much can we

:47:20.:47:23.

subsidise the arts? As the cuts bite, the impact is being felt at

:47:24.:47:26.

many galleries and theatres in our region. According to Lost Arts Org

:47:27.:47:30.

which is monitoring how austerity policies are hitting the sector, the

:47:31.:47:33.

pain is being felt across the East Midlands. The Nottingham Playhouse

:47:34.:47:37.

is the most recent to fall victim to the cuts, with Nottinghamshire

:47:38.:47:39.

County Council planning to end its ?93,000 grant. The Derby Quad Arts

:47:40.:47:45.

Centre has lost ?119,000 in funding in the last three years. The

:47:46.:47:52.

Leicester Theatre Trust which runs Curve in Leicester has had ?362,000

:47:53.:47:57.

cut from its funding since 2010. Across the East Midlands as a whole,

:47:58.:48:01.

the Lost Arts organisation estimates that more than ?680,000 has been cut

:48:02.:48:09.

from budgets. Well, the Nottingham Playhouse has just announced that

:48:10.:48:12.

it's beginning a consultation with theatre`goers to find out what they

:48:13.:48:15.

think about the cuts. And we sent Des Coleman to the theatre to find

:48:16.:48:23.

out how staff there have reacted. They are getting ready for

:48:24.:48:27.

tonight's production but sometimes it seems there is more drama

:48:28.:48:33.

backstage than on the stage. Let's meet some of the staff. I am in the

:48:34.:48:40.

paint shop where they build the scenery. Some people say it is the

:48:41.:48:45.

hub of the theatre. They are preparing for a pantomime at the

:48:46.:48:49.

moment. How do you think the cuts will affect the theatre? I don't

:48:50.:48:55.

think it is how much it will affect the theatre but the region. If you

:48:56.:49:00.

cut back on culture it is not good for the East Midlands in general.

:49:01.:49:07.

How will you promote the area? I am in the 0

:49:08.:49:08.

How will you promote the area? I am in the green room and over my

:49:09.:49:14.

shoulder is one of the cast members. How will the cuts affect the

:49:15.:49:24.

theatre? It is quite shocking because an organisation the size of

:49:25.:49:30.

this needs such an amount of money, it is literally one of the lifelines

:49:31.:49:38.

of culture in this city. I think it is important that politicians

:49:39.:49:40.

rethink and reconsider their decision. I am in the marketing

:49:41.:49:46.

department. How do you feel about the cuts? I am shocked. It has come

:49:47.:49:55.

out of the blue. The fact it has come halfway through the two`year

:49:56.:49:59.

agreement is an fairer. That is a substantial amount of our budget.

:50:00.:50:09.

And jobs are on the line. Perhaps jobs will have to be cut, yes. Well,

:50:10.:50:15.

strong views but let's see what people think in the streets. We need

:50:16.:50:20.

something to look forward to so, yes. If it is necessary then, yeah,

:50:21.:50:32.

maybe. It would make a difference in the price in the future and might

:50:33.:50:35.

stop my age group being able to afford it. It seems as though this

:50:36.:50:42.

is one drama that will run and run. We're joined by Stephanie Sirr,

:50:43.:50:45.

who's the chief executive of the Nottingham Playhouse. First of all,

:50:46.:50:49.

a cut of ?93,000, but what's your overall budget? We turn over about

:50:50.:51:01.

?4.5 million. How significant is this? For every pound of funding we

:51:02.:51:12.

have, we found ?16 of funding from other sources. It is also the fourth

:51:13.:51:19.

cut we have had. It is a significant sum. But surely everyone has to take

:51:20.:51:25.

a hit at the moment. The choices faced are stark and emotive when it

:51:26.:51:28.

comes to cuts, old people's homes, children's services. Nottinghamshire

:51:29.:51:31.

County Council says their priorities have to be the vulnerable, young and

:51:32.:51:37.

old. Absolutely. We are not blind to that

:51:38.:51:44.

fact. This is really a conversation about money and that's where we are

:51:45.:51:49.

at the moment. We need to recognise the enormous financial value of

:51:50.:51:53.

culture to the region. Nottingham Playhouse is just one theatre but

:51:54.:51:58.

our economic impact is over ?13 million per year. That is what we

:51:59.:52:07.

bring into the region. Culture is the second biggest driver of

:52:08.:52:13.

tourism. One District Council has increased their spending from 50,000

:52:14.:52:24.

to ?350,000 because of that. I sympathise with it but the fact of

:52:25.:52:27.

life are very different at the moment. Every County Council has to

:52:28.:52:32.

reduce its expenditure because the economic picture is difficult

:52:33.:52:40.

nationally. We spend million pounds `` millions of pounds per day. We

:52:41.:52:49.

tried very hard to find people in Nottingham who thought that the

:52:50.:52:53.

Playhouse should take this hit. But most supported it. I support it. I

:52:54.:53:02.

go to productions there myself. It is really good. I may have to pay

:53:03.:53:09.

more in future and I'm afraid that's how it goes. It doesn't help you

:53:10.:53:15.

very much but compared to other departments, my own department had

:53:16.:53:23.

to take a hit in the spending review. I feel your pain. Arts took

:53:24.:53:35.

a 5% cut converts to 20 or 25% in other departments. Your County

:53:36.:53:41.

Council has to take a choice. Does it help the elderly or infirm? A lot

:53:42.:53:47.

of these cuts are being made by Labour councils. All county councils

:53:48.:53:53.

are finding themselves in the same position. Part of what they're is

:53:54.:54:04.

that given the funding cuts they are facing the fear that in two or three

:54:05.:54:08.

years they won't be able to fund anything that they are not compelled

:54:09.:54:14.

to do by law. I sympathise very much with the position of the Nottingham

:54:15.:54:21.

Playhouse but the worry is that we will lose things that are

:54:22.:54:24.

preventative. The kind of care that stops a small child from being a

:54:25.:54:31.

customer of care services later in life. There are also suspicions that

:54:32.:54:37.

Labour is trying to hit the middle classes when it comes to the arts. I

:54:38.:54:43.

think we got out of that a long time ago. One of the things about culture

:54:44.:54:51.

is it is a misconception that it is for the middle classes. 70% of our

:54:52.:54:57.

tickets are sold at concession rates. People need to be aware that

:54:58.:55:04.

culture generates more revenue than it cost. We gloss over this and talk

:55:05.:55:11.

about funding going outward but it is an investment. Of course, we want

:55:12.:55:23.

to protect those jobs and they are real jobs. If all goes well,

:55:24.:55:34.

Leicester will become the city of culture. That will have a benefit

:55:35.:55:44.

for the whole East Midlands. Come on board and help us get Leicester as a

:55:45.:55:47.

city of culture. We will all benefit. I think spending cuts are

:55:48.:55:55.

the reality of what councils are facing. Councils are making cuts

:55:56.:56:01.

that they don't want to do. If the money is not there they have very

:56:02.:56:09.

little choice. What can you do now? Can you fight to the cuts? We have a

:56:10.:56:15.

lot of support and people value culture in this region. Nottingham

:56:16.:56:21.

has fantastic culture and people understand that it adds value to

:56:22.:56:29.

their lives. It adds to the value `` experience of older people and

:56:30.:56:33.

disabled people as well. The point is that is a very small amount of

:56:34.:56:40.

money and doesn't save many services but means a lot to the Nottingham

:56:41.:56:45.

Playhouse. Thank you very much for coming in.

:56:46.:56:49.

Time for our regular round`up of some of the other political stories

:56:50.:56:53.

in the East Midlands this week in 60 seconds: A campaign against scam

:56:54.:56:56.

mail pouring through or letterboxes reached Downing Street this week

:56:57.:56:59.

when the Derbyshire South MP, Conservative Heather Wheeler, met

:57:00.:57:03.

the Prime Minister. Campaigners say people who fall for

:57:04.:57:06.

the scams can lose thousands of pounds. Heather Wheeler wants Royal

:57:07.:57:11.

Mail to stop delivering the letters. The Leicestershire and Rutland

:57:12.:57:13.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Clive Loader, has been responding to

:57:14.:57:17.

a BBC poll showing 30% of people were unaware they had a PCC. He says

:57:18.:57:24.

it's still an improvement on the old system. 93% of people didn't even

:57:25.:57:27.

know that a police authority ever existed and, of course, we have

:57:28.:57:30.

taken over from police authorities and, by the way, do a lot more. Now

:57:31.:57:37.

60`odd percent of people know I do exist.

:57:38.:57:40.

And our MPs could soon be getting a whole lot closer if the Derby North

:57:41.:57:45.

MP, Chris Williamson, has his way. He's calling for them to be put up

:57:46.:57:49.

in a student`style hall of residence at Westminster. The Labour MP says

:57:50.:57:52.

it would save money and avoid expenses scandals.

:57:53.:57:59.

And that's where we leave it here in the East Midlands. Our thanks to

:58:00.:58:04.

Margaret Beckett and Edward Garnier for joining us. Now time to hand you

:58:05.:58:07.

back to Andrew receiving it. We will return to this

:58:08.:58:11.

if we hear more. Thank you. Andrew, it is back to you.

:58:12.:58:24.

Who'd be an MP? It's a good question. Certainly something Mark

:58:25.:58:30.

Pritchard must have asked himself when his picture graced the front

:58:31.:58:33.

page of the Daily Telegraph, with allegations that he had offered to

:58:34.:58:36.

set up business deals overseas in return for hundreds of thousands of

:58:37.:58:38.

pounds. Mr Pritchard dismissed the claims as hurtful and wrong. He

:58:39.:58:41.

referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

:58:42.:58:43.

who has now said there is insufficient evidence to

:58:44.:58:45.

investigate. In a moment we'll talk to Mr Pritchard, but first let's

:58:46.:58:49.

take a look back at how the story unfurled. A Conservative MP has

:58:50.:58:52.

denied allegations that he used his Parliamentary contacts for financial

:58:53.:58:57.

gain... The daily Telegraph says Mark Pritchard offered to broker

:58:58.:59:01.

investments overseas. In a statement he said the allegations made by the

:59:02.:59:11.

Telegraph are false. Mr Pritchard was secretly filmed... What do you

:59:12.:59:16.

make of these allegations? He has referred himself to the

:59:17.:59:19.

Parliamentary Commissioner for standards to clear his name and I

:59:20.:59:22.

suspect this story will reopen the debate about what MPs should be

:59:23.:59:32.

allowed, having business interests elsewhere. Is it not clear that you

:59:33.:59:40.

did ask for money in consultancy services? First of all I would like

:59:41.:59:50.

to apologise for the sunglasses I have had a lot of comments about

:59:51.:59:56.

that. On a serious point, these claims by the Telegraph of false.

:59:57.:00:05.

You didn't ask for ?3000? They are false, hurtful and malicious. It is

:00:06.:00:11.

known widely that I have sued the Telegraph previously. I have also

:00:12.:00:14.

been critical of their coverage of the plebgate affair, their reporting

:00:15.:00:20.

of that. I have been supportive of the cross-party Royal Charter and I

:00:21.:00:23.

know that some people in the media don't like my position on that. That

:00:24.:00:28.

is why it is malicious. I believe in a free press. That free press also

:00:29.:00:34.

has a responsibility to be fair accurate and lawful. In discussions

:00:35.:00:40.

with this business who turned out to be a Telegraph reporter, it is true

:00:41.:00:45.

that you ask for ?3000 a month consultancy fee. The point is..

:00:46.:00:54.

That is the point. No. That video has been cut and pasted to serve the

:00:55.:00:59.

Telegraph's story. The story was that we want to get Mark Bridger,

:01:00.:01:04.

for whatever reason, at any cost. -- Mark Bridger hard. I would not go

:01:05.:01:09.

down the line they were hoping I would go down. Everything I own

:01:10.:01:12.

outside of Parliament is openly declared. We are allowed to have

:01:13.:01:18.

outside witness interests. The Telegraph need to say clearly

:01:19.:01:21.

whether they accept that or they don't. I think you need to say

:01:22.:01:26.

clearly whether you asked for the money or not. You then went on to

:01:27.:01:32.

ask for ?300,000 if it was a 10 million deal, you asked for 3%

:01:33.:01:36.

commission. Let me be clear, if I was asking for income in return for

:01:37.:01:43.

lobbying, or raising issues in Parliament, or setting up

:01:44.:01:48.

Parliamentary groups, or going to ministers, writing to ministers

:01:49.:01:52.

that would be completely inappropriate. I was approached by

:01:53.:01:56.

somebody to advise them on business. It is entirely proper and entirely

:01:57.:02:02.

within the rules for members of Parliament to have outside

:02:03.:02:06.

consultancies and interests. Did you or didn't you? I am answering the

:02:07.:02:11.

question in the way that I want to answer it, not in the way that fits

:02:12.:02:16.

a particular narrative. The narrative, unfortunately, of some

:02:17.:02:20.

parts of the Telegraph and to be fair, there are some very good

:02:21.:02:23.

journalists, I know there is a dispute about the direction of that

:02:24.:02:27.

paper at senior parts. Do they want to return to being a Catholic,

:02:28.:02:32.

objective newspaper or do they want to slip into the slippery slope of

:02:33.:02:36.

being an agnostic rag, looking for sensationalist headlines? Part of

:02:37.:02:41.

this has come from your membership of these all-party Parliamentary

:02:42.:02:49.

groups. You were in Malta when you are first approached, I think you

:02:50.:02:52.

were on a trip there, Hungary is another one, there is an

:02:53.:02:56.

uncomfortable overlap between your political and business interests. I

:02:57.:03:01.

have no business interests in any of those countries. Some of the country

:03:02.:03:04.

is the Telegraph mentioned, let me be clear, I have not even visited.

:03:05.:03:13.

You were boasting that you knew the Albanian Prime Minister and the

:03:14.:03:16.

Mayor of Teheran and the previous prime minister. I make no apology

:03:17.:03:22.

for making foreign trips. I think it is unfortunate we have a narrative

:03:23.:03:26.

developing in some parts of the press that if a politician goes

:03:27.:03:30.

abroad at the taxpayers expense it is wrong. If they go abroad at a

:03:31.:03:34.

host government's expense it is wrong. If they go abroad with a

:03:35.:03:39.

charity, NGO and private company, even if it is declared, it is wrong.

:03:40.:03:42.

We want people with an international perspective in Parliament. Look at

:03:43.:03:48.

this map. You are a member of 5 country groups. I don't know what

:03:49.:03:54.

Canada has done not to deserve you, or Australia. 54 groups, you are a

:03:55.:04:00.

part of. You're like... This is the Mark Pritchard British Empire. That

:04:01.:04:05.

is very kind. If I had global interests that white I would not be

:04:06.:04:10.

in Parliament. No, no, no. That is the point... It is the suspicion,

:04:11.:04:16.

that you used these groups to drum up business for your consultants.

:04:17.:04:21.

Prove it, that is the trouble. These sorts of headlines, create

:04:22.:04:26.

suspicion. I am suing the Telegraph... Have you issued a writ?

:04:27.:04:35.

I expect an apology. Have you issued a writ? I have just answered your

:04:36.:04:41.

question. It is yes or no, have you issued a writ? I am in final legal

:04:42.:04:47.

discussions tomorrow about issuing a writ. You have raised something for

:04:48.:04:51.

top the fact is that is inaccurate. I am a member of 40-something

:04:52.:04:55.

Parliamentary groups, of which I make no apology. We have got 54 Let

:04:56.:05:03.

me answer the question if I may It would be very useful. There are 196

:05:04.:05:11.

countries around the world, it is less than a quarter of the country

:05:12.:05:15.

groups on my figures. I make no apology. One of my regrets is not

:05:16.:05:21.

having visited Syria, I don't know if I am a member of the Syria group,

:05:22.:05:25.

part I should become a member, I make no apology. -- perhaps I should

:05:26.:05:30.

become. When it came to the Syria vote, I was blind sided foot of yes,

:05:31.:05:38.

we have excellent briefings. I had to make a judgement based on part

:05:39.:05:41.

knowledge with nothing beats being on the ground, as even BBC

:05:42.:05:46.

journalists recognised this week. Nothing beats being on the ground.

:05:47.:05:51.

You posted about your connections in Albania to getting a business

:05:52.:05:55.

contract. You meet these people through these all Parliamentary

:05:56.:05:58.

groups. That is where there is an unhealthy overlap. That is what the

:05:59.:06:05.

Telegraph said, let's wait and see. Look... You are a newspaperman, you

:06:06.:06:10.

know lots of people in the newspaper industry, as well as being a

:06:11.:06:14.

respected broadcaster. I am not going to prejudice my legal

:06:15.:06:18.

proceedings against the Telegraph. I make no apology. A good politician

:06:19.:06:23.

has to be local am a national and international. Hang on hang on -

:06:24.:06:30.

has to be local, national and international. We need politicians

:06:31.:06:33.

who get out of the Westminster bubble, who have a business

:06:34.:06:36.

hinterland, who keep their foot in the real world and have an

:06:37.:06:41.

international perspective. And ask for 3% commission? I have answered

:06:42.:06:47.

the question. It was a cut and pasted video, photo shopped to suit

:06:48.:06:50.

the agenda of the Telegraph. They need to get back to serious news

:06:51.:06:54.

reporting and I wish those well at the senior part of the Telegraph who

:06:55.:06:59.

want to get to those days. We look forward to the writ. Thank you.

:07:00.:07:02.

Now - there's been more good news on the economy for George Osborne this

:07:03.:07:04.

week - inflation's down, growth forecasts have been revised up and

:07:05.:07:07.

unemployment has fallen again. On Friday the former Bullingdon boy

:07:08.:07:10.

donned a head torch and went down't pit for just one of many photo

:07:11.:07:13.

opportunities ahead of the Autumn Statement, which he'll deliver in

:07:14.:07:16.

the Commons on fifth December. And, who knows, he might even take his

:07:17.:07:23.

hard hat off for that. # Going underground.

:07:24.:07:32.

# Let the boys all saying and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

:07:33.:07:38.

# Lah, lah, love, love. # I talk and talk until my head

:07:39.:07:42.

explodes. # Make this boy shout, make this boy

:07:43.:07:49.

scream. # Going underground.

:07:50.:08:03.

# I'm going underground. # I'm going underground.

:08:04.:08:09.

George Osborne in his heart out he probably sleeps with it on. This

:08:10.:08:17.

Autumn Statement is becoming a more important part of the political

:08:18.:08:21.

calendar for the coalition. It looks like this is where they are finally

:08:22.:08:25.

going to come up with some kind of response to Ed Miliband's game

:08:26.:08:31.

changing electricity price freeze. The idea which is mooted is they

:08:32.:08:35.

will move people's green tax on two general bills which is not an answer

:08:36.:08:40.

but cosmetically it could have apolitical impact. George Osborne is

:08:41.:08:44.

receiving a lot of representations from lobby groups, business, MPs on

:08:45.:08:50.

his own side, for tax cuts and extra bits spending and he has to spend

:08:51.:08:54.

the next two weeks reminding people of something that has been skewered

:08:55.:08:56.

by the economic recovery. This country has a fiscal deficit which

:08:57.:09:06.

is twice that of France, supposedly the crisis economy in western Europe

:09:07.:09:09.

or if you accept it will take another parliament again to

:09:10.:09:12.

eliminate this deficit, we are not even halfway through the age of

:09:13.:09:15.

austerity. He is in no position to give anything away. He has to hold

:09:16.:09:20.

the line. Danny Alexander has been useful but this is his real

:09:21.:09:24.

challenge. He is going to give stuff away. When the Autumn Statement

:09:25.:09:29.

comes away, 15 months from an election, Nick Clegg has been

:09:30.:09:33.

talking about raising the tax allowance threshold even further,

:09:34.:09:38.

talk of moving green levies of the electricity bills, he is going to

:09:39.:09:42.

give stuff away. We will get funding for free school meals that Nick

:09:43.:09:44.

Clegg mentioned in his party conference. The significance of the

:09:45.:09:49.

Autumn Statement is twice a year, a Chancellor stands up and we all look

:09:50.:09:53.

at the state of the economy. If you talk to members of the Chancellor's

:09:54.:09:57.

circle, it is interesting how nervous they are. They say, don t

:09:58.:10:01.

assume we are going to have this wonderful growth for ever, don't

:10:02.:10:04.

assume everything is fine in the eurozone. I think what would help

:10:05.:10:09.

the Chancellor is if somebody was able to see some of that humility in

:10:10.:10:14.

public. It is recognised that he was far too triumphalist

:10:15.:10:15.

speech he made on the 9th of September, when he said to Ed Balls,

:10:16.:10:22.

we have one and you cannot make an economic policy on the cost of

:10:23.:10:23.

living -- we have... Won. economic policy on the cost of

:10:24.:10:36.

people don't seem to learn from Norman Lamont's green shoots. Labour

:10:37.:10:40.

has moved from complaining there is no growth, now there is, to say

:10:41.:10:46.

has moved from complaining there is is gross but living standards are

:10:47.:10:46.

not rising. If the economy grows by nearly 3% next year, even the bank

:10:47.:10:51.

is saying it will grow by 2.8%, living standards could start to

:10:52.:10:56.

rise. It does but everybody in a difficult position politically if

:10:57.:10:58.

the economy starts growing, ironically. We need to remind

:10:59.:11:02.

ourselves that economy, the natural direction of an economy is to grow.

:11:03.:11:08.

Unless the politicians screw up Unless you have some idiot in

:11:09.:11:13.

charge! It is not a cause for the Morris dance that they seem to be

:11:14.:11:16.

doing, certainly on the Tory side. Osborne is put in a difficult

:11:17.:11:20.

position goes he will have to stop giving stuff away, he cannot push

:11:21.:11:26.

the austerity line at the same time as jangling his magical growth - he

:11:27.:11:33.

will have to start giving stuff away. It puts Labour in a difficult

:11:34.:11:39.

position, it is very unlikely that living standards will match GDP Not

:11:40.:11:45.

since 2003, GDP has been a great indicator. Wages have stagnated for

:11:46.:11:52.

ten years, food has gone up 17% energy has gone up 24%. That is a

:11:53.:11:56.

decade in which everybody has got poorer. The real sweet spot comes

:11:57.:12:01.

when wages start to outstrip inflation. It is a sweet spot and

:12:02.:12:06.

will be a huge challenge for Ed Miliband. As ever on the economy

:12:07.:12:11.

with a sweet spot, you have a danger moment because that is when the

:12:12.:12:14.

governor of the Bank of England will have to look at interest rates.

:12:15.:12:18.

Everything he was saying last week was when we move toward 7%

:12:19.:12:22.

unemployment come that is not the trigger for raising interest rates,

:12:23.:12:25.

it is the moment when we look at it. Everything was saying he did not

:12:26.:12:30.

want to do that. When do you anticipate wages outstripping

:12:31.:12:32.

inflation? It hasn't happened for so long. The second half of next year.

:12:33.:12:40.

Wages and prices are not the sole measure of living standards, there

:12:41.:12:42.

are broader measures which no one seems willing to use.

:12:43.:12:45.

That's all for today. The Daily Politics will be back at tomorrow at

:12:46.:12:49.

midday on BBC Two and I will back here on BBC One at 11:00am next

:12:50.:12:53.

week. Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.

:12:54.:12:58.

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With international development secretary Justine Greening, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and Conservative MP Mark Pritchard.


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